It’s all in a name

I’m crawling along with this project and have been told to scrap it and just move to the final build and be done with it. Then I can move onto the layout build, i.e the fun stuff. However, I feel if I don’t actually finish something I will never finish anything. Ok, it maybe is boring for others but then I am doing it to improve me! So the show will go on and another Yard Office will be produced.

I am certainly learning on the job. There are some things I hadn’t thought about that stand out now that I am on the second iteration and that is about the scale at which we model. As a 2mm scale modeller I have long thought and tried to model the minutia. Stepping up to 4mm suddenly gives that bit more room to breath. I am surprised at this as I hadn’t thought it would have made such a difference to me.

It doesn’t mean I am going to abandon my first love as I really enjoy the element of the “train in the scenery”. But my eyes have been opened to the potential of the type of modelling one can do. I guess we gravitate to a scale that suits our space on the whole. I know there will be plenty of views against this, but if asked “why do you modelling the way you do?” I’m sure the answer will come back, “I feel comfortable in it”

Now I know I’m a bit of a scale tart; I like many things in many sizes. But that’s because I get a different feeling from these scales. For the time being it is on with painting roofing slates, which unbeknownst to me have names, yes actual names!

I’ll leave you with this…

Scratch build Yard Office in Brick
#133 Brick Build Yard Office

Until the next one…

A note to End On.

#132 Llanymynech Lime Kilns. copyright Ordance Survey.

After a chat with a friend earlier this afternoon, talk came round to a discussion we had last year at the beginning of the COVID19 lockdown and was based around a heritage centre not too far from his home town. But what sparked my imagination was the intersection of boundaries.

Let me explain this a bit. The boundaries I talk about are both between land and water, standard and narrow, and nations. So in this small space of land, there is so much to model. It covers just about every one of my interests when it comes to narrow gauge. Those being rough and ready rails, canals, offloading and a bit of standard gauge thrown in for good measure. The other interesting fact about this location is that the boundary between England and Wales runs down the middle of the road in the village of Llanmynech and ran between the inclines that ran up to the lime quarries.

This is a project to be filed for another day, but I love stumbling across out of the way gems and noodling plans out of the landscape. Looking into the history of the location conjures up a very different picture of the landscape today. Once again StreetView helps research the remote location. The internet machine turns up so much information so that one can start to get an idea of how the proposition could be brought into reality. I think like a lot of these ideas I stretch and bend the truth but then I am not trying to remodel history, just taking parts of it to create a cameo. Something that will fit in my small spaces but will be of interest.

So a bit of Googling shows some background to the area and location to model. Flipping back to previous run-bys shows a better picture of the main wharf that would be modelled.

This second picture shows the view from the quarry looking down towards Llanymynech village and canal. It gives some colour to the monotone maps that give the operational detail. If we can ever get out of this motionless state, I will once again visit my friends in Wales and scope out this fascinating slice of the past industrial history.

I like the fact that this lends it’s self to an end on layout which is pretty unusual as most if not all are side to side. The fact that it combines several interests is just a bonus. This needs more research but is filed away for that rainy day.

Until the next one…

Brick by brick

Image of versions  of brick  build yard office
#131 Brick by Brick

As the snow falls around me and I sit sipping my cuppa tea, contemplating having to go out for my one hour of exercise, I think my modelling is similar in that I have to get myself “there” with all the procrastinating and friction but once I do the time drifts by in enjoyable dare I say it kind of meditation. I have been setting myself a goal of fifteen minutes a day and as of the 8th January, I have succeeded in doing that. Although sometimes I have footalled about tidying up or doodling on my iPad or paper, to me that is all hobby related. The more I sit there the more I will go and sit there!

In sitting down on these consecutive nights I have realised that I am not either happy with or have made mistakes that need addressing. Like any skill, it needs to be constantly flexed in order to keep it supple and strong and I see my modelling muscles having atrophied after years of neglect. In the words of a talented and respected modeller friend from years ago, he always said: “if you don’t like it just do it again!” Now I guess this can lead to perfectionitus, which is something I have suffered from in the past but now I am channelling that advice and with this simple build project there are a few wrong things.

I see it as improving my skills and concentration as the more times I do the task the better I will get at it. In this case, I hadn’t foreseen that putting it all together would have caused no end of difficulty putting on the brick paper. But in my mind, it would all go together swimmingly and would be perfection personified! Hmmm ok maybe not. But I am enjoying looking at the build and seeing where improvement can be made. Also, the act of learning is important and one doesn’t want to be making the same blundering errors every time one picks up the blade.

The line “You’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties” springs to mind but for me, it should be altered to “You’ll always find me at the modelling table at parties” 😀

Until the next one…

Thwap on the mat

Model Railway Journal Magazine. #281
#130 Thwap on the mat MRJ 281

Look what arrived on the doormat this morning. I really thought that I had run the course of my subscription of the MRJ. But the joy of receiving this package of goodness on this day of freezing rain and general gloominess is one small pleasure in ones rather dull existence. I have to say that there is little that I am necessarily interested in but once again I enjoy reading about the methods and authors of these articles. However I did really enjoy Geoff Forster’s ‘Designs for Bleddfa Raad’ in O Scale. Also John Chick’s ‘My Brain Trains’ bring an interesting slant to modern layout control.

Then there is another one of my addictions that needs feeding on the opposite page from the contents page. Which is “Unconsidered Trifles” from Wild Swan books and I have always enjoyed Geoff Kent’s output.

So once again more food for thought from the great people at Cygnet Magazines. Now where’s my cheque book to extend my subscription for another four issues!

Until the next one…

Boldly going where no bench has gone before

Workspace workbench plans
#129 Workspace Workbench Wonderings

Just as it’s announced that England is to go into another nationwide lockdown I am thinking about all those projects that I have been putting off, mainly for friends that now can, should, will go ahead! I’m sure a lot of us are in the same boat or should that be wagon?! With now more enforced time at home should be a good time to progress our hobby projects.

One of mine it to get my workspace sorted out so I have all the tools I need near me and that I don’t have to keep moving things around. This is somewhat bigger project but think it will facilitate being able to just sit down and just model. Obviously there’s going to be a bunch of planning, which anyone who follows this will know I get just as much enjoyment out of that as I do building stuff. But at the moment I have a real Heath Robinson setup and would really like to make it a lot neater. Things like lights and mounts being permanently fixed would be good

I don’t make New Years resolutions but I would like to try out some different things. One of which is airbrushing. Of course one can go online and see a myriad of ways on how to do it but until one tries there’s no knowing. Then there is the debate of whether it is better to get better or start out with the cheapo kit and if one doesn’t click or progress then there’s no real loss. Anyway more of that story later..

So I guess there should be a wave of progress to report over the coming weeks, but then I may just get bogged down with following others with more interesting projects. Anyway what else do I have to do, well apart from all the jobs not finished in the last lock down! 🙂

Until next time…

That was 2020

Who would have thought, even eleven months ago that we would be in the grip of a global pandemic and that the freedoms and norms that we took so much for granted would have been stripped away from us. Just the simple act of going to a model railway exhibition would no longer be available to us, or standing around in a model shop shooting the breeze or purchasing that much needed supply would no longer be acceptable. Maybe some used the time constructively, but myself, I went in reverse. When we heard of people freed up from the daily routine that were flourishing at a myriad of pastimes, I seemed to recoil inwardly and struggled to motivate much activity in my hobby. I love that it has been like an old friend through time, both through the good and the bad times, but I seem to have this switch that gets flicked when seemingly the best time to make hay is now and I go in the opposite direction.

I started off the YouTube channel to really push myself to produce something, anything really rather than the endless planning and doodling on back of envelopes and generally talking about doing stuff rather than doing it. However after a solid start at the very point when I could have doubled down on it, I went into modelling hibernation. I didn’t start the channel for any self promotion reasons and it all came about due to a friend saying why didn’t I put up a video of all the footage I had taken over the years of our trips out to shows and real railways and I thought huhhh, you might have an idea.

Then the whole fifteen minute modeller idea took form and the idea was to pick a project and move toward this by little steps each day. Well at least consistently every week. Somehow, out of nowhere I decided to model in 4mm and use a gift given to me the year previously. But the ground work needed to be laid in order to get the modelling space that I had envisaged. All of this took longer than I had planned, and I still have a load of ideas that I want to put in place, but they will have to wait till next year now.

The common theme running through 2020 was starting things but not finishing. So 2021 is going to be about completion. I have a load of the projects for friends that are in varying stages of completion. But I am going to try using some new age productivity guru get things done. The irony is that when I get myself sat down at the modelling table I really enjoy it and the time flies by. So I will be taking a dose of my own message and just get something done on a regular basis toward getting first layout finished in 2021.

Some things are not on camera as I feel that its just having fun and I really enjoy getting out the Kato track and switching round some wagons in an imaginary industry. I think its important to play as ultimately I think most of use started out with a train set on the floor, maybe? and its just fun. I think this can be done with any scale or gauge and can be a few minutes or a few hours depending on you opportunity. I think it adds to the serious bit of model making.

And finally I thought I would just add mentions that have given me a joy to follow over a difficult year and really enjoy the journey both these inspiring modellers take. I think that 2021 may be a bit more of the same but I plan to enjoy my efforts and hope that I can achieve at least a bit of the plan.

So as we wave goodbye to the current year just leaves me to wish anyone following my ramblings here a peaceful and productive year ahead…

Until the next one.

Bouncing Box

In keeping with the small scale of operations at 15minmod towers, I was served up this great little video and two things sprang to mind. 1) Now that Unit would make a great little model; due to its size and uniformity. 2) at 3:13:00 there is a great little cameo layout idea. I have long thought that these little spots lend themselves to my restrictive space for modelling and the focus it allows is way more important to me. I never can resist the chance to noodle a bit and although it probably wouldn’t be that interesting in reality all these little scrappy are gathered together for patching together in a glorious multi faceted quilt of a railway.

Plan 25433989.23

So filing away for future ideas, I am lead to think that in these times of shortage, but an abundance of time it would be an ideal little 3D modelling project. Not having a 3d Printer won’t stop the fun of designing the build and yes I know there are places you can get things printed but as I try to stay focused on my current project when the mind wanders a craves sometimes different this is what I might turn to. The thought did also cross my mind about trying to create this in etched metal, as there are a number of variants of this that would lend well to filling out a sheet of nickel silver or Brass

BUT CONCENTRATE TOM!!!

Until next time..

Yard Office Build

#126 Yard Office Build

Back in October, I decided to get the mojo going again by building something, anything for the first layout that could propel me back to activity. I decided to start with something so simple I couldn’t really get it wrong. I can’t help but think of a Baldrick cunning plan at this point. But often the biggest hurdle to starting something is me! In my mind there are a million plans waiting to be materialised but very few of them have ever or will ever reach fruition. So the idea to get back to the modelling table popped into my head when I was browsing Peco’s website.

No bearing in mind I am predominantly a 2mm modeller I decided to build this in 4mm. This is due to a number of reasons. Partly because I started the foam board layout and I’m not sure why but I decided to base it around a Loco that was gifted to to me or swapped, I can’t quite remember now and that was a GWR Pannier Tank Loco and although I am not a Great Western modeller I have had vague leanings since a trip out to Pendon in my early years and spending hours looking at the Bridge scene. In fact I seem to remember being left there to watch the trains go by, I have no idea where the parents were, and that inevitable time to leave and not wanting to. It just seemed to me that this Loco would be at home in an urban location.

West London, off the beaten track somewhere. A little yard serving a local community, from a time when the rail network served the nation. This is partly due to my time living in London and always fancying building something from that location, where the railway is built up against just about everything. Also along with their family friend who I introduced to the joys of 2FS, had intentions of building something based around popular in the East End of London.Which was served by both the GWR, LMS and LNER. However that’s a whole other story.

So coming back to the original point of this post, and the reason to build the yard office, I settled on this as a simple structure that could be easily modified to the needs of the space that I was going to build. This building was he really there to oversee traffic in and out of the yard and to make sure no funny business went on. I haven’t messed around with the materials used. It is mainly to try out some techniques, and use in a way that gives more detail to it. I have also decided to build three iterations because I want to use different materials and techniques. I started out with the intent of using only what I had around me, this being food packaging, which is freely available. I simulated a board siding in order not to have to use a brick papers or other materials and also because I liked the look and this fitted in more to the location. The next iterations will be using that card and paper, and then I will return to the final build with the things I’ve learnt from building the previous versions and will be the one that goes on the layout.

The process of colouring was interesting. I knew from past experience with colour matching in the digital world that a lot of it is subjective to the time of day and the conditions that one is painting and also to what the viewer sees. Also I think it must’ve been decades since I last broke out paints and mixed up colours. it’s funny how wide the knowledge we have as modellers is for all the different mediums of this hobby. With the wonders of the internet one can get very detailed information on liveries etc, but in order not to get distracted and trying to achieve perfection I deliberately made myself just do it. I knew that this was purely a test and that there was no pressure for it to impress, me or others, and that freed up the progress. I think by the third one i will not only have a model I’m pleased with but will have got chops up to speed again.

I’ll leave you with a few pics from the build, and as I finish up this post I will be settling down to cutting out the next basic carcass on the way to another opportunity to learn those rusty skills.

Until next time..

Two Brains

#125 Mini DIY DCC

The 2FS mag came through the letterbox the other day. In it is an interesting article on amongst other things DIY DCC. I have rather been out of the loop with DCC as I have not had a layout to run it on and also I’ve not been in a club environment for a long time where they have been using it on a group layout. It struck me about this particular article was the simplicity of the set up, and the flexibility of it. One forgets that often we are bound in to proprietary systems to keep u buying additions or because they offer something that other manufacturers don’t.

Yes I know I can hear the people saying that it’s not that easy and that you can’t just plug a play. But let’s face it, if you have the bent to be interested in the electronic to that point you maybe able to fathom the depths of the diy digital. The fact that there is so much open source out there is testament to the back room hackers want to do something differently.

I for one fully support this and will be mashing up my Arduino and Raspberry Pi and teaching myself some programming stuff to control my little world, and with technology being so cheap, there’s never been a better time to do it!

There’s also information available at the DCCwiki

Until next time..

Browny biege-y chocolatey

#124 GWR Colours

In pondering the colour of the Yard Office I am building, I have been wrestling with the locations that I could draw on. I initially settled on the Scottish region light blue, only really because I like the colour. But the more I thought about it I realised that I couldn’t bring myself to anger the gods of fidelity so relocated my intentions to the west of London and so therefore in God’s Wonderful Railway (Great Western Railway, to the uninitiated)

I then came across this site with its mine of knowledge on Stone 1, Stone 2 etc. Now that I have the location I have no choice but to go chocolate and cream!