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

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And so it begins…

With the dust having settled both after the Disco car’s appearance at Bressingham and the Hunslet 125 event last weekend, and having now caught up on a lot of work this week, I’m not looking on to the next challenge.

I could finish fixing 59 van and sort the couplings on my Alco which, as I suspected, is too low, but to be frank, given the rush to get things done for Bressingham, the chances are they’d go into orbit so much better to leave them for another day.

I have two challenges in my table now – firstly in discussions at Hunslet 125 I mentioned I had the bits for a C2 so I’d love to try and get that to a state I can run it on Bron Hebog at the WHR Superpower in September.

Also I want to get on with the 009 Society railcar challenge so I think I’ll run them in parallel so that if one is being threatened with Cape Canaveral treatment, I can change to work on the other.

So let me present the parts for the railcar challenge.

1x Kato shorty chassis

1x Ashover coach parts

1x set of NG buffers

1x set of etched windscreen wipes

2x Corgi Burlingham Seagull models

Fox transfers for Burlingham crest

LNER tourist green, cream, teak, and roof grey.

This is slightly pushing the bounds of my model railway as it is supposed to be set 1947-49 whereas the Seagull is actually a 50s model but I want to do the sort of “dawn of the new age” trying to make railways economical by introducing new technology and an 30/40s shapes bus body just wouldn’t cut it.

Given the surgery required, if you are a collector of die-cast buses, you may not want to read the subsequent blog posts about this build because it won’t be pretty…!

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Last weekend I made it to the Top Left Hand Corner of Wales for the first time in far too long to join the Hunslet 125 birthday party to celebrate the best two locomotives on the Ffestiniog Railway. The double Fairlie is an excellent machine but for a satisfying day out on a loco, give me a Lady any day (my view may be biased due to being about as regular as you can get to being Blanche’s regular fireman for the 2005 and 2006 seasons).

Despite not having booked to do anything until the Tuesday before, and having offered to do whatever needed doing including “third man on the sand drier” I was given what was considered to be that turn – late night stewarding in Minffordd Yard while the public got p….. at the Yard Arms. Not only was it actually a good laugh and an excellent view of the birthday Ladies’ parallel run, but it then got me good turns on Saturday and Sunday doing the Shuntathon in the Yard and including gravity trains on the Sunday. It was good to get “back in the saddle” or back on the waggon side as it actually is. Not only did I get “my” old waggon but I can report that gravity is still switched on in North Wales, so good result all round really.

The organising “big guns”, who are the same ones that pulled off Vintage 2005 (except Bruno and FP who were about 8 then) and a few of the other events, really showed their skills in this one. So thanks to Geoff, Diller, Fringe, Bonks, Bruno, FP, and all the others who I haven’t named who got involved in delivering the goods yet again.

Sitting in the Yard Arms on Sunday evening, being manned by the brewery boss himself, looking round at all the knackered but satisfied volunteers, helped me remember that despite any politics, this railway, my railway, the Ffestiniog Railway, is the best in the world.

It was good to be home.

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Cake engineering and other stories

Last week was Mini Me1’s birthday. He requested a “train cake”. Now I know his favourite loco is Mallard. He sometimes comes out with “it was better in your day because you saw him running”. Given the period we’re talking about is 1988 when it made its brief comeback, I’m not sure I did beyond some brief memories of people trespassing at Beverley station to get a decent view.

When I was 11 I requested a double Fairlie cake for my birthday. The Matriarch did her best but cake baking was her thing, not cake engineering so when the Patriarch declared it looked more like Stonehenge, she chucked the rolling pin at us and suggested we did better.

Over the years I’ve done a few cake projects, including St Mary’s Church Beverley and Sydney Opera House in gingerbread, so when Mini Me said “train” I said “Mallard”. I mean if a rolling stock engineer can’t do it, what’s gone wrong with the profession?!

The key to any good loco cake of course is a good base for wheels and boiler. Here’s where the Swiss roll is a Godsend. In this case I used a “Curly the Caterpillar” with the face removed because I wanted the rigid chocolate shell for strength – if I did it again I wouldn’t bother and just use a normal Swiss roll as the weight of it meant I couldn’t get the boiler as high as I wanted.

Square section was chocolate cake bars along with chocolate covered cornflakes for coal.

Application of blue and black icing and edible felt tip pens and the job was done.

Now the dust has settled following the trip to Bressingham, I’m contemplating my next project; either a start on the 009 Society challenge or getting my Bachmann Manor body to fit on the Hornby Grange chassis.

A couple of pictures from Narrow Gauge East to finish.

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You shall go to the ball

Well I won’t bore you with the details of the last couple of days. Although I was the only one who had invented the deadline of showing off the disco train at Narrow Gauge East at Bressingham, and therefore was the only one working to it, I still felt that I had to deliver.

I feel that my next project I shall complete and then post it when I’m bloody well sure it will work. But anyway…

So here it is. 59 van finished, 121 finished, and the Alco has had Greenwich couplings fitted (it previously had choppers- although there is a height issue to sort) name and works plates, a suspicion of lining and the headboard fitted.

I’ve even put a suitable picture in the background to hide all the cr*p on my modelling desk.

You shall go the ball, disco, oh Barge.