Friday, July 31, 2009

Some thoughts

Been somewhat quiet on the update front of late. Mileage is starting to ramp up for my next marathon. So that takes priority.
I have placed an order for a couple of Tortoise point motors for the layout though. Some of the parts for the Scalescenes goods shed are sitting under some weights while the glue sets. Actually they've been sat under the weights for 2 weeks so I think the glue is well and truly bonded now.
Also today a slight cause for concern. I finally dismantled my Wold Farm Mushrooms layout. Ripping up the track and removing the hills, ostensibly to fit everything in the dustbin easier. But, and this makes me re-think the pink foam method, everything peeled off the pink foam easily. Too easily. So easily that I have a new baseboard for another layout with a minimum of clean up. Bit worried about the pink foam baseboards now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

As the world spins

A wet rainy Minnesota morning seems very far removed from the delights of Cricket on an English summers afternoon. But that is what I've been thinking about this morning.
Perhaps it was yesterday's stunning England victory over Australia at Lords. Perhaps it was the fact that while I've been working on assembling the Scalescenes goods shed I've been doing so to the strains of the Duckworth Lewis Method.
But today it is more than likely because I just followed the links from a recent comment to one of this blogs postings. That led me to the website of Brocklesby Park Cricket Club. One weekend, many years ago, I played there for Grimoldby CC. I went in at number 10 or 11 and the first ball I faced was a bit uppish and I decided with a rush of blood to the head to hook at it. Which being a number 11 batsman I totally mistimed and the ball crashed into my shoulder. I think my pride was hurt more than anything. It certainly caused some consternation amongst the home team though. I don't remember a lot about the innings after that. Did I score any runs in my innings? I don't think so. Did I get out next ball? Knowing me probably.
What has this got to do with Model Railways? Absolutley nothing. You just never know where the next memory is coming from.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A flight of fancy

Imagine yourself on a light aircraft flying along the East Lincolnshire coastline. A few miles North of Mablethorpe you take a look out of the window. If you are imagining hard enough you might see this scene below you.
This then is ideally how I'd like the layout to look when finished. The length of the layout would run from the goods shed to the chapel graveyard and depth wise from the quay wall to the front hedgerow. Hopefully I could get the finished layout to look like this. It's certainly something to aim for.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The train now arriving

In the excitement of turning out that little sketch yesterday I negelcted to mention that my Bachmann Class 04 arrived from Hatton's yesterday.
What a gorgeous little model. A beautifully detailed moulding, seperate handrails to add and a driver in the cab as well.
Hopefully I will be able to live up to the standard set by its construction when I add the skirts, cowcatchers and the new cab to enable it to take up its new appearance.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In my minds' eye...

I am cursed. I have visions. Visions of Model Railway layouts.
Actually it's not really a curse (if it is, then it's a very nice one). It's just that some times I can see in my minds eye how I'd like a particular scene on a model to look and I can't get it out of my head. Luckily with an art college education under my belt I'm able to scribble the idea down pretty quickly in a form I can understand. Such has happened to me with the left hand side of the Haven layout.
If you can't make out the details in my sketch. The through line is passing in front of you, from left to right it appears from behind a tree and is crossed by a dirt track road before crossing a the dyke on a bridge that looks remarkably like some of those on the Wisbech and Upwell...
The road enters the goods yard with the goods shed to your left. You can see the mast of a boat beached at low tide appearing over the edge of the quay.
Perhaps the finished model will look nothing like this. But if it did it would be very nice.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More plans...

I left you yesterday with the comment that laying out the track for the layout full size had given me some more ideas for the scenic treatment of the layout. Well it didn't just give me one idea it gave me two. Two very different ways of looking at the same plan. When I was playing around with the full size track elements. As I slid the through running line rearwards, I became aware that it became less and less apart of the shunting yard and became its own element. That was when I finished the last post and went and sketched the concept below out.

To emphasise further the fact that the through line was becoming separate from the shunting yard, I placed it on the other side of a dyke. This would give the chance to create a little scene in the back corner there. A barn perhaps or a chapel. I reached for my print off from Google Earth of the scene to see if there was anything there to incorporate and I did something most unfortunate. I looked at the picture upside down. I saw things in a whole different way. This way...
The through running line now appears front left and departs rear right. The actual haven i.e. the dockside has been moved to the rear. That means I would loose the silted up river as a main feature. But I gain a potentially very nice scene in the front left where the through line appears from behind a tree, passes in front of the goods shed and perhaps a dirt track level crossing before crossing over a dyke all in the space of about eighteen inches. The through line then disappears behind a building to exit to the sector plate rear right. The flipping of the plan move all the shunting activity to the rear of the layout so that if I wanted I could use three link couplings in there. Which reminds me I still haven't made a definite decision on those. If I intend to use some kind of auto uncouplers then I have to place the magnets under the track when it is laid.
But with two new and interesting scenic developments to agonise over that decision might be a while away yet.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I'm sat here staring at a sheet of white expanded polystyrene with some track, wagons and sundry bits and bobs on it. It may look like a pile of junk to you (and my wife). But to me it means something.
I'm working on visualising the layout. None of this "scale model of a model" malarkey for me. I don't think I need to. Not at an envisioned size of 4'6" x 2' or thereabouts. Building a 1/4 size scale model would leave me with a model about 13" x 6". If I wanted to do that I'd model in T scale... Wait a minute I do! So no need to do that again then...
Seriously if it was a bigger layout I would build a scale model but I'm getting more out of looking at things actual size than I would peering at a scale model.
Already I've had an idea for a slight tweak to the scenic treatment and I think I need something at the l/h side to balance the goods shed and buildings on the right.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Real Trains, Model Trains and Test Match Special

"What on earth does "Test Match Special" have to do with Trains both real and model?" I hear some of you ask. Well today I took the day off work for reasons to be expanded on later. But this morning a sat down to make some P4 track Co. flexible track using fast their track bases and rail, whilst listening to the aforementioned "TMS". These bases are a section of 8 sleepers with chairs that you have to thread the rail onto. I reality there isn't a more practical way to get flexible track over to the US of A. The rail was sent to me in half metre lengths which used 6 fast track base sections. It was a very easy relaxing task that didn't take long to do and I now have 4 metres of P4 flexible track ready to go. The only way things could have been any better was if some more Australian wickets had fallen.
However the true purpose of my day off was to catch the SP No. 4449 Daylight as it came through Minnesota on its way to a Train festival in Michigan. It doesn't really matter if the train is English, American or whatever. There is something quite majestic about a preserved steam loco at speed on a main line.
Hope you like the picture.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Seduced by the charms of the Fens

I knew I shouldn't have looked at my copy of the Wild Swan book "The Wisbech and Upwell Tramway"...
Once I had opened those pages and looked at those pictures of the Y6's, J70's and 03's with their skirts and cow catchers I was doomed.
Toby the tram engine was always my favourite locomotive in the Thomas stories so in reality I was doomed many years ago.
In a moment of weakness yesterday I ordered a Bachmann Class 03 shunter in early BR black from Hattons. A smaller shunter like this will be perfect for the layout. Though it doesn't fit in with the time period that I thought I had already established for the layout with my BR Blue class 08. But what the heck, once skirts and cowcatchers are fitted to it. I won't care.

p.s Oops... it's really 04's that ran on the W&U and an 04 that I bought...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

(Yet more) Pink Thinks

Having reviewed a Model Railway Journal article concerning insulation foam baseboards. It would appear that I am on the wrong track concerning the construction. It seems that the method used on my previous layouts is the way to go. That is, flat sheets cut to size and framed with wood for protection. I have to admit I had thought as much when I re-reviewed the 1" and even the 1/2" foam at my local Menards the other day.
So this then is how it would go together, a slab the size of the layout that would effectively be the water level with the land being added on top of that cut to the shape and size required. I agonised for a while longer concerning the thickness of foam to use.
Should I use 2" or 1 1/2"? Two inch would mean that the ground level would be a scale 12' 6" above the "water level" I will be modelling the tide out so water level is a somewhat misleading term to used.
Is a scale 12' too much? In the end I thought that it was, this is after all the silted up River Lud we're talking about and not a major river and have decided to go for 1 1/2" which would be just about 9' in real life.
The real issue is the size of the baseboard. I really would like to go to 4' 6". That presents no problem with the pink foam as that comes in an 8' x 4' sheet but the ply to frame the layout comes in 4'x2' or 8'x4'. My woodworking abilities (or lack thereof) really mean I need everything to come out of one sheet of ply but do I really need an 8'x4' sheet of ply? Or do I want to cramp my vision by slicing 6" off the design to fit in with sizes of the wood. I'm sure I can come up with some solution to the problem. Even if I have to lay everything out full size before I start to make the baseboard.

Happy Birthday to me!

No not really.
But there was a nice big parcel in the mail box on Thursday when I arrived home from work. However being 4th July weekend other commitments have not allowed me to open the parcel until now. I knew what it was of course. It's the track for " The Haven" layout from the P4 Track Co.
I was a little nervous about ordering the rail for the track from England as I did not know how that would fare on its transatlantic journey. I needn't have worried the rail is in perfect condition straight and level with no kinks and bends in it.
Also in the mail this weekend was the latest issue of the Scalefour News. In which this little blog gets a mention as a place worth checking out. So, if you're checking this out as a result of that mention.
Hello there. To find out why I called the blog "4mm scale agonies" you need to go back to the earliest entries on the blog. Those original agonies are well and truly gone now. But I expect there will be plenty more related to other constructional aspects on the way. Pink foam baseboards are the current one. More on that later. That is turing into a pressing matter as I've now got track, I'll soon need a baseboard to lay it on.