Saturday 14 November 2015

New Layout!

Having pondered for long enough, a Forest of Dean inspired layout will be my next project. Time now will be devoted to research and book buying mostly. I find that aspect vital for capturing the right feel. This new book from Black Dwarf Lightmoor makes a great starting point
The size of the scenic diorama type set up here is 6' 6" x 12" (2m x 30cm)

For the first time ever, I'm trying out some laser cut baseboard kits from

A scene that could pass for somewhere in the Forest of Dean in the mid-1960's. It's a scene from my 'Ironstone' project, I may well physically extract this cameo and incorporate it in to the new bigger project with a little brute force and recolouring! Quarrying was quite a feature of the Forest of Dean area.

As part of the process I'll make mock ups of possible scenarios using any old buildings kicking about in the parts/spares/reject bin to try to get an idea.

Thursday 9 July 2015


Until yesterday, I'd not had the space to set up Combwich since 2011, so a well over due photosession has been taking place on and off over the last 24 or so hours...

Combwich is my oldest layout, starting it layout around 1979, it then went in to storage between 1985 and 2000. Work on it has continued on and off since then. It's been to a few shows in recent years and is popular. It looks pretty and runs well, but the 35 year old wiring really needs to go at some stage.

Scale OO (1/76)
Size: 14'00" x 2'8"

Useless trivia: everyday working steam finished on the Southern Region of British Rail 48 years ago today - 9 July 1967.

Click to enlarge...

Monday 4 May 2015

Taking a Tablet

The other day I was lucky enough to be given a brand new iPad Air 2 tablet.  I'm not a techy type, rather preferring things to be made of wood, however it has an 8 million pixel camera which is high enough res to actually be useful in the real world and not just Facebook.  It also has very good low light and macro ability, so tried it out on one of my layouts. So here was have a Beattie Well tank well away from its more usual native Cornwall, and now seen on my tiny representation of a small imaginary corner of the Rutland ironstone field. 

I don't think it will replace a proper camera for anything too serious, but it's ideal for stuff like this, and may see the occasional use for the odd magazine shot that a more conventional camera cannot access. 

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Hiding those Flying Ducks and Lawnmowers...

I've not found the time to photograph my own layouts recently, but a little earlier on found a few spare minutes to pop the camera on a tripod and grab a few of Buckminster Ironstone my little quarry layout.

The shots have not been messed about with in post production; a high backscene as here being vital for good photography - unless you want to start messing about with *CGI to hide those flying ducks or lawnmower hanging off the garage wall. We're still a bit behind Europe and the USA when it comes to backscenes, most still being happy with a bit of 6 inch high tatty blue painted MDF with fingerprints and damaged edges. It's changing slowly though, as people start to record their layout build progress with small digicam or mobile phone camera and realise the limitations of such a low backscene for decent CGI free photography.

Click the photos below for a full screen view...

The summer of 1969, a Class 25 still in two tone green is seen shunting at Buckminster Ironstone. The class one head code is interesting, and one that no doubt flummoxed the number crunchers. The crew probably did it on purpose just for gags (cue serious comments...)

Radstock captured positioning wagons under the loading hopper at Buckminster Ironstone. Note the ancient internal user contractor's wagons in the foreground.

Radstock simmers at Buckminster Ironstone Quarry

Radstock simmers at Buckminster Ironstone Quarry

*computer generated imagery

Thursday 16 April 2015

Rochdale Model Railway Exhibition 11 & 12 April 2015

A few snaps from last weekend's excellent exhibition, grabbed of Polbrook Gurney Colliery during one of two of the quieter moments. This is the furthest north I have taken this layout so far. Click on the photos to make them larger should you like...

Friday 10 April 2015

Ready for the road...

Yesterday afternoon was spent sorting out Polbrook Gurney Colliery for its trip up to Rochdale, for what will be its most northerly trip so far. 

I tend to only do shows that are fairly close, not being a huge fan of Britain's weekend roads with all the overcrowding problems they bring, as support stocking beige Rover driver meets white Audi Coupe and Lithuanian artic driver together in a three way punch up bringing the inevitable motorway closure. I guess I'll have to leave lots of time. And when I am stuck for 8 hours, I'll have packed a small guitar or ukulele and songbook to practice some songs for next week's open mic down the local. 

I've set the layout up to check it all over, having not run it in earnest for well over a year, the play aspect of toy trains doesn't really interest me. A weekend operating a layout usually satisfies that lesser need for another year! Others are different I know, but for me it's the creation rather than operation. So if any reader here pass by and want to operate the layout for a spell, you are very welcome, be warned though, I might vanish for a pint and leave you for several hours. 

Rochdale Model Railway Exhibition
The Coach House, Lodge Street, Littleborough, Lancashire OL15 9AE

Monday 6 April 2015

Polbrook Gurney Colliery Roadshow

Rochdale Model Railway Group MODEL RAILWAY EXHIBITION
Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th April 2015

Playing Trains

I don't do many shows far from home, however because the social element promises to be particularly good, Polbrook Gurney Colliery is going to head north of Watford Gap for possibly the only time this coming weekend.

'Rochdale Model Railway Group
In the style of our early exhibitions, showcasing the finescale modelling of our members and friends:

Littleborough Coach House
Lodge Street, 
OL15 9AE (close to the Railway Station) 

Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th April 2015 Saturday & Sunday 10am to 4.30pm Admission - £3.00 Under 16s accompanied by an adult - Free Layouts, Refreshments, Free Car Parking.'

I must apologise for the irregular posts here, however we all increasingly spend more and more time with this interweb thing, so this sadly has been one of the first things to be neglected in an attempt to address a healthy balance.

I do however very regularly post model railway  to my Facebook 'Like' page, and hopefully you'll be delighted to know that you don't need to have a Facebook account to see this page.

Broken blog photos I've noticed this blog has rather a lot of damaged imagery for some reason. Being realistic I simply don't have the time to address it all, but as time permits I'll remove lesser stuff and repair the more popular posts - this might take some time though!