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


Further reading

Continuing the theme of weighty volumes, another one I’ve used to hold things down and flat is the Machinery’s Handbook. 

If you only ever have one engineering volume in your library, this is the one to have. My copy is the 1928 third edition. It covers pretty much everything, except perhaps how to get to the moon since they hadn’t achieved it back then (in fact if you think about it, the frontline fighter planes of developed countries were biplanes back then). 

It also is well presented with finger hole bookmarks and coloured edge paper.   

It also is weighty and hold things flat. What a book! 

Leave a comment


Construction of the Metcalfe goods shed continues apace. I’ve shown a few photos here of construction showing again the sheer variety of clips and clamps I’ve built up over the years that make model making easier. 

This photo also shows my chosen glue. Metcalfe say to use UHU clear but I’ve always used Copydex because it is great for getting you out of trouble. Doesn’t come out of trousers though so be warned it can get you into trouble too. 

Apart from the mini sash clamps seen here I want to take the time to shamelessly plug a friend’s business. 

I first met Paul when I was learning to fire Blanche on the Ffestiniog. It was my first day on a single engine (instead of a double) and I was hopeless. My fireman wasn’t Top Shed either and Paul said we proved that two half wits don’t make a full one. We’ve pretty much been friends ever since and even more so once I could fire locomotives for him because then we could talk about anything but the loco we wee on because we both knew what each of us, what each other, and what the loco was doing. 

I then moved to Australia joining the same engineering company Paul worked for which meant we worked on the same project in Wellington NZ, and volunteered together for Mainline Steam while there. 

Paul now runs EDM Models as a full time job, which can be found at 

Amongst everything not useful to me because the scale’s wrong, Paul does sell some very useful tools. An imaginary shopping spree on his website normally costs me the best part of several hundred pounds. One tool that I’d definitely recommend is the corner clamps seen in these photos. They just make life easy. Worth the money to avoid the pain. Trust me. They’re at the bottom of this page. Get them. 


Leave a comment


No, I don’t mean the great British variety. And no, I don’t mean the Churchward variety either, although The Elder has a whitemetal Keyser one tucked away somewhere that he built before deciding to move onto the 7.25″ gauge variety of GWR locomotives.

I mean, clips. If you do railway modelling you will know there is no such thing as too many. I used to wonder if there was. But there isn’t. Whenever I see those “fun” stationery shelves in shops, I always have a qucik look to see if they have any mini bulldog clips, or pegs, or other clamping device, particularly if it is just after Christmas or just after the schools have gone back and they’ve all been shoved onto the Clearance shelves.

I thought I’d share this photo with you to demonstrate what I mean. I usually do a couple of bits of a Metcalfe kit in parallel so that I keep up a steady flow. If I had such a thing as a whole day free, it would be quite easy to complete a Metcalfe kit in a day. But I don’t, but I still want to maximise my time. However, it was only when doing these bits of the goods shed kit I realised I really don’t have enough bulldog clips. Still. I used all the ones you see in this photo to hold the laminations together to form the wall that has been residing under Modern Railway Working, which left me insufficient to do the other wall.

Maybe I’ll just have to add my wants to my Christmas stocking list. We’re in October aren’t we, so Christmas IS just round the corner according the shops…


Bulldog clips

Leave a comment

Modern railway working

Leave a comment

Platform gaps and other stories

There’s always the old adage that if you look about you’ll always find the justification for the setting on your model railway when it’s out of the ordinary. Here’s a couple. 

For example, say you need low relief housing but can’t put it up against the backscene? No problem, here’s one in York. Presumably this is back to back housing with one half knocked down.

Low relief house prototype

Ridiculously small radius curves making the platform gaps look huge? Here’s the platform gap at Scarborough.

Scarborough Platform gap

I’d just been doing a piece of work the other week building a platform gap calculator model in Excel (to work out where it was acceptable to put a new station for an existing railway in London) so this was quite interesting.

It made me wonder why they were using platform 5 at Scarborough (the one with the tightest curve) when they have 5 to choose from and only use 2 at any one time. If it’s not out of standards it is ever so close (Railway Group Standards say maximum horizontal gap is 250mm, maximum vertical is 150mm, and maximum diagonal is 350mm).

Finally and a slight trumpet blow which I’m not prone to but I am quite proud of this one. After a 9 month application process some people have decided I need a jacket with leather arm patches. To say nothing of the pipe. Which for the next month is great because apparently until the 6th of April I’m still a young member.



OK, I will get back to the model scene setting soon I promise!