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

Making a mark

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Despite not having printed out the layout plans, I can, using the powers of a tape measure, start to work out what can stay and what can go on the layout.

To recap, the boards that I inherited had the fiddle yard to the LHS whereas I’m having it on the RHS. The original RH end of the board was a terminating station whereas now it’s going to be a through station.

I therefore measured out and marked the old platform and removed the excess. In reality I think much of the original platform will be discarded as I want stone (slate) facing and the original top has sagged so I’ll replace with plywood.

However this current cut allows me to work out the rest of the track plan.


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It was my tender behind y’r honour

Ok, so nipping back to Court for a moment…

What we do know is that there isn’t really much of a standard thing as a GW tender. The only tenders that definitely always had the same type of tank and frame during their life are the Hawksworth ones behind the Counties which were 6″ wider than all the others.

Apart from that, the tenders were like the London Routemaster, entering the works the tank and chassis were separated and overhauled at different rates so what then came back out was almost certainly different.

And so it was I noticed that a number of Collett 3500 gal tenders ended up with Dean chassis. I also noticed the Collett 3500 tank bore a striking resemblance to a Dean 3500 with an added raised lip around the tank filler area.

Thus, for my Saint, all I had to do was add the raised Collett feature and I had a passable Collett 3500 tender using the original one that came with the Saint model which saves messing about with fitting a new body to the tender drive.

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Also for the paintshop

I’ve got a few model vehicles and a couple of like to portray being transported by rail. I recently acquired a Wrenn Lowmac as it is the GW version. Getting a GW liveried Wrenn Lowmac however still seems to cost an arm and a leg due to the collector types but the ones in BR brown are rather more common.

I therefore picked one up nice and cheaply and have rubbed it down ready for painting in GW freight grey. I also threw the roller wheels in the bin and got some Alan Gibson 10.5mm replacements to suit.

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Long time coming

Well after much swearing and about a month later than planned, my model of Caynham Court is ready for the paintshops. Unfortunately that won’t happen for a bit though as it’s freezing in the Penlowry painting booth at the moment. However, at least it can sit on the shelf waiting for the warmer weather.

Since last time, I’ve added the outside steam pipes using 247 Developments Castle / King ones turned round and hacked (they’re too large but they’ll do – my model railway and all that). I’ve added lamp brackets and vac brake pipe, added cam rods attached to inside valve gear, taken from a set of Duke of Gloucester valve gear parts from Hornsby spares, modified the valve chests with plasticard and modified the tender to represent a 3500 gal Collett one after extensive study revealed something I hadn’t noticed – more another time.

Of course as always the photo is cruel – it’s not that rough to the naked eye.

I’ll add the reach rod once I’ve painted it.

However I’m pleased with the outcome and it was a nice challenge for something a bit different from a very indifferent model starting point so now onto the next thing, probably back in narrow gauge land.

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Well that didn’t last long

Having both boards for Penlowry now erected, it gave me a chance to check my design against the real thing. Obviously I have no desire to rip up any more of the existing track than I need to if I can help it.

Looking at the design on my computer and then at the board, I had a Blackadder “Hang on!” moment* as I realised the three way point at the RH end of the loop wasn’t in the right place on my diagram. I’ve therefore put it back where it should be which had made the track geometry so much better.

I’m also investigating whether I can get the layout printed out on a plotter so as to avoid improving Sellotape’s shares.

* if you’re not sure what that means, try here, from the 9 minute mark.

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Track plan

At the end of last year there had been a number of discussions within the household as to where my office would end up as we are planning renovation works. The final decision was that I’d stay where I was which is what then led to the bed moving as mentioned in my previous post.

While this was going on, there was a suggestion at one point that I might move to another room and this would have necessitated Penlowry having some if not all elements mirrored. I wasn’t keen on this but sketched up a few ideas to achieve this. One such sketch improved the shed layout no end and made it much more Western in design. I therefore decided to update the existing plan with this new shed arrangement which also enables the NG line to come into the yard to collect ash for some fill works elsewhere on the island.

This reanalysis of the space has allowed me to determine a position and role for my 15″ gauge line (z gauge) which will be an almost derelict line going to a pier on the channel between the island and mainland with an armoured train shuttling backwards and forwards manned by National Service recruits.

Having determined the “final” design (ha – as if) I then printed it lifesize – all 58 pages of A4 of it.

Next job is to stick them all together and then use them to mark out the new track plan on the baseboards.

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New year’s sleeping arrangements

On Tuesday, Mini-me2 slept for the first time in a big bed. This may seem an odd way to start a post about model railways but bear with me.

Until Tuesday, the spare bed was in my office. Not only was there the inconvenience of being chucked out of my office whenever someone visited (I work from home a minimum of 3 days a week), but also it was the elephant in the room preventing me from building up the rest of the baseboards for Penlowry.

The spare bed is now Mini-me2’s bed and when people visit he will be chucked out and will sleep in the bottom bunk of the bunks in Mini-me1’s room.

So now my work won’t be disturbed when people visit and I get the added bonus of the space I’ve been planning for.

Today’s job was putting up the other half of the original scenic section. It would have gone a lot smoother had I not made the joint leg too well and the screws holding it together not refused to come back out for adjustment, but following some persuasion which proves how well the boards were built in the first place, the two halves are now up and some drawing out of the new track plan can begin.

(And yes, I know Tower Bridge and the Roman catapult aren’t quite to scale but they were both good fun to build).