Friday, December 21, 2012

The continental question

The good thing about planning my return to railway modelling is that i can evaluate all of the options and alternatives, the bad thing is i have so many options and alternatives to evaluate. Reading the Continental Modeller magazine has led me to consider a mainland Europe layout. The railways of Germany, Switzerland and Austria for example look so interesting...

The problem with this of course is i have a lot less knowledge of these railways so it could easily go so wrong (but maybe thats part of the fun?). Its also rather more expensive than British layouts though not insurmountably. As nothing is set in stone yet i still have time to decide. At the moment a layout perhaps based on somewhere like Assmannshausen which i went to in the late 80s could be on the cards? Maybe this train set can start me off.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Designing my layout

At the weekend i bought some model railway layout design software to help me develop my future layout. RailModeller is a great tool which allows you to play around with layout designs using real track elements. I have not decided on what the overall theme of my layout will be yet though and have experimented with double and single loops, both with and without branch lines and shunting opportunities.

One current idea thats ticking the right boxes is a double loop mainline plus branch line layout similar to Hatton. What i plan to do is buy a trainset next month (maybe it can be my end-of-year treat) and this can help me get back into the groove. It will also help me visualise the layout i am planning especially when i build the boards. Then i shall get more track and more stock and see how we go from there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Going N?

My model railway layouts in the past were always OO scale (apart from a brief excursion once into the smaller N gauge) but now i am planning my return to the hobby i am thinking of going with the smaller scale again despite still having my old OO gauge stock, buildings and track in boxes.

The reason is space, as in i don't have a great deal to play with. Atop my desk in the study looks to be the best place for the layout and this would allow a board of about 150x70cm. In that space i could have a basic end-to-end OO layout but it would be pretty limited. If i use N gauge however i could easily get a much more extensive loop layout with a fiddle yard. I've been playing around with a layout planning software tool and think i could just about get a double loop!

This would allow me to have the early 70s BR layout i've always wanted. Class 20s and 25s hauling freight passing a DMU... Well thats the dream and maybe next year it can become a reality.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Return to rail?

One of my major hobbies when i was a child was my model railway. I had one from about the age of 5 or 6 when i was bought a trainset for the first time (Hornby Royal Mail set with a BR blue class 37 locomotive). Until my late teens i continued with the hobby with layouts first in my parent's garage and later in my bedroom. You can see a photo of the early garage layout here.

I stuck with OO gauge most of the time though did experiment with N gauge at one stage. I lost interest in my late teens and needed the space for other things anyway. My rolling stock, buildings and track were packed away in boxes... and remain there to this day! When i got my own house i did start thinking of restarting the hobby though never quite got around to it. Well now i am thinking about it again!

While my later layouts focussed on contemporary British Rail i am now thinking of going back in time and travelling the popular track of an interwar GWR branch line. I might even do a small layout based on the line down to Stratford. I got an excellent book on this line a few weeks ago and its given me a bit of inspiration to consider recreating Wilmcote station circa 1934 for example.

In the meantime the Perry Barr turntable is still in existance, hidden away behind a fence. This is one of the last remnants of a live steam layout that once ran on the sports field next to where i worked. I've never actually seen the trains running on there but they did up until the mid-2000s i think. The track indeed was only lifted in around 2006 or 2007. I don't have any photos of the track in existence but these photos from 2008 clearly show the trackbed (this photo i took in 2004 for a Quicktime VR does show the track - just about). You can compare the turntable with the photo below (one of the two turntables was destroyed of the layout was destroyed).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Adding a crew

Apart from my OO gauge train all of my other Airfix kits are 1:72 scale... apart from my Bloodhound SAM kit which was in 1:76 scale (in other words OO scale). As i had a few spare people from that kit i decided to use them on the train. A quick and free way to get a bit of a crew. I added a crew to the locomotive and a guard to the brake van. I also gave the guard a trusty dog to help him keep watch!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tank engine

Project 037, an 0-4-0 Saddle Tank locomotive is now being finished. A tough little kit, i dropped it on the floor by mistake when i was varnishing it but all that happened was that it gained a few hairs and a dead spider! Although i do have another of these kits i will leave it in my backlog for now and complete my train side project. Maybe i will do another side project later on when i get some more wagons.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Train building up

My Airfix railway sub-project is starting to build up nicely now with 4 wagons and a brake van. In fact all we need now is a locomotive... so the latest kit Project 037 is a 0-4-0 Saddle Tank engine! I actually have 2 kits of this engine but i am only going to do one of them for now. I aim to get some more Airfix railway kits and create a second train.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ready for cows

My latest pair of railway wagon kits, Projects 035 and 036, have been completed so now i have a couple of cattle wagons. I need some OO scale cows too perhaps. Not sure what the next kit will be, i do have quite a few in my backlog but might leave it a few days before deciding.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brake Van

Project 033, a BR Brake Van, is the latest kit under construction and is now in its final stages. Most of the painting has been done, all that remains is some touching up (oo-er), the decals, and then a varnish. It can then join the 2 Mineral Wagons i have already completed in my railway model sub-project.

Monday, May 14, 2012

End of the line

Despite being fairly simple kits both basic construction and painting skills required Projects 030 and 031, a pair of BR 16 ton mineral wagons have taken a while to complete. Most of that time however has been spent waiting for paint to arrive. Unfortunately when the paint did arrive i found the grey i ordered seemed too light so i had to buy some more...

That paint seems a little bit too dark. No worries, maybe the wagons are just dirty. They have now received final painting and had their decals applied. All they need is a spot of varnish and my train sub-project is off to a start. The green flag has been waved so to speak...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

On right track?

I have just begun a sub-project in this year's model making season, i procured a number of old Airfix railway rolling stock kits (2 locomotives and 5 wagons) and will build a little train. The first two kits Projects 030 and 031 are in production at the same time as they are the same kit (just one is in an even older box) though i only have the instructions for one so i thought it prudent to build both at the same time. Building was fairly simple but painting has come to a halt because i did not have the right grey colour so i am waiting for that to be delivered now.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A (side) model making project

Up until now in my neo-Airfix building days i have only done aircraft (well OK one kit was a missile with a few ground vehicles) but now i have decided to branch out a bit and do some... railway rolling stock. I bought a few old Airfix kits off Ebay which all came today. Because i did not expect to win all of the auctions i ended up with 2 of everything but that is fine, it just means i have some cover if i make a mistake...