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

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Bluebell Dairies

Those of you that know me on Facebook will know that tragically our family lost our cat last week.

Before Bluebell, I wasn’t a cat person, I was a dog person. I said that I’d only have a cat if it would sit on my shoulders, cos that’s cool.


As t’missus put it, “she was a pain in the arse, but she was our pain in the arse”.

And it’s true, she was. She frequently walked all over my keyboard if she thought I wasn’t doing my work properly, or sat on the desk in front of me so I couldn’t get at the computer, and generally got right in the way.

But we loved her, and we miss her.

I have a “thing” about making sure there are family connections in my model railways. I know many people are. There are plenty of locomotives with fictitious names made to appease the powers that be. Mine tend to go further than the immediate family though and I have a Hudson Bros wagon as my brother and sister in law in Australia are Hudson.


In this case, I intend Penlowry Junction to be adorned with a black and white station cat, but I have also decided that since my draft timetable has milk trains, Penlowry shall have a dairy and it will be named in her honour. I therefore have a couple of unpainted milk tankers on their way from Liverpool which will be painted appropriately. I have started the artwork design and will print suitable transfers.

Bluebell dairies transfers.png

And it will then look something like this:

Bluebell dairies tanker

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Bits box

This month’s Model Rail magazine came with a free bits box. I didn’t buy it for that but it was free so I might as well use it. 

It made sense to use it for my stash of Sprat and Winkle couplings which are going to be my standard. I recently bought a pack of the new ready-made versions. These work out at £1.20 per coupling. 

To give you an idea of how that compares to others, a “standard” (i.e. not NEM pocket) Hornby coupling can cost as much £1.50 each. And which looks better? Well the picture says it all really when you realise that only the hook arm and wire loop are visible on a finished vehicle compared with all that hideous plastic on the Hornby version.  

I intend to only fit one end of each piece of rolling stock with a coupling with just a wire loop at the other. I’ll then fit brake vans, brake coaches, and various specific wagons with a coupling at each end to couple to the locos which will only have the loops. Apart from anything else, it’ll bring added shunting interest ensuring there is a wagon with coupling available for the loco to take the train out. 

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Cambrian stalwart

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook will have already seen this but I felt the need to share it more widely. 

In finding a few bits and pieces at the York Model railway show I found this lesser well known stalwart of the Cambrian. 

I’m not sure which amuses me more; the idea of a lower class Dukedog or the use of the word “Precision”!!

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A nice day out

Yesterday the Mini Mes and I went to the York model railway show, possibly the worst advertised show for the general public I know about (no local advertising at all). 

However, as usual, once inside it was an excellent do. Highlight for me was seeing Overlord, a layout I’ve always wanted to see. I particularly liked the Doodlebug overhead. 

It was the second time I’ve seen the Gresley Beat and has certainly come on a lot since last time I saw it – seeing a 100 wagon freight train is impressive in 4mm scale, not just the sight but you can almost add up the cost of it as it goes past! 

Stafford Railway Circle’s Whiteacres was also very impressive, showing what can be done with DCC. 

Below are a selection of photos. 

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Finishing with flashing

No, no, I’m not talking about this. 

Long term listeners will know that several years ago I did a post about adding lead flashing to Metcalfe buildings. 

Well I finally got round to it today having the day off and the Mini-mes at various educational facilities. 

So here’s how to do it. 

Use printer paper. It needs to be a high enough weight to cope with wetting without disintegrating so envelopes won’t work but any old post will. In this case I used an interesting missive about how York council spend my money for me. 

With a soft pencil scribble side to side across the paper laying down several layers. 

Wet your fingers using your preferred method (yes you can lick them but I wouldn’t advise it). I use the soldering iron sponge  wipe the pencil marks to break up the lines between the scribbles. 

Cut the scribbles into strips about 4-5mm wide. 

Fold down the middle using a ruler in the direction required. 

I use these fantastic little scissors for cutting to size. 

Stick down with preferred glue. 

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Tilt is the way forwards

Further unpacking of Patriarchal boxes revealed this. 

This was the first model I ever spent serious money on. It was what I spent my birthday money on in 1996 at a swap meet. 

I even went further and started producing an intermediate trailer. Unlike many I saw, and have seen, where it is a straight cut and shut, with this one I kept the full length of the roof of the original trailer I was using. This hides the cut much better in my eyes. 

The window strip is also scratchbuilt. 

And I started scratch building some tilt bogies. 

Won’t quite fit the period of Penlowry and so is another thing to add to the “must finish one day” list! 🙄