Posts Tagged ‘Model Rail Magazine’

A number of factors have led to me considering the possibility of producing a simple and small shunting puzzle layout to keep me entertained, be able to operate at home and possibly exhibit without the need for such a large operating crew and logistics.

Firstly, I do not have the space to have Fisherton Sarum completely set up at home, one of the disadvantages of owning a small 600 year old brick and flint cottage in the Chiltern Hills, or indeed the space to build any of the other two layouts, Hawkhurst in Kent and Lydford Junction in Devon, that I have been pondering over, researching and planing for many years (indeed in the case of Hawkhurst I have already built much of the rolling stock and some of the buildings, more on this in future posts on this blog perhaps).
Secondly, the arrival of the excellent Model Rail Magazine commissioned USA Tanks, and already having a kit built Adams B4, got me thinking about knocking up a quick dock / quayside type scene, but obviously not based directly on a specific Southampton Dock location, I did mention earlier my issue with space… Hence the name of Canute Road Quay to maintain a Southampton’ish identity.

I have often enjoyed operating (‘playing with’) shunting puzzle layouts that have been created by fellow High Wycombe and District MRS member Ron North usually based on the classic ‘Inglenook’ design these type of layouts can be fun to operate as well as not taking up much space. For Canute Road Quay I have decided that I have approximately 4ft x 1ft of space in which I can fit an adaptation of the slightly larger than the ‘Inglenook’ puzzle the ‘Timesaver’. This includes the addition of a small run around loop.


I am also allowing for the top left line to exit through to a hidden single cassette (utilising the same foot long locomotive cassettes that I use on Fisherton Sarum)  to allow for more operation and stock changing. The very front edge of the layout will be modelled as a dockside wall and the siding at the top right will be a small loco shed albeit single road and in semi low relief, being a sub shed of, and a similar look to the one actually at Southampton Docks.

Work in progress on USA Tank $64 in early British Railways livery, 68 and also 72 in pre full SR modified condition, although I need to add cab side windows. All await wesathering

Work in progress on USA Tanks,  s64 in early 1948 livery, 68 and also 72 in pre full SR modified condition, although I need to add cab side windows. All await weathering

The other two shorter sidings / headshunts will be just about able to hold 3 off box vans and a small shunting loco such the USA Tank or Adams B4. I will on the whole be remaining in my usual 1946 to 1949 Southern Railway time period; but will allow for the occasional change in era/area (perhaps the odd industrial loco)!

I will use a Tim Horn laser cut baseframe to result in a professional looking letter box type presentation with a built in front lighting pelmet.
Buildings, for simplicity and quickness will be a mixture of modified Ready-to-Plonk resin low relief type warehouses as the backdrop at the left hand rear, some laser cut versions for the buildings  acting as scenic breaks towards the front a at least one scratchbuilt such as the engine shed. Trackwork will be a mixture of open sleepered and inset track as seen around such docks / quays to give some variety to the surfaces.

As procurement of track, baseframe and some of the buildings has already commenced watch this space for more updates…


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This months picture…

Fisherton Sarum by Graham Muspratt. Photographed for Model Rail, 13 February 2013

Drummond T14 class No. 30461, built from a NuCast kit, is turned at Fisherton Sarum whilst Bulleid Merchant Navy class 21C14 ‘Nederland Line’ built from a Millholme kit, heads to London with the up Devon Belle having taken over the train at Wilton.

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Originally announced back in April 2012 the SR USA 0-6-0T Tank commissioned by Model Rail Magazine has now arrived. The gestation period although appears long, due to a number of factors including switching the manufacture from Dapol to Bachmann, researching and checking all the variation differences but boy has been worth the wait, I am also pleased to have been able to play a small part in this process.

Model Rail USA Tank MR-102 No 68

Model Rail USA Tank MR-102 No 68

MR-104 No 30064 in Lined Green livery Picture copyright and courtesy A York

MR-104 No 30064 in Lined Green livery Picture copyright and courtesy A York

A rear 3/4 view of No 68

A rear 3/4 view of No 68

Model Rail Magazine originally announced 4 variations:

  • MR-101 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery
  • MR-102  number 68 in Southern Black livery with Sunshine lettering
  • MR-103 number 30069 in BR Black livery with early emblem
  • MR-104 number 30064 in BR Lined Malachite Green livery with late crest (Sold Out).
    They later also added a further six versions:
  • MR-105 number 300 in Longmoor Military Railway blue
  • MR-106 number 30071 in BR Black livery with late crest and weathered finish
  • MR-108 number 72 in Keighley & Worth Valley Golden Ochre livery
  • MR-109 number 30067 in BR Black livery with Late Crest
  • MR-110 number DS237 “Maunsell” in BR Departmental Green livery

To a certain extent it is the number of variations being produced and the tooling differences required to cover them that has added to the complexity and time taken to produce the models. I am now the proud owner of two MR-102s one will stay as number 68 and the other will become s64 with British Railways in Southern ‘Sunshine’ style lettering on the tanks. The models have captured the looks and  fine details extremely well including; a multitude of separately applied hand rails and pipework, a detailed cab interior, well applied cab glazing.

The other side of No 68

The other side of No 68

The chassis with its fine and complex looking walschaerts valve gear is powered by a powerful and well geared 5 Pole Motor giving excellent performance with pick ups on all wheels. The die cast chassis gives a weighty feel and ensures good haulage capability.
The Bachmann and Model Rail Magazine team have managed to incorporate all the slight variations that existed between the relatively small members of the class that includes cab window styles, coal bunkers, steps, cab ventilators, handrails, pipe runs, smokebox doors and lamp irons etc. (although there has of course to be a compromise in some cases such as with smokebox door U shaped hand rails being present and single not twin lubricators on 30064).

A further view of 30064 picture copyright and courtesy A York

A further view of 30064 picture copyright and courtesy A York

An excellent new style of information sheet is included with the model, which I believe is to become standard with future Bachmann releases, also shows the positions of the additional detail items included with the model for owners to fit such as buffer beam pipes etc.

If you have have not ordered yours yet, then do so here, although I know MR-104 has already sold out and I am pretty sure others will do so soon! 

As a comparison MR-101 in original 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery and condition

As a comparison MR-101 in original 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery and condition

The Southern Railway purchased 14 (plus one extra for spares) of these powerful, short wheel based locomotives from the United States Army Transportation Corps in 1946 for use within Southampton Docks. They were modified at at Eastleigh works to suit SR use including: adding steam heating, vacuum ejectors, sliding cab windows and larger front square windows, additional lamp irons and steps and new cylinder drain cocks. Once the locomotives started to enter traffic, large roof-top ventilators were fitted, British regulators to replace the US-style pull-out one,  extended coal bunkers, separate steam and vacuum brake controls and wooden tip-up seats. Six of the class were later transferred to departmental stock and could be found at locations such Guildford shed and Meldon Quarry. They were eventually replaced at Southampton by the Class 07 diesel shunters. Withdrawal of the class took place between 1964 and 1967. A number have entered preservation.



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The Bachmann Europe team met up this week with the model trade press to update the market on the latest developments and progress, a full report can be found on the RmWeb forum here and I take this opportunity to update ion those items of a Southern / Southern Region interest. Although no new announcements were made  it was indicated that the next catalogue and product announcements are likely to take place  earlier next year, probably at some point in January. Although Bachmann have experienced delays in both the design and production arenas over the last couple of years tit is good news that they appear to starting to catch up a bit during the last twelve months or so of consolidation as had been previously promised.

The first EP of the ex SECR 60' Birdcage Brake. Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachamnn

The 1st EP of the ex SECR 60′ Birdcage Brake composite (Dia 2432). Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachmann

The item of most interest for Southern modellers was the first images of the first Engineering Prototypes (EP) for the ex SECR 60′ Birdcage stock Trio ‘C’ 30 sets, (SR set Nos 567-570, 575-589,  602-5 and 612-8) announced back in March 2013. These compriise of aBrake Composite to SR Diagram 162, a Composite to SR Diagram 315 and Brake Third to SR Diagram 160. These sets pretty much remained intact throughout their lives until withdrawal between 1956 and 1958.

1st EP Ex SECR 60' Birdcage stock composite. Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachamnn

1st EP Ex SECR 60′ Birdcage stock composite (Dia 2315) . Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachamnn

As can be seen from the pictures, copyright and courtesy of Andy York and Bachmann, the first impressions are very favourable with a high level of detail, although I have not had the chance to see them up close and in the flesh (plastic) yet.

Ex SECR 60' Brake Third EP (Dia 2431). Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachmann

Ex SECR 60′ Brake Third EP (Dia 2431). Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachmann

Also the ex LBSC H2 class Atlantic, announced even earlier in August 2013, has now also progressed to tooling for the engineering Prototypes and we hope to see these EPs soon.

Delivery of both the Birdcage stock and the H2 Atlantic is expected in May 2017.


The Model Rail USA Tank as No 68 in SR livery

The Model Rail ref MR-102 USA Tank as No 68 in SR livery. Picture copyright and courtesy Kernow Model Centre

The SR / BR(s) USA 0-6-0 tanks being produced by Bachmann for Model Rail magazine are imminent to arrive at Bachmann’s Barwell HQ, before being shipped to the Kernow Model Centre for orders to be despatched, this could take a few weeks to complete due to the shear column of orders so be patient.

The South West Trains class 450 Desiro 3rd rail units, based on tooling changes to the previously released 350 class units are now ready to enter production although delivery was stated as being likely to be February 2017,  while the class 414 2 Hap units announced earlier this year are still at the design stage. Although announced back in march 2015 along with the Class 450, the 45 ton Ransomes and Rapier steam crane is still at the design stage prior to CAD work taking place, so is some way off yet.

Keep an eye on this blog in the next week or so for further updates on both released and imminent Southern / Southern Region relevant models form other manufacturers.

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Picture of the month for April… (Posted a day early due to a news item being posted at midday tomorrow…)

Bulleid Merchant Navy 35023 'Holland-Afrika Line' is turned at Fisherton Sarum

Bulleid Merchant Navy 35023 ‘Holland-Afrika Line’ is turned at Fisherton Sarum

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This months picture…

N15 class s747 in early British Railways livery backs towards the coaling stage, whilst S15 Class No. 846 heads west on a ballast train of Dia 1774 40T hoppers that are modified Lima models

N15 class s747 ‘Elaine’ in early British Railways livery is a renamed and numberd Hornby model, backs towards the coaling stage, whilst S15 Class No. 846 heads west on a ballast train of Dia 1774 40T hoppers that are modified Lima models

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As regular readers of my blog will I know I often assist a number of the model manufacturers and commissioners with support, advice and research in conjunction to models that they are in the process of developing. This post is a ‘comment piece’ and my own opinions on aspects of the process to producing a Ready-To-Run (RTR) model and I apologise in advanced for it ending up a little longer than I initially intended…

My own involvement varies from sometimes providing the initial idea, research and concepts, providing information from my own collection of drawings, documents and other reference material, checking drawings / CADs and perhaps checking livery samples etc. My involvement also varies depending on the manufacturer or commissioner involved as each has their own resources either full time employed, sub contract (sometimes off shore) or part time as they endeavour to run their own business.

I am not always at liberty or indeed willing to divulge or publish such intent, discussions, details and or CADs etc. as this is often of course commercially sensitive information; also with some manufacturers I have formal non-disclosure agreements in place.

This is not a full time occupation for me as I as I have a full time proper job and so is carried out in what little spare time I have. I should also make it clear that I do not get directly paid for my involvement, as my main interest is support the production of Southern Railway / Region related models (even in scales in which I have no direct interest), however my involvement does sometimes lead to a benefit in kind to which I am of course grateful.

Often I will speak to others whom I know and trust, that are experts in a particular field, or put them in direct contact with the manufacturer concerned, to obtain further information and advice. Others often assist with constructive comments and advice once a project in the public domain and on the whole this is welcome.
Sometimes however certain individuals decide to be: less than constructive, cryptic, verging on the rude and insulting; and often this has led to them being ignored or even blocked from communicating (including by a number of the manufacturers / commissioners), as their sometimes combative style does not encourage further dialogue (which is often a shame as their direct input could perhaps be useful if they were prepared to be involved on sensible and civil terms), although in some cases this does not stop them from trying to voice their often cryptic opinions elsewhere.

The overall process includes some or all of these steps, all within the constraints of scale, gauge and mass production techniques, of which I may or may not be involved in one or more:
Initial research » concepts / proposal for costings » additional research » collation of available information » laser scanning of any available prototype »
initial basic design of the model (such as chassis, PCBs etc.) »
production of full design and CADs – 3D printed samples (to check initial designs for fit etc.) »
tooling » Engineering Prototype(s) (EPs) – tooling changes / modifications / corrections »
2nd or more EPs » testing » livery artwork » livery samples » packaging design »
production » and finally of course sale to the general public.

Manufacturers and commissioners must be expected at the end of the day make a return on the not insignificant investment. This hopefully will then encourage more such investment in the future.

Differences, sometimes mistakes, can occasionally creep into the process due to a number of reasons such as:
Changes and/or variations in the prototype from available drawings, mistakes in available drawings, alterations made during lifetime and also preservation (which needs to be noted when scanning is used), and/or variations within the same prototype(s) even with only a small number of original prototypes, and during different periods in their life. 
All of which have to be accounted for and sometimes compromises will have to be made to make producing a model costs effective. The collaborative approach hopefully limits the number of these items that go unnoticed or misinterpreted by any one individual.

This process can take anytime between 18 months or so to even four or more years depending on the particular manufacturer / commissioner concerned, the available resources (either in house or sub-contract, full or part time), the information available and/or due to unforeseen circumstances that can sometimes crop up along the way.

Whilst I agree that often the process does appear to take too long this is sometimes beyond the control of the manufacturer for a variety of reasons, some of which have been well documented over the last 5 years or so. In some case s however such intent to produce a certain model can be seen to be announced to early, although often a market force at the time dictates such a decision whether right or wrong. Such a stake in the ground, as we have seen in the last 12 months or so,  does not of course prevent possible duplication, especially where one party is already well down the development process detailed above. Any form of behind the scenes collusion between manufacturers would of course be illegal as being a restrictive practice under completion law. I would however prefer such announcements to be made in a timely manner when the initial work undertaken is at such a place to backed up with a realistic delivery intent.

I hope this comment piece gives an indication of the processes involved in getting a RTR model to market and long may we continue to see Southern related models being produced as accurately as possible. I certainly believe that it is a positive step taken by many of the manufacturers and commissioners over the last few to involve members of the wider modelling community. We cannot expect all those involved at such companies to be experts in everything, especially the larger manufactures that are producing a range of RTR models over a wide range genres and eras. I therefore maintain that the constructive involvement of any subject experts in the wider community should be a benefit to us all.

I realise that some of the content of this comment piece, and it just that, a comment piece and my own opinion and views, might not be welcome in some quarters but if the cap fits…

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