Newport Model Railway Society

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What we did in 2016

Friday 30th December 2016

Christmas Party

So let's do the really interesting bit first - what was there to eat and drink?
As you can see we had too much as usual.

What goodies came out of the cupboard or from Santa?
Al's West Country drew gasps of approval, especially when the reversing mechanism was actuate. Yes, it actually changes from forward gear to reverse actuated by a servo motor.

From Fred there was this LNWR 0-8-2. We thought it was behaving like the prototype when it kept coming off the track, but the fault was found with misplaced hornblocks in the trailing wheels.

Steve N has produced another of his 'party trick' radio controlled locos. This time its a J15. As all the tracks were being used it did a turn on the floor.

Recent posts have featured Dapol Cl 08 shunters and Victory tanks from Minerva Models. The final count on Friday was 5 08s and 3 Victorys. 

There would be more pics if my phone hadn't run flat. .

Christmas Eve 2016

Well, its time for Christmas Greetings to all our readers. 

The way that the dates work out means that there's not a lot of activity for us over the break until Friday 30th December which is the date for our Christmas party. There should then be lots of photos of cakes and trains..


Yes, we have to give in to the calendar and admit that Christmas is here.

But it does bring some benefits. So we had a visit from former member Adrian who came bearing the gifts seen below and wearing his traditional "Bah Humbug" Christmas hat.

As you can see, they were quickly sampled and appreciated.

The mince pies were especially appreciated by the permanent way department.

Meanwhile Steve Bell is between houses,  with his modelling stuff packed away. But with lollysticks and coffee stirrers available a good modeller can knock something up,

This is a different Victory to before. It belongs to Rob as does the rather nice RR brake van he's also acquired.

There have been lots of these 08 shunters sold. Here's another one.

Sunday 1st December 2016

Two Newcomers

First, there's the long awaited Dapol 08. I think they look really good in this early black livery.

And second is the Kerr Stuart Victory class from Minerva Models. It comes with detailing bits that have not yet been added. The colour really is that pink though.


Friday 25th to Sunday 27th November

Frecclesham at The Warley Show NEC Birmingham

First the good news - we won an award!

And just to confirm it (or boast) here's another picture.

To say that we were pleased would be an understatement.

So thanks to all who made this possible - it was a team effort. But a special mention has to go to Steve who provided most of the stock, and of course, Tony Bennett who made all the trackwork.
With that new hole created at the end of the goods yard there was a chance for a new angle for photos. 

The remote control van did draw in viewers and at one point it even tried to shunt some wagons out of the way.

With LMJ being such a big layout we had a look at some of the larger offerings at the show. This shot is just a small part of Copenhagen Fields in 2mm scale from The Model Railway Club. There's at least ten times more than is shown here. It's been in development since 1983 and still on-going, so the extended LMJ timespan doesn't seem so bad.

Another large layout was Hasselt 2002 run by a Belgian couple. Yes, there seemed to be just the two of them. This is to 3.5 mm scale and I counted at least 20 tracks from front to back as seen in this shot. And it had to be at least 40 feet long. There's obviously a lot of technology and systems to run this but it was just the two of them dismantling it. You need to be organised - the lesson for LMJ.

The quality of the modelling was excellent.

The Warley Show is big, 90 plus layouts plus traders and food outlets. As someone said, 'modelling on an industrial scale'.

19th November 2016

With the exciting new Frecclesham feature of the radio-controlled van making its debut at The Warley Show next week, we need a new entrance gate into the goods yard. Demolishing the wall at the end was not a problem as it has been loose for some time as it regularly gets clouted by the fascia boards when they get put in place. So a bit of new ground material is needed.

And a nice entrance post. Only one is required as  the second wouldn't be seen tucked in the corner.

There is a servo under the square piece in the ground but as they are so reliable we shouldn't need to dig it up.


Saturday 12th November 2016

After taking a tumble last week, the signal box interior has been repaired. The base now has a block of wood araldited inside and that is screwed to the baseboard.

So its time to check that everything works and that the stock is functioning correctly. Plus its a chance for the operators to refresh their skills. Here's the stock in the fiddle yard, though one train is missing as the locos were being cleaned.

I'm pleased to say we had no major problems, just some dirty wheels and couplings out of adjustment.


Saturday 5th November 2016

Moving Day

With Frecclesham going to The Warley Show at the end of this month, it needs some testing and attention. So it has to be moved into the layout room. But first the boards need to be separated, and it proved to be a bit of a struggle to reach in and undo the bolts.

We had to make space for it, so some LMJ boards were moved out into the corridor first to make this space. Some of the boards were stacked up too, as you can seen.

Frecclesham reunited with the fiddle yard and ready to be tested. A bit of a dust off is needed too as those spiders get everywhere.

A couple of LMJ boards are in the workroom now. We'll need a hop-up in front to be able to work at that height.

There was a bit of an accident when the signal box came loose and hit the floor. Then lots of other bits were spread over the floor. But that's what superglue is for.

Steve N has again been motorising some vehicles for radio control. This is the latest and we'll give it a try on Frecclesham to add a bit of interest.

The idea is to make a roadway where the van is now, remove some of the wall and fence, then the van can exit through a hole we'll cut in the end, and on to the shelf that's positioned through there. The only problem will be finding somewhere else to put a mug of tea.


Friday 28th October 2016

More LMJ trackwork has been completed, this time for the Usk Branch. It looks as if it is in the wrong place in this shot, but we have extended the temporary platform too far.The branch alignment is straight on with the access to the mileage road going from top left to bottom right. The branch is not central in the track bed here as there is a second track, the loop, to the left which meets with the branch just below the camera.

If we'd removed the end protectors the alignment through the platform would be clearer. However, the boards are due to be moved again as we have to move Frecclesham into this space in order to prepare it for the Warley Show at the end of November.


Friday 21 and Saturday 22nd October 2016

So this weekend we played with LMJ and it was a pretty successful event. By the end we had both Up and Down lines operational and ran a variety of trains in both directions.

Here's some of the stock that featured. That's our old faith test loco Grommit (Cl.20) in the distance propelling 2 wagons. Then there's my Valleys DMU, plus a long freight train from our guest Dave from Bassmasters who also had a nice rake of GWR clerestories that I failed to successfully photograph. (But see later) At the front is a Cl. 37 and wagons from Bernie which did get on the track and run, and did another turn with some oil tanks.

So here they are contrasting old and new with the DMU

and again.

Here's a classic old favourite from Rod and there was also a Western and set of maroon coaches from Rob.

Talking of old favourites, we had a visit from Don.

We did have some problems with the South end of the fiddle yard with a mysterious short-circuit that we never located. Here's most of the essential gear we used, including £5 notes which were used to test that there actually was an insulating gap between the rails in important places.

Yes, this is wheeled to P4 standards and it is clockwork. It will do only half a circuit on a full wind up so disappointingly is not the solution to some of our problems.


We also completed some important tasks such as labelling boards and end protectors. Thanks to Mike E and Don for their work with the marker pens, plus Paul and Fred who were routing extra clearances on the and protectors.

Sunday 9th October 2016

The erratic updates continue I'm afraid. But as its been a while since the last update, there are quite a few photos.

The ever-productive Wagonman has plenty on the go, especially as he is now working fewer days.

And Fred has been working on this JLTRT diesel hydraulic for a few sessions.

In 4mm scale the main crossover has been relayed and after some alignment adjustments is looking good. It should be wired up ready for our next running session on Saturday 22nd October. We'll be in the main hall from 10 til 3 and you're welcome to come along and join in the fun. 


Sunday 18th September

Just a small selection of members for this session with trackwork, coaches and wagons in progress. 
LBH has been working on wagons for LMJ. These were obtained from eBay or somewhere similar and have been fitted with Alex Jackson couplings. The rake has grown long enough for some successful testing, first hauled and propelled by our trusty Class 20, then by a proper engine using a Hornby Grange. (6840 Hazeley Grange, shedded at Pontypool Road) Here are a couple of shots of it leaning into the curve heading north for Abergavenny. 

Sunday 11th September 2016

As is usual after returning from a weekend away, we have a bit of a tidy up. We are also having good attendance with plenty of people wanting to get work done so that gave us an extra imperative. The result is an impressive set of clear spaces.

The most notable being the former electronics dumping ground which is now clear for a bit of action. 

The winter modelling season commences!

Wednesday 7th September 2016

We had a fun weekend at Telford with the test track. 

Here's a good sample of the locos and trains that we accommodated. I can't provide details on them as there were too many to properly record. 

The Pony Express came back several times.

If you want to see this HST in action there's a YouTube link here

And here we are set up in the hall. The seats were often used by older visitors to take a nap!


Sunday 28th August 2016

Apologies for the erratic updates but I can provide a sick note if necessary.
So this report covers a few sessions though most pics are recent.

Refurbishment of the test track continues with the deadline of the Telford Show looming  - September 3rd and 4th if you were thinking of going.

The majority of the joints are now soldered to brass screws for robustness and adjust-ability, with much improved alignment.

We've also further improved the supporting legs. The existing chain provides a secure fixing with the new cord adjusters allowing for levelling.

So a test was called for which meant putting the whole layout up. We used the tables as supports as we wanted to test just the joint improvements. In the background you can see Al with a big box in his hands - some of the new toys were coming out.

Here's one, a Heljan product.

And this one from Rob may well have been featured before.

Meanwhile in 4mm scale work on the main crossing is nearing completion and best left on my workbench at  home. So down at the club I've started on the diamond crossing that gives access to the mileage siding and is important for when we start to lay track down the Usk branch. I thought it would be relatively straightforward until  I put a straight edge on the crossing roads and found they were in fact subtly curved.


Wednesday 16th August 2016

Well I did say the updates might be erratic, and so it proves. 

Continuing on from previously, Andrew's silo now has a coat of paint

and discussion followed on weathering techniques.
Also in the continuation theme, here's Rob's van from before fully painted and also awaiting weathering, ..... perhaps.

Work continues also on the test track refurbishment, and also producing folded etched chairs for LMJ trackworrk. There is no pointwork in production at the club at the moment as we've run out of copperclad timbering, but a stockpile of chairs is always useful. Note the ready prepared 1 in 10 crossing on the background.


7th August 2016

Further erratic updates

Here's a bit of fettling going on with the 7mm test track which is due out at Telford in early September. The corridor was the best place to get the two curved boards joined together.

Still with 7mm scale, this silo has been largely scratchbuilt by newish member Andrew. This project shows the best of being a member of a club, as he's asked for help and opinions on progress which we've readily given.

Following on from the last posting, this was the state of Al's coach recently, though it has now progressed to the paint shop.

As Rob has recently acquired this well wagon, we tried to re-create the scene from the Titfield Thunderbolt, though the coach should sit fully down in the well.


Mid July 2016

Well,  there's been a lot of 'stuff' happening which accounts for the lack of an update here.

At the club there's been trackwork discussions and chat about future layouts and bits and bobs done on baseboards. After the big effort for the AGM a  few people have diverted from P4 to other things for a change. Al is back on the 7mm coaches. I thought he already had a couple of these Slaters 4 wheelers but apparently they went for a good price on a Bring and Buy stand so he's working on replacements.

Rob Foot was working on some wagons. I'll leave the eagle-eyed to work out whether the van is P4 or OO.

There may be further breaks in transmission as we enter the holiday season.

Friday 24th June 2016

Whilst the AGM last week was a success as an event, those who were manning LMJ and trying to get it to run well were suffering quite a bit of stress. The trackwork had to be adjusted and resoldered in some areas to get reliable running. 

So last Tuesday we set the boards up carefully in the layout room and got them levelled. On Friday careful inspection revealed gauge and clearance problems with the main crossover. They were declared beyond correction by adjustment and a fresh start was the best option.
By the end of the evening the site was cleared and one of the replacement common crossings had been made.

This will need to be relaid quickly as it affects both Up and Down lines.

Monday 20th June 2016

Scalefour AGM Saturday 18th June 

So the day finally arrived. Well, in fact we started to assemble layouts on the Friday afternoon as the upstairs hall was available. Then Friday evening after The Bingo had finished we assembled LMJ in the hall along with organising seats and tables. There was much to do, so not a lot of time for photographing the work in progress.

But all that would not have got done without the combined efforts of the club members so this is an official 'thank you' from the Chairman.

In through the main doors with LMJ on the left, Eileen's Emporium and demonstrators to the right. 

Here are those lovely sweeping curves on LMJ

Beernie brought lots of his stock to run on the day. Here's his collection of industrial engines on the siding to the brickworks. This was in reality rope worked!

Regrettably the down line was too unreliable for running as we hadn't fettled it yet, so this freight was largely stationary.

However, the up line was better, though not without problems. At the height of success there were five trains circulating at the same time, though much of the time it was four.

Meanwhile upstairs the actual AGM took place. The architecture is distinctly utilitarian up here.

We had here Maindee East Engine Shed in full smoke mode, with Cwmdu and Henllan beyond.

Also Llanastr and Terminus were tucked in the corner showing more of the 'Eastern European' architecture.

Hopefully  some more photos will turn up....they have

And more, this is a collection of photos that Danny Cockling, the outgoing membership secretary of the Scalefour Society took :

And this, a model of Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway 0-6-0 was built by Andrew Nummelin and seen on LMJ at the AGM. The prototype was used banking coal trains going north from Pontypool Road so would have run through Little Mill Junction.

Saturday 11th June 2016

So there was just that final piece of track to go in. As its a short length it is more difficult to curve, So the glue here is drying to give it a bit more grab before final positioning.

No final shot of this as it  would just be more weights on the track.

We needed the whole fiddle yard assembled to complete the checking and final point motorisation. This is easiest to do in the hall so we had an extra session on Saturday morning. Here are Rod and Steve working with servos to drive the turnouts. Its only with the track now on the furthest curved board that running in and out of this end of the fiddle yard has become important. By the early afternoon the servos were in and its just polarity on the crossings to be checked. The black box in the foreground is used for setting the throw of the servos and  easier to use than the laptop and software.

Friday 3rd June 2016

After the work on Wednesday we were left with a final section to complete. This is what it looked like.

The gap was a bit more than 3 feet so it will have to be done in two sections. Here's part 1.

So a bit was prepared to infill.

Which seems good at a trial fit.

Meanwhile Rob had been busy and prepared a platform to go with the station building mockup. Note the extra track laid down the branch too but apologies for not putting the building in the right position.

So if the building is moved we can now try to re-create a well known photo of LMJ although the structure is still not at the right angle. (and yes, the leading wheel is not on the railhead)

Turning the camera around we have the station throat.

Weds 1st June 2016

With the S4 AGM fast approaching we squeezed in an extra, daytime meeting.

Here we have Dave tracklaying, Hubert fitting power droppers and Bernie fettling the track where the 42xx came a cropper last time we put LMJ up.

The success of Bernie's efforts can be seen in this video where a prairie tank hauls and propels a rake of 15 coal wagons through the formerly recalcitrant turnout.

Friday 27th May 2016

There are so few buildings on LMJ that we haven't given them much attention so far. But they would add so much to the layout for the Big Event so Rob (station building specialist) has again produced a mockup.

Next will come the platform.

Saturday 21st May 2016


There was a a good afterglow following on after last Saturdays success. 

We were really pushing on to get that final section of track in place.

But rather too quickly as a close inspection this recent Friday revealed. While it was good enough for the heroic complete circuit, it wasn't stable or level enough for long term use. So we had to lift it and the parallel trackbed as well to get a firm level base. No photo of this as its just covered by weights as the glue sets.

Back to Saturday then and our usual NMRS celebration of the circuit with some 'cold tea'

In the background you'll note a different loco attempting a circuit. This was not successful, but then an 8-coupled loco was always going to be more of a test than a bogied diesel. This was an attempt to achieve a prototypical movement from the LMJ timetable, the Abergavenny banker heading north for its duty. This target will allow use to open our prized and now very mature Little Mill whisky.

That'll have to wait for June 18th.

Saturday 14th May 2016


We have completed a circuit of track and run a test loco around to much cheering and applause after the first faultless run.

Here is a video of this momentous event Gromit does Little Mill Junction

It loads an external page, and may be slow to load depending on your broadband - its a big file.


Sunday 8th May 2016

Delayed update

Apologies for the delay but we were involved over the bank holiday weekend with the Bristol Show at Thornbury, where Steffan was successfully representing the club with Maindee East.

Justifiably he won two awards, the Pendon 4mm award, and the "craftsman of the year". Here's a shot from an earlier show.

Meanwhile back at the club there has been an urgency about tracklaying in a bid to get a circuit running for next Saturday.
The double track now extends all along the front of the layout.

And has extended onto one of the corner boards at the south end.

Then the transition from the scenic superelevated section to the flat of the fiddle yard has been engineered by Paul and Fred.

This involved sinking the MDF track down to the level of the ply by cutting a recess.

We will do the final trail erection of LMJ on Friday/Saturday 13th and 14th May, next weekend.

Friday 22nd April 2016

Well, those corridor connector did in fact materialise.

and the rake is looking good (sorry about the detritus in front) 

especially with a loco on the front.

Here's a better view of Mike's County. The loco is largely scratch built as the original etchings were so poor.


15 April 2016

With xTYS setting up his new layout Bwthyn y Rhosod and others involved in setting up the society's O gauge test track at the Newgog Exhibition there were only two of us at the clubrooms this evening.

Mike has virtually finished the M set leaving LBH just to add the corridor connectors (let no-one hold his breath)

And LBH laid a further panel of track (see the steel weights in the mid-distance) giving us a continuous run of about 60' - so only 20' or so (and the other track and the electrics and the fettling) to finish before the AGM in June (gulp!)

April 2016 - mid week club reveries

This exchange of emails occurred recently. We started by discussing which season to set.


Following some questions at the club about the desirability of modelling a bare-treed scene I went back to the Oakwood book to check what leeway we had in choosing the month. It turns out that I had forgotten that although the 11 trains-a-day service started in June 1954 but was curtailed back to 4 trains-a-day service in the February 1955 before the final closure (last trains in April 1955). So it transpires that if we wish to model the intensive branch service it is anything but spring. 

So what are the consequences of my oversight?  First, and embarrassingly for me, Allan has taken a whole bunch of photo of LMJ Flora which won’t now be used for their intended purpose but  they will not go to waste as they do show parts of LMJ we wouldn't have otherwise seen.

The window we have for the intensive Monmouth service is June 1954 to Feb 1955. In terms of locomotive usage it makes very little difference [maybe more chance of seeing a Star and Welsh 0-6-2Ts and plenty of ROD 2-8-0s around, but still too late for Saints, Kings (first time around) and Aberdares,  late enough for Standard 4s and 5s but too early for Kings (second time around), 9Fs, diesels} and for coaching stock there may be a greater chance of some GWR or LMS liveried stock hanging around and perhaps more pre-Collett stock. 

All in all 1954 seems a tad more interesting than 1955.

So what do we choose?


· ·         for  - trees easier with foliage (?); easier to hide exit of Usk branch

· ·         against – everybody else does it

Autumn (before major leaf fall)

· ·         for  - trees easier with foliage (?); easier to hide exit of Usk branch

· ·         against – colouring might be trickier


· ·         for  - trees easier without foliage (?);

· ·         against – tricky to hide exit of Usk branch


Summer for my 2 pence worth, makes it easier all round. I


Feb 55? Too early for DMUs as well then and my APT-e might be pushing it




for  - trees easier with foliage (?); easier to hide exit of Usk branch

against – everybody else does it - but not on a 40ft plus P4 layout...




There is A LOT of ground to cover with foliage. Trees in woodland can be modelled as just the green tops, no need for trunks and branch detail. In fact on Beechwood Park we had a wooded slope that was made of woollen pom-poms covered with green stuff to give the effect of tree tops. I’m not suggesting that as a solution, just an example of subterfuge.

Anyone fancy modelling hedges in winter?


Autumn : Toyed with this for my tiny layout and nearly did it. Concluded it would be possible but would need to colour the flock to get the many shades from red to yellow. Making up a large volume of different colours for LMJ would be more practical. Bare or sparse hedges are not so difficult. Would go with red Westerns nicely!

Mike E

I'd go for autumn or winter - it'd be a good contrast to many other layouts. Winter/autumn trees may be a bit more work than full foliage, but we don't have to have a great number of detailed ones, and I think (as Dave suggests) we can develop some techniques for dense clumps, no doubt with lots of ivy....    Cheers, Mike E.


On the weekend Karen was in the garden and I kept rummaging thru the cuttings/weed bag before putting it in the recycle - found some interesting bits of root and dead foliage. This time of year seems there are quite a few bits of useful real stuff! Autumn with a green to golden tinge would make it different but not too pendonesqe in the need for time - several years modelling a dead oak tree is I suggest beyond us!


Tupence worth from across the Severn... Anything but summer! The vast majority of layouts seem to do this particular season and it's really nice to see something else. Autumn or the depths of Winter would be great.


Usual worthwhile contribution from me:

This could be any season.

How about covering all eventualities.

Have a line side fire and paint the lot black with black tree stumps. EASY


Sadly Don you have possibly suggested more work, taking the P4 ethic one would really need to first accurately model the trees, including a scale density of combustible material, Rod can then get the weather for the previous 6 months for Dave to estimate the moisture content of the trees and ground cover, the whole would need to be then placed in a controlled environment (inc wind direction) and a fire then started by scale 4mm matches. Striking said matches may be difficult and ultimately be the blocking point to your idea.

MikeE (under the nom-de-plume of Thor)
Surely it would be easier to model a thunderstorm with lightning (static grass applicator re-wired? Simply wire up the mains?), and allow the lightning to start the fire. No need for 4mm matches. Indeed the method could immediately be applied in 7mm to Frecclesham. Might not be good for our carbon footprint though......   Best, Thor


Anyone got a portable Van der Graaff generator? Far safer than a static grass applicator...we could even do proper lightening then as well.


Time to stop this thread - started contemplating "Does lightning scale and could we protect the electronics?" !!

Actually........ not unsurprisingly for NMRS, someone did try to replicate a burnt area on Belle Vue. This did involve setting fire to a section of scenery with lighter fuel. I think it went...

Member: "I think some scorched grass area would look good, just there..."

Member points to an area of scenery, his eyes at this stage do not betray his intentions. Before anyone can react lighter fluid is distributed and a match is struck! Then

Member frantically pads the area accompanied by many words, some of which are "shit" and "ooow!".

Mike G

Scaling lightning would depend on the size of generator...wouldn't it?


Got as far as pondering : Given you would need 100,000,000V or thereabouts for  a good show, would an exhibition manager be happy, given lightning can kill .... probably not. So could (given the limits of the relative permittivity of air) would it be possible to reduce the voltage and control  electrical fields/break down paths ........ before realising I was being sucked into the parallel world that is P4 modelling!

Setting fire to LMJ is by far the better option!


Actually Mike's suggestion of using a Van De Graaff Generator would solve the question of scaling - which probably doesn't apply in any event - since the size of the lightning strike (or spark) depends on the voltage differential generated.  A small "school" VDG typically producing 200-500,000V will produce a lightning bolt about 12 inches long.

Perhaps Prof Edmunds can give us a definitive view on the scaling issue?

Meantime, whilst there is no recorded instance of anyone being seriously harmed or killed by a VDG, it will kill any electronics in the vicinity including pacemakers etc.  At first glance, that might be seen as a disadvantage, but being a "pint half full" type bloke I think it could be a useful pest control device at shows; carefully targeted at those who claim they know what the flora was doing on the chosen day and it wasn't how we've depicted it...

 And another thing.  This thread has only considered the effect of the season on the lineside flora.  What about the fauna?  Are the bunnies inhabiting the line in the mood for love or completely pre-occupied with feeding the results of all that summer luvving...


Now you’re just being silly!


One advantage about modelling 1954 - Myxomatosis - 99% depletion in the population of bunnies


This is indeed getting out of hand. Those poor bunnies. But perhaps if we are serious about 1955 and "what if" we could postulate that a nuclear war took place in 1954. That trumps lightning! - and no need for those matches now, or concerns about fauna. All we need to exhibit is charred boards that glow in the dark.......  Health and Safety might have something to say about the radiation though.
 Isn't it easier just to decide on late autumn??


No problem there I can get hold of depleted question who's got a lead suit to operate the layout in? How much did it cost and where was it they do XXL? 


Errr, I don't think we'd need operator suits. There wouldn't be many trains running that soon after a nuclear war. But what an excuse! - it would beat "leaves on the line" or "the wrong kind of snow" hands down. 


Further to your discussions as you may be aware my house overlooks what was BNS and later ICI Fibres where I worked for 25 yrs the area you speak of is almost constantly shrouded in mist most mornings and early evenings especially in Spring 
Your best bet for authenticity is to procure a load of dry ice one of the main reasons for constructing the factory at said place was its ideal high moisture content which prevented the yarns from braking at high speed during wind up

Mist you all


Perhaps we should just cover the baseboards with rails sleepers and ballast! Won't need tree's then!!!

 ... and we still haven't decided

Friday 8th April 2016

Rose Cottage

For some time now Steve Neill has been muttering about getting on with his 'shunting plank' layout. Having rashly promised that it would be ready for the NEWGOG show next weekend (Lysaghts Institute, Saturday 16th April) work has progressed more rapidly. 

It is named after Rose Cottage which is the building to the right. There are, of course, signature Steve Neill trees.

Obviously work still to be done on the buildings.

There are two tandem points, one at each end. These are great space savers.

The radio-controlled lorry featured last week will appear through the space at the back once the backscene has been cut away.

There will need to be some detailing done so here's a start using the lovely etched tools from Severn Models.

weekend 1st and 2nd April 2016

This weekend was one where we erect LMJ in the hall to continue preparations for its outing at the Scalefour AGM. 

But first we had to wait for the Bingo session in the Hall to finish. This was a chance to update progress on the radio controlled lorry that Steve N has been working on. Here it is with a tea mug to give an idea of size. It works well with steering and a good low speed. As does the lorry.

You can see the controller here along with an idea of the size of the motor.

We also went to the local Wickes for some insulation board for two scenic sections. We had to cut up the board in the carpark before it would fit in my Octavia.

Thanks to various members we were well provisioned for the day.

The fiddle yard has come out of hibernation and the control system booted up. As it is on a computer this did not go smoothly. But we did get locos to run.

Two additional turnouts needed to be laid. Here's the first going in.

The alignment here might need some tweaking.

Here I am putting in the last bit of rail, my favourite tea mug at the ready.

We took the opportunity to get some stock positioned on the track we have laid. Here the Usk goods leaves the mainline and takes the Monmouth branch.

Mike G surveys some of his coaches on the superelevation, and plans the next phase of carriage construction.



Last weeks update was missing as I got involved in a large DiY project over the week. but here is a report for this week.

Electronics are bring installed under baseboard 11 which contains lots of the pointwork so requires
 several controller boards.

More tracklaying on the next board, number 12.

And the next length of track is being prepared.


Friday 11th March

One step forward, two steps back

After last week explaining our tracklaying method, I have now to admit it didn't work perfectly. When we checked for straightness, first with the Mark 1 eyeball, it was apparent there were too many wavy bits. So we had to lift it and try again. Luckily we managed this without causing much damage. Here's a shot of the cleared area with the first replacement section under the weights.

However, progress is more assured on board 9 with foam being laid on the curved trackbed.


Week ending Friday 4th March 2016

More progress this week with reports from Tuesday and Friday. 

By the start of Tuesday we had the turnout from the mainline onto the branch laid in as you can see below. You must now imagine an eight coach train snaking over these and setting off down the branch to the ROF factory.

The turnouts to the right are stored there ready for laying.

At the Pontypool end of the junction is the siding supplying coal to the BNS factory boiler house. This drops away below the mainline as can be seen below. 

The first of the curved boards, board9 was perhaps not built to the best of standards.The curve of the front section had an unsatisfactory wave in it. (That's what happens if you buy from B n Q) So we decided to replace and re-profile with something better. Here the manpower step back after applying glue whilst  I take the photo.

By Friday the result looked better and is having a sealing coat of floor varnish applied.

Meanwhile on the main LMJ boards Andrew is applying foam strips to the track formation to make the ballast shoulder. It'll need a good vacuum up afterwards.

The trackwork is extending beyond the junction. Period photographs show that on the prototype there was a stretch of new flatbottomed track in this area. Here the next panels are being laid. First mark out the area in pencil and apply PVA glue.

Position the track carefully over the guiding dots and use a gauge for alignment to the previous panel.

Sprinkle on the ballast material. We are using chinchilla dust.

Press the ballast into the glue.

Apply some 'long weights' and come back next Tuesday.


Friday 26th February 2016

To start with some work from Tuesday, here we have the trackbed for baseboard7 being installed and checked for level.

We also worked on board 8 and have the trackbed on that too, leaving board 9 for the next session.
Now you'd think that the next session was this Friday 26th BUT there was Wales v France on at 8pm right in the middle of a worknight. So it was get the laptop out, order in some curry and bring your own beer. Nine of us crowded around the small screen wasn't the best viewing and to be fair it wasn't a great game but the correct result. LBH came prepared with beer from Newport's own Tiny Rebel brewery in an unusual container.

We normally put white PVA glue in this sort of bottle (taking care not to confuse it with milk at teatime) But it tasted good and the curry's from Vanilla Spice just up the road were good too.

As bit of modelling interest we also had fresh out of the packet from Heljan "Falcon" in 7mm scale courtesy of Fred.

Friday 19th February 2016

With work cracking on with LMJ space is at a premium. So we had to squeeze two baseboards into the workroom, slipping one underneath the Frecclesham boards.

However, despite my best efforts these two boards were not quite level with eachother. They were out by the height of a rail which is not a great deal to remove from the "high" board. So after some discussion of alternatives it was out with the power planer (adjusted to its finest setting) and then sandpaper.

Meanwhile in the layout room more trackbase was being laid so it is now continuous from the yard onto most of the front.  At the far end Rob is busy finishing off the ballasting on the curved end.

While Rob is in focus, he brought along two new arrivals from Hornby via Hattons of Liverpool. 

These are Collett Brake Thirds and the come in left and right hand versions. The quality is well up to modern standards.


Friday 12th February 2016

Beginning with the only 7mm scale item of interest for this week, here we have an oil tanker fresh from the Lionheart stable.A lovely job as you'd expect and note the daylight visible through the underframe. A quick test on Frecclesham showed it ran smoothly through the pointwork.

The foam underlay that was hidden last week by a load of weights has now appeared and been given a gentle sanding.

A further turnout is in preparartion for the iding to the BNS boilerhouse. Its the last turnout to be built that is on the mainline.

But on the trackwork front  there's this most significant sight;

Under the weights is the first turnout to be laid on the scenic section of LMJ. I got there to photograph it when it was already glued and setting!

However, LBH was doing the job and did have the forethought to do these.

A layer of PVA glue

and sprinkle on some ballast material.


Friday 5th February 2016

Work on LMJ progresses following on from last weekend.
Here Rob has been ballasting the superelevated section of track concentrating on the section in the 6 foot way between the two lines. There's still more to do, as there always is with ballasting.

There's a good selection of pointwork ready to be laid now and this'll be going down soon.

Paul has prepared some of the area ready, with the foam underlay well hidden by the weights holding it firm and flat.

Meanwhile, in 7 mm scale what is this? What is the strange load?

Inspired by the 7mm layout "End of the Line" with its radio-controlled lorry, Steve XYS has been motorising this vehicle. As a start it will go forwards or backwards powered by the battery pack load and driven by this motor and gearbox underneath.

At the moment its on a simple switch on/off switch and the front axle needs the steering mechanism too. And of course the radio-control gubbins. If this works then a 4 mm bus for LMJ is promised.

Friday 29th, Saturday 30th January 2016

! It Fits !

The second full assembly of LMJ took place over the weekend. Whilst we had put it all in the hall early in December we were still a bit concerned how close the fit would be with the full set of boards. As you can see from the pictures below it was quite close.

We had an unexpected visitor.

The underbridge by the brickworks has moved on thanks to Mike Edmunds.

He's also been working on this oak tree.

Lots of other useful work was done

Friday January 23rd 2016

This Friday was busy but with little photogenic work. Baseboard fittings were adjusted and holes cut for wiring, electronics prepared, trackplans prepared for transfer to trackbed by cutting out holes in the paper to mark through and pointwork fettled.

At the Weston Show the other wekend we saw a range of buildings and detailings from Weston Models (unsurprisingly!) Available in the three main scales, Steve XYS and myself looked at the 7mm offerings. He was rather taken by the shed at the top of the leaflet below and also had the shed accessories at the bottom whilst I indulged in the garden details set. I've put my set together though Steve has been busy with the baseboards featured last week.

A very nice little set, though the hand fork and trowel really are small. These have been put together with superglue rather than solder, as recommended in the instructions.

Friday January 16th 2016

Following on from work on Tuesday,  here is baseboard 8 with legs attached. The end nearest has the sockets for the adjustable feet and the further end is hinged to the framing. I know it doesn't look square but the longitudinals were never going to be parallel. The right hand leg is in line with that beam though as it has to take the strut that holds the legs vertically.

One of the technological developments that has helped modellers recently is laser cutting. This has been applied to thin wood to produce exquisite buildings and even wagon kits. Using chunkier wood this can be used to create even baseboards and they have been seen at model shows for a couple of years. Interested in this Steve XYS invested in a laser cut kit for a fiddle yard for his home layout. Here's the kit of parts.

In fact he had also got the kit for their worktray. As this was simpler we started there. Here are some of the parts and the instructions (which we did follow!)

The parts definitely show scorchmarks from the laser and smell a bit of burnt wood. Its basically slot and tab construction.

We did apply woodglue and tapped in pins to hold it firm. This is the finished tray. It took a bit over 30 mins.

Kit of parts for the rotating fiddle yard.

Applying glue a putting slot A into tab B

The basic framework emerges.

This is the rotating bit with strengthening ribs/

The two parts together. We need to find a long 6mm bolt for the centre pivot.

The final test.

This took an hour to build and is their most complicated kit. Its strong and light. Durability is yet to be proven.

January 11th 2016

Welcome to the first update of 2016.

This is going to be a big year for LMJ as we have to  get a circuit running for the Scalefour AGM we are hosting in June. So plenty to do and although scenery is not essential to the trackwork, its better to get the messy stuff done beforehand. So following on from previous pictures, here is the underbridge that leads into the brickworks. The card structure there will be replaced with the real model later on.

When we take a layout off on show we usually take a laptop with us as it has software that adjusts the servos operating the turnouts. If we have to do repairs or adjustments this
facility is needed (though so far seldom required). The box below is a compact replacement sytem that does not require booting up and can be used on the layout right next to the offending turnout. The components have just been tested before final assembly.

And so on Sunday 10th we went to the Weston Model Train Show with Pavilion End. I'm pleased to report that the day went very well with no major problems. The super new Servo Setter seen above was not used and in fact no soldering irons were used on the layout at all, as was the case over the two days at Thornbury.
So there is something to be said for small simple layouts, a point that was made by a well known sceptic.

Therefore we took inspiration for the next, after LMJ, P4 layout from the exhibit next to us.