Monday, 31 May 2010

New Diesel

You heard it here first, I haven't posted this on any forums yet as I am still in development mode but I have started working on a new Diesel loco.

Based on a OO model I have it is still in the early stages, but it is taking shape now. I have always thought it would be nice to have a BO BO diesel but couldn't work out how to hide the very "steam" based playmobil motor blocks, till now !

Here with its inspiration in OO


Very basic but the next bit is where it starts to take shape, 4 side frames.


Once mounted





Still lots of challanges to work out yet but I'll get there :) At just under 2' long its a bit of a monster !!!

As predicted the day the track arrived (Saturday) it rained most of the day ! But it was a bit brighter Sunday afternoon, if not warm ! But I braved the elements and got it laid.


Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Sunday, 23 May 2010

End of the weekend

The weekend is drawing to a close and what a hot and sunny time it has been. 
Today was our wedding anniversary, 18 years have been and gone and if that doesn't make me feel old, my eldest daughter has left secondary school this week, only having to go back to sit her exams.

Its been far to hot to venture into the shed, with the exception of half an hour on Friday night, when my parents came up and my Dad wanted a look at the N gauge.

I've been a bit disappointed that the remaining straight track sections to finish the continuous run in the garden, didn't arrive with the postman yesterday. With all the time lazing in the hot summer sun, it would have been nice to have a train trundling round the garden in the background. Never mind, if this week you look out of your window and see grey skies and showers, you will know my track has arrived !

The only progress on the garden line has been the minor track repairs in yesterdays blog entry, and this afternoon the transplant of 2 small conifers from the front garden.




I have also realised that the box of 12 straights I have ordered, when combined with a couple of curves and
points I have already got, will give me enough for a passing loop/storage siding. (shown in red)


Finally although normally all content here is railway related, with my anniversary in mind, here is fitting video from the church to which we both belong.

Enjoy your week and remember what matters most !


Saturday, 22 May 2010

Track repairs

It could have been me or one of my helpers but during the installation of the 10' trampoline a foot must ahve been a but heavy on the track. Trains still ran but I wanted the camber a little better. Plus pointing man was not impressed !

First step was to dig out under the track, step 2 alter camber in this case a stone was wedged in. Step 3 back fill with some fresh "postcrete"

Easy when you have a mini digger to hand !



A bit further up the line the small weeds are taking control nicely


Still waiting for the extra track to complete the circuit though !

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


I have been expecting 3 deliveries

The kids trampoline that triggered the replanning of the outdoor line.
Whiteboard restorer for work
The extra track to finish the outdoor rework

Today 2 out of the 3 arrived, the one I wanted most, the track didnt !!

So with only the trampoline to play with I spent the evening putting it up and happily it fitted as planned

The front leg need to be sat in a trench to level it up, but my big concern, will the legs clear the track was not a problem after all.


Monday, 17 May 2010

Blog view statistics

Since starting this blog, about a month ago, I have been recording how many visitors it has had. 
Just to see how it was doing and if people were reading my waffles.

So here are the viewing figures to date. I recorded the hits at around 10pm each day.

Thanks to all for popping in !

New Forum Area on RMweb

For those that like their hobby Al Fresco, you may be interstered to know that RMweb has now set up a dedicated area on the forum for Outdoor railways of any scale.  It has been a somewhat over looked area, but with sunny weather and thoughts turning to the great outdoors it seems to be an opportune time for it to have started.

Pop in and take a look, better still if you have a garden Railway start a topic !

It can be found HERE

Happy in the sun

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Gratuitous Loco Pictures

With the new line laid and the track on order to complete the loop, I fancied a bit of work on my favourite loco. It had gotten just a little neglected and had a slight dust look. So I have given it a clean and  a wash with diluted satin varnish just to lift the paint work to an oily clean look. It only took half an hour and was worth the effort as I was rewarded with a break in the clouds to take some pictures :)






I appreciate I'm bias and maybe because she is scratchbuilt, but I like her !


Saturday, 15 May 2010

Major rework in the garden department !

For some time my girls have been after a trampoline, of course girls being girls, a 6' trampoline wouldn't be big enough, neither would an 8' one, no they were hanging out for a 10' beast !!

We have had discussion after discussion about were it would go, I didn't want it at the house end of the garden as it would block out the entire view from the window. The girls always brought the discussion back to the bottom end of the garden. One problem...


The most scenic section of the garden railway, the return loop. So after private discussions with the domestic planning authority, a plan was hatched to move the loop leaving just a single track passing under the proposed trampoline (they stand on legs about 3' up) A trampoline was duly ordered last week, in secret. So today I have been re working the track on a Network Rail style proportion. The girls don't know about the new arrival, they have been out all day and when they went I told them I was digging a pond... If looks could kill. Of course the secret may be out as the youngest is an enlisted follower of this blog..

The rework. 

The red circle shows the trampolines resting place and the empty ground where the rockery and return loop were.

The loop has been removed leaving only the front section of it along the edge of the grass, Point work removed and the line now continues on the left of the pictures along the flagstones. In effect the railway goes under and out off the space under the trampoline between the rocks on either side.


The track on the flags is ballasted with my favourite, fine grade postcrete, boy it sets quick !
At the house end of the path the now smaller return loop is in place

As can be seen I am missing a few lengths of track but they have been ordered this afternoon.

The rockery although smaller has been re-sited in and around the shed end loop, note the pair of straight sidings have gone as part of the planning permission compromise,plus  I needed the straights !

All in all a busy day, 


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

New Video

I haven't had much modelling time in the last couple of days so the hour I spent in the shed last night was mainly adding more grass and chilling watching trains go past, hence a video.

I have to say as far as videos go this is not the best ! The trains were running to fast when I uploaded the videos to my laptop, so I used the software to slow them down, resulting in an element of blur and a rather strange motor noise, never mind it shows the scenery is moving along !


Friday, 7 May 2010

Dirty Diesel

My 66 was never going to stay clean, I like my Diesels a least a little bit dirty ! The other thing I have disliked is the big N gauge style coupler on the front end, given the layout is non shunting scenic running, it was never going to be needed.

After removing the coupler I extended the buffer beam down with an offcut of black plasti card and added a couple of bits of wire for pipework using a proto picture as a guide.

Weathering is diluted railmatch "sleeper grime" applied with a brush. It still needs a link for the coupling.

Eagle eyed observers will also notice a pair of container flats have been added to the small N gauge fleet (pre weathered video to follow)


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Inspiration ?

Browsing the web I cam across this picture that I like ...

© Copyright Richard Guise and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


Spring must be here, the grass is growing under my feet ! Well under my fingers anyway !

The picture above is a composite of several merged together using Helicon Focus, as per previous post,to get a decent depth of focus. 
The grass is Woodland Scenics turf with some coarser stuff added on top, 
Done by painting PVA/water onto the hillside then sprinkling the flock on top.


I'm quite happy with how it is turning out, my biggest concern now is, I prefer this to my hanging basket liner on the hills over the viaduct. It looked fine for the bigger scales that use to cross the valley but is too coarse now. So I may have to see if I can peel it of but I bet I will have to re-render the rocks cos I bet it will rip off!

Looking at the pictures the other thing that need doing is weathering the ballast, which looks far to clean at the minute.

My only other dilemma WHO to VOTE for tomorrow ?! 

More Ballast

It seems that ballasting this track is going to be a life long pursuit ! But it is strangely therapeutic. 
Contrary to my previous thoughts I didn't watch Avatar again, mixed into an evening of ironing and being Dads Taxi service, I sneaked to the shed for about 40 mins and ballasted another foot or so of track.

It was the bit over the plate girder bridge and directly under it, The bridge had a coat of grey acrylic too.

Today work takes me to the village of Dobcross to modify and assemble a 6x4' flatpack garden shed for a customer to keep his garden furniture in, and tomorrow I will be spending the day sat on a church roof replacing stolen lead, its a varied life !

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Helicon Focus - phototrickery

After reading Chris Nevards blog I came across a post that highlighted the benefits of a piece of software called Helicon Focus. Its seemed like a complicated process but I am always up for something new.

I have found it frustrating when my camera is on its limits to get a decent depth of field (everything in focus) Its not  a brilliant camera, a simple 10.2 Mp Samsung L201 (£80) but it does allow manual setting of Fstops up to 7.6.

I have found through trial and error that I can get a half decent picture with reasonable depth of focus, but since moving to N gauge the greater distances and smaller models have made this harder.

Anyway I downloaded the free trial of Helicon Focus and gave it a try.. I started with a series of pictures taken by focusing the view finder at ever further objects but always taken with the same centre point. In this case I pointed at different points working back along the track then with the shutter button half depressed to maintain the focal length moved the camera to have the bridge in the centre of the view finder. This gave the following series of pictures, compare top left to bottom right for the most contrast...



These pictures are then all opened in Helicon Focus and a couple of clicks later the software combines the best focus bits of each to produce this...

Now don't ask me how this works, I don't know and don't mind ! But it does.
Once saved I opened it in my usual photo editing soflware and cloned some sky to get rid of the joints but that was all.

AMAZING !!! Thanks for the link Mr Nevard !

Monday, 3 May 2010

More mess with Mortar

Well the bank holiday weekend is in its final hours and I am about to sit down with the rest of the RJR clan to watch Avatar. But while I am waiting for the gathering I thought I would post the activities from this afternoon, most of which revolved round covering foam with Mortar. I got the PVA quantity a bit strong today so it was hard going but its well stuck !!!

Masking tape on the track is a must for this sort of operation

Its considerably darker at the moment but that's just because its still wet. I often easier to get a feel for size sct in 3D so here is a video, no use of camera angles just point and press

Have a good night 


Sunday, 2 May 2010

Back to N

Sundays are always busy at the RJR home, when you combine church services in the morning with cooking a traditional Sunday Roast, and general family time, I'm lucky if I escape to the shed for an hour. But escape I did, so here are the results which are a combination of an hour last night and an hour tonight.

The yesterday bit was mainly squirting a can of expanding foam and ballasting some of the lower section of track.

The today bit was picking off the stray bits of ballast from off the sleepers and beginning to carve the large foam mound that will disguise the tight return loop (I hope)

I'm quite happy with the ballast banking on this lower section as the empty space in front of the tracks I envisage being open moorland. 

The mortar in the shot above has been given a very light dusting of Railmatch "frame dirt" on the vertical faces just to add some contrast as the mortar dries a uniform colour.

When you use this much foam at once it does end up looking like you have a resident mouse when its cut open, but the off cuts can be stuck in the holes and they wont be seen when the mortar top coat goes on. Unless of coarse you fancy a cave !

To end, just a quick thank you to everyone who has taken the time to follow along, Amazingly the blog had its 1000th hit today in the two weeks its been live. Please add a bookmark and keep coming back, as long as people want to view Ill keep posting, ideas and suggestions are always welcome too.


Saturday, 1 May 2010

G scale in the sun.

Today I have learnt something about what aspects of Model Railways I like and dislike....

One of my morning household chores was mowing the lawn at the front and back of the house. It's not a massive job and both can be done within an hour. The time consuming part is brushing the cut grass of the track (My flymo doesn't pick up)

As I was brushing away I found myself thinking "is this worth the hassle for the amount I run the garden trains" While thinking it occurred to me I'm not really into controlling trains, thats why I have recently started building the N gauge tail chaser!

A typical garden session is 30mins, then I get bored. So I decided on a radical plan. I decided to cut the receiver and control circuits out of one of the motor blocks and soldered the motor direct to the battery connectors. Now its battery in GO, battery out STOP.

Any different YES, Ive had a train running round the garden all afternoon in the sun ! 
I just set it off and got on with garden jobs, and life in general. It was nice to wander in the garden and see a train pass by. The rest of the family even liked the gentle noise of a passing train and a distraction to watch.

So I've decided, I love building models, and watching passing trains, but Im not into shunting. No more shunting type layouts for me.

Oh and I like playing with my camera, caught some of the action while I ate my lunch :)



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