Thursday, 17 August 2017

N Gauge Inspiration

I have been reading 'Making a Start in N Gauge' by Richard Bardsley and it has really started me thinking about a layout in a smaller scale. I inherited a load of N gauge track, rolling stock and locomotives from my grandfather about twenty years ago, which have since been sitting in a box in the loft gathering dust. The locomotives are all old Minitrix models but they are in as new condition, having rarely been used, including a 9F, a Britannia, a Deltic and an Ivatt 2MT. They are a bit dated and crude by modern standards but still nice models in their own right. I particularly like the 2MT, which I've been thinking could be the motive power behind a simple compact layout in N gauge.

I have plenty of Peco N gauge track and points, the majority of the latter being Setrack but with some Streamline medium radius points too, so I could easily create a simple scenic countryside branch line or an industrial shunting yard using the Ivatt 2-6-2 as the main locomotive. I also have several of the old Peco wagon and van kits that I collected ages ago, so could assemble them as the rolling stock, together with a handful of ready to run Graham Farish wagons that I inherited. I also have some scenic bits and bobs including tunnel portals, bridges and card building kits. In fact, apart from a controller, I have everything I could need to build a shelf style 'Inglenook' layout straight away.

It would be an excellent way to refresh my layout building skills and would cost virtually nothing in money or time. I could use one of the plans that I've developed for my OO gauge layouts or perhaps design something specifically around the track components that I have. I was thinking of a quarry or branch line theme but, to keep things simple, I may well just go for a generic industrial scene. There are some excellent low and full relief industrial buildings to download from Scalescenes as well, so I can practice my card modelling skills too.

It's just an idea at the moment but I think it might be a lot of fun!

Lineside Timber Merchant or Sawmill

I've been thinking through the options for the goods operations in my shunting yard again, with a focus on the long siding at the front of the layout. I originally thought this would feature a cattle dock as the layout is a rural branch line somewhere in West Wales, but I have also considered a set of coal stathes or coal drops with a weighbridge, which would be fairly typical of a small goods yard in the 1930's or 1940's. I could have both I suppose but I don't want it to be too cluttered, so may just have a loading ramp rather than a cattle dock.

I've also been thinking about the sidings at the back of the layout, which were going to be a normal goods shed but could also be a lineside industry instead, with a timber merchant or timber saw mill as the most likely industrial activity for a countryside location. This would also allow me to run a range of rolling stock and loads including open wagons and bolster wagons, for example, which would be a really interesting feature of the layout .

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Airfix 14xx

This is the last of the second hand locomotives that I've acquired via eBay for my 1930's to 1940's GWR layout. I had one of the original Airfix 14xx 0-4-2 engines when I was a  kid and it was still cutting edge in terms of detail and accuracy. It's a bit long in the tooth now but still looks pretty good. I have another one of these that doesn't run so well and has been fiddled about with, so this second one will now takes it's place assuming it's in better running condition and isn't sticky.

The other one will either be overhauled and re-painted in early British Railways livery or used as a source of spare parts. There's a really interesting article on converting a ready to run 14xx to an Edwardian era 516 class 0-4-2, which I might try at some point in the future as it doesn't look too difficult:

In the meantime, I'll add some etched brass number plates and other details to the new one, which should help to bring it into line with some of the more modern models in the collection. This is probably the last of my locomotive buys for the moment, although I would love to have a Bachmann 45xx or a 56xx too. These will have to wait until I can afford them and until I have added some more goods rolling stock to be shunted around!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Mainline Dean Goods

I am on a fairly tight budget as far as model railways go, so I have been looking for inexpensive ways to build a collection of locomotives and rolling stock, the obvious being second hand stuff via eBay. I have just added a Mainline Dean Goods to the line up, for a very fair price, so will be able to run it as an early 30's alternative to the Collet Goods I already have. I know the old Mainline Dean Goods has a horrible tender power unit with lots of nasty gearing visible but beggars can't be choosers and I'm just happy to have another 0-6-0 tender locomotive for the layout. I've always wanted one of these models so hope that it isn't too troublesome, noisy or sticky when I get to run it. It looks like it's in pretty pristine condition and has it's original box and instructions, so fingers crossed!

Low Relief Goods Shed or Warehouse

Cardigan Goods Shed

I need to use a low relief goods shed, warehouse or industrial building on the shunting yard layout, as the space available is pretty restricted and a shunting yard without a goods shed seems a bit pointless. However, it has been less straightforward than I thought to find something 'off the shelf' which is both affordable and fits with the rural setting of the layout. Ideally, I'd like something not unlike the goods shed at Cardigan, which really captures the rural branch line look.

Bachmann Low Relief Goods Shed

Bachmann Low Relief Warehouse

There are no shortage of urban low relief factories or full relief goods sheds but it is less easy to find a small, rural equivalent in a nineteenth century stone or timber clad design, which is what I'm after. There are a couple of possible low relief warehouses in the Bachmann resin range and a nice mdf warehouse from lcut creative but they are expensive and inflexible compared to card kits, especially the downloadable versions. 

lcut creative mdf warehouse

Ideally, I'd like to find a good card kit of a goods shed that I can modify into a low relief version by cutting it in half then using the two halves to create a longer low or semi-low relief feature. In the end, I may have to just scratch build something using card and the Scalescenes printable paper sheets for brickwork, corrugated iron and timber cladding? This might be the best way forward and would allow me to create something original and suitable for my layout design.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Shunting Layout Engine Shed

I wanted to have a small engine shed on my layout, so that I could include a water and coaling facility for shunting operations but also so that I could add some good lineside features. This will be a single road, small branch line engine shed, based on the typical structures and designs to be found at the end of a rural GWR branch line, which is what my shunting yard represents. As such, I have acquired a very cheap second hand Wills Craftsman kit which looks the part, although I'm also tempted to scratch build something, just to add a bit of individual character to the scene. As you can see, I have been looking for and have collected together some images of the sort of thing I'd like to include on the layout, so there's no shortage of prototypical inspiration.

Fiddle Yard

As I have a spare left hand point to use, I have included it in my basic fiddle yard design for the shunting yard layout. This consists of two parallel tracks that will represent the branch line railway station that exists beyond the cutting, tunnel or over bridge scenic break on the left hand end of the layout (I haven't decided yet exactly how this break will be made). This will act as a glorified head shunt but also as storage sidings for a couple of trains of wagons. I will look into how best to make the electrical connections between the detachable fiddle yard and the layout but will probably use the brass strip contact method, combined with some locating pins or locking mechanism of  some sort.