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

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Body works

Further lowering of the W&L covered van into Ffestiniog 59 van continues. It is fortunate that there are plenty of photos on the internet to refer to for details – although I spent a lot of time around the van I never took note of its details and never looked to compare it to original format as I am now doing.

After that photo was taken I shortened the final side and so it’s now time to cut the doors out (leaving the frames). The following challenge is to make the louvred doors. There are various white metal ones available on the web but I need them to be light because this wagon will be heavy when it’s finished – more of that later.


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Watching paint dry

Actually, I’m not stuck because of paint but because I’m awaiting a delivery of scalpel blades which has stalled the 59 van work which needs precision cutting.

In the meantime I dug out the kit that comes with the 009 society welcome pack which only needs the sprues cutting so can cope with less than perfect cutting.

It’s a simple kit and turns 3D pretty quickly. Here it is waiting for the glue to dry. I’ll continue building it in gaps between doing 59.

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Reverse engineering

One of the vehicles my narrow gauge section needs is the Ffestiniog Van 59 which started out at the VoR as a cattle wagon before being regauged at Swindon for the Welshpool and then being bought by the FR when the Welshpool shut.

The East Anglia Group of the Ffestiniog Railway Society then rebuilt it for the FR and in later life it became a bike wagon (not often) and generator wagon for the disco train.

The cattle and closed vans for the VoR were basically the same thing so I procured a short while ago a Nine lines Welshpool closed van. The problem is I don’t know what the EAG did. However, recently 59 van was sold back to the VoR who converted it back to a cattle wagon. Now, having spoken to them I know they inserted 11″ back into the height of the vehicle to restore it. That’s why it looks “normal” in VoR guise and more like a CCT van in FR guise.

I have therefore done a cut and shut on one end of the van and have the other end to do. This is complicated by the angled bracing struts at the back so it required some careful cutting and sanding to fit – and will require some filler to finish.

However, the comparison picture shows just how much a difference there is.

Next up will be the other end and then the sides – including modifying the doors into louvred ones as fitted when it was a disco generator.

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Wagon works

The Wonderful Wagon kit is finished (except couplings- what a surprise!)

It looks good and is a great kit for its age.

I loaded it with some ballast from the Patriarch’s archive box which being 4mm is a bit big and so I’ll use for wagon loads rather than track ballast. It’s stuck in using the usual pva and water mix.

I consulted some books to get photos of loaded wagons to ensure it looked right. I like the result.

Next in the wagon works is something of the NG variety that I’d like to get done for June.

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It’s a wonderful world

In having my clear out the other day I found the Peco Wonderful wagon kit I bought last year.

For an old kit it is a clever idea and well designed although I feel it probably will be best if the wagon is loaded as I don’t think the floor will get truly flat.

I hadn’t realised the suspension is achieved through the plastic being flexible rather than use of springs. Time will tell how long it lasts.

Having built the chassis onto the body the body covering needs fixing to the bodyshell.

The covering is embossed card complete with detail and is pretty convincing for a small wagon such as this.


The rambling Christian – Science in the Bible

I’ve decided to, on occasion, go totally off topic and write about my Christian faith. Since I have no desire to alienate or annoy people who don’t want to read this but do want to read what I write about railways, each blog post of this new off topic nature will be headed with “The rambling Christian” so you know to ignore it.

The reason for the diversification is two fold. Firstly I feel I have a lot I want to write and secondly I hear a lot of random stuff trotted out about Christianity that I felt I wanted to contribute (particularly as I want to appeal to those that like memes of Jesus and dinosaurs – I like them too btw, they’re bound to wind some people up but I find them hilarious!)

Science in the Bible

I felt I wanted to start this thread with science in the Bible. Often I hear the point being made, generally by those without faith, that you either believe science or religion (the dinosaur / Jesus meme). Actually this isn’t the case and many STEM scholars are Christians. Why? Because when you look at it analytically there isn’t anything that we know in science that contradicts what is in Christianity and often each confirms the other and one can give order and confirmation to the other.

Faith is a personal choice – it is the choice of deciding to believe Jesus is your Saviour, but believing what is in the Bible is actually a separate study and even if you have no faith you can academically look at what is written and make your own mind up whether the script is true even if you decide that faith has no place in your life.

What fascinates me is looking at what can be dated in the Bible and where it then fits into the bigger picture. For me growing up, the Bible was this separate existence where things happened and then there was history where other things happened (Narnia if you will…!). Finding evidence in one to link to the other I always find really satisfying.

Now Bible dating is fairly easy. You hear people amusingly claim the Bible is a modern invention while the scientific evidence points otherwise. For this blog I’m going on the Qumran Caves (Dead Sea Scrolls) scripture dating of somewhere between 2000-1000 BC.

David and Goliath

Firstly let’s look at David and Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17 it says (v4-7), “And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels;”

So what you say? Well the what is that we now have a really good description of what a champion fighter of the era wore. Champion fighters had money (still the case today) so would have the best equipment going hence the concentration on the weights / monetary value of each piece. Given that your average bloke in the field would earn about 10 shekels a year, having a coat worth 5000 shekels gives some idea as to the figures we’re dealing with (again no different from today!).

What’s really interesting here is having given the price of bronze, the writer then gives us the price of iron (600 shekels for a spearhead). What is clear from this, comparing a coat of mail with a spearhead, is that the cost of iron was so much in excess of bronze that even a champion fighter could only afford a spearhead in it and could not afford a coat of mail.

In other words, this is brand new technology and Goliath has enough money to start using it even though it is off the scale in terms of cost.

And this point (excuse the pun) allows us to date David and Goliath’s fight really accurately (by Bible Old Testament standards) as the start of the Iron Age. Basically, the fight must have happened sometime between 1500-1200BC.


Secondly I’m going to go really hard core – creation. But I’m going to keep it basic.

George Lemaître, Edwin Hubble, and Stephen Hawking, to name but a few have given us our scientific understanding of how the world began. Laid on top of that is now our understanding of evolution (did you know the only people left who believe in true Darwinism are those trying to disprove Darwinism – our knowledge of evolution has moved on a long was from Darwin).

All of this has evidential base and I believe it. I also believe in the creation story in Genesis. No, I’m really not on drugs, not illegal ones anyway.

Why you ask? How you ask? It is recognised in scriptural analysis that the seven days talked about in the creation story are merely a framework on which to build the story and is not to be taken literally. (In addition English translations of the Bible miss some nuances – “void” in English was translated from the “seen and unseen” – one could argue that’s a description of black holes but I digress).

So being able to stretch the story out and overlay it on Big Bang and evolution, what do we find, – it matches. It matches. What is described in the Bible is what is described in modern cosmology. The earliest writings of Genesis are over 3000 years old but our scientific understanding of cosmology is less than 100. How did someone 3000+ years ago write what we have only proved in science over the last 100? Go figure.

And the Jesus / Dinosaur meme – in Christianity Jesus was there at the beginning of creation. So he was there for the beginning, the formation of continents, the microorganisms, the ice ages, the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and the current era. So of course he was there when the dinosaurs were there. They aren’t f*cking with his story. They are part of his story. He was, He is, and He will forever be.