Thursday, 28 August 2008

B1 Progress

The B1 has come on ever so slightly, well a few of the castings are now in place.

I think the difference made by the new smokebox door is very noticeable - this is the 'face' of a steam locomotive, and it is where our eyes tend to be drawn. this is why it always pays to make sure that you get the door on straight! Hinges at angles can ruin an otherwise decent model.

Speaking of such things, another example is a wonky running board! The driver's side running board is at a slight angle - a wide angle lens doesn't help matters either! I found that the footplate had come loose from the boiler; at the moment it is all held together by screws, but I want to realign this area before it is finished.

That brings us up to date with this project; it isn't a high priority but it's quite a good one if I only have a few minutes spare!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

1968 and all that

It's forty years since BR finished with mainline steam. I had hoped to to see the recreation of the Fifteen Guinea Special, but sadly I was working and was unable to go.

The end of steam fascinates me, it has done for a long time. I would dearly love to model the end and give a true reflection of the motive power in use. So many books do give the impression that steam was everywhere 'til August 1968 and then all of a sudden it was diesels instead! Though it is understandable in books on the subject to focus on steam and not diesels in this instance!

There have been a few publications appearing recently to mark this fortieth anniversary, some quite general about steam in Britain, others look at not just the end of BR steam but the preservation movement, which whilst an important development for the scene as a whole, but they do rather dilute the issue in this case.

One publication, which is a 'magazine special' which WH Smith's have taken a liking to, is a superb piece by Alan Castle - Steam - The Grand Finale. It is subtitled as as a tribute to the men and the machines, which is a nice touch as the railway is all about people, and in many ways is what makes railways such a rich subject. The photos are superbly reproduced and for £7.99 is it superb value!

My only real criticism is that it is produced as a magazine when really, something to this standard should really have been a book - bound in a similar to the British Railways Illustrated and Railway Bylines annuals. For all the work that has obviously has gone into the publication, being a softbound magazine seems to cheapen it slightly. However, the fact that such a superb piece has been published is the main thing and I can't recommend it enough!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

More Waste Not Want Not!

It's been a little while since I updated my blog. I've not much modelling time this last week - lots going on at work, working most weekends on the Hull Docks branch and the situation wasn't helped by someone running into the back of my car when I was waiting at traffic lights!

Anyway, I had a bit of time to mess about with the B1, even if it was just a few minutes. I've taken some of the major components off ready for replacements to be fitted. You may also notice that the loco has acquired a set of Gibson bogie wheels - these were knocking about 'in stock'. Not sure why they'd be purchased originally, but they came in rather useful with this! The cost of the project is quite low, once the castings have been paid for there's very little else needed. Even the new buffers cost very little - the A7 I'm building for Botanic comes with a very nice set of sprung 'group standard' buffers which are perfect for the B1. The A7 doesn't need these as these are a later addition and 1126 will be as built. One thing which will finish the loco off nicely will be the etched brake gear which Mainly Trains produce - this is a huge failing with cast loco chassis when compared with newer offering. The presence of brake will really enhance the overall look of the model, without too much effort either!

My dad and I have had some discussion as to which B1 this should be; a few choices have been mentioned, all Hull engines, and we're thinking that 61306 may be the front runner... It was a Hull loco for most of its existence and worked on the York - Beverley line on the line's final day of operation too. However I've realised now that I'd have to sort out the electric lights and the generator too if this is the final choice!

The final decision on wheels may cost a bit extra - the loco works fine as it is, but the solid mazak wheels on the non-insulated side aren't ideal and need a lot of attention to keep them clean - plus it would be useful to have an electrically dead chassis in case Eastmoor becomes DCC at some point in the future. Gibson wheels would be nice and Markits do something that would suit the B1 I think... But I don't want to spend money for the sake of it, and Romford wheels do look OK on LNER prototypes providing you cover the axle nuts.

I do suspect that many people will think that this is a lot of fuss over an old model which does lack a lot of finer detail which we now take for granted, even on RTR offerings. My original post will say why I think it is worthwhile, but if compare these two castings and think of the difference it'll make to the 'face' of the model you'll perhaps see what I'm getting at! The difference between the two is huge! The original is on the right by the way...

The castings from Dave Bradwell are superb, as you can see. I'm looking forward to this project progressing. As always, I will let you know on here how I am getting on.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The Sleeping Giant

Cutting its way through the Beautiful Yorkshire Wolds and out into the Vale of York, the York - Beverley ran for just over a hundred years.

People who find their way to this site regularly will know of my huge interest in the line. It always fascinates me to see the remains, and how they can still have a huge prominence within the communities they served (see Stamford Bridge for more on this). However the line has also left us with some much less obvious. Just near Fangfoss, one section of the line heads across the relatively flat floor of the Vale of York. To the casual passer by all it will be is large hedge line separating the fields, but to those of us in the know it is much much more. At one former occupation crossing, the crossing gate posts still survive (above). If you walk onto the trackbed and look up the line, back to York, you can see exactly where the line was.

Quietly waiting for trains to return one day maybe? Well, you never know... but the line sits there as nature has slowly reestablishes itself.

Whereas Stamford Bridge and Pocklington are still obviously railway stations, just now devoid of track, other stations have settled down into their retirement. Londesborough station is just on the edge of its adopted village of Shiptonthorpe. With no hint of the former level crossing or, indeed, any former railway boundaries it is not obvious that this was once a station serving the local area. If you know where to look, it is easy to find and the architecture is unmistakable.

Further down the line at Market Weighton, the station didn't get the same easy retirement that others received, it is long gone and very little remains of the railway at this once important junction. A new devlopment which is just near the former station, Hundson Court, makes a link to the past. However on the site of the station, houses now reside where trains once ran. There's only one building which helps the observer indetify where the line once was.

They houses which were on the edge of the station site by the level crossing at the west end of the station - the line would have passed through the scene just in front of the photographer. However for most people, it will just be a pair of rather nicely proportioned cottages and not part of the railway which was once a huge part of the town.

Just a short distance away a small sign indicates that we're are at the start of the 'Hudson's Way' to Beverley which uses the trackbed between Market Weighton and Beverley - the journey is now, of course, on foot...

Friday, 1 August 2008

An Old Friend

Class 40, no. 343, as photographed by Jim Smith-Wright.
Sometimes models can take on a life of their own. One model which has featured briefly on here before was like that. It was a major rebuild of a Lima Class 40 which turned into an incredibly satisfying project where the result was extremely pleasing. It always seemed to get a good reception and good feedback.

In many ways, modelling a class forty has now moved on greatly (watch this space!!!) but somehow it still seems a real milestone for me. It did take on a life and identity all its own too, especially once it had sound! It seemed to cease to be a 'model I made' and become a little locomotive - if you know what I mean!

So with this in mind, you'll understand why I was so pleased to see a recent photo of the model. It was taken by Jim Smith-Wright and posted on the How realistic are your models? thread on RMweb. The result is amazing! Even if it more Jim's photography and photoshop skills that really bring it to life. I'm very pleased with the result.