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James Makin
Wells Green TMD

On My Workbench Archive, September - October 2006


Monday 30th October 2006

'Fred' bashing

Recently DEMU's UPDate magazine published a feature about how I constructed the low-emission class 66, no.66951, so this has been made available online for those who are interested. Although Bachmann are producing a RTR model in the future, I have met several modellers who are willing to undertake such a project because they are that desperate to have one on their layout, so hopefully this will be of use!


Wednesday 25th October 2006

Latest work includes remotoring a Class 92, using parts from a Heljan class 47 to create the ultimate smooth performing locomotive. Originally the performance of these fine Hornby machines was good enough not to warrant further attention and four locomotives became part of the regular Wells Green fleet.

However, following many requests from viewers as to how I'd go about remotoring one of these models led me to investigate the possibilities of somehow bodging another mechanism inside one, in the same way as my class 86s and 90s have been worked on.

There is no shortage of Co-Co bogie chassis around these days which can be shoe-horned inside a '92', ranging from Hornby's expensive next-generation '50' and '60' to Bachmann's bargain-basement '37's and cheapy Deltics. All are equally viable methods of doing the project, but it was to be my large surplus collection of undetailed Heljan class 47s which made the remotoring project all the more affordable and attractive, simply gutting one loco wasn't going to make much difference!

And so the Heljan chassis won the day. In the same style as the previous remotored AC electrics, just the motor and gear towers are retained, and placed inside the Hornby components.

This is as far as I'd got yesterday, having managed to transplant the Heljan gear tower with surprising ease. With the Class 86 and 90 projects, much plasticard packing was required, but not so with the '92'. The whiteness is temporary - where the cyanoacrylate ("Superglue" ha ha ha!) fumes have dried over the bogie moulding. Once the Superglue has dried, this needs to be reinforced with plenty of Bostik to ensure a strong bond, but other than that the project is almost complete.



Sunday 22nd October 2006

Full volume

'Heavyweight' 37/7 no. 37886 Sir Dyfed/County of Dyfed idles in one of the reception roads whilst in the background, Pete Hollman's guest locomotive 67030 makes an exhibition debut.

A brief public outing for Wells Green TMD today at a local community centre presented a fantastic opportunity to test the new electrics under exhibition conditions, luckily with much success!

Despite a few teething troubles and occasional short circuits, the day was relatively trouble-free, wowing many visitors with the DCC-sound capabilities of the five fitted diesels. Backing up this small fleet was a smattering of repowered AC electrics classes 86 and '90', with occasional use of the class 92s. Fortunately the sound-chipped Bachmann diesels performed well on the day, far better than I'd expected.

What was most interesting was that despite initial wariness of DCC by a large number of club members before the show, every one of them got used to the system very quickly, far easier than staring at a large control panel with banks of isolation switches!

One of the brilliant things about DCC is the ability to stage photographs with locomotive lighting still on!

My club (Worthing MRC) had been invited to show a couple of layouts at the show, and Dave Kent's superb Ashington layout was also in operation earlier today. Ashington represents a section of SR 3-rail territory, roughly based on West Worthing station in the 1950s/60s featuring primarily multiple unit operation.

Dave's awesome 4-BEP unit is stabled inside shed-road 1.

Driver Terry Hunt handles a suburban stopper through Ashington station. Dave Kent is on the far right!

Ever since Wells Green TMD was built, Dave Kent has been desperate to put his southern E5001 (later class 71) under the wires on my layout, today was to be the perfect opportunity!

Trusty operator John Holmes is hard at work!


Wednesday 18th October 2006


A line up of some of the latest electric traction - although not yet all these locos have been dcc-chipped. Early testing has shown that these do not run as well on DCC as they did on DC over my treacherous pointwork!

Coming up this weekend is Wells Green TMD's first exhibition outing in DCC-form, so it should be certainly very interesting!

If anyone is interested in attending this Sunday, it is the SRP Swapmeet/Model Fair at the Charmandean Centre, Worthing, West Sussex. Whilst not a 'proper' show, this outing is a dry-run to ensure everything is functioning perfectly in time for the Brighton MRC exhibition in early November. Exhibitions tend to be the only places where little niggling feelings about the layout suddenly come to the surface after seven or eight hours constant usage. Since having a new control panel and modified fiddle yard installed, there is much potential for things to be less than perfect, although naturally everything works fine on the layout before leaving home!

It will be very interesting sampling the performance of my sound-chipped diesel loco fleet, running sessions at home tend to reveal that while the Heljan powered locomotives run fantastically, there are normally more than a few problems with DCC-fitted Bachmann class 66s and 37s, often losing power and stalling in places they never did on conventional DC. Capacitors have been removed, along with extra pick-ups installed so it is a case of seeing what else I can do to improve running on these machines. Oh well!

92029 Dante and 92026 Britten however are both fitted with Lenz 'Gold' decoders and will be part of the active fleet on Wells Green TMD at the weekend.


Wednesday 11th October 2006

A quick shuffle

Stablemates 47767 Mappa Mundi, 86901, 90022 Freightconnection and 60017 Shotton Works Centenery Year 1996 are captured together at the Chippenham show, last April.

The exceedingly large OMWB page has finally been broken down into more of the monthly archives to enable easier loading up, especially if you don't already have Broadband, I can imagine it would take a long time!

I've also managed to dig out a photo taken at the Trainwest show, Chippenham in April, showing Freightliner's low-emission 66951 fueling up at Wells Green TMD. Enjoy!


Tuesday 10th October 2006

Can-motored 'Can'

Work has been progressing on 86228 Vulcan Heritage, with the conversion work taking place enabling a smooth Heljan motor to be installed replacing the shoddy Ringfield motor in Hornby's locomotive.

Although I've covered fitting a Heljan 'Hymek' motor to a class 90 before, I thought I'd show a quick step-by-step guide to remotoring a Class 86. The technique I use is pretty similar for each type of loco with only minor differences being the methods of fixing the bogies to the gear towers.

This is the stage which requires most work - ensuring the bogies are level and everything is in the right place with axleboxes correctly aligned. Some glue and plasticard packing is required to get the perfect fit, very much a case of trial and error. I guess this is the difference between me and normal modellers, most of my techniques relying solely upon judicious amounts of glue!

Flat plasticard is filed to shape and placed over the recess in the centre of the loco.

Once both bogies and central section have been completed, attention can then turn to installing the Heljan Buhler motor and cutting brass tubes to the correct length to extend the camshafts.

All that remains is to detail up the body to a high standard, using the Craftsman detailing kit, along with a number of scratchbuilt 'extras' and Shawplan parts. Unlike Virgin-liveried 86231 Starlight Express, I intend to fit 86228 Vulcan Heritage with some sort of lighting kit to take full advantage of the DCC capabilities of the Lenz 'Gold' decoder since fitted.

Following overwhelming demand from viewers about remotoring a Hornby class 92, I plan to tackle one using a Heljan class 47 chassis. This should be quite a straightforward project, using a number of techniques from above, with the added bonus of being able to pick up complete class 47s for £45, making it the cheapest way of remotoring a Co-Co locomotive. Watch this space!


Wednesday 4th October 2006

Spending spree!

Following on from last week's update about the lack of detailing parts and spares, a long list was made of all the required bits and these were ordered from the relevant people. The detailing bits you see before you are enough to complete all my planned models over the next few months.

For the Wells Green TMD fleet these include 86228 Vulcan Heritage in unbranded Intercity livery; 92007 Schubert & 92036 Bertolt Brecht in BR Triple Grey; 92038 Voltaire in SNCF Triple Grey and 90009 The Economist in Virgin livery.

Meanwhile for my next layout I am creating 31147 Floreat Salopia ('Dutch'), 47060 Halewood Silver Jubilee 1988 (Trainload Distribution), 47223 British Petroleum (Triple Grey Petroleum) and 47844 Derby and Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Intercity Swallow).

In addition, enough parts were also purchased to detail up my other Heljan '47's (for Wells Green) that have been laying around doing very little for the past year or so, notably including 47829 in Police livery, 47145 Myrddin Emrys and a model of 47832 in FGW Green with temporary 'Fragonset' branding.

Ordered from Howes Models, these parts were with me the very next day after the phone call was made, a truly superb service for the modeller! They very kindly split some Heljan models up selling me the chassis for £39.99, which is not a bad price considering I don't have to go to the trouble of selling the bodies myself. These will end up inside class 86s and 90s in due course.

Having spent over £100 on all this, the big question now is when I will actually get on do all the modelling required especially as I've just bought the DVD of the second series of Channel 4's excellent comedy 'Green Wing'!


Monday 25th September 2006

Railway-related chores

There are many different sides to the hobby, most of which are enjoyable and others less so. For a number of reasons I've been more inclined to shy away from some of the least pleasurable aspects and concentrate on more immediate modelling projects.

After a big clear up, what recently scared me was the amount of RTR models that are in the queue awaiting workbench attention - this has grown somewhat with the slowing down of modelling activities not in proportion with the amount of new models purchased!

But the main dilemma is the 'correct base model:correct detailing part' ratio - guaranteeing that you always run out of a certain type of coupling, air pipe or etched nameplate just when you need it. Meanwhile I have stacks of detailing parts with no base models to fit them to. I'm determined not to sell off the unfinished base models or flog the parts so one day these will all be worked on - or at least that's the theory.

I'm currently half-way through the big project to ensure the models match up the with the parts and am making purchases where necessary, to avoid sitting down at the workbench only to discover you can't proceed with your next project because of a part shortage.

Some of it is all very frustrating - for example I have 3 more Triple Grey class 92s in the making, and have all the bits except the pantographs, necessitating a phone call to a supplier. Only once I've received the goods do I remember I also needed something else from the same company too!

What is also quite scary is the magazine filing situation. I don't throw away my railway mags because there could always be something of use inside in the future, even if it does not interest me presently. So each month I may get another bunch and so on - this lot shown below has been gathered just since the early Summer - they soon pile up if you don't file them away immediately!


Wednesday 20th September 2006


Last weekend the annual Worthing MRC show took place in Lancing, West Sussex, with show manager Mike Edwards gathering together a lovely selection of layouts covering all the major scales and gauges, from delights such as Malcolm Pocknell's 'South Sheppey' to some sublime continental layouts featuring superb overhead catenery.

I was available on the Sunday to do some stewarding and was also allowed to have a play on the club's N Gauge 'Nine Mills' set in 1960's Oxfordshire, built by Dave Forshaw, Phil Hastie and Gordon Forrester. Initially I controlled the passing loops driving scale length passenger expresses and unfitted goods trains. However, boredom soon set in and longing for some low speed depot action I was permitted to take control of the elderly steam depot and the modernisation plan-era diesel depot.

Feeling somewhat at home controlling a depot I carried on through out most of the day and really enjoyed myself. The brilliant thing about N Gauge is the fact that all the derailments are so realistic, because of the light weight of the train, if you back-end your previous 40-wagon coal train with a 'Merchant Navy' and 14 coaches then you know that you'll be there for quite a while picking all the wagons out of the nearby scenery!

Upon changing over operators, I left a little surprise in the form of a green 'Peak' under the coaling tower in the steam depot - it took relieveing operator Dave Forshaw quite a while to put his finger on what was looking odd about the layout!

Erith Model Railway Society brought along their superb 'OO' gauge 'Warmington' layout, featuring intensive multiple unit working with plenty of 'kitbashed' four-car Class 365 and Class 465 Networkers. The quality of the detailing on the layout is truly amazing, with a plethora of cameo scenes and unusual details modelled. Recently featured in the Railway Modeller, the layout was the longest in the show and was also the most up to date, showcasing rail activities on a fictitious south coast town around the time of privatisation to 2003.

There are far too many details to point out individually, but just some of the details include a disable gentleman with wheelchair ramp nearby, loaded Royal Mail 'Brute' trolleys and a road accident scene, just out of shot.

Here you can see the impressively stocked fiddle yard and large quantity of exhibition badges! Having known the 'Warmington' crew for several years, member Phil Clarke asked in advance if I could bring my 'Ginsters' class 158 along specially for the show - and here it is on the far right!

Something that really caught my eye though was this model of a class 319 EMU in original Thameslink livery. Owned by Phil Clarke, this unit was based on the Bratchell Models mk3 multiple unit kits, with the addition of the NNK cast front ends to complete.

Phil explained that there was a problem sourcing the correct transfers, but that aside, this really is an amazing rendition of the unit which looks every bit like the prototype.

Towards the end of the show work started in clearing Nine Mill's fiddle yard of the enormous range of stock that the layout requires to keep the public entertained. Bearing in mind that there are 36 scale-length trains on the fiddle yard, you can imagine how long it takes to clear the fiddle yard roads, and the packing away is very much a team effort.

So I decided to record all the bravery and teamwork on camera, however for some reason, certain members of Worthing MRC are slightly averse to being recorded on my camera (can't imagine why!) so took preventative steps to avoid such a scenario taking place again!

Several have realised they are about to be photographed...

...and then suddenly...

Pete's a lifelong supporter of Brighton & Hove Albion and part-time referee, so has no doubt perfected his defensive manoeuvre over many years now!!

It was a fantastic day out, the show made lots of cash for the club and was great fun to attend, even offering opportunities to expand my frankly obscene locomotive collection! I'd been after the new Hornby Class 08 in EWS livery, released a short while ago. Having initially held back from purchasing it mail order from Hattons or Rails of Sheffield I decided to look for a cheaper one at the show.

The model was soon spotted for £42.50 on one trader's stand, which was favourable enough considering one would pay postage on a mail order loco. A further search round the show found my friend Brian on his 'Brian Trains' trade stand who offered the loco for £35. I whipped my money out faster than Brian could say 'Gronk'!


Saturday 16th September 2006

Things have been disappointingly slow on the modelling front, with working commitments taking priority recently resulting in little time left for modelling, let alone website updates!

Tomorrow I'm off stewarding at my club Worthing MRC's annual exhibition in Lancing, West Sussex so hopefully I may have a few photographs to show here. Meanwhile, much progress has been made on the DCC & electrics on Wells Green TMD, with the fiddle yard now being totally automated and a new control panel being completed, ready for use at the next exhibition on October 22nd. Sadly the planned catenery re-working has been put back a few months, whilst the priority goes to adding digital decoders to the AC electric fleet.


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