N Gauge developments

August 19, 2012

Despite the long silence from me on the N gauge front, work has continued on Dudley Heath, my little portable N gauge layout which has appeared at Doncaster and Ally Pally this year (project in progress). Just commissioned and placed in service is a 5-car NR New Measurement Train model based on the Dapol HST NMT train pack and five rebuilt Dapol Mk.3 trailers. The original plan was to use Electra Railway Graphics overlays on Graham Farish Mk.3 stock. Before work commenced, a set of etched conversion parts for six NMT trailers arrived, out of the blue; kindly sent to me by Pete Harvey.

No disrespect to Adam Warr – his vinyl sides are really good and I have a number of converted coaches (and one wagon) running on Dudley Heath. There are more to add to the roster – the Class 310 or 312 in West Midlands livery is very tempting indeed! (RFM below is one of the Mk.3s I have converted using Adam’s sides.) He also kindly produced Folkestone East name boards in NSE style for me; both sun faded and full colour.

However, I had three Dapol Mk.3 trailers surplus to requirements  – blue grey ones with no immediate use leaving only two to buy. Also, I fancied having a go at a different type of conversion in N gauge. The results are pretty reasonable, except colour matching to Dapol’s version of NR yellow was not easy nor was it a precise match in the end. A 5-car set is also a big project to complete, hence the relatively long periods between posts on here – there’s not been a lot to report of late.

Detailing of Dudley Heath continues on several fronts including signals and line side equipment. The Graham Farish Class 350 will find a home on the layout too, after I have closed up the coupling gaps between the trailers! A fine model in its own right, it adds further modern West Coast flavour to the layout. The foot bridge was a complex beastie to scratch build but despite that, I am not totally satisfied with the result (some filling, repainting, detailing and weathering will improve its appearance dramatically). I will probably have another go at building it once the layout reaches a sort of ‘finished’ stage. I will finish the layout to a good enough standard and then go back and rework bits of it, in between work on Folkestone East and the Montana Rail Link layout. In the meantime, Dudley Heath lives safely in its box under the MRL layout, safe from dirt and dust until I get the urge to play with N gauge British outline models once again. Then out it comes!


Mk.2d BFK…

August 15, 2012


One of a handful of work bench projects to be completed is a cut & shut project involving the merging of two former Airfix Mk.2d coaches into one. A BSO and an FO were carved up, window sections discarded and the remainder glued together to make a reasonable representation of a BFK. A full repaint, fitting of ‘Laserglaze’ and weathering of the completed body shell was a must. A Mk.1 RMB is next – the challenge is finding some window frames to upgrade the Bachmann model…

…before it can be painted in Intercity livery. Air brake details and a change to the roof vents will be needed too. A handful of Mk.2f using Lima models as a basis, enhanced with Shawplan ‘Laserglaze’ and fitted with Bachmann B4 bogies will follow.


Living with a layout…for a while…

August 14, 2012

Soon picks up its shortcomings. Small portable layouts are always serious compromises, but something the size of my Folkestone East project has fewer compromises but needs as much careful design to accommodate the longer trains and traffic densities required of it. Despite a lot of work on the initial design, I found that the fiddle yards were not ideal, particularly the stub ended Dover yard. This has been redesigned with an additional road and also by moving the throat of the yard about 5 inches further over. Each road was also checked for length in units based on a Mk.1 coach or EMU trailer length.


Ripping out even a small part of a layout is traumatic! Anyway, the cover box which hid an inverted Tortoise point motor and the throat of the ‘Dover’ yard has now been replaced. From the reconstruction view above, its clear that there is more room for a reasonable depth of scenery on the main line curve to further enhance this area of the layout.

After what seems like an age, the corner is being redeveloped after extensive testing of the remodelled fiddle yard. Trains flow better on to the layout and a new section of back scene is propped up against the layout framing to see how it looks. I am much happier with the appearance of this area of the layout. All I need to do now is attach the back scene section, add some more trees and paint the new signal which has sprouted just behind the GUV.