Wednesday 12 June 2024

June 2024 Forth and Clyde Area Group Meeting

The Edinburgh Society of Model Engineers premises, the Almondel Model Engineering Centre, were a hive of frantic activity this Saturday last, not just because of the (in)famous Taylor Swift Era's tour happening just ten miles down the road at Murrayfield, and an ESME open day on the Sunday.

With just 14 short days until it's debut at the Perth Model Railway Exhibition, the Forth and Clyde Area Group met to continue work on the layout and other projects in 2mm Scale(s).  Present were Alisdair, Alistair, Graham, Andy, James, Simon, Stuart, Nigel, Steve and Martin.

Martin, who was definately not late to the meeting because he'd left the layout on the dining room table and started driving to the meeting, (no definately not...), had been working on the scenics, and now, the slightly greener layout was re-united with the backscene.

There's still a lot of work to do - James took over, starting to add the LED strips that will form the integral lighting.  Alisdair and Andy worked meanwhile on the main board where the agressive scenic-ing of the layout had foulded one turnout, and another required some gentle persuasion, backed up with threats of violence and other unspeakable acts, to operate reliably...

Graham had brought along the latest print of the eponymous Mearns Shed.  This was dry-fitted and posed to check clearances with Alisdair's Black Five, which had some slight issues with fitting its cylinders through the exactly to scale doors Graham had made.  This time it fitted perfectly, with a whole quarter milimeter to spare on either side, requiring, we think, a "limited clearance" board or two to be fitted as part of the paint job.

Custody of the shed has passed to Martin for assembly and painting ready for the Perth Show.  Something he plans to tackle this weekend with as much airbrushing as possible given the available time...

Elsewhere in the room, and hiding from being handed jobs relating to Mearns Shed, other modelling was occuring.  Stuart had brought along his very impressive Mill Building.  He was working on roofing the extention he had previously been working on.

I'm not sure that the photos give the true scale of this building - the main building is easily a cubic foot, if not greater, and this extention - painstakingly recreated from period photographs, site visits to other mills in Lancashire and various books on the subject - adds at least another foot.  This will be the centrepiece of the layout, being both rail served and having trains running on a long viaduct behind it.  

Simon had brought along some goodies.  Firstly, he was using ESME's American Outline N Gauge layout to run an extrodinarily long train.  Simon has an interest in American outline modelling and occasionally brings along parts of his collection to run.  In the photo below Alistair watches the trains pass - he has volunteered and/or been voluntold to produce a backscene for parts of the ESME layout, and seing the train skim by in the environment seems to be inspirational...

Simon was also working away on some 2FS goodies in the form of six Fuel tankers, formerly of Shop 2 and now sadly out of print.  Simon is modelling Glenfinnan on the West Highland Line Extention which saw some fuel traffic for the various fishing boats and ferries that offer from the port of Mallaig (to this day, though fuel is now transported by road rather than rail).

Simon was finishing up the chassis' at the meeting and had started the next stage of drilling the whitemetal wagon ends to take the stanchions which support the tanks on the chassis.

Heeding the Glorious Leaders call for DCC locos to do some track testing on Mearns Shed, Martin had dutifully (finally) gotten round to fitting DCC chips to his diesel fleet the evening before the meeting.  Then when placed on his test track, all of them had failed to do, well, anything.  Martin had brought along his DCC Controller, a Gaugemaster Prodigy Express, and asked forlornly "help?"

Nigel very kindly answered this plea for help and spent most of the meeting working to fault find with the controller and locos.  Here Nigel is seen fixing the pickups on a set of Class 20 Bogies which were making poor contact thanks to the additional back-to-back space on 2FS wheels rather than N Gauge wheels.  Other issues included, but were not limited to - connecting the DCC handset to the controller by the wrong socket, an upside down DCC chip, and the worm gear not connecting to the top of the tower in a Class 26.

By the end of the meeting, Martin had a working DCC system, and two locos working well under DCC.  Another requiring some further dissassembly to try and understand why there is intermittent issues with the worm and gear train...

The next gathering of the Forth and Clyde Area Group will be the aforementioned Perth Model Railway Show, the weekend of 29th and 30th June at the Dewars Centre, Perth (Scotland).  FCAG will be flying the 2FS flag with both the Further North Roadshow and the public debut of Mearns Shed.  With plenty of other layouts, traders, societies and a dedicated Finescale Zone, it's certainly worth the Trip to visit us, and the Grampian Area Group on Stands 28 and 29, Hall 1.

Our next scheduled meeting is Satruday 13th July at Almondell.  Further details in the Association Newsletter.

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