Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Last night I couldn’t sleep… so, I did what anyone would do, I started on the ‘landscaping’ of Boston Lodge. I started by making the sides of the poly sheet look like it had been built up, so its at roughly 45 degree angle towards the baseboard. I also added a few pieces of plasticard with a pattern of a wall on it to the sides to make it look a bit more realistic. I then went back to bed (and slept like a log!).

Today I then decided to get a bit of progress done on the track, I soldered most of it together, the only pieces that isn’t soldered is the carriage/P.W stock shelter. I've also tried to connect a point to a lever frame i got from a friend, i've only installed the system for 1 point but might use it to do all of them. (can be seen in the top picture [the orange bit]

Also I’ve bought the Parkside Dundas F.R ‘bug boxes’ from harbour station (then went to Wilkinson’s to buy the quick-dry spray enamel paint). I then built two, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to turn the third into a tool van for the P.W trains or a bike carriage (F.R style, not the converted B wagon on the WHR). I then decided to build it, but I haven’t painted it, it still could be a P.W crew carriage, ah…. decisions decisions!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Faller Car System and an idea for a locomotive

I’ve been thinking of little things that will make my layout just a little more special (or unique) and I got two ideas…

1) The Faller Car System

This would look very nice, especially a bus going around the town (harbour station) area of my layout or a delivery van going to Boston Lodge, but it costs a bit, they start at around £50. I could save up for it (or wait for my birthday)

2) A unique locomotive that’s based on the FR’s Taliesin, and the ‘Mad Mallet’ of Country Gate!

More detail (on the Boston Lodge area)

This is in a bit more detail..

Construction on 'Boston Lodge' board

Today I started the construction on the Boston Lodge Board. I laid down the track on top of ¾ inch polystyrene. I didn’t lay it accurately, only roughly to what the layout was going to be, and then I made a mark around the track and cut the polystyrene to shape, then cut it. I then put glue down on the baseboard and glued the polystyrene in place. I then pined (with dressmaker’s pins) the track down temporarily. In the picture below the red lines indicate the position of groves I need to cut to make rods for the points, these will end up on the back of the layout where the plan is in the future (when I have enough money) to link then to point motors. I have never motorized points this way before, so it should be interesting (although I have seen it been used in the Tremadog Model Railway Club’s old layout (without the point motors) [which was removed due to the building they met at being unsafe!])

Due to the ‘middle’ polystyrene board being slightly lower then the other two, I’ll need to raise it a bit (possibly using a cork tile) to stop trains going up and down unrealistic gradients.I’ve also tried (for the first time) to solder track together, (at the bottom of the picture) the Y point, right hand point and a straight (on the other side of the Y). I think it has gone ok, I tested it with Linda’s tender and it didn’t derail. :D

Here's the baisic idea. (will publish a post with a bit more detail)

Carriage shelter (nearest line) and a P.W stock/loco shelter (line which loco is on)

Locomotive Shed (i will place longer pieces of track instead of thease two)

Locomotive 'preporation' area with water tower and coal stage.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Completely new (but influenced by the previous) trackplan!

After I priced up this layout I estimated that it would cost me between £400-£500 pounds WITHOUT locomotives, stock, and scenic things. I've estimated the prices of things like track, wood, wiring, point motors, point motor switches, a descent transformer. Also things I would like to use for the benefit of my locomotives, track and point motors. These are an Electronic Track Cleaner (from Roco or Gaugemaster) and CDU (to lengthen the life of my point motors probably from Gaugemaster).

I've managed to lower the track price from about £280 to £180! This is at a cost to the track plan. The 'Boston Lodge' layout has completely changed saving me 5 points and a few lengths of track. Also the size has changed; this is the new track plan.

(The sizes at the bottom and sides are estimates at the moment!)I have also started to buy the points and track. I’ve got two ‘Y’ points, 1 left points and 2 right points. This was all the shop had, so I ordered some, they should arrive sometime next week. (I am still waiting for Nigel Lawton to get the Meridian Chassis back in stock to put underneath Linda)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Construction on 'Y Cob' and update on Linda

Today, after sitting in my living room watching re-runs of Top Gear on Dave, I decided to get of my bum and actually start construction on the layout! I had four lengths of flexible N Gauge track, so I’ve decided to use that, I’ll have to cover the track with ballast so you cant see the obvious difference between N and 009 gauge track!

I started off by putting the baseboard on the bookshelf it will be living on, at the moment there is no support at either end but it should be ok (as long as I don’t put too much tools or weight on one end!).

I then got a long strip of 1 by 1/2 inch polystyrene I had and I decided that it will be the 'cob'. Originally the cob wasn't 'square' it was an embankment, so that’s what I’m going to do. I will fill up the side’s probably tomorrow with some thick plaster or polyfilla!
Also I gave Linda some detail! I added the blue (only the blue ) I know it probably doesn’t look as well as many people would expect but it looks a lot better without the flash (as is evrything else in life, the flash finds the bad things to highlight) is the best that I could do, considering I did it with a medium sized needle in a Archimedes drill!
I’m also waiting for Nigel Lawton ( to get the Meridian Model MPD18 chassis back in stock; this is the only motor bogie I could find that will fit in Linda, and i will have to cut a notch in the chassis and then cut a bit of the saddle tank! But luckily you wont be able to see the cut in the saddle tank! The wheelbase is 3mm (18mm appose to 21mm) smaller than the real thing and I will have to ‘adjust’ the chassis a bit but I think I’ve got it under control! The other problem is that is doesn’t come with extended axles, but Nigel has agreed kindly for me to buy the kit for £32 instead of £35 without the wheel sets.

I will only then need three things for Linda.

1) Cranks – I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to make my own but only ended up with nothing that looked like the ones on Linda. I will buy these from Backwoods miniatures (

2) Rods – I haven’t tried to make these yet, I know that they need to be at least 18mm In length, I will probably make them out of plasticard and .5mm wire.

3) A way to attach a pony truck – The real Linda (having been fortunate enough to be doing work experience at Boston Lodge when Linda was being overhauled and seen the many parts of the loco) The pony truck is stuck on a pivot on the chassis, but I don’t think there will be enough room to do that with the Meridian Chassis underneath too. I’ll have to wait and see!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Linda Update

Today I decided to paint Linda, a glossy black, I won’t line the saddle tank, cab and cylinders yet; I don’t have the tools or skills.

Anyway, I’ve put some white metal casting pieces I had spare in the tender to weigh it a bit.

(in the above picture the white metal looks a lot higher than what it is, there is about 3mm difference in height between the white metal and the top of the tender)

I then bent a 0.5mm wire to make a coupling to go on the back of the tender and the front of the loco. I also made a 'hook' to connect the loco with the tender; it simply hooks into a hole that a pin went through to hold the old N gauge coupling.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New revised (economically friendly (ish) plan)

I've been studing trackplans and the local area of where i'm modeling and i descided earlier on to go on a 'what i would like' basis. Then to 'whats actually there' and finally 'minimal amount that i can afford, that works well and resembles the area'. So, this is the final (hopefully!!) trackplan.

I am still unsure about the building layout for the harbour board ^ So i've let it blank

(the black square at the top is a traverser fiddle yard)


Recently I’ve bought a Linda from Colin Lea (

The motor was in the tender, it worked, but poorly and very noisy. So, that went! I then went digging through some 00 gauge wheels I had been given by a friend, I found several sets of adjustable ones, and they look almost identical to the double Fairlie wheels ( Using 00 gauge wheels means that the model is a bit higher than the real Linda but, it'll do! Up to now I have only 'adjusted' the tender by literally 'ripping out the motor' (thus destroying the chances of using the plastic plate, used to hold anything in the tender) so I made a replacement out of a cereal box and went ahead to find some wheels (and a frame)

And I found some. In the form of an N gauge bogie I bought when buying the two Graham Farish Class 08 Diesel shunters off eBay (with two carriages). I tested that out for height and it was a good 3mm lower than the locomotive (due to the loco having re-gauged 00 wheels) so I got some 3mm x 3mm balsa and made a 'spacer' type object to put between the bogie and tender.

I am thinking of putting a Meridian Models MPD18 Chassis which is the only one I was able to find that was able to fit into the locomotive (any other suggestions? the area is 12mm wide, 35mm long and 20mm high) I will need some rods and fly cranks, does anyone know where I can find some?

I'm also trying to decide how should the tender look? There are the two possibilities ... a 'closed' tender (like Blanche) or an open tender (like Palmerston) decisions!


I'm planning on starting construction on the 'Cob' board. I'll use N gauge track for now, just to be able to run a train up and down! I've also priced up the layout... only the track.... £221.30, a bit expensive... but I’ve been saving up for a while so I’ll probably buy the track after Christmas (using the money I will probably get from family etc).

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Firstly, I’ve repaired the 060!

After hours of staring and thinking what to do, I figured it! the wires I had where too big to replace the wires that picked up from the tender, so I’ve disconnected them, the solution leads to a problem, the rolling stock connect to the tender, but the tender doesn’t connect to the loco. So I got some thin wire, and bent it round a part of the chassis. I then made a 'hook' that goes through a hole I drilled in the front of the tender.

After studying the inside of the loco, there was two pairs of wires going to, only thing I could see a bulb at the front. I looked at it and it connected to the bottom of the chimney, I looked at the top of the chimney and there's a 'pin' in the middle, I’m not an expert on this subject but I think it’s a smoke generator.

Secondly, I bought something off eBay ... again!!!

When browsing I saw a loco by an unknown manufacturer and 3 Roco coal trucks. I bided and won. When they arrived, it didn’t work, but its partially my fault, I didn’t read the description correctly, it said 'motor needs servicing' but after studying it, it worked fine, it was either the gears on the driving wheels OR the worm screw on a shaft that runs along the bottom of the loco. Luckily when I bought a chassis for Harlech Castle, I bid for two Graham Farish 060 chassis, I only used one under the Harlech. So, after thinking about it I could modify the body (and luckily the frame sits perfectly over the new chassis) to put the chassis underneath.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Disaster on the railway! (Or postal system)

I've been anxiously waiting for my super detailed loco off eBay from Greece. It’s finally arrived!! But, it was heavily damaged. The front plate, coupler, vacuum pipes where off, the valve on top of the dome was off, a bottle the driver carried ... off, a thing off underneath the tender was off and a wire connecting the pick-ups in the tender to the motor was broken. I' m not blaming the sender, it was wrapped in loads of paper, but a fragile sign wouldn’t have hurt! Oh well... nothing a bit of glue and plasticard wont fix! Pictures of the damage will follow soon!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Backwoods Miniatures Blanche/Linda/Charles Kit

I've been wondering on what is the first Ffestiniog locomotive I will buy and construct. I've wanted to buy Blanche, a Fairlie (double or single) or an England. After hours of looking at reviews of kits and the costs of the kit and chassis I’ve decided to go for a Backwoods Miniatures Blanche/Linda/Charles kit. I will probably build Blanche to its modern looks, then (with the 0-4-0 chassis, the second tender and one of the other 3 cabs) I will either build a Linda 'under overhaul' that will be placed in a workshop road OR by making a saddle tank, and smoke box etc a 'dummy' locomotive to use as a second 'loco' double heading.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Won on Ebay!

After searching for a while on eBay I found this very nice looking 060+t super detailed, doesn’t really fit in with the 'Ffestiniog Railway' theme I’m going for but the FR does have Dahuichang No4 which is Chinese. So I think this will represent the Dahuichang

The item

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Harlech Castles fist movement

weehey! it works! I was a bit worried to tell the truth, i thought that i had dropped a bit of the epoxy into the motor whilst building it! But, it works! my first narrow gauge loco and my first kit built (and painted) locomotive!

Size, Shape and Location!

Due to a... erm... a low attic, not much room and nowhere to store the layout i currently have, i've descided to downsize things, it will be of the same area, but small enough to fit into my room, which has a bit more room than my attic! So i will be 'replaceing' Minffordd Station with a fold away/detachable Fiddle Yard, less running space, less stock running optionsbut i will still be able to model the area i wanted to model. Here's the result of a few hours brainstorming, and a talk with the one that will probually be cleaning up the scatter off the floor!... Mum! A future addittion might be 'minfordd' that will be able to be sloted in between the fiddle yard (top left) and the 'works' (top right)

Painting Harlech Castle

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Painting Harlech Castle

After constructing the kit I had enough time after the glue had dried to paint it, it would be painted in similar color to the real locomotive 'Harlech Castle'. All the panels will be gray, any detail red and the front, back and buffer plates will be yellow. (i know its not the same as the real one but I’d like to make a layout that’s based on the Ffestiniog, with the Ffestiniog locomotives and stock, but I didn’t want to go completely mad on re-creating it!)

The pictures will follow shortly

Chivers Finelines 'Harlech Castle' white metal body kit

Today my Chivers Finelines 'Harlech Castle' arived! i't will fit over a Graham Farish Class 08 diesel shunter chassis (last but one post), and will (like the original) become a P.W loco. I've also added some pictures of me building it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My locomotive 'Wishlist'

After being in many exhibitions and browsing websites I’ve got a list of locomotives I would like to purchase. Here’s the list!

1) County Gate’s ‘Mad Mallet’ “River Avon”

2) Ffestiniog Railway Double Fairlie “Little Wonder”

3) Ffestiniog Railway Double Fairlie “Merddin Emrys” (with no cab)

4) Ffestiniog Railway Single Fairlie “Taliesin”

5) Ffestiniog Railway George England “Princess”

6) Ffestiniog Railway George England “Prince”

7) Ffestiniog Railway Funkey Diesel “Vale of Ffestinog”

8) Ffestiniog Railway Diesel Hunslet “Moel y Gest”

9) Ffestiniog Railway Diesel Hunslet “Moelwyn”

10) Penrhyn Quarry Hunslet “Blanche” (with tender)

11) Penrhyn Quarry Hunslet “Linda” (with tender)

12) Welsh Highland Railway Bayner-Peacock “K1”

13) Welsh Highland Railway Bayner-Peacock NGG16

The first locomotive! (or chassis)

Today I just won two Graham Farish N gauge class 08 diesel shunters for the reasonable price of 30 pounds and 5.50 p&p. I also bought a Chivers Finelines Ffestiniog Railway "Harlech Castle" white metal body kit for 16 pounds and my plans are to paint this locomotive like the real 'Harlech Castle' This would become my Permanent Way locomotive and I will eventually (after Christmas) buy the kit again to build a locomotive (I wont call it Cricieth Castle, I’d like to rename some of my locomotives to names after inspirational places and or people. There are a few ideas I have in mind:-

1) Afon Dwyryd (river that closely follows the Ffestiniog Railway)

2) Cwmorthin (local valley)

3) Harri (my late grandfather)

4) Llywelyn ap Gryffydd (The last welsh king)

5) Moelwyn (Schools name)

6) Pwll (the nickname for the area my grandparents lived)

7) Tanygrisiau (Where I lived)

8) Salem (The chapel that I went to Sunday schools name)

9) Borth Y Gest (A beautiful seaside town where I often go kayaking)

10) Wyddfa (doesn’t need an explanation!)

Hopefully the next post will be the construction of the loco!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The First Design

After a summer volunteering at the Ffestiniog Railway's workshop, Boston Lodge. I decided to challenge myself, would it be possible to create a model of the Ffestiniog Railway? After a bit of number crunching I decided not to do it, the total length of the layout would be close to a hundred meters long. After thinking for a while, and considering to model from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Tanygrishau, including the railway's smaller workshop at Glanypwll. I decided to model the area between Harbor Station (about 1950-60) across the cob and to Boston Lodge (about the same era). I then liked the idea to be able to run a variety of trains, like fuel, slate, passengers, P.W and goods. So I thought about modeling Minffordd Station without the goods yard and hostel, but after a bit of thought I decided that with the addition of Minffordd yard I would be able to run more.

At the top of the page is the final design (I thinkK).