Since the last post I (Steve) have moved house to the East Riding of Yorkshire and this has somewhat impacted my modelling opportunities. The layout was taken down in early July and will probably not be put up again until December to allow modelling on the boards prior to exhibiting at Model Rail Scotland.
However, there is no holding Gavin back: He has worked on the motors and DCC chips of two of my camelbacks still in the original brass – a 4-6-0 L by Red Ball and an 0-6-0 B4 by Overland Models. These still need decaling and weathering which I will do on a visit back to the Barrowmore clubrooms hopefully in September (taking our new, well 2004, caravan!).
The 4-6-0 will supplement our existing 4-6-0 on (mainly teminating) passenger train duties. The 0-6-0 was not a regular visitor to Mauch Chunk, but will be used for switching around the goods shed and in the coal sidings at the Western end.
In the meanwhile, enjoy these photos – also seen on the BRMG facebook page.
Mostyn is to be exhibited at Alexandra Palace (London) towards the end of March, so most work stopped on Mauch Chunk during the period leading up to this.
Some work has been going on: I have rewired the board connectors on the four ‘old’ large scenic boards using 12-way Mat-N-Lok connectors as with the rest of the layout. This brings all the wiringit to the same standard.
Passenger and parcel stock has been re-Kadeed to allow for closer and more reliable level coupling. We have also started to add corridor connectors. Seven more cabooses are beeing worked on to have their eighth window removed and will then be repainted and decalled.
Finally the Mauch Chunk boards, on their trolleys, were stacked underneath the O-Gauge ‘Johnstown Road’ layout while Mosty was put up.
Phil Sutton, a BMRG member from the soft south of England, came up to the clubrooms for four days to service and chip the poorest running CNJ loco stock. He came in his rather flashy jaguar but still managed to do a brilliant job of a selection of the diesels including double enders and babyfaces. He is apparently allergic to steam locos, although he had a good go as you can see, fixing three K1as camelbacks.
At the Barrowmore club, work on the Mikados was carried out by Steve, starting with the kitbashes originally worked on by the (late) Chris Bennett and Steve. The full details of the assembly will be placed in a project page, but in the meanwhile, please download the full instructions as a pdf here. Here are a few photos from the construction:
In this final photo a complete kitbash sits in front of a BLI brass equivalent.
Another result of this resolution was a visit by Steve to the local Barrowmore Model Railway Group, which turned into a membership there. The BMRG is way ahead of the Merseyside club in stock building and Steve’s first project there was to build the ARHS Babyface A-B-A set that were sitting in boxes in a cupboard. This was mainly a case of adding grab irons and other ironwork. The most complex piece was a roof rail, which was build by Richard Oldfield. The final shot shows the effect of priming ready for painting – which will be done in the new year. I should comment that fitting the recommended underframe from Proto 2000 Alco FA2s into these bodyshells required a lot of grinding away of the weight and also the insides of the bodyshell. One of the bodyshells was so thin in one spot, that it blistered when painted, and has to be rebuild with plasticard and superglue. However, these little obstacle are to be expected when kitbashing and building!
Steve then moved on to kitbashes of two M3 Mikados from BLI USRA Mikados – a project started several years ago with the late Chirs Bennett. This is now nearing completion and will appear on the project page once finished! Just one photo as an appetiser – the complete model at the bottom of the shot is an Overland brass M3s.
Meanwhile, back at the Merseyside club, construction of three trolleys was underway by Gordon and Steve: The new 4ft by 4ft baseboards are so heavy that they cannot realistically be carried any distance as when moving them to an exhibition. Therefore plywood trolleys are being built that can be wheeled from the clubhouse into a van (with a tail lift) and then from the van into the exhibition hall on arrival. Two of the trolleys each take two front boards, and the third takes all five staging yard board. This last is still under construction, but the first two are now complete.
Despite my hopes that the updates to the site would become more regular after Gordon’s retirement in April and my continued life of leisure, what has actually happened is that we modelled at a high rate instead. As Doug is working a four day week, we modelled on Friday mornings as well and this made a big difference.
We had a good summer and used this to carry out repairs on our clubhouse – including demolishing a 120ft portacabin which also kept us pretty busy!
Here we are starting to lay track in the staging yard – if all else fails, hit it with a hammer! Even my daughter came in to lend a hand on a visit back from her midwifery course. The track laying progressed well. By August it had pretty much all been laid.
In the meanwhile, Steve was working on customising some SW7s and SW9s for the CNJ. Athearn and Proto-2000 stock was used as the starting point. Both jigs and hand bending were used to prepare the CNJ-style handrails – some were soldered, but most were superglued.
Handrails were added to different styles depending on the prototype, as were minor variation in the vent stacks. Once handrails (and some grab irons) were complete, the bodies were airbrushed with my own mixture of gloss green. RBH water slide decals were then applied carefully and the models were then sprayed with matt cote. Finally all were weathered with a mixture of techniques. Three were chipped and one set up as a dummy as not all the motors were usable.
Meanwhile, back at the club, the hard work of wiring up the track and switches was proceeding – led by Doug, but with all three of us taking a share. Later, Doug withdrew from this exciting activity due to pressures of work and other interests, but we continued to fit and wire switch motors (Peco) with the help of Bill, and MERG DCC switch controller boards. These latter were mostly built by our club specialist (Derek) and wired in by Steve. Derek then configured them for us.
We set up computer control with the Big Bear software package – which works well. The track panel component (left) can be downloaded for free.
..and all the time the trains kept running round! We are now cutting and reconfiguring the old baseboards, removing the old staging yard, and hope to have finished this stage before Christmas.
Much of the activity so far in 2013 has been in sorting out rolling stock. Removable coal loads have been prepared for all the hoppers using real coal, sieved down into different size ranges and glued to foam shapers. Photos show the basic process and a variety of the results.
All the hoppers have also been weathered inside and out for consistency using acrylics, weathering powders, Tamiya weathering pads (& make-up applicators – see first photo below), Tensocrom liquids to simulate oil and water spilss, and astonishing Rust effect liquid. ..also an airbrush. The techniques are all described in the UK ‘Model Rail’ DVD by George Dent – ‘The Weathering Expert’ – quite outstanding and worth purchasing even from across the Atlantic, if you can be sure it will work in a US DVD player. These are the main products and implements used .
I have also weathered most of the boxcars (some shown below), some tank cars and some switchers. Weathering is hard to photograph, but hopefully some of the photos will give some idea.
Chris and I have also each started to modify a BLI Mikado to an M3a CNJ Mikado. It is still fairly early days but the photos show the steps in producing the classic Wooton firebox. Many more photos to come but it won’t be quick!
We seem to have slowed down again over the summer due, I suppose, to other commitments, but also to much activity focused on ‘slow’ areas. In particular, Paul has been devoting nearly all his time to setting up DCC and chipping locos and then trying to get them to run – the brass ones are particularly difficult. We went for the NCE DCC kit in the end which seems to do everything we want. We are also using basic Hornby chips which do the job, although some locos came with sound chips ready installed. The best bit about DCC for me (old misery) is that we can turn the sound off the sound chips!
In the summer, Dennis Morley, an O-Gauge modeller, delivered the brass locos back after painting – he’s done an excellent job. Weathering still to be done. Here are three of them, the 4-8-0 was finished later.
Steve spent most of the past six months doing shop interiors using various materials from Langley Models (UK, 4mm to the foot but manageable) and Preiser (right scale but not cheap!). He also made good use of the colour printer and photos of old shops that he’d been accumulating. Three examples are shown here, but you can’t really see very much once they’re in.
To finish them off Steve’s been using computer written signs and scanned and reduced posters. Home made decals have also been employed with extensive use of various free and not-so-free software. The signs and buildings still need a fair bit of weathering but it’s getting there. Susquehanna Street is pretty much done now, except the sidewalks and ashphalt.
Chris has finished the detailing on the freight house and only the weathering of the roof remains. Dave has finished the gas station on Susquehanna Street, again awaiting only weathering.
And to finish off a few extra photos from our last open evening. We’re counting down to the Exhibition at the end of October now – Pete Waterman is opening it (you’ve either heard of him or you haven’t). Trees next…
We have really sped up our modelling since the new year, mainly as a result of a number of all day sessions. It feels as though we have nearly completed the buildings now and have moved on to weathering rolling stock (initially coal hoppers). There is now a definite plan to take Mauch Chunk to our exhibition in the fall (end October 2010) so we have a deadline – help!
So firstly Chris has pretty much finished the Freight house – which is now my favorite building on the layout. Here it is under construction and in its finished form on the layout.
Secondly, Paul has finished the Central Hotel with only the Hotel Switzerland’s back and sides to do now. In the picture he is making an RS3 work again (how? haven’t a clue!). He also fixes the trackwork and wheels when stock doesn’t run smoothly (i.e. falls off) – also a mystery
Steve Rogers, from the Leigh Model Railway Club, has been joining us for modelling sessions and painted the roof of Chris’s Station Building. He has also finished off another cliff face, most of which will sadly be hidden by the buildings on Susquehanna Street. Chris has also been working on Paul and Steve’s Hotel and Iron Works respectively to get a consistent brick finish (below).
Dave has worked manfully on with the gas station and associated buildings on Susquehanna Street, which should be finished soon now. Steve (Hales) has painted and weathered the buildings on Susquehanna Street. Still work to do with blinds and interiors, but it’s coming along.
Steve has also had a go at weathering the coal hoppers on the layout using weathering powders (mostly Carr’s).
All the remaining photos below (nearly all) were taken at the Spring Open Day in mid April. Some have a temporary backscene put up during the Open Day, which gives a much different feel. The old-style cabooses were built for us by Bill (Rails2) after a contact through eBay – beautiful.
Unfortunately, very little visible progress was made during the second half of 2006 . Time has been taken up with getting the pointwork functioning properly after the ballasting and several points have been rebuilt. Paul has also been doing sterling work in getting the rolling stock running more reliably and has also replaced most of the wheelsets on our freight cars with metal ones.
Chris spent a lot of time researching and redrawing the plans of the Mauch Chunk station building in AutoCAD (please contact us if you want the files) in preparation for building it this year. Steve has started on the Mauch Chunk Ironworks.
The photos below were mostly taken at our open day at the end of November and also show a Hallmark Babyface (wrong prototype – I know) painted for us by Blake Tatar. We hope to make some modifications to the roof vents to improve it’s appearance as the CNJ version.
We wish you all a Happy New Year for 2007 and happy modelling!