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

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Two strike strategy

In my post about the battery locomotive kit I mentioned I got two to help with adding depth and also in case of mishap. 

Typically I was vindicated not half an hour into the project. 

I was wrestling with how to make the bufferbeam extensions and so folded up one of them to get a feel for it. 

I decided the easiest answer was to join three pieces of 60 thou plasticard together (liberal application of liquid poly) and use that to provide the thickness rather than the rather weedy cardboard box the kit would have you make. 

While then chopping off the unwanted bits of the bufferbeam assembly the one I used to trial the construction then broke where I did not want it to. The picture below shows the two completed ones, the broken one, and one in original condition. 

Next job will be to glue on the parts and shape accordingly. 

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Pit ponies

In an attempt to actually understand what I’m building, I rang my mate Slap and asked what he had in his library that would have info on the battery locos of LUL. 

The man is a self confessed LT nut so I had no doubts he’d have something on the subject. Sure enough, he helped out with this gem, hence the title of this post (in case you hadn’t got there yet). 

 I also asked if I could borrow his copy of Rails through the clay as my interest in the tube is growing and it is the tome on the subject. His response was typical, “would you like to borrow the first or second edition?”! 

When he came round yesterday he also brought a further two books on the Underground for my perusal. Not sure when I’m going to read all that but the reading list definitely isn’t empty! 

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Out of the packet

The battery locomotive kit has arrived. Or to be accurate, two kits. Given the medium (card) I had a feeling that, unlike Metcalfe kits, these might be a little more delicate. 

I was pleased to see I am right so it wasn’t a waste of money. The kit is designed to be a static model so it is more of a scratch-aid for what I intend to produce. 

It is nicely presented in a folder and comes with a full sheet of instructions. The instructions are for all their kits of battery locos so not all the numbers line up or instructions apply quite the same but are perfectly understandable despite that. 

What I intend to do is use the two kits to provide more definition and depth to the flat sides of the kit such as by putting the doors back into the body and maybe doing something about the ventilation louvres. 

I’ll get some “proper” buffers and couplings and also provide a plasticard bodyshell / frame for strength and then mount it on the bogies described earlier. 

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Ok, having got the childish joke out of the way at the beginning we can carry on talking about bogies. 

Having acquired the battery loco card kit I needed a chassis for it. I spent some time looking at proprietary bogies and came to the conclusion that I could buy a set for a battery loco from Radley’s models but given this was supposed to be a cheapy modelling exercise even the cost of £8 a pair was too much. 

In my bits box I had a mainline LMS corridor coach. This has bogies I thought I could make to represent the plate bogies of the battery locos sufficiently for the scene I was creating. 

The pictures show the hacking I did. Next will be to fit a set of beams and shoes (which I have in my bits box from an aborted project where I bought the detailing pack for the Hornby cl466. 

The final article won’t be totally accurate but this is all about having an interesting moving scene not about rivet counting. 


Before (r) and after (l)

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Creating a scene

Some time ago I picked up a couple of Hornby barrier vehicles. My aim was, and is, that one day I’ll put an Isle of Wight 1938 stock set in the current livery between them to haul around the layout as if it’s going to or from overhaul. 

Since that’ll require either scratch building which I don’t have time or skills for, or an EFE set which I don’t have the money for, I thought I’d put something else between them for the time being. 

Perusing the world wide web I decided an LUL battery loco would be a good compromise because I could build it out of a CDC card kit and some bits and bobs in the spares box for next to nothing. 

Now at this point you’ll point out that a battery loco has conventional couplings so doesn’t need barrier vehicles. That is quite true. However, when going on some journeys, extra vehicles are often put in a rake to improve the braking capability to enable the train to achieve the required sectional running times. So there is my excuse. And I’m sticking to it. 

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Tools of the trade

In a recent bout of activity I actually did something last night snatching five minutes to get something done! (I was waiting for someone to return a phone call – one of the benefits of sometimes working from home) 

I’ll reveal the wanderings of my mind in the next post but I thought I’d just mention the tools I was using. 

Top is a pair of miniature shears which is incredibly useful for snipping plastic before cleaning up with another implement. 

Second is the trusty scalpel and third is a file which came in a set of nail clippers I recently bought. Despite being metal, the file is designed for making nails shapely so gives a good finish on plastic. 

Key for the scalpel of course is to make sure you have a sharp blade. The blade that’s in there was a sharp one because I’d just used it to cut a splinter out of my finger which I sustained while dismantling one of the two sheds our house came with. 

I am a great believer in being able to fix yourself as well as fix things. I speculated after this incident whether the NHS would be quite so cash strapped if everyone took their time to fix as much of themselves as possible. However this is not a political blog so we’ll move swiftly on. 

Other great multifunctional tools of course include superglue which was after all invented to glue people back together in wartime. 

As a child I read Scouting for Boys, which was probably either the 1944 or 57 edition. It was the Patriarch’s from when he was in scouts and he used to tell the story of finding a wasps’ nest and being told by the scout leader to dispose of it himself, which he and his section duly did – by boiling a kettle on the camp stove and then pouring the contents into the nest- the first wasps to be killed block the nest entrance allowing you to fill it with boiling water at your leisure. 

I was always fascinated by the medical section. “What to do if…” I remember almost wanting to stick a fish hook into my finger to see if I could achieve the operation required. Don’t read the next paragraph if you’re squeamish. 

Basically you push it all the way through until you see it appear under the skin on the other side of your finger, then using a scalpel you cut a hole to let it out, finishing by pouring iodine into the wound and bandaging up. (Scouting for boys never mentioned the inevitable blue language following the application of iodine – presumably because the British stiff upper lip should prevent any utterance throughout the whole procedure). 

I did say almost. I didn’t do that experiment although I have stuck my fingers together with superglue on numerous occasions- sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally. A Loctite salesman showed me the trick and it’s always a good party game, which has also prevented me having to go to A&E with a wagon stuck to my fingers, but I’ll leave you to work out how to achieve separation. 

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Penlowry no.2

To finish off on this magical mystery tour of my early modelling, here is locomotive no.2 in the fleet. I’m pleased with this as it was the third loco I built (the Alco Mountaineer was the second) and gave me a chance to add the details to make a nice looking loco. Dolgoch is a little odd compared to most NG locos but that just adds to its appeal in my books (yes FR people can like the Tin Tram too…)

Just need to crack open the paint now.