Haven't done a blog for a while, but decided the trip to Cultra was worth it. Have been looking forward to it since I first got the invite over a year ago, though at times I will admit to questioning my own sanity! Nearly 1000 miles of driving, two ferry rides and four nights away - for just a one day show - certainly make you wonder. Equally, it is a chance to bring a properly broad gauge layout to its spiritual homeland, while the chance to exhibit in the truly wonderful venue that is Cultra a
It was a fine weekend at the Wood Green Animal Centre, venue for the St Neots show. A different sort of hall to the usual school hall/sports centre usually favoured for model shows. Beaten earth floor for one - though it was carpeted, if a little uneven. A big space - am guessing around 200 feet long and 100 wide, so plenty of room for lots of big layouts. Star of the show was Fencehouses, a 2mm fine scale layout, bigger than many 0 gauge ones. It exploits the scenic potential of the scale, yet
There are ten shows booked for this year, so will again try to record what transpires.
St Albans went pretty well two weeks ago, with those lovely photos from Tony Wright. These have generated an invite to do an article for British Railway Modelling. Since then invite to Manchester in December has been accepted, but Eurospoor in Holland will have to wait for another year, as it is just before Cultra.
Pontefract was a good weekend, though a long way to drive on my own - particularly coming h
Arigna Town is about to embark on a series of exhibition dates, starting with the three day show at York over Easter. Hence thought it might be of interest to record my experiences in the coming weeks & months as, after York, there is Epsom [25/6 April], Gravesend [May], Bexhill [Aug], Worthing [sept], Beckenham [Oct] and Tolworth [Nov]. York will be the layout’s 4th outing &, as usual, following the previous one at Orpington in January, there is a list of things to attend to.
As it has been a while, thought I'd bring you up to date on what is happening on the layout. Much has been covered in the workbench section, but these notes will try to bring it all together.
The layout is effectively complete, as far as scenery goes, so work since the summer has concentrated on stock and operation. For the latter, new LED lighting strips have been fitted, cutting power consumption down from 480 watts to 150, with [i think] sharper light too. A fair bit less heat as well! The
Arigna Town's second outing is coming up in a few week's time - at Uckfield Model Railway Exhibition in Sussex on weekend of 18/19 October. Come and say hello if you can make it. The new 'sliding & rotating' fiddle yard will get its first full test, allowing more stock & greater flexibility of its use. First time out too for 'Lark' my latest loco - a Tyrconnel kit of St Molaga the T&C 0-4-2T.
Sadly, doesn't look like my new rake of coal empties will be there as am still waiting for
The main problem with the Chatham Show is that however fired up with new ideas/new toys one might be, it generally represents the start of the summer too & that is never a productive time for model making for me. When I was working full time in education, the summer term was always the most manic & we not so much reached the holidays as fell off work into the welcome stupor of a bit of R&R. These days, we try to go on holiday before the schools break up – simply because it is cheaper
I really enjoy exhibiting, especially when things go well. Guess it is the teacher [bit of a show off?] in me. However, I also find the process both tiring and a bit stressful at times & with my layout fast approaching its exhibition debut, these notes are as much a reminder to myself about final preparation as a window to any reader about how I go about things.
I’ve been exhibiting since 1987, with over 50 shows in that time. When displaying my models, I am always conscious of the fact th
These are the cranes I mentioned at the Dockyard & which the late Ted McIlroy made fully working 7mm scale models of. See Mayner's blog/thread on the Fenit branch.
As for exhibiting...
The amount of other stuff that the exhibitor needs to take with him/her is considerable and no doubt I am not alone in being neurotic about leaving something vital behind when I go to a show. So, along with the baseboards, trestles or other supports, plus lighting and pelmets, what else needs to go?
At exhibitions, I often find myself paying as much attention to how a layout is built, as its scenic 'face'. This is because, despite many layouts and many more shows, I am still trying to find ways of making transportation & setting up simpler. My preferred favourite [not yet built I might add] would be an inflatable layout, which could be taken to shows in a carrier bag, but be able to be blown up to many times its deflated size...
This is probably some way off [would need inflatable sto
I may be wrong, but looking at the ‘My Layout’ pages, most contributors have what might be called ‘home layouts’ – in other words, non-portable ones. Well done the Wexford crew though - a nice surprise in the latest RM.
Arigna Town was designed from the outset to be a portable, exhibition layout [as indeed have all my previous efforts] and, aside from the obvious issues of needing to be taken apart & put together again for shows, there are various other aspects, such as transport and prese
The Festival of Railway modelling at Alexandra Palace was its usual enjoyable event, made better by seeing Paul Green's fine S scale Irish layout. Some superb stock there Paul, especially the Achill bogie...
A feature of Allypally is the sheer range of scale, gauge and prototype on show. One that stood out for me was Orange County and 'FS3' model. For that read 1:15 scale, so 3' gauge on 45mm track. BIG, in other words - am sure whole layouts have been built in one of their stockboxes!.
Was thinking about this the other day, when preparing some notes for a magazine article and the answer is not easy to fathom, other than the obvious delights and the fact that it makes a very satisfying alternative to the conventional 'terminus-fiddle yard' concept.
I started off in 4mm scale, EM gauge, modelling Light Railway practice. The Colonel Stephen's railways have always fascinated me & we do share a name [my surname, being his Christian one]. After a couple of layouts, one of whic
As Fermanagh approaches completion, looking at my journal, it will be my 54th locomotive, only 8 of which were bought ready made and all but two of these were substantially altered as well. Of the other 46, 13 were scratch built, though in earlier days some of these were my own bodywork on commercial chassis. 12 were 4mm scale, one HO ( a Bachmann Shay - long story), and the rest 7mm scale, 13 of which were narrow gauge. There have ten layouts in all, with Arigna being the seventh one to be exhi
With the signals now complete, work on Arigna Town again enters a new phase.
An audit of rolling stock shows I already have more than enough to be going on with for the layout's exhibition debut in June, so now have the opportunity of some bonus time to try and built my second Sligo 'Small Tank'. As mentioned earlier, can't think why I would want to only have the one, as really want to avoid handling stock in the fiddle yard if I can help it. Hence the building of this will feature in my Workb
Casting my mind forward to June & Arigna Town's hopeful debut, started thinking about operational sequences. When planning the layout, deliberately went for a turntable fiddle yard because this complimented the on scene loco turntable and would minimise handling of stock. Initially thought all was well, but then found that could only fit in 4 roads, not 5, so the railbus & railcar would have to share a track. Again, this seemed ok, but then realised that Railcar B does not need turning,
The Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway opened in 1882 & ran from Carrignat Junction, near Sligo, to Enniskillen. Broad gauge, it remained independent until closure in 1957. While no additions were made, there were proposals for branchlines to Swalinbar [from Florencecourt in 1883] and Arigna. The latter would have left the mainline at Dromahair and run via Drumkeeran, where there had been ironworks in the 18th century, then down the western shore of Lough Allen to Arigna. Here th
The Christmas period has traditionally been a productive time for me. Generally, there is little on TV [though Mrs Brown 's new year episode was eye wateringly funny, to me at least], the days are short, the weather miserable, so best to stay in and make things.
Initially, got on with casting van sides - three sets of GNRI 9 tonners, plus two sets of what appear to be either SLNCR 'semis' or early Guinness vans. These were then made up into the relevant vehicles, using ABS castings for W irons
The scenic work has proceeded well & must admit to being pleased with the outcome thus far. Indeed, the layout is now fully covered - though that does not mean finished, as there is a lot of detail work to do. However, will have to wait till after Christmas to add wild flowers, rushes etc [the latter along the ditch] as supplies of coloured scatter are out. So, what next?
At the Reading Trade Show last week, got various castings, including street lamps [s&D models], plus a range of W i
Deep joy today as have at last got a copy of Neil Sprinks History of the SLNCR. And very interesting it is too.
Many thanks to the web and especially Buffers Books, where I at last tracked down a copy in very good condition for just a tenner. Not bad considering it was published in 1980.
However, in my internet searches on the Sligo and now getting some odd results, in that they increasingly bring up pictures and stuff that I have produced myself on this site! Most strange was finding the map
Scenic work on hold at the moment, for the simple reason that I have run out of materials! Woodlands ground foam is readily available, but less so static grass fibres so am hoping there will be some at the Reading 0 gauge trade show on Saturday week. For those of you not aware of this event, it is truly an Aladdin's cave of everything the modeller could need , a positive bottomless pit of 'wants'. Spending 50 grand or more [assuming you had the funds] would easily be possible. Go for RTR and pro
Though sort of retired, I still do a lot of consultancy work in schools and after a decent spell of quality modelling, spare time is suddenly at a premium again. Typical, when things were going rather well...
However, as mentioned before, one can have too much of a good thing and driving around from one place to another can give a bit of thinking time. Also, while I can't speak for everyone else, one of the great attractions of this hobby is the variety it affords & must admit I'm starting
The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed a change in the backscene on the middle board. I'm not quite sure what was wrong with it, but the view was certainly too flat, with not enough perspective to give the scene depth. The latter is a real issue with 7mm scale layouts, for if you stick to around 60-75cm baseboard depth, it leaves very little room for anything outside the railway fence. Hence a backscene of some sort is essential in my view.
Backboards on Arigna Town are integral with the
In SE England, it has been half term week, which for a consultant primary school advisor [ex headteacher to boot] like me means some welcome down time. That said, I'm semi-retired these days, so try my best not to work too hard/often anyway. So, an opportunity to get some serious modelling time in...
However, things did not go entirely to plan - probably because I tried to do too much, in too many areas & ended up being less satisfied with my efforts than my usual 'little and often' approa
The last few weeks have seen the completion of a couple of brake vans [sLNCR types] and a change of focus to the scenic side of things. A total of nine tree 'skeletons' have been made from a mixture of florists and other wire, then coated with layers of filler and PVA, before being painted, ready for 'dressing'. The process seemed to take forever, but when it came to dressing the first tree [an oak to hide the entrance to the fiddle yard], it seemed only a few minutes work with Woodlands Scenics