4mm Life in a Northern Town - Population Explosion

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Neil, 18 August 2016.

  1. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Today's update has a bit of everything. I have a set of NMBS/SNCB steam loco transfers heading my way so that my Fleischmann 2-6-0 tank and Swedish 0-8-0 can be transformed into Belgian class 96 and 81 respectively.However I've realised that there's a risk I'll end up with more projects on the go than I would really like so I thought it would be good to focus on a couple of others to see if I could get them finished.

    First up the Night Ferry brake.

    ferry brake 001.jpg

    Today it's had its transfers applied and sealed with Testors Dullcote. I've done this now to avoid having to mask the glazing which will be the next step of the build. It's very satisfying to see this splash of colour amidst the more sombre shades of the rest of my rolling stock.

    Next is the Western Region mess van. Doors have been cut from 20 thou plasticard and stuck in place, below the window the filed down remains of the veranda door add support; above the door it's a strip of 40 thou behind the door top and the van roof.

    mess van 01.jpg

    Next will be fashioning and fitting the side windows.

    Finally a photo of some other York showing a bit of a blind alley but illustrating the value of being able to plan out in full size in situ.

    yk 020.jpg
    Though I was generally happy with the way the layout was shaping up I was concious that trains approaching the yard over the BR connection would be largely hidden on their journey from the fiddle yard, not just by the glassworks buildings but by all the scenery to the right of them. As an experiment I tried shifting the glassworks right to the end of the scenic section of the layout. Still not happy as I've lost some of the coherence of the previous arrangement. However being unhappy with the glassworks at either end of this side of the layout does suggest that a near central position might be the way forward. Some further pottering in the garage seems called for.
    Geoff, unklian, jonte and 1 other person like this.
  2. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    The ferry van has come up well :thumbs: - just needs the CIWL cars...... and a couple of SNCF fourgons :eek:
  3. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    .... and a plausible reason why it might have turned up in the railway backwaters of York.
    chrisb likes this.
  4. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    ferry brake 002.jpg
    Unusual motive power for the inaugural York - Brussels Night Ferry sleeper. However all is not quite what it seems, control in their wisdom have decided that York's Piccadilly Yard being used to dealing with international ferry traffic, would be just the place to service and prepare the train. 'Well they must be used to funny stuff' was the expressed logic. When Piccadilly Yard's foreman, being a stranger to the carriage trade, sought to question the edict with his usual four letter adverbs he was told to 'frame himself and get on with it'. With no room left for manoeuvre framing and getting on with it became the order of the day. Having checked the stock borrowed from the south, the yard shunter has dropped onto the train for the trip to the station where something more suitable will be applied to the front.
    Geoff, unklian, Jonas and 4 others like this.
  5. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Northern Town has undergone a bit of revision; hopefully from the drawing ....
    garage plan 01.jpg .... and the photos ....

    yk 021.jpg

    yk 022.jpg

    yk 023.jpg

    yk 024.jpg

    yk 025.jpg

    .... you'll be able to see that I've moved the glassworks along the long edge closer to the fiddle yard. This gives space for the light railway's loco depot and more crucially opens up the view of trains entering the layout over the BR connection to the yard.
    Geoff, AJC, y6tram and 9 others like this.
  6. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Since the last post I haven't been at home much; trips to France and York have meant little has been done. What has happened is that the track for the glassworks and light railway loco shed has been pinned in place and then extended to the proposed site of the light railway station at Fulford Ings. Here are a few photos of the test train.

    yk 026.jpg

    yk 027.jpg

    yk 028.jpg

    yk 029.jpg

    No doubt you will have spotted that though Fulford Ings station looks like a through station there's nowhere further for trains to go as it abuts the backscene. In the past I would not have countenanced this; surely trains must go somewhere if that's what the layout design implies. But these days I'm less bothered by that sort of thing; if the layout looks visually coherent I can fool myself to believe in it. I'm also reminded of one of my all time favourites Ste Coline des Champs which looked stunning even if the track plan had its idiosyncrasies.
    Geoff, steve1, jonte and 4 others like this.
  7. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    It's almost two months since my last post and precious little has taken place on the layout. In part this is because I've been busy with the more mundane bits and pieces of life, digging out a new pond, shopping for a new sofa (more on this in a minute), another trip back to York to see family and the seasonal task of Christmas shopping. However that's not the full story as before I progressed any further I wanted to give myself time to work out whether what I'd planned properly suited. Maybe I had an inkling that all was not quite there as I set out the track and imagined where the key structures would be placed but at the time I couldn't put my finger on where the flaws were. A bit of thinking time would be a good idea.

    Remember the new sofa, well the old one had to go somewhere while we wait for the councils bulky item collection service to appear on the 20th; guess where the sofa is waiting?


    In the meantime I have been busy on a couple of fronts. At a practical level I've been tarting up some stock for the layout, starting with a rake of 21T hoppers. For a while I've been picking up s/h Mainline/Dapol/Hornby examples when I've found them for sale at the right price and I've supplemented then with a pair of the new Hornby production. In the past I would have gone the full finescale hog but with my new impressionist zeal I've restricted myself to sorting out the couplings to the latest small tension lock pattern, a repaint, re-letter and weathering.

    hop 014.jpg
    Coal loads have been created too and while not glass case models they do look the business as a layout rake. I have a (small) cupboard full of other rtr stock which will require similar treatment to knock it into shape.

    Back to the creeping dissatisfaction with the layout design as it stands, with the sofa in the way it's difficult to adjust and plan on the layout itself so I've spent some time reading back through my thread on Morfa and what strikes me about my version of York is that it's more complex than Morfa and a little bit train-set-y. A bit more thought is required, the adjusted version looks like it will be a simpler affair.

    In the meantime the latest project on the bench is this.

    j72 01.jpg
    A chance find from the Elvis shop in Machynlleth it sported the remains of LNER red lining with the tanks lettered CAMBRIAN. The price appealed though, so I took it home 'on approval'. A clean, an oil and a fettling of the axle slots to remove a burr and a sweet running loco resulted. Since then it's had all traces of lining and lettering removed, a respray in Halfords matt black and transfers appropriate to a York loco. The chassis has already been weathered, the body waits its turn.
    Geoff, LarryG, jonte and 10 others like this.
  8. PMP

    PMP Western Thunderer

    If you want the take the earlier 21t’ers a bit further detailwise, Judith Edge does a simple detail etch with things like the end sidebar steps, drop door handles and supports for the end handrails, priced at a couple of quid.

    Interested to see the revised plan too.
    Neil likes this.
  9. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Thanks Paul, in the past I'd have sent off an sae and postal order and waited in anticipation for the etches to arrive so I could further finescale the wagons. Today I'm happy to leave the wagons as they are with just paint to sell their believability. It's part of the experiment to see if I can make a properly satisfying layout using simple stuff presented well. I still have a bee in my bonnet that it's not bravura engineering and museum quality detail which count but art and observation; to see if I'm right I have to deliberately forgo adding detail where I can.

    I hope that this doesn't come across as ungrateful as the availability of detailing bits will be a boon to those who want to take a different tack. I'm glad you took the trouble to mention them as I was unaware that such things existed and others may have been too. Thank you.
    PMP, chrisb, AJC and 1 other person like this.
  10. PMP

    PMP Western Thunderer

    You’re more than welcome Neil. I like the idea of your ‘minimalist’ approach the consistency of the paint approach in the above images is already working in my opinion, you have to look to see which are old and new. I forgot to ask how you’d made the coal loads, they look very effective.
    I’m a big fan of bringing the art/observation/presentation skill sets together too, more power to the elbow!
  11. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Thank you Paul. The coal loads start with a mount board base cut to the load space of the hopper which is then laminated to 8mm thick black sponge rubber which came from e-bay.

    hop 011.jpg

    The shape of the load was roughed out with scissors and smoothed out with coarse aluminium oxide paper. A coating of pva glue and crushed coal sprinkled on the top finished the job off, or it would have done if the coal I'd picked up from a split bag outside my local Co-op hadn't been ridiculously sparkly. My final job was to tone down the sparkle with a waft over from grey primer and matt black Halfords rattle cans.
    Geoff, PMP, Alan and 4 others like this.
  12. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    I've tackled the remaining two hoppers this week.

    hop 14.jpg
    I may well add to the fleet later but I now have a recipe to follow so all subsequent repaints should blend in. With the hoppers done attention has turned to a pair of wooden bodied coke wagons.

    coke 01.jpg
    The right hand wagon was a gift from a friend and is by Bachmann with additional weathering by TMC. The left hand example was a standard pristine Bachmann job which I've distressed myself. Still left to do are a coat of gunge to the underparts and rust for the ironwork but I'm pleased that the pair of them can sit comfortably together. A variant on the coal loads have been provided with a smaller particle size and a lighter, greyer tone to the load.
    Geoff, LarryG, unklian and 3 others like this.
  13. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    I don’t know if you have any need or desire to extract your loads, but if your loads are supported on a “lump” that is offset towards one end, you can simply press down on the other end, and they pop up, allowing them to be easily lifted out.

    Sorry if granny & eggs!

    Season's Greetings
  14. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Thank you Simon there's no need to worry re granny and eggs. Load removal will play a part in the 'play value' of the layout. At the start of a session I intend to set the layout up with loaded or unloaded wagons and the state that they're in will determine what happens to them and where they will go, so that rather than following a prescriptive series of instructions I hope that the operating pattern will be largely intuitive. I will do something similar with all open wagons, not just those engaged in the movement of coal. The aim is to give a sense of purpose to operation, not just to run through an arbitrary sequence.

    The loads constructed so far need a bit of tweaking to ease their fit, some are a little too snug, so that I can hoick them out with one of my old three link uncoupling hooks.
    simond likes this.
  15. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Regular readers might clock that I've altered the thread title now that the outcome of my work in the garage has become clearer. I mentioned a few posts previously that I'd be tackling a few revisions to the layout design. Over the course of the last six weeks I've managed a revision and a revision of the revision. To be honest there's almost nothing left of the original design, it's all a bit Morecambe and Wise in that all the bits are there but not necessarily in the same order. The key to the revision was a swap from the east bank of the Ouse to the west and although there's actually more track down I've managed to get a more open feel to the layout. This will become apparent as the build progresses. Some photos.

    yk 033.jpg

    Travelling anti clockwise round the space, the Q6 approaches Bishophill yard. The fiddle yard will be to the right of the photo, coal hoppers in the foreground stand on what will be a double row of coal cells, the line in the middle is an exchange siding which leads off across the diamond.

    yk 034.jpg
    The fiddle yard exit point becomes clearer here, there's a good five feet in a straight run beyond the semi blocked up hole in the backscene, more if I choose to curve the sidings across the back wall of the garage.

    yk 035.jpg

    In Bishophill Yard a short freight departs.

    yk 036.jpg
    Crossed by the coal train as it arrives at the yard.

    yk 037.jpg
    Meanwhile at the chemical works an empty tanker is propelled towards the sidings by the works shunter.

    yk 038.jpg
    While some of the design is finalised, work in progress is a bit of an exaggeration for the final stretch.
    Geoff, jonte, Yorkshire Dave and 6 others like this.
  16. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Can't wait to see the conversion from toy train set into masterpiece..

  17. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    No pressure then.
    jonte, MartinWales and chrisb like this.
  18. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    A pile of dismantled track. Lorries around rather than railway wagons...

    I'd say the "Post Beeching" version is coming along just fine...!! :D :thumbs:

    *Was already at the exit; now sprinting for the main gate....* :p :cool:
    Neil and Osgood like this.
  19. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    Well, that's saved some work then.
  20. Neil

    Neil Western Thunderer

    You may have noticed an embryonic loco shed in earlier photos. Over the last couple of days I've brought it on from four bare walls to the state depicted here.

    nt 01.jpg
    The shed is about 85% Miniart Workshop and 15% me and plasticard. The principle alterations have been to overlay the concrete block plinth with brick plasticard and replace the very continental looking roof tiles with corrugated plastic on top of a base of 40thou plasticard. The smoke vants are sections of square plastic tube, part of a cheap job lot of shapes bought from an e-bay seller in China. There's obviously some way to go, paint and some more details but I'm happy that it captures the look of something British now.
    Geoff, unklian, ceejaydee and 2 others like this.