Sunday, 28 October 2012

Raising The Bar

With the scenic details finished the question is what next? Well, we can correct errors, add details and cameo scenes almost at infinitum.

Extra details on a small layout sustain visitors viewing interest and it is heart warming for us to hear returning visitors say "Is that new?", when in fact a small detail they spotted had always been there! However, we should not over do it to the point where realism is compromised or it looks cluttered.

There is one scene we have not presented in this Blog so far that has been there from the early days and that is the railway staff cricket pitch. This has its own story based on fact but that will have to wait for another day to be told.

Some new details being discussed include more wild flowers, scratch built LSWR rolling stock, a train conveying Thornycroft J class trucks destined for France in WW1 (although whether or not they came this way is questionable, despite the factory being just up the line) and to move the layout forward 8 years to depict the station and rolling stock in Southern Railway livery. If we were starting again we would make the station platform and its tree line a replaceable module so that a SR version could be swapped in. Things that would be different include taller trees, SR station name boards, wire fence, SR staff and more vegetation. Currently, only the station building can be easily swapped for a SR green version.

One error that has just been corrected is the level crossing gate that was made too low and depicted 5 bars instead of 6. But, studying the real Cliddesden gate since remaking the model I noted it has 7 bars! I have seen pictures of other LSWR gates with 6 bars so, I'll not be changing it again. At least the height looks correct.

Spot the Difference


Wednesday, 24 October 2012


A few more realistic details added to the model... In this case adding a few ladders in appropriate factual locations, according to photos in "The Book". The most obvious one was adding a ladder to the water tower, it was quite interesting to pick up the detail of the shadow generated by it on our model. A less obvious place where a ladder was spotted in one of the photos was, a step ladder propped up against the wall of the station building, behind the open gate (can you see it).

We used scalelink's n gauge ladder brass fret, painted hambro black. It's supplied as a set of 6, so we got to think of some more realistic interesting places to put the rest.


Monday, 22 October 2012

n Gauge Loco Crew

It's bad enough that our little engine does not emit smoke and steam but to be conveying passengers and goods without a footplate crew is down right inexcusable!

I selected the loco crew from the FLEETLINE range. This is very good value for money as we get two sets of people in 4 different poses. Some photos from LSWR days show the driver wearing a protective over jacket, which I believe to be a very light blue.

We wanted the crew to be removable from the cab because there is a crazy idea of fitting a DCC chip at some point and we wondered if the cab void would be needed for it. So, the solution was to fix the crew to a thin piece of brass such that the assembly could be slid into the cab between the hand rails and held in place with double sided tape. This can be prised out without too much difficulty.

Virtually impossible to discern any detail of the crew once installed so if the pose or position of them is wrong then it don't matter. At least it is obvious the footplate is now occupied.

To finish the loco fittings diamond route indicator boards were fitted to the front. These are pieces of double sided tape with the protective layer retained. The sticky side holds it to the body. A bit fragile but wanted to be able to remove them without damaging the loco in the future, if necessary.

I'd lke to know what year diamonds were changed to circles.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Alton Spur

The Basingstoke Station, in N gauge, was on show at the 38th Farnham Expo. This was off interest to us, as it's our local mainline station and it's one end of where the Basingstoke and Alton light railway terminated. As the model is set in the 1960's the Basingstoke and Alton line had long gone, but here we see the line where it got cut off (on the far left hand side). Read more about the expo here

Next passenger stop would have been Cliddesden, after passing the Thornycroft car factory which was also connected to the Basingstoke and Alton line.


Friday, 19 October 2012

LSWR Brake Van Part 5

Shock, horror and panic over.

Having coupled the Brake Van on to its train I noticed that the height of it was a good deal less than other box vans. Had I got the height wrong somehow? Checking the dimensions with the drawing revealed it to be correct.

Happily, there is a photo in the magazine of a prototype Brake Van coupled to a standard 10 ton SR box van and indeed the Brake Van is a bit of a squat.

The photo below shows the complete train from the normal the viewing distance. You may wonder why there are GW trucks in LSWR territory. Well the movement of goods between territories resulted in such events and the foreigners were often held and used for local deliveries eventually finding there way back to home ground. The other reason of course is a lack of LSWR r-t-r trucks from the trade!

Might be worth mentioning that the limit on train length for this line was initially set at ten loaded wagons (or 15 empty wagons) and three 4 wheeled passenger coaches. I wonder if a mixed train of this length every worked the line since it was a quiet back water with little traffic demand.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

LSWR Brake Van Part 4

This post is about the fittings for the brake van. The handrails and goods door handle are a very fine wire used in embroidery. The holes to locate them are made with the point of a very thin sewing needle.

The prototype shows the handrails painted white but I like the natural brass colour of the wire.

Stove pipe is a piece of wire and the three lanterns on the rear are made from balsa wood. I'm no expert on their use but from what I have read the white lantern signifies the train is complete. The black lanterns fitted on the outside of the door pillars identify this as an unfitted train, which means vacuum operated brakes are not fitted. These two lanterns show red lenses to the rear and clear to the front so that the driver can look out of his cab to see the lanterns thereby checking that the train is complete with the guard van in tow.

To Part 5.

To Part 1.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

LSWR Brake Van Part 3

This is a snapshot of the paper kit I designed for the Brake van body. (Snapshot is not to scale).

The drawing from the magazine was scanned and reduced to 2mm scale and then the artwork created over the top with reference to colour photos of the prototype. I wonder if the drawing was not quite accurate because the side window above the gate seems more square than that of the prototype.

The parts include internal decoration for the veranda.

The design was ink jet printed onto a sticky backed label sheet. The Epson ink I use is said to hold its colour for 200 years and is unffected by moisture.

Parts are cut out and some applied to postcard quality paper with others being stuck on top for the outside bracing/doors or to the rear for internal decoration as appropriate.

Clearly, butt jonts are used between panels. Glue is a fast setting PVA from UHU.

A felt tip pen of the matching colour is wiped along the seams to cover the white paper edges but this was not possible for the outside bracing, which in a way is acceptable as the definition is better and it could be construed as dust/dirt or light reflection.

To Part 4.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

LSWR Brake Van - Part 2

The PECO chassis kit NR-121B is quick and easy to assemble. The chassis is one piece moulded plastic. Just pop in the wheel sets, locate the couplers, glue in their retainers and place the weight. Job done.

The wheels are of the disk variety whereas the prototype has spoked wheels. Can you spot the difference? No, That is the beauty of 'n' gauge. Small means we can afford for some details to be overlooked. But I have to say not too happy about the centre portion of the buffer beam missing to allow the coupler to move up and down. On this brake van buffer beams are to be LSWR red and the buffer beam deviation will probably show. Funny how some aspects jar the mind. I should be more unhappy about the unrealistic coupler.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Happy First Birthday

14/10/2011 was the date I started this blog, so today is the 1st anniversary for this blog, and the seed to building Cliddesden station on the Basingstoke and Alton light railway in N gauge. I would just like to thank you for reading and following our blog.

As a present, for you all... The groundwork is pretty much done now, with the last bit finished, being the railway cottage gardens, and all the static grass. Here are a few pictures.

As was common during the First World War, we have decided to do an open plan "shared" garden with a simple cinder path, and 4 connected allotments, and the railway workers have decided to leave the washing out.

Thanks for your support,


Saturday, 13 October 2012

LSWR Brake Van - Part 1

We need a LSWR Brake Van for the line.

The LSWR Standard Brake Van was featured in 'Railway Modeller' June 1971 with scale drawing, description and photos. A photo of the inaugural train on the line shows this style of van in use.

Nothing available from the trade so a scratch built model will be made. Thankfully, PECO give us a head start with their NR-121B brake chassis kit. The wheelbase is 10' instead of the 10' 6" of the prototype, but we will not worry about 1mm difference in 'n' scale. I'll adjust the wagon body accordingly.

To Part 2


Monday, 8 October 2012

Monday is Wash Day

Posts are whittled from cocktail sticks with thin wire strung between. The line is propped up midway with a small twig trimmed to form a 'Y' from a side shoot.

The non-descript. clothing on the left is in fact a scaled down early 1900s photograph of washing on a line. Shame it is too small to show detail, which is quiet interesting showing the fashion of the time, being trousers, stripped long johns and other garments. The trousers on the far left were used to scale the clothes, this being 3' 6" long or 7mm in 'n' gauge.

This line is at the rear of the Station Master's house. There are four more to make for the staff cottages.

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