Tag Archives: model

Gotham needs the Bat-train

I’ll be updating the website soon to include some non-train projects too, so as a nice transition piece, I thought I’d show you the Bat-train (yes, Batman has a train).

This model is from a series of Batman vehicles made by Eaglemoss called the Batman Automobilia Colection and is pictured in the dark of night on Brewery Pit.

Beyer Garratt Test Running and Modifications

Garratt trials
I currently have insufficient running space for my recently purchased Beyer Garrett, so my Dad borrowed the loco to see how it would get on around point work and curves. After a few weeks my Dad highlighted some issues regarding derailments over points. I decided to investigate further and took the Garratt for a test run at the Swindon Model Railway Club.

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Double Garratts
I did a little bit of work adjusting the gauge of the pony wheels just before the tests in Swindon, but this didn’t seem to make too much difference, as it still derailed sometimes on points. Despite the occasional derailment, I had a great time at the club and I had the opportunity to do some consist running with x2 Garratts. Here is a video of the two Garratts double heading:

A couple of bits broke off the Garratt while it moved around the rather tight curved platforms on the club layout, but I had already considered removing some of these finer details anyway (knowing that they wouldn’t stay on the loco too long while being run).

Garratt on the work bench.
On returning to my workbench I decided to remove some of the detail more likely to go amiss. I clipped off some of the detail beneath the boiler and removed the ultra fine steps from the buffer beams. I also taped down the wires leading between the two motors so they are completely concealed. Very simple jobs, but these changes looked good and made the Garratt easier to move around in my hands (an awkward task).

Pony Wheel Brakes
The version of the Garratt I have is one that had the brakes on the pony wheels removed. I have heard some people compaining on model railway forums that these brakes shouldn’t have been present, but they are a doddle to remove. I just used some sharp plastic cutters and within a few seconds the brakes were in the bits box.

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Pony wheel compensation

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I started to wonder whether the cause of derailments was due to the pony wheel jumping over point work. I looked at my other locomotives with pony trucks and wheels and found that most are sprung or weighted. I removed the pony wheels and roughed up the top of the pony wheel with some wet and dry paper to act as a key for super glue. I then super glued a spring to the top of the bar attached to the pony wheel. This modification provides a little bit of compensation to the pony wheel, which should help keep them firmly on the tracks.

I haven’t had the time to conduct a further test run, to see whether the sprung pony wheels have done the job, but I will report back when I have to let you know whether this modification was a success.

Two Model Railway Show Reviews + Pictures & Videos

February-May is the peak season for model railway shows and I try my best to visit a few each year. This blog entry covers two recent show visits: the Basingstoke Model Railway Show, Berkshire and last weekend’s Trainwest held in Melkham, Wiltshire.

Basingstoke Model Railway Show
The main thing I noticed at both shows was the increasing number of high quality n-gauge/2mm layouts. It is clear that this scale has come into its own in the past few years. The quality of modelling on layouts like Freshwater and Dentdale were stunning. The Class 33 diesel on Freshwater had a wonderful weathered finish.

Here are some photo highlights:

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

It was also nice to see the Heljan/Hattons Beyer Garratt pulling a giant train of coal trucks around the Newbury Clubs Falkland Vale.

It was also great to finally see Fisherton Sarum in person.

I gave into temptation at the Basingstoke show and purchased a new DCC control system for Brewery Pit, in the form of a Power Cab. I was very surprised at how cheap this system actually was.

Trainwest

This was my first visit to Trainwest in Melkham, Wiltshire. Having recently moved to Swindon, this is now one of my local shows. I was very impressed by the high quality of exhibiting layouts. Each layout was exquisite.

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

It was good to grab Giles attention from his layout (End of The Line) to talk about mini RC Cars and it was also nice to say hello to Golden Arrow Kits in person (and talk Bulleid Leader).

It is difficult for me to pick a favourite layout from Trainwest, but I must admit that I really enjoyed watching the transition era (late 1960s and early 1970s) diesels whizzing around Highbridge Road, a real treat. This is a period that is rarely modelled and one that I also hope to capture in miniature one day.

Also of note was Galatia, KS, which looked very realistic. Most impressive was the transition from the road crossing to the backscene. The telegraph poles and aspect were very effective at fooling the eye into believing there is a long straight road running off into the distance.

I would also like to give honourable mention to the biennial Narrow Gauge South, which I missed this year. I would have liked to have gone, but I had far too much relaxing at home to do.

Here are the two videos of the show:

Basingstoke Model Railway Show 2014

Trainwest 2014

Newbury Model Railway Show 2014

Last weekend I visited my local show… well, now I think about it, the Newbury Model Railway Show is no longer my ‘local’, but it matters little.

Here is my video of the show:

I certainly got 100% value out of my £4 entry ticket.

There was some impressive modelling on show. I think I will have difficulty choosing my favourite from the following layouts.

Red Hook Bay

This is an American HO gauge layout set in the 1940s. This model really captures a busy dock-scene. Something that many layouts try to achieve, but don’t always succeed. The attention to little details is brilliant. The ice-blocks on the quay being one of my favourite elements. The extra realism provided by laser-cut buildings was also quite prominent on this layout.

The Wantage Tramway

The Wantage Tramway is a OO9 gauge layout micro layout and is very attractive. I should have really asked what motors were underneath some of the locos as they had some very impressive running qualities. The small steam tram had some amazing slow gearing. The coaches were well made too. The layout of the buildings was also attractive to the eye. The layout performed faultlessly for the video camera.

Dawes Creek

This is an Australian N gauge layout, representing Victoria State in the 1970s and 1980s. I think the stand-out aspect of this layout is the backscene and how well it integrates into the layout. The backscene is hand painted and easily competes with modern photo backscenes. The low horizon really gives a feeling of plain country. The gradual change from model terrain to backscene beneath the timber bridge is really amazing. With sounds and well spaced structures, I think this layout inches to the top of my favourite list.

Other highlights

I was so pleased to finally see a ‘Maker-Bot 2‘ in person. What an amazing machine. It was much smaller and cleaner than I was expecting and I was surprised at the quality and rigidity of the models printed on the device.

I also had a close look at ‘t gauge’ on the Robin’s Run layout. I didn’t realise that t gauge could be so affordable. I will definitely give this some further thought and join the t gauge forum.

I also enjoyed an introduction to making model trees that will come in very useful on Brewery Pit.

Purchase-wise, I managed to avoid shelling out on more locomotives (I have a mortgage to pay these days), but I did manage to buy some tools missing from my arsenal and a set of high quality modelling books on buildings, scenery and loco building. Unfortunately, the rain was so terrible that it soaked the cover of one of my books when we left the show which caused some anxiousness later in the day, but I am happy to report that although a bit wavy in places, the book is okay.

Thanks Newbury MRC for getting me back in a modelling mood.

Falling Behind: A Leader Story (Pt 3)

Following my last post about Leader, I discovered that the paint was not fully drying and the finish had warped while in storage.

It is difficult to find a paint stripper formulated to strip resin kits, they are normally designed for metal or plastic models. I sent a quick query to Howes of Oxford about their Model Strip and was advised to test the paint stripper on the underside of the body. I did not see any adverse effects, so I covered leader in the paste.

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I left the model covered overnight and cleaned off the paste and paint with an old tooth brush.

I was very happy to see that most of the paint was removed. There was still some panel lines and crevices where paint remained so I decided to also try another paint stripper. My second attempt was with Phoenix Precision PS18 Superstrip and this stuff was quite amazing. I dipped my toothbrush in the liquid and on the first stroke of the brush, the remaining paint started coming off.

The picture below is the now fully stripped Leader body. There a couple of patches of paint that remain underneath. These are where glue was used to fix in the interior cabs. The next stage is a bit of degreasing before Leader’s return to the paint shop.

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Early sketches of Brewery Pit

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While organising my new modelling room I came across these early sketches of Brewery Pit. If I remember correctly, I got the original layout plan ideas from an issue of British Railway Modelling magazine and a feature on building a layout for £100 in Model Rail Magazine (back in 2006).

The final product is quite a close match to this early drawing . The passing loop at the rear of the model is included in the sketch along with the shed and private sidings. The main changes were that I couldn’t fit so many lines of track on the left side of the line and I instead, put two tracks into the shed.

Finding this sketch makes me think about my aims for Brewer Pit in 2014. I need to start putting some thought into how to finish off Brewery Pit, as I have given myself a 12 month deadline to make it exhibition worthy.

Rolling Stock – J70 0-6-0 Tram Engine

In this series of articles I will introduce the locomotives that I operate on Brewery Pit.

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The Prototype
One of the main engines that see’s regular use is my J70 steam tram. The J70s were introduced to replace the ageing Y6s, and were famous for running on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway in Cambridgshire. J70s and Y6s look very similar from the outside, but are quite different underneath the tram body. The fundamental difference is that J70s have six wheels (0-6-0), while the Y6s have four wheels (0-4-0). The side skirts are also formed in a slightly different way, with the J70s including moulded foot steps (Y6s have ladder-like steps) and a curved lower section to the skirt.

The model
My model is made from a Silver Fox resin kit that was bought for my birthday in September 2006. I opened up the side windows using a knife and added hand rails. I decided that I wanted my steam tram to include a boiler, and I just happened to have a Dapol plastic pug kit lying around (many railway modellers do, for some reason). I cut up the boiler and mounted it onto a piece of plasticard and added some hand wheels to either end. The boiler isn’t accurate as it has a saddle water tank, but I didn’t really care at the time (and still don’t).

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Painting
I wanted to represent an engine running between 1948 and 1950, so I purchased as many books as possible and looked at the photos of the various steam trams and settled on No. 68217, which was one of the last steam trams to run on the line.

I weathered the boiler using weather powders and sealed it with a matt varnish.

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The tram was painted with a now discontinued shade of brown from Tamiya’s acrylic range (I think it was Tamiya, I can find out if anyone really needs to know).

The final weathering job shown in the pictures is not accurate to how the model now looks, as it was repainted to better fit in with my Y6 later on.

Power
You cannot obtain a 0-6-0 chassis which would fit such a small loco, so there is little choice but to install and 0-4-0 power bogie. I was a little excited at the time I bought the kit and urgently insisted a black beetle motor bogie be sent out to me ASAP. Unfortunately, the wheelbase (distance between each wheel) of the bogie was quite wide, now I know that this is a skirted loco and little of the wheels is seen, but when it is seen it looked weird.

The motor bogie was converted to DCC control and was a poor runner and it was eventually replaced with better black beetle bogie with spoked wheels (a nice touch), a shorter wheelbase and 27:1 gearing (meaning it can travel much slower than my previous 15:1 version).

My J70 is currently waiting to have a DCC ‘stay-alive’ capacitor to be installed, but more on that some other time.

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