Tuesday 22 November 2016

Ready for the NEC

Click to enlarge!
Just doing final bits to Brew Street for the NEC (it will be on the Model Rail mag stand). I have very limited space, so the fiddle/staging yards are just a couple of modified cassettes. They clip on either end as and when required. 

The built in lighting holds its own even in daylight. Punters at shows are like moths, they are attracted to bright lights. Tip; if you have a really crappy layout, light it nice and brightly - they'll come flocking to it like bargain hunters to the model railway manufactures'  when they're flogging off all the old tat at the NEC Warley Show first thing Saturday!

A proper feature on the build of this layout is in the current Model Rail magazine (December 2016 / No. 229)


Tuesday 15 November 2016

In Print

Part 1 of my little microwave sized nano-trainset has just appeared in Dec 2016 Model Rail magazine. The feature covers the first stage of the build, with plenty of illustrations of my kack-handed bodgings which try to fool people in to thinking that I know what I'm doing.

Click photo for BIGGER image

Yesterday, I penned part 2 for the January 2016 issue of Model Rail which will be out in around 4 weeks from this blog date. Or if you're reading this post in 5 years time - look on Ebay! The photo above is destined for part 2 - don't tell my editor though!

The little 'trainset' should be on the Model Rail stand at the NEC Warley Show on 26/27 November 2016 for people to poke, prod and generally comment on just how much smaller it is than they thought it would be. It really is small, imagine a foot print two A4 sheets of paper end to end - that's it!
Model Rail is available in all good news agents and super markets, all for just £3.95 - around the price of a pint around these parts! www.model-rail.co.uk

Sunday 6 November 2016

Grubbing Up

First stage of weathering up the Model Rail limited edition USA tank. I don't want it to look like it's been in Barry Scrapyard for 5 years like many do, more a warm oily rag look of a working engine. Click for a bigger version.

I'll leave it for a few days before tackling it again with finer localised weathering. Weathering is best something not rushed, it's easy to overdo things in 'one sitting'. I'll need to sort out a crew too.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Combwich Box

A little signal box I knocked up in the very early 1980's from plastic card, bits of card and some clear packaging. It needs a little tender loving. Click on the above photo for a bigger view.

It's survived 35 or so years quite well. The celluloid glazing (with frames drawn on with a bow pen and gouache paint) has distorted over time sadly. Some nice etched frames would be nice, but it's unlikely I'd be able to find something off the shelf. Might have to dig out the bow pen again and a slightly stiffer clear plastic sheet.

The little building is based on a standard London & South Western design, I think from some plans in a magazine from the time. Magazines 'back in the day' would often feature such plans drawn to popular scales. The scale of this model being 1/76.

I've posed it on my latest little project (purely because it has some nice bright lights built in) called Brew Street. Use the Combwich and Brew Street 'labels' below for more about those layouts.

Friday 28 October 2016


Thursday afternoon saw the final wiring go in to place. I won't show you that, because I'm no ambassador of layout electrics. Just imagine a few random wires. That's all I'll say on that matter. It works though.

Point operation is simple, just wooden knobs attached to wood dowels with a bit of wire poking up through the baseboard to the point tie bar. Push. Pull. Easy. Cheap.

Note the 'acoustic' controller, a trusty Gaugemaster feed back style hand held unit. No DCC for me, I've tried it, and do own some Lenz DCC thing, but prefer the analogue approach (I prefer acoustic guitar to electric as well, works in a power cut too). I've far too much stock, and even if there were enough hours in the day to convert it all, I really cannot justify the cost. I only really play trains at model railway shows - maybe one or two shows a year.

I still need to sort out out a couple of fiddle yards, I do have two generic cassette yards I use for all my layouts, but they're really too big for such a tiny layout.

Brew Street will form part of the Model Rail stand at the Warley MRC show at the NEC Birmingham 26 & 26 November 2016. See you there.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Having a Quickie

Click to enlarge
One Sunday afternoon, I was up in my railway room having a rare tidy up, and whilst looking at those ‘wall flower projects’ (things we’ve built, but have no home; they sit on shelves not joining the railway party) we all have. I wondered if some of them could be incorporated in to a small ‘quickie’ project, a project that could be completed in a very much shorter time than previous layouts.
Click to enlarge
I had a spare made up ‘Tim Horn’ laser cut baseboard (2 x 1 foot / 65 x 30 cm), so I grabbed a few of the buildings to see if I could make up some kind of workable composition that a railway could fit in to.

Click to enlarge
The whole project took around 50 hours spread over two weeks.
You'll be able to read more about this and how it was done in the next Model Rail magazine www.model-Rail.co.uk out in around 3 weeks. The little layout will be on show on the Model Rail stand at the NEC Birmingham 26 & 27 November 2016. Pop by and say hello!