O Gauge Weathering for Shaun

Another couple of O gauge Heljan Diesel Locomotives for a friend, Shaun Harvey. Shaun has recently appeared in a Model Magazine with his N gauge layout, but like a lot of us, he is moving to O gauge. I won’t go into his plans, but an exciting new layout is on the way over the next year or so.

These loco’s are numbered to the pre-tops system without the ‘D’ prefix. This puts them in the 1968-72 era. Both are light to Medium weathering and are DC at present. although I think Shaun has plans for DCC.










Buildings for new O gauge Layout

While making the baseboards, fiddle yard and track laying, mainly outside on our picnic table, I also wanted to ensure all buildings and structures fitted in, size wise. To this end I have purchased some Laser Cut MDF and Laser Cut HD Card Kits and made them up indoors when the weather was poor outside. As the track laying progressed I kept checking the buildings clearances as I made them, this ensured all would  be OK. I also refurbished a very old scratch built Cattle Dock that was in a very poor state.

I now have several items in various states of completeness, but at least I know they will fit in the required positions.

Station Building and Canopy  ——-LCut Creative

Goods Shed ———————————-Laser Cut Railway Models

Coal Depot————————————LCut Creative

Loco Coal Stage—————————-Poppys Woodtech

Station Fencing—————————-Poppys Woodtech

Signal Box————————————Laser Cut Railway Models

Signal Box Interior———————–LCut Creative

Station Platform—————————Laser Cut Railway Models














Only the Cattle Dock is actually finished – I will do update posts as things proceed.


Another great Exhibition by SRC. As usual the standard of Layouts and Traders was excellent. This has to be of the best one day Exhibitions in East Anglia. It was nice to meet up with some old friends on the DEMU stand and lots of mates both with layouts and as visitors.

This was a bit of a special day for us as both my sons came with my three grandsons. After things had  calmed down a bit we gave three year old Charlie his first taste of operating a layout after a bit of tuition by his Dad. Luckily we were exhibiting Lowe St. which only has one point. I have to say that he did remarkably well, a future operator I hope, if we can keep him away from games consoles etc . I have to say that his Dad buying him a Hornby Edward should help.

I would like to thank my son John for staying on and helping and Graham M for his support. Photos by my wife.










O Gauge Class 25 and 26.


Another numbering session this week. Both Loco’s purchased some time ago and appropriate numbers selected after a lot of research. I have tried to pick loco’s that were a bit different from the loco’s as purchased.

The numbering was carried out using HMRS numbers and BR logo’s, plus Fox warning flashes, data panels and coupling codes.

The 26, being a Scottish engine has snowploughs fitted. In these days they were mostly Black , but I have seen some in mid Grey, undercoat perhaps. Speaking of snowploughs I believe some experiments took place, as I have seen a photo of a Class 31 with Red ploughs. Yellow ploughs became the norm in the early 70’s. Sadly just before my modelling era in O gauge.

Again I have not weathered them yet! I must catch up!










Pointless (well nearly)

I recently joined in a thread on RM Webb about pointless layouts. After an initial surge, it quickly drifted off to a trickle. I must admit that I was surprised and slightly saddened as I had hoped to contribute further.

I firmly believe that small layouts are a great entry-level into our hobby and further more they are great for modellers with limited space. I have had several friends that jumped straight in with larger layouts that later floundered and never got anywhere near finished. A small layout can be as complex as you want and is a great learning curve for bigger projects.

I find the use of traversers and sector plates great money and space savers and also reduces overall layout size.  I have produced several layouts with space-saving devices and most are under 6′ x 2′, however one of my latest is 10′ x 15″ and is two 4′ boards plus the sector plate. When you consider that each point in O gauge needs a point motor, CDU, wire and possibly a chip, you rapidly approach £70 per point, with OO coming out just under half this price.  If you also consider the size of an O gauge point you can see why it is wise to engineer as many as you can out of your layout designs. I have not used traversers or sectors in N gauge as by it’s nature it is a space saving gauge.

I have often been asked how I came up with the sizes on my smaller layouts. I always say, that’s easy, I measure the boot of the car. If you can not transport a layout, you probably can not attend Exhibitions.

A small by-product of having small layouts is that over the years I have had many Exhibition invites to ‘fill gaps’ in the floor plan. Some Exhibitions are obviously limited for  space and have to keep exhibits small or medium-sized. On the other hand some of the bigger Exhibitions seem to only go for the medium to large layouts. As good as they may be the larger layout is mainly outside most people’s capabilities. I am not putting down large layouts, we are blessed with some fantastic ones at present. I just think that the bigger Exhibitions should have some small or even micro layouts to inspire potential new modellers and the widest presentation of our hobby should be portraid . Size is a factor at an Exhibition and is just as important as country, scale, era, gauge and location

The under 6′  layouts have appeared in previous posts on this site, they are:-

SEFTON YARD                               O gauge             one point       Sector plate

MERLINS LANE                             O gauge             one point       Sector plate

NORFOLK COKE AND TAR         O gauge             pointless        Traverser (single track)

LOWE St.                                      OO gauge              one point       Sector plate

And the 10′ layout is:-

MORLOCK HEATH                       O gauge              one point       Sector plate

Please have a look if you have not already.


Building Micro Layouts By PAUL A. LUNN

Layouts for Limited Spaces By NIGEL ADAMS



Baseboards Used

Over the years I have tried most types of baseboards. When I started I used the traditional format of 2″ x 1″ for the frames and a chipboard top. I think my first three layouts used this formula, but due to the 2″ x 1″ traditional size getting smaller due to metric conversion or was it the suppliers wanting more profit! I then moved to 3″ x 1″, or the metric equivalent. Although this put my mind at rest as far as warping was concerned, it did nothing for ease of movement with the extra weight.

The next move was to move from chipboard tops to  plywood, this certainly helped a little with the weight, but I still found the weight a problem. I even reduced the size of boards I was making to help with movement and setting up at Exhibitions. This still caused some problems because to get the layouts loaded into the car I had to ‘top and tail’ the two boards with bolt on sides to form one unit to load.

Around this time I purchased an estate car and this certainly helped, I could now load individual boards. This goes back over ten years now and although I still have the same car, a  big decision has to be made regards the future as there is no way I can afford another large car.  After trying different methods I really got nowhere, what I saved on weight, I felt I lost on strength. The nearest I came was using the sandwich method,  two strips of Ply with softwood blocks to form the sides and ends.

About three years ago I spotted a couple of people offering ‘laser cut’ baseboards. I duly spoke to them both, and with no real preference I ordered two 4′ x 15″ self assembly boards. I really did not know what to expect. When they arrived I started to assemble them straight away. Within four hours I had two functional baseboards, they were very light and by the next day, after drying time, they were very strong. This was the way to go for me.

Conclusion, well for me, all my future Exhibition Layouts will be made using Laser Cut Boards, they do everything I want. However, if I was making a permanent layout at home,  I would probably stay traditional and use 3″ x 1″ bracing with Ply tops, strong and cheaper than laser cut. So there we are, horses for courses.

One point I would mention is that the quality of wood has always been an issue. I never use pre-wrapped timber, from large DIY stores without asking an assistant to take off the shrink wrapping, I then chose the straightest wood. I really made a nuisance of myself once, asking the assistant to undo four packs!!!!  Ply has less issues, but I always go for the better quality.

The below are 4′ x 2′ baseboards (2) with 1/8 Cork on top – for an O gauge Layout.












Bury St Edmunds Exhibition 2016

I do not usually hold an inquest into my most recent exhibition, but this was our first time out with our O gauge layout Merlins Lane, DCC Sound and operators with virtually no training.

Well the operators, apart from me, performed very well. Thanks go to my son John, who left at 2pm and then worked a 10 hour shift. Thanks also go to Graham Minshull for helping in the afternoon, Graham has far more DCC knowledge than me and was great at ‘showing us the ropes’.

As I said in the Merlins Lane post, I did not get the loco’s weathered before the show due to running out of time because of other tasks. This was a big mistake and I apologise to all for not doing this, six very clean loco’s and stock on a weathered layout just did not work!! A start has been made and I assure everyone the whole layout and all stock will be finished by the next Exhibition, Dereham Feb 2017.

Although a Fuelling Point, it was designed for some limited shunting. Fuel Tanks, Waste Oil Tanks and Stores Vans can all be accommodated. However I forgot just how much frustration three link couplings can cause. On several occasions the shunting manoeuvre was abandoned because of unsteady hands and the feeling the watching public wanted to  see something move! By the next Exhibition all shunting will be performed ‘hands free’ using ‘4mm’ Spratt and Winkles.

Well there we are, an excellent Show, well organised by the Bury St Edmunds Club, great company and some very nice comments from the public.

As I weather the Loco’s and amend the wagons for hands free shunting I will add a few photographs to this post.