THE BRYMSTON RR -Episode 2 (belatedly)

Well, I don’t know what to say. More than a year since I added anything to the layout theme here on the blog. Truth is not a lot has happened but I didn’t even finish the bringing things up to date as of  a year last February.

I’d better put that right, at least with the catch up to where we were on the forums with Episode 2.

OK, so having identified where the module is going to go there was a small problem. It was a flat surface, so it was naturally covered in Junk. A major tidy up was required to prepare for construction.

For the scenic part of the layout/diorama/module I ordered a 152cm x 45cm Scenic/photo plank kit from Tim Horn Baseboards. The attraction of this was that it meant it came with both an back board and a valance/frame or whatever you call it. This would mean that it would create a frame that supported lighting effects for the layout but it would also frame the view out of the surrounding view of my cluttered work room.

I could already see a potential issue with having a layout which presented a large flat surface just as you walked in the room carrying something you needed to put down. I had a plan for this but I still haven’t enacted it and its since come back to bite me as you’ll see in following episodes. Continue reading

NG North – A bit more info

Thank you to those that have wished me well and get well soon. I actually feel fine apart from an irritating cough that is more habit than anything else. However, having been laid low enough that the cellulitis in my dodgy leg that hasn’t bothered me for five years flared up and needed butch antibiotics to sort (I was one day off being sent to hospital for antibiotics on draught) I am a feeling a bit vulnerable and I have had quite enough snot, phlegm and coughing myself inside out for this winter and this was just the bog standard flu!

This wasn’t what tipped my final decision though. If you have seem Paul Holmes’s apology for absence for his Hulme End Leek & Manifold Layout on Facebook it makes pretty sobering reading. Here’s an extract …..

I was due to stay with our daughter, a haematologist. They had planned for me to change clothes, shower and decontaminate the car if I had returned to their house.

Her case load obviously includes patients who are immunocompromised through leukaemia and lymphoma.

My personal appraisal of the situation, as a retired doctor, is that the current response from our government is shallow, belated and inadequate. This is not the post to expand further on that.

I know that everyone is stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one and hope that the show succeeds despite the current situation.

Those of you that know me from shows and events with steam engines will know my other half, Annie. Not quite as extreme as a haematologist but she works at St Leonards Hospice here in York in the fundraising team, not medical, but she came home last night full of how she’s spent her day cancelling fund raising events and preparing to cancel others whilst the hospice was putting steps in place to slow or delay the infection getting into the hospice. That is why they are cancelling events that promote a gathering of people and looking at measures to limit visiting or to segregate more within the hospice. One of the scenarios they explained when asking staff to think very carefully was to consider who and where they mixed  with.  Me going to NG North and catching something is one thing, i’d take my chances, but I could get it, pass it on to Annie who took it to work before either of us knew anything about it.  That made my decision, whilst uncomfortable, a lot easier.

One last point I would make as to how it was a difficult decision was that I know that hospices rely on fundraising. I help with the fundraising for St Leonards Hospice which has to raise £6 Million a year to support the services it offers. Narrow Gauge North massively supports Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice so the consequences of the attendance at the show being poor can be far reaching.  I would ask you to think of this and if someone sticks a collecting pot under your nose please give what you can spare, doesn’t even matter which charity really, they are all going to be in the same boat when it comes to reduced income from fund raising.

Narrow Gauge North 2020

It is with great reluctance and a heavy heart that I have decided that EDM Models won’t be attending Narrow Gauge North on Saturday.

Having had a bad dose of bog standard flu recently, which I am still getting over, it’s had the effect of allowing normally dormant underlying conditions to flare up that have taken strong antibiotics to beat back into submission. At the moment my lungs are still below par, and I have an irritating cough.

Today’s advice to isolate if you have a cough means that as well as being at risk, I would be constantly explaining it’s not “that” cough.

In addition, my other half, Annie, works at St Leonard’s Hospice where they have been asked to take extra precautions and are taking steps to mitigate the risk of importing the disease to vulnerable patients. It doesn’t seem right to expose myself to risk that I could pass on.

All that adds up to the decision not to attend being the right one even if it doesn’t sit well with me. I have had a long conversation with the organisers this evening to arrive at this decision and I wish them well for the day. Plagues and pestilence permitting we’ll be at the 2021 show.

By way of a compensation to us not being at the show order from our website on the 14th and use the code


in the box for coupon code at the checkout and your order will ship free

  • Cant be used with other coupons
  • Applies to UK orders only

When an up sell backfires

Over one of my modelling benches I have an angle poise magnifier with built in lamp. It’s a little unusual being a larger format than most with a larger lens and wider coverage lamp. It’s a specialist crafters item and I think I bought it at a show. Can’t be sure as its been there awhile.

A short while ago it all went a bit dull on the bench as the lamp failed. The light was a square format compact fluorescent and you could see the ends of the tube had the traditional burnt ends of a failed tube.

As it helpfully had the lamp type on the label and the shop I got it from web address was there too I thought I’d show a bit of loyalty and whizzed off an e-mail to see if they had replacement tubes.

This is where is went a bit wonky.

The reply was “we’ve got the tubes” but then quickly skirted over that to sing the virtues of LED lit magnifiers and trying to sell me a completely new unit. Even went as far as offering a previous customer discount.  A second e-mail trying to get a new tube got more LED sell and no tube.

I didn’t want a new lamp as its sort of built into my workbench, but it turns out he was right LED’s work a treat!

After a bit of a rummage I found the remnants of an “LED’s on a roll” set that I had bought to do my layout wiring.

I stripped the lamp head down and then discovered a that the tube had clearly got a bit hot as it died. With the tube removed and the electronics for it stripped out I fitted four straight strips of LED tape in roughly where the tube had been. These were wired up in parallel on the marked connection points and wired back to the switch and a home made terminal. After a quick test the diffuser and head were reassembled.

The mains flex up the arm was re-purposed and connected to the LED’s at one end and the low voltage plug top power supply at the other.  This was fun as the spring loading in the arms without the weight of the head to counterbalance is a but like wrestling an angry snake whilst threading the wires.

Back on the bench it was time for the moment of truth.

LED’s off

LED’s on

Turns out he was right LED’s are better and this cost nowt as it used bits I already had.


North West Narrow Gauge Show – There was Cake

Last Saturday was the first Narrow Gauge North West Show at Rainford near St Helens. A number of matters arose out of the day worth dealing with simply: –

  • I knew the battery on my Volvo Estate lived under the floor in back.
  • I also acknowledge that the only time access to either it or the spare wheel is required is when its fully loaded.
  • The battery is fine. Having been ill I just hadn’t driven it far enough to recover from the cold starts. It’s a diesel so the injector heaters come on every time you start it in the cold, and it has got electric everything, seats, demisting etc which it tends to assume you want on. A few hours on charge and a thrash round York ring road sorted it for the trip and Rainford and back has sorted it.
  • Storm Dennis didn’t really affect us. The drive there across the M62 had a bit of drizzle and the trip back had more rain and it was a bit breezy on the high bits of the M62.

The show itself was a splendid affair and reasonably well attended given that the news & weather forecasts were predicting the apocalypse. The only photo I have is a borrowed one of the splendid arrays of cake on offer. The bacon butties were excellent too.

I only managed a quick look round myself but I was impressed with the layouts. I did get waylaid for a fairly long gossip with Robin at Tonys Forest whilst we discussed 0-14 track, chassis and loco designs whilst watching Robins 0-14 version of our Fletcher Jennings kit running on the layout.

To get serious for a moment. Stan and his team are to be applauded for promoting a Narrow Gauge Exhibition and I will be doing what I can to support their efforts.  In the NG circle here in the UK used to have a decent number of specialist NG shows where spread around both the calendar and country. What that meant was that you could get a regular fix if you were prepared to travel, there would be one close(ish) to you if you weren’t and that there was a regular shopping opportunity for your specialist narrow gauge essentials.

In recent times we have lost narrow gauge shows at Chiltern, Telford, NG South West(Shepton), ExpoNG(Swanley), SWING (Littlehampton). Whilst these have all stopped for understandable reasons it is great to see a new one happening.  To highlight two classics from that list. We had ExpoNG in October and NG Southwest in February. Both excellent specialist narrow gauge shows roughly four months apart at which you could pretty much count on their being some excellent layouts and all the narrow gauge specialist traders. As a trader you could count on seeing the usual faces at all of them. Understandably, NG Southwest got to a landmark show, their 25th, and went out with a bang having decided it was better to end on a high as the organisers all got older. Now ExpoNG are missing this year due to their usual venue being “improved” with a bulldozer.

I suspect exhibitions might be a subject we return to but for now its time for a bit of therapeutic modelling


A cunning plan – thwarted

So, I had this bright idea. Given that a) I have been ill for a couple of weeks and am still a bit lacking in energy and b) Storm Dennis the Menace is imminent and c) EDM Models is at a show tomorrow the bright idea was that I would make an early start on loading the car so that i) I could take my time packing stuff and putting it in the car and ii) I’d get it done before the weather turned foul.

Partly Loaded Volvo

Mission mostly accomplished. Car full, fuller than in this library photo, and its only just started spiting with rain. Just a couple of things to pack tonight to add to the load and stupid O’clock in the morning. Last job was to move the car down the drive ready for the off. (the last storm had a couple of ridge tiles off so I wanted to move it away from the fall out zone in case Denis got started early.

In the car, turn the key, WRrrrrr_____   Nothing! Battery Flat!  Current theory is that because I have been ill I have only gone very short distances a couple of times in the car and that, because its been cold, its had the injector heaters on before starting. Out with the battery charger.

Anyone want to hazard a guess at where the battery is in a Volvo Estate?


Well, we’re a bit rubbish……

Well, we’re a bit rubbish……

……… this post should have been full of pictures showing what a great time we had at the Trent Valley Group open day. Just one slight problem – no one took any!

Don’t get me wrong, it was a great day. There were at least seven layouts, several demonstrations, some trade and a copious amounts of tea and coffee were drunk, Bacon Butties and Cake consumed. The day just whizzed past and everyone forgot to take any pictures until it was too late. I even took my posh camera but forgot to use it.


A sad part of the day was it was the first open day we’ve done since we lost our mate, co conspirator and prolific modeller Tim Allsopp. Annoyingly, he was a prolific taker of things to bits then starting yet another new project. He left boxes and boxes of dismantled locos, part done projects, bits and bobs, parts, supplies and a mass of books.

It fell to us in the Trent Valley Group to re-home this lot. I should add that there was also a load of parts for our new layout and many completed locos. The building supplies, appropriate completed models and stores items have been retained for use on the new Henmore Dale layout that will arise once we finish sorting this lot out.

We often worked together on many of the projects and therefore had a vested interest in them so of the items not retained for the layout we all chose something we worked on together as a memorial, although most of us will have to finish them first!

One feature of the day was that all the rest of Tim’s stash was for sale, and there was lots of it. At least ten boxes of books, two bits of an 0-16.5 layout and lord knows how many locos and coaches in various states of undress. There were some gems, like boxes of Porters that he’d acquired `just in case’ but there was also a lot of tat that we thought we might the lumbered with. The results surprised and pleased us in two ways: –

  1. One of Tim’s projects was an 0-42 (or something like that) model of a Portage Railway sold as a complete package of boards, stock, projects, books and research to someone wanting to complete it. This was more important to us than any monetary value it might have had.
  2. Whilst prepared to accept offers of “I’ll take it away” for some of the items, we hoped to raise a few hundred quid but still have a load left that was, in all honesty, going in the bin. What actually happened was we raised around £2k and had very little to take home. In line with Tim’s and our wishes that money will be a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support.


I may well feature some of the treasure that I inherited in future blogs but for now I’ll just leave you with this. It’s not what it at first seems.






To get there I wouldn’t have started from here!

First post of the New Year and I’ve come over all philosophical with nonsense like “if I knew what I know now I wouldn’t have bothered” and “if I were going there, I wouldn’t have started from here”.

What’s brought this on? Bloody Heljan 009 Manning Wardle’s that’s what.

They have dominated my Christmas and whilst I started with the view that they were just difficult to install sound in because no provision was made for sound I have now developed a nervous twitch at just the sight of one and become convinced that someone set out to deliberately frustrate the attempt.

I’ve been up a number of blind alleys trying to sort this install out with all the features I want which includes the sound decoder, speaker and keep alive.

I am writing this having achieved a partial victory in my quest. As I type TAW is going round and round my test oval being noisy on DC having previously done all its tricks on DCC. All I have got to do now is get the body back on which may be easier said than done.

Why is it so difficult? The first thing I’d say is that they are unnecessarily fragile. Bits drop of just as you look at them and they have a reputation for running problems, poor pickups, valve gear that falls off, pony trucks that hate point work and bits of body detail that just drop off. Continue reading

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

Well, this saga started simply enough. I started to build a 7mm scale NGG16 from a Backwoods Miniatures kit. It didn’t take long before it started to annoy me and before I started modifying it.

The things that annoyed me were that it wasn’t a particular NGG16, it was trying to be all of them whilst being none of them. It also suffered big time from having been designed for 009 with hand drawn artwork to 8mm scale reduced to 4mm. When hand drawn artwork was still a thing the idea was that you drew it to something like 6 times full size and then photo reduced this to the size you wanted. The idea of this was that it reduced down your wiggly lines to the point where you can’t see the wiggles. Also a pencil doesn’t do cut and paste which is a bit of a bummer where there’s lots of repetition. Reduction from 8mm scale to 7mm scale doesn’t do it. Also details that look OK in 009 don’t cut it in 0-16.5. Continue reading

A bit of a Spotter

Yes, it’s true.  I’d probably describe it as an interest in all things engineering as you will just as easily find me getting interested in ships (Navy in particular), trains or aeroplanes.

On this occasion its planes, specifically Tucanos and, more specifically RAF Linton on Ouse.

Now I’ll admit that despite living in York for many years, apart from seeing the road signs, I knew little of RAF Linton on Ouse and never made the diversion off the main roads to investigate.

That changed in a typically sideways move. A friend of Annie’s was Lord Mayor of York and as part of the charitable stuff they did there was a “good grub” club. We had a Ghurka curry night at Imphal Barracks in York and then a dinner in the mess at RAF Linton on Ouse in the RAF centenary year. This evening featured drinks in the officers mess, our own flying display by the Tucanos and then insights in the RAF and Linton on Ouse’s history during dinner.

This all got me interested and I got involved with the `spotters’ group. Despite the slightly derogatory title this group is acknowledged and supported by the base and the staff. It has resulted in some fantastic opportunities.

One was a display by the Red Arrows in April.  The display at Linton was something of a tradition as the first training display they do away from their base at RAF Scampton.  As their first display away from base it was a bit ragged, they were a man down and the weather meant it was the flat low altitude display.

Another  splendid  night was being invited on to the base when one of the courses was doing night flying and getting right on the flight line and finishing in the control tower

The base is home to 72 Squadron  which teaches basic fast-jet training on the Tucano T1

You might have noticed a bit of a past tense in some of the above. RAF Linton on Ouse is to close. Tucano’s get retired and fast jet training moves to RAF Valley using Beechcraft Texans.

Why am I going on about it now? Because the Tucano T1 goes out of service on Friday with the graduation of the last course taught on it. Grads usually include some formation flying and often some visiting aircraft so Friday would be a good day to go to Linton but I can’t – the weather forecast is poor anyway.  However, today, Wednesday 23rd October 2019 was practice day for the formation flying and the weather was superb.

I had loads I should have been doing today but its all still there whilst the Tucanos won’t be. When I arrived there were 14 Tucano and 4 Tutors on the flightline. ZF448, the anniversary liveried one went off solo early on. At 10:30 ten Tucanos started up, taxied out and took off.  Nine were the formation and the tenth, the boss I think, was flying around observing (and from his twitter – photographing).  As a nine they flew a number of circuits before splitting into a four and a five. The four, speculating that this was the four graduates, did some more formation stuff before flying directly towards us and performing a break in all directions.   They then joined up for another circuit before breaking into a landing pattern. The five then did some flybys before breaking to land. Lastly the boss landed. The last two in got the water salute from the base fire service.


Unless there is some magic reprieve or a disaster cancelling ExpoNG I think that was my last Tucano photo excursion and without the Tucs there isn’t going to be much to see at Linton until it closes next year