My Workbench Archive, March - April 2008
Friday 18th April 2008
Lots to do!
As you might have noticed, modelling-related updates seem to be few and far-between recently due to yet more university commitments (yawn!) and the fact that Wells Green TMD has not got another show for ages takes away some of the immediate urge to do a spot of modelling!
However, Worthing MRC's Loftus Road layout is progressing rapidly, and I have a number of S-Kits detailing parts which just need painting and weathering before being attached to the model.
For some reason, and I don't quite know why, I have ended up buying no less than fifteen bins for a 12'-long layout! It will be interesting trying to squeeze them all in, and I do wonder if it could form part of a challenge to encourage exhibition visitors to see if they can spot all the bins!
I've already made a start on undercoating the resin huts in grey but hopefully soon I will have some more photographs showing these plain buildings in a much more authentic, disgusting condition!
On My Mp3:Billie - Because We Want To
Sunday 6th April 2008
Inevitable snow picture!
Yes it's that time of year again when it finally snows properly down in Worthing!
Naturally I couldn't resist taking a photograph of the snow for the website in an attempt to disguise the lack of modelling done recently! Enjoy!
On My Mp3:Gabriella Cilmi - Don't Want To Go To Bed
Wednesday 2nd April 2008
Out and about in Essex!
This weekend's show at the London Festival of Railway Modelling was the first leg of the Wells Green TMD 2008 tour!
Help was kindly provided by Pete Hollman, Chris Sweeney, James Rann, John Holmes and Martin Browning who was mad enough to want to stay overnight and do both days of the show!
Martin and I came together in the morning, and we had many problems in finding the venue, getting lost on the A406 North Circular and numerous other roads in parts of north London! Eventually we arrived about 30 minutes before opening time on Saturday morning!
I didn't get much time to have a long look round - but from what I could see all the layouts did seem pretty good, and I was amazed at the number of people who popped round to see my layout in the Rose Window end of the Great Hall at the Ally Pally. There was a conspicuous gap next to me (believed to be for Shawplan, who were not present) so my layout did look a bit lost in the open space!
The failed 66540 Ruby stabled in the reception roads awaiting urgent repair work on Wells Green TMD.
Two items of stock made their debut on the layout - 66540 Ruby and the remotored 92029 Dante. The '92' was a very good performer, a welcome addition to the fleet. However Ruby did not perform well at all - and after much frustrating attempted repairs, the loco would just not run properly! It was eventually dumped on the front of the layout for much of Sunday!
Here's the Wells Green TMD support table - complete with a large number of drinks too! It was nice to have this much room to move behind the layout, so often at a show the layout has to be crammed up against a wall or another layout giving barely any room to turn round so it was a nice experience - almost enough room to do break dancing or something!
All my operators seemed to have lots of money burning holes in their pockets! This wasn't the only burning done as Chris Sweeney placed his new purchase - 73129 - on the layout, accompanied by the smell of electrical components frying!
Over the weekend, every few minutes people would come back to the layout with more goodies - Pete Hollman and Martin bought a load of wagons, whilst John Holmes fell for a BR green Bachmann 'Deltic'. James Rann decided he needed to solve his storage problem so spend over £60 on some snazzy containers for his N Gauge stock. I only bought a Hornby catalogue but felt very contented with my one purchase!
On the Saturday morning I'd had to park all the way down the hill so Pete Hollman kindly gave Martin and I a lift back to my car in the evening, it was at this point Pete decided to show off by doing doughnuts in the Ally Pally's gravel car park in the navy-blue Ford Focus borrowed from his father!
For Saturday night Martin and I were booked into the Holiday Inn Express at Chingford, which was rather nice actually! Though I definitely got the idea that this was the sort of area you'd need to switch your car foglights on to fit in with the locals!
We decided to sample a bit of traditional Essex gambling culture at the Walthamstow Greyhound Racing Stadium opposite the hotel. I am not really experienced at gambling on dogs so ended up splashing out £3.00 on a 'Trifecta' for three dogs "Rhias Beauty", "Sandy Lane" and "Flying Fusilier". Obviously I didn't win anything! Martin won £7.00 that night though so he was happy!
Upon waking up on the Sunday morning we were greeted by this truly picturesque view of Essex...
We arrived at the venue for another pleasant day's exhibiting, it was great chatting to everyone who passed by the layout on the Sunday.
Later on that day, Nigel Burkin popped round from his nearby demo stand and offered up his two lovely weathered diesels to run on the layout! Fitted with full DCC sound and lights, they are truly stunning, and look strangely at home on Wells Green TMD!
Soon afterwards it was home time! We had the layout collapsed and packed up within 14 minutes - funnily enough double the time that it took Pete, Chris and Martin to assemble the layout whilst I parked the car on Saturday!
Here's my now-empty pitch (to the right of the table) and the Warners stand being taken down rapidly. For some reason I find it fascinating to watch the breakdown of a show - but I can't explain why!
As you can see, Martin has thoughtfully matched the colour of his shirt to my car!
I enjoy most of the exhibitions I attend but for some reason this felt extra special, and most enjoyable! Everything went very smoothly over the weekend and thanks goes to my operators who came along and helped out, and to all the nice people who visited the layout, asked questions and took photographs. It's a little while before Wells Green TMD is back out on the road again but I'm looking forward to it!
On My Mp3:Gabriella Cilmi - Save The Lies
Friday 21st March 2008
Something a bit different!
Not quite what's on my workbench unfortunately...
Last Friday I went to see my most favourite band, the Sugababes, performing in Brighton and since I've just bought a small portable camera, it seemed the perfect opportunity to really try it out!
Buying a cheapy little camera was something I'd been meaning to do for ages now, enabling easy snapshots to be taken whilst on nights out, concerts and so on. The main criteria was to buy something that I wouldn't be too upset about if it got dropped, damaged or if people dipped it in someone's drink, which is something I've noticed happening to mates' stuff on more than one occasion!
I ended up buying a Canon Ixus 70, whatever that means! It has a lens (always useful), an LED screen and a big 'Go' button on the top. What more could you want from a camera! As you've no doubt guessed, photography is not really my speciality!
Having dropped my father's Canon EOS 350D several years back (ouch!), I made sure that I opted for the retailer's extra warranty - having not had much luck with technology!
So yes, instead of just taking some boring train photos to 'test the camera' it seemed better to photograph something more interesting! With dates for the current Sugababes 2008 'Change Tour' advertised last October, I made sure I bought several tickets quickly before they all sold out!
Having arrived at the venue nice and early (to secure a spot against the barrier in the front row) whilst waiting, I made the mistake of heading over to the well-stocked merchandise stand...somehow managing to spend £38 on various branded nik-naks! At least I can now say "Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt" etc...!
I was completely blown away to find that the supporting act was Gabriella Cilmi - an upcoming artist who I've followed for a number of months now, who's debut single 'Sweet About Me' was only released on Monday. I never imagined I'd get a chance to see her live so soon, so that made for a brilliant start to the evening!
The amazing Gabriella Cilmi...
It was at this point I discovered my little camera also has a video recording facility so a number of my favourite songs are all recorded. No doubt some videos will end up online when I can figure out how to do the whole YouTube thingy!
After all the excitement of the support act I finally remembered who I'd come to see! Sugababes made a grand entrance onto the stage from underneath a box and promptly belted out my favourite song 'Hole In The Head'!
A superb start to the evening - here they are singing 'Hole In The Head'!
They then went through a few of the big hits such as 'Round Round' and 'In The Middle' before progressing into some of the latest stuff. Every three or four songs were accompanied by an outfit change - there being at least five or six different outfits for a twenty-song setlist! Having been critiscised in the past for their lack of on stage presence, it was obvious Sugababes' production team were pulling all the stops out with this latest tour.
The girls performing 'In The Middle' at the Brighton Dome.
Sugababes rarely cover anyone else's songs so at each tour they sing a cover as a special treat! For the previous 2007 'Overloaded Tour' it was Primal Scream's 'Rocks' but this time they chose 'Don't Let Go (Love)' by En Vogue.
Keisha Buchanan is the longest serving band member, an original Sugababe!!
Heidi Range joined in 2001, having once been part of the early line up of Atomic Kitten...
...whilst Amelle Berrabah replaced Mutya Buena when she left in late 2005.
'Change' plus added leaves blowing around!
When the band went on to sing 'Change' they donned leaf-outfits and paper leaves were blown into the audience - I have to admit to grabbing quite a few to keep as momentos!
Sugababes singing 'My Love Is Pink' from the latest album 'Change'
My video of the girls singing 'Red Dress' was promptly interrupted with the camera telling me I'd completely filled up the 2Gb SD card with hundreds of photos and lots of videos rather annoyingly! With a few of the bad photos hastily deleted, I fortunately had just enough space left to record the grand finale of the Sugababes performing their No.1 singles 'Push The Button' and 'About You Now'.
Amelle performing 'Push The Button'
Although the Brighton date was only the third on the tour everything appeared highly practiced with no mistakes apparent, though it is well publicised that band-member Amelle occasionally forgets words to some of the songs and instead makes up her own lyrics!
All in all, it was an absolutely superb night - I cannot wait until their next album is out at the end of the year. I hope I haven't bored all my website visitors - I've long wanted a decent portable camera to take proper photos at gigs so hopefully there may be more of the same in future to break up the monotony of model railway-related updates. Just a word of warning though - I'll be attending an Avril Lavigne concert at the end of May so expect to receive a similar pictorial account of the evening then hehe!
Of course you wouldn't get this from a proper model railway website! All complaints should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org!
On My Mp3:Sugababes - Denial (Live!)
Saturday 8th March 2008
The layout's third 'Fred'
66540 Ruby is ready to take to the rails on Wells Green TMD, and will become the third Freightliner '66' in the layout's fleet, alongside 66555 and 66951 - rather a lot for an EWS depot it has to be said!
Here is the image which inspired the project - my photo of 66540 Ruby arriving at Eastleigh in June 2006 on the front of a Freightliner service. It makes a nice change to break with the norm of modelling EWS diesel and electric locos, so this colourful locomotive was great fun to model!
It almost goes without saying that the Bachmann model is superb and captures the character of the locomotive in almost every way, leaving very little for the modeller to do!
You really could just pop the loco on a layout, straight out of the box and it would be superb but if you're as mad as me however, you'll have the urge to spend all the extra time improving the specification and really 'going to town' adding miniscule details, since Bachmann have done all the bulk of the standard work I'd normally undertake 'super detailing' other locos.
This modelling project has much in common with my efforts detailing 66951, back in February 2006. As before, sandpipes have been installed (made from fusewire), whilst the bogie dampers have been represented by chopping up the bendy bits on drinking straws!
As detailed before, the number transfers were from Fox, whilst Precision Labels make the "Freightliner 40th Anniversary" logos required for a post-2005 model of the locomotive.
The 'No Smoking' signs in the cab windows have been made up on a PC and secured behind the glazing using Kristal Klear.
The front lashing eyes have been drilled out, and new air brake pipes have been installed to replace the ribbed Bachmann versions.
I just love detailing the locomotive cabs to provide a real 'lived-in' feel, so 66540 Ruby was subjected to the full treatment!
A second figure was added to the loco, so now each cab has someone in the driving seat, always a good thing! The desk has a delightful selection of tabloid newspapers, meanwhile a kitbag and can of Pepsi is provided, along with a high visibility jacket hung up on the cab bulkhead behind. I'm really spoiling my drivers!
It's time to get to the mucky stages of weathering the loco, with the silencer the first to receive attention. When I can be bothered to get the airbrush out (a horribly messy, over-rated experience!), I'll give the model a quick blasting of dirt along the body and roof-top exhaust grime, but for now a number of drybrushing techniques have been used to weather the loco.
66540 Ruby is home-fitted with a South West Digital sound decoder, connected to two speakers, and to improve sound I opted to drill holes in both the radiator grilles and exhaust port!
All that remains is to paint the handrails white and give the loco a good weathering before it's ready to debut at the London Festival of Railway Modelling show at Alexandra Palace on 29/30 March 2008!
On My Mp3:Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
Wednesday 5th March 2008
Here's an image of my latest acquisition, another green Bachmann '66'! The Freightliner loco is pictured sitting on Worthing MRC's developing layout Loftus Road. Having completed the Class 92 remotoring project, I fancied something a little different, and bought this loco off eBay for a fun little detailing project!
66610 was the first Bachmann release and the number just had to go! I find using a curved-bladed scalpel useful for gently scratching away the raised printing of the numbers, leaving a nice smooth yellow below ready for a dab of gloss varnish and the replacement number transfers from Fox.
Because the loco was one of the early versions, it only has eight-wheel electrical pick up, which is just not enough if it is to be run on the appalling trackwork of the DCC-powered Wells Green TMD! Odd bits of brass were found, onto which a wire was soldered, connecting this with the existing pick-up on the left. A small screw holds the new pick-up in place.
These photographs were taken a little while back, and the model has changed considerably since! The locomotive is to become 66540 Ruby, the next OMWB installment will show some more images of the progress on the detailing and finishing!
On My Mp3:Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet About Me
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