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Everything posted by mick

  1. Thank you Ken. Now that I know where to fnd them I'm sure I'll be having another go at photographing them before not too long. I'll have to take note of weather forecasts and choose an evening that's first of all dry and secondly has good light which is key to getting better photos. Red Kites appear to be venturing further afield as this year is the first time I've noticed them flying above our home. I've managed to get a few photos but usually by the time I notice them and grab the camera they're already passing over and I'm left with just the tail end shots as in the one a few posts above.
  2. Apologies for the long read! I haven't posted anything here for a few weeks now and although I've managed to get some great photos during that time I would like to jump right up to the present day because I've just spent 3 days, or rather early evenings, trying to capture a specific bird. We went out for a walk last Wednesday morning along the Leeds & Liverpool canal near Gargrave and Pam spotted a Barn Owl a distance away on the other side of the canal. It was too far away for a decent photo but it's the first time I have actually been able to stand there and watch one flying around. I wasn't aware that they were even active at 9.30am! A (very friendly) farmer was tending his sheep in the field next to the towpath and he was curious as to what we were trying to photograph. He told us that the Barn Owls were nesting in an old Ash tree which he pointed out to us but it isn't in a location that is easily or safely accessible as it was alongside the main A65 where there is no footpath. Anyway, I was determined that I would try to get a photo. Two days later I went alone along the canal armed with my camera. I decided to go in the early evening so it was approximately 7pm as I set off along the towpath. There was no sign of any Barn Owls so I continued walking to a spot where I had previously seen Curlews and Brown Hare's in the hope of getting a picture of some sort before turning around and making my way back. Not far from where we had previously seen the Owls 2 days earlier there was a moored narrowboat and the gentleman onboard was looking through his binoculars. As I passed I asked if he had seen anything interesting as I was going to mention about the Owls and would you believe it, he was actually watching a Barn Owl which he pointed out to me. Yes, there it was, on the towpath side of the canal on the far side of the field where the farmer had been speaking to us earlier. I managed to focus on it but it was by now getting very dull with some dark clouds looming overhead. It dropped to the ground and came up with a mouse before immediately heading back towards the Ash tree. It then diverted slightly and began heading directly for me, looking me in the eyes before swerving its way around me. I couldn't have positioned myself better if I had tried. Wow! I just kept snapping away but the photos were very dark and although I couldn't have wished for better poses, the quality was somewhat disappointing. The following day I tried again but there was no sign of the Owl and, to cap it all off, after standing there for almost 2 hours the heavens opened and I got soaked to the skin before I could make it back to the car. Undeterred, the following evening I was back for another try with a slightly brighter sky and I was feeling optimistic. I paced up and down for 2 hours, snapping away at anyting that moved but although I had a great view of the Ash tree the Owl hadn't made an appearance. One last look before I called it a day (or night!) and wait a minute, there was just a small speckle of white. Looking closer it was a Barn Owl just about to emerge from a cavity in the tree, which it did a few seconds later. I was hoping it would come across the canal again but instead it stayed on the opposite side, across the road, and across the field. But then it turned and flew directly towards me just as it had done 2 days before. I was standing right in front of a small tree so was well camouflaged and I got a number of photos before it eventually set eyes on me and went on its merry way. I continued to watch it at a distance for some time afterwards as it hunted for prey. So the pictures...well as I said, the earlier ones were very dark due to the conditions but luckily modern photo editing software is capable of rescuing them to some extent so here is the Barn Owl on that first evening with its prey. The second night was in slightly better light And although I clipped one of its wings in this next photo, I decided to crop it slightly and focus attention on the face as it closed its eyes They are just 5 from well over 200 photos I took over those 2 nights and I must admit that it feels worth all the standing around and all that soaking I endured.
  3. I'm really pleased to hear that the open day went even better than anticipated. Model railways are always a source of fascination to young and old but more so (in my opinion) when they are located out in the garden. That's very true. I have several favourite locations, especially for filming, but the appearance of the layout changes as the garden evolves through the year. It's never the same old scenery time after time. The 37's on the steel train look excellent by the way!
  4. They'll have to do Ken. With most of the outdoor stock I'm modelling something I've never seen other than in photographs so it's really just my take on it anyway. It's also made slightly more difficult due to the fact that railway photographers tend to focus on the locomotive at the front rather than any of the stock to the rear. Yes there's a knack to good soldering and I'm still trying to crack it myself though I do manage to somehow get by. Keeping the tip of the iron clean is essential in my view along with plenty of heat so that you're just in and out again without hanging around too long and melting sleepers.
  5. Although I've been unable to have trains running today I can at least make out that there's been some action on Worsley Dale by including the following posed photos featuring the aluminium ingots. It was a similar photo to the one below that gave me the idea of adding the aluminium ingot loads to the BBA wagons. On this occasion 37114 departs Shieling Bridge and heads across Low Shott viaduct. 37114 and 37012 make light work of the heavy load as they approach Shieling Bridge. As I've previously said, the aluminium loads may not stand up to close scrutiny but at normal viewing distances they look convincing enough and it's a bit more variety added to the freight traffic.
  6. From the album: Worsley Dale

    A pair of class 37's make their way across Low Shott viaduct on the approach to Shieling Bridge. 37114 'Dunrobin Castle' heads 37012 'Loch Rannoch'.
  7. I've made a representation of some aluminium ingot loads to add to 3 of my BBA wagons. Now I know they are far from perfect, probably totally incorrect, and on the wrong wagons with securing straps that appear to have nowhere to fasten to but I think they are an improvement on the empty wagons and I'm happy to accept all the errors. I began by making a batch of ingot shaped loads from some left over pieces of MDF but having completed the 12 I required I decided that they just didn't look right. Compared to some photos I've seen they were too thin and too wide so I decided to add another thinner piece of MDF and cut them down slightly so they were narrower and chunkier. After several coats of MDF sealant I gave them a quick spray with some aluminium coloured paint. I should probably have sanded them further to disguise the join between the two MDF sections and remove some of the paint accumulation along the edges but it's only a representation and not an actual replica load. I placed the ingots on lengths of timber as in the photos I was referring to even though the wagons are not the same types. Short lengths of electrical tape were used to make securing straps though whether this type of wagon had provision for that I really don't know but I wanted to mimic the layout on the photos as much as possible. My main reference photo shows 2 wagons with the rear most wagon having an additional ingot and so I have attempted to replicate that too. One particular detail I tried to include was the dimple on each end of the ingots which you may be able to make out on the one below. From a distance I think they look okay but obviously they wouldn't stand up to close scrutiny. I'll see if I can get a photo of them behind a loco or two shortly.
  8. That's great Ken...a shared interest and someone close by with experience which will always come in handy. Happy 'tinning' - monotonous I know but well worthwhile.
  9. Yes something like that will suit me Chris. I've got plenty of coaches to choose from.
  10. Almost there Ken! Does the neighbour share your interest?
  11. I agree. Those photos should give inspiration to anyone contemplating building an OO gauge garden railway. Great to see.
  12. Structurally at a width of 7cm-10cm I can't see that being a problem. I imagine the greatest force on them will be during the actual cutting and that would be my biggest concern so it's going to require a steady hand. As for the piers looking overscale, I wouldn't worry too much about it especially with the viaduct being not very tall. It should look fine.
  13. Here's a 'double act' that will probably see action on both the indoor and outdoor layouts although I can't see me ever purchasing matching WCR coaches. I'll just have to make do with what I have. West Coast Railways 37248 'Loch Arkaig' heads 37669 past Skew Bridge. 37248 has a Jamie Goodman class 37/0 soundfile while 37669 has a Locoman class 37 soundfile, both loco's having Rail Exclusive Chunky Boom Box speakers in their fuel tanks. I have yet to attempt any speed matching with these two, though I was hoping to be able to top and tail with them but I'll see how that goes.
  14. From the album: Skew Bridge - Attic Railway

    37114 'Dunrobin Castle' in company with 37012 'Loch Rannoch' make their way past Skew Bridge sidings with a short rake of three empty BBa wagons destined for Shieling Bridge.
  15. mick

    Skew Bridge - Attic Railway

    Photographs taken on my attic based OO gauge Model Railway, 'Skew Bridge' depicting the railway scene from the 1980's through to 2000s
  16. I'm extremely relieved to be able to say that 37114 'Dunrobin Castle' is now almost completed with just some minor detailing still to attend to. It now has the Jamie Goodman class 37/0 soundfile playing through a Rail Exclusive Chunky Boom Box speaker in the fuel tanks which is a massive improvement. To accompany it I have 37012 'Loch Rannoch', also fitted with the same soundfile and speaker combination and again requiring some minor detailing parts fitting before it is fully completed. Both loco's have been weathered and I've also managed to get them running nicely together. I've taken the opportunity to get some photos of the pair on Skew Bridge while hauling a trio of Cavalex BBA wagons to which I will eventually add some 'aluminium ingot' loads. I have 6 of these wagons so may decide to leave the other 3 empty. I've used one of my older class 37 chassis' to produce another dummy 'sound-fitted' loco that can be used for simple double heading with the possibility of alternating the loco body depending on whether or not there are any problems doing so. It's been fitted with a Locoman class 37 sound decoder and the same Rail Exclusive chunky boom box speaker as above.
  17. Nice to hear from you again Thomas and good to see the additional progress you have made. I have to admit once again that, seeing what you've achieved so far, it all looks well beyond my own capabilities and if you'd seen my attempts at constructing just a short river section you would understand why. You're obviously a little behind schedule with everything that's been happening over the past couple of years but have you any idea when you might be reaching completion?
  18. I've done very little additional work on the 'river' beneath the girder bridges as the weather hasn't really been that suitable (and I'm not keen on strong breezes) but I have been busy with some other jobs. Believe it or not I had completely forgotten that my 37114 had already been fitted with a sound decoder until I 'tested it' a few days ago. I hadn't even recorded the fact in my loco database. It's got a Jamie Goodman 37/0 soundfile but with a small square speaker beneath the fan grill which does it very little justice at all. So I'm currently part way through adding a Rail Exclusive 'Chunky Boom Box' speaker in the fuel tanks as I've found that's what works best for me. It does mean I have to remove the ability to manually switch the tail lamps but that's not a problem with how I operate. I have also purchased some additional speakers to upgrade some of my other loco's and have been going through them to determine which are suitable and would benefit the most. It'll be something I do over the coming weeks because I would like to get some of the cleaner ones weathered as I go along, especially while they are already dismantled. If all goes well then I'll have 37114 back in action soon.
  19. From the album: Skew Bridge - Attic Railway

    Another view of the 3 x class 37s hauling Cawoods/British Fuels loaded PFA container wagons through Skew Bridge
  20. No, there's just the boundary fence beyond so the bridges are permanently fixed.
  21. I enjoy taking the photos just as much as I enjoy running the trains so it's nice to have a subject that's close to home! I keep trying different techniques to get sharp, in focus images and that particular one, staged as it is, comprises 12 individual photos blended together, with the focus point being increased with each shot. Fortunately the camera can do that automatically and it just leaves me needing to put the images together using software on the PC. I'm not really sure why I go to so much trouble because my phone camera does a pretty good job without all that messing around. It's pretty shallow yes, but that's not a problem even if it dries out. My pond is a matter of feet away so there's a handy source of water if and when it's needed. It's only going to need water in when it's being filmed/photographed and that's really the main reason for doing it.
  22. It's something I've been meaning to do for quite some time and I've finally made a start but I'm beginning to wish I hadn't. I've always liked the idea of having a bit of water beneath the girder bridges, nothing too grand and certainly not a small pond of any kind, just some standing water. The trouble is my creative flair diminished a long time ago and I'm having difficulty working out what to do with it now. I daren't start chopping away at the central support footings to open it all out so it will just have to be very shallow directly beneath the bridges. I thought about using the angle grinder to cut a channel either side but then decided against so it will have to stay like that. I've got some rubber pond liner that came from a pond we made some years ago which was later filled in so I'll be using that in an attempt to contain some water to the rear of the bridges and to a lesser extent in front once I work ouut how to do it so that it looks okay. I've spent most of the time pondering the situation (procrastinating I think is how Chris refers to it) while doing nothing so don't expect this to be completed anytime soon. I'll add this photo of 26024 with a few oil tanks crossing Low Shott viaduct because it's one I haven't yet added.
  23. Great to see you've been able to make a start Ken and the boards look nice and solid. Getting started is enough to spur you on to making further progress. I didn't respond to the above from your initial post but there's certainly nothing wrong with running exactly what you want to run - it's what I do too. My attic layout is simply 2 ovals, all very low-tech, but allows full length trains which was my main objective. Garden layout is one loop with no real limitation on train length but exactly what I set out to achieve. There's no need for anything too techical in order to enjoy it.
  24. If there's one thing I'm not short of (other than Hornby A4's) it's Bachmann class 37s! However, some of them are a good few years old now and although they're all operational some of them run more smoothly than others so it's just a case of me determining which one(s) would make the best donor(s), taking into consideration the potential for swapping loco bodies around.
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