Archive for December, 2007

I should be so lucky

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2007 by norvenmunky


Yesterday I was lucky, I spent the day at Pete Watermans Leamington Spa layout, and did a few jobs for him helping in weathering some coaches.

Whilst there one of the locos on view was the GWR Hall class pictured here, 6924 Grantley Hall. Its a typical example of the quality that its able to see, and also see running. There’s something about 7mm scale that really can capture the imagination, and seeing full length trains, both express and passenger is a real treat. I’m not a convert, yet …

The layout isn’t all track though, far from it. Around the station itself are parts of the local streets and the housing which are also being modelled. To do this they are beginning to develop kits for 7mm houses for which I was able to see the first assembled sets, they look really good and I can see a separate market in the car collectors field for some of them. I managed to blag an outhouse/scullery section from Pete to have a play with from some early test castings. They are the sort of thing that really fires the imagination, particularly after starting to play with my 4mm shops a couple of days back. I’ll take a few shots and post them up over the next couple of days.

I’m at work tomorrow, new years day being paid to stare out of the window and talk. 2008 is already looking promising!




How Long

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2007 by norvenmunky


Where there’s some Wills

In preparation for the final assault on Albion Yard, I’ve turned my attention to a new building, which may find it’s way on to the layout in due course. Well, I say its a new building, but in reality it’s been in a state of suspension for about ten years, and digging it out again I realized theres not a large amount of work to finish it. But that’ll probably change …


Its a small row of shops, originally intended for a Station Forecourt, I joined two kits together to make a small row of lock-up type shops. Originally I only wanted to see one side of them, so I don’t bother making parts for areas I can’t/won’t see. Not knowing how they will finally sit I decided to make them ‘in the round’ so I’ve started to add detail to the rear of the building. Using concrete road as a rendered rear wall works well. To hide the join in the centre there’ll be a drain pipe as at the ends, and brick work showing through damaged render. There’s still one area to do at the top of the rear of the disused unit. Then there’s the fitting out to do, at the moment the thoughts are of a greengrocer, a newsagent and a chippy. The greengrocer and newsagent will be relatively easy to do from bits and pieces in the parts bin, the chippy a bit more difficult. Then there’s the signwriting. The building may sit on a small removeable section with a back alley, rubbish nettles etc, which really appeals at the moment.


The graffiti places the building in the 1960’s to 1970’s period, no spray cans for spotty yoofs then, it was all analogue, brush, paint pot, and the words are based on pictures of actual location’s. In the case of ‘M. Khan is bent’, upon the writing above one of the tunnel mouths at New Southgate on the East coast main line. I’ll have to find space for ‘Kropotkin Lives’ somewhere too, that was on a wall outside Finsbury Park, for some reason it’s stuck in my mind all these years.

Waiting in the Weeds

Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2007 by norvenmunky

Heljan Falcon

I’ve been doing a little background research on the Class53 Falcon. What this really means is I’ve been sitting in the corner looking through books to find pictures of the locos in service. A good friend JBK sent a link to a good website with some pictures, and a copy of a picture in a book, one which I’d seen but hadn’t twigged one element of the weathering of the loco in corporate blue. Having Brian point this out was usefull, I’d probably have missed it and it’s quite distinctive. Over the christmas period we have to wait to find out the resolution to the buffer beam problem. It’s now afflicted both ends of my Two Tone Green version, tonight, taking the body off to look at the DCC instalation potential, the remaining beam broke free of one of it’s lugs just taking the body off.


The DCC potential looks easy enough with an eight pin DCC socket, room on top of the chassis for a decoder, and plenty of room in the fuel tank to hide a good sized speaker. I’m likely to use a Western Class 52 sound chip if I go that way, the engines were pretty much identical, so it’s as close a sound as we’ll get without time travel, or a masterfull digital white noise recording. But who could authenticate it 33 years after the loco was withdrawn.
Whilst on the subject of the body/fuel tanks and studying pictures the grossly overscale step on the bodysides will have to go. It’ll be quite easy to make a replacement from angle brass and scrap strip. On one side the step is in the wrong place, and they have carried the problem onto the fuel tank, with mirror images for each side. so some cutting about will need to take place on one side.



The other area comment has been passed on is the headcode blind. Its certainly an interference fit, an easy way to remove them is to place the nose face down on the thin foam that comes in the box and press firmly from behind with a cotton bud. The glazing on mine popped out with little effort. Some paint did come away so it indicates that they may have been fitted before the paint was fully cured. The supplied headcodes can then be trimmed to size and fitted. the glazing just needs a run around the edge with some wet and dry paper to reduce the size fractionally and it’ll be a less interfering fit when replaced. The LED’s behind the headcodes do illuminate it well though.


Frail grasp on the big picture

Posted in Uncategorized on December 25, 2007 by norvenmunky

Well it’s Christmas day, a time for family, good will to all men, and catching up around the world as family, friends and colleagues call and are called with good wishes.

I spoke to two parts of the world today, this morning it was Australia, Perth, the coldest Christmas day for 8 years, 28C. Ladies an Gennelmen I present ‘The Hawk’ We only speak once or twice a year, but there’s an incredibly strong bond, formed initially at work, reinforced with a cracking climb on Crib Coch on Snowdon, the common bond of parenthood, and a riotous new year celebration at work, with a dawning realization at 02:00hrs that we were totally polluted, and perhaps it was time to stop. We had a job to do, we had to get home, eventually, and we woz besh maytze … It also looked like we had emptied a bottle bank.

Next we come to ‘The Welsh Git’, again a thoroughly decent bloke, but who this year has had an ‘annus horriblus’, that doesn’t mean his bum looks like a Japanese naval ensign, just that he’s had a bit of a rough time.
a/ Split from the future wife
b/ Lost a future daughter in law
c/ On the ‘hit’ list at work
d/ Had a nephew who has had a paralyzing stroke at Age 18
e/ A Grandparent they can’t tell about the stroke as the it may prove too much
f/ Welsh
g/ Ginger

There’s talk he’s been seen hanging around Battersea dogs home looking for a mutt. The only problem is with his luck, it’ll end up brown bread in short order. There is a light on the horizon though, he’s ordered his first Pikuptruk, if the house catches fahr and the dawg dahs, he’s got the entire difficult third album ready written. Nashville here we come!

Bergen or ‘Tackleberry’ as he’s also affectionately known is as good value as ever. Most of us get a nice prezzy wrapped in a box with shiny paper and a loving kiss. Bergy gets himself an airshow, personalized with a helicopter and a big torch. Spending the break at home with his parents on the eve of the big day they were gently reminiscing about Christmas’ past, and, as a surprise to his parents, Bergy decided he’d recreate one of the more memorable Christmas mornings of his childhood. Thus pre-dawn, armed with a broom and cricket bat, to make, it has to be said, a reasonable representation of a Lee Enfield .303, we find a room filled with screams as parents awake to find an ‘armed’ intruder standing on their bed, shouting at them to get their hands up. A neighbour returning from a night shift sees, beautifully backlit, (those MFI bedside lamps are so effective), an armed intruder, with a rifle, threatening Mr & Mrs Bergy Snr, and makes the only sensible call possible under the circumstances. Cue the airshow, a £2,000 fuel bill and a charge for wasting Police time. Happy days …

Finally my bro, living in High Plains Drifter country, at the end of the yellow brick road, Happy Christmas mate, there’s a drawing of a five pound note in the post for you.


It’s all over now

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2007 by norvenmunky

Stardate 20-12-07


The last day of flying for one of the RAF’s most well known aircraft of the past 33 years.

Over the past year the Jaguar has rapidly dissapeared from frontline service, until there was only one at Boscombe Down allocated to test flying.

 I didn’t see Jaguars very often but they were always an exciting aircraft to watch and I’ll miss them, but not as much as the crews who despite a very high analogue workload, thoroughly enjoyed flying them. This is Raymond Ginardon putting the aircraft through it’s paces earlier this year, in one of the sharpest pieces of low-flying I’ve ever had the privilege to witness.


Yesterday that flew for the last time, and the curtain has finally fallen for the big cat.

Maybe Tomorrow

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2007 by norvenmunky

I’ve had a pile of stuff arrive of late, and quite an eclectic mix it is too, so much so that it’s nearly time to start a list of things to do. Very ‘un-bloke ish’ but it may help in sorting a programme of work. Like most modellers I have a mental list of tasks that I think will work, and the sequence to do them in. That helps if they are from a project that has a connection to the next, the problem I have is there’s no connection so it’s all a bit ‘wood for the trees’ at the mo.

Here’s one of the ‘left field’ candidiates a Bachmann 0n30 ‘Shay’ for a weathering job, a great opportunity to do something different, but with no reference data, research will be interesting to say the least….

Also in the in tray are a selection of N Gauge Metcalfe buildings, which I already know will need some work on the roofs to get an acceptable result, I’ll be trying different media to improve those aspects, but it’s knowing where to stop once the improvements have started.

One thing that needs very little improvement is the new OO Heljan Class 53 Falcon.

Unfortunately some have a production fault with the buffer beam, but it’s nothing that a little bit of patience won’t resolve. The frustrating thing is that the replacement buffer beam has no buffers, so you have to swap those too. Not the biggest of jobs but removing the buffers from the original will almost certainly destroy the buffer housing, and putting them in the replacement one will mean solid buffers rather than sprung, due to the design. Aftermarket replacement buffers and housings are available, but it’s not the point really…. Still its a model that captures the iconic appearance of the prototype, and for that I can live with the minor niggles that come with it.

Another icon in a far less glamourous vein is the 08 shunter. I had the opportunity to revisit one of my three, two of which are in the BR corporate blue, a color notorious for fading, and quite difficult to capture effectively. I re-worked one to lighten and fade the blue with quite nice results. Whilst the Bachmann 08 isn’t as good as the Hornby offering, with a little work on pipes, windows details and paint, it scrubs up quite well.