Newport Model Railway Society

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What we did in 2017

To see what we're doing this year look here;  to have a look at previous years choose one of these: 2016, 2015 or 2014

Friday 29th December 2017

The last Friday of the year and we had our customary party. Here are the highlights.
Saturday 23rd December 2017
This Friday's job was to finish off the fascia for the front of the layout. With three sections to the front fascia, the centre section has to be held up somehow. Using a technique from Steve N's own layout, lengths of 2 by 1 were used for horizontal alignment and support.

Previously we had done some wiring under the basboards. We have been remarkably organised here and labelled components!

Friday 8th December 2017

While ballasting continues on ABB, Garwood Works is knocking out a fine Stanier Third. 

Wednesday 29th November 2017

Having missed out on an update last weekend, only because I forgot to take some pictures, here's a midweek report.

Saturday 18th November 2017

At the start of Friday we had prepared for tracklaying into the fiddle yard.

So the track went down with electrical connections.

Cassettes had been prepared by Rob over a couple of months so we were ready for the first train to run into the yard.

So we were able to run in and run round both freight and passenger trains.

Meanwhile, over a few sessions, ballasting had progressed on areas of plain track.

The buffer stops featured previously have been primed

and tested in their intended positions.


Friday 10 November 2017

While Mr Chairman and Paul S were busy installing the transition from scenic section of ABB to the fiddle yard ...

Monday 6th November 2017

Work has started to properly join the fiddle yard to the main layout. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing deciding on level and exact alignment the FY has been set back by a few centimetres. Location here is by using Red Dog dowels, three in total as seen below. The other holes are for connecting bolts.

The ends are two layers of ply and a bit flexible so we've put an extra layer of ply behind each dowel.

On the front of the layout we have added wagons originating I think from eBay. They've been fettled and weighted - you can see the lead inside and the paper recording the weight.

Thanks to Steve Bell for getting this done. The vans seen in the distance were tricky as the lead had to put inside through a hole drilled in the roof, then filled.

And Wagonman has put this bufferstop together, with more to come from the workbench.


Friday 27th October 2017

The operating panel  for the layout has now been produced, thanks to Steve. The push buttons set up routes that are programmed into the electronics inside. the switches are able to set the points individually as well if required. And the big red buttons are for the electromagnets for uncoupling. The points and routes were tested, the rest will be done later.
Signals will be in the upper space, obviously the next task - except they haven't been built yet.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to clear some workspace, I completed these stretcher bars for LMJ. The original ones were used up on ABB.


Monday 16th October 2017

Well you can see from the previous post that Frecclesham was off at two shows.

The one-day trip to Carmarthen went well, followed by a traditional curry, before returning home.

The weekend in Aldershot took us to a new part of the country and a show we haven't even visited before. The quality of the exhibits was very good, we were impressed, with plenty of top 2 mm
layouts as they were also hosting the 2 mm Society AGM. This weekend we varied the food with Chinese, then Gastropub. The guys seemed quite happy.

Here we are in action.

Some shots down the layout from the farm end.

W/e Friday 6th October 2017

Testing and fettling

We have continued to test and fettle the trackwork on Abergavenny Blackbrook

YTS fettled the point work on the main routes (bay and main plus run around) and we successfully ran repetitive loops of the three available steam locos (two Granges and a Collett goods) through the “main routes”. Diesels do not expose issues! The Collett Goods is very unforgiving of poor track so this is a good test vehicle – so we are not going to try to fix it!!!

LBH and Paul fitted the coupler electromagnets, but they are yet to be wired up. YTS will hook up one the main platform temporarily to allow testing of stock couplers next week.

The coming two weekends we are taking Frecclesham to shows (Carmarthen Saturday 7th October and to Aldershot for the weekend 14th and 15th October).  

Friday 22nd September 2017

Through to the Fiddle Yard

With the main trackwork down and being tested it was time to make the connection into  the fiddle yard. The fiddle yard board was wangled into place but there wasn't a lot of room to wield saws so lots of holes were joined up and then tidied up with a file.

Some temporary track was laid in. Eventually we will have Rob's cassettes in the yard using the smooth blue formica.

So we ran a 4 coach train into the fiddle yard, brought another loco onto the other end, and departed for the station where the necessary run-roumd was done.

In the meantime LBH was messing around with microscope slides trying to create some puddles;

which did produce a refection of a passing coach - it must be the calm after the storm that we are modelling.

Friday 15 September 2017

Work on the trackwork on ABB is reaching its end and here is Mr Chairman soldering the last few etched inside  chairs:

Meanwhile LBH was potching around with thick acrylic paint (thanks SteveN) and chinchilla dust (sorry Rob) and various grades of sieved ash (thanks SteveB) modelling the ground cover thinking that he is Gordon Gravett. We were keen to get the ground cover down before we started on the ballasting as we wanted to avoid the look you can get where the ground cover is applied afterwards giving an unrealistic appearance [don't ask how we know].

The bit at the right is yet to be vacuumed to remove loose material and the whole lot needs to be coloured (we have inks ready for that job) but so far we are happy with the results.

8 September 2017

No pics this week as it was very much business as usual as we continue to work on the trackwork and drives for the turnouts on Abergavenny Blackbrook.

Weekend 2nd and 3rd Sept 2017

Guildex at Telford

The Gauge O Guild show at Telford this year featured two of our layouts, the Test Track and Pavilion End. Moving these two together was not something we'd done before and it would have been easier with a large sized Transit rather than
the medium I thought would be OK.

With the longer board supported as seen it fitted in, thought some of the personal baggage had to go by car. We assembled both in the exhibition hall with enough time to spare for a visit to Bridgnorth to indulge in some "atmosphere" before the usual curry.

I'm pleased to report both layouts ran well and everyone enjoyed the weekend.
Pavilion End with its obvious cricket reference has needed to feature a cricket team on the platform.

Eleven guys in white would look too contrived so here's the core of the team waiting for the train to an away match.

w/e Friday 25 August 2017

Tuesday was quiet with only LBH in attendance but the final couple of lengths of siding trackwork were laid.

Full steam ahead though on Friday with the wiring up the two remaining baseboards being completed by Paul W and LBH; Rob F continued assembling fiddle yard cassettes and YTS completed the installation of the operating mechanisms on the remaining three turnouts on the first board. All of which culminated in us being able to run locos from end to end of the layout and into all the sidings for the first time. Hurrah! No pics this week but we hope to have some video footage (though presumably since it's electronic rather than film we should refer to bittage) soon. Come back soon for an update.

Update - the video can be seen by following this link

w/e Friday 18 August 2017

Tuesday, and with virtually all the trackwork on the first board, the station throat, complete YTS could get on with the electrics - connecting the droppers to the busbars and installing the frog juicers. You can see that we have a spare pair of busbars (on the left below) for, ahem ... future expansion or designed-in redundancy or, er, something.

Within an hour or so that had been completed allowing us to start testing.

We identified a few missing droppers and had to make a few adjustments to the power supply (increasing the current limit on the power district board to 3A and extending its cut-off time, if you wanted to know) to get the frog juicers to work reliably but we had some locos running before the night was out.

Video evidence is provided here in this link.

We started with the old faithful Cl 20 test engine. The first sequence showed we needed to clean the wheels and track. In the second sequence it goes a lot more smoothly and so, brimming with confidence we tried a Grange. Results in the third section.

Then we thought a celebration was necessary.

Friday saw most of the remaining plain track laid (no pic cos you've already seen enough pics of track being laid) while YTS installed the cranks to operate the turnout stretcher bars and one of the servos to actuate them.

On the top of the board we have Masokits crank connected to a Masokits stretcher bar. 

Connected to the crank is a rotating shaft to which another crank is soldered under the baseboard. The drive to the lower crank is via a compensator, which takes out excess movement and prevents too much force being applied to the stretcher bar.

The compensator's internals look like this 

in cross-section. The spring is fixed at both ends, the black end is fixed to the outer tube and the green end is free to move, constrained by the spring. Modern cars have four of these, one on each corner. So it’s not a new idea!

All of which works like this: Apologies for not getting the top and bottom halves of the split-screen in sync but hopefully it gives you the idea.

w/e Friday 11th August 2017

On Tuesday the final turnout for ABB was laid. It's under the weight. It really is. Honest.

And on Friday Rob continued making the cassettes for the ABB fiddle yard. The central inserts had been cut from 2mm MDF by a local company to our design. Their width is 17mm, i.e. slightly less than the P4 wheel back-to-back measurement, and are intended to make the task of placing the stock on the cassette more certain. The bases are acrylic sheet, deliberately over-width to reduce the risk of electrical shorts. They were also purchased pre-cut to size.

Our Chairman ground gaps in the copper layer on the sleepers to maintain electrical insulation between the two rails. By using a light, feathering action the gap is virtually invisible once the sleepers are painted but even if you are a bit heavy-handed it's an easy job to fill any crevice with Milliput or the like. Dave then checked for shorts (finding some) as it is so easy to leave an almost invisible sliver of copper. All OK now though.

LBH fitted one of the two trap points that Dave had made earlier. We now need to decide how they are to be actuated - we'll use Masokits stretcher bars for the turnouts but the single-bladed trap points present a different challenge

This shows progress to date - at first sight it doesn't look as if we haven't made much progress since 22 July (apart from creating a mess, but probably that's cos LBH is back from his holidays) , but most of the trackwork is now fixed in place, including all the turnouts and trap points, with only the plain track to the right of the picture now awaiting fixing. Hopefully we'll have something moving before the end of August.

w/e Friday 4 August 2017

Tuesday saw the first of the trackwork, Bernie's crossover from Exactoscale components, being installed ...

and weighted down for (more) Evostik to set

Friday brought further tracklaying, and here you can judge how successful (or not) we've been in concealing the power feed wires. The wooden block are pins are in place to ensure that correct alignment is maintained.

Sunday 30th July 2017

More of the same

This week was more track preparation with droppers drills and paint.
So to provide something different, we'll go back to Thursday 20th when a select few attended a talk by Neil Parkhouse on the Forest of Dean at Westbury- on Severn. Thos eof you who have his books will know there are lots of lovely colour photos in his collection and the talk did not disappoint. As it finished at 9:30 finding an evening meal was a bit tricky but the Red Lion came up with a very good spread.

Saturday 22nd July 2017

Preparation is Everything

Lessons learnt from years of DiY and decorating tell us that thorough preparation is the key to a good finish. So we have pre-wired the track with droppers, and will soon paint it as well prior to actual fixing it down. We have progressed well here, and all of the track you see laid out is wired ready.

With the exception of the crossover in the foreground below.

We have yet to start to find card of a suitable thickness to make up for the height difference identified last week, but then we didn't look on Friday. We could even be on target for something running by the end of July!

Sunday 16th July 2017

So with the foam layer in place we decided to trust the glue under the backing paper to hold down the track, given that it would be ballasted and the ballast would do its proper job of holding the track in place. So we peeled back the yellow paper and disappointingly peeled away a bit of the adhesive layer. So we tidied up to an edge and removing the remaining bits of adhesive found that were firmly stuck down.

So with some trepidation we put a bit more Evostik over the foam, carefully aligned the plan and rolled it out , pressing it firmly into place.

We got it parallel to the front edge and only 5mm off the centre line. Time will tell if the adhesive works.

Here's some track we prepared earlier. The droppers are attached and bundles of more ready for future sessions.

We carefully soldered the droppers to the underside of the rail to make them as inconspicuous as possible. A touch of paint and ballast will finish the job.

However, we discovered the flexitrack we were using has thinner sleepers compared to the pointwork. As we had prepared this we decided to pack out the difference with card - not ideal but this is the bay platform, not the main.

We had two turnouts and intervening track placed down by the end of the night, final alignment and fixing to come.

Meanwhile in the other room, Rob was busy making loco cassettes for the fiddle yard. They are precut plastic bases with non pre-cut aluminium angle running surfaces.

And talking of Rob, he been very busy, or rather his postman has, delivering two goodies. First this Dean Goods from Oxford Rail. The finish on the livery is excellent.

And the new Dapol Railcar,

here compared to the Hornby version. The Hornby one has been improved by Rob.


Sunday 9th July 2017

2 litres of Evostik

With the wiring underneath practically complete, the boards were lowered into a normal position and separated. Now to stick on the foam underlay. This time we are not using the camping foam we (unsuccessfully) tried before but have a better quality product with a self adhesive backing. However, on delivery we were not convinced by the durability of the adhesive so opted for tried and trusted Evostik. This was spread on the plain side of the foam and used in proper contact adhesive mode. This now gives us the problem of what to do with the self adhesive face and backing paper - more next week.
This was done to the three scenic boards so that was 6 surfaces to be coated - we used a lot of Evostik.

Moving on to the single fiddle yard board, this is to have a covering of Formica to give a smooth and low-friction surface for the cassettes we intend to use. The 8' by 4' sheet of formica was cut down to near baseboard size, then trimmed to fit.

As with the other boards, the spreading was done outside as it's smelly stuff, made worse by the hot airless evenings.

The formica was carefully aligned and lifted into place. At this point we regretted using contact adhesive as it would have been easier to slide it in. As with the other boards it was left weighted down with bits of library and electrical gubbins.

Join us again next we to see what we do about the self adhesive surface.

30 June 2017

More supply wiring on ABB this week, but HURRAH!, it's almost finished. It's certainly a lot easier to do this work with the baseboards on their sides at a good working height rather than working under the boards sat cramped on the floor with globs of molten solder falling on you!

Running across the boards are the cables for 1) DCC Track supply (white), 2) 15VDC power (gold) and 3) DCC for points, signals and uncoupler magnets (black). The inter-board connectors are both in the docked-for-transport positions in squares A3 and A6 (you have played battleships, haven't you?). The MERG Power Booster is in square A1; MERG Circuit Breakers are in A1 and A4, the one for the right-hand board will be fitted in A7 later. Running either side of the central spine are two pairs of busbars for track supply made from stripped copper earth wire mounted in 'chocolate block' connectors.

Next week we plan to start laying the foam underlay. 

W/E 23 June 2017

On Tuesday YTS accepted the challenge of the oven that is our layout room during a heatwave to progress the wiring on ABB


And on Friday we did more wiring - but you don't want to see a pic of more cables do you?

Friday 16 June

Not the busiest evening, perhaps summer's coming to south Wales

However Paul W and LBH were busy fitting busbars (and correcting the hash that LBH made of them on Tuesday)

Mr Chairman busied himself fitting stretcher- (NOT tie-) bars onto some of the turnouts for ABB

Wagonman continued with the construction of ex-Cambrian 2-4-0T Seaham in 7mm

And LBH started hacking up some aluminium angle for the fiddle yard cassettes for Abergavenny Blackbrook, to which Driver Lewis offered this observation " Studiolith Tools will never Die !!!!!!" 

W/E 10th June 2017

Taking Shape

For transport the baseboards are paired up face to face to make a convenient  box for transport. The vulnerable parts like trees and buildings are all to the inside and protected. Time then to make sure we can get it out through the clubroom doors and then into a car. Obviously only room for one of these boxes, we need a second estate car for the second one.

That was earlier in the week. Moving on to Friday that fiddle yard baseboard has had a coat of sealer on its underside. Time to erect the four boards again ready for foam underlay and track.

But first a nice level structure is needed. Super accuracy with a spirit level.

Here are the three scenic boards.

With the fascia now bolted in place, re-using the fixing holes also used to bolt the boards together.

No, not praying to Mecca, but carefully cutting out holes in the trackplan so that we can mark through onto the underlay, and therefore locate the key track positions. It was a bit hard on the knees so I'm kneeling on an old rolled up coat.


Sunday 4th June 2017

Basboard Bashing

With three recent shows out of the way its time to crack on with ABB and its baseboards. Last Friday we joined the two sections of the fiddle yard board together and then added the two sides and front face. Here we are grovelling on the floor as usual.

This is how two experts apply the Mark 1 eyeball to the problem

Meanwhile the previously prepared boards were having a sealing coat of varnish applied.

Notice that here we have a satisfactory squidge of glue seeping out of the joint at the near end.

The full trackplan has been printed out on a full length of paper so we laid it out in the hallway for checking.


Tuesday 30th May 2017

Railex 2017 at Aylesbury

We took Pavilion End to the show over last weekend. We manged to get the layout into two estate cars to save on hiring a van. We successfully erected it and the only problem being that we forgot to take a chair for the driver to sit on.  We managed well by just standing instead, as we often do for Frecclesham, and it was less embarassing than one of the other exhibitors who forgot their backscene.  Friday evening was a meal at The Seven Stars where we spotted the following bottle on the wine list.

With two references to Pavilion End we just had to indulge.

We had some regular performers on duty and it has to be said they worked well with very smooth running. The main faults were due to operators rather than stock or layout (see later)

I really must tone down that pink brickwork, although the camera has made it worse than it really is.

On Sunday, after several shows on the reserve list, the Hymek came out of its box and ran the B-set all day with no problems at all and even had a few compliments.

So it was a successful show with only one major incident.

I accept reponsibility as I didn't check as the train left the fiddle yard.

Ominously the stand opposite us had a display about the Quintinshill railway disaster.

PE is easy to erect and dismantle - we were on the move 45 mins after the show closed.

Monday 23rd May 2017

Long delayed update

Apologies for the lack of postings after the Thornbury show. There has been a bit of a hiatus in activity, and also I've been abroad for a little break.
So as we're in long-term mode, here's an update on the long running construction of the Thumper set.

Its getting very near completion with some partitions and more seats needed, as well as the bogies on the powered coach.

Meanwhile, we'll be taking Pavilion End to the Railex show at Aylesbury this coming weekend. If we can remember to take some photos there might be another entry this month!

Sunday 30th April 2017

This weekend was the 3 day Bristol Show at Thornbury. We took Frecclesham along and amazingly we won three awards!

These are
The Pendon Trophy - for excellence in 4mm modelling but we qualify as we apparently embody the spirit of Pendon. That's quite a compliment.

The Westinghouse Cup - was not yet returned by the previous winner so we made up a substitute. This was for the best lineside feature and was for Frecclesham signal box.

The Association Cup - for the best layout from a member club of The Association.

I doubt very much this had anything to do with it, but as for this show Frecclesham was supposed to now in the Western Region,  there was evidence that the repaint to WR colours was imminent.

Sunday 23rd April 2017

Just to report that we had a successful show with Frecclesham and the test track. We saw many familiar faces and were helped by Mike and Martin from the West  Wales group

As is traditional the show ended with a round of "cold tea".

The box / container in the foreground is a new introduction as our official cold tea transport, in a suitable livery.

It will of course be making the journey to Thornbury on Friday.

Friday 14th April 2017

Fresh from his honorable mention in the latest MRJ, Mike G arrives with this reworked restaurant car, part of the LMJ project.

It has a new chassis and other added details.

Otherwise it was a quiet evening just doing bits and pieces though Pauk S pressed on laying timbers for LMJ pointwork. Next week we are at Fred's NEWGOG show in the Lysaghts Institute, next to Morrisons in Newport, and the week after its the Bristol Show at Thornbury. So there may be a couple of updates missing. 

Friday 7th April 2017

Still a lot of Panniers

Here are some shots of the stock on Frecclesham for the WR timetable. Most of the locos mentioned last week are present.

We did run a successful timetable or two using these.

The weathering project continues. The wagons had Maskol applied to the areas where the rust was required to show, then they were sprayed with BR Freight Grey. Once dry, the Maskol is peeled off to reveal the rust underneath.

Next comes some Metalcote for the rubbing areas and transfers and white diagonals.


Friday 31st March 2017

You can't have too many Panniers

For the next couple of exhibitions with Frecclesham we have decided to move the timeframe a bit later to when there were changes in the boundaries between the regions, in about 1962. As a result of this Frecclesham now comes under the control of the Western Region. So the buildings will be the same, awaiting repainting, but most of the rolling stock will now be from the WR. 

We've been testing out locos and rolling stock and the pannier tanks from the Lionheart range are so good we have quite a few of them. Last Friday we had the following;

Lionheart Pannier 6437 on the pushpull
Lionheart Pannier 6412 on the 3 coach train
Whitemetal Pannier 2001 also on the 3 coach train
Scorpio  Pannier 3603 on B-set No.1
Whitemetal Pannier 7434 on  B-set No.2, except it failed with a short circuit problem
Lionheart Mogul 7310 on B-set No.1
Springside Mogul 6308 on B-set No.2

plus Agenoria Tank 1143 on freight and a Hymek that also failed with transmission problems.

As we were essentially running the same sequence of trains as before there were not too many problems, just the usual coupling adjustments.

We will be at the NewGOG Show in the Lysaghts Building in Newport on Saturday 22nd April
and then The Bristol Model Railway Show in Thornbury Leisure Centre 28th 29th 30th April.

Friday 24th March 2017

Spring is in the air but the prospect of spending the evening in the cramped thinners-laden atmosphere of the clubroom was too much of an attraction for many of us and a near-record attendance of about a dozen resulted.

It doesn't look too bad but there are seven members there, with another few outside in the corridor and other room at this point.

Albyn brought along this delightful dray and LBSC open wagon that he had recently completed whereas the best LBH could muster was exhuming the Samhongsa GWR OO Pannier from his attic where it had lain since purchased in 1981. Albyn also kept up his 100% record of always coming with a cake.

Steven B is continuing to produce some lovely freelance narrow gauge wagons. 

While Bernie has been busy (amongst other things) upgrading this goods shed for Abergavenny Blackbrook, the latest work being the fabrication of the canopy and some deft treatment of the roof to disguise the coarse texture of the original slate roof and Mike G brought along his recently completed Hawksworth Break Third based on a Comet kit with Rumney Models bogies and added underframe detail.

Earlier in the week on Tuesday one end of the fascia for ABB was trimmed to shape and put in place. We think this is about right although the baseboard is 50mm higher than its eventual siting. The aperture was cut to the smallest size we thought suitable on the grounds we could always make it larger. No firm decision here yet.

now being P4 modellers you'd have thought we'd use a calculation for the curves in the corner of the fascia. Hmmm, why bother, that old paper plate looks about right.

Friday 17th March 2017

More progress

One of the criteria for Abergavenny Blackbrook (ABB) is to get it built quickly, with a target time of just a year. So these already constructed buildings will help speed things up. The signal box is from a Ratio kit, the semis are from a Hornby kit and
are to 3.5 mm scale and so will be placed right at the back of the layout to help give it depth. The final pair are scratchbuilt and like the others need a little more work before placing on the layout, where there is still much to do.

Track construction continues with the Exactoscale P4 point kits. This is one of those kits, but not actually for ABB, it's for Mike Edmunds' upgraded Cwmdu layout. Quite easy to construct with prepared crossings and switch assemblies giving the clean alignments seen below. You do, however, need a hand lens to check that the fishplates are the right way around with the nuts to the outside.

The weathering tutorial from Fred Lewis has now got to the adding a rust layer stage. This goes on top of the primer and is a varied brown/orange/leather colour given texture by weathering powders. I've applied this to my big 24 ton wagon and am moving on to the 4mm minerals. The smaller ones are more difficult to hold. The essential prototype photos are required as a constant guide.

Here are some futher examples of Fred's work applied to some Lionheart tankers. The pics don't really bring out the subtlety of the weathering.

Meanwhile on a different planet Rob is building a Vale of Rheidol coach. Just because he fancies it, and why not. The weird thing with the kit is that the relatively large bogies are moulded in one piece, but the quite small oil lamp covers are made up from three parts!

Friday 10th March 2017

And this Friday there was no-one there as there was a bit of a rugby match on.

However, earlier in the week on Tuesday we did some more with the Abergavenny Blackbrook baseboards.
We had many of the proposed buildings to hand so tried them in place on the boards to get the overall effect. In the foreground are some farm buildings with the mainline entering behind them. Then there has been much discussion about semis and terraces or trees further to the back. After the signal box there is a gap before the station buildings start. The gap needs further ideas.

This is the station area though some sort of coal staithes needs adding.

There's a pushpull for Pontypool in the bay which you can see on the trackplan at the back. The Cardiff - Hereford local has run around and is ready to head north. We now need to find a suitable backscene.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Not a huge turn out for a Friday night this week with five attending. 

Fred carried on with the demonstration of wagon weathering.

Meanwhile the name Abergavenny Blackbrook was selected for the new P4 layout. Abergavenny to justify the stock that would run on the North and West route and Blackbrook to differentiate it from other [real] Abergavenny stations and because the track layout is loosely based in that of Dowlais Central [Dowlais translating into English as black stream or brook].  The period will be ca 1954 as LMJ

The baseboard assembly is now complete and we laid them out on tables with  typical trains size to gauge the overall look. The scenic section is 3.6m long x 700 mm wide and the fiddle yard 1600mm long

The layout will eventually by supported on triangular pillars (nicknamed Toblerones in the club). Only three Toblerones  were to hand on Friday but, with the aid of another stand, we put the scenic boards on them to visualise the overall effect and allow us to plan the size and location of the viewing aperture.

Friday 24th February 2017

Delayed Updates

I apologise for the fact that the pages have not been updated with  normal efficiency recently. I've been struggling with software problems trying to load photographs in a sensible fashion for the website. So I will just try using text until this can be resolved.

So carrying on from last week's baseboard construction session we found that there were support pieces supplied that we should have used too help join the two sections of baseboard top. As these board kits are well engineered and easy to put together (as long as you have found all of the bits necessary) we had all 5 of them finished by the end of this Friday session thanks to Paul and Fred. That's 4 boards at 1200 by 700 (three scenic and one fiddle yard), and one at 400 by 700 that extends the fiddle yard to give a length suitable for the planned trains. 

The list of 12 potential names for this new layout should shortly be reduced to just one as LBH has organised a poll to to make the decision. It uses a transferable floating point voting system, or something similar, after we have individually ranked all 12 suggestions from 1 to 12. We await the result hoping for no hanging chads, fake news or fat blonde blokes with dodgy haircuts.

Friday 17th February 2017

Work has commenced on assembling the baseboards for the new as-yet-unnamed P4 layout. Part of the philosophy for the layout is to keep things as simple as possible (LBH will need to be restrained if this is to be achieved) so we have elected to use Grainge and Hodder laser-cut rectangular boards. Here is a pic of the first being assembled:

The boards are 1200 mm x 700 mm and because of their width are split in two longitudinally for dispatch (if collected the top surface would be one piece). We found that to keep the top surface flat further support was required along the longitudinal spine. In any case it is intended to add a fairly thick ply strips as a trackbed which should even out any minor local imperfections [we reserve the right to edit this sentence at a later date].

The name for the new layout hasn't yet been decided but these have been mooted (some with tongue firmly in cheek)
  • Abergavenny Blackbrook
  • Abergavenny Priory Meadow
  • Abergavenny Town
  • Crickhowell 
  • Crickhowell Road

  • Crug Hywel
  • Crun Hywel
  • Crunhowell 
  • Cwrt y Gollen
  • Ffordd Llai

  • Fraggle Rock
  • Knock Gwaedknock 

Friday 3rd February 2017

This week we have the results of long term and short term builds.
This Rebuilt Scot from a Comet kit from Mike G has been in development for some time. Recently the running gear has been attended to and it runs very nicely with good slow speed performance. It had a test on the short test track before posing for photographs. All we need now is a small layout to properly test it on?
My good friend Morgan Gilbert had attended to the gearbox - after it had fallen apart...last time I put glue anywhere near a High level gbox! Morgan also re-lined the side of the footplate and sorted out the wobble in the tender and a bunch of other stuff that I had not expected, I am extremely grateful for his help.

Note the pipework around the lubricators

For the short term builds while waiting for a house move, with modelling kit in boxes,
Steve B has  developments with his freelance narrow gauge wagons. The open on the left is nearly done with stick-on bolts applied and buffing gear in place.

The second wagon is welded steel with a wooden door. In keeping with the 'using simple bits available' theme, the grey tub-like body is in fact the case that a watch arrived in.

Week Ending 29th January 2017

A New Year, a New Project

But just to keep you in suspense here are a couple of regular pictures of work recently completed. This is the long term build of a Hampshire Unit or Thumper started by Paul, carried on by Al, with input on SteveN for the running bits. The body is ready for some grab handles and then tidying up.

The second coach just gets into the shot below along with a GW Centenary stock all third very recently built by Al. He has another three of this type ready to be built after making a few purchases at the recent BOGG show.

New Project

Now this may seem mad or illogical but we have decided to
create another P4 layout. The purpose of this is to get a small layout we can take to exhibitions, test and check out the reliability of locos and stock in exhibition circumstances that are destined for LMJ. This is to be simple, small and fit in a maximum of two estate cars.

It will be b
ased on Frecclesham track plan, which we know works well, with just two goods sidings and simplified pointwork. We aleady have a timetable that works  and gives plenty of opportunity for a reasonable sequence. There are also ready and available station buildings from Bachmann that can be detailed and repaint to WR colours. We will build the baseboards, supports and fascia first, then lay the track using point kits for speed, even if they are expensive. Then test and add scenery.

This should be completed quickly, provide plenty of opportunity to run stock, encourage people to build/finish stock as there is an immediate purpose, and increase the skill base in the club. All of these will help to get LMJ finished.

So we ordered baseboards from laser cutting specialists and here are starting a trial fit.

These parts fit together so accurately that by just slotting together you have a stable board. Glue and nails will come later.

So still unglued we tried it out on supports. These 'toberones' are from another layout, Pavilion End, and do the job. 

And just to see what it might look like we put some 4mm stock on the board.

Sunday 22nd January 2017

This weekend we took Frecclesham to the Bristol 0 Gauge Group (BOGG) Trade Show in Filton. Its a big shopping exercise for everyone 0 Gauge and there are layouts as entertainment as well. As usual we were pleased by the number of compliments we received and the layout performed well. And there were at least 20 extra packages that came back with us and some lighter purses.

The advance team had set up Frecclesham on Saturday afternoon and it was basically ready to go when we all arrived on Sunday so there was time for some early shopping as already mentioned.
After the days operating the time came for loading up the van. With one person on each corner it wasn't much effort to get to the van.

So we were back in good time, able to have a final toast of cold tea to Tony Bennett and his excellent trackwork, before heading off for the traditional curry.

Friday 13th January 2017

This weeks work concentrated on 4 mm scale stuff.
There was more pointwork in progress with timbering on the next job and more rail laid on the long B12 turnout.

The controlboard reinstatement was also well under way with lots of helpful labels on the wiring.

We have
also probably found the source of the mystery short circuit - there were some sleepers that should have had insulation gaps.

Friday 6th January 2017

So for the third time in a month Rob comes along with a brand new engine. Talk about it being Christmas!
This latest is the industrial Peckett from Hornby.

And exquisite as you'd expect.

Its a pity it has to be weathered.

From the beeautiful to the ugly. We've had a lot of problems with a mystery short  circuit on Fiddle Yard board 5 for LMJ. Maybe if we removed the controller boards for the frogs and replaced them with Frog Juicers (bits of electrical wizardry) the situation would improve.

leaving just the screw holes.

We now realise this was a bit over-enthusiastic as  the boards were controlling the turnout movement as well. So they'll have to go back in. That does give us the chance to install and test thoroughly, one at a time, to eliminate any errors or short circuits.

Still with pointwork on LMJ, but this time for the front, there was another case of two steps forward, one step back. In designing the trackwork and making construction easier the turnouts were either at a 1 in 10 or 1 in 8 crossing angle. A good number of the crossing assemblies were batch built ready for laying.
Except there is one turnout that has to be 1 in 12 to fit the location which explains why the 1 in 10 wouldn't fit in place.
So I had to build a one-off crosing. All the experience from the batch building was helpful though, it didn't take too long, though I reckon I got lucky.

The different kinds of chairs for pointwork are stored in these pots. (the middle one is the flux) It only takes one sneeze and you realise this is worthwhile!