Last Sunday (12th July) I had a great time exhibiting my OO Gauge layout: Brewery Pit at the Chasewater Railway in Staffordshire. The exhibit was included as part of the railways Burton Brewery Locomotive Day.
Brewery Pit was set up in the Chasewater engine shed where visitors could stop by to photograph the real brewery engines and stock. There is a steam sentinel in the shed, which is of the same design as the one I am building as part of the Five Shunter Challenge. This particular one once worked at the Walsall Gas Works and was apparently the last of its design to be built.
It was raining at the start of the day, but when the sun broke out at lunch time the crowds of visitors soon followed and enjoyed cab rides and vintage truck displays and the beer tent.
It was great to see Brewery Pit pulling a good crowed, particularly at lunch time. Me and my wife foolishly tried to scoff a full English breakfast as the largest group of visitors arrived to watch the trains run along the layout. I attempted to multi-task, but I admit that the breakfast did go cold.
It was nice to see so many children captivated by the little trains shunting on Brewery Pit. One child insisted that the tram engines were moving too slowly. I tried to explain that they are speed-regulated to 40mph, but I don’t think the child in question was that interested in my justification. One 3-year-old visited three times and had to be dragged away by his Mom.
I also met up with Joe Stamper and his Dad who brought along their vintage Bass truck for the day. Joe also brought along his delightful model of the Neilson, Reid & Co 0-4-0ST Steam Locomotive that operated in the Bass Breweries in Burton. He tells me that he still has some work to do to it (including replacing the dome). I took some photos of it with some brewery wagons and it really looks the business. Joe has done a great job on the paint work. I’m looking forward to seeing the completed version.
I was really pleased how many people told me that I had captured the ‘feel’ of Burton-upon-Trent. I only ever see the layout as something that needs ‘more work’, so it is great to get some positive feedback. Many people also asked whether the layout was N-gauge, which doesn’t surprise me as the large buildings at the rear of the layout dwarf the little OO-gauge locos.
My favourite comments from the event were:
- Toby doesn’t have a face – said by a child watching the J70.
- Where is Toby’s face? – said by another child watching the Y6.
- That tram best not have a face! – said by an adult while watching the J70.
The best bit of the show was watching the brewery engines fire up in the shed and move out outside while we were test running the layout (we then had to wipe the diesel fumes off the track).
See the video below:
I hope that I get to attend next year.
Over the weekend I commenced work on my miniature RC car.
I eventually settled on the Oxford Die-cast AEC pick-up truck, mainly because of the ground clearance beneath the chassis. The main risk of using this truck is the difference in size of the AEC trucks wheels compared to those provided with the conversion RC kit.
The first job was to remove the wheels and axles from the die-cast model. I wanted to see if it was possible to use the original wheels, so I knew I had to be careful. The Oxford Die-cast wheels are held onto the axle with an abrasive tipped axle (not quite a thread, but more a cross hatching).
This meant that a bit of gradual pulling (using a pin vice and brute strength) releases the wheels. I also realised that the Oxford Die-cast tyres are made of a similar rubber to those provided in my kit, which should be great for traction.
The next job was to provide enough space for the motor on the die-cast chassis. I cut away at the rear of the chassis with a mini drill armed with a disc cutter. After losing about five disc cutters, I managed to clear a nice space for the motor.
I soldered a small bit of wire to the brass gearbox, which acts as a simple harness to keep the motor inside the chassis.
Building the front axle
The steering axle is a lovely, simple kit. I didn’t realise that the kit is made so that the axle will move across the x, y and z axes, so I am very pleased (as I thought I would have to adapt it for up/down movement). The plastic is also very rigid, with little chance of distortion, it looks laser cut. The wheels supplied are quite small and the rear wheels are constructed to take a double tyre (which would look a bit silly on non-lorry models). In order to fit the AEC’s original wheels I replaced the kits brass axle pins and converted new ones out of the AEC axles. I didn’t want to risk widening the holes in the steering kit to take the wider AEC axles, so I milled down the AEC axles with a mini drill and a file.
Fitting the steering axle
I decided that the steering column needed so much space beneath the body that it would be better to cut away the front of the AEC chassis and fit it directly to the cab. I also removed the mud guards, so the wheels wouldn’t collide with them.
Thoughts on progress so far
It was at this stage that I started to realise that the wheels were too far stretched out from the steering axle. This gives the impression of some monster truck adaptation, which I quite like.
The problem is that the rear axle is fixed in the motor gear box, and is nowhere near as lengthy as the front one. Thus when the back wheels go on, the final product will look a bit stupid. So my next task will be to carefully de-construct the steering axle and re-mill the front axles until they are a bit closer to the body.
I have ordered some spare axles (just in case).
Expect an update soon.
Today I returned to the buildings of Brewery Pit and decided to do some detailing.
The old brewery buildings are made up from a Metcalfe Models cardboard kit, which is very nice, but I wanted to add some details to make it look less flat.
I started by adding some Wills plastic roofing, which has much a better finish than the cardboard print. I was going to fit drain pipes, but found myself building up the grain sack hoists out of the cardboard kit and then covering them in Slater’s corrugated sheeting. I matched the windows by stencilling the shapes onto the plastic and cutting them out with a knife.
I then painted them in a pale blue, which is the main colour theme of my yet-to-be-branded beer.
For some strange reason I have painted the other buildings in the wrong shade of blue, so I will have to correct this soon.
My thoughts are now drawn to how to stop barrels rolling off the raised platforms. I think some walling may be in order.
The bulk of the conversion is finished.
As predicted (see Pt2), the rear of the chassis was the more difficult section to complete. I took to cutting down the back of the Bachmann chassis by grinding away the raised profile mouldings on the sides of the chassis (where the crank-shaft use to be). I lost a few cutting disks in this operation (goggles recommended). This aspect of the work was surprisingly easy.
The next problem was that the Bachmann chassis’s bolt hole doesn’t line up with the existing body-hole at the rear of the chassis. Annoyingly, it is not quite distant enough to cut a new hole. So with a selection of drills and grinding tools in my mini-drill I widened the existing hole. You could likely get round this issue if you were still building the Craftsman 07 by moving the body hole, but this is not an option for me.
Next, I cut the remaining sections of the brass chassis to their new shapes. This was mostly trial and error; the main issues being avoidance of pick-ups and wheels. The rear sandboxes caused some issues yesterday which were resolved by sanding down the face of the rear brass section. Once this was complete I fitted the remaining details and all was looking good, and running well.
Lubricator arm mechanism
My biggest achievement here was refitting the lubricator arm to the front axle. I lost the lubricator hand wheel in the cleaning phase (see Pt2). It flew out of some spring loaded tweezers. There was enough time for me to watch it flying across the front-room at great speed, never to be seen again. Queue lots of cursing. This was one of the smallest bits on the model. I cannot think of an easy way of fabricating a new one. So let’s hold our heads high and move on…
On ye olde chassis, the lubricator crank was fitted on top of the coupling rod washer. As the Bachmann chassis has bolts that screw the coupling rods in place, I decided it made more sense to fit it beneath the bolt (no soldering or gluing required). I widened the hole on the crank and fitted the lubricator arm, but the mechanism attempted to collide with both the coupling rods and the coupling bolt. A couple of washers later (one in front of the coupling rods and one thicker one within the lubricator arm mechanism) and the lubricator arm was up and running!
To be honest, this project is nothing to do with accuracy; small additions like the lubricator arm are more to do with the hours I spent building the darn thing first time round! So I am happy to see this work finally paying off, minus the hand wheel (sniff!).
Below is a video of the loco running:
I have waited patiently for a few years for someone to commission the two Class 31s that were painted in experimental liveries in the 60s. As time has gone by I have decided that I might as well try the repaints myself. Unfortunately the most up-to-date model is Hornby’s super-detailed version, but they have not released a model in a suitable configuration for a few years now (head-code boxes and body steps near the cab are not present on many of Hornby’s recent releases).
Luckily, Hornby have a suitable loco for a repaint in their planned releases for 2013. There are actually x3 different liveries I want to produce with this new release and retailing at £120, I am a bit concerned at the costs (particularly as I have to completely repaint them).
Investigating some threads on RMweb, I have noticed that some people prefer the shape of the older Lima model and having seen some of the impressively updated Lima models, I investigated further. It seems that the new Hornby model has an excellent chassis compared to the poor running Lima model and some have taken to fitting the Hornby chassis underneath the Lima model. This is most certainly a positive for me, as it means I can purchase a Hornby model (irrespective of livery and moulding) and then buy a much cheaper Lima model with the appropriate body configuration and marry the two!
I received the Hornby model to be used as a chassis donor (31268) in the post yesterday. I must admit it is a lovely model and I very much like the fan wizzing around as it moves, and the opening doors. I find the very faint moulding of the body banding a bit odd, but there we go. I think I can see what some are concerned about regarding the new Hornby model as it does seem quite straight sided, but I equally must admit that I probably would have never noticed unless it was pointed out. I now have to pluck up the courage to dismantle this model and attach it to a suitable Lima body (which has been purchased and is on the way).
I have decided to repaint this model as D5578 which carried the experimental blue livery from approx 1960 to 1963. I will paint mine with the half yellow panels on the cab fronts.
D5578 was described as being in ‘electric blue’ livery, but this blue is much brighter than many of the pictures of D5578 indicate, which often appears as more of a navy blue (see below).
I have only seen one picture of the loco in anything close to electric blue, and have seen about three pictures of the loco looking more like it was a navy blue, so I am currently planning to repaint the loco in the darker shade.