Monday, 18 May 2020

Kung Flu strikes again. Aylsham Exhibition cancelled. SORRY FOLKS!!!

Just to let all the avid readers know,, unfortunately,, the Aylsham show in October has been cancelled.

To be slightly serious I think it is the right decision,,, I hate to admit the fact but some things are more important than a model railway show.

The good news is we should have loads more engines to introduce to the public by the time we do all get back to normal!!!!

Just to cheer you all up I attach a few photo's to prove we have been seriously self isolating in the garage ALL WEEK.

The L1 now has brakes on the rear bogie,,, what a phaff that was!!

Jersey Lily looking decidedly nervous before she is pushed into the paintshop.

A long time ago a fortunate few could call this their office!!!

Keep Calm,, keep safe and SOLDER on.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

L1 Progress Report

Have had a couple of good days jousting with not only the rear bogie on the L1 but a couple of Leylandii roots in the garden,,,, the Leylandii is my least favourite weed of all time,, why people in the 70's & 80's saw them as trendy is a complete mystery to me,,, they are a pain,,, and if you don't keep on top of the pruning with the wretched things they take over.

When the 2nd one went crack / snap then pop I decided it was time for a celebratory refreshment,, such is my distaste for the bloomin things.

Onto more pleasant things,, the rear bogie on the L1,,, apparently the brakes on these things were just short of hopeless,, which is not ideal if you have 30 or 40 laden coal wagons behind you on a downhill gradient,, so it was decided to put brakes on the rear bogie wheels as well in an attempt to improve the situation,,,, unfortunately that didn't work either and so the reputation of not only being ugly as sin but difficult to handle was born!!! which is good co's that's just how I like my freight engines.

This has made it quite an interesting challenge for a modeller as component parts for rear brake shoes on bogies do not appear to be available so I have had to make my own,, what a phaff,, but now one side is finished they look OK even if I say so myself.

The first picture is of the bogie with the power cylinders fitted and fiddling the shoes into place,,, the tatty wheels are "build wheels" which I use when making loco's as bogie wheels go on and off umpteen times in the process of getting the bogie to look and work correctly.
The second picture is the bogie fitted to the loco with one side complete including the proper wheels and apart from a good clean up I am quite pleased with the result,,, it is also interesting to look at pictures of a build as I will have to put some dummy frames in over the rear bogie to hide what appears to be an enormous 10BA nut,,, as no discerning modeller wants to see that or daylight in the wrong places.
I do hope I'm not starting to take this too seriously as I have a manic urge to go and count my rivets!!

Good value blog this as this is the second post in a week!!!!! ENJOY

Sunday, 3 May 2020

I can't afford to be a rivet counter!!!

For many of us modelling is a serious business and you may be aware of my opinions on rivets,,, and as mentioned in previous posts the cosmopolitan breed of accountants that pursue them.

Now this may come as a shock but I have recently bought some more,,,, to go with the 19 which are  already in my collection.

The new one's are "special" as they are 7mm long and 0.5mm diameter dome head rivets.

A packet of 10 cost me very nearly 2 weeks spending money,,, and the really worrying thing is "the management" is not yet aware that I have invested in some more rather expensive "twiddly bits" [ her terminology,, not mine ].

I have to say I'm rather glad rivet counting is not for me as if I decided I did want to use them in prodigious fashion it would cost me a small fortune modelling even a very small modest tank engine.

Whilst being locked in the garage for the duration I have been resurrecting yet another white metal kit I started over 20 years ago,, back then I was a dashing young batchelor in the oil rich Gulf states who modelled not only in 00 gauge but shorts and flip flops as well.

Soldering was "character building" especially when one of those shiny little bullets leapt off the end of the iron onto your foot,,,, and that's how I learnt to do my version of a caledonian square dance.

This weeks efforts to avoid the Kung Flu have revolved around one of Mr J G Robinson's finest creations the 4-4-2 Atlantic,,, also known as Jersey Lily's,,, but we won't go there as it is getting dark.

Now I  know I am slightly biased when it comes to Robinson's designs,,, but if you don't find the above image ,,, elegant,, attractive,, special,, shapely,, then you have probably caught some nasty kind of virus,,, or even worse,, Swindonitus,, in my opinion the above image is "Edwardian Elegance" in it's purest form,,,, not only did they look rather special but they performed rather well into the bargain,,,, most of them lasting  for well over 35 years.

How this beauty ended up in an unmarked box on the "wot to do" shelf is a mystery,,, but when I found it again and looked at it I knew it needed finishing off and is there a better place or time to do such a thing as "right now".

As you can probably see when it comes to the look of a model I am also a bit of a stickler,,, I spend hours looking at my models and if  "in my opinion" it just is not right or perhaps more importantly conform to an accurate drawing then it's offending bits will be changed for some of mine,,, usually in brass,,, so quite a lot of the bits from Mr Millholme's model were consigned to the bin and I changed them for items which I felt looked more the part,, namely, cab, front footplate, cylinders, steps and whistle.

Now working with something as aesthetically positive as a "Jersey Lily" has put a real spring in my step and it won't be long before it is off to the paintshop,, along with the Q7, D2 and J3,,[my word we have been busy] and then I can get back to working on something slightly more challenging the L1 Zeppelin,,, you will be pleased to know the drawing is back on the workbench and whilst I will not  be able to replace any parts to make it look nicer as they were pigging ugly by design I have to say I find this avoiding virus's a lot more fun than spotting rivet's and so far I have no temperature,, sniffle or cough,,, so it is all looking good for the L1 from here in the wilds of East Anglia.

Monday, 27 April 2020

You don't have to be 2 metre's away to read this!!!!

These video's are getting very popular!!!!

As it is over 3 weeks since I last blogged I thought I had better update you on what has been occuring whilst I have been spending countless hours ON MY OWN in the garage,,, I'm thoroughly enjoying this self isolation stuff,,, and am getting so much done.

If you click on the whatsit above you should see that we now have bouncing signals,,, and even better they come with Delayed Uplift,,[whatever that is!!] 
Now I thought tram overheads were the stuff of satan but that was before I leapt into the deep end of the signalling pool,, ho ho,, the fact that they are up and working is something of a miracle,, they came so close on a couple of occasions to becoming wallpaper!!

Mr salesman at the exhibition when I bought the clever little box of tricks told me fitting them was [and I quote] "a breeze",,, really,,, I  did consider moving to Skegness on a couple of occasions just in case it helped getting the things up and running,,, but a breeze it was NOT!!

In fairness life would have been much easier if I had built them on the workbench as self contained units,, got them working correctly and them dropped them as a unit into  a suitable hole in the baseboard,,, but as track was laid about 20 years before suitable servo controlled systems were available [for a tight fisted Yorkshireman] that just was not possible.

The end result was that I had to fit the servo's and all the associated linkage under the baseboard on signals that were already in situ,,  but we got there in the end,,,, and then I had to programme the breeze laden microprocessor that doe's all the clever stuff!!!  For a digital Luddite like myself this is always going to lead to problems,,, it got so bad I had to get my coffee laden wife in to assist on a couple of occasions,,, that's how bad it got,,, luckily she is one of the few people who qualify's for my variety of self isolation.

That's not all,, we now have a finished D2 and a Q7 just waiting for a Cilit Bang bath and then it is off to the paint shop,,, now as I have mentioned before painting is not my forte,, but after the tram overheads and the digi-whatsit signals I am quite looking forward to a session in the paint shop,, at least I know I don't like painting so it will not come as a surprise like the overheads and signals did.

Due to the current bouts of Kung Flu I am having a concerted effort to finish off some long term projects that have been gathering dust since the last century!!! [fact,, both above were started in the late 90's] and another result of this clean up regime is,,,,
a John Day model of a Fordson Q7 bin lorry,, ugly as sin,, but lovely in it's own little way,, and during our recent sojourn to Malta I saw one,,, still running,, heaven,,,
and here it is,,, about as aerodynamic as an upright piano but for me it has buckets of character.
It will sit beautifully alongside my LYR Hughes heavy and the GC Zeppelin!!! 
Ugly is the way forward without a doubt,, it gives me so much pleasure,, when compared with overheads or signals!!! 

Now 3 weeks is a long time to not blog,, but there has been another reason for my absence from the ether,,,,wait for it,,,, YES,,, after approximately 10 years of doing exhibitions in nothing more than it's undercoat the tram has been treated to a satin finish topcoat,,, and very nice it looks too,, it certainly looks better than it did,,, but to be honest that is not difficult.

Take care everybody,,, and can I share a guaranteed way to alleviate stress,, during lockdown ensure you are never more than 2 centimetre's from an operating bottle opener,, it works,, I have tried it!!

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

As Elmer Fudd once said,,,"It Woyks"


In these uncertain times it is all about trust AND THIS IS NOT AN APRIL 1ST JOKE!!!! HONEST

SO The above line of MP4 OVERHEADS is hiding some computerised piffle which is NOT my home brew recipe for defeating the Kung Flu but an access code to a rather special MP4 video.

Please give it a try and click on the line.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed that!!!!

Today is April 1st which is internationally recognised as a day of some importance,,,, it is also the day where it was that cold in the garage,,[lets not forget we are now officially in Spring],,, that I thought to myself,,, cobblers to this,,, I'm going to go inside and play with my digital camera/video thing and see if I can download it onto my inanimate piece of black plastic aka,, the compoota.

Well I eventually got there,,,, by the 11'sys coffee break I was convinced it was going to take as long to post the wretched MP4 file on the box as it was to erect the whole set of overheads but I can now categorically prove that the overheads are up and are working,,,, YOO-HOO.

Having working overheads is a definite case of  "mixed blessings",,, whilst I am delighted they are eventually up and running I was hoping I would be able to proceed constructively onto other things,,, but so far this is not the case,,, as they are now up I am spending vast amounts of time just playing with the tram and watching it go "wooosshing by",,, it is hypnotic how the sprung loaded trolley pole fluctuate/oscillates between the traction poles and then to see it travel smoothly through the reversing triangle is a vision of great joy,,,, [if only the tram knew how close it got, on several occasions, to being ejected into next doors front garden] and it really was well worth the effort.

I could easily write a full technical manual on how "simple" the procedure of erecting working overheads is,,, but as I am now categorised by the NHS as 70+ AT RISK & VULNERABLE
I am not going to bother,,, you can find out the hard way just like I had to!!!!

To be fair if anybody fancy's a go at overheads I would say DO IT,,, I wish I had jumped in at the deep end a lot sooner and as mentioned earlier I really have enjoyed the whole process,,, a very interesting challenge.

THE SERIOUS BIT,,,, before I met Mr Mark of Grime Street fame,,, having working overheads was always a bit of a pipe dream,,, he convinced me to have a go,,, I am glad he did and I also have to say the assistance he offered when I was in the planning phase was enormous,,, I even had to learn a new set of technical vocabulary.

MARK,,, a very sincere THANKS,,,, and in the words of that well know Oscar Acceptance Speech
"I really could not have done it without you",,,,, [but be warned,,, one day I might get you back!!!]

Thursday, 19 March 2020


Well how quickly the world can change,,,, the last time I posted nobody had heard of Kung Flu,,, and now here we are where purchasing a carton of milk and a loaf takes 70 minutes,,, and that excludes the 5min walk each way.

FACT it was experienced by me at Sainsbury's North Walsham this morning!!!!
Todays LIST was "milk and bread" and I was advised by the management to get there before 9am as now pensioners get special dispensation between 8 and 9am every morning!!!! 
[she just loves reminding me I qualify for such perks!!!]
It was "special" alright,,, more like Zimmer Central / Buggy Fest than a supermarket.
And I can see I am going to have to get well topped up on tattoo's when social isolation finishes as a lot of todays pensioners are covered in them.

To recover from such exertions I took myself off to the garage and had a concerted effort at progressing further with the trams overheads,,,,,, see pics above.

Suicide corner now has a working overhead in both directions courtesy of a 4 post matrix from which I dangle various lumps of wire to attach the overhead to.

The rest of the system is on single poles with overhanging arms positioned over track in a uniform way,, sort of!!!

Now I have never played 3 dimensional chess but I am aware it is quite tricky and you have to think quite well in front,,, after the overheads excercise I think I'll give the chess a go,,, at least I can do that in the warm of the kitchen!!!!

Believe it or not but I have found the whole process very interesting,,, it is something I have been putting off for years but now I have actually got started I find the whole thing fascinating,,, yes incredibly fiddly and also very frustrating especially if you don't really know what your doing but at the same time I keep going back and having another go at being fascinated.

Now we get to the really "interesting" bit the trolley pole reversing triangle.
With some blinding forethought,, [and the vast experience of a couple of months of installing pretty straight forward single line overheads] I decided to make a test bed for the triangle,,, just to see how it all go's!!!!!

You "lucky bandstand" springs to mind,,, I really don't know why I decided to do that but boy am I glad that I did.
So far I am on attempt/test track no's 3 and we are getting close but not close enough for it to go round without the trolley flying off the wire,,, where's Charlton Heston and the Greatest Show on Earth when you need him!!!
If I had been attempting that amongst all the terraced cottages on Fiddle Hill not only would I have done serious damage to the chimneys. downpipes, roofing and pavements but I would probably have lost my sanity as well!!! [well what was left of it before I started]

I have to say if I had found tram overheads about 30 years ago my modelling career could have been somewhat different!!! I have become totally absorbed by the bloomin overheads.

They defy all logic,,, what you must never forget is that the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line,, now you have taken that info on board only use it when you really have to.
The reason for that is that the trolley pole on the top of the tram is usually about 20 minutes behind the tram so what is happening to the wheels is completely different to what is happening to the minute pulley wheel at the end of the trolley pole,,, my trolley roller wheel is about 1.5mm in diameter and it sits on 0.45mm nickel silver wire,,,so you quickly learn you don't have a lot of free dimensions to play with!!!!

The horse hair shirted Trammy purists [yes yes,,, trams have them as well] suggest that the only true way to model an overhead is to copy the real thing and have the overhead line over the centre line of the track below,,,, very nice in theory,,, but as my roads were layed around 2006 and associated buildings installed over the next couple of years I have some rather severe curves to negotiate,, and then we have the daddy of them all "Suicide Corner"
The purists also advocate that to negotiate a corner you should run a series of straight lines not a curved piece of wire,,,, well Ned,, I tried,,, but quickly decided that being over 70 with a viral controlled life expectancy of "not a lot left" my life was too short to go the purist route and so I have utilised some pre-formed radius wires in an effort to get it to work,,, which it does,,, most of the time.

Another aspect of the complete overhead scenario is that just because you can get it to work nicely going left to right you unfortunately cannot expect the same results when it is going in the opposite direction,,, Ha Ha what fun we are having!!!!

Normally I would finish by wittering on about the Kung Flu virus and all that but as it is I have something much more important to conquer,,,, and that is the left to right reverse triangle at slow speed,,,, it's been fun,,, it really has,,, and I have learnt so much,,, and queuing at Sainsbury's this morning gave me the opportunity to think about the 43rd possible solution to the problem!!!

I hope to offer further updates,,,, BUT,,, one never knows what is around the next transition curve!!!!

Thanks for reading and please TAKE CARE EVERYBODY.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Aylsham Model Railway Exhibition October 3rd 2020

If you have never visited the Bure Valley railway at Aylsham then you have never lived!!!

Not only do they have about 8+miles of track going down to Wroxham,,, but they also have a splendid model shop in the Station.

And if that is not enough to justify a visit to Aylsham can I also mention they have a model railway exhibition on the 3rd of October 2020 and this year we are going to be there as well.

YO HO we can't wait to get back on the circuit and play trains all day!!!!
Please come and join us in the fun,,,, it is a great exhibition and only 5 miles down the road from the garage!!!!!!!  PERFECT