Wordless Wednesday (Shelfie2 08)

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Posted in 2017, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, brassmasters, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, DCC, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, Ian Futers, Industrial, Layout, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Photography, Rapido Trains, Scottish Region, shelfie, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Western Region, wordless wednesday | 2 Comments

 A Rapido Four Years..

Four years ago, this afternoon I was in the descent from a heavy snow shower from the Cat and Fiddle pass. I was on the way to see the Rapido rapidotrains UK launch, the-canadians-are-coming/  At that launch I asked why now?,  why the UK?

The answers were the straightforward responses that those whom had followed their progress in the Canadian and US market, would have expected. The UK because Jason Shron spent time at University in Birmingham and really likes English stuff, and secondly commercial circumstances allowed them to make an entry into the UK market, which four years back was just getting into its stride as far as multiple third party commissions go.  It also made sense to use their reputation for very high quality products in a new growing market than remaining in their core Canadian and US established market.

Four years on then, this coming weekend at Warley the Rapido influence will be in evidence on the stands of Model Rail, RevolutioN, Locomotion, Rails of Sheffield and Real Track. Four years, five separate commissioners over a variety of products. 

Quite a feat for a small Canadian based company, manufacturing product in China, supplying the British market, eh?

Posted in 2017, blog, British Rail, canada, DCC, dcc sound, Exhibition, finescale, Friends, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Inspiration, Layout, life, media, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, Ontario, OO Gauge, Rapido Trains, social media, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, True North, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday, Not! (Shelfie2 The State of the Nation Pt2)

So with the track down, wired, and working, point motors fitted, the track sub road bed was finally fixed to the chassis. The sharper of you will have noted that he’s not mentioned the fiddle yard or staging yet….


And that’s quite right, partly as I’ve not yet worked out how my fiddle yard will work. One thing I (probably) don’t want, is another baseboard with wasted space on it. I follow a few blogs and recently Rick de Candido has been writing about staging and storage yards on his fillmore avenue roundhouse blog. Iain Rice has also covered many types of fiddle yard variations in his writings and as you can see from the attached images, I’ve knocked together a ‘flying fiddle yard’ (or ‘stick’ more accurately), to give it a try. Firstly and simply it works. I do need a better support system for it and if you’re not looking you can forget its there and walk into it, ask my daughter, she knows! As the scenery structure is now well developed the staging is coming into a higher priority.

The layout is a big shelf 6ft x 18inches, and this will be a landscape cinematic type viewing experience or, a slot. The staging will need to support at least two trains, one for formation/break down and the other as a headshunt for normal operations. Lightweight options could be braced from the upper support of the lighting rig and fascia supports. This gives little room for stock storage though. As its only hoppers/minerals and small engines I don’t need a huge area, but perhaps some space for extra storage. One big downside is that with the display height of 55 inches for the track datum or thereabouts, the floor is a long way down for anything heading that way….

So the simple scenery structure build has taken place. This is building insulation foam with the fireproof cladding stripped off. This is done so that I can stick the layers together using a hot glue gun. PVA’s etc wont cure and simply absorb into the foam core. It does give a very easy structure which can be easily carved to get the overall outline required. I use an old hacksaw blade and a rough sandpaper to profile the contours. The idea evolved into a drift colliery collection point, similar to that at Parkend in the Forest of Dean. I wanted to make sure I was viewing and operating the layout from the right side, sounds odd, but go with the flow for a second!

I already knew that I wanted view blocking and an enhanced version or peering through trees to that which I tried on Albion Yard and to a lesser extent Shelfie1. I’m very mindful of the join from 3D to 2D backscene and disguising that as much as possible. Playing trains on the bare baseboard has helped that decision process, so what has the forest above and below got to do with it?

The tree armatures are Woodland Scenics, and using them has helped visualise the impact of setting this small yard in a woodland area. I really like the view from the siding rather than the loop side but this has two disadvantages. The embankment doesn’t help with the three link couplings combined with trees, a combination that’ll get me shot the first post beer Sunday morning from my fellow exhibition operating team, and less importantly the backscene will be too close to the loading dock in particular, to effectively make a transition from model to backdrop.

I’ve pretty much determined that the loop side view will be the most practical, I can still view block in the foreground, and the embankment has a natural amphitheatre backdrop that can join the backscene almost seamlessly. Entry and exit point is currently a bridge which needs further defining. I’m setting the layout in Northumberland, then local stone will be the natural material, so the Wills scenic texture sheets are sitting on the bench glaring at me! Today with further experiments with the trees I wonder if I can viewblock just using trees and avoiding the arguable cliché that an overbridge will bring with it.

The yard area has already been ballasted throwback-thursday-ballasting/, but now needed taking down to a run down industrial grimy look. Following Chris Nevard’s excellent technique, nevardmedia creating-effect-of-ash-ballast I’ve used DAS modelling clay to achieve a very convincing claggy backwoods mud effect.

The difference in the technique I made was to use a hair dryer to dry the surface, this then seems to allow the remaining moisture to wick to the upper surface. I did this two or three times and the clay had dried within two days. With the clay dry I painted the surface. This is done with Halfords spray paints, Matt black initially then followed by their grey undercoat. To give a further tonal variation Tamiya gunship grey was added before the rails were coloured with a mix of earth and NATO brown. The last image shows the basic black and grey toning and the subtle variations you can achieve with just three colours from spray cans, and prior to rail painting. The key to this for me is working quickly and not getting too bogged down in the detail, for example the track had only been painted because it had been recycled, had it not gone through the earlier iterations I’d have painted the track in its ‘raw’ state. Cleaning of the rail heads does take a bit of time and effort, I use Cellulose thinners on cotton buds which removes the layers instantly and pay particular attention around the point switch blades to ensure good electrical contact. When doing this make sure that the inner side of the railhead gets cleaned too, this significantly helping with power collection. Don’t forget to look at the layout from the height you’ll operate it at too, you’d be surprised at where paint gets, and more importantly doesn’t get! This then makes sure the running is of good quality, I find that for a week or so after the paint and clay application the rails need cleaning frequently, I assume that this is partly due to a sort of microclimate as the last vestiges of moisture are released from the clay and paint. It’s now about two weeks since the paint and clay and track cleaning is regular but not a pre running essential. On the subject of running, behind the 08 you can see some of the Hornby 21T LNER Dia100 hoppers. Lovely wagons but generally if my batch are anything to go by, appalling runners. I’ve worked out a quick fix for them which I’ll cover in a separate post soon.

So that’s almost where we are then, and another blog post. But why Wordless Wednesday? its a simple ironic demonstration for a simpler forum person, who believes the world of the internet revolves around forum grazers. Apparently us bloggers are in the wilderness, a quick look at the fellow wanderers on the blog roll on the right hand side, finds at least two with 1.3 million hits. Clearly it can be a bit ‘busy’ out here, and whilst you’re trudging through the wilds, do take a look at the other blogs on the right, they are there for a reason.

They’re good.

Posted in 2017, Bachmann, blog, blogger, blogging, Branch Line, brassmasters, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, Chris Nevard, critic, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Eighties, Exhibition, finescale, flying scotsman, Forest of Dean, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, humour, iain rice, Ian Futers, Industrial, Inspiration, Interweb, irony, Kalmbach, Layout, life, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Rapido Trains, research, Scottish Region, shelfie, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Wales, Western Region, wordless wednesday | 4 Comments

Shelfie2 The State of the Nation Pt1

A while back I had an idea, make a new layout! I wanted it to be a bit different from what I’ve built before, not really having made anything for passenger services. I’ve always been captured by some of Iain Futers three turnout layouts. I find them fascinating to watch and I really like Iains modelling style, so part of the idea was to capture that engagement. I’d got a board that was kicking around and had track fixed to it with a footprint of 6ft x 18inches which was a good starter for me. You can see the board below track painted, wired and working ready for fixing to a baseboard chassis.

You can read and see the back story behind the development of that urban idea here southern-nouveau-2/, it got to quite an advanced stage, including the fitting of the third rail. It ran well, it has to that’s something I’m really picky about. I spend a few weeks or consecutive days just operating the track and electrics before adding any scenery or paint, including types of locomotives and rolling stock that will never work on the layout, to ensure that its reliable. The Southern project finally fell on its sword around the time I was mocking up the buildings and infrastructure, for one good reason:


This just doesn’t look like an Southern Region station. There were hardly any island platform Southern Electric termini, and however much effort I put into it, I’d always know it was ‘wrong’. It wasn’t just adding the Great Central buildings to get a sense of building volume, but they certainly accentuated it, and got me thinking about a Great Central line that might fit the bill. There’s nothing wrong with freelancing and making something that never existed, but that’s not for me. The North American description of ‘Prototype Freelancing’ is my sort of modelling, building something heavily influenced by the prototype, or having enough recognisable features that the viewer relates it to a region/company or location easily. So we got to the second iteration,  when-youre-digging-a-hole/ Now this immediately worked better as a reasonable back history and a prototype likeness that worked, the Quorn Station building models here helping. Removing and backfilling the third rail pots was a pain in the bum, but at least I know how to fit it for the future. The layout still wasn’t ‘working’ for me though and I realised that I didn’t actually enjoy operating the layout in its configuration. I can watch a Futers layout at a show for ages, but ‘driving’ one wasn’t working for me. So something drastic had to change.

I like ‘Off the Beaten Track’, as do a good few friends of mine so I went native, and back to those core interest areas. Whilst I’m more of a builder than operator I do like a layout to actually draw you in as an operator. Shelfie scored on this counter because it had a run round, so the simple addition of a loop would give that play value instantly. Family time had been spent in Northumberland and I’d followed the old branch to Whittle Colliery a small drift mine to the south of Amble. My late father in law had once arranged me to spend a Saturday morning shift (different times!) going down to the coal face. The line was steeply graded and in latter days worked by J94’s and 08’s. So that combination and hoppers, what’s not to like? With the chassis already existing it was a relatively simple task to convert the platform line from the urban idea to a loop. This was done with the addition of a Y point and slewing the track to remove the linear alignment, see the picture above. I also wanted to add some additional stock storage so the platform kick back turnout was reversed to give myself another short siding suitable for a couple of 08’s or brake vans.

With that done it was time for the testing phase prior to getting stuck into the scenery and ballasting, more of that later.

Finally on this day of days, for those of you who read this whom have served, thank you.

Posted in 2017, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, brassmasters, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, flanders, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, Ian Futers, Industrial, Inspiration, Layout, life, LMS, LNER, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Rapido Trains, remember, remembrance, Scottish Region, shelfie, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, the great war, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, wagon, Western Region, world war one, world war two | 9 Comments

Wordless Wednesday (Parkside, Shades of Grey)

Posted in 2017, blog, Branch Line, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, Ian Futers, iphone, Layout, LMS, LNER, magazine, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Railex, research, review, Scottish Region, shades of grey, social media, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, wagon, Wales, Western Region, wordless wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

XTC Throwback Thursday

A few Thursdays back I posted this on the Albion Yard Facebook page which likely seemed bit left field even for regular readers of the blog, so why has it and other XTC references appeared?

Well, earlier in the year I had a chat with Alan Buttler from modelu who mentioned that he’d been commissioned to scan a 1970’s pop band for a forthcoming documentary, and would I be interested in colouring them in? The short answer was ‘yes’ and in due course the figures arrived.

I’d got five sets to do, and to be painted to get as close as possible to the scans that Alan had taken of the band. Two each playing instruments, (in case of breakage) one each left/right foot forward and one standing. The figures were required in 4mm scale so that made them a bit easier as it was a scale we’re both used to working in.

We knew the figures were to be used in the filming of the documentary, but not in what context. The images are iPhone images as the task was very much to be kept low key so no work in progress images were taken. One figure required a rework by Alan and that late change kept us up to a deadline, meaning a hand delivery at a service station a day or to before filming.

The filming went well and as a thank you Charlie Thomas ( huge XTC fan) from specialtreats, invited us to the preview showing of the programme in Soho in London.

This was the opening screen that  met us, and we both were thinking we recognise that building, and then the penny dropped, this is a signal box on Pendon Museum’ s Vale scene. That came as a surprise, but not quite as much as the rest of the programme provided. The figures have been used throughout the documentary, we thought we’d get thirty seconds or so, but throughout the seventy minute show the figures appear, as does the Museum at Pendon. After the showing it was very pleasing to be asked about the figures and their production by both band members and the TV company staff who thought both Pendon and the figures/modelmaking were intriguing and interesting.

The bands story is told through the programme and whilst they weren’t a band I was particularly interested in at the time, the narrative subsequently had me listening to tracks by them that I’d missed at the time and in the intervening years. I was pleasantly surprised If you’re a fan of the band and their genre there’s also a contemporary band worth seeking out, Fassine who’s influences include XTC.

So there you are, this Saturday, Sky Arts at 9PM, it’ll make a change to see a good British Swindon band, up against X factor and Strictly, if you’ve had enough sob stories, tantrums and sequins, you know what to do….

http://www.radiotime…tc-this-is-pop

Posted in 2017, 3d, 3d printing, apple, Bachmann, blog, blogging, British Rail, Cameo, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Eighties, EM, Exhibition, film, finescale, flying scotsman, Friends, Great Western, hero, history, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Inspiration, Interweb, iphone, Layout, life, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, music, n gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, Old school, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Photography, research, review, Sky, Sky arts, social media, Southern Region, Swindon, television, throwback thursday, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Western Region, Xtc | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday XTC

Posted in 2017, 3d, 3d printing, Bachmann, blog, blogger, Branch Line, Cameo, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, DVD, Eighties, film, finescale, Friends, Great Western, hero, history, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Inspiration, life, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, music, n gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, paint, Photography, Rapido Trains, Scottish Region, skill, skillset, Sky, Sky arts, social media, Southern Region, television, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Western Region, wordless wednesday, Xtc | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment