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That was the weekend that was….

Well the layout made it to and from Scaleforum – possibly I did too!

Last Friday, the inside of the hire van looked like this.  Whilst the cases worked a treat, the dismantling of the layout from being set up on my own took a long time – much longer than I had hoped or expected.

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Once at the venue, I was able to press gang some “volunteers” to erect the layout and this was much easier.

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Getting the beams levelled up was speedy even though none of my press team had any experience of my logic!  Indeed, with their help, it assembled itself quicker than Portchullin does although the jury is out in my mind as to whether this is simply because it as yet has rather less on it!

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The layout’s size quite quickly became apparent; especially its depth – as can be seen here with Chris in the background for a sense of sale!  Please don’t tell my wife this is actually quite big, I have been telling her it is pretty normally sized!

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I did not manage to get front side all that often so I have only fairly limited numbers of photographs.  Fortunately Samuel Bennett has come to my rescue and has provided a number of photographs to show what it looked like to the visitor.

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We only had three correct Highland locos chipped up (and one of these decided to sulk after a couple of hours!) so we did break out the blue diesels to make sure we had a fully operational layout.  Above there are a few of the locos awaiting chipping on shed and below we have the scene 50 years later!

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……..and below is simply confused!

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Although the layout did not operate perfectly, it did behave much better than I (and my operating team) had feared!  The two page list of faults and issues to resolve with the trackwork, wiring or stock is a fraction of the list that would have existed after Portchullin’s first outing (if I ever had one!).

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The signals received a lot of comment, even if there was one missing because I managed to damage it as I was packing the layout.  There’ll be another post on these soon.

Putting a Backbone into a Shed

The advantage of a railway company using standard building designs is that you can get to use them more than once.  Thus Portchullin’s goods shed will be getting to have a new lease of life on Glenmutchkin.

I think my goods shed is the oldest model that I still have and over the years it is fair to say has suffered.  Some of this is simply the thirty six shows that it has done with Portchullin (hell………thirty six shows…….!) and almost as many years, as I was about 17 when I made it.  However the main issue was the manner in which I built it, with minimal bracing over the top of the entrances.  This has lead to it breaking its back and despite several attempts at repair, these have never been long lasting.  So it is time to do it properly to allow its reincarnation on Glenmutchkin.

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The key to the repair was to introduce a metal skeleton frame inside the model to strengthen it – particularly across the rail doors.  This is something I now tend to do at the outset with any largish building I build to contain warping.  The frame is invisible from the exterior – the view above shows the frame that I made with the first side attached.

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The frame was made with some 3mm square and oblong section brass, with gusset plates – there was a fair amount of metal so it got close to blacksmithing at one stage.

Once the frame was inserted, the model was given an overhaul to repair the other dinks and marks that it has acquired over the years.  There were a fair few, as can be seen.

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I also to the opportunity to install gutters and downpipes; something I had been meaning to do since I was 17………a bit of a shameful shortfall, given I am a chartered building surveyor!

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I am pleased with the results and the model is now much more robust so it should do at least another 36 shows!  Whether its owner can will be kept under review!

My goods shed is based on the Orbach drawings of the shed at Garve (the August 1952 edition of the Model Railway News).  The prototype was swept away in the 1970s and whilst there are a pair of the smaller sheds still remaining (notably at Brora), there are no longer any of the standard Highland Goods sheds left.  The last to go was in Golspie about two years ago and I did manage to both photograph and measure it before it went.  Here are some views of it before it was demolished:

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Baseboards: Attention!

With the need to load the layout in the back of a van to get it to Scaleforum looming, I have been pressing ahead with the creation of travelling boxes for the boards.

Despite being pretty simple, they do take a long time to make but those for the main visible boards are at least all now complete – and here they are on parade!

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It Lives Igor; the Monster, It Lives……

Well, it is twitching quite a lot anyway……………..

A significant day in the life of Glenmutchkin over this weekend, as I have got a significant proportion of the trackwork which has been laid operational.  Admittedly I have an electrical issue in the branch bay (something is wired backwards!), the fiddle yard has not yet been linked to the layout and the single slip still has not be corrected but it works…………..

This is my Loghgorm Bogie (Clyde Bogie series)  built by John James.  The body is not quite sitting right on it, which is why there is a bit of bouncing; which is a bit worse when it runs faster as below.

Lots to do, but we are getting there!   There will be a working layout for Scaleforum!

 

 

Calming an Exhibition Manager’s Nerves…………

So with nine weeks to go (a couple of which will be lost with a summer holiday) to Glenmutchkin’s first outing at Scaleforum, the state of progress is at the forefront my mind!  It is probably rather more at the forefront of the exhibition manager’s mind! 

So help to calm the Scaleforum’s exhibition manager’s nerves, here is a progress report and update photographs to prove that even if I have not been providing many posts, progress is being made on a number of fronts:

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Most of the track is laid and wired; much of it is also ballasted, although it still needs colouring.

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Most of the signals are finished but not yet linked up (which explains some of the droopy angles of the arms!).  There will be more posts on this topic soon.

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The principal bridge has been finished for a while, but it is looking a bit more “at home”.

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…..especially with a fine loco to set it off.

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Golden July for the Highland

A little bit like buses, you wait for a long time for some interesting articles on the Highland Railway and all of a sudden we get two or three come along in the same issue – in this case the July edition of the Railway Modeller.  It is a veritable Highland-fest and is well worth buying as a result (no apologies for bias offered!).

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First up the layout of the month is Howard Geddes’ Blair Atholl and Druimuachdar.  His layout is a representation of Blair Atholl station along with its approach from the south and the line over the big hill (Druimuachdar as Howard describes it or present day Drumochter).   It is liberally illustrated with photographs of the layout and numerous Highland locos – these cover many of the Highland’s locos and also those of the LMS era.   Howard has written notes for each of the photographs to illustrate the historical context of the train, the loco of the scene to make this a bit more interesting than the average article in the model railway press.

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So to emulate Howard, I can tell you that this is a Loch Class, number 127 Loch Garry taking water in front of Blair Atholl’s shed.  When built, these were the front line express engines but on the building of later locomotives, they were relegated to slightly less important tasks.  So this may well have come off a Blair Atholl local (the all stations stopping services from Perth terminated at Blair) or has just returned from piloting a train up the hill.

The other article of interest for the modeller of the Highland was by Peter Fletcher and was a review of his locomotive fleet for his EM gauge layout Croich (which is based on Tain shed).  As he says himself, the layout is really a vehicle to show off his loco fleet and it is fair to say it is fairly extensive  and covers the majority of the Highland types in existence in 1920.  The article also includes a reprint of a drawing for the small ben class of loco; hopefully a few people may be provoked into

Perhaps the most pleasant part of the two articles is how all but a couple of the locomotives have actually been built!   Oh that we see a bit more of this in the mainstream model railway press!

I don’t have any pictures of Peter’s layout so you will need to refer to July’s edition of the Railway Modeller or the March 2018 for the whole layout.  Howard has however provided me with a number of photographs of Blair Atholl that weren’t in the magazine to act as a tempter………..

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Wee Ben, no 14413, Ben Alligan crossing Howard’s model of Altnaslanach Viaduct (from just north of Moy, and still there albeit in structural terms now merely decoration to a steel replacement that is inserted within it).  It is the Highland’s locos in the LMS first livery that float my boat, so this is as good as it gets for me!

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HR’s no 99 Glentromie, one of David Jones’ Strath class with some sheep and cattle wagons at the head of a mix freight train.

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The premier locomotives on the Highland mainline between 1928 and the arrival of the Black 5s in 1934 were the Hughes Crab class – a locomotive that I find the brutishness of which very appealing (I have a couple in progress).  Here we have them hauling a freight train through the Druimuachdar portion of Howard’s layout – representing the summit of the line going through the wildness of the Grampian Mountains.  I was looking down on the scene only a fortnight ago from one of the adjacent munros looking at the really short HST sets now in use on the mainline!

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The Hughes crabs again on a more normal passenger travelling in the opposite (northwards) direction.

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A vista across the MPD area of Blair Atholl with Loch Garry now taking a breather waiting for its next roster.

The final of the three buses is the announcement of the release of a Highland signal cabin by Peco, as per my previous post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peco Announce a Highland Signal Cabin

I had not expected to ever say this, but I can write a post on Highland Miscellany about a forthcoming Highland Railway product from one of the mainstream manufacturers!

In this case this is going to be from Peco and it is based on the cabin at Helmsdale (Helmsdale South).  This is still existent and has been out of use for some time but has been recently refurbished.  It is in 4mm only at present (but who knows about the future?) and seems to represent its present condition.  As I understand it, it is going to be a laser cut kit and is due to be released later this year.

When it comes out, I will certainly buy one and review it here but in the meantime here are some photographs of the initial prototype courtesy of Paul Marshall Potter.

And here are a few pictures of the real thing from a few years back.

News from Miscellany Models

Followers of this blog will have noted that various test builds of my artwork coming together and I am now able to offer a number of these for sale under the name of Miscellany Models.

First up is a  Highland Railway/LMS/BR diagram 51 full brake – priced at £48.00 for a 4mm and is suitable for OO, EM or P4.  These were the last generation of full brake produced by the Highland, built with both cupboard doors and sliding doors as well as alternative forms of guards duckets (all of these are included in the kit).  The kit inclusive of fully sprung Fox bogies (see below), roof, corridor connections (also see below) but all castings and buffers will need to be sourced separately.  The castings for the bogies are proposed, but are not presently available.

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As was common with many pre-grouping coaches these vehicles utilised Fox Bogies (£16.00) and these are being made separately to the remainder of the kit,  These bogies have been developed in conjunction with Justin at Rumney Models and are fully sprung, with both the axleboxes and the bolsters sprung.     They really do glide across track and look as if they weigh many tons rather than a few grams!  They need castings for your favoured axleboxes/springs and bolsters but do include the foot steps and all of the bogies sides, brakes and details.  Suitable for oo, EM and P4.

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The second coach kit is for a MR/LMS/BR: Dia 530 Passenger Brake – priced at £36.00 in 4mm scale (suitable for OO, EM and P4).  This prototype was built in some numbers and by the 1920s they were spread extensively across the LMS system.   The kit is for full etches covering the roof, body, underframe and footboards plus parts for the sliding central axle included.  It needs axlebox/springs (available from Branchlines or Coopercraft), gas lamps, buffers, brake and gas cylinders.

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On the wagon front, there is an etch to detail the NER/LNER/BR: Dia P7 Hopper Wagon – £13.50 4mm (sufficient for two wagons).  They cater for a large number of the variants to this numerous and long lasting hopper wagon.  Needs wheels and the Slaters kit P7 kit for the donor model.  Variants that can be made include the end braked version, improved components for the Morton braked version, outside twin W irons and also the anti-friction wheel device.

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All of these are available from my website https://miscellanymodels.com/  and in addition to this from the Rumney Models stand at the following shows – Scalefour North in April, Railex in May, Scalefourum in September and South Hants in November,

All of these have been extensively road tested by me with a couple of test builds for each of them.  You can see this unfold on my blog and if you are interested in seeing how they go together do take a look!

Please remember that the availability of these models is an adjunct to my own hobby and this has to be accommodated within the constraints of my day job and general life!  In particular I can’t get to post these orders until Saturdays so do please give me a little slack when it comes to getting the goods to you!

 

 

 

Take a Chair (….err, actually a few thousand!)

Of late, I have been getting on with one of the more boring layout building jobs; that of adding cosmetic rail chairs.

As I wish to retain the flexibility of soldered track construction (basically because I do not trust myself to get it right the first time!), it is necessary to affix cosmetic chairs at each sleeper.  I did lesson the task by using part soldered/part chaired plain track but even so I reckon there are three thousand chairs to affix………..

It does, however, make a big difference and the track is now beginning to look real – as you can see below.

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I am over half way and so it will soon – which is just as well as filing the chairs ready to lay is wearing my thumbs and fingers out to very sore digits!

Arguably though, chair fixing is a form of procrastination because i must finish the wiring and then confront that turntable again!

 

Diagram 51 Full Brakes – Test Build part 5; now in glorious technicolor!

The pages of this blog have charted the development of a proposed kit to build the Highland Railways dia 51 full brake; well finally it is finished and we get to see them in the flesh and painted up.

The kit can produce, with a bit of modification, two variants of door and I have now build both of them.  First up the cupboard door version painted in crimson lake and minus full footboards.

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Second we have the sliding door version, this being modelled with full step boards and in Highland Olive green.

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Apologies that the technicolor photos are a bit short on gloriousness; it is fair p*ssing down today and this is the most light that I could get to take any photos!

If you want to recap on the earlier blogs that show the development of the proposed kit, you can find them here:

Part 1 – getting underway with the body

Part 2 – drawing the chassis and roof to a conclusion

Part 3 – the build of the second vehicle (sliding door version)

Part 4 – details of the spring bogies that accompany these (and many other coaches)

I do now have a batch of these back from the etchers and I aim to conclude the instructions on Monday/Tuesday.  I will then make a notification that they are available but at present I cannot provide the castings and those to the bogie are rather important.  If you can scavenge from a Lochgorm kit some Iracier axleboes/springs, you will be able to complete the kit; if not then I am seeking to either source some of these castings or produce my own.  So watch this space.

 

Roger Farnworth

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