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29 September 2014

A shed in a hurry

By nigelashton

Evening. With the AGM fast approaching I needed to add goods facilities to Llangerisech without spending too much time on them. The original plan was to use a slightly reduced version of the goods shed at Llanidloes, thereby following the main station building and engine shed. It would have been a fairly sustantial structure and a bit of a squeeze in the space available. Having then looked at the Scalescenes small store kit, this seemed too small. So out came the books.

C C Green’s books on the coastal lines of the Cambrian are a superb resource and while browsing the first in the series, I came across the shed at Llandre north of Aberystwyth. It was a good size and could be quickly built using the Redutex corrugated iron sheeting that I had recently acquired.

So a quick shell from mounting card, the door openings painted with acrylics and scribed wooden doors gave a good start. Scalescenes brick paper was added around the base before the roof and sides were clad in the Redutex sheet. The latter is self-adhesive, so they just need to be cut to the size of the base card and are then slapped on. Before you know it  Robert is your mother’s brother.

A little finishing with steps and guttering and the whole thing had taken less than six hours. The gable end boards and step hand rails still need to be done, but other than that, it is complete. A little weathering powder helps to blend the brick paper, but very little is needed on the cladding sheets to produce the results pictured.

The Redutex sheets seem excellent for this sort of application. They aren’t cheap, but neither is my time, so overall they represent good value as such results are very quick. The shed seems to have the right parsimonious presence for a Cambrian station where freight plays second fiddle to the passenger services. So sometimes the organic approach to planning works!






28 September 2014

The Final Countdown

By nigelashton

No – nothing to do with that dodgy 90’s Mullet-sporting band Europe, but a few blogs in the lead up to the 2mm AGM and the Aldershot exhibition.

Llangerisech is one of the four 2mm layouts that will be at the show and will be shown for the first time in its 1930’s mode. For that purpose, I have had to make the additional features required by a steam railway as opposed to the slightly  rationalised items we have used when showing blue diesels.

First up is the water tower. This is based on a version at Machynlleth, but is a fairly standard Cambrian brick built design. The Cambrian used similar tanks on timber supports, but as the shed is a reasonable size, I felt the more substantial version was appropriate.

Biggest challenge was the pattern on each of the tank panels, but the old Robo Cutter cameIMG_0078 in very handy. I drew the shape on the computer and cut the rounded corner squares out of sticky-back plastic. As the shapes are very thin, I had to cut out more than required and bin a fair few to get a reasonable consistency. These were then stuck onto the tank sides (made from platicard sheet and quarter round rod) before being sprayed. The base is simple mounting board with Scale Scenes paper and Scale Link windows. The water is old processed X-ray film (my Mum used to be a radiographer and I have a large stash).

Over lead up to the show, I will show other bits of progress since the layout was last shown and some of the last minute panics.

I hope to see you at the show on the 11th.



27 April 2014

Post-Meeting Progress

By Richard Benn

Am I alone in making more progress in the immediate aftermath of an area group meeting than in the whole of the rest of the month? Following yesterday’s dose of Wealden inspiration I finally got round to tweaking the single Turnout Operating Unit (TOU) on my “scenic test track” and spent a pleasant half hour running trains back and forward through the turnout. Simple pleasures, eh?

This TOU has been an ongoing saga (though other Wealden group members will probably tell you that applies to anything I touch). It was built initially for servo operation but converted to manual operation when the servo board I was using gave huge over swings at start-up. After building a fascia I didn’t really want a piece of brass operating rod protruding through it, and having enjoyed the delights of running trains using Engine Driver on an Android phone, I wanted to control the turnout and magnets using DCC too.

The TOU (below) is based on Geoff Jones’ idea of telescopic styrene section.  The droppers from the switch blades come down the tubes in the middle which have screws that slide in the slots just visible to provide plenty of scope for adjustment. The dropper on the right is soldered to the metal L section as this switch blade has a tendency to lift. The screw on the left is left over from when the TOU was worked manually – the operating rod came through the brass tube just visible on the extreme left.


There is a microswitch on the right hidden under the screws). This is worked from a screw just visible to the front right of the servo which is fixed to the slide bar and which can be adjusted so that the microswitch throws reliably. The microswitch also provides the return spring for the slide bar so that it is only necessary to precisely adjust the servo for one direction of travel. You can see the servo arm peeking out from underneath where an attached screw presses against the microswith screw and moves the slide bar. Much simpler to do than describe!



The Team Digital Servette (above) drives the servo. This was purchased as it has a Relay with a separate DCC address that I planned to use to work the electro-magnets but when doing this I experienced occasional twitches of the servo when the magnets were operated that threw the switch blades to a different position – not what you want when propelling wagons over a turnout! These twitches were intermittent, perhaps 1 in every 10  – 20 throws, so debugging was a convoluted process. To start with I swapped to a spare NCE Switch-It that I had lying around (below) which switches relays that control the magnets.


This on its own didn’t help and after wrongly suspecting the proximity of the devices I eventually discovered that it was due to the leads from the magnets passing close to the servo. After moving the Switch-It to the other end of the board so that the magnet wires completely avoided the servo, the problem disappeared. What I should have done was experiment to discover just how far away the wires needed to be, but by this point I was just pleased to get it working!

The picture below of the under side of the board shows the Switch-It at left, the magnets centre and the TOU and Servette to the right (plus a lot of messy wiring).


Adjusting the swing of the servo was a doddle using JMRI and the adjustable dropper tubes made it easy to get the throw of each blade exactly right. I have set up a small panel in Panel Pro which makes it easy to control the turnout and magnets.

And with that done I can get back to the fun stuff:


The reeds need tidying after being upside down for the above adjustments but I am quite pleased with the colouring. I am in the middle of creating trees for the background using dried stalks based on the Fencehouses article in MRJ though I really need to do the line side fencing first.

But for now back to the N2 underframe…

1 February 2014

January 2014 Wealden Area Meeting

By nigelashton

The first chance to catch up after Christmas saw Dave making up etch bogies, Nigel making some door handles and Richard working on his computer. David showed some delicate etched kits although pictures of these have already appeared on the London Group blog.

The test track was out mainly to run Nigel’s locos, but Gareth’s C class was given a couple of circuits.

Gareth had completed two locos since we last met, while Nigel had been concentrating on rolling stock including Toplight coaches, private owner wagons and some GWR owned wagons. With the Aldershot exhibition in October as goal, more of the 1930’s items will be needed to run that period.

Gareth showed the internals of the green C class which uses a Farish 4F chassis and tender block along with a  Nigel Lawton motor driving the loco wheels through the drive shaft. The black O class uses a modified Dapol Terrier as a tender drive unit and a fabricated loco frame.

Nigel had used the Robo cutter to produce coach internals and showed the card with the cut outs before trimming to size and shaping to fit. The resultant interior is all card and very light weight. Various other wagon kits had been completed and were shunted round the track by the Pannier tank. This now boasts skid pick ups in line with the front steps so they are more difficult to spot. This was prompted by seeing Richard Wilson’s version running extremely slowly at the November meeting at the MRC.

Bob and Peter also turned up to join in the conversations which inlcuded R Parker vehicles and BR standard locos.
Next meeting is the 4th Saturday in February at the usual Uckfield location.

3 August 2013

July 2013 Meeting

By Richard Benn

Here are a few pictures taken at our recent meeting



Nigel turns wheels for a DMU whilst Gareth admires a new purchase from The Hobby Box.

Guy hard at work assembling DG couplings

Guy, Alan & David

David working on his layout in a a box file.

Dave's SR van, modified to reduce it to scale width

Dave's SR wagons. The three link couplings are functional.


I'm pleased with the static grass but I haven't quite got the join between it and the short grass correct. I'm hoping the post and wire fencing will help. I'm currently working on the buildings...

My scenic test track. Still have to add reeds along the banks of the sewer, plus bushes and trees etc.

21 July 2013

Expo Manors and Progress on Llangerisech

By nigelashton

The last few weeks saw the Wealden group forego our usual meeting in Uckfield and instead we attended the 2mm Expo at Wallingford. While Richard, Gareth, Dave and Guy enjoyed the layouts on show and chatted, I headed straight to Highclere to offer some extra stock to run and found myself runing the layout for a while. David, Alan and Bob also arrived at various points so we nearly had a full house.

With the Manor running nicely around Highclere, Pixie arrived with a large rake of coal wagons, so we proceded to do an ad hoc tribute to Pendon and ran the Manor extremely slowly with the huge train behind it. Julia took some video of this, but I haven’t seen it myself. The photo of my Manor shows it running with the Worsely works toplights. Unfortunately the lighting seems to have confused the camera, so apologies for the odd hue.

Once away from the layout, I visited my best customer for Manor replacement chassis (he had theree!), Andy Carlson on St Ruth. I took a few photos of the black Manor on that layout and it was great to see that the chassis was working well when built by someone else. It kind of makes the development effort even more rewarding.

Back home the weather has meant that the occasional retreats indoors to keep cool have been quite productive. The turntable on Llangerisech has been painted, had the well wall treated with brick paper and the whole thing installed. For some odd reason it changes the look of that corner more than I was expecting, but certainly for the better when compared to the filled in version we’ve used when exhibiting in 1970’s diesel mode.

Finally, a coal stage as per the one at Penmaenpool has been built and installed, so a couple of photos have been taken which I hope shows off the shed area to good effect. Next job is the water tower.

4 May 2013

April Meeting stuff

By nigelashton

Greetings from Uckfield in April.

The following photos give an idea of what we’ve been up to in the lead up to the next meeting and Richard’s 10th year challenge.

Nigel brought along the surgically enhanced GWR Collett Goods. This now has loco drive allowing the tender to be cut down to the correct height. It has a solid brass loco chassis and uses the original motor now mounted lower in the tender.This loco leads the cavalcade of 22xx, Dukedog, Jones Goods and Manor. Also pictured are the 45xx and 57xx tanks which will be used on Llangerisech. With a few more items, it will be possible to run a full sequence of 1930’s trains.

David had the results of his challenge plan station which he has detailed in an earlier blog.

The black 3MT is standard Farish with wheels turned down. This was being run in on the test track.

Birchgrove is an 0-6-2 by Gareth that uses a Farish 57xx chassis and another fine example of what can be done in this scale by mixing hand built bodies and production chassis.

So it’s just up to Richard to meet his own deadline of the next meeting at the end of May – No pressure then!!

15 March 2013

Plans for my entry for the WAG Challenge

By davidwalley

Realising that the tenth anniversary of his joining the 2mm Association was fast approaching without having actually finished any of his various layouts, Richard set himself the challenge of completing one – a scenic test-track layout – by the April meeting.

As I will have been a member for a quarter of that time, I have set myself a suitably scaled-down challenge. Starting something similar from scratch – a small scenic test track – and getting a quarter of it finished. Temptations to get half of it half-finished instead will be resisted…

Initial plans were to use the infamous IKEA Lack shelf, but second thoughts suggested this was not going to be easy to bring to Uckfield by train, so I looked instead to some of the recent “layout in a box” blogs on RMWeb – in particular “Paddock Wood Bay in a Box” by BCNPete (or should it be LGWPete now?) and “Box in a Box” by Scanman. Three large box files (“foolscap” officially, but actually a bit larger) were purchased.

Unfortunately my proposal at a recent meeting that the WAG should jointly purchase a laser cutter (suitable for cutting plywood for baseboards) met with complete lack of interest. I am sceptical that my limited woodworking skills would cut plywood to the required level of accuracy, and together with the potential for weight-saving that turned my attention towards foamboard for the surface.

Suitable wooden strips are available for making the frames, where I felt foamboard would be too fragile, and I finished up with a 700mm x 500mm sheet of 3.2mm foamboard (sufficient for four baseboards of approximately foolscap size), together with a pack of obeche strips of 12mm x 5mm cross-section. A mitre box to help cutting the corners, some small brass hinges, glue, and a roll of cork completed my list of purchases for the project.

The intention is to have two pairs of baseboards, each pair hinged together to help with the alignment. The problem of linking together the two pairs has been deferred for later (shallow baseboards won’t allow much space for manipulating screws, dowels etc). For this semi-official Challenge entry I intend to concentrate on getting one pair of baseboards linked together, with one of them (approximately a quarter of the total) completed to the stage of track laid, scenery added, backscene in place (and maybe even painted).

I am currently planning on having one boxfile for each hinged pair of baseboards, thus allowing a depth of about 32mm for each baseboard, of which about half will be taken up by framework, foamboard, cork etc, leaving about half free for scenery. This should allow fences to be included, but not buildings – people are borderline, as the clearance will probably reduce as backscenes will eat into that space.

Availability of stock, buildings, people and other scenery suggests that a goods yard would be the obvious candidate as the subject of the model.

Track will be Easitrac – though that won’t be very obvious if I stick to my target era of about 1905, when track ballast was generally topped with a layer of cinders which completely hid the sleepers. Probably at least part of the track would have been fully inlaid, to provide a convenient access route for road vehicles (horses and carts).

Track Plan

Draft Track Plan

As currently planned, I intend to concentrate on the left hand half of the “layout”, specifically the left hand half of that (which postpones the construction and installation of  turnouts until the next section).  Looking further ahead, the right hand end will probably be lowered slightly, and used as a base for cassettes, rather than as a conventional baseboard.

Baseboard under construction

Baseboard under construction

Construction of baseboards is well advanced, but it’s a fairly slow process as the glue needs to be left overnight to set, and I prefer to do one (or occasionally two) side(s)/end(s) at a time.

Next I need to hinge two baseboards together.  If I have my geometry right, the hinges will project slightly below the bottom of the baseboards, so I will need to add some small feet/legs to keep the hinges from scratching the surface on which the baseboards rest.

I am hoping that I can use the hinges to carry current between adjacent baseboards – if this doesn’t provide a reliable contact, at least it should be possible to use flexible wires near to the hinges, rather than needing a plug/socket system.

Despite Nigel’s advocacy of DCC (and effective demonstration of it on Llangerisech), I am intending to start with DC, and this will be a fairly unsophisticated “one engine in steam” operation (which also provides an excuse for lack of signals). Probably no need for separate isolated sections, even with DC.


27 February 2013

Recent Group Meetings

By nigelashton

Over the last couple of months, members have brought different items along to meetings and the following photos show a bit of what we’ve been up to.

The January meeting was held a week earlier than usual to fit in with members other commitments, the intention was to use the session as a Show and Tell on projects completed over the Christmas period.

With only moderate family intrusion over Christmas I had been packaging up the Manor conversion kits and and had one completed production sample running on the test track during our meeting.

Also completed was the 24133 conversion “quickie” project. This entailed fitting headcode boxes to a Farish 24 using parts from the Worsley works body kit. Fitting new red LEDs in the lower mounts and reverse wiring the chassis feeds was also required along with filling and repainting the yellow ends as appropriate. A short article for the magazine may well be produced covering this conversion. A weathered 24023 was also photographed as a comparison.

I also brought along my converted Blue Pullman. This has had the wheels turned on the power cars and uses replacement wheel sets on the trailer cars. Apart from that, the pristine look will be maintained for the moment. As this was completed on 31st December 2012, does this qualify as the first unit to be converted to 9.42mm gauge? (We are not counting the scratchbuilt unit used on Chee Tor for many years!) Gareth’s unit stayed at home and will remain standard we are told.

Richard had been playing with an electronic microscope which was hooked up to his laptop whilst demonstrating soldering. The device seemed easy to use and certainly shows up your workmanship, whatever the quality.

Various small items of stock were passed around between members and appreciated, although these escaped the attention of the camera. Dave was using his home built RSU very successfully during the meeting and Gareth built up a little Shire Scene concoction. Richard has now decided that a deadline of our April meeting will produce some more completed items in celebration of his ten years in the 2mm Association.

The February meeting saw Gareth display the fully painted horse drawn items worked on in January. Alan brought along his 108 DMU for the drive axle drop in replacements to be fitted and this was then run in on the test track. Dave continued with bogie building and Richard was working on some building for his scenic test track. Gareth also displayed some lovely LBSCR coaches converted from Japanese coaches. Various of these activities are pictured below.







14 November 2012

Happy Hour at Llangerisech

By Richard Benn

Three members from the Wealden group, Nigel, David and Myself, spent last weekend at the Tolworth Showtrain exhibition operating Nigel’s Llangerisech.

The layout performed well, and a good (if tiring) time was had by all.

After two days running blue diesels, Nigel finally cracked and ran his scratch built Jones Goods on a steam special, and I managed to grab a few snaps on my phone:


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