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SKEW BRIDGE - Attic Layout


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I had a day off from working on the layout yesterday and instead I spent the time running trains round and trying to capture the movements on video.

When it comes to filming video I have four available options, the easiest of which is using my phone camera which gives satisfactory results. I also have a Nikon camera which takes great high definition video outdoors but struggles with the lower light levels indoors. I have a digital SLR capable of taking 4K video but I just can't get it to produce decent results indoors. And finally I have a 10-year-old (at least that's how long I've owned it) HD camcorder that's an ideal size and shape and with the advantage of great optical zoom but again, the low light levels don't do it justice. 

When I installed the new LED lighting in the attic it was a massive improvement and for viewing the layout it still provide ample illumination but obviously to a much lesser degree than natural daylight. I certainly don't want to purchase another camcorder with the equipment I already have to hand so maybe I need to look at some cheap video lights just to give that added sparkle.

Anyway, here's a longer video than I normally put together showing some of the movements captured yesterday with the 10-year-old camcorder. The quality isn't brilliant but it's not too bad when viewed in the small window. Just to put things in perspective, the movements in and out of the sidings are at what I consider a prototypical speed so do take a while but I enjoy watching the wagons snaking through the crossings.

Oh and yes, I realise I got the Freighliner loco number incorrect in the caption during its second appearance - 66552 should read 66522

 

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I've ordered some small bags of scatter material and static grasses in order to try them out before deciding how I'm going to tackle the embankments. In the meantime I've been painting up some more to

A short 60 second video of 60048 and MGR wagons through the new landscape  

Things are now taking shape on the small scenic end section despite me saying that there was no rush to finish this part of the layout. I began this morning by painting the bridge that has been i

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That's a brilliant video, Mick.  It shows how fantastic that landscaped section of layout now looks - such impressive progress within what seems like just a few weeks.  The trees are superb, the bridge helps to frame the corner, and I'm particularly impressed by the colour of the main line ballast as few people seem to capture that true brownie-pink look (which on the real thing never looks like the battleship grey too often seen on layouts).  What a backdrop against which to show off your enormous collection of modern image wagons.  All looks most realistic, complete with the portacabin.  Will we ever get you back into the garden, I wonder!

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Hi Mick,  have to agree with Andrew , pure awesome ,I love your long trains especially the container train , are those flat wagons 60 footers , I have 20  makes up a nice train longer the better, my longest freight is my 25 car spine car train caring trailers . 

What are those small wagons caring those  special containers you had blue and yellow ones.

Tony from cool down under., keep the great work up, do you have a couple of yards on that layout.

 

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12 hours ago, Andrew said:

That's a brilliant video, Mick.  It shows how fantastic that landscaped section of layout now looks - such impressive progress within what seems like just a few weeks.  The trees are superb, the bridge helps to frame the corner, and I'm particularly impressed by the colour of the main line ballast as few people seem to capture that true brownie-pink look (which on the real thing never looks like the battleship grey too often seen on layouts).  What a backdrop against which to show off your enormous collection of modern image wagons.  All looks most realistic, complete with the portacabin.  Will we ever get you back into the garden, I wonder!

Thanks Andrew. Yes I was pleased with the colour of the ballast. It's advertised as 'brown' but I referred to it a number of posts back as a 'rose pink' in colour.

Regarding the wagon collection, you certainly don't realise just how much sidings space you need until you start putting them out onto the layout. I really did think that the total of 15 sidings would be sufficient but it's clear now that I'm going to have to run them in stages and periodically change things round. Maybe I'll have 'coal' running sessions and then 'other freight' running sessions. I have 10 full rakes of coal wagons which in themselves take up the majority of the storage roads and that's just the modern image types. There's also the 16t minerals, 21t hoppers and 24t hoppers dating back to the good old days of BR. I'll leave the passenger coaches for now!

As for getting back out into the garden then have no fear, that's where I'll be once it's all properly dried out. In fact the attic layout has made things easier outdoors because some of the stock I was wanting to run out there can now form part of the attic layout, freeing up some space in the shed. The garden layout can now be devoted just to Scottish themed stock.

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12 hours ago, aussietmrail said:

Hi Mick,  have to agree with Andrew , pure awesome ,I love your long trains especially the container train , are those flat wagons 60 footers , I have 20  makes up a nice train longer the better, my longest freight is my 25 car spine car train caring trailers . 

What are those small wagons caring those  special containers you had blue and yellow ones....

Yes Tony, the FEA container flats can accommodate containers totalling 60 feet in length so the wagons would be slightly longer than that. The FEA's are really nice free-running wagons but I only have the 7 pairs. My other container wagons are the Intermodals which I believe are classified FIA and I have a long rake of them but they are not so free-running as the FEA's.

The small wagons are 2 axle PFA type wagons. The yellow open top boxes are used for transporting coal while the blue ones with top loading doors carry Gypsum.

12 hours ago, aussietmrail said:

....do you have a couple of yards on that layout.

Just the three sidings on the scenic section and then the 12 storage roads on the opposite side of the layout.

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Another video today, though shorter than the previous offering and featuring much the same stock as seen previously. I thought I'd try filming from a different angle but looking at the results I prefer seeing more of the layout on view. I think there's a total of 10 passing trains condensed into just over 5 minutes of video so there's not much waiting around. I've used the old camcorder again for filming because it's just so handy to use and it nestles nicely on the tripod but I've placed another light close by to help with the illumination - I'm not sure it's made that much difference.

This evening I had to alter another of the Gaugemaster surface mounted point motors as the operating arm kept slipping off the point tie-bar again so it meant removing the cork underlay to allow the motor to sit lower down. I unscrewed it, lifted it off the baseboard and the lever seized up just like the one I had to return as faulty. I decided rather than sending it back I would take it apart to see what the problem is with them and the inner workings, which look far from robust, had all come uncoupled. I've managed to repair it for now using superglue and a short length of plastic rod to prevent the crank lifting off the operating arm but they do seem very poorly designed.

 

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There's still so much that needs doing on the layout but I'm at the point now where all I want to do is run trains and get the camera out!

I've just uploaded another video comprising three short clips using some MK1 Pullman coaches hauled by 4464 Bittern and 9008 The Green Howards. There would have been several more had the leading MK1 coach not had a severe wobble, spoiling several clips. I'll need to investigate that one later. I also have to add detailing to the front of the Deltic - again something I've been meaning to do for months and yet never get round to it. Another reason to stay away from running trains.

I was going to add photos of both 9008 and 4464 but I used the Deltic one for the video thumbnail so there's just a frontal view of Bittern...

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...followed by the video. In the first clip of Bittern it's using Dapol smoke oil - the second clip it's using non-Dapol oil which I think is better.

 

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Yes, the smoke in that second clip is starting to look pretty good, despite my earlier criticisms of weak smoke.  As for your previous video, it looks really great and certainly showcases to good effect the enormous extent of your rolling stock collection.  I particularly like the full length HST and the gap-toothed container train.  Overall, the whole thing looks to me to be strongly and authentically South Yorkshire in atmosphere, notwithstanding the Scottish overtones of the layout's name.  Very well done.  Looking forward to more videos...

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9 hours ago, Andrew said:

....I particularly like the full length HST and the gap-toothed container train....

There's still another coach to add to the HST to bring it up to a 2+8 set and it's on the to do list awaiting couplings and corridor connectors. The gaps in the FEA container rake aren't totally intentional it's just that the Dapol containers are rather difficult to get hold of. I'm not in a hurry to do anything about it.

9 hours ago, Andrew said:

...Overall, the whole thing looks to me to be strongly and authentically South Yorkshire in atmosphere,...

Yes, it could quite easily depict the South Yorkshire area too but inspiration came from slightly north of that, though still firmly centred on the Yorkshire coalfields and the Aire Valley Power Stations.

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If, when tossing a coin, there's a 50/50 chance of getting a head (or a tail if you prefer), why is it that when connecting a USB device to the computer do I ALWAYS attempt to plug it in the wrong way first before having to turn the plug over?

After my misfortune with the Gaugemaster surface mounted point a couple of nights ago, yesterday evening I decided I would go up in the attic and fit the detailing parts to Deltic No.9008 - a task that wouldn't take too long. At least it's a task that wouldn't take long if I could have found the empty box with the detailing pack in. I have a pile of empty loco boxes set to one side for the loco's that are currently sitting on the layout and there's a box for every single loco apart from 9008! I spent a good hour or two searching everywhere, attic, shed, living room, bathroom.... you name it I looked, but the box had seemingly vanished into thin air. I decided to leave it for the night and start over the next morning.

So, this morning instead of just searching for the loco box I decided to have a really good clear out in the attic and take everything out that is no longer required up there. Tools, paints, bits of timber, cardboard boxes, part rolls of wallpaper, old sheets that I used to cover the wagons boxes. I relocated some wiring to get it off the floor and used the last bits of foil insulation to block in below the baseboards where I hadn't done it previously. When I opened a box containing empty HTA wagon boxes to insert another one, there before me was the missing box for 9008!

I eventually got 9008 detailed up but there are no screw couplings in the pack so I'll have to source one from elsewhere to finish the front end off.

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There was time for a brief running session with the HST....

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...and I've now got the BRA/BYA steel carriers on track along with some VGA vans so I'll try get some video of them later. Here's a shot of 37905 with the vans behind. Better get the detailing parts out before I mislay this box too!

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Progress has been slow over the past few days. There seems to be so much going on around the world at the moment that it saps your motivation but I've managed to do a little more this afternoon.

As you'll see from the photos, I've begun the task of weathering the MGR wagons and with a total number in excess of 140 wagons to complete it's no mean task. I'm planning on doing them a batch at a time with the focus being on completing my first 'loaded' set. I've used the airbrush with a mix of brown and black enamels to give varied coverage whilst trying not to make them all look the same. Here's a comparison of the before and after...

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And a shot of a very pristine looking 56095 'Harworth Colliery' at the head of a rake of 25 weathered wagons. Don't worry 56095 - it'll be your turn soon! I'll complete the remainder of the set over the weekend.

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I'm going to try the Parkside plastic coal loads to see how they fit and if they sit okay I'll cover them with some ground down real coal.

The weathering makes a massive difference and on the plus side only 72 of them require loads.

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Today I've taken receipt of 50 Parkside moulded coal loads for the MGR wagons and as expected I'm having to alter them slightly to make them sit at the required height. I believe these are actually designed for the earlier version Hornby HAA wagons but anyway, a couple of minutes with the file and enough material can be filed away.

The loads themselves add that little extra touch to each wagon and don't look too bad in their raw state but I intend to add some real coal on top. I'm not sure if I can manage that while still leaving the loads removable but I don't have any intention of ever taking them out again so it doesn't really matter. I will have 2 loaded sets and 2 empty sets when they are all finished so there'll be no need to swap loads around. Pictures later as I'm just on a break at the moment!

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26 minutes ago, mick said:

 I'm not sure if I can manage that while still leaving the loads removable but I don't have any intention of ever taking them out again so it doesn't really matter.

I think some people put a piece of clingfilm over the wagon, underneath the dummy load before adding the real stuff, presumably on top of a spreading of PVA. You won't get any loose bits on the top edge of the wagon though which you might wish to depict. I know you like to include all the minute detail!

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16 hours ago, Riddles said:

I think some people put a piece of clingfilm over the wagon, underneath the dummy load before adding the real stuff....

That's the method I've used previously Dave, both with the 16t minerals some time ago and more recently with the HEA hoppers and some of the Seacow ballast wagons. It does work although there's an extended drying time for the PVA and I find that the coal usually sticks to the clingfilm around the edges leaving it looking a bit rough when the film is eventually removed and pulls pieces of coal away.

As for the actual modelling of the load I'm undecided exactly which type of load to portray. Some loading bunkers had a travelling hopper so loads came out uniformly flat topped, while others just had a series of doors resulting in loads with a central peak and the coal usually running down to the very top of (and over) the wagon sides. And then there were collieries where coal was loaded by JCB wheel loaders in a random sort of way. I don't suppose it really matters so long as each wagon in the train is similar - it just has to depict a loaded coal train because that's all the viewer will see.

I've now filed down all the moulded coal loads so they sit slightly lower in the wagons. The first half dozen or so that I did, the leading wagons in the first photo, were still just a bit too high for my liking so I went back over them again. 

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They now sit better giving me the space to model my chosen coal load. I even came across a tail lamp for the rear wagon which adds the final touch although this rake currently contains only 28 wagons so there's another 8 to weather and load yet.

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The MGR hoppers look very convincing with some great weathering. It seems a bit strange but some guys at the local(ish) Chasewater Railway are trying to preserve a small rake of these. I think they have three at the moment.

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9 hours ago, Riddles said:

The MGR hoppers look very convincing with some great weathering. It seems a bit strange but some guys at the local(ish) Chasewater Railway are trying to preserve a small rake of these. I think they have three at the moment.

Well fortunately the MGR's don't require much effort when it comes to weathering. I remember the amount of time I spent trying to achieve rust effects on the 16t minerals using bits of sponge and I certainly wouldn't fancy the task of doing anything remotely similar with so many MGRs. Luckily there's no need to create rust on the bodies of these. I've just gone across them with different shades of dirty black/brown colours, some more heavily than others - in fact maybe a little too heavily on some - but I remember many MGRs being in far worse condition than I've portrayed them here. All they really need is that silver finish toning down. It's not necessary to spend much time on individual wagons as it's the overall appearance of the trainload itself that matters in my opinion.

I'm sure after the service they've given since the mid 1960s that MGRs are deserving of a place in preservation. They're hardly going to be star attractions but good luck to the chaps behind it all. Me? - I was sick of the sight of them some years ago!

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I thought I might have had the first set completed today but running out of enamel paint hasn't helped and on top of that I've just been taking things a bit too easy. I have managed to change the 28 moulded coal loads from this...

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...to this, which is much better.

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Hornby MGR's have a number of faults which I can live with. The buffers aren't correct but it's not a big deal and the lack of brake discs is barely noticeable. On the whole it's a good representation of the type in my view. The main thing that irks me is that most of the HAA types are from the Barry wagon depot pool 9070, carrying the Barry branding and emblem - not what I'm used to seeing. It's difficult to remove easily without marking the wagon so I thought it best to just paint it out. There's too many of them for it to be worth the time doing anything else.

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I would love to fit them with scale instanter couplings but again, the number of wagons would make me have to think very carefully about doing so apart from the fact that I would need to check that they wouldn't buffer lock on the tighter curves in the attic. The 16t minerals are fine with instanter couplings in the garden where the curves are greater, even when they are being propelled.

 

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1 hour ago, ba14eagle said:

...A dusting over the top and sides always finishes it off nicely.

I do intend doing that Iain, but what you can see so far is just loose bits of coal from the actual 'loading' process.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that I'd spent time fitting front-end detail to several locos but I came across this photo that I forgot to upload. It shows the holes in the bufferbeams of 56095 and 56040 finally 'plugged' with the appropriate pipework and coupling. Not bad to say they've waited several years for that. I think the couplings need looping up over the coupling hook but they were often left dangling like that. Likewise the pipes, though there's nowhere to secure them out of the way. They'll just end up getting full of coal dust!

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Below is a short video with a few clips of the MGR's running behind 56095. I've finally completed the entire set of 36 so it seemed appropriate to celebrate with some footage. Now for the next 108 once my enamel order arrives.

 

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Another loco has emerged from hibernation, this time it's 31233 which was originally supplied as factory sound fitted but was later reblown with Howes class 31 sounds. I even managed to get round to fitting the front-end detailing parts. It's seen here running through the down loop with a rake of empty 100t tanks, passing a class 56 with loaded MGRs on the down main.

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I've been looking at starting the weathering and loading of my next rake of MGR's which this time will include canopied HBA/HFA wagons. On these I need to fit the coal load even lower than with the standard HAAs in order to allow enough clearance for the canopy to sit down. It means a little bit more filing of the moulded load but the first fitting proved successful so I'll be going ahead with those. I've had notification that the enamel paints I ordered are due for delivery tomorrow so I can make a start with the weathering too.

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