Thursday, December 25, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014


To operate Brett, I use a brilliant little Mac application called Switchlist.. available here.. I probably need to spend more time getting to grips with it, but in fairness, it seems to be providing me with the activity I was looking for. I suspect it was created with much bigger multi-location layouts in mind. However, I set up Fiddle Creek as my off-layout location and all the action happens between there and Brett. 

I reckon that perhaps the best way to tweak this is to run through a number of sessions and get a proper feel to the balance, before rushing in and making changes to traffic numbers..

This is one of the screens used to alter the industries and cargoes..

You can also print off a number of reports (and even change the look of them to suit your company!)

Some examples..

I don't think that this app is available for Windows or Linux.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

a second video

Just a short one this time to show the main motive power on Brett..

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A video post

First go at something like this. Just thought I'd give it a go.. not the greatest camera work, as I was holding the camera in one hand, and the controller in the other!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

real estate on Brett

Despite suffering the full effects of hay fever and a man-flu combined over the last few days, today I  was resolved to have a go at a couple of jobs on the layout.

Terrible pictures, I will have another go when there is better light. (And less shadow on the backdrop).

I have added some pipework to the elevator. The grain bin is a Rix kit, the rest of it is scratchbuilt from card, plastic sheeting and various 'bits'.. It had a basic grey undercoat, so today I picked out a bit of detail and gave it some rust, actually quite a lot of rust, using pictures from the internet as a guide. Need to 'plant' the buildings now, with weed growth around the base.

Still waiting some signage, is 'Smith and Hogg' Hardware Supplies. Made a point of not over-weathering this building, and also keeping the colours fairly neutral. Streetview is my friend and most lineside buildings I've seen in this area are grey or aluminum.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

lumber loads and some weathering

Been doing various little jobs lately.. skipping between toy soldiers and the layout.. (you can see more toy soldierness over at Tabletop Mog)

First up.. We actually had a bit of nice weather last weekend. Perfect excuse to get the airbrush out and do some weathering.

Sadly, I rather rushed things in my enthusiasm.. not overly happy with the dirt shades on much of the stock I did..and was a bit heavy-handed overall.  The RS27 was the only loco to get attention. Over the last week or so, my initial disappointment has waned a little, and I reckon with a bit of work it'll end up being alright..

One of the other little 'jobs' I've done is to mock up a couple of loads for the bulkhead flats. It seems that there are lots of different ways of doing this. I like the look of some of the 'wrapped' loads that I've seen online so used Open Office to knock one up, bearing the name of the lumber company on the layout - 'Northwest Lumber'. These are just printed onto thin card and folded up as a test.

Lots more to do.. I ordered some clear decal sheets, so the Bachmann S2 is getting patched.. perhaps along with some rolling stock. 

I'd like to find some figures and perhaps a couple of vehicles next.. but HO stuff seems to be very expensive for some reason.. 
(and I don't want any of those weird 'sexy scenes'.. what the hell is that about?!)

Monday, March 24, 2014

a phoenix arises.. well, a layout is refreshed anyway

I was really hitting a dead end with the Winkford thing. Anyway, a couple of conversations and a visit to the Nottingham show (very disappointing this year) has got me very definitely playing with my trains again.. more specifically, playing with my HO American trains.

I decided to re-vamp the shelf layout. I have various plans brewing for another American one, but I decided to try to get some more out of this and I have to say, so far it's working.

Previously known as 'Dreary'.. I've decided to rename this 'Brett'. Still set in Idaho (ish) and around early 80s.. although I still am very much a beginner and a foreigner with all this. The layout is essentially a loop which is at the end of a small shortline (The Yellow Pine RR). Trains enter from front right and loads are spotted at the elevator (Rear RHS), the Northwest lumber (Rear LHS), the Team track at front left, or Smith&Hogg Hardware on the loop.

I am using 'Switchlist' to generate traffic, and it has been a godsend, really made a difference to the fun and playability, giving me a sense of 'proper' operation. I try to take my time, being inspired by some of the thinking about operations described by Lance Mindheim

I'm slowly working on the scenics.. a mixture of scratchbuilt and kitbash so far.

Some time soon I'll see if I can post some videos as I've also 'installed' a background sound.. I used various sound effect files from the internet mixed using 'Audacity' to playback through an MP3 player and a couple of old PC speakers on either end of the shelf. Really adds to the atmosphere :-)

So.. much work to do, but this layout is definitely going through a positive phase!

Friday, February 28, 2014

A case of good timing

Perhaps more accurately, very lucky timing.

I was moving about bits of track on Winkford and doing a bit of refresher reading on Light Railways generally when I remembered seeing a review of a small HO tank loco recently on sale - masquerading as some kind of OO industrial. I remembered thinking it had promise and I started googling.. As I did so, I received my regular daily newsletter from Rails of Sheffield. Yep - on offer that day was the very same loco. I made a quick purchase and found that within hours they were out of stock again!

Loco arrived and I'm very pleased. Marketed by Rails as a 'Golden Valley' model, it's an Electrotren model (I believe there is a Jouef version too). Clearly a European prototype but I think it won't take much work at all to anglicise this (If I choose to do any actually). It is fitted with standard NEM coupling pockets and two small tension locks were provided to replace the Euro couplings. Size -wise this is dinky, really not much in it with the venerable old Pug. I'll get around to posting a picture of it with a wagon.

Ooh.. or maybe I'll build an HO French or Spanish backwater? :-)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rebuilding Winkford.. planning

As much as I'm enjoying my wargames at the moment, I have a modelling itch which needs scratching. I'm enjoying the occasional play with my US HO shelf but feel the need to build something. Problem is, I really can't decide what I want to build.. a 'classic' OO GWR branch terminus like Hemyock or Blagdon..(I've never done it).. or perhaps do it in 3mm scle.. or perhaps 7mm narrow gauge.. grr.

Anyway, unable to go to the Doncaster show today, I thought I'd dig Winkford out of the loft and have look at the options for converting this to a 4mm standard gauge layout.  It's a small layout, so the choices will be limited. Also, I have three Peco 'Streamline' points, along with three lengths of flexi track. I'd like to stick to that, rather than spending any money on this.

I've boiled it down to two options now, and need to decide.. 

Option 1

The Light Railway company was bought out by a larger concern, who took up the narrow gauge tracks and laid a new standard gauge line (still to Light Railway practice). The passenger service was maintained to Winkford, and the station building preserved, although some rebuilding of the simple platform was carried out. A simple loop with one siding for the light goods and coal traffic.
Traffic would be mixed trains of one short 4 or 6 wheel coach and a couple of wagons to shunt.

This gives me the option of bashing some coaches.. and the 'feel' is really quiet and simple. The only downside is that I'd need to fettle the fiddle stick as trains would arrive from and leave to, the world offscene.

Option 2

Similar to above, however passenger services were cut, usual competition from bus companies etc making it unprofitable for the company to continue a service to Winkford. The end of the line site was still served by rail, now a small yard, with three sidings. Wagons here are sorted for drop off further back up the line. The station building was retained and converted into an office and store for the railway.

This is basically an inglenook. I reckon I can just about squeeze a full one on (need to accomodate 5,3 and 3 wagons and a loco plus three wagons on the headshunt). There's a lot more play value to this design, and it is self contained, no fiddle required.

So, I think I need to sleep on it as I'm fairly torn between the two at the moment.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A narrow gauge wagon

I was up until the early hours last night, totally absorbed in some full-on bodging...something I haven't done in a while. The subject of my attentions was this scratchbuild of a narrow gauge wagon for 7mm scale.

I like Narrow Gauge railways. I started off modelling in Gn15 (which I know I'll come back to again ine day) and had a couple of attempts at 4mm modelling (OO9).. neither of which was very succesful.

7mm might offer me the ideal scale/size combination but I just haven't got around to building anything yet. (I had a dabble at On30 - great fun bashing the wagons, but I want to do something UK based really).

I picked up a gorgeous GVT tram loco from ebay a while ago - it was a real bargain as it's a scratch-built model, mostly of plastic card , with great detail. Not sure about the running mechanism as it's a standard Hornby lively 040 mech.. but that can be changed.

Anyway - I have a number of unbuilt and part built plastic 4mm wagon chassis knocking about and that formed the platform upon which this wagon was built. I'm really no expert on this stuff, and how all the bits work, so reference to photos (mostly W&L) and some common sense applied. It's essentially a bog standard 3 plank open with one drop side. 

I had some doubts about the size.. it seemed pretty big, but after some measuring and comparing, I think this may be down to the fact that OO9 is so much smaller and Gn15 is modelling a much smaller prototype.

Construction is card, coffee stirrers, sticky label strapping (rivets punched on reverse side), bits of old handrail, wire, chain and and whitemetal bits.. proper bodging! Hopefully a paint job will bring it all together.

Anyway. I really enjoyed the process. Ages since I really got into building something. (I've been mostly distracted with toy soldiers lately, which involves a lot of painting but not as much making.. the exception being an ethiopian hut I've been working on.. more on that later) But - not so sure about the result. I wonder if actually I'd be more pleased with having made a kit.