Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Little and Large

Don't worry, this isn't about the former British 'comic' duo, but instead a contrast in sizes of current workbench residents.

The larger of the two is only partly scene - the Playmobil loco which has appeared a couple of times now on my blog. It was very much 'played with' when it arrived with us, and still needs a clean to remove the dust which has gathered from being stored. There's nothing wrong with signs of 'play', they are toys after all, but it needed a couple of little bits sorting. The main ones being the missing crank pins - German eBay provided a source of spares thankfully. Not surprisingly, Playmobil seems to have its greatest following in its homeland and the shear amount of Playmobil sets, parts and bits listed there reflects this.

In front, the 'little', is progress so far with a set of Penbits sprung bogies for a Bachmann based class 37 for West Halton. Just as with the class 25, the kit is superb and things fit as they should. I don't want to say it's easy, as that might undermine the product, but it is very straight forward and a great project to raise spiritis after a rather down week or so.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Model Railway Journal 241

I'm in MRJ!

Well, not as you might imagine... One of my locos is in the Scalefour Society's advert for this year's Scaleforum.

It's a model of 37501 in its unique light blue livery and it resides on Model Rail Express' editor, Si Bendall's layout Ravenscroft Sidings. It was made using of the the then brand new revised Bachmann class 37s in 2008. It was on my blog here. Until today, I hadn't realised how long it is since I built it!

Completed with Brian Hanson's then brand new parts - I'll stick with what I said in my original post that Brian's parts are revolutionised D&E modelling! 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Trying Not to get Carried Away

I get carried away with ideas and layout planning very easily! I think night shifts and quiet times when your mind is free to wander fuel this sort of thing. One night while engineering work carried on outside the signal box I managed to conjure up a scheme, inspired by the Forest of Dean, for a 5" gauge layout which could have fitted in my parents' garden! I knew about the ease with which you could get wagons for 5" guage, but I also found all you could need for the track (scale bullhead in fact!) along with the motive power - class 14s to which you could easily add radio control to really have an enormous model railway. Of course with this would come an enormous cost, well beyond most people's hobby budget. Getting carried away, you see what I mean?

So this may count as getting carried away...

It's a possibility, isn't it? Trains and railways in the garden seem quite civilised I think and Playmobil is very durable, even in the hands of young children. We'll have to wait and see if it can happen...

My last post hinted at what we had acquired recently. It's for Thomas, and the idea was we could have it outside on the lawn in summer. Playmobil is very durable and, if you buy carefully, very reasonable second hand. Providing you leave their colllectable side well alone - mint boxed locos can go for more than what we once paid for a car! Seriously.

The set we managed to get off eBay isn't perfect - it shows signs of having been played with (not a problem), just the odd buffer to replace... Incidentally searching eBay for the buffers, I have discovered that the french for buffer is 'Tampon'. You learn something new everyday. Of course, if it proved a success, a more permanent right of way could established. Thomas has said he would like a railway in the garden - he does need to remember that the August edition of Railway Modeller is not a catalogue though. As a way to get children outside it could be very effective, and better than them always being inside when we're at home in summer.

So a few lengths of track were place by the edge of the lawn (the curves even following the line of the flower bed perfectly - must be meant to be, surely?) just to see how it would look. And the household authorities didn't say no!

Thursday, 3 September 2015


New Project - always wanted Playmobil's trains when I was little but they were very, very expensive! 

Something completely different!

Not for me (well, a little bit perhaps!) but should be fun!

Hybrid Class 40

One of my longer term projects has been this class 40 - D235 Apapa as she was during the sixties whilst working on the WCML.

The source is a mix of Bachmann and Lima with a big helping of Shawplan parts. The chassis is Bachmann and most of the body is Lima, but with Bachmann nose ends with the Lima bonnet reduced in height to match. This then gives the correct room, or there abouts, for the new windscreens from Shawplan. The result? Well hopefully a class 40 that looks like a class 40 and not obviously a particular model manufacturer's version of the class.

I hope that doesn't sound snobbish, but the satisfaction of building or making something that looks right and captures the original is immense. And after many set backs which have affected my modelling this year it feels rather good.

Sadly it has a new home to go to soon - I'm quite sure it'll be appreciated!

Further Reading

Diesels in Depth: Class 40s by David Clarke