August 27, 2014


Recently I welcomed back an old friend. Bought in my youth for a mere £25 (and at the Bluebell Railway no less) no.1000 Springbok has never graced the pages of this blog, because she never actually worked! The split chassis mechanism was faulty from purchase (but to be fair, she was second hand) and for many years she adorned a small corner of my room at Loughborough University.

Having taken delivery of an excellent, up to date and new Thompson B1 from Bachmann, and discovering the new chassis would fit the old body shell, I made haste and bought a second to fit to old Springbok. Now for the first time she runs! However I intend to bring her into the 21st century a tad, and she is becoming the guinea pig for a series of modifications intended to bring my Bachmann B1s more into line with Hornby's.

The first change is to the buffers. They have been completely replaced by a set of Hornby's. The difference to the original buffers can be seen in the next picture, showing my apple green B1 spares which will eventually form part of a small fleet of four or five locomotives.

I intend on having a nice mix of electric lighting, and non electric lighting, named and unnamed B1s (none of the Hornby ones will be named, only two of the Bachmann ones will be). The transformation of the front end by simply replacing the buffers is too good to pass up and now all of the Bachmann B1s will have this modification from this point on.

Until next time - when I hope to be reviewing the most eagerly anticipated model of the year: Hornby's Gresley P2.

August 26, 2014

"Books and model railway products"

Just a quick note to say that I will be closing the order book for Tale of the Unnamed Engine from Thursday, as a new pricing structure for all of our products will be coming into place from the 1st September.

We will be reducing the price on the paperback book in the run up to Christmas in order to clear our remaining stock. This potentially gives us some space for the next paperback book...

The model railway products will gain their own page in due course and more news on updated etches will come soon.

I have been very busy with work and family matters so please accept my apologies if any orders are currently running late. Any orders placed since the 20th of August and before the 30th August will be subject to the old pricing structure on all products.

Until next time.

August 21, 2014

"The Permanent way…"

The next stage in the story of Mossflower Abbey/Little Ganwick* is a difficult one - laying the track. Seems easy at first until you remember that each section of the layout is removable.

I've used Woodland Scenic HO scale underlay. This had several advantages: firstly, it's about the right height and depth I want for the track bed, and secondly it came in two big rolls which covered the length of the five boards easily.

The underlay was stuck down using standard PVA glue. Before gluing it down, I used some double sided tape to hold the underlay in place, and a permanent marker to check the alignment of the track.

That in particular is important, as I will now demonstrate…

Each of the boards fits together using identical metal dowels.

Before separating the boards, I used a scalpel to cut the track bed cleanly. Each of the boards are now entirely separate as a result.

I numbered the boards 1-5. The centre boards 2, 3 and 4 are not just interchangeable, they are reversible.

Effectively, the layout can be set up as a 3, 4, or 5 board layout dependent on the size of area available to it. This means it is can also be extended in future if one so chooses…

The next stage is to lay some track and make when fitted together, all the track lines up perfectly to allow trains to run without any problems. This is the bit I am most nervous about as the track will also have to have wire droppers soldered and put through the baseboard to its underside. Could go very well, could also go very badly…!

Until next time, where we'll have an update on rolling stock I hope.

*I'm struggling to choose between the two names - perhaps Mossflower Abbey could be the main structure on the layout, and the layout could be called Little Ganwick? More on that next time.

August 17, 2014

"A few modelling updates"

Evening all. I thought I'd do some railway modelling to cheer myself up. Not been feeling myself for some time as many of you will know, but I am getting better every day, and that's due in part mostly to one special person in my life at the minute. I am very grateful to her.

So to kick everything off: one London & North Eastern Railway long wheelbase covered carriage truck, or CCT for short. This is a Parkside Dundas kit and will get a weathered teak finish and some better couplings very soon to fit into one of my rakes!

Next stage: a brief review of Bachmann's current Thompson B1 model. The long and the short of it is that I've given up on Hornby doing an apple green B1 in my lifetime (!) so I bought a cheap Bachmann model instead.

This one depicts LNER no.1123 and has a superb chassis. The superior paintwork on this model really makes an old model look new.

I've dug a few older body shells out of my stock box and confirmed one thing is true: the older body shells will fit onto the new chassis by simply replacing the body and using the same screw. They are virtually identical bar the paintwork. That being the case, I am considering mixing and matching to get the locomotives I want.

These four B1s are all apple green, and have various detail differences between them. Utilising a modified Bachmann V2 tender (close enough to the Atlantic tender I will be portraying) is B1 no.1039, which will be made using another of the no.1123 models and a spare Mayflower body shell.

Springbok will be made the same way but keeping the tender of no.1123, and can be seen as the spare body shell with the red nameplates. These will be replaced with the appropriate etched nameplates in due course.

Finally, 61024 Addax will use the same chassis and tender, albeit keeping LNER on the tender but having a BR number on the cabsides and an etched numberplate on the smokebox door.

All of them will get a little modification that I am very happy with. The standard release from Bachmann comes with the awful plastic coupling that gives a huge gap between locomotive and tender.

No.1123 is now permanently coupled using nothing more than a Hornby Railroad Scotsman standard tender to loco drawbar and the screw which accompanies it to screw onto the tender.

The other end goes through the body shell opening under the cab, and between the loco body shell and the chassis to be permanently screwed in using the retaining screw which keeps chassis and loco body fixed together.

The result is something more appropriate in look.

So that's it from me, except to say that I've finally started laying my C&L track work! Which looks vastly superior to the old Hornby and Peco track I'd become accustomed to using in my modelling all these years. No going back now, I am on the first rung of a long modelling ladder and I will be doing all I can to improve on a monthly basis.

Next update I will hopefully be announcing something rather exciting officially for the first time. Watch this space…

Until next time.

August 01, 2014

"Hacked emails and other updates"

Firstly, my apologies ladies and gents - the old company email, was hacked earlier this week and was sending out odd emails. I've since got it back under my control and have decided to retire the account for now.

Please email us on instead for the time being.

There are loads of modelling updates but I haven't had time to photograph nor write about them: a few changes at work and my holiday tomorrow have made it difficult to just sit down and do anything blog related.

However…next time I will have some updates on the next The British Railway Stories book. It promises to be a good one.

Until next time!