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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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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.

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.

 

Damaging Value…..

Over the last few years I have acquired a few coaches painted by Larry Goddard.  As you can seen below, these are beautifully painted and, particularly, lined coaches.  Although he is not really building much any more, Larry’s work comes up from time to time on ebay and I have been nabbing a few of these.  They are not particularly cheap, but then there is a fair amount of work in building an etched coach and in reality the price I am paying for them is hardly a fair reflection of this time.

Whilst I have been able to line fairly well in the dim distant past of my teenage years, I don’t think my lining was as good as this and, more importantly, I have misplaced my lining mojo.  Although I have plans to try and rediscover the mojo, these coaches do provide a means to get a few very nice coaches to get the layout moving.

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This particular coach is to the LMS’s diagram 1778 and originate from 1925 – 28.  They were the first standard design for the LMS and will have been found throughout their system, including on the Highland section.  My intent for the layout is to have a pair of through trains to Edinburgh/Glasgow with through coaches to London – this  will form part of this.

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Whilst the basic building and painting/lining of the coach is top notch, there are some issues that I have sought to deal with.  First of these is that the bogies are fairly clunky and being assembled from components they are unlikely to be truly square.  Thus, I have disassembled these and used them as cosmetic sides to some Bill Bedford sprung bogies.

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The coach as built comes with some paper concertina corridor connections – all very 1970s in they look and as they are stretching, they look rather rubbish so off they came.  In their place, I have built some of my etched ones – these are a spin off from the dia 51 full brake kit that I am working on.  This shows them part built and I will be looking to do a posting on these in their own right once I am fully happy with them.

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If mucking about and making the coaches for P4 is not sufficient to undermine the resale value of the coach, the final task to weather down the very glossy paintwork will.  These were obviously predominantly aimed at collectors and are finished to showroom standards.  The railways of the steam age were amazingly dirty places and a loco or coach in an ex-works condition would be pretty mucky by the end of its first run, let alone its first year.

Thus, it can not stay as clean and glossy as this, no matter how beautiful it looks.  I have a weathering day planned for a couple of weeks time, and attacking this will be one of the tasks…………..

Controlling Bottom Works Sidings

Followers of this blog will probably be aware that I share some of my model railway escapades with the two authors of the blog OTCM.  Both of the authors are in the process of putting together entries into a competition to build cameo layouts being orchestrated by the publishers Titfield Thunderbolt.  Cameo layouts was the topic of a book written by Ian Rice and seeks to describe a small layouts seeking to use presentation techniques to capture a slice of the whole in a convincing manner.

To be fair to Oly, his entry is largely complete as long as he does not seek to tinker with it too much(!), the same could not be said for Chris’s entry – titled Bottom Works Siding – so he has some catching up to do!  To assist Chris I offered to make his signals and after a few weeks of work we have reached the point where they are complete.

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Chris’ model is based on the GCR’s route over the pennines at its Yorkshire end.  It will represent a set of transfer sidings from the Woodhead route electrification to a industrial line serving a coking plant – so I suspect we will get to see a fair amount of grot in the finished article!   Its signals are LNER or BR(E) practise which is mildly different to what I have built before in some regards but not others as there was a lot of standardisation between the LMS and LNER (and BR more or less adopted LMS practise).  So first up (above) is an LNER standard wooden post with replacement BR miniature upper quadrant arms.  The post is a piece of brass square section that I filed to a taper (hard work) with predominantly Masokit’s fittings (which I found to be notably better than MSE’s equivalent).

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This one is effectively a standard LMS/BR tubular post signal (apparently with brewer’s droop – sorry!) with a small bracket that has another miniature arm signal to it.  This is assembled with a combination of tubes and angle section from Eileen’s Emporium, along with some more Masokit’s arms.

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And finally a miniature ground signal – which despite being startling small was not actually all that difficult to build – it being based on a excellent little etched kit from Palatine Models.

As a result of a lost camera, there are not really any meaningful photographs of the signals being created but fear not, I still have a few to go for Glenmutchkin, so there will be some to come!  In the meantime, and to prove that they really do go, here are some videos.

In the fullness of time, I dare say we will get to see these in situ, so why not subscribe to Oly and Chris’ blog, to get an instant notification?

Clyde Bogie

The stock for Glenmutchkin has a recent addition and a rather beautiful one too.

This is a Clyde Bogie; the prototype being designed by David Jones and delivered in 1886.  Initially this was a top link locomotive of the line but as time went past it was relegated to lesser duties.  On Glenmutchkin it will be one of the locomotives for the branch passenger trains – equivalent to what the real locomotive did at the end of its live.  This particular example was the last in service and lasted until 1930 and, as you can see, it picked up the LMS’s first livery of fully lined Crimson Lake.

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The model was built for me by John James from a Lochgorm Models etched kit.  It is fair to say it was not an easy kit to master and John has cursed me a fair amount I believe for asking him to do this particular prototype……………  He would have cursed more if he also had to make the louvred chimney!

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Since John has delivered it to me I have fitted a sound chip and some AJs.  I need to fit some loco crew too before long.  I suspect I am not going to find another sound fitted Clyde Bogie anytime soon as I have only ever seen one other built example so I can confidently say this is a first!  I also seem to have disturbed the seating of the tender chassis as it is sitting rather low – a little task to attend to soon.

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I have not been entirely idle whilst John has been busy and have been doing a number of little projects.  Most of these will appear in future blogs but the pair of Wilsons & Clyde open wagons will not because this is effectively the same as the NB Jubilee Wagon I discussed previously.  However, it is worth noting that Wilsons and Clyde were known to be one of the major providers of loco coal to the Highland so I am presuming these to be loco coal wagons.

And here is a picture of 14278 in action; albeit not at this point with sound fitted.

 

 

 

 

 

Dia 51 Test Build Part 3 – and then there were two…..!

Following the first test build of the dia 51, I took account of what I had learnt from this and completed various amendments to the artwork.  There was nothing truly major, so I was fairly confident that the corrections would get the model to the point where the artwork was done.  But of course, to prove this, another test build was required and this is where we got to………..

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And this is what it looks like……..quite handsom I think and certainly quite differnt from all the pother stock I presently have.

The eagle eyed will spot that the vehicle is slightly different in that this one has sliding doors, whereas the previous had cupboard doors.  The kit is intended to cover both options and does successfully do so.

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The ducket also has cut outs for a lamp at its head (a feature of Highland duckets).  This proved quite challenging to model and I will avoid doing it again because it seemed to fall out of favour prior to the end of the Highland era so having only one or two would be right for my timeframe.

There remains a bit more work on the bogie to do; they can be made up to work very well but are a little more difficult to build than I had hoped.  Once this is cracked, I will be making the dia 51 available for sale.

 

Dia 51 Test Build – Part 2: Nearly There

I no longer affix roofs firmly to the body of my coaches as makes both the building and the painting much easier.  The downside of this is that there is the challenge of keeping the roof on tight without there being any visible joint between the two as this looks terrible.  The solution I now use is to clamp this to the floor with 10BA bolts by way of brackets as can be seen in the photograph below.

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As built, these coaches had full length step boards but they lost most of these through their life.  They were electric fitted from the outset.  The chassis below is close to finished except I have run out of vacuum cylinders so these will need to be added, along with the vacuum pipes.

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The bogies are also a key part of the proposed kit and are something that I have been working on with Justin Newitt of Rumney Models – the idea being to combine the sprung bogie design that he has prepared with cosmetic etches for the sides and then the castings from Lochgorm Models or perhaps our own in due course.  The bogie is quite sophisticated with both primary and secondary springing – the latter is on the bolster and is as below.

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The primary springing is on the axleboxes and has bearing carriers, much like the Bill Bedford sprung W-irons.  There are still some wrinkles to iron out so it is not there yet but they do make up into some pretty neat bogies; don’t you think?

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The only area of the first test build that truly did not work was the corridor connections and it is going to be a case of back to the drawing board for these but other than the final few bits to be completed, the build is finished and I think the vehicle is handsome.

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So, off to the paint shops soon, but there is a bit of a holiday to squeeze in first!

Roger Farnworth

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