Throwback Thursday Exhibitionist…

Home Exhibition

A bit of a home exhibition here some seven years ago! This pic popping up on a Facebook feed this week. All three, Albion Yard, Bawdsey, and Shelfie, (WIP foreground) have subsequently left the building. The reason for them all being simultaneously up in the man cave, was to film Right Track 19 with Paul Lunn on Layout Planning & Design.

Bawdsey

All three of them taught me valuable lessons, Bawdsey taught me about layout conservation, and got me back into EM modelling, gauge converting Diesels and DMU’s, and generally looking after a layout built with old style technology and techniques.

Albion Yard

Albion Yard was my first exhibition layout, not only did it have to look good, it had to work reliably, and that it did very well. Having your name above the door focus’s the mind, or it should do! Bizarrely it went to more shows after its retirement than before!

Albion Yard

For Albion Yard the wraparound digital print backscene the height, and its associated lighting were virtually unique in terms of presentation at the time, and always generated interest at shows.

The Long View

The presentation concept being to give operators as well as viewers as realistic a viewpoint as possible. On the whole this worked really well but it was interesting that some didn’t ‘get it’, not understanding why the staging fiddle yard was enclosed for example, and the public or operating crew couldn’t see it in normal operation.

Shelfie prototype

The shelfie layouts build on the Albion Yard experience, and owning Bawdsey. For Right Track 19 Shelfie was developed from its original genesis as a test track to an example of design and planning, having caught it early enough in its build to use it as a working sample for the programme. Shelfie also went to a few exhibitions where it’s compact size and presentation captured many people’s imagination. Using lessons primarily learnt from Albion Yard it too used integral lighting and a digitally printed wraparound backscene.

Shelfie 2

Shelfie 2 has taken the lighting and presentation theme a bit further. Lit using LED’s and a new material for the wraparound backscene it’s waiting its first exhibition outing in a completed format.

Shelfie 2 at Define open house

Shelfie 2 has been out once to the Define groups January open house, showing the different effects you can get manipulating the background, but in its final exhibition format, it is now a fixed view.

Shelfie 3 working prototype

Shelfie 3 at the moment is work in progress. The core design is worked out and D&E stock suitable for 1967 through to around 1982 is being worked on. As with the other Shelfie layouts it’ll be a useful photo prop in due course. I’ve labelled it as a working prototype above, and that it most definitely is.

Shelfie 3 on test

Shelfie3’s track has been cut and laid onto a foamboard test bed. That has allowed me to ‘play trains’ and validate that the operations for a DMU based layout would be engaging enough, and I’m pleased to say so far, so good. There’s also a few non standard movements in the proposed sequence, but literally only a few. The idea is to capture the mundane everyday operating, paradoxically that’ll give it atmosphere..

Shelfie 4, S4 in HO

Shelfie 4 is also work in progress. S4 is in fact HO, so by referring to it as S4 it’ll undoubtedly cause a few trigger moments, do I look bothered? Using high quality HO Canadian and American outline models the core concept is established, a lakeshore grain silo facility taking inspiration from Fort William and Buffalo’s Silo City.

Shelfie, Working the space in S4

This Canadian project is the one that’s centre stage at the moment, capturing the essence of huge grain structures and their rail feeds in a small space is providing hours of enjoyment. Learning about the grain traffic via Eric Gagnon’s fascinating blog, and input from Chris Mears and James Hilton on the design and ethos behind the project has made it all the more enjoyable and interesting, and in some aspects more challenging. That’s a good thing!

So will these projects see the light of day at a real exhibition? I think they will, a real one too, not virtually. Shelfie 2 is lined up for two this year, subject restrictions around the pandemic. S3 and S4 they’re both built to be exhibited, and with good fortune, they will be.

Posted in accurascale, america, architecture, Bachmann, bawdsey, blogger, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, canada, canadian national, canadian pacific, covid-19, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, EM, Exhibition, finescale, Great Western, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, Kalmbach, Layout, LED, LED Lighting, life, man cave, mancave, Midland Region, model, model photography, model rail, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, national train show, nmra, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, prototype, railroad, railway, Railway Modeller, Rapido Trains, realism, research, scale, scale modelling, shelfie, shelfie1, shelfie2, shelfie3, shelfie4, tangent, throwback thursday, thursday throwback, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, track, train set, train show, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday LMS Push Pull

Hornby LMS Suburban Conversion
Hornby LMS Suburban Conversion
Posted in 51L Models, Airfix, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, brassmasters, British Rail, Cameo layout, Comet Models, Conversion, DCC, Eastern Region, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, gwr, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, Kalmbach, Layout, LED Lighting, LMS, LNER, man cave, mancave, media, Midland Region, model, model photography, model rail, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, railway, Railway Modeller, Rapido Trains, realism, research, scale, scale modelling, shelfie, shelfie1, shelfie2, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, train show, Western Region, woodland scenics, wordless wednesday | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday, Going with the Grain

Exactrail PS-2CD Hopper
Posted in america, americana, Bachmann, blog, Cameo, Cameo layout, canada, canadian national, canadian pacific, DCC, dcc sound, Eighties, exactrail, finescale, free-mo, fremo, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Industrial, Inspiration, Kalmbach, Layout, LED, LED Lighting, man cave, mancave, model, model photography, model rail, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, national train show, nmra, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, peco, railroad, railway, Rapido Trains, realism, scale, scale modelling, shelfie, tangent, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, track, train set, Uncategorized, usa, wordless wednesday | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday 94xx

Here we are, more Pannier shenanigans! This time it’s a personality swap! A few of the 94xx’s had tank fillers in different positions, a couple of feet further back than normally associated with the class. There’s not many of them but as fate would have it, the one I’ve chosen to do….

The start point is the excellent Bachmann 94xx and the project will turn out 9401 as trialled at the Eastern Regions Stratford Yard in East London.

By chance again, today saw the arrival into the mancave of the 16xx Model Rail/Rapido collaboration and its interesting to see the difference between the two types.

Fascinating to think they were both built and operated pretty much concurrently.

There are parallels in so much as they were built in numbers whilst their diesel replacements like the 08 above were also being constructed simultaneously, and both 94xx and 16xx had very short operational lives. The 08 in contrast has had an extraordinary success story still in ‘mainline’ use today, 68 years after introduction to service!

The other thing all three models have in common is they’re getting makeovers to varying degrees!

Posted in accurascale, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, brassmasters, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, Forest of Dean, free-mo, Great Western, gwr, Hattons, heljan, history, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Layout, man cave, mancave, model, model photography, model rail, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, new release, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, product news, Rapido Trains, scale, scale modelling, Scottish Region, shelfie, throwback thursday, thursday throwback, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Western Region | Leave a comment

Mazak Rot, A matter of Time..

Mazak Rot has unfortunately blighted some models in the hobby, across many manufacturers and for a while. It frequently manifests itself after a period of time often years, and that’s the problem you don’t know if you’re going to end up with it, and in fairness neither do the manufacturers.

I have to say I’ve been lucky with this, and yep, you’re right there’s an ‘until now’ coming! So, whilst looking at a forthcoming project I dug two BR era Hornby Stanier 4-6-0’s out. They’d been in stock for a few years, tested and checked on arrival, and then stored in temperature controlled dry environments. Being a Royal Scot and Patriot they share the same chassis and motor components, and they were pretty much concurrently released.

On checking both they had similar symptoms, very ragged and erratic running and a clicking noise when stationary with the motor under power. I assumed that I was going to be looking at split gears, an occasional problem which affects plastic gear trains. Choosing the Scot first, I very quickly realised that split gears was unlikely to be the issue.

The crazing around the front of the frame is typical of indications of Mazak Rot, this came as a bit of a surprise, as I don’t associate the Hornby Scots or Patriots with this problem.

Removing the bogie shows further fractures, I’m now thinking this isn’t going to end well! The screw above holds the chassis in place with two lugs at the cab which are the three mounting points.

The DCC mounting plate covers the gear train fixing which is a cast cover. But holding the casting tight to the chassis, the chassis runs, so it’s not a split gear I’m dealing with. I removed the mounting plate and the gear train/boiler casting was loose, undoing its screw made no difference. Lifting the wiring loom allowed the casting to fall to one side, showing the fixing location had sheared.

Not just once but twice, leaving a cross section slice!

This single mounting with this screw is the kingpin of this chassis. If it’s damaged (as these are) the chassis is unusable. There is a potential fix with a longer screw, but almost certainly a pillar drill and a thread tapping being required. As these were concurrently released I immediately wondered if the Patriot would be the same issue.

Immediately the Mazak issue was evident. Removing the chassis meant the front section came adrift.

This chassis exhibited an identical fault, the gear casing casting fixing has sheared/fractured where the screw fixes to the chassis.

So two identical faults and Mazak damage. Refitting the Scot body and pressing the front of the chassis into position, it too gave way.

It’s particularly frustrating as neither model has had any real use, just been stored appropriately. Whilst it’s Hornby’s responsibility, it’s not their fault, that failure lies with the contractor that supplied poor quality material chassis. They’re too old to get a refund, so now it’s time to try and get a replacement pair of chassis’, and revisit the project they were for. I’ll update with any news in due course.

Posted in accurascale, Airfix, Bachmann, blogger, brassmasters, British Rail, Cameo layout, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, Exhibition, golden valley, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Kalmbach, kr models, Layout, life, LMS, man cave, mancave, mazak, mazak rot, model, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Patriot, peco, product news, R2628, R2634, railway, Railway Modeller, Rapido Trains, reference, review, Royal Scot, scale, scale modelling, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Heaton Lodge Junction

Simon George’s epic 7mm scale project Is beginning to make waves in the mainstream media. About as far away from a shelf layout layout as you can get, and in a proper mancave of man caves, a warehouse basement!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9251581/And-stop-200ft-Man-recreates-rail-junction-Britains-biggest-model-railway.html

A self driven project, it shows what the passion for the hobby can achieve. The prospect of this helping to further the positive image of the hobby is inspiring.

Posted in accurascale, Airfix, Art, artist, Bachmann, blog, brassmasters, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eighties, Exhibition, feelgoodfriday, finescale, Great Western, Hattons, Heaton Lodge, heljan, hero, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, journey, justdoit, Kalmbach, Layout, life, man cave, mancave, media, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, national train show, news, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, product news, prototype, realism, research, scale, scale modelling, social media, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, train show, trainset, united kingdom | Leave a comment

It’s snowing!

Nottinghamshire in Winter
Posted in b&w, black and white, blog, Inspiration, iphoneography, journey, life, media, natural light, seasons, shades of grey, snow, travel | Leave a comment

Requiem For Steam

Requiem For Steam

A year or so back I took a look at Essential Witness and Transition by Jim Shaughnessy and Colin Gifford respectively. This week our ever genial postie tapped on the door and left this gem, Requiem For Steam. If you’ve read or bought either of the Shaughnessy/Gifford books and enjoyed them, this is another from that same rich vein of high quality monochrome inspiration.

Welch West Virginia

David Plowden has a passion for railroads and for capturing America as it ‘disappears’. The images in this book range from the 50’s through to some from the 1980’s. The few 80’s and 70’s pictures don’t show steam in action but depict infrastructure, lacking nothing in the context of the title. There are few 3/4 front images, and a whole range of subjects including locomotives, stock, people and the railroad in a wider context. The core areas covered are the mid west and up north easterly into Canada and Quebec. Printing of the images is outstanding, blacks are black, and white, white. The book features roughly 190 images with brief captioning adjacent to the relevant picture. At the back of the book there’s a section as with Shaughnessy’s of extended captions and thumbnails of the required pictures.

Requiem For Steam David Plowden

There’s plenty to be inspired by with this book, the picture of WelchWest Virginia above being one such image. Not only does the image ‘validate’ some of those coal country layouts that have featured in Model Railroader, steep wooded ravines with property cheek by jowl against the railroad, for me it was a light bulb moment. The curve of those hoppers immediately struck a chord with a UK location I’ve been thinking of modelling. The key difference however is the Uk sidings are straight, but this image has made me reconsider that alignment to perhaps a curve. The sweep of those coal cars has an appeal to it, that would potentially work on my Forest of Dean project. I didn’t think I’d find that inspiration for the mancave in this book, but it does illustrate how such quality images can inspire in unexpected ways.

This book fits in very well if you’re an enthusiast of Americana, History, Railroads and monochrome photography. What is evident is that Plowden has a deep affinity with the subject matter, and throughout the course of the journey, captures that with dramatic effect. This is well worth it’s place in my library, and if you like the works of Shaughnessy, Gifford, capturing moments of the past with authenticity, it’ll earn its place on your shelves easily.

Requiem For Steam

ISBN 978-0-393-07908-1

Posted in america, americana, Art, b&w, Bachmann, black and white, blog, book review, Cameo layout, canada, canadian national, canadian pacific, dapol, finescale, Hattons, heljan, history, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Industrial, Inspiration, journey, Kalmbach, Layout, library, life, man cave, mancave, media, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, monochrome, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, Photography, Rapido Trains, realism, reference, research, review, travel, Uncategorized, Union Pacific, usa | Leave a comment

21 First One In

Geoff Taylor
Arrival at Penmaenpool

A while back I looked at Space and how we use it, in particular looking at a Fremo layout I’d been invited to see. I really like the concept of joining layouts together for an operating session. Last year 2020 has obviously put paid to a large part of the social side of the hobby, and I suspect many of us didn’t realise just how big a part that played. In terms of the social element Geoff Taylor’s Cambrian layout above is one of those rare ‘system’ layouts for the Uk with several locations modelled, and to operate it Geoff when circumstances allow, invites fellow modellers and enthusiasts to visit and operate the layout.

Barmouth Junction
Barmouth Junction

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to see and take part in operating this layout. The first thing that strikes you on entering the location is the quality of the modelling, it is some of the best you’ll see. The layout is OO gauge with hand built pointwork and track, this immediately gives a natural flow and prototype feel to the locations modelled.

Dolgellau

The thing that I found particularly inspiring, was the layout is built in a relatively small space, but the choice of locations means the the trains travel a good distance before appearing again on the layout, or entering the three storage sections. This means some pretty good climbs with curves as well, hidden from view.

Dolgellau / Dolgelley

Geoff’s careful selection of the locations means that the essence of the Cambrian coast line has been pretty faithfully captured, and if you’ve seen images of the prototypes, you’re transported there, even before a trains appearance.

Penmaenpool

The line is worked to a timetable sequence, which gives the operators a real feeling of the line ‘working’ rather than running a procession of trains through a fixed location.

Penmaenpool
Penmaenpool

DCC powered, the operating protocol is to drive a train in the sequence to ‘your’ location, so whilst you know which train is arriving you don’t actually see it until it serves on scene. Signalling is done at each physical location, so there’s potential for a signalman and driver for each location. If it’s a non stop through train you can sit back and just enjoy the train in the scenery.

Penmaenpool

Not only does the scenery give a sense of time and place, but the stock does too, almost exclusively steam power firmly setting the layout into the late 50’s.

Penmaenpool Derby Lightweight

One of the side benefits of this type of layout system, is that it encompasses the positive social elements of our hobby. This allows the exchange of ideas, and information across the visitors, whom often have a wide variety of backgrounds, scales and interests in this engaging pastime.

Barmouth Junction

As we head into 2021, there’s hope on the horizon that later in the year the social side of the hobby may be able to look at holding events. I do wonder if a way forward to start isn’t going to be traditional shows, but meetings of small groups of friends in a similar manner to either Fremo meets, or as Geoff does with ‘Penmaenpool’. In discussion with a close friend we can envisage village halls and similar venues being booked by perhaps a small group of friends, and layouts being taken there just to ‘show’ amongst that group. The venues will be keen to get some trade back through the doors and a small hall is likely viable for a single day hire among five to fifteen people. From small acorns..

It’s a long way off yet, however when I look at the friendships that I’ve developed via the hobby, I do get a positive buzz that ‘we’ will see the pandemic through. Twenty One is likely to be a year of change, to start we’ll be kicking the Covid-19 can down the road ahead of us for a while yet, but sooner or later that tin can will get stuck underneath a hedge, and then, it’s up to us!

Penmaenpool

My thanks are to Geoff for allowing me to talk about his layout and illustrate this post using pictures from the operating sessions I’ve been fortunate enough to attend.

Posted in accurascale, Airfix, Bachmann, barmouth, barmouth junction, blogger, Branch Line, British Rail, cambrian, Cameo layout, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, dolgellau, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, free-mo, fremo, fremo module, friday flashback, Friends, Great Western, Hattons, heljan, history, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, Layout, LMS, LNER, man cave, mancave, Midland Region, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, new year, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, penmaenpool, prototype, railway, realism, research, scale, scale modelling, Scottish Region, shelfie, signalling, skill, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, track, train set, train show, trainset, Uncategorized, Wales, Western Region | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday, Back to the Future

Well this is certainly from the past, one of Albion Yards panniers drifts in to the yard with a typical coal train, quite a long while ago.. I can tell its one of the earlier images the warehouses are in the background, by the time the layouts career finished these were houses, and the foreground had changed from stone setts to a plain dirt top cover.

Without dwelling on 2020, there’s nothing wrong with looking at the past and taking motivation from it, I tend to do that quite a bit. This picture reminds me that there’s still steps forward to take for me at least, with the desire to do a Forest of Dean system layout with a couple of recognisable locations. That’s still the plan, possibly Fremo style, with a few shelfies thrown in along the way.

Into 21 then…

Posted in 2020, Airfix, Bachmann, black and white, blog, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, Forest of Dean, free-mo, fremo, fremo module, Great Western, Hattons, heljan, HO, hobbies, Hobby, Hornby, Inspiration, iphoneography, Layout, LED Lighting, life, light railway, man cave, mancave, Midland Region, model, model photography, Model Railroad, Model Railway, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, national train show, new year, O Gauge, o scale, OO, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, peco, railway, Railway Modeller, Rapido Trains, realism, research, scale, scale modelling, shelfie, shelfie1, shelfie2, shelfie3, throwback thursday, thursday theowback, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, train show, trainset, Uncategorized, Wales, Welsh Marches, Western Region | Leave a comment