Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Decision time for Winkford.. all finished?

Haven't had as much time for doing or posting lately. However, Winkford has reached a point where it is pretty much 'finished'.

I now have a dilemma. I am quite pleased with the layout as a picture. I've even managed to fettle and tweak so that the odd de-railments are less frequent. (Back to back on the wheelsets provided in the kits seemed to be the root of that issue). But..

I don't enjoy playing with it. 

I don't know if it's a 'OO9' thing.. maybe I just don't like the feel of it (had a similar experience with N gauge a little while ago).. maybe the track plan is just too simple for any interesting. I'm thinking it's the former. It's all lacking a bit of weight and momentum that I've found that I prefer from model railways.

So, what to do?

One option is to tear up the track, bring the time forward a few years to when the company is bought up, and a standard gauge line laid. I could lay a small 'yard'.. basically a fork or small inglenook. Maybe hand-laying track to keep it interesting.. I think long term it'll struggle to hold interest too, but as a 'project' it has promise..

Another option is to take apart the whole thing. Salvage what I can and sell off the stock.

Or, try to sell the whole lot.. layout, stock etc. 

Not sure. Anyway, some pictures to record the current state of build..

Sunday, April 1, 2012

sticky stuff.. decals

Here's something I've never done before.. making your own decals (or transfers.. ?) . I knew it was possible but never really looked into it properly, so this week I thought I'd take the plunge and give it  a go.

Two reasons..First up, I still have a hankering to play with my American HO trains at some point, and liked the idea of re-badging some of my engines for the Yellow Pine RR, my own fictitious shortline. Secondly, On Winkford I felt that the side wall of that pub really needed some advertising on it. I felt that a local brewery was apt and might help to set the scene too.

There are two choices in inkjet transfer paper, clear or white. After some rather pointless head-scratching, I ordered a sheet of White inkjet transfer paper from ebay and printed off my designs..(this took a lot longer to do than to say - I chopped my A4 sheet into 4 almost 6x4 photo paper sized bits and had to convince the printer that it was okay to print!)

At this point I needed to spray the sheet with a clear varnish to seal the ink. I had a can of 'water based' clear sealant which I hoped would do the job. A couple of light coverings left a yellowish sheen, but otherwise everything seemed okay, so I left the sheet to dry overnight.

This morning, with much trepidation, I cut out the Home Ales decal for the side of my pub and dunked it in a saucer of clean water. At this point I expected to see all the ink run and / or the decal screw up into an unusable lump.

Actually, This is the result! I am pleased. Next up, applying the Yellow Pine decals to my engines..

By the way, the Home Ales brewery in Daybrook, Nottingham, was my local brewery. I remember the smell of hops filling the air on a foggy morning. Despite local loyalties, their bitter was generally pretty bad, although preferable to Shippos (Shipstones)!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Things to come?

Some more work done lately, pictures etc to follow. However, One thing that leads to another.. I was thinking about Winkford and how I'm not much enjoying the running. I know OO9 has a reputation for bad running, but I also know that there are many who make it work. I have taken care with track laying and building the stock etc..but I'm not satisfied yet. It could well be that my preferences are narrowing and I just like bigger heavier toys!

Anyway.. I got to thinking that if I really don't get on with it, rather than destroy Winkford, I should try something different, and change the gauge! Bring the story forward a few years, with the (newly named) Clumber and Rufford Railway being taken over by the NE or Midland, or a smaller group, and the track being lifted and relaid to standard gauge. Lose the passenger facilities and possibly the runaround.

It's a ways off if I do pursue it, but by way of a mock up to see what it might look like..

Monday, March 12, 2012

filling it out

Well.. slowly but surely, things are starting to take shape/settle in. Winkford is starting to look like a place.

Rather than build new tress and green stuff..I decided to re-use some handy wargames hedgerows to screen the back of the layout and they really help to frame the picture (well, they work for me!)

After trying to build a bank on the left hand side, with the track leading through an implausiblysteep cutting, I've ripped that up and changed things so that now a crossing gate marks the end of the line. The thinking is that the line is no longer in use beyond Winkford, but the original track remains, albeit slightly overgrown. A small gatekeepers box sits there too, now disused:

On the platform, I've started to build a water tower.. just a small one to suit the station hopefully. Th iron uprights are chopped from some crossing gates:

At the front I've placed a grounded van, which again feels to have balanced the scene a little more:

Main Street has been laid in card, awaiting some treatment.. I've scratchbuilt the house at front right from plasticard.. and at the rear I have finally settled on the low relief buildings which are awaiting painting and detailing:

We're getting there! On to detailing really, which apparently is where the devil is.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Progress been made lately.. After my not so successful attempt o fix ballast with Klear, I reverted to the tried and tested dilute PVA.

As this railway is supposed to be a fairly lowly affair, and yards rarely sported perfectly ballasted sidings anyway, I really wanted to 'bed' in the trackbed.

I took DAS modelling clay to build up the ground levels, and spent some time pressing it in all around the tracks, using a small old brush to tamp in between sleepers here and there. Once dry, this has been painted a mucky old grey colour.

I picked up some 'ash' scenic powder stuff at the Doncaster show (If I had a fire, I could have used actual ash.. and I suspect this is exactly what this is!) Anyway, a liberal coat of pva was applied, and the ash teaspooned over it. I found I really needed to pile it on to get good coverage.
Left it for a day and hoovered up the surplus.

A little filling in going on now, but after my initial fears that I had wrecked it all, I think it's starting to take shape.

In addition, I've put the platform in place, moving the station building along , which I feel balances the scene a little more.

The back corner and left hand side were bothering me, but I've resolved to have a grassy bank on both sides, rising up to a small wooden footbridge over the track in the corner. I know it's fairly improbable, but I'm hoping it will help to frame the scene too.

As I move along with various jobs, I'm puzzling over what to do with the area in front of the yard. At the moment I'm thing perhaps the edge of some allotments, or simply a fence, to break up the open space.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Klear cut?

A few years back, I had a go at making balsa and tissue freeflight aeroplanes.. I came across johnson's 'Klear', used instead of 'dope'.. marvellous.. no nasty smells, neat and cheap..
More recently I read about it's use as a fixing agent for model railway ballast, so I thought I'd give it a go on Winkford, seeing as I still had nearly a bottle full.

The results are mixed.
It's really easy to apply, dripping in, no need to pre-wet the ballast and it wicks away very well.

BUT.. 24 hours later, there are lots of areas not fixed at all, and those that are, are a bit flaky.
My guess is that this will work, but some experimentation is required.. maybe I need to seal the board first?

So.. tidy up and then it's the traditional PVA mix :-(

(Although I'm applying a 'traditional' ballast, the plan is to weather it all down and get it pretty flat and weedy by the end. Tempted to try Chris Nevard's clay method).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Paper and Pigs

Pigs? Well.. it's funny how your brain can just miss the most obvious things. Winkford is supposed to be pretty local - Notts, Lincs 'ish'... but unless I move it quite a few miles Westwards into Derbyshire, I don't think there's going to be much use for those lovely W&L sheep wagons!

So, cattle van built, as we certainly have cows around here, and it occurred to me that there might be justification for the smaller wagon to be used for transporting piggies.

I've moved the loading ramp to the side of the goods shed now and off the headshunt too.

Paper? The little space front right of the layout, where the trains emerge and cross the road, was intended to be an allotment or similar low-level feature. But the balance didn't seem quite right, so I'm using paper mock-ups to see how a house would look, and to play around with the shape and dimensions before I commit to building it properly.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

to work..

I'm trying to hold back on doing too much scenically until I'm happy that the trackwork is ok and painted and ballasted.. but it's hard! I am varying the jobs a bit however to keep things interesting.

So, this week I have taken the goods shed down a bit in height, it now sits on a brick plinth (which needs painting), and has had an initial wash of 'sepia'. I think I'll hold back on the weathering on this layout too.. so a drybrushing to highlight the woodwork may suffice. The roof has had it's base coat too.

Next up, I've been cracking on with building the stock and fitting Greenwich couplings.
Here are three opens for coal and/or general goods: (I noticed I'd moved the brake shoe on one of them -since fixed)

I do like these Welshpool&Llanfair wagons.. just that bit more substantial than many other types, without going all the way over to big bogie wagons (I originally thought of using ex-WD types, such as found on the Ashover railway).

Finally I've been doing a bit of planning and fussing around the structures, just using card and balsa for now to get a sense of proportion etc. There will be a small brick-walled yard at the back of the pub and another wall with a gate at the entrance to the yard (at the front of the layout by the road). Over on the front right I did picture a small allotment, but I'm contemplating a two-storey building instead.

I've also 'scratched up' a platform in balsa, using a paper template to get it in place around the gentle curves there.

Next up, I need to start 'testing the track and the couplings and work out where I'm going to plac magnets (and to an extent 'how' !!) .. and I need to lay some track on my 'fiddlestick'.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


So.. six months on.. what's new?

Dreary has been temporarily dismantled as part of a general 'tidy up'. I decided that what I was trying to portray in the space I was using wasn't working. I may come back to it, or start again, but for now it's all safely packed away.

I can't have nothing on the go can I? So.. welcome to 'Winkford'.. a OO9 layout.

So far boards built and track laid and wired up.

The railway will hopefully portray a fictitious light railway built 'locally' (Notts, Derbys, Lincs area) and set around the mid 1930s.

I've decided to stick to broadly Welshpool and Llanfair type stock for consistency. I already have a a couple of Hunslets and ordered some kits from Ninelines.
Hopefully the pictures give an idea of what is planned..(at the moment.. some things may move around a little.. I'm not sure of the placing of the station building yet)

First, the layout as it is today, on my bookshelf. It is 4ft x x1ft:

Next some visual notes which hopefully give an idea of what is planned:

This Wills kit will serve as the main station building when I've finished hacking at it:

A scratchbuilt ramp for loading sheep / cattle (along with Ninelines W&L sheep wagon):

A view of a train entering the station as it crosses Main Road. The yard office and coal siding in front:

A higher view of the train on the ungated crossing on Main Road. (Two Skaledale buildings here):

This Skaledale pub looks a lot like one or two I've known locally, including the 'Worlds End' in Lambley:

A view up Main Road as the train crosses - a photo temporarily in place of where a low relief building will be placed: