Quick and Simple Trees pt1

Although the layout is set in the heart of the black country, there was probably a little more greenery than you’d first thought.

As can be seen in this shot of Abbiss’s land sale wharf in Baggeridge.

The trees for the layout are built from simply twisting small gauge wire together and securing them with masking tape, not only to bind the wire but to bulk out the trunk and thicker branches, but it also removes the visible wire twists too.

Several strands are secured in a pin vice and twisted until the length of untwisted wire is sufficient for the smaller branches that make up the upper part of the tree.

Once several twisted strands have been completed then they can be bound together by the masking tape, until happy with the thickness of the trunk and branches.

A quick and simple tree, probably took only 10-15mins to get to this stage. Always a good idea to use photos of real trees or go for a walk in your local park to get plenty of ideas.

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Stock building underway

Having made life more difficult by modelling the 1920’s, with the majority of reference photos and details dating to mostly the 50’s & 60’s. Without finding details about which wagon company or companies the Railway used, not to mention the engineering talent and facilities that were available at The Wallows (the engineering works and sheds) there was a chance that some wagons were built on site, like some of the locomotives. Finding suitable stock off the shelf is very limited.

There is a reference to The Midland Railway wagon and carriage works, about a hopper wagon with a similar design built for export to Australia. Which is visible in a photo taken at a land sale wharf, which sadly I can’t post.

So to establish a base of wagons for the layout to get things underway I’ve chosen both the 5 & 7 plank Gloucester 1907 15′ po wagons. Simple but well detailed kits from Cambrian kits.

The buffers have been replaced with Lanarkshire Model white metal buffers for wooden underframed early po wagons. The coupling hooks will also be Lanarkshire models white metal which although originally designed to be cosmetic are more than strong enough for actual coupling use, especially given my rakes would be between 5-7 wagons max.

P4 wheels are from Alan Gibson and although I’ve built the brakes from the kit, they will be retro fitted with Masokits and Bill Bedford brakes and levers a long with all future builds. I always try and build atleast one to the original instructions.

The chassis is the base for the 5 plank and the 7 plank is just awaiting couplings and brakes retro fitting.

These Cambrian kits will be in a reasonable good condition given the 1907 design heritage. For the more older wagons there’s a large variation of types available to model but will mostly require scratchbuilding.

The railway used many plank variations including 1,3,4,5,6 &7 plank wagons. The railway did have many dumb buffered wagons. As seen in this photo, which will require scratchbuilding.

Dated early 20th Century, this is Abbiss coal merchant’s landsale wharf. The third wagon from the right is a 4 plank dumb buffered wagon. There’s a few variations in the rake too, near the back appears to be atleast 1 slope sided hopper.

The following is an extract from the Dudley archive which accompanies the photo:

Mr Joe Abbiss, who owned the coal merchants whose company name is on the lorry, is the gentleman standing in the lorry. The man on the left holding the horses, is believed to be a Major Westwood. The “E D” on the sides of the trucks indicate that the colliery belonged to the Earl of Dudley. The description “Landsale wharf” in the Black Country, usually means a railway siding at which coal is unloaded for sale to merchants or consumers. Coal is usually loaded from the train to lorries by hand. (Courtesy of Mr. J. Abbiss).

Courtesy of Dudley Archives and the Black country History website

MRJ Cameo layout competition

As eluded to in my last post, I’ve entered a design to the MRJ/Wild Swan and Titfield Thunderbolt bookshop Cameo layout competition that was announced last year.

The competition is being held to not only promote the Iain Rice Creating Cameo Layouts book but also to bring finescale in small spaces to a broader audience and tempt modellers to try finescale modelling.

Iain’s book is highly recommended and owning a copy was a requirement for entry. So here’s mine.

So what have I entered?

Dudley’s Coal

It’s a small P4 Cameo and is set in the early 1920’s in Black country, the layout is based on the railways of the Earl of Dudley. The Earl’s railway (also known as the Pensnett railway) was a comprehensive mineral railway system in the South Western corner of the Black country in the West Midlands.
My cameo entry is designed to represent one of the railways many Landsale Wharves, where the local coal was offloaded to businesses and the general public.

The layout design is a simple fan of 3 sidings, with a kick back spur/headshunt. It actually draws inspiration from an Ian Futers design. The idea behind the design is for a minimalist scene with a few structures, for dealing with the sale of the coal, and a little Autumnal landscaping.

As well as this blog the build is being documented on The Western Thunder forum too as a requirement for entry. Dudley’s Coal can be found here.

A Happy New Year to all and a 2014 upgrade.

Hopefully using the latest 2014 theme from WordPress, will give me a boost not only for blogging but for modelling too. There are plans this year for a layout in all the scales I enjoy, that means P4 British, US HO and On30. The HO layout will be first as its due to be exhibited in June. More to follow, as this is meant to be short. This year hopefully will mean for than a few posts, and some good modelling.

Image

Photo from flickr, trains and fireworks in Chicago. Copyright Nick Ulivieri