N scale kit-building…NTTX spine cars.

November 24, 2014

LMX5877-spine car

I will confess that progress on my N scale MRL 4th Sub layout has been slow in recent times. It’s not through a lack of interest, but one of time. Projects such as Dudley Heath and Wheal Annah have both eaten into layout construction time. However, the draw of the ‘dark side’ is never far away and the layout is well maintained and trains run over the 4th Sub on a regular basis. The latest project to cross the work bench is a five-unit NTTX spine car set constructed from a white metal kit by N Scale Kits (formerly Alan Curtis Kits).

Spine wagon

Like most white metal kits, this one takes a little work to fit everything together. It is constructed using high quality CA glue such as Zap-a-Gap. Soldering is a little too hot for the thin side rails – it would take very little heat to send them into melt-down oblivion. Once put together, after some swearing, the models run well on Micro-Trains trucks fitted with metal wheel sets. After assembly of the main components, the five car NTTX spine car set was fitted with Roller Bearing trucks and tested on the MRL 4th Sub main line in unpainted condition with LMX Leasing No. 8577 in charge.

Spine car-three

I have enjoyed a great deal of success with Alan Curtis/N Scale Kits products, having constructed the 3-unit National Steel 48ft ‘all purpose’ well cars seen behind the spine cars in a passing intermodal train.

Double stack Maxi 3

Another success is the kit for articulated five-unit Gunderson Maxi III 48ft well double stack cars (above). The kit consists of a mix of white metal superstructure parts and etched floors and details, including walkways. It rides on Micro-Trains trucks (bogies). Containers on the layout are either by Kato or Deluxe Innovations.

Double stack intermodal-one

Another favourite of the N Scale Kits line is the rebuilt Gunderson Maxi III 40ft well cars which are cut-down versions of the 48ft well cars featured above. Operated as a five-unit articulated set, they are loaded with either two 20ft boxes with something on top or a 40ft. box in the bottom and a longer container on top which can overhand the end platforms. However, I am a little short on the N scale container front and have to do a little more collecting as well as some weathering and sun-bleaching work!  I choose to use trucks by Micro-Trains, metal wheel sets by Fox Valley Models and TTX yellow paint by Polly Scale Paints. Transfers are by Microscale. The rest is down to time and patience!



November 13, 2014

Eric Kidd 2

Longdrem is the latest of my layout photography projects, this time for Hornby Magazine. Here’s a taster of what is a great representation of the ECML in early BR days with classic steam traction all built by Eric Kidd. It is not an exhibition layout but ‘one that never leaves home’.

Eric Kidd1

It is OO gauge at its best – reliable, smooth running and with a huge variety of motive power ranging from Haymarket’s finest to workaday locomotives of the Central Belt of Scotland.

Eric Kidd3

The layout also features a branch line with a good long run. The layout itself is a round the walls ‘shelf’ layout with little of the landscape modelled outside the boundary fence. The branch runs round alongside a section of the main line to gain running length, with part of the journey through the fiddle yard to divide the run up scenically. The branch also runs at a different level before leaving the shelf layout section to reach the branch station situated on a peninsula baseboard which extends into the middle of the room. In effect, the design of the layout is distinctly North American in the use of the space and the manner in which operations have been carefully considered. That is far as it goes – this is BR (ER) in every other respect, from the long ECML passenger trains, the LNER express locomotives, structures and scenery. A lovely project and a pleasure to photograph – you can see more of the layout in a forthcoming issue of Hornby Magazine.