14xx Frustration..

There’s a bit of an Irish answer kicking round with this one, in that if you want to finish up with a good chassis, I wouldn’t be starting from here. When buying a model for use, my primary concern is that it runs well, cosmetic and detail variations I can attend to relatively easily, but the core function is the model has to move, and move smoothly throughout it’s realistic speed ranges.

DJM Hattons 14xx H1410

Having test run the Hattons/DJM 58xx above, I wasn’t over enthused with it. In original spec the coupling rods were way to large and moved around the crankpin, with an elliptical motion that was clearly visible.

DJM Hattons 14xx H1410
Original Rods vs Alan Gibson 4M75 fitted replacement

One thing I felt worth tackling was the coupling rods, and bought a set of Alan Gibson rods (4M75) to try out. Part of the running trials indicated that running on downhill grades the mechanism had a tendency to bind or lock. This occurs when there is either a load pushing or pulling the locomotive. I took a small bit of video of mine in action on a Woodland Scenics 3% gradient.  DJMhattonsincline.14xx All main testing has been done with a Gaugemaster ‘W’ controller in DC. The binding and cogging still occurs in DCC mode having briefly tried it.

I’ve been working on the ‘big’ plan again and one ruse to extend running time between locations I’m considering is an external track behind the scenery. To maximise this and minimise the visual appearance I’m hoping to drop the track level and hide the extra mileage at the back of scenic sections. To do this, models have to be able to climb and descend gradients reliably, hence getting the Woodland Scenics ramps to try them out. Well as you can see in the filum the chassis binds when any load is applied when descending. As the J94 does the same, ( DJMJ94 chassisprob ), I’ve tried six of them, there must be an issue within the gear train assembly or design, or both. This effect happens with a load ‘pushing’ downhill, as well as in front of the engine, ‘pulling’ it downhill.

DJM Hattons 14xx H1410
Square axle stub

 

Intriguingly the chassis doesn’t bind when decoupled from the body and is freewheeling with either original rods on or off. DJMhattonsrodless14 The first job was to contact Colin at Alan Gibson alangibson to get a set of 4M75 coupling rods suitable for a 14xx, and solder them together. They arrived promptly and I assembled both pairs and reamed out the crankpin holes to fit. Well, sort of. I did one and took too big a bite clearing the second hole and bent the rod. The second job was to contact Colin at Alan Gibson alangibson to get a set of 4M75 coupling rods suitable for a 14xx, and solder them together. They arrived promptly and I assembled both pairs and reamed out the crankpin holes to fit. Lesson learnt! The chassis as delivered has a significant amount of play in the coupling rods, this leads to one axle moving independently of the other if the crankpin holes are not aligned to give a perfect ‘drive’. This is noticeable and sometimes when stationary means the rods aren’t parallel which looks, and is, wrong. With the chassis free running my hope was that fitting the Gibson rods would remove the slack in the rods and drive train. It did, but resulted in the gear train binding. There are clearly points where the gear train will interfere with each other without significant lateral movement on the crank pin. This is poor quality engineering if the gear train jams when fitted with correct, properly fitted coupling rods. The quartering is fixed on these, there is a ‘Romford’ type stub axle fitting which means that unless you are deliberately trying to force the wheels into an incorrect position, they will quarter correctly and accurately. The gear train is clearly part of the drive problem so the logical move is to remove part of the gear train and let the rods drive the unpowered axle in a conventional style. This was the next step which meant quite a bit of disassembly, this model isn’t designed to be maintained in a cost effective manner.

Wot I dun to fit the Gibson rods.
Undo the vac pipes which clip into the buffer beam at each end.
Break the glue fixing of the injector pipes at bottom of cab steps.
Twist and remove front sanding pipes.
Undo three screws, one either end of chassis behind drawbar and one in centre underneath the cab.
You can now pull the body away from the chassis, caution, it is still connected by the motor wires. (Hint) Easier to unsolder them now. Leave the body upside down so you don’t break the rear sandbox pipes.

Remove coupling rods, fixed with hexagonal head screws.
Lever off the baseplate using small screwdriver, its held on by six clips, two either end of the chassis, and two behind the centre drivers.
Remove wheel from leading axle. Using a flat cross section ‘tool’ gently lever the front wheel off from the axle. This gives you access to the screw at the front of the chassis which is otherwise inaccessible due to the wheel….
Undo the three side screws and gently lever the chassis apart. There will just be enough room to remove the second from front free running gear wheel. (If there isn’t remove or loosen the centre drive axle wheel). Removing this gear will leave the front axle independent of the drive train. Caution, check all the remaining gear train has re-seated in their axle drive holes as you push the chassis back to reassemble it. Make sure you quarter the front drive wheel to the centre axle on reassembly.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

Fit coupling rods and check chassis is free running with no binding If there is, just open the crankpin holes with a reamer to get a little extra clearance. Once the chassis is running sweetly, fit the rod retaining nuts. Note there is still a large amount on clearance on the crankpin due to their length, I may try and get some washers turned to minimise this, I’ve not yet checked viability of shortening the existing pins.
Re-solder chassis to motor wires and fit chassis to body including three screws to hold motor and body so gears/worm will engage.

Caution ( ask me how I know…), its easy to get a motor wire entangled with the worm leading you to think a wire is adrift or motor has failed, gearbox jammed, all of which you can’t see. If the chassis runs refit the vac pipes and sanding pipes.

Million dollar question, ‘Does it run any better without the cogging?’ In short, no. It does have a very slight improvement in the running and certainly in the appearance, but it doesn’t solve the bind or cogging descending a gradient under load. This means that if you have gradients unless you opt for a full replacement chassis this binding will continue. For me, this points to an incompatibility in the worm gear to tower gear drive components. What that means for the longevity of the chassis components and motors is anyone’s guess, but its not likely to be positive. The next model for release with this type of geartrain is Kernows 13xx family, and inspection of an EP at Stevenage this year showed a slotted crankpin hole in the coupling rods. I hope they don’t have the same problems if using the same style drivetrain.

It’s interesting that online comments and videos indicate no problem with the chassis on gradients under load, but apart from mine above, there are no comments or tests of this model (to date) under load, coming downhill. I find that odd, and to get a sweet running chassis in all modes of operation, I’m convinced this design isn’t where I’d be starting from…

woodlandscenicsSET/page/1

 

Posted in 2017, Airfix, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, djm, Eastern Region, EM, finescale, flying scotsman, Forest of Dean, Great Western, H1410, Hattons, hobbies, Hornby, Layout, life, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Nevard, New Radnor, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Railex, research, review, Scottish Region, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Wales, Western Region | 13 Comments

Hattons DJM 14xx Review H1410

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412
H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

It’s early 2017 and on the desk in front of me is the Hattons/DJM 14xx model. It’s almost a year late from original estimated delivery. Not that that’s an issue, no one dies or died because of it, as far as we know. Late 2014 Hattons announced the project to cover 14xx/48xx/58xx version of the prototype, the one I have here is H1410 58xx 5819 in plain early British Rail black. The announcement included the following paragraph

‘Our new, highly detailed model will be designed and produced in partnership with DJ Models and will set new standards for a ready-to-run small locomotive with levels of detail only previously seen on high quality brass locomotives.’

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
 H1410

For my Forest of Dean (FoD) Project one or two could be useful, they weren’t seen as numerous or particularly regular locomotives in the areas and era I’m interested in, but there were two engines to catch my eye, so I’ve got one here to see if it will work for what I want to do with it. The locomotive immediately looks ‘good’. The packaging is effective, the engine cradled in a vacuum formed tray surrounded by dense foam in a strong cardboard outer box. Very similar to some of the Heljan packaging. The paint finish looked good no obvious blemishes the detail pack was included, with a well illustrated set of instructions, and illustrated parts diagram. Within the paperwork theres no prototype information, it would be nice to have even in a very basic format such as provided by Hornby and Bachmann. No components had fallen or were falling off, and a cursory test on ‘Shelfie’ and rollers proved the locomotive ran reasonably straight out of the box. So happy with the basic check, it was deeper into the mancave for a more detailed look.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

Does it meet the original public customer brief outlined above? For a simple answer, yes and no. As with the DJM fanfare for the J94, reviewed here (j94 ), does it set new standards? No I don’t think it does, unfortunately there’s nothing across the model that I think of as a ‘new standard’, does it set a benchmark (rather than standard) for levels of detail? In one or two areas yes it does, a quick list, separate tank top lift rings, opening cab doors,  whistles and whistle guard,  smokebox door dart, smokebox steam lance fitting, pipework and conduits across the model, and bunker lamp irons, are the sort of small detail captured incredibly well on this model. Looking to the cab interior that too is very well detailed, both the backhead and the front of the rear cab bulkhead, opening cab doors and it’d be great to see similar features regularly across other manufacturers ranges. With daylight underneath the boiler a representation of the inside motion between the chassis frames is visible and far more effective than the filler plate provided for the DJM J94.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412
H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Rear cab windows and their associated protecting bars are well captured, allowing good transparency and light in to the cab. The boiler fittings chimney and dome are for me, ‘not quite there’. The chimney particularly where the base flare meets the vertical stack is too clearly defined, it should be much more subtle, conversely where the dome meets the boiler, the join is too subtle with the dome seamlessly transitioning into the boiler. There is a significant variation on the prototype on how visible this join is, on some engines it is visible but virtually seamless, on others it is very apparent, particularly above the boiler band strap which sits beneath it. Undoubtedly a factor of the panel beaters trade! The dome itself looks to be about 1mm too high perhaps accentuated by the lack of the seam line around the base. The boiler band strap is also missing on this model to represent this join between dome and boiler one of the tasks I’ll consider is adding the missing boiler band with a lining decal, and scribing the missing seam line, or perhaps using an Archers weld line decal to show the join line. The mould line for the boiler runs top center along its length and on this example almost invisible.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

The cab front plate has a couple of small mystery holes at the bottom near the whistle guard, none of the images I’ve got access to show these holes, on any of the three classes in the Hattons range, a simple dab of paint will fill those. The front cab windows are slightly too square at the corners and should have a more rounded corner. The front of the cab is double skinned the backhead and faceplate being separate to the cab front. This gives a thick appearance to the front of the cab and window section, and for me will mean that I do some work here to ‘thin’ the cab front plate.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1410

Whilst on the cab the locomotive number plates are etched and recessed into the cab side. This gives them an incorrect flush appearance, as I’m changing the locomotive identity anyway I’ll either remove them of just overlay them with appropriate plates. The Hattons cab plates are just covered by a Modelmasters plate so if you’re changing the identity of yours I don’t foresee any problems. It’s an element of the design I don’t like, the Great Western plates were noticeable, standing proud of the cab sides and this feature removes that. The model is fitted with sprung buffers, unfortunately the springs within them are far too stiff, for me, who actually makes use of the sprung buffers this is frustrating, and makes them ‘worthless’ as an operating feature.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

It has a fully geared chassis similar to previous DJM design releases where the gear train provides drive to the axles and the coupling rods are cosmetic. I’ve tried the locomotive with both DC and DCC. On the flat it runs tolerably well but not as good as other recent releases J50/USA/Peckett, this doesn’t mean it’s a bad runner, just not as good. For shunting the locomotive doesn’t exhibit the same finesse of control that the previously mentioned examples have, occaisionally exhibiting a ‘cogging’ movement. In reverse the locomotive exhibits a slight jolt as it strikes the frog on a Electrofrog Peco Code75 curved turnout, the back to backs appear good so I’m left wondering if this is a wheel profile thing, the J94 also did the same, and only with that particular curved turnout. No other RTR stock or finescale wheel set shows the same problem. The DCC control test was performed with an NCE Powercab and Gaugemaster DCC28 decoder. With the decoder fitted the running at low speed is good with no cogging evident, as it transitions from low to medium speed there is a rapid acceleration. As this doesn’t occur in DC my feeling is that it requires the CV’s adjusted to match the decoder, as I don’t use DCC as a rule this fine tuning adjustment is outside my scope of interest, for DC the running is good but not excellent.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1410

Fitting the decoder is relatively simple. The smokebox door is removed and the decoder board pulled forward. It takes a six pin decoder, but take care when pushing the decoder back into the boiler. There’s limited space and one of the wires came adrift on mine which took a bit of searching to resolve the problem as it was so difficult to see.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx Cab Internals

Sound can be fitted, there’s space and wires inside the bunker to fit a small speaker which is a nice touch. Having recently fitted a Loksound micro into a 64xx, I’m not convinced there’s enough room in the boiler space without a bit of work to fit with this model. Other decoders may of course fit without a problem, there no recommendation in the instruction for a particular type, which would perhaps have been useful.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

Visually the chassis is a mix of good and not so good. Like the J94 there are cross head screws that are visible in the side of the chassis. Probably not a deal breaker for most but as my layouts are set at a track height of about 50 inches, this is noticeable on my type of layout. That also leads to the brakegear which is incomplete, the pull rods should run the length of the locomotive and finish underneath the cab, on this model they end behind the second set of driving wheels. This also highlights the lack of the ashpan which hangs between the rear drivers and rear pony truck so the profile of the chassis is too regular and this is quite a noticeable feature. Both of these omissions are quick and easy fixes, for the likes of the cottage industry detail trade perhaps some low hanging fruit for a detail and improvement etch.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

At start using DC (Gaugemaster ‘W’), depending on where the coupling rods are sitting you can see the drive axle (centre) rotate a fraction before the leading axle. In DCC the rotation isn’t apparent, they both move simultaneously, very odd. The coupling rods have significant slop around the crankpin, exactly what we’re told to avoid as chassis builders, there’s also significant lateral movement on all three axles. One of the benefits of this type of geared chassis is reported to be improved running, so far that claim doesn’t match my traditional kit built or RTR chassis using a ‘simple’ single axle driven gear. None of the axles has any vertical movement. On ‘Shelfie’ my Cameo layout, the fiddle yard in its current configuration hangs at an incline of 2 degrees. There is an almost imperceptible dip in the track on the fiddle yard, on the downhill direction at low speed the model shows a tendency to bind at one particular point. The track is Streamline CD75 and I feel it’s likely to be a motor/drive train peculiarity. The chassis when disconnected from the body and motor gear worm, will freewheel though this same section unhindered. If a locomotive has no vertical movement at all and limited weight this simple dip can cause wheel spin as the model passes through the gradient transition, this occurs with this engine, when pushing five normal Bachmann 14T tank wagons. It also occurred with the Oxford Adams Radial prior to the front bogie modification they subsequently made.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412
H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

More weight will likely resolve this issue, without the speaker fitted in the bunker I may well add a bit in there. As far as the running goes I’m wondering if the rods are improved, and side play reduced, if the low end running will respond accordingly. The crankpins seem over length to me even allowing this is to run on second radius curves, with both lateral axle movement and fore and aft movement of the rods then I think some of the running qualities have potentially been compromised. Looking closely at the coupling rods they are painted silver, Larry Goddard has improved his by dipping them in cellulose thinners to remove the paint, and following his example I’ve done the same. The reason for the coupling rod slop is apparent as soon as you remove the crankpins and washer, the rods have oval crank pin holes. Prior to finding this I thought there may be the opportunity to improve the rod fit by bushing and re drilling them. This clearly won’t work easily so I may try a set of Gibson 4M75 coupling rods to see if they improve things. Again bear in mind the running isn’t poor, just not as good as I personally want or expect from contemporary releases.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

With an interest in EM I had a look at the practicality of a conversion. The first thing that jars is the driving wheel size, just over 1mm too large in diameter and the bogie wheel about 0.5mm too large as well. The overlarge driving wheel gives rise to a slightly enlarged front splasher too. They are all in proportion to one another so it doesn’t shout out that they’re oversize except for when you start coupling stock which has a correct running height. As a three link user this is annoying but I can live with it for the time being. The split chassis design and gear train means that a straightforward wheel swap isn’t an option, perhaps the easiest route being a High Level chassis substitution, which will resolve the excess diameter wheel problem and give suspension too.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
Motor installation looking forwards

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx
Motor installation looking rearwards

The existing chassis is hardwired to the motor leads meaning that taking the model apart for maintenance is challenging. In the event of a motor failure the chassis will need to be removed. On this model the rear injector pipes are glued from the chassis to the footsteps meaning cutting them or as I did breaking them away from the rear steps. The vacuum pipes need disconnecting at the buffer beams, and the front sandpipes need to be twisted clear of the front brake hangers to allow the chassis to be removed. The fixing is one screw each end of the loco underneath the NEM coupling socket, and one between the central sandboxes. The chassis will then come away from the body and the leads will need to be unsoldered to allow any further work.

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx H1401 H1402 H1403 H1404 H1405 H1406 H1407 H1408 H1409 H1410 H1411 H1412 H1413 H1414 H1415 H1416

Hattons 14xx 48 xx 58xx

So what do I make of it overall? It’s a bit of a curate’s egg for me, there are some really good bits and others where I’m left thinking, why? It captures the look and character of the prototype, the detailing and decoration are very good, as is the fit of components. The fit of the cab roof and how it separates is exceptional the join lines being invisible, far better than the Bachmann 64xx. The nameplates being recessed for me isn’t a big issue, a very simple fix with aftermarket sets. The short brake gear and lack of ashpan is frustrating but like the cab plates fixable with little effort. The wheel diameter oversize is just odd, no logical reason I can think of unless it’s a drive train/gear size requirement. And the impracticality of doing maintenance is just frustrating. It leaves me feeling a little deflated, it’s better than the J94 from the same design stable, but the overall performance not as good as the Hornby Peckett for example. We should recognise a small 0-4-2T is always going to present challenges to a manufacturer, particularly getting weight and traction down effectively and to be cost effective to produce. Hattons/DJM have managed it to a degree, overall it looks excellent and performs well, certainly for most of the market it’s aimed at. But it’s still not lighting any fires here. For me that reason lies within the chassis and drivetrain, it’s just not as effective as it should be.

Would I get another one? I don’t know.

If I could get a body and fit the High Level chassis, undoubtedly yes, I would…

www.hattons.co.uk_H1410

Gaugemaster+DCC28

http://highlevelkits.co.uk/

Posted in 2017, Airfix, Bachmann, blog, Branch Line, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, DCC, dcc sound, djm, Eastern Region, EM, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, H1410, Hattons, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Layout, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, New Radnor, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, research, review, Scottish Region, shelfie, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Ultrascale, Uncategorized, Wales, Welsh Marches, Western Region | 15 Comments

Eighties Body Snatcher Throwback

Ok mullet wearers, here’s a poptastic 80’s child for you. It’s an Airfix 14xx body with a Perceverance chassis underneath. Made in the era of Kylie, wads of yuppie cash, XR3i’s and mobile Motorola phones the size of house bricks for the upwardly mobile, it’s one of my early chassis efforts and I’m still pretty pleased with it.

It was my first compensated chassis, in EM gauge and like the Craftsman 02 I’m currently working on, of it’s time. Power is provided by a Portescap motor and gearbox, driving Ultrascale wheels. The build was straightforward and simple, the design giving beam compensation onto the rear axle, pickup collection provided by phosphor bronze wire bearing on the rear of the drivers. It was a valuable learning experience, getting wheels quartered, the horn blocks aligned and working smoothly with the adjustments needed to find the perfect ‘sit’ of the chassis to make optimal use of the compensation.

The body has had quite a makeover, new chimney, dome, smoke box door, backhead, and Autotrailer gear, all from the Riceworks range. Unfortunately with the closure of  Mainly Trains these components may no longer be available. I think London Road models may have some of Rice’s though.

Looking at the model today I can see areas where I could improve my efforts, I’ve got far better at working plastic and metal together, see the Bachmann/Brassmasters Jinty above. The 14xx’s dome and chimney could do with re-seating and the top feed pipes reworked for a start. In the next day or do a Hattons 58xx will arrive, for conversion to a  Forest of Dean 14xx, and it will be intriguing to see how the pair, my 14xx and Hattons model, stand back to back. Hopefully, with initial overviews at Hattons a week or so ago giving me some confidence, my next 14xx will be plug and play with just a number change and minor detail variations to attend to.

So as I wave goodbye to my daughter off to martial arts I wonder where the time has gone! The 14xx is nearly twice her age. I’ve photographed the locomotive, edited the picture, and written, edited and posted this piece from my phone, to her that’s ‘meh’, to us is it ‘meh’ yet, or still something to measure how far we’ve come?

On that note I’ll leave you with thoughts of Kylie, PWL, yuppies, and Guards Red 911’s.

 

Mostly Kylie though…

 

Posted in 2017, Airfix, Bachmann, blog, brassmasters, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Eighties, EM, Exhibition, finescale, flying scotsman, Forest of Dean, Great Western, history, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, iphone, Kalmbach, life, LMS, LNER, magazine, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Nevard, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Rapido Trains, shelfie, skill, skillset, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Ultrascale, wagon, Western Region | 6 Comments

Notes from Olympia 2 (Toy Fair 2017)

img_0553
Further notes from the 2017 Toy Fair. Returning to the Oxford stand the Golden Valley 0-6-0 Janus Diesel shunter was available to view in painted format. Bear in mind these models have been handled by production teams as well as visitors so they get a fair bit of handling, hence the missing buffer on this example. Release date is very close on this, with it likely to nudge into the second quarter. Two of the seven plank private owner wagons, accompanying this loco’s liveries were also on show.

img_0555
Three livery versions of the carflat were displayed, the BR blue looked a little on the light shade. Weathered examples looks like an overspray, rather than some of the more complex printing styles that Bachmann have recently introduced. Release anticipated in the second quarter retailing at £29.95.

img_0556

img_0558
MK3 samples were shown in InterCity swallow liveries. The paint samples looked very good, opaque and clear legible printing with clearly defined edges. The colours looked about right as I recall seeing them. New liveries announced include Scotrail, Stobart Pullman and Virgin Trains West Coast livery. The internal lighting showed no evidence of flicker, pick up is through the bogies and electronics within each coach ‘smooth’ the current to minimise any flickering. Colour of lighting and glazing looked correctly subdued as did the internal detail. All types retail at £34.95
Livery delivery expectations as follows.
BR Blue Grey, FO/TSO expected second quarter, RUB fourth quarter.
Intercity Swallow, FO/TSO expected second quarter, RFM third quarter.
Scotrail, FO/TSO/CO third quarter.
Virgin West Coast, FO/TSO/RFM third quarter.
Stobart Pullman, FO fourth quarter.

img_0561
Apologies for camera shake on this one! The Dean Good is released with a snowplough as part of the standard range and will be available with DCC sound fitted. Final design of snowplough fitting to the locomotive is yet to take place with discussion yesterday on the possibility of using the NEM socket as part of that assembly, allowing a purchaser to use the locomotive as normal roster stock without the plough. Snowplough fitted are expected third quarter, in time for the Daily Express to warn us of the coldest/hottest winter to come, ever!

img_0563
The seven plank will get several new liveries including a re-run of the Weymouth CO-OP livery (numbered 9). The model has sold exceptionally well, and there are Coke variants for 2017, with two rails added as per the image. Body and chassis details remain as previous issues. New liveries/numbers also for the LNER 6 plank, 4 plank and LNER/NE cattle wagon. I didn’t look to see if any tooling changes had taken place on the cattle wagon, however none were mentioned.

tp1

toadh2

toadh3

toadh1

Hornby had examples of the EP’s shown at Warley, the GWR/WR Toad being of particular interest for me. The stand was very busy throughout the day, but as at Warley the current team is definitely very interested in the product and its development. Last year Airfix were proposing a see through/cut away Q6 locomotive in their engineers range. Apparently this model is not in current plans to be produced. Bachmann with their expanded portfolio of companies were there too, but with no additional products from those announced earlier in the month. It was interesting to see that with the audience of Toy shop buyers who naturally go there, that the Bachmann range has potentially had a wider exposure to buyers from the high street who may not normally come across the product. It was an interesting day out and thank you to those trade representatives who tokk the time out of their day to talk about their products and plans, it was much appreciated.

_B6O4719.CR2

Posted in 2017, Bachmann, blogger, Branch Line, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Layout, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, oxford, Oxford rail, Scottish Region, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, wagon, Western Region | 7 Comments

Notes from Olympia 1 (Toy Fair 2017)

Oxford Rail N7 OR76N7001/XS OR76N7002/XS OR76N7003/XS

Oxford Rail N7
OR76N7001/XS OR76N7002/XS OR76N7003/XS

Today (24/02/2017) Oxford Rail announced a package of new products, of approximately 170 new items, 64 of them were rail related items. Of note for me were four items in particular, the GER/LNER/BR N7 0-6-2T, the BR GLW 35T A and B tanks, ‘Warwell’ tank transporting wagons and the GWR/BR AA3 short wheel base Toad brake van.
The N7 is expected 4th quarter 2017 and will be available in DC at £109.95 and DCC sound fitted at £219.95. Three liveries are being produced initially Great Eastern, LNER and early British Rail. The class had a number of variations through its career, with round top and Belpaire boilers, condensing equipment fitted to some, and variations in side cab window size/shape/position and bunker steps/rails as four varieties off the top of my head. Oxford have identified eight significant variations of the type and currently are proposing to include five variations in due course. With these different versions, the tooling is being designed and made to accommodate different detail mixes at the outset. The motor will be of a five pole type rather than coreless.

Oxford Rail GLW 35T Tank Wagon

Oxford Rail GLW 35T Tank Wagon


The GLW 35T tank wagon makes its appearance in Oxford’s range with original and revised suspension designs catered for in both ‘A’ and ‘B’ tank versions. Delivery is expected 3rd Quarter with a retail price of £19.95, this price bringing them in below Heljans prices for the same vehicle. When asked about the duplication the response was that this model had always been in the long term plan for the range, hence the go-ahead.

Oxford Rail Warwell OR76WW001 OR76WW002 OR76WW002W OR76WW003 OR76WW004 OR76WW006 OR76WW009 OR76WW0010

Oxford Rail Warwell
OR76WW001 OR76WW002 OR76WW002W OR76WW003 OR76WW004 OR76WW006 OR76WW009 OR76WW0010


Warwells join the range, based on the 1942 design. These will cover the original as built version, modified version in BR era liveries, and the more recent MOD rebuilt version. First deliveries are anticipated in 2nd quarter with a price of £29.95 per wagon. Some will be available loaded and there are bulk packs of three also projected. The EP’s looked crisply molded, and will come supplied with tie down chains as seen above.

Oxford Rail Warwell OR76WW001 OR76WW002 OR76WW002W OR76WW003 OR76WW004 OR76WW006 OR76WW009 OR76WW0010

Oxford Rail Warwell
OR76WW001 OR76WW002 OR76WW002W OR76WW003 OR76WW004 OR76WW006 OR76WW009 OR76WW0010

Last but not least is the short wheelbase Dia AA3 GWR brake van. Four varieties are being produced two of each in GWR and BR liveries. One GWR version is offered in fully planked sides and the other three depict the plated veranda and bottom side/end version. Great Western liveries are for Acton and Paddington, BR liveries, Basingstoke and Bala.

Of the totally new products the Warwells were the only hard copies available to view, the other items still being in development. For the contemporary modeller there is also a Land Rover Road Rail Defender 90 to be released in BR, Railtrack and Network Rail liveries. This is an unmotorised model, so there’s a challenge for someone!

_B6O4719.CR2

Posted in 2017, Airfix, Bachmann, blogger, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, finescale, flying scotsman, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, life, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale | 3 Comments

Creating Cameo Layouts (Iain Rice / Wild Swan Books)

Iain Rice is well known for his many books and articles on layout design, and railway modelling across a wide range of subject matter. ‘Creating Cameo Layouts’ is the latest modelling book release from Wild Swan Books, and immediately looks and reads well in the same way many of the previous modelling books in the range have done. I was going to say heralds a return to the core values and Wild Swan (WSP) Heritage, but that would be a touch unfair. I recently bought and reviewed Martin Neilds book on authentic model railway operation, ( albionyard.inspiration2 ) and whilst its a good book, it didn’t light any fires or have me wanting to tear through it in one sitting.

Creating Cameo Layouts Iain Rice Wild Swan ISBN: 9780953877171

Creating Cameo Layouts
Iain Rice Wild Swan
ISBN: 9780953877171

This book however is classic Wild Swan /Karau/Rice. Good quality perfect bound, nicely designed, and Iains captivating enthusiasm and style engaging the reader from the first page. Split into seven logical chapters the first two deal with some of the history behind these types of layouts and discussing what constitutes a ‘cameo’ layout.

CH1 Evolution of the Cameo Layout
CH2 Dawn of the Cameo
CH3 Designing Cameo Layouts
CH4 Integrated Structures
CH5 Presentation & Lighting
CH6 Operation
CH7 A Cameo Portfolio

I have to declare an interest here in that unbeknownst to me Albion Yard was included as a larger cameo layout, and under the terms Iain uses through the book, its inclusion is logical, particularly when discussing the presentation element of layouts. The history section is interesting in that if you went to a good number of shows through the mid 80’s and early 90’s when quite a bit of finescale pioneering was taking place as I did, Iain takes a good number of those layouts we saw, as examples of how the concept was developing.

The Core of the book looks at the practical design and build issues around Cameo layouts. There are a few illustrations that have appeared in other books by Iain, but they are far and few between and fit topically in the relevant sections they’re used. The majority of the book deals in the 4mm scale/gauge combination, but the concepts and how they are discussed work across the primary three scales in UK use. ‘Longwood Edge’ is the name of a P4 layout that has been built by Iain alongside this book, and there is plenty of well illustrated crossover, both sketches and photographic between layout and text. For me this underlines the practical nature of the book, its not theory, its practical theory and practice. Illustrations are used of other layouts to show elements discussed in the book which include, Rod Hall/’Llanaster’, Jerry Clifford/’Tucking Mill’, and Chris Nevard/’Polbrook Gurney’ to name but three. There are plenty of others, and it’s nice to see other modellers and layouts in the genre getting recognition and credit for their efforts within the book.
The Design element covers how to make best use of what restricted space you may be working in and the effect of scale/gauge and its impact. One of my favourite areas of presentation and lighting is well covered, and includes contemporary use of LED strip lighting and looks at pitfalls as well as benefits of different types of lighting available. Operation discusses the use of DCC/DC and covers practical considerations such as which couplings to consider. The final section is a number of layout designs, across the scales and gauges, delightful Rice sketches, accompanied by model and prototypical images just ripe to feed the imagination. Perhaps a criticism could be levelled that the emphasis of the book is almost exclusively steam era and steam operations biased, which it undoubtedly is. For the dedicated D&E modeller however the benefit will be in the practical design and build advice for the style of layout, many of the plans will still work with a bit of imagination in swapping industry use, the design ethos is the same regardless of era, scale or country.

Creating Cameo Layouts Iain Rice Wild Swan ISBN: 9780953877171

Creating Cameo Layouts
Iain Rice Wild Swan
ISBN: 9780953877171

So you can probably tell I like the book. I’ve always liked the way Iain writes about and designs his layouts those he’s built as well as his plans, the fact that Albion Yard is derived from a Rice plan is testament to that. Was there sufficient new material and considerations for me as someone interested in and ‘practising’ the art of Cameo Layout construction? Unequivocally, yes there was, and there will be practical advice and inspiration in abundance for a beginner too. Worth the money? Yup.

The Titfield Thunderbolt
3A Upper Lambridge Street, Larkhall, Bath, BA1 6RY Tel. 01225 462332
Publisher: Wild Swan Books  Paperback: 120 pages
ISBN-10: 0953877175   ISBN-13: 978-0953877171 Price £24.95

If you want to see Albion Yard, there’s a rare chance this Saturday 14th Jan 2017 at Risley in Derbyshire, with the Define group Modellers Open Day  define-day-update

_B6O4719.CR2

Posted in 2017, Bachmann, blog, book, Branch Line, brassmasters, British Rail, Cameo, Cameo layout, Chris Nevard, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, EM, Exhibition, finescale, flying scotsman, Forest of Dean, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, iain rice, Inspiration, Layout, library, life, 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, Rapido Trains, review, Scottish Region, shopping, social media, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Wales, Western Region, wild swan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Orienteering, 2016’s Last Writes…

  

 The last few hours of 2016 ticks away, outside low cloud envelops this deeply rural welsh valley and the log burner is crackling, filling the Barn with warmth. There’s no sound travelling up from the village and it allows me to sit and draw plans, make notes of future projects.

  
I’m working through the planning stage of my future Severn and Dean project. The tranquility we find at the barn allows us to just relax, and I’ve brought a drawing pad, a couple of research books and ‘time’. Within the drawing pad I make a mix of sketches and notes, some of which will never be used, but at least clear the air in terms of knowing ‘that ones not for me’. I’ve worked out which sections I want to concentrate on, not to make a model of, but a model based on. Notes include the geographical orientation of the location, to make the model plausible the train has to work from the right direction, this means the track plan works like the prototype. The type of train, engine and stock need to be right to work at the location or pass through en-route elsewhere on the system. Notes on the location include brief annotations of the type of features seen, these give me a good idea on the style of presentation needed, and access for tasks such as uncoupling. It’s a really useful tool to help decide what to include and more importantly what to leave out. It’s still left me one problem, one location Eastern United Colliery at Ruspidge, is definitely on the ‘wants’ list. It is linear, in a steep sided valley and has the operation and appearance I want to provide a real link to the eastern Forest lines. The problem is the coal screens, like many the wagons gravitated through the screens to the loaded sidings. With the real thing, you have real mass, with these ‘toy trains’ capturing that realism becomes far harder, and I’ve still not got my head around moving cuts of four or five wagons a time to replicate those movements. It’s a clear case for compromise, losing the operational authenticity on one hand, or perhaps deleting that location entirely, it being a compromise too far!

Another area of consideration is the fiddle yard, I’m keen on having as little in the way of wasted space as possible. One thing that appeals as it is one of the locations under consideration, is using Bilson Junction as the fiddle yard. It’s a linear junction with prototypical forming up of trains, and significant storage, certainly enough to keep an operator or two occupied. There’s a reasonable amount of information on how the junction was worked which may help the big scheme out. Imagine a stereotype roundy large layout, scenery one side, and a ‘wasted’ section of storage sidings the other. By doing Bilson I get storage and scenery combined and add prototypical operation, what’s not to like? Well apart from it means the space requirement for the rest of the railway gets eaten into, and I likely have to drop a location I’d like to build. Such are the joys of getting all your ducks in a row! 

So going back to the beginning, it’s the end of 2016, thanks for reading regardless of if it’s your first time or if you have been on the train since it  departed! Please also try to look through the blogs linked via the blogroll, there’s plenty of interesting reading and inspiration amongst those other modellers and writers, and I wish them and yourselves best wishes for the coming year.

Posted in 2016, blog, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, history, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Inspiration, Layout, life, LMS, LNER, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale | 3 Comments