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

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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

Hornby Masterclass Peckett W4 R3427

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

Perhaps the phrase of the latter half of this year regarding a few ready to run locomotive releases has been ‘gamechanger’. Go back a couple of years or so and there’s no way you’d have thought that sobriquet could be applied to any product from Dapol, but their 7mm scale 350HP Class 08 has certainly got people talking, and importantly, buying! The announcement last year by Hornby of the intention to produce a Peckett industrial tank also generated significant interest.

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

A few years back their Industrial Sentinel Diesel was very well received, even allowing for it sitting in the Railroad range and at the bargain end of the basement. Just occasionally we do get the release into the wild of something that has the potential to make people think differently about modelling and layout building, and Hornby has turned up this week and ‘knocked it out of the park’, ‘nailed it’, ‘got the money shot’ etc., etc. with their Pecketts. Well, a festively coloured Manchester Peckett turned up at the Yard, so it only seemed right to have a look at it, run it for five minutes, and then take it apart. It’s a bloke thing if there are any girls reading!

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

The Peckett W4 locomotives were built between 1885 and 1906 at Atlas Engine Works in Bristol. The ‘W’ series of engines were constructed between 1884 to 1938 with 140 examples of the W4 included in the production sequence. The livery of this model is that carried by the Manchester Ship Canal Company locomotives and is numbered ’11’, the engine being works No654 of 1897. Checking the model against a published photo of the prototype shows a couple of discrepancies, however these engines throughout the course of their career would have been subject to detail changes. The discrepancies are nothing significant, the toolbox in front of the cab is lower and longer on the model and there is an extra lamp iron on the cab rear. hornby-w4-liveries-are-here/

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

The model is surprisingly small underlining the diminutive nature of the prototype, note the 50p piece! At first glance the model captures the look of these charming engines and has a finesse to it rarely seen on a mass produced model. Things like the rear cab sheet, the cut away within the sheet for the brake standard is included, glazing is commendably thin without the Mr Magoo specs look that other manufacturers seem to achieve. Inside the cab there is fine backhead detail neatly painted and fixed. External fittings are of a similar quality, the injectors, whistle and separate smokebox dart do credit to the design team in providing the sort of fittings that really need no changes at all, what a difference to some other contemporary steam prototype releases.

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

The paint finish quality is pretty much Hornby at its best, the opacity doesn’t appear compromised anywhere, legibility of printing is excellent. The finish particularly on the metal assemblies is smooth and consistent, color changes and lining are crisp with no bleed through and no evidence of casting pitting in the paint. As outlined in the link above, Hornby were unable to determine the exact color scheme for this model, but have used the MSC ‘house’ scheme for the Manchester Ship Canal locomotives.

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

There is only one visible mould line which runs along the top sides of the saddle tank casting. It’s only noticeable under strongest light and I doubt if it will show even when the model is weathered. The body castings are predominantly metal as is the chassis giving a very useable 131 grams for such a small locomotive, in contrast the DJM J94 is only slightly heavier at 153grams. There are no traction aids such as traction tyres fitted and the locomotive sits square on a pane of glass, so on good track pretty much all that weight can be used to advantage. On a brief test on level track the Peckett handled 14 Bachmann 10ft wheelbase oil tanks with no hesitation in either direction.

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

The body and chassis split easily and the instruction leaflet gives clear pictorial advice on removing body and chassis. There is very restricted space within the saddletank, so fitting a sound chip discretely will be challenge. Disassembly was easy with good quality hardware and no over torque of any of the fixing screws. With no lighting there are no wires connecting body to chassis. Once separated take care with the sand pipes under the running plate and the cab top whistle, both items easily damaged if not careful. Buffers are rigid rather than sprung and the castings and shape of them replicate the type used on this engine well. Handrails and their fixings are well captured, the cab side and rear cab rails perhaps being a bit heavy but not noticeably so. The Saddle tank handrail knobs are placed at the correct radial position, something which Hornby have let slip in the recent past with the J15 for example.

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

As mentioned due to the lack of space Hornby recommend their x9659 4-pin-decoder, this is the type recommended for use in the Sentinel too. The motor is a sealed unit driving to rear axle through a vertical gearbox and gear train. The front of the motor had a small brass flywheel configuration in the design however this seems to have been dropped to allow space for the wiring loom, at the rear is a conventional worm on top of the gear train tower. The resulting action is smooth, quiet and showed no hesitation or cogging throughout its speed range.

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

Chassis is cast metal block adding to adhesive weight, axles are 2mm diameter running in circular grooved bearings which locate into the chassis casting. Electrical pick up is from blackened wiper pickups pushing outwards on the rear of the driving wheel tread. The pickups are integral to the base plate, power being transferred by two sprung plunger pickups in the chassis which locate into holes on the base plate. Clever, neat efficient design with no wiring! Brake shoes are included on the base plate, aligned with the OO gauge wheelsets. The characteristic flat face profile of the wheels is well captured including, correct number of spokes and shaped, placed balance weights. The only chassis omissions of note are no brake pull rods or assemblies included and no guard irons on the base plate. With the small diameter of the wheels and potentially uneven ‘train set’ track it possibly made more sense to omit guard irons. Still, gives us something to make doesn’t it?

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

Coupling and connecting rods have very little play in them and look to be held laterally by grooved crankpins. There is lateral play in the axles and at the largest gap there is about 60 thou clearance between the leading crankpin and back of the cross head, reducing to about 10 thou on my example. Running qualities are excellent, the locomotive running slowly on both feedback and non feedback DC Gaugemaster controllers. The locomotive was tested on Peco Code 75 track through medium, long, large ‘Y’ and curved points. They are a mix of wired/switched electrofrog and non wired blade electrical contact only. Plain track used included C&L chaired flexitrack and Peco Code 70 flexitrack. No problems occurred with any of the point and crossing work, or plain track. With the small diameter of the wheels if any running problems develop my first action will be to check the pick up adjustment, they are very flexible thin gauge material. I have a good feeling that this model will convert relatively easily to EM/P4, and wonder if either society might take a lead from the 2 Millimetre scene and supply a ‘Society’ conversion kit to get people easily started in the respective gauges. It is the type of engine that will work so well on a simple test piece layout.

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

Couplings fit in standard NEM sockets and self centre without any problems or mechanical assistance. As I use three link couplings I’ve removed them after the photography. A thought occurred however when looking at the mounting for the rear NEM socket. Because there doesn’t appear to be a discrete option for a speaker for DCC users in the bodywork I do wonder if there may be the possibility of fitting a Sugar Cube speaker under the cab between the mainframes with the removal of the NEM socket.

Hornby W4 Peckett R3427 R3428 R3429

Hornby W4 Peckett
R3427 R3428 R3429

So what’s the Masterclass then? Well we know that over the years Hornby has sometimes dropped the ball, for me about five years back there had been a period of about ten years or so where I rarely bought any Hornby Product. Not so much because the product was poor, I’ve always felt that their stuff was alright, but they weren’t making stuff I was interested in, or for that matter a good number of my modelling colleagues. As in the introduction when Hornby announced these Pecketts a good many raised their eyebrows and wondered what compromises we might see, and how or indeed if Hornby would capture the character of these small pretty, delicate looking and conversely powerful industrial locomotives. Well having done just that with this model, for me Hornby are demonstrating just how good they can be. When they are on this form they can do the Masterclass ‘This is how to make a model railway locomotive’, some of their recent Airfix kit releases show a similar ‘chutzpah’ within the Hornby Brands.

You may also have noted that its December, so it won’t be long before we’re into the guff of Ready to Run model of the year voting, yaddah yaddah yaddah..

In October if you’d asked me I’d have said Model Rail/Bachmann USA Dock Tank.
In November I’d have said Dapol’s O gauge Class 08.
In December I find myself thinking Hornby’s Peckett.

That’s not a bad end of term report in my book.

Hornby
R3428-43-126 hornby.com
LOT01-PO10001188
SERVICE SHEET hornby.comdownload/item/515

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Posted in 2016, Bachmann, blog, blogger, Branch Line, British Rail, dapol, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, EM, finescale, flying scotsman, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Industrial, Inspiration, Kalmbach, 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, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Peckett, R3427, R3428, R3429, Rapido Trains, research, review, Scottish Region, Southern, Southern Electrics, Southern Region, toy fair, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Western Region | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Driving home for Christmas

A couple of years back in the run up to christmas, and a hundred thousand or so less hits ago, Davide at thenightflier blog, kindly allowed me to link to his ‘Drivers’ view from the office  albionyard/skyward-head-in-the-clouds/.

It was a popular post, showing the views which today are really difficult to get for people not attached to the aviation industry. Davide has kindly allowed me to link another of his videos from the flight deck, so sit back and go full screen, heres four minutes of time worth wasting!

20151225-091139-33099290.jpg

Here’s wishing all the blog readers a good Christmas, and thanks for ‘wasting’ some of your time here, I do appreciate it!
 


 

Posted in 2016, aviation, blog, blogger, blogging, British Rail, christmas, dapol, DCC, Eastern Region, EM, Exhibition, film, finescale, flight, flying, flying scotsman, Friends, go pro, Great Western, hero, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Inspiration, Interweb, 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 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wordless Wednesday 3D printing (Coast Line Models)

  
 
https://www.coastlinemodels.co.uk

Posted in 2016, 3d, 3d printing, blog, brassmasters, copyright, DCC, dcc sound, Exhibition, finescale, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Industrial, Inspiration, Kalmbach, Layout, life, media, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge | 7 Comments

3D Developments


Of late I’ve been fortunate to see some of the really excellent 3D printing developments that are coming into the hobby. This weekend a PO wagon belonging to the Abdon Clee Stone Quarries on the Cleobury Mortimer & Ditton Priors Light Railway 4 plank open wagon, has arrived from Alan at Coast Line Models for me to have a look at. https://www.coastlinemodels.co.uk

I’m looking forward to seeing what the wagon looks like once it’s been cut away from the ‘sprue’, and to get some feedback from other modelling friends on this application of ‘new tech’. I’m used to using resins from other modelling genres, cars and military, as well as having painted a good number of Modelu http://www.modelu3d.co.uk figures which are also printed.


One things for certain, there’s real potential for the use of this technology, and it’s great news that there’s home grown producers having a go with it!

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Posted in 2016, 3d, 3d printing, blog, blogger, brassmasters, British Rail, copyright, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, flying scotsman, Friends, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Industrial, Inspiration, Layout, life, magazine, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, Modelu, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, New Radnor, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Rapido Trains, research, review, Scottish Region, Southern, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, wagon, Wales, Welsh Marches, Western Region | 7 Comments

Inspiration #2, and Authenticity from Warley

Authentic Model Railway Operation ISBN 9781912038008

Authentic Model Railway Operation
ISBN 9781912038008

From the earlier post from-warley you could almost think I’ve gone all Southern returning to my roots and all that stuff! Well fear not, the Forest of Dean is still very much in my thoughts regarding a larger multi location layout. Amongst Warley’s O gauge exhibits this year was a layout ‘Staple Edge’ clearly based on the Eastern United Colliery location.
I spent quite a bit of time watching this layout, as Ruspidge/Eastern United is one of the key locations I’d like to include on my scheme. One item I collected at Warley was the latest book from Wild Swan Publishing WildSwan, ‘Authentic Model Railway Operation’ written by Martin Nield ISBN 9781912038008. The book is written as a comprehensive introduction to working a layout prototypically, and also covers design aspects with pointers on elements to look for in the layout design stage.

Having watched Staple Edge and quickly read through the book, retrospectively I realised that I’d been applyinging quite a few of the suggestions included in Martins book. Staple Edge is a well modelled 7mm scale halt and colliery screens/sidings and it is very clearly based on Eastern United in the Forest of Dean. Chapter one deals with analysing traffic requirements. Well my Severn and Dean project is like Staple Edge to be based firmly on the Forest lines, and fortunately there are some excellent reference sources for those routes. Coal was the primary reason for the development of the Forest of Dean lines. The mining industry has a unique history in the Forest with how it developed and how it was managed. There were many collieries within the coal field, small compared to some of the Welsh or Midland and Northern Collieries, but they generated an interesting flow of traffic which lasted into the 1950’s and 60’s, my era of interest. Having done a good deal of prior research I’ve already got a good idea on the Forest traffic and what routes it flowed over.


Martin also deals with track plans and how to adapt them or use company protocols, e.g. the Midlands aversion to facing crossings, in a layout design. Watching Staple Edge I already had an idea of how the line ‘worked’ so it was interesting to see what features they had chosen to include and adapt from the prototype into the layout. The prototype is a north-south alignment with the bulk of traffic for the colliery coming from the south and terminating at the colliery, empties (northerly) inbound and full southbound. For these pictures here assume North is at the opposite end of the layout to the colliery screens. The first thing of note for me was the traffic flow was reversed, so inbound came from the ‘north’. This may be a practical consideration for how the layout is used away from exhibitions and how the layout is physically operated, or it could be the builder prefers it that way. The layout at Warley was operated from the rear or ‘west’ side. For my scheme the layout would be operated from the east side and the operator and viewer will see the orientation as shown in these pictures, working in 4mm scale I’ll have the benefit of more space pro rata, to allow the trains to ‘breathe’ in. The 7mm scale colliery trains were approximately seven wagons plus brake van in length. With the size of layout these trains took a good but not unrealistic proportion of the run round loop. I’ve worked out that my ideal train length will be in the order of ten wagon plus brake in 4mm scale. The linear nature of the site in a valley bottom is a key element I want to capture, so my run round loop will be longer possibly a twenty wagon capacity length. This will allow the trains more visual impact, and retain the overall appearance of the location whilst still allowing selective compression to be used. The book covers signals and interlocking but not in significant detail, understandably considering the many different company variations that existed. It does however give a good feel for the subject to allow further research with the pointers given. The track layout has a few variations from the prototype within the colliery site and sidings. This is one of the areas I’m still working on. The stumbling block at the moment being capturing the appearance of the wagons being loaded via the screens and then gravitating into the storage sidings. Both Mick Simpson and Ian Pope have given me ideas to follow up on this as I want the loading to be discreet, but I feel I may have to adopt a shunter to move full wagons from the screens to storage sidings to retain an authentic track plan.


Martin covers Timetable operation and train formations too. Having done the research for my project this was how I noticed the reversal of the operations, I was expecting a different flow to that which I viewed. I must emphasis this isn’t a criticism of the Staple Edge layout or operators, its their layout and they’ve made those choices for their reasons. For my project the layout is a module, and the traffic flow through the whole scheme reflects the prototype operational flow. With the Severn and Dean scheme the orientation of the stations also assists in keeping the traffic flow logical across the whole route. I did try swapping a few around but the result compromised what I want to achieve in operations. Well, that’s the theory anyway! Train formations are pretty simple too and over the past year or so I’ve been making the ‘trains’ and selecting stock to represent the traffic flow reasonably accurately. Hornby’s announcement of an AA15 GWR/WR Toad Brake ( gwr-aa15 ), for 2017 has already saved me time, I’ll finish the Bachmann conversion I’ve started and Ratio Kit and get on with other stock, and likely a 16XX as that’s the type currently noticeably absent from the roster. Finally the book covers realistic movement and exhibition operating, breaking down subjects such as running round a train and the actions that take place performing the task. Some of those parts may seem obvious to people whom have had the opportunity to see it in real life in teal time, but there will be readers whom haven’t had that experience, and its a logical inclusion in the book. The production values are typical Wild Swan, however some of the model photographs aren’t as good as they might be, some showing pixilation and saturated colors, and a shallow depth of field. Prototype images are good quality and well printed, all  images are relevant to the sections of the book they are used in. The book is centred on steam era operations, however many practices and protocols are still extant on todays railway. If there’s an area where the book is weak its perhaps in the lack of coverage of contemporary operations and railways, particularly post British Rail Corporate era.

Overall its a good book and worth the £13.95 price tag, particularly for readers who may be new or returnees to the hobby, and want to learn more about replicating railway practices on their layouts. Reading the book and realising I’d been unconsciously following its ethos whilst watching Staple Edge was quite interesting, particularly when I compare and contrast the different compromises that the layout builders have used, and that I will have to address myself all be it in a different scale and era.

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Posted in 2016, Bachmann, blog, book, Branch Line, British Rail, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, finescale, Forest of Dean, Great Western, HO, hobbies, Hornby, Inspiration, Layout, LMS, LNER, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, modeling, Modelling, n gauge, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, O Gauge, o scale, OO Gauge, Oxford rail, Rapido Trains, research, review, Scottish Region, Southern, Southern Region, toy train, Toy trains, toytrainset, train set, trainset, Uncategorized, Wales, Welsh Marches, Western Region, wild swan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments