October 17, 2018
The modelling bit…
Well, there was a surprise was in store for me (and I suspect will be for many others) for the latter part of 2018. Not my new hobby which I am yet to mentioned here (and may surprise a few), but being appointed as the new co-ordinator of the modelling pages of ‘Rail Express’ magazine or ‘Rail Express Modeller’. The first issue of REM I will be responsible for will be No. 176 in Rail Express No. 271, the December-dated issue. Paul Bickerdyke will remain Rail Express editor.
Owing to the circumstances behind the editorial change, I will be starting at ‘Ground Zero’ with virtually nothing in the files. However, from the start, I am planning more step-by-step modelling features with emphasis on modelling technique as well as the prototype itself. I am cooking up a new compact layout project too, one for later next year depending on how things go.
One thing I will be seeking is news items relevant to modelling the UK and Irish railway traction scene. Furthermore, I will be looking for good contributors too, in time. For now, the plan is to get my feet well and truly under the editorial desk and make a start. One thing this will do is get me to pull a finger out and get both the Folkestone East rework underway and to finish Dudley Heath! Both layouts will have a role to play from time to time.
So, from now on, Rail Express Modeller will be coming from my small but comprehensively equipped studio on the Moray Firth, two miles east of Nairn in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. A land of big skies, great beer, Aurora Borealis, woods, mountains, fabulous beaches, ScotRail 7-Cities HSTs and The Royal Scotsman. REM will share space with Folkestone East, Loch Dhu Distillery, Wheal Annah and of course the NSB project. It’s going to be a pile of fun!
July 25, 2018
A new waterslide transfer sheet for Nairnshire Modelling Supplies has been in development recently: sheet NMS-6 which is an O gauge (7mm scale) version of the OO gauge NMS-1 (BR blue diesels plus engineers ‘Dutch’ livery). It is intended as a renumbering pack for ready to run O gauge diesels, but has enough elements on it for those repainting their models too. To keep the price down to offer a fair deal to modellers, not everything is included and the loco data panels are simplified. If this new sheet is a success, sheet NMS-7 will be developed quickly which will be an O gauge version of the NMS-5 Scottish Region BR blue version complete with depot emblems. It looks as if sheet NMS-7 and the planned NMS-8 (large logo) will be on sheets larger than the one above to accommodate all of the required livery elements. This allow some smaller OO gauge and new N gauge part-sheets to be completed too. The range is about to expand!
The picture above is a snapshot of the latest proof which has been checked carefully for dimensions and colour. Note the small black numerals for loco end numbers if using the sheet for engineers ‘Dutch’ livery. Some of the number typefaces are different for up-to-date end numbering too. The correct method is to replace all of the printed loco number on a model, not just the numerals which need to be changed, because every manufacturer prints livery elements in a slightly different manner. Sometimes, factory applied printing can be slightly over-size or slightly too heavy. To match manufacturers lettering is impossible to do with one universal transfer sheet – it can change slightly from model to model. In all, this is a comprehensive sheet crammed with as much as we can get in in the space and at a reasonable price too! It has been approved for printing at this time.
Also, in conjunction with this project, I am developing some etched products too, primarily scenery items. It’s been a sharp learning curve to get to grips with a drawing programme in the meantime – the principles are entirely different from working in PhotoShop! I completed my first etched sheet recently which was for simple phosphor-bronze pick-up strip which allowed me to test the etching concept and gain a very useful modelling product from the work at the same time. It did work, much to my surprise, resulting in a nicely sharp etch. More on new etching developments soon.
June 14, 2018
It’s been a while since I last took a look at my N gauge ‘Dudley Heath’ layout which has been in storage since its last exhibition. The layout is inspired by the Grand Junction Railway route (circa 1998-2004) through the Black Country and primarily hosts suburban trains associated with that area operated by Class 150s, Class 310s and eventually a Class 322 (when I get round to building one). Freight is predominantly steel, intermodal and china clay together with some general freight traffic. I plan to start expanding the freight stock roster once again – there’s some interesting stuff on the horizon.
Today, I dug the layout out from under the main layout at home and set it up for a bit of a look. The layout has not been worked on in that time and the only project undertaken at the work bench has been an N gauge Class 310/1 based on Electra Railway Graphics vinyl overlays. My photo session today shows the layout in the condition it arrived home from its last show 18 months’ ago!
The newly completed Class 310/1 set is less than satisfactory due to the 3D printed cab mouldings which are pretty rough and do not match the profile of the roofs of the Graham Farish Mark 2 stock used in the conversion. There were no alternatives to the mouldings which at least allowed the project to be completed. The model will have a little more adjustment before it next goes out with the layout to a show. The trailers need raising by about half a millimetre or so.
Class 150s in various forms make up the local passenger services together with the Class 310/1. No. 150123 runs past a short engineers train.
One of the Class 150s on the layout is a 3-car Class 150/0 as No. 150001 finished in Centro livery. The model represents one of the two prototype units which worked Centro routes in the West Midland and Black Country for many years. Class 150s no longer work in large numbers in the area and are missed by many enthusiasts.
Freight traffic with a Dapol Class 58 on the front and Class 150/1 No. 150123 on the main line in the background.
A project to be finished off is the second of the prototype Class 150s in the form of Class 150/0 No. 150002 which has the roof details left over from its days as an evaluation unit (Class 154) for Class 158 development. It sits on the layout above in an undercoat of Regional Railways silver grey – it will be finished in Centro livery in die course. I am unhappy with the finish of the centre car which is built up as a cut and shut with parts from two cars. It will be reworked for a better fit of the details. Parts for two more Class 150s are to hand – three cars for a hybrid Class 150/ with Class 150/2 centre car together with the Class 950 Ultrasonic Test unit. All good fun!
In the meantime, the layout will be checked over for damage and OHLE masts and portals examined and adjusted – they are quite delicate and prone to slight damage during the course of a show. I am also evaluating some new scenery materials and new acrylic paints which I plan to use to rework most of the scenery to represent late summer or early Autumn rather than the stark greens of early summer. Work to develop the layout will start again in the Autumn, even though the layout has no exhibition bookings at this time. Some scenic features remain to be finished and others need tidying up – photographs always reveal where those things are and processing today’s images has already pointed a few things out!
May 2, 2018
One of the tighter decoder installations done here recently is squeezing a decoder in the OO gauge Bachmann ‘Wickham’ Trolley…under the floor.
An ESU LokPilot Nano ‘Standard’ was used. Now, when installing a decoder, note that the model has a coreless motor which does not work very well with BEMF. CV49 was set to zero to switch BEMF off resulting in some fine running once all the pick-up wipers had been adjusted.