Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Scaleforum 2009

Hepton Wharf - P4 in a minimal space, superb!
The East Yorkshire Area Group of the Scalefour Society made their annual trip to Surrey for Scaleforum.

It was definitely worth the 500 mile round trip! Despite problems with the venue as Leatherhead Leisure Centre is undergoing a huge revamp. The event worked round this and it was a superb show! I was very pleased to see Hepton Wharf and was surprised just how small it was! Very effective as well! But Flintfield really stood out even with no trains in sight you are captivated by - if you're not, you clearly have no soul! Strangely what would be 'gimmicky' elsewhere works beautifully here - the flying bird (seen at the top of the photo) and the swimming swan add a wonderful touch of life the the scene. This is true finescale modelling with great care applied across the board and shows admirally that the Scalefour Society is far more than just wheel and track standards.

Kitehouses was rather nicely done and had a nice selection of North Eastern Region stock. The back scene was wonderfully simple and effective all at the same time.

A highlight for me was Rose Grove under construction - it has some of the best looking P4 S&C I have ever seen! The layout was populated with locos by Dave Holt which are beautifully constructed - I've had the pleasure of viewing these up close when demonstrating in the same room at Scalefour North.

A very worthwhile and enjoyable day - if you didn't go this year, you really should try and make it in 2010!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The J. P. Richards Collection

If you wonder in to The Works at the National Railway Museum you'll be met with a whole manor of small artifacts in metal and perspex boxes - the idea of a public store is wonderful as so many items might never see the light of day otherwise. If you do visit here I would encourage you to turn right as you enter the doors on the ground floor. I did just this after my PTS Re-certification last Wednesday - one of the advantages of meetings and course in York is having the NRM so close by!

If you do this you be presented with display cabinets whose light beams out across the gloom. Within these is a wonderful collection of LNWR models in S7 built by JP Richards. The description says how it features in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest collection built by one man but I think it's a shame they feel the need to emphasise this rather than just let the models speak for themselves or even provide a bit of background on the prototypes for the models.

Being built to S7 standards means they are unable to operate on the Museum's existing layout but the explanation panel says they intend to build a payout one day to allow them to be displayed as intended. Maybe a worthy successor to the Museum's now rather tired looking layout? Though this is another issue...

In the meantime, if you are visiting the museum, I urge you to go and spend a few moments taking in this superb body of work.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Ten Coupled Filthiness

One of my latest projects to make its way out of the workshop is this - soon to be followed by a suitably weather D600 Warship Class. It had a simple brief, to depict a 9F as they appeared towards the end of their working lives and towards the end of steam on BR. So this is a combination of various photographs.

I think what it shows is how good modern Ready to Run locomotives are now - to be perfectly honest I see no real need to kit build a 9F if you were modelling in 00 now. In P4 you'd replace so much of the RTR model that you might as well build the complete thing. Tenders could easily be replaced by Comet items should the need arise. I've been very impressed by this model overall though I urge anyone who has one to drill out the chimney - opening this makes an enormous difference to the appearance.

To give you an idea of the effect weathering I have added a 'before' and 'after' view of the model. I'll allow you to draw your own conclusions.



I hope to provide a few more details of how to weather locomotives in this manor when I finally finish the 'dub-dee' which has featured here previously though when that might be is any one's guess!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Loose Coupled

I have found one delightful scene which I never thought I'd witness; the loose coupled freight. About 95% of movements around Scunthorpe Steelworks are loose coupled and it is all accompanied with buffers and couplings clanging which is a wonderful sound and has disappeared from most other parts of the country.

Mostly these are short trains of large steel carrying wagons, however there is a large number of scrap wagons like these on the system -

This morning on my way in through the works (once you arrive at the complex you still have some way to travel to reach the right part!) I was met with a site of one of the work's Janus type centre cab 0-6-0DH locos taking a train of around fifteen empty wagons of this type. I stopped and watched its slow progress as the wagons fought both the loco and each other. The sound was one that I associate very much with the 'steam age' railway but this is very much a part of this modern heavy industry yet is hidden away from public view and sadly so many enthusiasts will just miss out.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Rolling Along

The week seems to have passed by very weekly and sadly so has the weekend...

Now I'm allowed to play outside during the week I've found that even despite the very early starts I have much more energy! Must be the fresh air! Found a few minutes in amoungst stripping a car for spares, fitting new number plates to my mum's car and a lovely meal out on Friday with Suzi!

A little progress with the NER Class U (LNER N10) though thanks to the loan of GW Models rolling bars - a lovely piece of kit! Superbly made and it made such light work of the task in hand. I had already rolled the smokebox by hand but I rolled the boiler and twin layer cab roof and had everything soldered up ready for placement on the model within twenty minutes! Not bad going really!

The boiler and smokebox have been permanently joined but not to the rest of the loco yet; the cab roof is a lovely interference fit so that can stay just as it is for now and when the time comes a small dab of Bostik will hold that in place. Next will be fitting the axleboxes and their hornguides. Even at this stage there is plenty of ease with creating any extra clearances, especially with the boiler assembly still separate.

The North Eastern lines are definitely beginning to show now; their locos were wonderfully simple in their lines with no 'frilly' bits which other railways felt the need to include. Perhaps workmanlike is the best way to describe them? Yet they are undoubtedly elegant in appearance.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Driverless Locomotives...

The title might sound alarming but this is really what you get in Scunthorpe! Well, not exactly as it seems! Many of the locos are remote controlled so you'll see the driver performing both his traditional role and also that of shunter - he may be on the loco as it moves, walking alongside or watching the loco buffer up. All clever stuff really, but even with this information is can still be a little disconcerting at first!

These two photos were taken on my way home through the works; it's a fascinating place and our lads who are based within the works for maintenance are great. The scale of it is awesome too. It's amazing to see in amongst the modern plant and buildings the odd hint of heritage such as when you see a small, old stone building surrounded by enormous pipework and gantries. As you go round there is so much to take in! Some of the wagons are fascinating - quite how old some of them are is anyone's guess!

Perhaps one of the most refreshing things about the works' network is that it is constantly evolving; if they need new roads in a yard, they get on and lay them! No messing about or prolonged commercial wrangling.

I must remember that this is work...

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

And so to Scunthorpe

Well, summer's gone and I'm finally allowed outside!

I'm just starting a three/four month stint at Corus' Scunthorpe Steelworks on the p-way maintenance contract which VolkerRail has - this is something which the company has held for many years through its various guises, going right back to the company's days as Grant Lyon Eagre when industrial work formed a major part of the company's activities.

I must admit that both being outside and 'hands on' suit me much better than being in an office! As some of you may know I'm dyslexic and as such have a mind which is wired a little differently from 'normal' people - the thought of ongoing/endless admin both seriously stresses me and fills me with dread. As a result I'm much happier and feel so much more at ease with practical matters - so I'm very much looking forward to this latest move although I'm rather disappointed to miss the next stage of works on the Hull Docks Project. However, it's not bad getting to see a network like that at the steelworks! It's also a real pleasure to work in an area so rich in industrial heritage.