Friday, 29 May 2009

Railex 2009 Aylesbury

Made the annual pilgrimage to the Aylesbury Show last weekend. It never fails to offer top-class layouts and this year was no exception. I particularly wanted to see Faringdon by Stephen Williams, a fantastic layout full of well-observed detail and perfectly portraying the terminus as well as a wonderful scenic section on the way to the fiddle yard. It is everything a good layout should be...but then again I'm biased being a Great Western branch line devotee! The layout was operating in BR (WR) guise (on the Sunday at least) and ran beautifully. Rather than post the thirty-odd pictures I took of it on here treat yourself to Model Railway Journal 77 or part 3 of Stephen's series of books on GWR branch line modelling from Wild Swan Publications. This little cameo on the platform is very pleasing, portraying a slower pace of life in a world now vanished. Not one passenger with a mobile phone, no graffiti and not a hi-vis jacket in site!

Here we see a typical WR branch line scene with a 57xx pannier and B-set just arrived at Faringdon with a van in tow. The prototype for the distinctive station building still survives today, in use a a nursery.

One of the best 3mm layouts around is West Harptree by Mike Corp. It portrays a fictional GWR branch in North Somerset with a connection to the Somerset & Dorset, hence the appearance of this LMS 3F 0-6-0. This layout is always a delight to watch, particular attention is paid to reliable running and it shows.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The inspiration

Way back in the early days of this blog I mentioned that my new 3mm scale layout was inspired by a 4mm scale one from the early 1970's by John Flann. Here is a photo of "Little Hintock", a layout which has always been one of my favourites. My interpretation is called "Chipping Compton".

Monday, 4 May 2009

Not another pannier!

Over the years I've built a fair number of locomotives and being a devotee of ex-GW branch lines a high percentage have been panniers of one sort or another. As any 3mm modellers reading this will know, if you wanted a 57XX type you used to have to either scratch build or use the old GEM kit. The GEM kit was (and still is) perfectly usable but when the Brynkits one came on the market its etched brass and resin construction seemed to make an even better looking loco achievable. Having already made an example of the 8750 series from a Brynkits etch I thought it would be nice to have another from the 5700 series with its older style cab. I'm taking my time with this one as it will hopefully become the staple motive power for the new layout and special attention will be taken to ensure it runs as well as possible. The following photographs and notes are not intended to be a guide to construction as the instructions provided are perfectly adaquate, they are merely here a a work log to show I've been doing something!
The first part of the kit to be completed was the cab sub-assembly which is mainly another fold-up unit apart from the rear end which just slots nicely into position. The trickiest part without a doubt was the beading around the cabside aperture. As an exercise to get back into soldering again after many months it worked quite well and I am particularly pleased with the look of the cab rear windows and their coal bars.

Next to be tackled was the running plate which consists mainly of 2 etches which are simply sweated together. The lower one incorporates fold-up spasher fronts to which the splasher tops are soldered. Side overlays include front and rear steps.

The kit uses an ingenious fold-up method and makes a really good entry-level kit for anybody new to chassis construction. It is pretty difficult not to assemble it squarely. This is the 14th one I've made using this concept and I must mention that I have removed the spring detail from the frames below the 2 front axles. This is done merely to allow my choice of pick-ups to be used and does not detract from the finished appearance.