The July update I had planned has been put back for the time being.
It's been a very difficult month and this morning, though not unexpected, made things a little more difficult.
Orders will still go out as planned and I'll still be responding to emails. I just need a little time to sort things out both at home and in my head.
Fallling in love doesn't come easily to me. When it happens, it's rare, and it's real. The first six months of this year were amazing for me, the happiest six months of my life so far. I don't remember getting up to go to work with such a can do attitude as I did between January and June of this year.
When people like that come into your life, it's very difficult to then say goodbye and watch them leave.
If you're reading, I will always remember the good times. Ice skating amidst skyscrapers, valentine's day theatre trips, castles in the country and many more besides.
I cannot believe how much happened in the first six months of this year and I still can't get over...that it's over.
I made some bad choices and acted badly, and paid the price for that I guess.
One thing, one positive thing, out of all of this. Two years ago I suffered the worse kind of heartbreak. I never thought I could feel that strongly about someone ever again. That sort of love that overrides everything.
It turns out, I can love again. And one day I will again.
So thank you for the time we had together. I only wish we had more time.
So to start us off in this sixth update of the year, here's a few images of no.11 Empire of India which is nearing the finishing straight. A lucky find by a contributor has happily led to me getting the roof and tender painted correctly!
That is, with the tender painted black above the beading, and the roof painted black down to the edges.
Overall I am really happy with her and she'll get a run out at the Erith Model Railway Club this week.
Now we move onto the big steam event of this year. Talyllyn 150. I was very gratified to be able to go with a couple of close friends (including one Ryan Hagan of the Sodor Island Forums) and we enjoyed seeing all of the different shades of red on offer!
Of course, the two guests from the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway were Russell (making a first trip back, and a first trip in steam) and Prince. Both very handsome engines which I admire greatly. The compactness of Russell is astonishing towards the front end!
What's a trip to the Tayllyn without seeing one of the old ladies? Talyllyn herself looked resplendent in her new livery, which I personally thinks suits her the best of all the liveries I have seen. Much better than that lined black...!
Of course there was one engine who wasn't going to be in steam, and sadly Sir Haydn will have to wait a little longer for his overhaul...
I don't think I have ever admired a narrow gauge engine as much as I did Talyllyn that day. The vast majority of my photographs she's in somewhere! Looked fabulous. Nearest the camera is Douglas who I generally ignored the whole day. Sorry Douglas!
Russell is an astonishingly powerful locomotive for its size, but one of the quietest operators I've heard for a good long time. I doubt that'll be the case when she's running on her home railway!
Then of course, there is the other old lady, looking utterly resplendent in a matching livery to her sister.
Dolgoch really looked rather wonderful. It does beg the question, what livery will we see them in for Talyllyn 200...!!! (If I live that long!)
I did manage to sign a few of our books and generally meet and greet anyone who wanted an autograph. There was one chap named Lewis who made my day by recognising me sitting in one of the coaches! Thanks Lewis, you really cheered me up that morning :)
Finally, we have a new stockist! The Corris Railway has agreed to take ten books on and they will have them within the next week or two.
This brings our number of stockists in the preserved railway world up to four. To that end, I am preparing a new part of the website giving links to these railways and advertising them a little better our end.
Blogger's had a bit of a hissy fit adding my blogs recently, so I'm going to take today to take stock of the backlog that's building up and fix some things (including our stockists page which has gone missing - we also have a new stockist which is exciting news!)
There's a huge amount of things to get through on the blog so please bear with me this month. I hope to have the proper update fixed and posted later today if not tomorrow.
I just thought I'd share a few pictures of a project I have been working on, the London & North Eastern Railway's no.11 Empire of India. I sold my original Empire of India a few years ago and really regretted it.
Of course, this one was made in a completely different fashion to my current A4s, and I've turned the clock back on the livery chosen for my model, which will have the 1946-48 LNER stainless steel lettering and numerals fitted instead.
At the end of this month there'll big the now usual big update regarding my modelling for the month, but I just wanted to share a few pictures to garner some feedback on the garter blue livery.
You will remember that I have been formulating my own paint and methods of painting my models. Well, I think I've finally cracked it with this model, which requires a Tamiya light blue being applied onto grey primer, followed by my latest reformulated (and a bit expensive now!) garter blue shade.
And yes - the tender is the wrong type (it should be a 1928 corridor tender) but rest assured, no.11's tender is in hand (and currently drying after painting. This tender will be going behind no.8 Dwight D Eisenhower).
I'll go through the full build in some detail on the 30 June 2015.
We are delighted to announce we have a new stockist for The British Railway Stories. Tenterden Town station on the Kent & East Sussex Railway is now selling copies of Tale of the Unnamed Engine in the shop.
We will be adding their details to our partner page shortly and will be making a full report at a later date.
Tale of the Unnamed Engine is now available at the Bluebell Railway, Kent & East Sussex Railway and Talyllyn Railway in Wales.
A quick recap needed on the building of my Gresley Pacific fleet, given I've actually finished one of them now!
So we start with one of Hornby's newest Railroad Flying Scotsman models.
Then some modelling happens...!
Essentially the cabs, washout plugs, cylinder blocks, smokebox doors and chimneys are replaced, and smokebox superheater headers and sometimes domes are added. The domes and superheater headers can be bought from Graeme King on the LNER Encyclopaedia Forum, whereas the chimneys are spares bought from Hornby many years ago. The smokebox doors are my own resin casts of the super detail Hornby A3 smokebox door. The cylinder blocks were cheap lined out spares from eBay.
The cab replacement method can be seen best here. The front loco has the replacement cab with the shorter cut out fitted, and the one behind has the original cab with the side sheets extended. Fitting the replacement cab requires cutting the original one off, filing down the top of the boiler backhead a little bit, and several rubber bands and slow drying super glue.
Truth be told, replacing the cab altogether gives a much better, more accurate finish, as the addition to the cab side sheets doesn't hide the fact the sides don't curve in as they should do. Plus, the replacement cabs (from the cheap Great British Locomotives magazine models) have full cab glazing - very useful!
The reason for replacing the cab is simple: this gives the cab type accurate for 1946-9 era Gresley A3s, as well as the right hand drive detail that I need for all of my A3s (except for Humorist, which as you can see above was actually converted from right to left hand drive in addition to all of the detail differences added including the stovepipe double chimney.).
The modifications also include adding lamp irons, handrails, couplings, vacuum pipes, smokebox door darts and white metal buffers, and cylinder drain pipes too. The white metal buffers
The chassis gets either a repaint of the wheels, or replacement with lined Hornby alternatives and a new front bogie in many cases.
Well, I finally managed to finish one - no.4480 Enterprise. The paint is just a standard Plasticote gloss black paint, bought from B&Q.
She looks very glossy here compared to the unmodified Railroad model behind.
Very, very glossy in fact! Note that although a lot of the detail is moulded on, it does look superior to older Hornby Gresley A3 models if not quite as refined as the super detail model.
The comparison between the two models - as bought and as modified - couldn't be more marked.
Enterprise received some light weathering and some lamp irons and lamps, in addition to some real coal in the tender. The weathering was mostly brushed on with some powders, and a light touch with a fine brush on the smokebox and around the front and on the tender. Games workshops' Purity Seal spray was used to seal everything in.
Toning down the shiny paint has still left something of a metallic look to the boiler, which I like.
Although annoyingly NONE of my transfers appear to be on straight. They looked it when I put them one, and they look it in real life. New glasses needed...?
Aside from the transfers problem (which I'll deal with in due course), I've really enjoyed turning a budget model into something more accurate. It was great fun, cost me a lot less to do than buying the top detail model from Hornby, and I've another seven to do to complete my fleet. The chassis of the Railroad model is a lovely smooth runner, and the flywheel drive is excellent. The diecast cartazzi and extra weight really add to the haulage stakes too, making it better in my view than the super detail alternative if you feel like putting some effort into your modelling.
Picking the wartime livery for 4480 wasn't entirely a cop out though, as I intend for four of my fleet to be apple green, and four of them to be wartime black.
This way I have a variety of tender and boiler types and combinations and liveries ranging from NE Black to LNER apple green and British Railways on the tender. Lots of interest for the impending model railway!