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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It’s an unconventional title for an unconventional book.
Written and illustrated by Geoff Kent, (builder of the above scene), it takes a look at the everyday scene, with emphasis on capturing architecture, and signage and infrastructure that is gradually becoming rarer. This is one of the latest books from the Wild Swan stable.
Using images taken within the last five years or so, it takes the reader through signage, buildings, roads, railway and ephemera, from real life. By that I mean these are artefacts that are ‘out there’ now, rather than museum pieces. Captions are biased toward descriptive rather than technical, but loose nothing by taking that emphasis. Whilst the images are contemporary it doesn’t take much imagination to ‘backdate’ them, though for someone modelling ‘today’ they are equally valid in showing ‘heritage’ in a current setting. The core of the images are rural or ‘county town’, not only because that fits the authors interest, but also where much of this real life heritage can still be found. There’s almost certainly the potential for other volumes looking at cityscapes and urban areas too.
There’s no modelling images throughout the book, however that doesn’t detract from its value in any sense, but I think perhaps one or two could have helped demonstrate the value of recording these types of environment images. The value of images like this are particularly well demonstrated when you take a close look at Geoff’s layout ‘Black Lion Crossing’ featured in Model Railway Journal No.214, 269 and 270. Within those articles you can see a direct link between the images in Unconsidered Trifles, and the authors own models. Geoff also mentions artists within the subtext, and this is very relevant for those who are looking to capture those bygone days in other mediums, not just our modelling field.
A typical Wild Swan softback of 64 pages, to their well renowned print quality. For me it’s a good addition to the man cave library, it encourages you to open your eyes more to your own environment, and capture interesting features before they’re gone. The image that resonated with me? The Cyclists Touring Club sign. Brought back many treasured memories of my late father, and his images of cycle touring in the thirties and later.
Well, 2020! This should probably be a #throwbackthursday post, not just because it’s a Thursday, but if you actually caught 2020, you’d certainly want to throw it back..
2021 will have to go some to make it as memorable as 2020. It’s that time to say thank you again to you readers, for taking the time to stop by and spend some of your time reading the blog, and wish you the compliments of the season., and to make the best you can of it. As in past years I’d ask you to take some time and read the other writers blogs in the attached blog roll, there’s always some really good content there. Also most of my colleagues in the aviation sector have had a very tough year, not that we’re unique in that aspect by any means, least of all this year!
In past years I’ve put up a link to a YouTube vid that captures my imagination from the industry, and this years no different. It’s En Zed again at Queenstown with a B737-800 on approach. Pop a cold one and enjoy it.
A few weeks back I wrote on a Monday about these MDV’s, and the straightforward simplicity of the kits. Well as per the post above they all went together really easily, and once I’d finished them the force was strong, so I added two Parkside Mineral wagons to the batch too.
These are sometimes referred to as French 16 ton mineral wagons. They were built during the latter part of the Second World War for use in Europe, replacing damaged rolling stock. The also have ‘cupboard’ doors, and were challenging wagons to unload, as unsurprisingly once you’d opened the door…
In the earlier post I mentioned I was thinking of using a new technique (for me) in the painting of the MDV’s. The technique I’ve tried is using solid black as an undercoat, and I’m pleased with the out come.
For expediency I’ve used Halfords matt black and red primers. The entire wagon is painted black making masking the chassis pretty easy. Once done I use the red primer giving the wagons an overall coverage. The red primer isn’t sprayed to get paint into all the angles and panel lines, so it leaves an automatic pre shaded effect. Because the base colour is black you don’t get the tonal variations around panels that sometimes occurs with line pre shading. The final effect then just needed a gloss overcoat for transfers from Railtec and Cambridge Custom Transfers. Once these were added a final waft of a matt laquer and they’re ready for weathering.
So with seven wagons in the final stages of completion I find myself looking at a fast diorama style layout to use them on, despite Shelfie2 sitting there available . Why? Don’t know, but I do know that sort of positive momentum is incredibly valuable, and usually best acted on!