Posts Tagged ‘Ratio’

There are some who will wonder why we do it… we spend hours building a layout and its rolling stock to then transport it miles around the country, set it up, intensively operate it then pack it all away again and transport it back home.  No matter how careful we are some damage will inevitably occur to something along the way.  The reason why I do it, is for the enjoyment of exhibiting something I have built, have fun operating the layout with my family and friends and to meet a wide range of fellow modellers, many of whom have a common interest in all things Southern, and it is great that they take the time to show an interest in what I have done.

Last week Fisherton Sarum was at the excellent Watford Finescale exhibition, amongst a very high calibre of other layouts,  it was a very enjoyable weekend. I met and chatted with a number of readers of this blog and it is always great to see you.

As the title of this post implies there was a couple of casualties at the weekend, which is something I come to expect and do not generally get too upset about, some things  get fixed / replaced on the spot such as wires coming adrift or couplings breaking as it is necessary to keep the layout working. Others such as physical damage (although amazingly a once dropped locomotive only suffered a broken coupling that was fixed on the spot), broken detail (even when trying to avoid handling stock as much as possible), failed locomotives (although they all get cleaned and tested before each show) get put to one side for fixing at a later date.

My rake of SR Dia. 1774 40T ballast hoppers behind a Drummond T14 class 4-6-0

My rake of SR Dia. 1774 40T ballast hoppers behind a Drummond T14 class 4-6-0

One of my signature rakes is the Meldon Ballast train of SR diagram 1774 40T bogie hoppers, made from modified Lima Sealion wagons. These were fitted with Ratio diamond frame bogies (as they were the only ones of the type available at the time) and over time have proved to be quite fragile due to their method of construction and last weekend I was down to only 4 of the 8 usually in service.  I have now this week had a pleasant evening replacing the damaged bogies with replacements from Cambrian Models, these comprise of a single piece moulding for the bogie itself which should be far stronger in exhibition service, and I am now back to a full rake of eight 40T hoppers.

Although such damage is / can be frustrating it is all part of the hobby when exhibiting and does mean a little extra time modelling to put things right again but sometimes this can result in an improvement to the models such as the case of the Cambrian Models bogies.

Fisherton Sarum will once again be hitting the road on 8th / 9th March 2014 for the  Basingstoke and North Hampshire Model Railway Society show being held at the Aldworth Science College, Basingstoke, RG22 6HA  and if you are popping by please say hello as it’s always nice to chat.

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One of the characteristic views from the coach window when travelling on our railways , until the late 1970’s was the continual dipping and rising of the telegraph wires. Telegraph, telephone and signalling block instrument communications were all carried alongside the line suspended from the iconic multi-arm telegraph poles. Whilst the poles themselves are often modelled, there being a number of manufacturers of such in the popular scales, creating the actual wires, especially to scale is somewhat more of a challenge. I have seen fine thread and fine wire used by others but these have always proved to be very delicate and easily damaged.


The wires are there really…click images to enlarge to get a better view

Traditionally the telegraph poles would be spaced approximately 60 yards apart, which in 4mm scale is some 720mm apart and therefore this distance understandably tends to be shortened in model form. The wires themselves would have been strung with 200lb copper wire (more for mechanical strength than conductivity) which would have course expanded and contracted depending on ambient temperature creating that recognisable ‘sag’ that would be more pronounced on a hot day.


Trying to achieve the classic effect of the lineside telegraph wires

On Fisherton Sarum I have modelled a short stretch of the telegraph poles and wires. I have used suitably painted Ratio telegraph poles, using more greys than browns. The distance between the poles has also been somewhat compressed, although a change in direction of the route has given a reason for the close proximity of a couple of the poles.

For the wires I have used a product called ‘Silk worm – magicians invisible thread’ this is in fact very fine elastic and at the time was available either in clear or black. The clear is exactly what it says on the reel and is pretty much impossible to see so defeated the object for using as telegraph wires somewhat, so I used the black. Even so, using the black, the wires often tend to go unnoticed by many viewers of the layout and also depends on the angle that they are viewing from and the point at which they are trying to focus on.


The closer spacing of these two poles is due to the change in direction occurring

Using this elastic does have its pros and cons: being elastic, with some ‘give’ it does mean that it withstands being knocked at times, which is easily done, such as when track cleaning; however the elastic property does also of course mean that the wires stay tight and you not get the ‘sag’. Even with fine cotton thread the ‘sag’ does not look right due the thread having no weight, even with fine wire the effect is not that convincing. I have tried to trick the eye slightly by fixing the upper ‘wire on one pole to a lower point on the next pole and visa versa which means that the wires cross in the middle between the two poles but trick the eye into giving an effect of the sag, this tends to trick the eye in actual life better than these photographs show.

Although quite a time consuming and tricky exercise the effect of the adding the wires I feel has been worth it even without the proper sag.

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Alongside the platelayers hut next to the main line a group of Permanent Way workers, sometimes also known as platelayers,  are taking a taking a tea break, one of whom is sat reading the newspaper and another has a mug of tea in his hand. The gentleman leaning on his ballast fork is, as I have stated on the blog a few times,  a representation of my Grandfather* in his role as a Ganger.
Gangers-1The permanent way team would have been made up of a number of Linesmen and look outs under the leadership of a Ganger who in turn would have reported to a local / area Sub-inspector (Permanent way). On Fisherton Sarum the look out flag man is just walking towards the hut to join the rest of the team in taking there tea break.

The classic concrete platelayers huts were seen all over the Southern railway and were a design and product of the Southern Railway’s own concrete works at Exmouth Junction. The distinctive roof shape was so that minus the chimney they could be delivered, within the loading gauge on a well wagon, in one piece to anywhere on the network.
800_embankment A number of 4mm models of these typical Southern Railway platelayers huts are available in kit or Ready-to-Plonk form from the likes of: Roxey Mouldings in white metal, as per this example along with the typical cast concrete ballast bin located alongside; Ratio in plastic and also in resin within the Hornby Scaledale range.

*My grandfather, Thomas Arthur Muspratt, in reality was a ganger for the Southern Railway, based at Salisbury for most of the period that I model before he gained promotion to Sub Inspector (permanent way) at Andover Junction during 1948.

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One of my signature trains on Fisherton Sarum is a rake of Southern Railway Diagram 1774 40 Ton hopper ballast wagons and ex SECR ballast plough brake van. These hoppers were converting from Lima “Sealion/Seacow” a long time before either Bachmann or Hornby produced their own version of the later BR built hoppers. The Bachman model being the riveted style, rather than the Hornby welded version, could now be used for this conversion.

N1 class no. 1822 heads a rake of SR dia 1774 40t ballast hoppers from Meldon Quarry

Bogie 40 ton hopper wagons were first introduced by the LSWR in 1903/4, built by G & R Turner of Nottingham. This led to a number of versions prior to the introduction of the SR dia 1774 which along with SR dia 1775 that had cast style bogies, were the forerunner of the later BR built Walrus, Sealion and Seacow hoppers. Variations include brake equipment, the angle of the hopper sides, hardly visible to the naked eye, and some very minor body differences which I am more than happy to accept with a very small amount of modellers licence as life would be too short otherwise.

SR Diagram 1774 40T Ballast Hopper in pre-1936 livery.

For my conversions I used Diamond bogies available from Ratio for these models along with Keen Maygib disc wheels. These ratio bogies provide a reasonable representation of the type fitted to the SR dia 1774 if I was doing this conversion again I would utilise the Cambrian Kit bogies specific for the Dia 1774 and they also produce the correct cast style bogies to allow the SR dia 1775 to be represented. Cambrian also produce complete kits for these two prototypes but they are not the easiest of kits to build!

SR Diagram 1774 40T Ballast Hopper in post-1936 livery. Note the smaller SR lettering.

I carefully removed the two vacuum cylinders and associated mouldings and repositioned then centrally at each end between the stanchions supporting the door operating hand wheels. I added an additional horizontal cross member, from microstrip, between the central two hand rail posts at each end which provided the top fixing point for the vacuum hose (white metal castings from ABS). Cast white metal buffers from ABS (SR Brake Van Buffers) were used to replace the later BR style

The ex SECR Ballast Plough built from a old Jidenco etched brass kit. Apologies for the white roof against a white background, weathering is still needed.

I painted using an aerosol of Halfords red oxide plastic primer which is of course the correct final colour as these hopper wagons were allocated to the engineers department they were painted in red oxide with black under frames. As some of the SR dia 1774 hoppers were introduced in 1935 some examples were seen with the pre 1936 style large 18” SR initials . Eventually these were replaced by the post 1936 smaller 4” style lettering in the bottom right hand corner.

The N1 once again on the Meldon turn heads west passing the Fisherton Sarum shed. occasionally this turn sees a Maunsell S15 or Drummond 700 locomotive.

In common with all Engineers Department wagons the prefix E D to the wagon number was used. HMRS ‘Pressfix’ transfers were used to produce models in both Pre and post 1936 lettering style. Weathering was applied with rust highlights, stone dust colour spray from the top and track colour from the base to give the finish I required.

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