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