Beware, This Could Be Baseboard

The mock up representing the yard of a small engineering works has inspired me.

I’ve been in the garage sawing wood…

Could this be the frame for a new baseboard ? Hmm, I think it could !


More Mock Up Madness


Recently I tried a very simple mock up of an idea for a small industrial layout. I liked it and I ordered more building components from LCUT to flesh out the concept in more detail. The extra components have arrived and here they are in place on the mock up.

The idea is to create the yard of a small engineering works. It seems to work…

The more I look at it the more I like it. I’m very tempted to carry on with this !

An Idea for Another Layout (Uh, Oh!)

In the summer of 2016 I had an idea for a small industrial layout set in the yard of a fictional engineering works. Trains would deliver raw materials to the factory and take the finished products out of the yard.

However, I couldn’t settle on a good track plan and I couldn’t think of an easy and inexpensive way of making the factory buildings. The idea has been nagging at me ever since. You know, in the way that some ideas do…

Then two things came together. I found a track plan on the Carl Arendt website that I could easily modify to create what I wanted. Plus, I discovered LCUT who manufacture kits in laser cut wood and sell all the component pieces individually. It would be easy to build the type of factory I had in mind from these components.

I decided to investigate and brought a couple of wall components from LCUT. Then I sketched out the idea using a scrap of plastic packaging material, a chinagraph pencil and some PECO point templates.

Looking at it from a couple of angles I think it could work.

England has had unusually hot and dry weather for several weeks. Perhaps the heat is getting to me, or perhaps this really is a good idea.

I will order some more components from LCUT to investigate this in more detail.

Uh, Oh! I’ve just built the baseboards for a new layout, should I really be thinking of building another one?

Oxfordshire Narrow Gauge Modellers Open Day

Last weekend was the Oxfordshire Narrow Gauge Modellers Open Day at Steventon Village Hall. I travelled down the night before and met up with Richard and Sarah Doe for a beer and a jolly good chat which was a lot of fun. Richard was exhibiting Shipmeadow, a small rural halt on the ficticious Beccles and Bungay Railway. Shipmeadow workhouse nestles on the hill above the station and is surrounded by open blue sky. It really captures the atmosphere of this part of Suffolk.

Richard has some very nice stock and he’s very skilled at buying new and secondhand stock and repainting it in the B&B liveries to make it look completely different. The layout is set in 1944, hence the blackout station nameboard and the rather nice War Department van.

Richard has even included a Willys jeep!

I took ‘First’ and I was very pleased that so many people stopped to look at the layout and to have a chat. I met loads of nice people, had some great conversations and learnt a lot. Thanks to everyone for making it such an enjoyable day.

I managed to sneek off and take a few photos of some layouts I hadn’t seen before. This is Port Hallow in OO9 by Michael Key. I was very impressed by the buildings created from card and paper. The layout oozes atmosphere.

Look at this absolutely superb sardine processing factory. Lovely modelling.

I really liked Michael’s cameo scenes, such as this lady hanging out her washing.

Another layout that I hadn’t seen before was Ryders Green Wharf by Peter Cullen, also in OO9. It has a very interesting trackplan with lots of operating potential.

It represents a distribution point for engineering works in Birmingham and includes a branch of the Birmingham Canal. Look at that silty, muddy canal. The ‘setts’ around the canal are made with Slater’s plastic sheet and Peter has made a great job of these.

The layout has some nice cameo scenes…

… and a very well engineered turntable.

For me, the most original layout of the day was The Seaside Layout by Richard Standing. Richard has used a laptop screen as the back-scene and it is animated using the YoWindow weather app. It has moving boats etc. I thought this was a very clever idea. You could create a backscene with changing weather, sunrise, a sunny day, sunset and even night time!

The Oxfordshire NG Modellers team have created a great show. Everyone was friendly, welcoming and helpful. The hall is a super venue, there was a diverse range of high quality layouts and the catering was excellent. The star of the show was the Lime and Courgette cake – light, moist and very, very tasty.

It’s definitely worth adding the Steventon Show to your ‘must visit’ list.


The Pretenders

My Father’s Day present was ‘The Pretenders’. No, not Chrissie Hynde and crew, but a book about the steam-outline internal combustion locomotives running on miniature railways.

I must admit I like steam locos and I like internal combustion locos, but I’ve never been a big fan of pretend steam locos powered by diesel or petrol engines.

However, this book has changed my mind. Dipping in and out of it I’ve found myself thinking ‘That’s nice, I’d like to model that’.

For example, who could resist this Hudswell Clarke Pacific.

Yes, I’m growing to like the the steam outline pretenders…


P.S. If you are interested the book is available here

(I’ve no connection to the book, the publishers nor Amazon)

7mm Narrow Gauge Association Exhibition 2018

Last weekend was the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association’s annual exhibition in Burton on Trent. I’ve been a member of the Association for over 2 years but this is the first time I’ve visited the exhibition.

I was impressed, the 7mm NGA certainly do things in sytle. The venue is the elegant Burton on Trent Town Hall, a lovely piece of Victorian architecture. They had organised a super selection of layouts in a wide variety of scales, gauges and geographies. There were a large number of traders, many catering specifically for the 7mm scale modellers, and the 7mm Association’s trade stands featuring publications, second hand items, new modelling goods and the specialist On30 stand.

The catering was very good and there is even a licensed bar (I guess you’d expect this in a venue built using donations from the Bass family!). I had a sausage cob and chips on arrival (to energise me after my journey), a pint of Doom Bar (to quench my thirst me after looking at the layouts) and a bacon and egg cob (to fortify me before my journey home). Modellers march on their stomachs – at least I do!

I enjoyed all of the layouts. Here’s a selection of photos of just some of them.

The Abbey Light Railway, O-14 by David Malton. A lovely layout of a real, but sadly defunct, line.

Also in O-14 Bunny Mine by David Rae. The inspiration came from a real location with a real gypsum mine. Yes, Bunny Hill really exists! I had a good chat with David about the techniques he’s used in the model. The wood came from strawberry punnets and the loads and ‘debris’ around the layout are real gypsum. David had to be careful the gypsum didn’t dissolve in the glue 🙂

Narrowing the gauge slightly, Ramma Woods in O9 by Simon Andrews. A very compact and well detailed woodland scene. David is building a O-6.5 layout at the moment, to represent a 10¼ gauge line, and I’m looking forward to seeing that develop.

Staying in O9, the latest layout from Christopher Payne, Pyn Valley Railway. Chris has really mastered the art of getting an operationally interesting trackplan into a very small space while retaining a spacious atmosphere.

The 7mm Narrow Gauge Association run a number of modelling competitions as part of their annual exhibition. I was very impressed by the standard of modelling. Sadly, I can’t name the modellers because, for understandable reasons, their names were not listed on the competition entry forms! Modellers, if I find your names at some point in the future I will update this blog post to give you the credit you deserve.

A WW1 Pechot-Bourdon 0-4-4-0. This is possibly my favourite model of the whole exhibition.


Snowden Ranger.

Next year, on Saturday the 8th June 2019 is the 7mm NGA 40th anniversary exhibition. They say it will be the biggest exhibition they have ever organised. Definitely a date for your diary!


Beds and Bucks Narrow Gauge Modellers Open Day 2018

The Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire Narrow Gauge Modellers held their annual Open Day in mid-May this year. I’m a keen member of the group despite the fact that I don’t live in either Beds or Bucks!

We had a super selection of layouts, trade stands and narrow gauge railway societies attending this year. Many, many thanks to all of the exhibitors and traders for creating a very diverse and very enjoyable exhibition.

Special thanks must go to Brian Key the exhibition organiser, and all of the Beds and Bucks members and their families for pulling together to make everything happen. Plus extra special thanks to the catering team who fed a near record number of visitors with delicious sandwiches, cake and snacks throughout the day. A sterling job!

I can’t think of much more to say so I will let the photos speak for themselves.

At the top of this blog and below are some views of Achalraj by Malcolm Harrison. This 009 layout represents a small town in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. (Pete, as promised, these are for you 🙂 ).

Lesobeng by Paul Spray is a fictional pair of lines in the mountains of Lesotho in southern Africa. The 009 stock ‘zig-zags’ to climb up the mountain.

Launceston Steam Railway by Richard Holder, a lovely, large 009 layout representing the real 2 foot gauge Launceston Steam Railway in Cornwall. This layout was voted ‘Best in Show’ by the Beds and Bucks Members and received the ‘Mark Howe Award’.

Farr End by Peter Cullen. An 009 layout representing a small market town in Shropshire.

Coleford by John Wilkes. An 009 layout set in the Forest of Dean, where John has reinvented the 3 feet 6 inch gauge Monmouth Tramway as a 2 feet gauge railway.

Angst-Lesspork another 009 layout with a fictional background. Hugh Norwood’s layout draws inspiration from the ‘Discworld’ novels of Terry Pratchett.

Bridges by Hugh Milward, an 009 layout I’ve enjoyed seeing develop over the last 2 or 3 years. It is an industrial setting with factories, a tidal inlet, tight curves and short sidings.

My own layout ‘First’. An exercise in squeezing 009 onto a small baseboard. Many thanks to Stephen Sullivan and John Rees for skillfully operating the layout while I ate some lunch and visited the exhibition.

Rokeby by Peter Blay is a freelance narrow gauge layout set in 1948, a time of post war growth for the fictional line. Lovely locos in the second picture.

Samsville and Surrey Mines in 009 by Garry Edwards is a proposed but never built railway on the Welsh border linking the mainline GWR to various lead and coal mines. It features the narrow gauge main line and a short branch to the mining community.

Moving to larger scales, St. Ozmond’s Bay by Chris Krupa is a 1:35 scale layout representing a small station on the preserved Moruna Island Railway. It’s alway interesting to see a ‘work in progress’. Note the foam baseboard, the modified Smallbrook Studio locos and the scratchbuilt rolling stock.

Longstone is Graham and Caroline Watling’s first exhibition layout in 1:24 scale. After modelling in 009 for over 30 years they created a fictitious 15 inch gauge railway in Gn15 with three different scenes all on one layout.

Finally, on Achalraj, Malcolm Harrison created a figure of a very familiar narrow gauge modeller.

Stephen Sullivan is obviously holidaying in the Himalayas 🙂