Saturday, 31 January 2015

"BRWS Ltd Monthly update #1"

So another year begins and yet more modelling and writing goes unreported. I did say it was getting more and more difficult to report on the blog, with work taking up so much of my time. This is part of the reason why I am changing to a monthly blog update.

This means there will only be twelve major blogs this year - a big change from the normal weekly or as and when updates of years gone by.

I apologise for this, but life has changed a lot since I started this blog at university, way back in 2006 (though in its present incarnation, 2008 when it changed to The British Railway Stories blog, now a limited company of course). Times change, and we have to change with the times.

Therefore I intend on making my blogs a lot more in depth, with a lot more photography, and more modelling as a result! All to the greater good for my readers.

Last year I took delivery of a Thompson A2/3, partially built, from a friend. This model was a commission for that friend and the modeller who had built had not finished the job.

This locomotive is now in the queue and is further along than it was previously.

Then we have the fleet of Gresley A3 Pacifics which are being modified continuously. Humorist is nearly complete (front loco) but the rest are in various stages of completion. They do now also require a new place to be stored, which will present some difficulties I suspect.

In my quest to have several of the exchange trial locomotives, I've built purely for my own whim a Stanier Pacific: City of Lancaster, built from the cheap Great British Locomotives Magazine model and using a modified Hornby chassis. It'll be out shopped in wartime black with British Railways numbering and LMS lettering.

Finally, the scenic baseboards are now wired up for Ganwick Curve, as my layout is now know. The next stage is to build the rest of the boards - two curved sections and a fiddle yard.

So that is that for the time being, with more to follow next month, when I will go back in time a little bit, and present a few of my completed A4 Pacific projects for scrutiny and comparison.

Until next time!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

"Happy new year"

So the countdown has begun. Parties are being set up all over the country. I myself am heading to one in Sidcup, for various reasons, not least certain work commitments and family ones too.

2014 was the year I started to turn things around for myself. I can say that and be both proud in some things I've accomplished, and of course embarrassed at the things which went wrong. But hey, the road is full of imperfections.

I'm still on that road. That very very very very very very long road, called life. Stuff happens. Things fall apart. Things get put back together. We're not just talking modelling here people!

Things get better. Things get worse. Things come to a head. Things just happen unexpectedly. Things get delayed. Things suddenly brighten up, and things change for the better.

By now the word "things" no longer looks like a word to me so I'll cut to the chase.

2014 was change. Lots of things (there's that word again) changed, some stayed the same. The biggest changes had the smallest impacts at first, but some have stayed with me.

I'm looking forward to 2015, and I hope you are are too. Wherever you're going, whatever road or railway line you're taking, be sure to treat each and everyone the same, and enjoy life.

Who knows, you might end up on a railway platform, unaware that change is just around the corner. I live in hope.

Happy new year!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

"End of the year"

Evening all,

November was an absolute washout for BRWS Ltd. So busy at work and at home, modelling took a hit, as did writing.

The shop will be closed from December 10th, and the website will be down from the 15th for our winter maintenance period. You won't be able to contact us until the new year - specifically January 15th - so if you do need anything please let us know before then.

I have a sad announcement - after much thought and lots of testing, I will be withdrawing our current range of A4 detailing etches from sale. Whatever we have left in stock, we will sell, and that will be it for the time being.

This isn't a quality thing or a problem with the supplier: it's a time factor, I simply haven't any to devote to it for the time being.

Thanks for all of your support the last year, and - though there will be a Christmas blog and a New Year's blog - it's goodbye from all of us at BRWS Ltd for the time being.

Ending on a high, however - I am thrilled to announce that the Bluebell Railway has sold out of its original stock of our book, Tale of the Unnamed Engine. They have received a further allocation in time for Christmas. Please support them and us by buying the book there.

Simon A.C. Martin

Sunday, 2 November 2014

"A quick selection of Hornby Gresley P2 pictorial updates"

Just a couple of quick pics to show where I am with the P2. Cabsides are in the process of being modified to the correct cut out size...

…the driving wheels and pony/cartazzi wheels are now painted black...

…and the body shell is coming along nicely, with the resin lower sides amalgamated with a Hornby smokebox front and top upper third. The ACFI water header bulge has been removed and the A4 top to the boiler blended in.

Lots more work to do, but she is getting there. The big worry was taking the chassis apart and putting it back together once the driving wheels were painted but happily all seems to be working fine.

Until next time.

Monday, 6 October 2014

"Class O6…no.3505"

In the second world war, something rather odd happened. The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) took delivery of several shed loads of London Midland designed Stanier 8Fs, or to give them correct classification (as this is an LNER centric blog after all) class O6. These excellent work horses were put to good use and were given Gill Sans yellow lettering and numerals to suit their new owner.

I'd always wanted to model one of these, and to my delight some photographs show that they got as far south as King's Cross post war…!

My chosen locomotive subject, no.3505, can be seen photographed in the appropriate Yeadon's Register in a surprisingly clean state. This model has been converted from a very badly battered Hornby model I bought off eBay for - wait for it - £15.

Yes, £15. This model had no motor (bought for £5 and fitted for nothing), no tender frames (bought for £7) and the running plate was converted using a brass masters kit I bought second hand (£5). Total cost, £32. Who says budget modelling can't be fun?!

The locomotive was stripped, primed, and then given a coat of gloss black before press fix numerals and lettering from the HMRS Transfers range were applied. Immediately I can see I've done the numerals a little too far apart. I hope after some weathering this won't be noticeable. The other side will be better, I promise! If it still looks odd, it's out with the fibre glass brush and I will start all over again…

Overall it's given me a nice unusual modelling subject and one which will raise a few eyebrows at exhibitions. I must admit, not being a Midland fan (at all) being able to work on a couple of Stanier's finest has made me appreciate the handsome clean lines of this design in particular.

However, give me a Thompson O1 any day. Elegance re-defined in a beautifully utilitarian manner.

And on that bombshell…goodnight!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

"Dark liveried Duchess"

You may remember some time ago, that I bought another of the Great British Locomotive series models, a Stanier Duchess, numbered as 6220 Coronation. The intention was to put that model into wartime black livery as City of Lancaster, but give it British Railways numbering and LMS lettering. How did I get on?

Pretty well as it happens! She's been quietly stripped down over the last few months, repainted and mated with a now fully modified matching tender, together with some Modelmaster nameplates and a fully rebuilt loco drive Hornby chassis. The total expenditure for this model is a little under £45, the static model coming in at just under £5 of that total number!

I did initially have the nameplates in a slightly different location, but a friend pointed me in the correct direction for putting them right. Now centred over the driving wheel, I have to say as a non Midlander I think the class looks very handsome in plain black with brass nameplates.

She's missing the numerals and lettering, and a touch of weathering, which will come in the next few weeks I suspect. Once done she is firmly going into the pool of "run what I like" locomotives for running something a little different. She is not going to be the only Duchess I have in any event - one other will be built as exchange trials participant City of Bradford.

Until next time.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

"Thompson B3/3, slight change to the chimney…"

Evening all!

I've done quite a lot of railway modelling these past few weeks, preferring to concentrate on my locomotive projects for the time being.

Although I've only showcased the B3/3 and streamlined P2 projects in particular, I've also been working on a Thompson A2/3, four Thompson B1s (in apple green), all five of my Gresley A3s, and been doing some more painting of A4 body shells. Watch this space for updates on all of those…I sense that the express portion of my stockist is almost complete on a number of levels.

No more big engines after the end of this year I suspect! More tank engines of the J50 and N1 variety will be on the cards, as well as consolidating the existing N2s, L1s and similar I already have.

Moving back to the B3/3, which had a minor update. The GCR chimney, on reflection and from feedback I received on the LNER forum, I replaced the top half with a GNR style cap to improve the overall look further.

The effect on the locomotive is notable and it is an improvement both on the original B1 type chimney and the GCR one I fitted thereafter. I simply cut down one of Graeme King's excellent resin O1 chimneys, cut off the top from the GCR one, filed it and glued it down.

The result is rather better I hope!

Until next time.