On My Workbench

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Copyright © 2005-2012
James Makin
Wells Green TMD

On My Workbench Archive, November - December 2006


Wednesday 27th December 2006

Trains and Toblerones

With dust settling on the Christmas decorations and the workbench covered in new locomotives, Toblerones and novelty socks, thoughts are finally turning to modelling once again after a bit of a break. Working in retail means December is naturally a hectic time and trains have been pushed firmly to the back of my mind for a number of months now, often I just couldn't be bothered to do some modelling even when I had time available!

But as soon as present opening time on Christmas Day arrived, that 'modelling spark' came back again. A pleasant surprise was receiving Bachmann's Dellner-fitted 57307 Lady Penelope - I had no idea but my mother said she "liked the name" and knew I collect those "Virgin Trains thingys"!! Quite unexpected but very welcome nevertheless, readers with a good memory will remember I also received the original Bachmann 57301 last Christmas - so that's two Virgin '57's to detail up now!

I finally opened my Rail Express 60081 Isambard Kingdom Brunel - and what a stunner it is too. The lining is very impressive - I tried repainting a Lima example years ago but found the lining so much trouble I gave up.

There couldn't be an update here without commenting on next year's goodies to be announced from the manufacturers, the latest Rail Express finally confirming possibly one of the worst kept secrets; Hornby's totally new Class 56, and Heljan's Class 58 plan. Although not immediately useful for Wells Green TMD's timeframe, both releases will be very useful on my next layout, and certainly save a lot of time detailing up the elderly Dapol and Hornby models respectively.

The much rumoured new Hornby HST power car did not appear, being instead a reworked Lima model, though certain people still claim they are working on one. Perhaps we can hope for one in 2008. Hopefully. It would have been nice if Hornby had reintroduced the Lima '87' though I guess we can't have everything!

Have a happy New Year, here's to 2007 and Bachmann's Class 150/2!


Friday 15th December 2006

Loftus Road's latest update

It's been a while since I put any more details of how Worthing MRC's Loftus Road project is advancing, and with the recent completion of tracklaying on the fiddle yard and work beginning on the electrics, it felt only fair to update site viewers with the last few month's action!

On the whole layout, the area underneath the trackwork will receive a layer of cork, so this needed to be laid before any track could be put down. Working with cork on a roll, Pete Hollman, James Rann and myself set about fixing it using certain adhesives, however this did not appear to have a lot of success. We decided to correct this problem by applying a watered-down layer of PVA glue to the top surface of the cork, with the aim of it soaking through the cork and sticking it to the baseboards. It would work in theory.

However, much like all the best plans, things did not go smoothly - literally! The cork soon bubbled up leaving us with a surface amazingly resembling a mattress, bubbly in places but still partially stuck down in others. Although a rather nice scenic effect, sadly it was not what we needed in a fiddle yard so Pete took logical but drastic action to remedy the bubbly surface...

...resulting in some unique photographs of ironing taking place in the clubrooms. When we eventually write an article about Loftus Road, this is sure to be included, perhaps in a step by step feature of "how not to build a layout" perhaps?!!

But anyway having smoothed the layout out, attention soon turned once again to laying track on the boards, with the fiddle yard featuring 12 roads, and long enough to store a good 10 foot train - which is long enough considering the majority of services passing the prototype Kensington Olympia are formed of three or four coach EMUs.

Below we can see the fiddle yard in the 'layout/toolbench' stage of its life, providing the club with a useful dumping ground during the construction stages!



Sunday 10th December 2006

Boredom sets in!

As part of my project to upgrade this Hornby '86' to represent the former Virgin Cross Country workhorse 86228 Vulcan Heritage, a number of modifications are needed to make the totally flat ends lose that printed-on-detail 'toy' look of the model. However after a morning's work this is all I had completed rather embarrassingly!

I think one of the main things on the 'to buy' list will be a handrail bending jig - this is only my second class 86/2 being modelled and already those front grab rails are proving a real pain to ensure that they are straight and identical either side of the nose. The next step will involve drilling the holes for the lighting kit and then filling the bodyside clips on the Hornby model to remove those ugly holes!


Monday 4th December 2006

Demonstrating - part 2: Warley

My Christmas presents 'from me to me'(!) - the top being Rail Express Magazine's 60081 Isambard Kingdom Brunel and below Hornby standard 60077 (named Canisp on one side only!). 60077 will eventually be renumbered to represent 60028 John Flamsteed .

The almost-annual pilgrimage to Warley was made once again, but this time to help out demonstrating for DEMU on their stand. Having had a good look round and satisfied myself I'd seen everything I got home to find I'd missed a whole corner out - only discovered when reading the showguide at my leisure!

Rather unusually for a demonstration I actually managed to get some modelling done - working on three Limpets and a couple of MTA wagons. Fellow DEMU members also selected for the day were Pete Degnan and Bill Wilson who were very successful at recruiting new members, particularly when Bill ran out of suitable change for someone wanting membership and instead offered a three-year one!

While there were many excellent layouts on show, my personal favourite was Si Bendall's Staverton (4mm/P4) featuring MOD operations alongside normal passenger services, and Jim Smith-Wright's awesome diorama featuring overhead catenery to be found on the Scalefour Society stand. Lovely stuff!

Here's some of the gang - from left Bill Wilson, Pete Degnan, Keith Wright (operating Si Bendall's Staverton) and DEMU Trade Liason officer Andy Jupe.


Monday 27th November 2006

Demonstrating - part 1: Brockenhurst

This weekend I helped out on the DEMU roadshow stand, demonstrating how I detail my 'Limpet' wagons, particularly the underframe detailing, of which there is a lot of scope for improvement on the Bachmann model! I wouldn't suggest other modellers follow my dodgy 'bodge job' techniques and positively dangerous scalpel methods but nevertheless my good friend Andy Jupe (above centre) requested my presence at the show!

Here we can see fellow DEMU SCAG-member Will Goulding operating his delightful new layout Clay Hill Stabling Point, making its exhibition debut at Brockenhurst. Notice below the superb piece of promotional graffiti advertising DEMU!

Andy is having 'one of those moments' where after much work on his Overhead Line Maintenance coach (the real thing being a Mk1 coach with flat roof and angled cantrail) he realises it does not look quite right. For the benefit of website visitors I have just managed to capture the look of despair before Andy realised he was being photographed!

The New Forest MRS brought along their superb layout Mossbank Yard featuring BR freight operations in the Crewe area, set between 1980 - 1995.

Something operating on Mossbank Yard has caught John Dedman's attention - it turns out it's my Ginsters Class 158 - 'borrowed' from my DEMU display opposite for a quick run on the layout!

Finally below we can see Derek Gillkerson's New Stanton Lees layout home to many little cameo scenes and some pretty unusual pieces of rolling stock! Derek's layout has the country's first Class 145 - a single car 'Pacer' unit, and below we can view units 145001 and 145002 coupled together working a service from the terminus station.

Derek's 145002, converted from a Hornby Class 142 'Pacer' by professional modelmaker Mike Bunker.

Overall it was quite a fun day out, with plenty of fine D&E modelling to be enjoyed, and I felt rather at home being surrounded by so many DEMU members in the room, operating the layouts as well as us on the society's stand itself. I am not that used to 'demonstrating' my modelling in public having only done three shows so far, but I've been asked to do so at Warley next Sunday so I'll have to make sure my modelling is entertaining enough to keep people interested!


Friday 24th November 2006

Smooth running

I finally got round to finishing off the Heljan-remotored Class 92, and initially wired it for conventional DC, enabling it to be tested on my roundy-roundy home layout. It actually works - what a relief!

Whenever I first place one of my remotored locos on the test track immediately after finishing there are always several moments of stuttering before things get settled down and the locomotive runs sweetly. This was the first time I'd used the Heljan remotoring idea on a Co-Co axle arrangement and was nervous as to whether the gear towers had been mounted properly inside the bogies but thankfully everything was running fine. Now the next project is to fit the loco - 92035 Mendelssohn - with some sort of working lights and add the Lenz 'Gold' decoder, then it is ready to rejoin the fleet!


Tuesday 21st November 2006

Let there be light (if you're lucky!)

The latest project to grace the workbench is an Express Models lighting kit for a class 47. 47790 Saint David/Dewi Sant was the chosen model after entering DCC service at the Brighton show a couple of weeks ago. I had a bit of a problem programming some of the CV values to get the desired lighting effects, but in the end it was worth it. One minor problem was the breaking of one red LED - they protrude ever so slightly too much, and when the body was fitted - crunch!

So the thickness of plastic around the cab fronts will have to be reduced a bit to make everything fit in properly, but other than that it was relatively pain free!

This winter's main project is to upgrade the current Wells Green TMD DCC fleet, equipping as many locos as possible with working lights and sound, if possible. The next show is Alton, Hampshire in February, so there's a fighting chance I might actually do it!

After much stalling, I also hope to finally commence construction of Bombardier 'Electrostar' 377207 for Worthing MRC's Loftus Road. The project has been a long time coming, but a fleet of dual voltage '377's will certainly ensure the layout steals the public's attention when it eventually debuts on the exhibition circuit.

Although it's the dual voltage 377/2s that are required for Loftus Road, the early 300, 100 and later 400 '377's are by far my favourites having travelled on most of the fleet on the East and West Coastway routes! Luckily the resin casting of parts will ensure the construction process is straightforward, enabling me to build many more '377's in the years to come.


Tuesday 14th November 2006


During the last week or so, a number of modifications have been made to Wells Green TMD, hence the slight lack of website updates!

This work has all been leading up to the layout's appearance at the Brighton MRC exhibition in Patcham, East Sussex. A great time was had by all, and it was particularly interesting to see the paying public's reaction to the DCC Sound coming from several of the locomotives. This was marred slightly by the overheating of a couple of the South West Digital decoders but hopefully this problem will be resolved in the near future. Their Class 37 sounds are truly amazing however, and was the loudest of all the locomotives operating - it certainly attracted quite a lot of attention!

The fiddle yard has now been fully finished, as you can see below, and the colour-coded stripes painted on. This was done to ease the operator's job, making the task of selecting a required fiddle yard road on the control panel that little bit simpler. Perhaps I should have added a little pair of sunglasses for the operators too though!

Now transported in my Focus rather than my father's larger Ford Mondeo, the layout has been butchered in certain places, so it really ought to be Wells Green Mk2!

Here we can see the fast-moving operators hard at work behind the layout! (The electrification flashes help keep children at bay!)

Probably the most notable piece of 'visitors stock' making its debut at the weekend was Pete Hollman's 60083 Mountsorrel, which will now become a regular on the layout whenever Pete is helping out.

In addition to this, John Holmes' brought along some of his lovely 1960s stock to make a guest appearance on Sunday, including Bachmann's British Railways green Class 20 and Class 40, which made a nice change from the bang-up-to-date stuff usually found.

John's superb Bachmann '20' resting in shed road 5. There's something about 'au natural' diesels without yellow warning panels that is quite appealing!

This rare picture shows Pete's 67030, which he is about to superdetail and upgrade in the near future!

Finally, here is John Holmes - as you can see by the look on his face he appears to be thoroughly engrossed in operating!

It was an excellent weekend away, and to top it off, the layout received a further three exhibition invitations, one to Leatherhead (Feb 2007), Crawley MRS @ Horsham(April 2007) and finally Newhaven (Nov 2007) - so next year's calender is looking busy already!

For those interested, a full list of tour dates can be found here

Thanks goes to all the visitors keen enough to want to have a go on the layout as well, you all operated very nicely! Bye for now!


Friday 3rd November 2006

Whiter than white

Well, white-ish anyway. At the moment I am working on upgrading the presentation of the back of the layout, notably including the fiddle yard. During the conversion to DCC, a decision was also made to motorise all the fiddle yard pointwork to give the operators an even easier time playing trains on Wells Green!

Each storage track will be colour-coded, and this has been incorporated in the control panel fascia design too. For example, the uppermost track furthest from the camera will be red, and this matches with the panel's buttons and generally make it easier than numbering each track. The next track down will be blue, then yellow and so on..!

So to achieve a good base for these bright colours I decided to spray the chosen area in the fiddle yard, which also required much masking to ensure that the paint was well clear of the pointblades! My plan is to paint all of the track, inclusive of the sleepers, to leave only the nickel silver rail tops showing.

Lots of masking was required to prevent the layout frontage from being damaged by over spray too!

The hole left by removal of the fiddle yard isolation switch (now redundant with DCC) also needed to be filled in, along with general tidying up of the woodwork finish before a final recoating of matt black.

These Red Dog adjustable baseboard levellers are fitted to each leg, enabling Wells Green TMD, much like a Land Rover, to handle even the roughest of terrain!!


November - December 2008 Archived OMWB

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November - December 2006 Archived OMWB

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October - December 2005 Archived OMWB

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