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Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
First stop - Stevenage

Over the Christmas period we've been doing some unglamorous logistics work - tidying up the electrics and rearranging the transport boxes to make travelling to and from shows easier - ready for our 2017 outings, the first of which is at the CMRA's first show at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on 14th and 15th January.   

In the meantime, Doncaster works has, I hope, finally adjusted the new chassis in 'Papyrus' so that it will run successfully on CF at Stevenage. The main problem which presented at Warley was that the 13 mm fine scale drivers are 0.8 mm smaller than the N scale originals, which threw out the front bogie clearances. With a bit of luck she will turn out to be a really useful green engine and look good on the Queen of Scots Pullman.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Papyrus.jpg

With this project out of the way work has resumed on the P2, 'Lord President' and the valve gear is now erected on the LHS.

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The valve gear can be placed in forward or reverse, as can be seen in this video: https://youtu.be/fUTQ5Ibe1Bk

Posted by on in News
Where to buy model railways in London?

Since originally writing this blog, another shop has gone. Meanwhile, WH Smiths has given up on Modelzone, with all the concessions closing over the last few weeks perhaps precipitated by Hornby closing most if not all of its concessions. Whilst it's sad to see any shop close, Wheels of Steel was perhaps the most restricted with its generally second hand range. So there are 6 shops left  - use them or (as we've just seen) lose them. TC Feb 17

 

You may be one of the hundreds of households that has received a Hornby or Bachmann OO model railway train-set for the first time this Christmas - perhaps even a Graham Farish one in N gauge. We hope you enjoy it.

Once you have discovered the fun of what is included, your mind (or certainly that of the child for whom it might be officially intended) may well turn to buying something else for it - whether that is a bit more track, another locomotive, coach or wagon. Or perhaps some buildings, kits, tools or paints. Perhaps the shop that sold the set doesn't sell much more than that set, so where can you go?

20-30 years ago, there was a network of shops across London selling a vast range of items which meant you didn't have to travel too far - depending on your age the names Beatties,  W&H, Hamblings, King's Cross Models, Blunts, Puffers, Engine Shed may ring a bell - all long gone. And most toy shops now have only the most basic of ranges from one supplier.

Of course, there are a plethora of websites you can use to order by post, but if you want to browse before you buy, or buy things like paints that can't be posted easily these days, where can you go? Especially if you want some advice. Well here are some suggestions of the seven shops we would call 'model railway shops' - ie that have a range of different products - that are still left in London itself. The views are those of the authors and based on last visits to the shops (which is a while ago in some cases), and they are in no particular order. But do use them - or there will be even fewer of them.

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Highlights from Warley

 

So we're back from Warley. Setting up was restricted to four hours because of a delay getting into the hall - we need five, to include getting stock on.  Needless to say, our running on Saturday morning was a bit of a trial.  However the big success was seeing the major works at the south end giving the layout a big improvement in its overall ambience.

  

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Goods and Mineral Junction Box

 I thought you might like to see the last bit of work on the centrepiece of Belle Isle, before we crated the layout to go to Warley.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov-16-E.JPG

Making blocks of buildings is a useful way of checking shape / space requirements. There is no question that Goods & Mineral Jcn. box will need a fully detailed interior, because you will be able to see see right into it from the front.  We should also have all the lattice girder work in time for Warley, assuming Mike's eyesight holds up.

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Finally, whilst ruffling through Matthew's Brown Box I found the last of Ced Verdon's resin cast buses. These are exquisite works of art and, even if it is completely the wrong type of bus, looks excellent on York Way. Just needs a few bill boards along the parapets to complete the scene.

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 Tim

 

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Professionalism Maintained

The layout running settled in very nicely at the Club's Open Day on 20th November.   Gary has devised a very elegant shuttle mechanism for the underground and Richard's buildings made major progress as he demonstrated today.

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The main buildings and roads have been given a more convincing colour wash at the south end (which belies the large amount of work still required) and Mike's eye aching lattice bridges are beginning to look the business on the ramp line.  The goods warehouse will be lowered to single story for three bays near York Road after the next show - it would be more in keeping with the potato warehouses at this site and make the building 'stack up' better

 b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov-16-B.JPG

The new J39 has bedded in well and the repaired B17 purred along all day.  The A3, Papyrus, despite a frustrating amount of tweaking, still has a wooden leg and so the chassis will probably be replaced by a 12 hr fine scale replacement - perhaps even in time for Warley.

 

We have maintained professionalism in the Club on York Way as can be seen by one of the photos: probably a senior member of the legal profession in the Jaguar.

b2ap3_thumbnail_CF-Nov-16-C.JPG

Posted by on in Copenhagen Fields
Work "Ramps Up"on Goods Yard

Quite a lot of recent progress in the King’s Cross yard. The ramp to the Cally Goods & Coal Yard is now blocked out and in red oxide primer.  It is red brick anyway, but will need detail cladding in our home made brick plastic. In the short-term it will be weathered in its current form to meld it into the scene.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_image1.JPG

Posted by on in Putnam
Putnam - November update

Putnam will not be running during the Club's Open Day on November 20th.  The lower hall will be given over to the Club's wonderful Copenhagen Fields layout, which is a good reason in itself to come along on Sunday.

Several members of the Putnam group will be present on the day, helping out in various capacities.  They will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Posted by on in Minories
Sticking point

There are six points on Minories, all operated with Tortoise slow action point motors with Exactoscale baseplates transferring the movement of the motor through a tie-bar under the baseboard to wires soldered to the underside of the switch rails. b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5758.JPGThere are stretcher bars between the switch rails, and although these do provide some mechanical joints between the two switch rails, the core drive is from the under-baseboard tie bar. If you want to find out more, these instructions via the C&L website might help:

 http://www.finescale.org.uk/pdfs/Tortoise%20instructions1.pdf

Posted by on in Putnam
Putnam - October update

Following Putnam's last showing at the London Festival of Railway Modelling in March, work has commenced on expanding the side of the layout away from public view.  The storage sidings, now shared with the clubs a-building modern image OO gauge layout Ingatestone, are being increased from 8 to 13 lines.  The Club's carpentry whizz has grafted on extensions to the baseboards and work is well underway on the trackwork.  Once that is complete it will be a case of all hands below decks as we get stuck into the wiring.


Posted by on in Happisburgh Goods
What, more rolling stock?

One may wonder why a layout of this vintage still needs new rolling stock. When the main Happisburgh layout was sold to MRC and GOG member Martin Long, most of the stock was passenger vehicles. A lot of what freight stock we had was returned to its original owners and what we had left was showing its age (just like the real thing!) So a few new vehicles have crept in here and there. Peter Rayner produced a Parkside Horsebox a while ago, and more recently it has been joined be a second one and surprise surprise, has even given permission for us to weather them. Another useful vehicle he’s currently building will be a standard BR brake van so the new one will make a welcome addition as we were particularly short of serviceable brake vans.

 

Some of the locos were also showing their age, so for a start the J15 has now been refurbished. She had lots of chips on the paintwork, had parts of the coupling’s missing, loose handrails, a missing buffer, etc, etc. There was no sign of any crew either (not sure if she ever had any) so some suitable Omen figures were purchased at Telford for the purpose and other locos have now also had new or additional crew figures installed.

 

Dave Coasby

Posted by on in Happisburgh Goods
Autumn in Happisburgh

We’ve had Alan West’s BTH Class 15 diesel running on Happisburgh Goods for some time. It was constructed from a kit many years ago, but it never looked or ran very well. However, after extensive rebuilding of the mechanism and bogies by the late Peter Elmslie, it at least ran well, and with some very heavy weathering applied by your scribe, this at least hid some of the many imperfections.

However, Bob Smith caught a glimpse of the forthcoming Little Loco Company’s model of the same class at Telford, while it was on display on 82G. He is now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the postman so he can get his hands on this lovely new model. Hopefully this will be seen running on Happisburgh Goods in the near future.

Speaking of which, we are taking Happisburgh Goods to The Garden of England Modelfest at Knockolt, Kent on 10th & 11th December. Then in the New Year to the Canterbury Model Railway Exhibition on 21st & 22nd January, quickly followed a week later by the Longfield Model Railway Exhibition on 28th & 29th January.

Dave Coasby

Tagged in: Happisburgh O gauge
Video shared by on in Keen House

The new outer ring 00 test track's proved most useful to the guys from "Ingatestone" 00 as they combined their fleet of container wagons into a 1/2  prototypical length  intermodal train as seen on the GE route from Felixstowe into London. 

We hope to run trains of this size on the layout with class 66, 70, 86 & 90's at the head on Ingatestone. 

We've recently laid extra tracks in between our O gauge tracks, to enable a greater variety of stock to be run, and reflecting the popularity of the test tracks every Thursday evening. All of the tracks can be controlled by DC or DCC to maximise choice.

The new outer OO gauge ring now offers the opportunity on track nights for members to run very long trains round with out them "tail chasing" the last wagon, and with less strain on the locomotive. b2ap3_thumbnail_Kev-Intermodals-Oct-16.jpg

In the picture, Kev counts off all 18 wagons of the test run beside the new tracks that have been installed.

 

 

Posted by on in Minories
Converting Heljan Class 23 to EM

TOut of the boxhe Heljan Class 23 is one of the simpler conversions to EM gauge. I don't think there are any revolutionary ideas here, but hope this may be of use to anyone else contemplating the conversion or looking for an easy one to start with.

Tagged in: EM gauge Heljan Minories

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Ingatestone's September running day

Last Thursday Ingatestone had a demo / running night so we all brought some stock in to run on the two big end boards. Chris had his class 90 – a work in progress upgrade from the Hornby original whilst James had the old “One Anglia” livery version ‘out of the box’ so we could compare (as shown in the title picture), and talk about the ways to improve it. We also had some HST's and class 56's  running for the fun of it!

New member Gus brought in a class 92 (freshly delivered from Hattons sale) which will be a conversion to GBRF/Euro Port livery as these class 92 were running between Trafford Park/Crewe and Ipswich with a daily container train for Felixstowe  in our time frame.  This was a short lived event in the real world but we will run this train through Ingatestone to show the variety that can appear on today’s Great Eastern railway .

A fun night with the team, as the pictures below show, with Kev fixing a wheel, a class 92 running under Stock Lane past the new signals, and James and Gus in discussion whilst operating.

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Tagged in: 4mm Essex Ingatestone

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Ballasting on Ingatestone

I still get a bit of a buzz when the postman has a parcel for me and yesterday I took delivery of two laser cut kits from Lazor Works. With  some adaption these should make a fair model of the signal box at Ingatestone. Mo has been busy at home working more traditionally on the model  of the gate keepers cottage - Looking good Mo!

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Meanwhile back at Keen House we did a master class in ballasting with Chris, watched avidly by Kev who was soon stuck in with the PVA spray bottle. Note the handy little ballast hopper/dropper - very useful for getting clean lines.

Posted by on in Ingatestone
Ingatestone's back from its holidays

The summer is often a down time for modellers, as family holidays, the gardening and BBQ's take over. But we have been continuing with work on Ingatestone b2ap3_thumbnail_20160905_205804.jpgmostly on Board 6 (the big corner board that goes into the fiddle yard) with what in the photo looks like a complicated amount of wire and points is in fact a simplification. The expanded fiddle yard being built by Putnum has head shunts so we have now dispensed with ours we just need to return our trains to the (correct?) UK running practice. Hence James, Chris and Lawrence have re-laid the track and put in points and motors in tandem. So with one flick of the switch both move which means a lower risk of accidents as the ladder is either open or closed. As pictured the wires and electrics are in Beta testing ahead of proper installation.

Tagged in: 4mm Ingatestone layout

Posted by on in Empire Mills
Empire Mills Summer 2016

As we indicated in May, we have an exhibition in Peterborough in October, and so the summer has been focussed on getting ready for that. As we started to fiix some problems with the track with (including some damaged track ends at board joints, the fiddle yard and some unevenness in the track itself) we encountered more problems. After some soul searching we realised that trying to fix the specific problems would probably just create more and that without decent working reliable track we would struggle to operate the layout well. So the decision was taken to relay all of the track. b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5541.JPG

As we lifted it, we realised that some of the problems were caused by delamination in the camping mat foam used as underlay (possibly the glue?), and that whilst it looks good the butanone bonding of plastic chairs to woopen sleepers isn't as strong as using plastic sleepers. I used the same techniques discussed in previous blogs  for points and board joints to build the track in situ using some 1/8" cork as underlay. The added challenge here is building track in situ on wider boards than I'm used to or easily have space for in my workshop (who knew 6" made such a difference..) and with the scenery in place.

Posted by on in Empire Mills
Empire Mills gets a turntable

Following our last blog in May, we have unpacked the layout from its hibernation and a group of members gathered to go through the list of stuff that we thought needed doing. Now as we know, there is no 'right way' to build a model railway. There are certainly some wrong ways but most of us have a preferred way, generally one that is proven to work for us. And with a pretty much new team there were various ideas of how things that need to be sorted out could be done differently from the original plan.

One of the things on the list was to improve the track around the entrance to the fiddle yard, and the fiddle yard cassettes themselves. The current system is L-section aluminium fixed to foamboard which has warped, and it's all a bit tight around the entry to the layout.

A G-scale commission - Part 4 - The Django Express Arrives

The owner of the venue was persuaded to allow us to put removable brackets up along the way to support the layout, which was a major relief, as we were worried that if supported only on the legs if someone grabbed it and fell over, they could bring the layout with it. The brackets not only provide extra support, put also enable us to fix its relationship to the wall, so it doesn't move in or out. The brackets are a simple two-slot type from a well known DIY chain, with a wood baton screwed to the top on which the boards rest, and pieces of wood screwed inside for the boards to sit over.

Posted by on in Modelling
A G-scale Commission -Part 3

Work continued, with more track laid, and the wiring following closely behind. The connectors are 3-pin XLRs, with wires linking directly between the sockets on the boards and then to each section of rail. There are separate jumpers between each of the boards. The wire is thicker than we'd normally use, to make sure it can take the current and not have a voltage drop over the length of the layout.

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The team that had been making baseboards moved onto some legs. The idea was to provide support along the undulating floor of the venue, with some sort of representation of an American trestle bridge. Following a prototype leg, to check the concept, I got some 70m of timber baton to Keen House from the trusty timber merchant on the roof of the car, and we set about cutting it into the sections. We made a jig to help speed up the process, and in the pictures below you can see the jig next to some half constructed legs, halfway through construction and with Tom S and David screwing in the leg height adjusters. I'm not sure why the screw driver is that long either.