Chronicling the development of my Cambrian and Narrow Gauge 4mm scale model railway

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Sometimes I feel Heath-Robinson would be proud. 


To glue the office section of the goods shed to the main building, I used sash clamps, with the whole building upended. 

However this meant it was resting on the gable end of the roof which I didn’t like, so I hung the end over the edge of the desk. 

This meant that, although it was stable, one knock, and the whole lot would over balance and crash onto the floor. With a couple of small people in the house this was more than likely. 

To prevent it over balancing, I therefore used my largest bulldog clip which has a magnet on one wing of it, the clippy bit attached to the end of the clamp, and the magnety bit attached to my angle poise lamp, which is festooned with all my other magnetic gizmos. 

The angle poise lamp in turn has its clamps screwed up so it can’t move. Result! 

And the beverage, you ask. Sam Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout.  A lovely drop. Worth a punt if you’ve never had it and aren’t afraid of the dark. 

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While dreaming of building twin pan 91s, I have been able to snatch some time to continue the goods shed.

Fitting the roof of a big building is always a pain as it always ties to bow upwards in the middle where you can’t clamp it. 

This is my solution- bulldog clip on the bottom of the back wall, string tied to it, looped over the top and a weight hung on the end. 


You have to be careful not to put too much weight on or it bends the overhang and you have to put the tension on the string as you go to avoid it catching and lifting the overhang at the back as you add the weight at the front, nylon string works best as it doesn’t catch as much. 

While that was going on, it left enough time to start the office building which will be attached to the end wall. 


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I’m sure all modellers have a wish list. A one day when… On mine for a long time has been an APT-E (which is still on there as I can’t afford the Locomotion one, boo!) and also this class 91 which I photographed yesterday at York. 

I work in Leeds and so most days travelling between the two cities I keep my eye out for 91114 but up til now I’ve never managed to see it except once for a fleeting second when there wasn’t enough time to get my camera (phone) out. 

Yesterday was my lucky day. I’d only stopped at the station for a PNB while on the way elsewhere but got it I did. 

91114 is unique as it has been fitted with twin pantographs. Apparently the fitting of it with the rear cab in the way was a bit of a faff. Eversholt Rail who own the loco did the mod as a trial looking at ways to improve, what was at the time of fitting, the worst reliability on the network (about 8,000 miles per technical incident (MTIN), since been eclipsed by the 485/5s managing 5000!). 

The 91s are going through an intermediate overhaul at the moment (the ones that have had it are in full Virgin livery) and the whole host of mods have improved reliability dramatically. My understanding is that the twin pan project is on back burner as I don’t think Stagecoach / Virgin will pay for it as they believe the mods at intermediate will all but eliminate the poor reliability and if you fitted twin pans to 91s you’d then have to apply the same argument across the network. Or to turn the argument around, there aren’t many trains with twin pans, so it can’t really be a reliability issue. 

I do quite like the livery but I think it’d have to be a vinyl wrap job. Not worth thinking too much about anyway as it’s only aspirational. 

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More colouring in

I’ve seen that recently a fair few people have got into these adult colouring books, t’missus being one of them. 

Not my cup of tea, but I do like a good bit of colouring in. As with the pavilion (which will get its flashing at the same time as the the goods shed – I promise!) all exposed cardboard edges are coloured on my goods shed to give a more convincing look. 

You don’t need anything fancy, just a set of felt tip pens from the nearest stationers. 

The results are worth it, as this close up shows the difference between the bit I’ve done where the edge has blended nicely and the bit I’ve missed where the grey is still poking through! 



Further reading

Continuing the theme of weighty volumes, another one I’ve used to hold things down and flat is the Machinery’s Handbook. 

If you only ever have one engineering volume in your library, this is the one to have. My copy is the 1928 third edition. It covers pretty much everything, except perhaps how to get to the moon since they hadn’t achieved it back then (in fact if you think about it, the frontline fighter planes of developed countries were biplanes back then). 

It also is well presented with finger hole bookmarks and coloured edge paper.   

It also is weighty and hold things flat. What a book! 

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Construction of the Metcalfe goods shed continues apace. I’ve shown a few photos here of construction showing again the sheer variety of clips and clamps I’ve built up over the years that make model making easier. 

This photo also shows my chosen glue. Metcalfe say to use UHU clear but I’ve always used Copydex because it is great for getting you out of trouble. Doesn’t come out of trousers though so be warned it can get you into trouble too. 

Apart from the mini sash clamps seen here I want to take the time to shamelessly plug a friend’s business. 

I first met Paul when I was learning to fire Blanche on the Ffestiniog. It was my first day on a single engine (instead of a double) and I was hopeless. My fireman wasn’t Top Shed either and Paul said we proved that two half wits don’t make a full one. We’ve pretty much been friends ever since and even more so once I could fire locomotives for him because then we could talk about anything but the loco we wee on because we both knew what each of us, what each other, and what the loco was doing. 

I then moved to Australia joining the same engineering company Paul worked for which meant we worked on the same project in Wellington NZ, and volunteered together for Mainline Steam while there. 

Paul now runs EDM Models as a full time job, which can be found at 

Amongst everything not useful to me because the scale’s wrong, Paul does sell some very useful tools. An imaginary shopping spree on his website normally costs me the best part of several hundred pounds. One tool that I’d definitely recommend is the corner clamps seen in these photos. They just make life easy. Worth the money to avoid the pain. Trust me. They’re at the bottom of this page. Get them. 


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No, I don’t mean the great British variety. And no, I don’t mean the Churchward variety either, although The Elder has a whitemetal Keyser one tucked away somewhere that he built before deciding to move onto the 7.25″ gauge variety of GWR locomotives.

I mean, clips. If you do railway modelling you will know there is no such thing as too many. I used to wonder if there was. But there isn’t. Whenever I see those “fun” stationery shelves in shops, I always have a qucik look to see if they have any mini bulldog clips, or pegs, or other clamping device, particularly if it is just after Christmas or just after the schools have gone back and they’ve all been shoved onto the Clearance shelves.

I thought I’d share this photo with you to demonstrate what I mean. I usually do a couple of bits of a Metcalfe kit in parallel so that I keep up a steady flow. If I had such a thing as a whole day free, it would be quite easy to complete a Metcalfe kit in a day. But I don’t, but I still want to maximise my time. However, it was only when doing these bits of the goods shed kit I realised I really don’t have enough bulldog clips. Still. I used all the ones you see in this photo to hold the laminations together to form the wall that has been residing under Modern Railway Working, which left me insufficient to do the other wall.

Maybe I’ll just have to add my wants to my Christmas stocking list. We’re in October aren’t we, so Christmas IS just round the corner according the shops…


Bulldog clips