Tuesday, 12 February 2019


Every cloud has one. My own silver lining is a scarily tidy playroom on account of pest control coming round to spray the upper floor of my home in order to combat a clothes moth infestation. Everything has been found a home on shelves or in cupboards except for Vischkaai's baseboards which have been moved (temporarily) downstairs. Though I could have left them in the room I didn't want to take a risk of what I'd done reacting with the chemicals used in the spraying. Though the board surface look pretty plain and unfinished I reckon that the hours put into just the surface textures will be into three figures by now.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


We last took a look at my toys over a year ago. It's frankly not surprising that updates are few and far between, blogs are this century's diaries and I was always rubbish at keeping up to date with diary entries. What's happened in the intervening year is that I've built, or am part way through building a Belgian layout, Vischkaai, designed to be portable with half an eye on taking it to the occasional exhibition. The nuts and bolts of baseboard, track, wires and landforms are done and I'm some way through the scenery. Here are a couple of reasonably current images.

In parallel with the layout build I'm putting together a small collection of stock suitable for an industrial line winding its way through the streets to the docks. So far efforts have been directed at weathering rtr vehicles, and most satisfying it has been too. 

Sunday, 9 April 2017


Since my last post we've moved home, not a great distance and I still have a decent sized playroom but I'm still in the unpacking phase so model making has taken a back seat. Having said that I managed to make some progress on the vans before my workbench was packed away. The second of the ferry vans was completed to the same stage as its companion, only requiring weathering to finish.

 It was while I was picking out the yellow anchor points that I noticed that the far right ones were missing from the original Hornby mouldings so I fabricated the missing items from black plasticard taking dimensions from those that Hornby included.

Also making progress was the modified kit to represent the night ferry brake van with the birdcage roof. In the end I bought a fresh kit from Parkside as it's much easier to work in the flat and for some resons the sides on my ready built model had started to bow outwards. The photo sequence should illustrate the work done, the white parts being my scratchbuilt additions.

One crucial advantage of buying a fresh kit is that I could use the roof of the ropey ready built example to extend that of the fresh kit to match the longer length of the night ferry brake over the standard PMV.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Through to the continent ....

.... by British Rail.

Quite a lot of things have happened since my last post almost six months ago. Matters have been mainly driven by a decision taken even longer ago to sell our current home and move a few miles to somewhere less remote and a bit flatter. To cut a long story short Morfa was dismantled earlier this year, a few buildings saved and the rest tipped or burned in our boiler. Thoughts turned to its eventual replacement and those thoughts have been coloured by nearby friends who have adopted a common standard of OO gauge, dcc control and tension lock (preferably the latest Bachmann pattern) couplings. 

So the opportunity to make a break from my previous Cambrian Coast theme has presented itself. At the moment this has only been manifest in the gradual accumulation of stock. The latest items to have passed by my workbench have been a pair of Triang Hornby ferry vans bought for a bargain price no doubt on account of the unsuitable liveries; white with Transfesa and Fyfes markings.

To get from here to where I wanted to be with the model involved lowering and fixing the axle/spring assemblies, arranging for pivoting, smaller couplers, getting rid of the lower door runners so that they were flush with the solebars, fixing the door in place, ridding the roof of the circular moulding in its centre, applying paint and finally transfers. It was pleasant, reasonably undemanding work which spread out over a week or so. I'm pleased how a little work has unlocked the potential of a model which basically looked right though compromised by the pivoting wheel sets and sliding door.

There's still some detail painting to do and a spot of weathering as well, but my thoughts are already turning to another stock project which should also align with my Europhile tendencies. Here's the rather ropey starting point.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

All over bar the shouting

My latest project, the 0-16.5 Kerr Stuart is finished apart from couplings and final paint. However this will not be my job as the loco is destined for use on a friends layout, so I can pass it on in its current state.

Though I felt the model looked promising in the earlier stages it didn't gel for me until the addition of the exhaust. Though the real life examples had a variety of patterns, the model seemed to need the bulk of the horizontal exhaust to balance the proportions.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

A temporary change of direction

This week with modelling mojo in the ascendant I've been putting together an 0-16.5 narrow gauge loco for a friend of mine. It's a plasticard scratchbuild on a sweet running Bachmann HO chassis. Based on the Kerr Stuart diesel which spent some time on the WHR before being exported to warmer climes it deviates from strict prototype accuracy in that it has a more typically 'British' cab which is itself stretched a touch to accommodate the motor. However I think it does a pretty good job of representing the characteristics of the real thing.

Though it's been a pleasurable build, there have been times of head scratching partly/mainly because I'm not used to working in the larger scales and I have no instinctive sense of the size of things.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Gloom lifts

While matters in politics-land still seem both confused and unsatisfactory, the world of trains has brought some joy back to the world. The first being a day of fun on the Corris Railway topped off by the chance to drive the new O&K diesel up and down the line from Maespoeth.

Today I've made a little progress fettling and repairing some items of HO stock, a van and a tanker.

Though neither was a big job there was a good deal of satisfaction to be had just by repairing something broken.