Whilst I have not put any posts up showing progress with the boards for Glenmutchkin, progress is being made and the last two boards are essentially now finished. I am hoping that with one more day’s work which will mostly be to build up a carrying box for the final two, they can all come home.
In anticipation of this, I have been building some turnouts and a bit of the basic trackwork.
I am only able to do the turnouts which I am reasonably confident will not change shape when the track is finally laid out on the boards. In essence this means the crossings in the bay, the main line and the goods yard. I have also done one of the turnouts in the yard. So seven down, twelve to go including a slip!
I have also developed my approach to TOU’s slightly from Portchullin. As a finished article they look like this:
You will see that relatively little of the TOU is exposed (and when it is painted it blend away further). Equally it is much more durable than most of the other options out there because the switchblade is held by both a wire strip but also to some brass strip that is tight to the underside of both the switchrail and the switchblade. By installing this strip in this location, the switchblade is held in a vertical plane much better than other solutions. I think this leads to better running.
This is what it looks like as it is being assembled. You will see that in essence is it is merely a bit of copper clad below the switchblades, but lowered somewhat further due to the use of the brass strip. This allows the whole lot to be hidden below the boards.
You will note the rather unusual arrangement of sleepers. This is called interlacing and was very common on many pre-grouping lines, including the Highland. I will expand on this in a future posting.
A fairly big day in Glenmutckin’s life today; the start on baseboards.
As I mentioned in the last post; a couple of my team who help on Portchullin made the mistake of both criticising my carpentry skills and then admitting that they ran a joinery business. I guess you can see that they thus talked their way into a task and we spent day one in doing these today.
I know that a bad workman blames their tools; but by god having all the proper kit makes things much faster and a great deal more accurate!! To say nothing of someone who knows rather more about joinery than I do!!
The intended design will be predominantly open design around a skin of ply. Initially a rectangular box is being made, as above. After we have made the first batch of these we will then laminate a further layer of ply around this to provide the material to support the raised scenery and also to house the rebates for the pattern makers dowels – when we have done it hopefully the pictures will make it more clear.
We got three of these boxes made today; here are two of them – what is particularly pleasing is that they are perfectly level across the joint (see the bit of timber laid across the joint). This is an area that I really did not get right on Portchullin and I note that lots of other modellers don’t either – right up to the famous person modelling Leamington Spa.
So thanks Tim and Julian – I am sure some signals can work their way back!
And a small plug for my hosts; if you are looking for a powered loft ladder; give them a try http://www.st-joinery.co.uk/electricloftladder.html?gclid=COfvoN-HyrwCFYWWtAodjCQAcw
When last I updated you on Glenmutchkin, we were making the legs. These have been reassembled and look like this:
They are not yet finished as I wish to make a mount for the support girders; so it will soon be time to prevail on my brother again!! However, I have been tinkering with plans and have come up with the baseboard layout and a rather tidier rendition of the basic plan:
A little unusually, I am making the layout two boards deep as I am trying to get a lot of “depth of field” in the model. Portchullin works very well in this regard to the right side where there is a bank and you do not see the back of the layout but less so in the station building area or across the bridge. The depth of field is intended to try and overcome this but I will be having quite high hillsides behind again for much the same reason.
I am hoping that I have been able to book a bit of time in some friend’s joinery shop this week to make a start on the building of these. Five of the boards are relatively simple; the last two (nos 3 & 7) a lot less so. One of the chief areas that Portchullin lets itself down on is the quality of the baseboards – compensation/springing is a must on steam locos for example! My friends (Tim & Julian) pointed this out with some vigour and told me that they really knew being joiners…………well you can see where that led for the next layout!
Every favour has a price though; so I am down to build something in return for them!
I have not actually picked up a modelling knife or soldering iron for a couple of weeks now; largely because I got a bit of a bug for sorting out the etch artwork.
I have now completed, I hope, all of the artwork I will need for all of the signals that will be required on Glenmutchkin. Indeed, it should do all the signals I and just about anyone else ever needs for any scheme based on the Highland era!!!!
I am fortunate that I have a couple of an 1895 McKenzie & Holland catalogue and a further partial copy from a bit later. I have also been provided with a number of really good drawings of bracket signals from M&H, prompted by my ramblings on the web. This has given me with a pretty good handle on how they were constructed and I can draw up rather more comprehensive (and a little more specific to the Highland) artwork than are available form any of the other sources.
So this is what I have come up with. Firstly, an etch of all of the arms, balance weights and a track mechanism for raising the lamp to the top of the post (I think this was peculiar to the Highland):
and then an etch that includes the large brackets used for the multi-doll signals and all of the support brackets and landing.
and this one is the smaller bracket; used on twin doll signals:
I have been recommended to use PPD as a first port of call for etching, so they have been winged off tonight. Lets see what a week or so brings us…………..
As this is now out of copyright, an article by OS Nock on the Highland’s signals from the Model Engineer might be of interest too – it may even show what I am trying to make in the etchings a little more clearly.
And for my next task, I am going to have another bash at the water column and the finial; more on this when I think I have been successful!
The bridge is coming along and is now close to finished (constructionally).
It has taken a lot of time with plastic filler to get the stones to meet neatly at the corners and also to be coursed sensibly at the corners. Having said this, I am inclined to think it is one of the more important parts of modeling structures and buildings. Cracks or missing sides/ends on a building are just a total no no and even an untrained eye (I am a chartered surveyor so it is worse for me!) spots the error immediately.
This is where we have got too:
I am not happy with the string course at the moment, it sticks out too abruptly and possibly the same for the copings to the top of the parapet – so more filing and sanding………….
However, it does look like a bridge and I doubt the civils guys will condemn it!
The bridge is in fact modelled on the one at Killiecrankie, but there were very similar ones at The Mound, Kyle of Lochalsh, Keith amongst others. Heres a picture of the Kyle one:
The advantage of using the Killiecrankie bridge is that I had previously modelled one for a layout of this station and whilst the abutments are still firmly attached to some mothballed boards, the deck could be reused. The deck has a nice skew to it to make it a bit more interesting and utilises lattice girders; which few seem to bother modelling. This is what it looks like:
In terms of abutments, most Highland (and indeed this is common to most scottish lines) had bridges with curved wingwalls swept back from the face of the abutment. To give the layout some locational character, this was something I wished to produce. This is where we are at presently with the abutments:Typically, the random or dressed stone ranges from Wills are my favoured mediums but seeing Andy G making a good go utilising Slaters 7mm coursed stone I thought I would have an experiement with this. This is because many of the later bridges on the Highland used the same coarsely dressed stone; like this one at Dalwhinnie:
And these show the bridge deck on the abutments as they stand:
_________________ Mark Tatlow
Whilst they are not without their frustrations (they are delicate for example), I was slightly surprised to have enjoyed building and using the signals as much as I did. Therefore, Glenmutchkins will going a bit more large on signals.
I am assisted in that the Highland seemed to follow the trend of the pre-group companies and be fairly lavish with their signals. Taking significant cues from my sources of inspiration, Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh, this is where I have got to with a signalling plan.
As can be seen, there is a fair amount to this as I have assumed that there is a junction off scene that is signalled from the station cabin (although this is still under review) and not only is the yard signalled onto the running line but both the run around loops and the shed are both signalled. It looks like this will be a 45 lever frame, so there is a fair amount to do……………
A particular signal to note is the one with arms 17,18 & 19 on it. This is a repeater for arms 15 & 16 so directs locos coming off the yard where they are to go to. This exact same situation existed at Kyle and in addition to being a surprising duplication between the two signals the former is that the signal is situated well up on the bank and faces fairly firmly towards the shed, not the running lines. I do not presently have a photograph that is free of copyright to illustrate this but there are lots in the various text books; try The Highland in LMS Days or LMS Engine Sheds.
The latest completion off the workbench is a goods brake van.
This is a diagram 39 version; which was the Highland’s last brake van design (and there is some speculation that they were not delivered until after the start of the LMS era but if someone has a photograph in HR days, we would be all eyes!). These were quite modern by the Highland’s standards and were the first ones for several decades to do away with the lookout on the top of the roof which was likely to be a retrograde step given all the twists and turns of the Highland’s lines.
It was built from a Lochgorm Models kit; constructed mostly as intended. However, I elected to insert some sprung suspension using Bill Bedford sprung W irons, rather than the designers intention of compensation. I also found that the sides were a little tall, so these needed to be cut down a tad. Other than this, it is was pretty easy. Having bought some of the NBR Models etched builder’s places, this became the first model of mine to be fitted with one – so a small first!
Glenmutchkin’s main source of inspiration is Wick or its slightly more slimline cousin, Thurso. These are very similar in layout except for their MPD’s; where Wick’s was quite a lot larger.
An overall view of Thurso in the 1970’s, with thank to Richard Oaks
Wick in 1983; photograph by Peter Whatley with Creatives Commons Licence
However, rather than a facsimile of either (hey Ben Alder/Richard Oaks has nabbed that idea anyway!), I am proposing to use the same arrangement of MPD as at Kyle of Lochalsh’s shed area, with the access road leading to a turntable and then the shed roads coming back off this. Due to the way that the layout will sit in its home, I have had to do a mirror of the shed at Kyle but otherwise it will be the same.
A rather fab photo of Kyle shed with a superheater goods (which were the mainstay of the line from about 1930 through to just after the war) on shed. It is also a fine view of the signal here – one that I wish to model. Photo with thanks to Jim Payne and available at www.throughtheireyes2.co.uk
All of the lines to the west coast of Scotland; both built by the Highland or any of its rival companies or projected come late in the 19th century – partly as a result of Prof Aytoun’s story that I have paraphrased in part 2. Wick and Thurso however were built rather before this and are stylistically rather different as a result. The main differences are the way that the platforms were arranged and the use of a stone built station building/train shed. However, having decided that the Glenmutchkin was much earlier than this, I felt that I could assume that the terminus was built before any of the other lines to the west coast were achieved and thus use the older style of station. In practise I have done so because I wish to model the overall roof – probably the building at Wick as its screen to the end of the train shed is very attractive.
Photo of the road side of the main station building at Wick (that at Thurso is a bit smaller). Copyright held by Peter Whatley and reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence.
Another feature of Kyle that I will take is the overbridge splitting the station from the shed area. Being the son of a bridge engineer, I guess I need to get some proper civils into the model and the latticework is quite attractive. I will go for a single span bridge, rather than the twin span seen here at Kyle.
Copyright held by Ben Brookshank and reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence
Those cattle pens will appear at some point too!
Whilst I seem to be known in the electronic ether for my 1970’s modelling, this is not really my main interest.
Many years ago, I set my main era as the early years of the LMS. Whilst I do quite like some of the LMS standard classes, it was really the sight of the Edwardian and Victorian locomotives of the Highland in the lined red pulling a rake of fully lined coaches that seduced me. After all; who could resist something like this:
Its peculiar; I would think that the 1920’s is the least modelled era after about the 1880s? Think about it, when did you last see a model from this era?
My regret for this period though is the loss of the red oxide painted goods stock. The Highland often (apparently at random as to when they would and when not) pick out the ironwork of these in black and again I am drawn to the fusion of colour that occurred as a result. To get over this contradiction; I model in about 1925/1926. Much of the passenger stock and locos had by then been repainted in the new corporate LMS colours but at least some of the good stock remained in the old pregroup livery.
with thanks to Ray Nolton for two of the pictures