About the blog

The layout is merely an exercise to prove that anyone can build a reasonably plausible SDJR layout in a modest space WITHOUT having to resort to scratchbuilding, instead easily available models were repurposed to suit the supposed location.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Wise words on watering a dead plant

With Dave Smith's permission, this precis of his recent post is rather apt.

Today, I reached a conclusion in my modelling activities following a frustrating attempt to replace a motor on a part-built kit chassis. It finally dawned on me that I was no longer getting anything like the enjoyment I once did from the hobby. I considered the various themes in my collection, postwar BR, 1970s industrial, Scottish Pre-group and 1980s Scotrail.

All are of interest, but the postwar era and industrial and some of the pre-group was to EM. Since I moved to EM in 2013, I had acquired much new good quality RTR that would be needing conversion to EM – a fact I found increasingly daunting, given the good running qualities and the finesse of much new output. Given some of the problems and potential difficulties in conversion I was struggling to get motivated. You only have to look at the finite clearances on Hornby’s recent Peckett W6 saddle tank to see the potential difficulties. Clearly it would be a very similar situation with the new 14″ Barclay keenly awaited from Hattons. I looked to the rather lovely Heljan Class 05 shunter in my display case with its excellent running and jackshaft cranks and had to admit that the likelihood of my getting comparable running qualities from it post conversion were as likely as BBC Scotland rediscovering professional journalism. And of course, in what hints at being a vintage year for those who model Scotland, an NB ‘C’/ (LNER J36) 0-6-0 has just been announced and there’s a strong possibilty that the long-spoken-of Dapol NBL Type 2 may finally appear within this solar traverse.

It all means a bigger pile of models to convert and when even the otherwise excellent Bachmann Porthole and Thompson coaches require complete bogie replacement for EM it is increasingly obvious that the Law of Diminishing Returns is increasingly applying in my sphere of modelling. The process of converting stock begins to overshadow everything, draining energy and distracting from the acquisition of other skills and wider enjoyment of my modelling. And of course there were the wheels themselves; you have a choice of user friendly but chunky Markits, Gibsons with finesse but fragility and occasional QC issues and frankly the worst crankpins ever made and finally, the admittedly excellent Ultrascale with an attendant six-month wait.

I would require the ability to re-generate like a Timelord were I to stand any chance of doing all this. Additionally, factors involving track came into play with the advent of high quality bullhead pointwork from Peco

Once the conclusion was reached that five years of toil had delivered precisely hee haw*, the final decision was easy; I am abandoning EM and returning to OO. That OO Finescale can be made to look as good as the more prototypical gauge widths is conclusively demonstrated by my own ScRSG’s Alloa layout. The moment I made that decision was a liberating one and I can already feel enthusiasm returning. Most of the converted rolling stock can be returned to OO by simply re-setting the back to back on the wheelsets. Some converted RTR can readily be put back to OO with replacement parts from the manufacturers.
All this will free up time again to do the kind of modelling activities where my true talents really lie.

As a much valued friend put it today when I was having a rant via text; 

“James Watt didn’t paint the Mona Lisa.
Cuneo didn’t design the Forth Railway Bridge.
Leonardo da Vinci was just a freak!” 

Aye, play to your strengths is the message and that’s what I’m going back to now so watch out; this blog will be getting noticeably busier in the coming weeks.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

SDJR Facebook group

If anyone is wondering 'why another SDJR group'? It is rather simple, there seemed to be no active groups for those modelling the SDJR. The group is utterly non-partisan and encourages modelling of the SDJR by example rather than armchair pedantry.

We remain a public platform, if only to share knowledge without restriction, more members are welcome to increase the likelihood of exchanging further knowledge.

Just click here to join  

Everything happens in real time, no delays in posting and it is an open forum, welcome to all.



Monday, 16 March 2020

Fame at last

Peco Publications, in the guise of Steve Flint, have been and gone after capturing Child Okeford for a future appearance in the June 2020 Railway Modeller.

Nice to see a familiar face, hopefully the layout will give a good account of itself and encourage others to take up the challenge.

Those who have made Child Okeford possible have been mentioned and now work can cease while we complete the micro-layout in time for the Taunton Railex show on October 24/25th.
 Courtesy of Peco Publications

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Upgrading the line

Recently, Ratio introduced a wartime ARP signal box, model number 554 

It is based on the Town End box at Ormskirk but the design was universal throughout the UK and around 45 ARP signal boxes were built from the late 30s-40s. 
In the south of England there were a few, most notable was at Worthy Down on the Didcot, Newbury and southampton railway - a single line which was comprehensively upgraded to cope with the wartime traffic to the embarkation ports.

Worthy Down after closure
The kit looks OK except the windowpane bars are massive and should be replaced with strips of white label tape to represent Crittal windows.

Friday, 13 March 2020

The PW Depot - another blog

The Permanent Way Depot

The layout is a micro-layout of a small permanent way depot that were once a common sight. It is ready for exhibiting, easy to transport and the track design is a simple Inglenook shunting puzzle.

It was inspired by the tiny depot on Child Okeford, with similar buildings and a small wagon repair shop.

Please, visit and bookmark the blog.


Tuesday, 10 March 2020

The yard shunter

The release of Hornby's Ruston 48DS was a celebration for those interested in the Southern Region, this loco was allocated to Yeovil Junction as DS1169.

Here it is used as the shunter taking vans to the local cheese factory.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Black Fives on and off the SDJR

A few images of the ubiquitous Stanier 5MT Black Five that were seen on the SDJR. Some were allocated to Bath Green Park whilst others were visitors that had been 'borrowed'
44963 on a up stopper passing Broadstone

44806 passing Branksome shed 1961
  44830 unknown location mid 50s

45493 York-Bournemouth at New Milton 1966 

Note the variety of boiler fittings.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Modelling exLMS Black Five

One of the iconic exLMS Stanier 5MT 'Black Fives' has joined the collection.

I did have some concerns about buying a kitbuilt loco but this DJH example runs perfectly, it merely needs renumbering as 45056 (ex Bath Green park), some lining and a large, early British Railways lion emblem. The tender was swapped for a welded version when the loco received AWS equipment.

45056 Skipton 1966

45056 Euston 1960, pse note the AWS air reservoir on the footplate and AWS plate below the buffer beam. These would not have been fitted until the late 50s. 

45056 Manchester Exchange

Monday, 2 March 2020

Random images

Lunchtime Nap

Rear garden

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Milking time

Typical of a bridge over the SDJR in Dorset as the cows come home for milking.

Please note that the herder has kept her 'Land Army' outfit.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Homemade Lamps - 2

Thanks to the work of Adrian (RMweb Westerhamstation these are my efforts. I used thick Cyanoacrylate glue with an spray accelerator to secure everything, now they are just resting after a dusting with grey primer and a final coat of Humbrol 80 Green Grass

Very satisfying to create something.


Thursday, 27 February 2020

Keep taking the tablets

There are just a few figures on Child Okeford as befits a local railway in decline however there is a full compliment of staff on the station. Here, the signal man offers the token at the occupation crossing.

This allowed the driver into the next block section of track to Blandford Forum.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Tree and wall

A nicely observed scene


Friday, 21 February 2020

Templecombe's 'goat'

The class of G6 0-6-0t locos were useful yard shunters derived from the light passenger class 02 of William Adams. They were used on the exLSWR system for yard shunting and as departmental locos - Templecombe's allocated example was based at Yeovil, 30270 seen here in 1954. 

This was the Southern loco shed at Templecombe Upper

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

War in Dorset

In the 50s, remnants of static WW2 defences were still common in Dorset, as it was on the front line of defence against invasion along the South Coast.

In the Second World War, the Stour valley was identified as a possible invasion route and appropriate precautions were taken to deny the enemy further access to the north. A line of anti-tank blocks and a pill box buried in the hillside are reminders of the dark times in  the 20th century although nature has begun to soften their outline, they remain a problem for farmers. 

These tank traps still stand at Pondfield Cove near Warbarrow Bay.

This is a line of concrete anti-tank blocks with a pillbox, the overgrown trench would have provided access under fire.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

When the cows come home

The cows are crossing the bridge, on their way to milking, a timeless scene in rural Dorset.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Great big lass

92000 on the SDJR
Surely, the second most well known locomotives to work the SDJR were the Western Region 9Fs which arrived in the 60s. One of which was the doyen of the class, 92000, briefly available as a special edition by Bachmann for TMC, one of their better offerings. 

During its short career it was allocated:-
June 1961  -  82F  Bath Green Park
Sept 1961  -  84C  Banbury
Mar 1962  -  81A  Old Oak Common
July 1962  -  84E  Tysley
Dec 1962  -  82E  Bristol Barrow Road
Feb 1965  -  85B  Gloucester
July 1965  withdrawn

Although, outside the layout mid-50s timeframe, it will contrast nicely with the exMidland 4Fs.

Bournemouth West Sept '61

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Return of the prodigal

In early October '19, a leap of considerable faith was made in the form of another Hornby West Country as  a previous  example of Camelford had failed when the drive mechanism locked solid after running for just 50cm.

The new example was both tested and weathered by TMC before receiving a new identity as one of the few West Country Bulleid Light Pacifics that were loaned to the SDJR in the mid 50s. 

Camelford as received from TMC

Crewkerne updated

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Basic weathering

This rather despised Dapol revamp of the Hornby-Dublo Fruit D has been the test example for weathering using the most basic tools and materials:-

12mm chisel sable
Kitchen paper towel
Lifecolour US719 Frame dirt acrylic
Pipette and tap water 

First remove the body/roof from underframe by removing large self-tapper.

The technique is simple, diluted Lifecolour acrylic (pipette and tap water) is applied in layers, the first layer provides a 'key' for the others. As soon as the first layer is applied, most of it is removed by a gentle application of the kitchen paper towel, definitely not wiped off. Then wait to dry for a couple of hours and repeat until satisfied.

The dirt emphasises the planking and ironwork but some wagon labels are needed.

The same technique has been applied to the ancient Bachmann Bulleid set. They were expensive at about £15 a pop when they were released but have not increased by a huge amount. They have Hornby metal wheelsets and homemade paper corridor connections. The complete set cost about the same as one Hornby Bulleid.
The dirt-laden brush was dragged along the bottom of the coach sides and all over the outer ends of each brake.
A very reasonably priced Hornby exLMS non-corridor two-car set has just joined the much cheaper Dapol exLMS non-corridor two-car set, it replaces the Ratio exMR set which is definitely not correct for the SDJR. Both sets have received 'the treatment' except Humbrol dark brown wash was used on the Dapol coaches but it took ages to harden therefore the Lifecolour will be used on the posh Hornby coaches.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Silly moo

And whilst waiting for the next installment of landy weathering, these little darlings have joined the queue for upgrading :-

 Just cows? Actually they are genuine 1:76 not the usual 1:87 cattle from Preiser that seem to be on every rural layout, however their buttock-clenching cost might be a factor. However they don't look like Mr Dimond's prize-winning Holsteins over the fence next door, the horns and udder colour are definitely wrong.

Landy series one

This was always a favourite image from the late Bill Jones and although almost everything has long gone, it seems appropriate to capture the essence of the image for Child Okeford.

  Another series one was found at 2K Technologies and it is currently in the 'paint shop' in an attempt to make it look a little more like a typical Dorset workhorse than a 'Chelsea tractor.'
The windows are covered in auto-masking tape with a very fresh coat of Dullcote and 30mins later (below)
For the usual lane detritus and muck, a Tamiya weathering stick (mud) and a wash of Lifecolour (frame dirt) will be the next stages.

Btw, the images seem to be huge compared to the actual size of the wee landy, just 45mm bumper to bumper.