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

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Well with time almost run out and the usual Christmas rubbish on telly, I snatched a few hours to finish the railcar.

I spent some time making up some bodyside destination indicators to cover the injection mould indents that were visible each side of the doors.

Then I made up the ribbon glazing for each of the 4 quarters – an absolute pain to do using paper templates but worth it. For the glazing I first looked at using the back cover from an old report…

…but unfortunately it was too scratched so I used the packet that the loupe for my new Optivisor came in (Christmas present and so very fantastic).

Finally I used some more glazing for the internal driver partitions and the side windows and reused the original front windscreens. Last job was fitting the lenses into the RT models headlamps.

Given it’s taken me 6 months to do this, I’d better get started on my Earl of Merioneth if it is make its debut at Warley next year!

Thanks for your reading, comments, and encouragement this year. With over 4,500 individual visitors from 61 different countries, Penlowry is getting about a bit! It’s been fun. Roll on 2019…


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Going Caledonian

We went away for Christmas. It’s the best thing we’ve done in a long time. Just us four: no family to be nice to / fall out with / <insert other option here>.

We went to Lochearnhead. Not for any particular reason, just because we found a self catering cottage which was the right size, the right price, far enough into Scotland to be interesting, but not so far that it didn’t have “modern conveniences”.

My knowledge of Scottish railways is pretty much zero apart from the Tay Bridge disaster and that is only through the awful poetry that goes with it. My Uncles, however, who grew up for part of their childhood in Glasgow, know the railways well, my elder Uncle in particular who likes the Glasgow and South Western. So they both, when I said we were going to Lochearnhead, said “that’s on the railway to Crieff”. News to me.

Well it is. Or was. The railway was built right at the end of the boom and was sold as a way of getting goods from the ports on the West of Scotland across to the East Coast. It didn’t really and wasn’t really needed, and typically, the original company was on its knees by the time the railway was built so the Caley (being the major shareholder) was persuaded to buy it, one suspects somewhat against their will. The railway only lasted 50 years and was, if my Uncle’s memory is right, shut following a landslide when they decided it was a bit expensive to repair especially as, if you had the time, you could get to the other end of the railway by alternative routes.

The cottage we stayed in is called View Cottage and here is a picture of it when the railway was pretty new.

You can’t see the viaduct from the cottage now as the foliage covers it but with a bit of scrambling you can get up on to it, so we did.

The station at Lochearnhead is in amazing condition because it is used by the local Scouts and has been kept intact.

South from the station there are plenty of remains to look at including finding some pretty nasty clinker:

At Callendar, there is still an upper quadrant signal cleared for the route (poor photo as it was taken from the car):

If you look at a map of the area you will see that the old line to Oban diverges from the line to Lochearnhead and Crieff at Balquhidder Junction. It then passes Lochearnhead high on the hillside. I can’t help feeling it would make a great model railway with the main station in 00 and the Callander to Oban line in N gauge forcing the perspective.

On the last day we went to Killin and so saw the Glen Ogle viaduct – another cracker reminiscent of Bala to Blaenau type engineering. Another photo taken from a moving car so not fantastic.

Finally, t’missus took great delight in taking a photo of me getting excited about finding a lump of steam coal – especially as it was on a short walk on Christmas Day!

I hope all listeners had a great Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year. I have one major deadline next year – to make a model of Earl of Merioneth, the Mighty Square, in time for an appearance at Warley in November on Nigel Smith’s Tan-y-Bwlch layout.

(C) Jeremy Latham

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Quiet time?

Historically our company is quiet before Christmas. That’s just the industry I’m in. People don’t want jobs to start when there is then an almost guaranteed 2 week gap in it so clients delay until after Christmas.

Unusually for us, this year has been total madness. There are a number of high profile projects, in which we are involved, which has kept us very busy and will continue to do so for some time to come. For the first time in a while, when a Canadian company came knocking, I had to ask if they wouldn’t mind deferring until after Christmas. This is all good news for company expansion – when your company has a mere Baker’s dozen, highs and lows are often excessive and change rapidly.

As usual, modelling has suffered. I’m still awaiting a window to fit the glazing in the railcar (see what I did there), post a video of it, and then send my entry in to the 009 Society.

I now have 2 locos awaiting transfers and plates to call them done (43xx oil fired, and the Bulldog).

Unfortunately the beginning of this week won’t see any action as I’ve got to go to Aberdare (6h on the train from York!!)

One somewhat major decision that has been made recently is that my office will change rooms. There was always the possibility of this given I currently occupy a large bedroom in the house and one day Mini Mes 1 and 2 will agree not to share a room and then I’d have to move. So the box room for me. Frankly, it’s better to do this move earlier rather than later as it affects the Penlowry baseboard shape (and the room is currently much nicer despite being smaller!)

Whereas I’ve not been able to snatch time for physical modelling, I have had time to do the virtual work so I cracked open AnyRail and worked out how to fit the Penlowry concept into the new space available, while also leaving room for a work desk, a modelling desk, a bookshelf of railway books, modelling stock and material, lots of railway pictures, and me!

Basically it will take all my ingenuity and design engineering as I think I will have to have some clever storage solutions to get the result I want.

The basic change is the layout goes from an L to a C. I don’t think the fiddle Yard will stay as is as I think I’m going to develop a cassette system to enable space saving.

The benefit is the scenic curve with the river bridges, and halt platform by the beach will get bigger, but the downside is the shed space will be smaller. (The shed is now an almost direct copy of Salisbury – a subshed of WES/82D – but with smaller building).

One of the other benefits is that the narrow gauge station can be much bigger which allows it to become quite familiar in shape / concept to those who visit the TLC of Wales. I’m pleased about this as it adds so much operating potential.

Now I’ve got this worked out, I can drop the footprint into the room planning software and work out how everything else will fit!

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Bits and pieces

Managed to get a few bits done before the start of a hectic week.

On the 43xx front I started painting the cab shutters and fitted the new buffers to the tender – and yes, some Dean tenders did get Collett buffers before anyone says otherwise!

On the railcar front I did some detail painting, putting a bit of exhaust staining on the roof with dry-brushing.

With a couple of days off work now I’m hoping to get some more done.

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There is no way I am a pro at painting. It is my least favourite job but if you are going to hack models about to create others, you have to live with the probable consequences and do some painting.

The railcar was always intended to be LNER tourist green and cream but when I applied the LNER roof grey it looked all wrong. So I remarked the body and decorated it in BR (post 1985) grey, and much better it looked too.

I also remembered the wheeze of using some lining to hide the dodgy line between the paint colours so I used some BECC’s vinyl. This is excellent stuff and comes in strips of different thicknesses. I originally got some in black for lining where I also wanted to create the look of beading on another project, so I then went and got some in silver for this job.

I’m pretty pleased with the result and once the glazing is in and I’ve touched up a couple of areas I’ll reveal the whole model.