Brymston RR – #14 – Realisations

There hasn’t been much work done at all on the Brymston RR in recent weeks. Once New Year was out of the way work imposed itself once more followed by the great vinyl floor disaster that banished me from the model room. Sorting the vinyl floor disaster took a lot longer to sort than it should have with my bad leg restricting the time I could tolerate crawling around on the floor.

Whilst banished though there have been a couple of “realisation” moments.

First was about the next bit of the layout, more on that in a moment.

The second thing came from watching ancient TV and several episodes of Bob Ross painting lessons.

Watching this made me think

  1. Some of those mountains would look good as the backdrop
  2. Bugger, I’m going to have paint them and I’m no artist
  3. Doing it after the layout is built is going to be a pain
  4. I’d better at least prep for it.

The layout board, as it was until about an hour ago, was a mish mash of surfaces of the bare wood. I had thought that I would put some coating on it as a seal as the scenery is going to involve slopping quite a bit of water about.

Watching Bob made me realise that a primer would be needed as a basis for painting anything arty.

All the wood finish has now had one coat of wood primer on it and it will get a second coat when it has dried.

A Dilemma Moment:  Anyone want to volunteer to paint the backdrop? I have so much to do with the business that I get little time for the layout as it is so do I really have the time to learn to paint backdrops? I know from past experience I am wired up for engineering and technical stuff and have had an “arty” bypass.


If it does come to pass that I fail to find an acceptable fudge and I try painting I do have two layout length pieces of ply that the Perspex front came in as a practice `canvas’


OOH, a cheat: I’m always up for a cheat. This one might be worth a punt. A quick Google reveals ID backscenes with a view of the Rockies!  


Says its for OO but using it in 7mm just means “far away”  doesn’t it (cue – Father Ted clip)



Second Realisation – One Board is Not Enough

Extension Space

When I set out to do the layout as modules I started with module one knowing that it would need at least one more board to provide a fiddle yard but reasoned that could wait. Now the first board has a home a couple of things became apparent: –

  • The fiddle yard was going to be very short or it would have to turn a corner first and,
  • Planning the track on board one I was going to need some idea of what goes on board 2
  • With what I was thinking for board 2 no commercial standard baseboard was going to do.
  • A tidy up was needed!

Where Module 1 sits in the model room its end points at a wall with about 800mm between it and the wall. Option 1 was for a traverser or cassette based fiddle yard which would have worked as, at most it’ll be a loco and a couple of wagons, but the location would cause storage problems. It’s be pretty much in the doorway with no where to put modules down. Option 2 was to use the module to turn the line through 90 degrees which opens up all sorts of other opportunities beyond (and defers a fiddle yard decision)

Some doodling with CAD came up with this

It follows the idea of the Tim Horn baseboard that forms module one and continues the presentation format. It has a dropped front section and a more open deck as I envisage the line being on an embankment and crossing a small bridge before entering a cutting that deepens to a tunnel to exit the scene.

The high level section at the rear allows the high level track to cross from board one. This may yet get cut back to increase the openness of the lower track.

This has all been designed in 3D CAD.

It’s very nearly as I want it. When its finally done I have a macro that spits out a 2D version of each part recognising the material thickness as the 3rd D and discarding it. These flat 2D files will then go to the laser cutter to be zapped.

The laser firm I use are OK on price once you get above their minimum order level so I may progress board 3 and some stuff I need for the garden railway before I place the order. Cash flow just now has been too much ebb and not enough flow so far this month so it may have to wait a bit.

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Sad News and Grim times all round.

Well, it has been a weird old start to the year.

Sad News

First comes the sad news that the model railway fraternity have lost a stalwart with Covid19 claiming Graham Jones. That name probably won’t mean a lot to most, but his business might. Northampton Model Railway supplies, or NMRS for short, supplied a lot of detail parts and kits in a variety of scales but mostly in 0.  Lots of other kits out there by other manufacturers included NMRS parts or had parts cast for them because Graham was a master of the whitemetal casting art.

I last spoke to Graham in November when he was his usual buoyant self just getting back to producing stuff after a cataract operation. Apparently, he got Covid19 and ended up in hospital and passed away on 16th January.  He leaves a partner Eve.

He was another one man band but there are some friends sorting out his business affairs. It will affect some of my kits as Graham cast the whitemetal parts for my Agenoria range of loco kits.

Brexit – The gift that keeps giving.

There seems to be no end to the delights this is bringing. For a small business like mine its having affects that neither our Government nor the EU will give a damn about but it’s a big thing for me.

  • First delight is a supplier of parts that get used in my kits based in Germany has declined to supply my parts with “we no longer ship to the UK because of the new VAT rules”.
  • Second is 29 days into this debacle I’ve not had a single order from an EU customer instead of the usual, approx. 15% of my business.
  • A customer trying to return something with the couriers trying to charge VAT in both directions, plus their ransom (fee) when he used to pay nothing.

Hopefully someone will come up with a plan but how many of will still have a business when they do may not be many

Well, that was all a bit glum so I’ll leave this post there and do another more cheerful one soon.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I couldn’t come up with a more imaginative title for the first post of 2021. Here we are 17 days in and 19 days since the last post so from the blog it looks like nothing has been happening. This isn’t true, the only thing that hasn’t been happening is me writing this blog.

Quite a few things have been progressing whilst a few others have been stymied by a bit of maintenance that is taking way too long.

Item one has been the production of some silver soldered vee’s for a friend & customer. They were produced using the jigs and resistance soldering techniques as described in this blog post

When I did some for my own layout in that blog post I was just keen to sort out something I could use and too see if the resistance soldering method worked with silver solder.

This time round I have put a bit of effort in to sorting the repeatability of cutting, filing and soldering to get consistency with the end product.

Next up was a long awaited package from Iain at San Pareil Investment Casting that Christmas & New Year delayed .

These are cast nickel silver rods and fly cranks to upgrade the Bachmann 0n30 Gas Mechanical. These along with some final drive gears made in brass eliminate all the Bachmann plastic parts that are prone to splitting. I also plan a re-motor and sound install.

This is a little project that has been simmering because I have three of these locos all with issues. I am not sure this will become a commercial option as, whilst it will make a super running loco that’s a bit different to the bog standard product I doubt the final price will be a commercially acceptable one.

The last product and the other shiny thing out of the back were these castings in Nickel Silver & Brass.

The rods are in Nickel Silver whilst the cranks are in brass.

The NS has a more unpredictable shrinkage than the brass on a component where accuracy is required for the rod centres. These will be jig drilled on a fixture for my milling machine that I have got part built.

These parts are for my project to fit new cranks and rods to the Bachmann Whitcomb Bo-Bo diesel described here

Now, the thorn in my side. (or pain in the knee). Twenty odd years ago when we extended the house and I won the large would be bedroom as my model room it was floored with a big roll of vinyl flooring which, to be fair, has lasted well. In the same room where I now have three work areas (each for different tasks) I also have an office chair of the sort on castors. What has been obvious for awhile is that the people putting the floor down only taped it to the chipboard in a few places and along the join down the centre of the room.  The chair has rolled ridges into the floor and then it pulled the join down the centre up and turned it into a trip hazard.

I am currently gluing the floor down with a vinyl adhesive, rolling out the ridges and, in places heating it with a heat gun to make it pliable.  There are two problems with this. The first is that, were this a bedroom, you’d shift all the furniture and do it in one. Its not. My layout and works stuff is built in on top of the vinyl. The result is musical junk for the bits that can move whilst working up to the fixed items.  The second problem is that my wonky leg really limits the time I can spend on my knees so it has been a very slow process.

It is now nearly done and for the duration its made it virtually impossible to get any modelling done. In the best tradition of these things its nearly done but with the last thing I have to move it will get significantly worse before it gets better!

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