Thursday 14 December 2023

December Forth and Clyde Area Group Meeting

 'Twas a dark and stormy day, rail fell in its gallon, wind blew through, shaking the roof tiles.  An Amber warning was in effect for storms.  Or, as we with a Glasgow postcode call it, Saturday last, was the final 2023 get together of the Forth and Clyde Area Group.

An accident caused significant delay on the M8 for us heading East to Almondell, but it didn't put off the nine stalwarts of the Group, consisting of The Glorious Leader (Alisdair), Alistair, Alastair, James, Nigel, Andy, Graham, Simon, and I, your humble Scribe, Martin.

Despite the late arrivals of several of the Group, modelling was well underway from some of the Group, whilst others were partaking in the usual rounds of conversation and pontification that such a gathering of like minded modellers usually prompts.

This was all in preparation for the main event - at 14:00, a show and tell session was had, our first, and last, of the year.  There were three shows and tells, from Alisdair, James/Nigel and Martin.

Alisdair showed a new bridge that he is constructing for Lawrie Adam's Yeovil layout.  With Yeovil being about as far south as one can go from Glasgow before getting your feet wet, Alisdair had not been able to conduct a site visit for photographs/measurements/observations, but was instead working from a blown up section of scale map (from the National Library of Scotland's excellent archive), made to w2mm/ft scale, and some photographs from the layouts author.

Alisdair was using a new technique (for him), which I am absolutely certain we will see grace the pages of the Association Magazine (won't we...?) using a cheap pre-mixed filler to form both the structure and texture of the outer walls of each pier.  He would apply a thin layer of the paste into a Plastikard former, then draw another formed piece of Plastikard over the top - this one with grooves, almost like a very short comb, which gave the horizontal indents to replicate stonework - with a piece of scrap etch held in a pin vice to make the upright indents.

Some of the piers were available for viewing - His Excellency had forgotten a box of parts, so only part of the bridge was available for display.  Alisdair had constructed a Plastikard template to ensure the brdge fits in its final position down South.

Alisdair also showed some progress on painting.  He noted that acrylic paints seemd to sook into the plaster at an alarming rate, whereas enamel paints seemed better.  Nigel suggested varnishing the surface would help with this - Martin adds many days later, that painting a thin layer of PVA glue over the top has a similar effect.

James discussed progress on the Group layout - Mearns Shed. - with some input from Nigel.  Nigel had been working on the fiddle stick, and had appeared with an offcut of ply which will, by the next meeting, be our proposed fiddle stick.

James has been hard at work on the electrics side of the model.  He has been working on the MERG controller and two DC supplies for lighting inside the lid.  This will be a single box, into which plugs the DCC Controller and a single lead which will connect to the layout and do all the stuff.

There was some discussion around failures and how we'd deal with the controller going down, or the cable breaking etc. without carrying a huge box of spares.  We'll keep this mostly secret for now, as we don't want to reveal the tricks of the various electrickery and wizardry that happens behind the scenes of a Model Railway!

Martin shared some progress on his CR439 build(s).  Martin's prototype is based around the Cathcart Circle in Glasgow, which was almost uniquely ran by the venerable Caledonian Railways 439 Class until the introduction of LMS and BR Standard tank engines later in the lines history (we'll deal with the complexities of valvegear constructionat for these prototypes some point in the future...).  As such, he's looking to build "at least two" to haul the eventual passenger rakes he enviseges.  When he's got track down, anyway...

He's also an idiot and forgot to take pictures of his own work.

There is currently no N Gauge CR439 and the only available kit is a Scratch Aid from Worsley Works.  This is a fantastic fret of etches but is somewhat lacking in some parts, and also wasn't desiged for 2FS components which has caused some headaches for Martin.  However, The Glorioius Leader had made an offhand comment back at the Perth Show about the Dapol LSWR M7 Class - "You could hack one of these up and make a 439 if you tried hard enough".

Martin had done some research and found that this is because they had the same designer, Dugold Drummond who was Chief Mechanical Engineer of both railways in his lifetime.  A forlorn search of Shop 3, looking to see if the J94 Chassis was back in stock (hint), and discovery that the Association makes an M7 Chassis etch prompted Martin to buy one, and well, it's close enough for Government work (sorry Jim!)  Nigel had suggested making the loco an 4-2-2 to help with the wiggle that 0-4-4s sometimes have in miniature, and the M7 does come with a tab to help with this, it is however, about 5mm further forward should be on a 439.  Watch this space...

Around the rest of the room... Simon had brought some of his American outline N-Gauge stock to run around ESME's club layout.  I didn't manage to get any action shots of this, as by the time I arrived, got settled, had some lunch and started taking photos, the loco had decided it didn't fancy running and Simon took it to bits to get to the bottom of the issue - the underframe of what looks like more fish vans for his Glenfinnan layout forgotten on the mat.  With some assistance from Nigel, the loco was back to full working order by the end of the session.

Graham was sat with laptop open ("there's more laptops than soldering irons!" exclaimed Alisdair at one point in the meeting.  Graham had open some photographs from the Caledonian Railway Archive of a junction he suggested would make an excellent scale model, with multiple slips and crossings.  In this photograph the Grande Fromage is enthralled by Grahams's description.

The Captain (or is he an Admiral currently...?) had brought along his Admiralty Vicualling Inshore Craft (I got it first time!), this is it in its finished glory.  Alisdair said it had been a great experience and highlighted how much he doesn't know about modelling, and that skills from building model ships or aircraft would probably find a home on the railways. the scale model ones that is.  He'd decided to scratch build a number of components to compliment the kit, and intends to build a display frame for it to.  

Sadly, he hadn't brought along anything with which to christen the Isabel...

Finally, or at least the final photos I took (apologies if I missed your modelling!), were of my own work.  I (Martin) had been working on my Class 08 started at the Beginner Locomotive Chassis Workshop, back in September.  I have been struggling with getting the motor mounted and meshing - the wheels spin freely by themselves, as soon as the motor had been applied, nothing seems to want to work.  Alisdair had a look under magnification and discovered that the skew gear appeared awfully sharp - which he assures me can cause issues, and suggested application of a steel brush in a minidrill.  Again, watch this space...

With that, I hope I speak for the whole of the Forth and Clyde Area Group in wishing you, dear reader, a most Merry of Christmasses or Festive of Holidays (delete as appropriate) and the Happiest of Hogmanay's.  We hope Santa is good to you all and many frets of etches and other 2FS goodies are found in stockings and wrapped in boxes under trees.

Our next meeting, the first of 2024 will be Saturday 13th January 2024 at Almondell.  We accept waifs and strays of all types, visitors from elsewhere in the Association and the occasional non-2FS modeller.  Contact details are in the Association Newsletter which accompanies the Magazine.

(Edited for typos. It's been a long week...)

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