335 113-7 shunting at Muhldorf Depot

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Wolpertinger Hauptbahnhof - Era VI Spur N 'Bavaria in Minature'

A short photo update showing the layout as it stands in December 2014. Many smaller details have been added recently, including populating the station and town with around 80 more passengers and pedestrians, lots more vehicles including a rather nice Rietze single-decker coach, plus numerous additional trees, planters and details such as litter bins  and bus stops etc.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Railway Modelling Inspiration - Internal users and withdrawn locos

DB Werk Fahrzeuginstandhaltung Cottbus

Some modelling inspiration for the corner of a depot or yard scene:

Internal User Wagon (Samms) with Ludmilla roof
Withdrawn Kof III (335 157-4) and crash damaged withdrawn V90 (296 041-7).

Friday, 3 October 2014

Wolpertinger Hbf - N-gauge Era VI German model railway

After parting company with my long-time project 'Widnes Road', I have been able to concentrate my efforts on completing my other longtermer; Wolpertinger Hbf. A far more manageable sized layout, this is a European N-gauge (1:160) DCC layout set in the south-east of Germany in the current DBAG era (Epoch VI).

The layout which consists of a seven platform main station (Hauptbahnhof), loco servicing depot centred on a working Fleischmann turntable and a small S-bahn stabling point. The layout features extensive overhead catenary which is a mixture of Sommerfeldt and scratch built.

I'm pleased to say, that it is now finished, and has begun to be shown on the exhibition circuit. The first outing was to the Mid Essex Model Railway Club's show at Shenfield, and went well. Next up will be Chelmsford and District on the 18th October. An invite has also been accepted for the Perth show next June.

The overall layout is just over six feet in length by four feet deep (1.8m x 1.2m) including 9 road fiddle yard.

If anyone is interested in further details, photos or track plan, please get in touch. I would also be interested in exhibition invites:

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Quick Class 26 Update

An update to the Heljan Class 26 which I am reworking, it has now been numbered as Haymarket Depot's 26037, Circa 1981-4, the buffer beam area detailed and the body modernised with plated over windows and tablet catchers. I am now awaiting further details from PH Design including etched cab steps and fan grills, and from Precision decals data panels and depot stickers etc before I can begin on weathering.

Monday, 21 April 2014

A change of scale...

Updated 22.04.14 - The Heljan 26 is out of the paintshop, awaiting final finishing and weathering.

This latest update is all about change. After eight years of building and exhibiting Widnes Road, I've made the decision to move on to prevent stagnation. I posted on RM Web an add suggesting that I may be interested in selling the layout, and within about half an hour had half a dozen emails showing an interest. I will not reveal details of the new owner, suffice to say it was a pleasure dealing with another genuine enthusiast, and I really hope he will enjoy it as much as I have.

So, what's next? I've decided to focus my UK modelling on the larger 7mm / O gauge scale, as I think it presents more of a modelling challenge. There is a layout in the planning stages, one with a lowland Scottish theme, and set a few years earlier than Widnes Road. In the meantime I've started the most enjoyable element (apart from track planning) which is beginning to collect the rolling stock, and paint / detail to the appropriate era. The first in the paint shop is a Heljan Class 26. As released it has large recesses in the cabside for tablet catchers, and drop-light window in the cab doors. Both of these details were long since plated over by my period (roughly 1981-85), so out came the plasticard and filler. 

After a coat of primer to identify any surface imperfections, its was on with the Precision Paints Signal Yellow (Dull), a surprisingly good match for Heljan's  shade, and far closer than Railmatch which is far too bright to my eyes. 

The loco is still awaiting final finishing, including adding detail parts, but I have already fitted a Howes Loksound V4.0 sound decoder and speaker, and it's sounding superb.

Also on the workbench is a PWP VGA long wheelbase van, which is awaiting finishing but has all the makings of an impressive wagon. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Bavarian Layout - Picture Update

The river bed is no longer dry, and the eastern side of the river has had a river wall and railings added. Oh, and all the cars now have authentic Bavarian number plates; a tiny detail but one that makes a surprising difference up close.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Bahnland Bayern - Hidden sidings

The track plan for my Bavarian HO layout was largely frozen in the middle of 2013 and subsequently all the track laid, point motors and decoders fitted and tested. This has given the chance to get to grips with the 'finished' operation of the layout, and start to see what does and doesn't work. The one outcome of the testing was the lack of a real yard for the shunting and forming of freight trains. As there was no space within the built layout or in fact the room it's in, there was only one way to go; outwards. Next door to the room the Bavarian railway is in is an outbuilding that largely contained parts of layout and offcuts of wood. A few trips to the 'municipal recycling center' (tip) and a lick of paint and some extra space was available. There was the small matter of the available space being on the other side of a wall and/or window, but this was not insurmountable. The center pane of the window was replaced with a thick sheet of wood with a suitable slot cut to allow access between the two rooms. A sliding hatch was fitted to prevent drafts in the winter. Track has now been laid, and with a pair of DCC Telex remote coupling fitted locos, three addditional sidings have been added to the yard situated on the station approach, bringing the total to five sidings and a headshunt; enough for plenty of operational flexibility. The hidden sidings will be accessed between some low relief industrial buildings on the layout side. I am also giving some though to a remote camera so the sidings can be viewed from the control area, although having walkabout handheld controller should mean this is a nice to have rather than a necessity.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Widnes Road - (For Sale)- SOLD

Widnes Road finishes its exhibition life in February 2014, with a final showing at Stafford Showground and will be potentially FOR SALE after this date to free up some room for my next project. Please contact me with 'sensible' offers if interested in taking on this well known exhibition layout.

Update - April 2014, Widnes Road has now gone to a new home. New model railway projects are now in the planning stages.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

ACME E-lok Baureihe 120 141-7 DB - Epoche VI

Hot on the heels of  the latest Brawa Voith Gravita 10BB which arrived last week from The Hobby Store in Faversham,  their latest HO arrival in the form of the long awaited DB E-lok Baureihe 120 141-7 in the current DB Traffic Red livery, pre-fitted with Loksound decoder was picked up from the shop today, and I've taken some photos to give a flavour of what to expect from this premium release...

The packaging is superb, very similar to the excellent boxes that ESU ship their premium locos in, complete with a solid plastic base to which the loco is bolted, an allen-key is provided for release. This is a further improvement in loco packaging and would be suitable for transporting in future, given the very fine detail these models are now coming with as standard.

First impression are, it was worth the wait, ACME have really captured the beautiful simplicity of the BR 120 well, all angles look spot on, with the all important 'face' particularly pleasing. The decoder is the standard ESU Loksound we've come to know as fitted to both ESU and Roco offerings of late complete with the usual array of sounds including platform announcements, door closing and the various compressors and brake sounds of the loco itself. Performance is superb, as should be expected from a loco in this price bracket, with the third headlight and cablights independently switchable. The pantograph is an excellent representation of the prototype, and is not cursed with an over-firm spring so rides the catenary well without exerting undue forces. All in all I cannot fault this, and it scores a perfect 10.

Monday, 20 January 2014

BRAWA - Voith Gravita 10 BB, DB BR 261 Review

The latest Brawa Voith Gravita 10BB arrived from The Hobby Store in Faversham‎ late last week, and I managed to spend a few hours at the weekend getting to know it better... 

I managed to get hold of the DB Traffic red livery as 261 061-6, which sold out almost instantly on all the German model railway shop websites. Which goes to show sometimes there are advantages modelling a minority interest subject area in the UK, as even though both DB livery models are sold out at Brawa and in Europe, a small specialist shop in Kent had two...

First thoughts on removing from the well packed box (similar to the latest Bachmann boxes and far better than Roco's impossible to access polystyrene efforts), is that this is a beautifully detailed model, albeit I imagine rather fragile due to the plethora of tiny parts. To confirm my suspicion, there were two of the cab roof mounted radio masts missing. On a close inspection of the area where I unpacked to loco, one was located in the box, whilst for the other I've fabricated a replacement using various thicknesses of plasticard which is undetectable. One of the bonnet catches was also missing, and again I fabricated a replacement. The walkway handrails and side walkway guards are glued into the metal chassis with very short pegs, and one was partly lose, this was  refitted using a tiny amount of CA on a scalpel blade.

Now, onto the difficult part, actually getting in to the b*gger.

Now, I have previous with Brawa models, as I have a number of both their N and HO models and some are easier to access to fit decoders than others. Most notably I destroyed a BR 203 trying to fit a decoder on N...

The N-gauge Brawa Gravita was actually a doddle, being that the metal chassis was screwed to the bodyshell, but not the HO, no, that would be too obvious. Instead a series of fiddly clips which you cannot see, and are scared to force allow both bonnets to be slid off. Now this must also be done whilst avoiding shearing off the bonnet handrails and walkways, cab roof details or buffer beam parts. easier said than done.

Once slid forwards the bonnets pull upwards and off. Once this has been achieved, it does seem to be a little easier now they've both been on and off a few times. The decoder is a 21 pin drop in which is easy once you've actually got to it.

As I only had an el-cheapo Bachmann decoder to hand, this was used to test the loco, and before tweaking the CVs it is a little jerky at start up, but I'm going to fit my preferred decoder, ESU lok-pilot later. 

Fitted Lighting

My good god it's bright. Five LEDs heads at each end four on the buffer beam handrails and one on the cab nose they are like mini floodlights. The tails are similarly bright. Unfortunately in taking the bonnets on and off I managed to dislodge  one of the bonnet lights but on closer inspection it had simply been misaligned with the bonnet lens. The Gravita is also fitted with an independent cab light (Fn 2) and detailed cab interior which is nice.

All in all, this is a new model that looks great, runs well and is very detailed (which is a bit of a double edged sword). My personal advice would be to suggest only buying this model in the flesh to ensure the tiny weeny easily knock-off-able bits are all present and correct. In summary  9/10, (loses a mark for being a pain to get into...)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Bahnland Bayern - December Update

Some more progress to update on the Bavarian HO layout; the overhead catenary (by Viessmann) has been installed over the rive bridge and towards the eastern end on the first large scenic board. The campsite at the 'country' end of the layout is largely complete, just some hedging to fit between the caravan pitches. I've now begun the main Bavarian riverside tavern, on the eastern bank of the river. I'm also planning a small loco fuelling point to the rear of where the two electric locos are stabled to the rear of the second photo.