Sunday 18 May 2014

Report of May 2014 Meeting

Another rather sparsely attended meeting - which we are blaming on unseasonably warm weather and a clash with ExpoEM at Bracknell.

Richard brought along some driving wheels that he had remounted onto extended axles for a forthcoming outside-framed locomotive, together with a heavily modified J50, and a Deltic Prototype awaiting re-wheeling.

Justin had an almost-finished Turnout Operating Unit (sorry no photos), and a couple of books with a variety of possible layout plans (more later).

I had intended to build some coaching stock and continue searching for a satisfactory way to reproduce the early panelled GWR livery, but events had conspired to frustrate this (broken soldering iron) so I had switched to plan B - scratchbuilding a variety of wagon bodies. These were mostly of North Staffordshire Railway origin, together with a couple of LNWR cattle wagons. Whilst bodies were largely complete, underframes were unfinished (and therefore not on display) - the excuse for procrastination being uncertainty about how to produce appropriate axle boxes.

I had also picked up a selection of 3D printed GWR wagon bodies from Ian Smith at the recent Epsom and Ewell show, one of which was almost finished (another day needed in the paint shop). There followed some discussion on how to tackle imperfections in the finish of 3D printed material.

Most of the meeting was spent discussing the proposal to build a small "club" layout - not to be confused with Copenhagen Fields. Whilst it would be useful to have input from other group members, the consensus was favourable, and it is intended to come up with some concrete proposals for the September meeting.

The current proposal is to have a small layout (no more than 8 ft x 2 ft) representing a freelance "London Docks" scene. Additional feature requests include the following (though it may not be feasible to include them all):
Potential to extend the layout - probably adding extra "modules" on the end
Interchangeable buildings to allow variety - e.g. to transplant the layout to Manchester or the Potteries.
Probably initially build for DC operation, but allow for the possibility to convert to DCC.

Not forgetting - some evidence that the long-awaited Dean Goods body kit from Nick Tilston is finally available (mostly), so might be making an appearance on Lambourn sometime in the future.


Tuesday 18 March 2014

Report of March Meeting

As there was no pre-arranged subject, this became another "show and tell" session - though not everybody had brought along something suitable.

I continued my theme of small horse-drawn road vehicles from the previous meeting, with a wooden farmer's cart this time - made from real wood (though I was unconvinced by a wooden axle, and substituted a piece of paper-clip). I also brought a longer-term project, station buildings - with an extensive set of plans, and parts in various stages of completion, which generated some useful(?) suggestions of how it should have been done...

Justin brought along a mostly-completed two car multiple unit, of etched brass with resin roof. The main unfinished part being motorising it - prompting a discussion of how best to adapt the drive system of a Dapol 101 to fit.

Gareth had a selection of projects to display.

There was an almost-finished Jinty, using the Association replacement chassis, and extensively packed with lead to produce a surprisingly heavy little locomotive.

Still at the "How do I do the rest of it?" stage was the body of a 3-D printed birdcage-style North London Railway brake van from Etched Pixels (Alan Cox). It is designed for N Gauge modellers, intended to fit on a Peco 10 foot wheelbase wagon chassis.

Also a mostly-finished Association LNWR van, some buffers, and various converted proprietary wagons.

Perhaps the most interesting was the proposed construction of an American 0-4-0 tender locomotive of 1846. Not much to show as yet, other than driving wheels - two 8-spoke wheels (converted from 16-spoke originals), and two 12-spoke wheels....

The latter part of the meeting developed into a discussion about the possibility of having a small layout for the group to work on. 

Richard Wilson offered his “Maxstoke” layout, but it wasn't obvious how to handle access to this layout as he lives well away from London. This is a small station on a single-track Midland Railway line between Birmingham and Derby, set around 1910 to 1920. There was much discussion about the possible traffic patterns – with the centenary of the Great War bringing out some special commemorative packs, ambulance trains, munition trains, and tank trains were mentioned as possibilities.

Gareth took us down to see the MRC EM layout “Empire Mills”, which is broadly similar to Highbury Colliery in design, with the thought that in 2mm it would be a fairly manageable size (about 6 feet long including fiddle yard, and about 18 inches deep). By having a goods-only shunting plank it could be made relatively independent of area and era, and therefore potentially of interest to all.

The first step is to ascertain whether there is enough interest among the members of the group to proceed any further.

The next step (if we go ahead) is to try to find a suitable relationship with MRC to have access to the MRC premises whilst keeping the project separate from Copenhagen Fields – or of course to find suitable premises elsewhere...

Subsequently, or perhaps simultaneously, we need to try to reach agreement on the layout itself.

Monday 20 January 2014

Report of the January Meeting - Show and Tell

About six members had recovered sufficiently from Christmas and New Year festivities to reach Keen House for the meeting. The number is a bit unclear because it was held in the main hall, rather than in the library where previous meetings had taken place, and various passing MRC members dropped in to chat and admire the models.

Richard Wilson brought along a few locomotives, including his GWR small prairie which had won one of the prizes at the recent 2mm AGM, and a Midland 2-4-0 at an early stage of building. He also brought his test-track-in-a-snooker case, to demonstrate them in action (which unfortunately disclosed one of his models was dead).

Mark Fielder brought a selection of narrow gauge (6 mm) models, and a rather radical rebuild of a Fleetline traction engine model, which was now rail-worthy, powered by a van built on a Nigel Lawton drive unit. His circular demonstration/test track was about a foot across, making it almost as portable as Richard's.

I brought along a selection of my items - these being relatively close to completion, unlike most of mine which seem to stall at the "half-finished" stage:

"Before" and "After" of Mathieson POW conversions
A GWR 4-plank open with a plank load (which resulted in the usual discussion of the mysteries of the GWR freight red livery), with some imitation cast plates for number and GWR
Conversion of the Parkside Dundas 20 ton "Pole" coal wagon to an earlier loco coal version

Some Shire Scenes horse-drawn carts (one of which was still suffering after effects of heavy mangling in transit)
A few American Civil war civilian people masquerading as British Edwardian passengers - which sparked some interesting discussion on how successful the modifications had been in making the clothes more appropriate.

Dates were set for the rest of the year - continuing with third Sunday of odd months - and some topics for future meetings were suggested and generally agreed, but haven't yet been matched with the relevant dates.

Next formal meeting will be Sunday 16th March, at the usual time and place, but Richard Wilson will be exhibiting Lambourn at Alexandra Palace the following weekend, so it's quite possible an informal meeting or two will convene there.

Let me take the New Year as an opportunity to repeat this:
"An invitation is extended to members in the London area to come along to the next and subsequent meetings. Even if the listed topic doesn't interest you, there will probably be enough topic drift during the meeting to cover other areas that are more relevant."

David Walley

Monday 30 December 2013

January 2014 Meeting

I hope everyone has had a good Christmas, and wish all a very happy New Year.
The next group meeting is scheduled for January 19th at Keen House, from 2pm to around 5pm. The meeting will be a general 'Show and Tell' session, where we can all show off our work from the last year, or simply re-set the modelling enthusiasm following the festivities.

The group needs to start to formalise our relationship with Keen House, and at this meeting we should be able to set a diary for 2014, so that we can plan our meetings, so please bring diaries and ideas for future meeting topics.

I hope to see you there.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Report of the November MRC Open Day

The November 17th meeting was replaced by an MRC Open Day, for both 2mm Fine Scale and N Gauge modellers.

 Most of the basement was filled by Copenhagen Fields, and the surrounding crowd of spectators.

Tucked away in one corner was Lambourn, a 2FS layout which hadn't been seen for many a year, being operated by Richard Wilson and Richard Brummitt.

On the ground floor the new MRC N gauge layout Lacey Dale was on display, in its part-finished state.

Upstairs was Llangerisech, Nigel Ashton's 2FS layout. In its current incarnation it is basically running re-wheeled proprietary N gauge stock, representing the 1970s.

 As a complete contrast, next to it Stewart Hine was displaying some of his stock, handbuilt (including most of the motors) GWR models, some of them over 50 years old.

On the other side was Jerry Clifford, demonstrating some of his models. Also present were the 2mm Association Central Shop, and an N Gauge Society stall.

Expectations were for "somewhere between 50 and 500 visitors". I think the actual turnout was towards the lower end - about a hundred.

From my perspective it was an enjoyable day - the chance to help run Llangerisech, to see a couple of other interesting layouts, chat to other modellers, and to spend some money at the shop.

Friday 18 October 2013

2mm/N Gauge open day

It's just a month now to the open day at Keen House  (sunday17th November)
Keen House will be open from 10:00 to around 16:30.

On display will be the MRC' s acclaimed layout 'Copenhagen Fields', Llangeresich, and Lambourn in 2mm fine scale,  'Lacey Dale' which is the MRC's new N gauge layout, and a couple of junior , demonstrating their N gauge layout.

It is hoped that we will have a retrospective display of Stewart Hine's models as well

there will be an official attendance from the N Gauge Society, in the form of a demonstration stand, and (for 2mm Association members) the travelling shop will be available.

I have to remind everyone that 'MRC Club Rooms KEEN HOUSE are not fully accessible for some disabled persons as there are steps & stairs to all areas'' .

There will be a small door entry fee of £3.00  ( accompanied under 16's get in free) to cover costs for insurance etc. Parking is restricted, so travel by  public transport would be a good idea, and will give you an opportunity to see the Newly opened King Cross Square, and inspect the original Cubitt entrance to to the station itself.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Report of the September Meeting - Trackwork

Only three hardy (or foolhardy) souls fought their way through the miserable weather to this meeting - a rather disappointing turnout, but we knew that some of the regulars had clashes with other commitments.

We waited until a bit past the scheduled start, in the hope that latecomers would arrive, but then Richard Wilson dived into a demonstration of Templot. Instead of the expected "Here is how to draw a turnout" approach, he started with "Here is my Templot representation of Birmingham Moor Street Station". Having worked on the rebuilding a few years ago, he had access to a full set of site plans, and had previously used Templot to generate a trackplan that closely matched the original.

He then dropped to a more realistic level of presentation, starting with a single turnout, extending track in both directions along the main line, adding another turnout to create a crossover, adjusting curvatures, saving various stages as new templates.

After a break for refreshments, we moved on to discussion of  practical trackbuilding. Unfortunately most of Richard's jigs had apparently been mislaid during his escape from a waterlogged Traction Engine Rally at Bedford the previous night, but I was able to provide a range of examples (all in pristine condition). The main part of the demonstration followed on from the Templot start - put double-sided tape onto a printed Templot turnout, add sleepers cut to appropriate lengths, then chairplates and appropriate rails.

Time didn't permit the boring details of soldering the bits together, so a Blue Peter approach was adopted - "Here's some I finished earlier", including two or three turnouts and a double-slip, now all surplus to requirements on Copenhagen Fields.

There was also some discussion and demonstration of alternative approaches - using Association base and templates for PCB sleeper-based turnout, and using milled bases for Easitrac-type turnouts. We finished with a brief discussion of tiebars/TOUs, with the moving sleeper method being recommended.

Plans for the near future:
Next meeting, Sunday 17 November, has been replaced by an MRC Open Day, 2FS and N gauge, with all members of the London Group invited to come along and "play trains" for a while. Copenhagen Fields, Lambourn, Llangerisech and the Central Shop should all be present.

Sunday 19 January will thus be the next conventional meeting. Provisionally scheduled as a "Show and Tell" session - bring along your current projects to talk about them, or just have a general chat.


PS Apologies - uploaded photos weren't displaying earlier. I think the problem is solved now - they don't do justice to the examples of trackwork on display, but they are (I hope) better than nothing.