Taking a Rain Check…

It’s summer, allegedly, and modelling activity traditionally slows down during this period. However, apart from that needed to meet my commitment to BRM, my modelling has slowed whilst I appraise my modelling needs, or more accurately, the needs of my current layouts, two of which are fixed home layouts. In the last few years, I have dismantled two portable layouts which had specific items of rolling stock built for them such as the JSA wagon above. Folkestone East has no need of such wagons, so it is on Ebay currently (item number 110723061262) along with two un-built kits for the same. The same goes for other wagons and locomotives collected together – yes, I could hang on to them and run them on the new layout, but space in fiddle yards is at a premium and as new, more appropriate stock comes on line (the Hornby 4-Vep is due any day now) and less appropriate stock is pushed aside,  no longer run and now takes up room in stock boxes instead. A further clear out beckons, I think!

In the meantime, work on my current layout project continues; Folkestone East is continues to receive ballast and changes to the control system are planned (the Lenz equipment is to be replaced with a Digitrax booster to make the layout a power district of the Digitrax installation on the US outline N gauge layout on the lower two decks). The US outline Montana Rail Link layout continues to be developed with improvements to track and operations (Duplex radio throttles were  installed a couple of weeks’ ago) before scenic work commences. My only portable layout, the N gauge Dudley Heath, received substantial hinged covers in the last few days to protect it during storage and transportation before the really involved scenic work commences. All three layouts are continuing to be run and fine tuned prior to further scenic treatment.

Butt hinges with removable pins makes the covers very flexible to use. They can be lowered to make a hard drape at shows or removed completely should they get in the way. However, the covers are strong enough to allow one baseboard to be transported on the top of the other in the car or when stored under the Montana Rail Link layout when required. During the construction of the covers, it’s was not hard to notice how the quality of sawn timber has really declined in quality, even from reputable merchants, whilst the price has doubled in the last 18 months! Some of my covers appear a little rough at the corners, but they are accurate enough to do the job of protecting the layout. If I was building baseboard frames, much of the timber used in the covers would be rejected and taken back to the dealer!

Ballasting and track colouring continues alongside test running of Dudley Heath which has an invitation to the September Inverness & District MRC exhibition. I could not resist staging some green diesels with traditional wagons for a couple of pictures, the two locos having passed over my work bench for DCC conversions for a future BRM article.There’s no DCC interface socket in these locos, so chassis chopping and hard wiring was the order of the day – more involved in the Class 45 than the Class 25. I also like to use 6-pin adapters so the models can be used with 6-pin plug and play decoders, which makes the conversions a little more challenging. Still, it’s worth the effort and was good practice for the next project, the Graham Farish Class 87!


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