Saturday 31 August 2013

Just testing!

Over a year since I posted anything here, and that's down to my old computer operating system refusing to work with Googles latest upgrade! So hence this test from my iPad.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Latest video

Hot off Ian Morgan's press, here's the latest video taken at the NE group 30th anniversary bash on the 23rd of June. At last we have some steam locos in evidence (even if the Black 5 is still not painted yet). Thanks Ian. See "Layout Videos" below right.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Jim's Wagons

Some weeks ago I saw a few photos of Jim Watt's build of some 2mm scale wagons, one of which was in the Fence Houses Foundry livery! I've wondered for some time what that would be if I ever got round to doing it, but Jim has beaten me to it. Interesting load Jim, they certainly look like foundry castings.
 This next shot shows the same wagon as part of a rake of Jim's further output. It would be nice to welcome the wagons on to the layout one day, and as we were asked last year to attend the 2014 Glasgow show (to be confirmed), then maybe we can see them on Jim's home territory, even further 'up north' than we are!

Monday 20 February 2012

Tom Harland - Sad News

Those of you who know of the work of Tom Harland and his masterpiece 'Bramblewick' (NER 4mm), may not know that Tom died this morning (20th February) after fighting cancer for some time.
Tom was a great inspiration to many modellers, me included, especially with regard to the finish of Victoria's stonework. Anyone who saw Bramblewick in MRJ or on the circuit, will remember Tom's artistry in creating all that stonework, and of course his 'day job' as a professional artist always shone through. More than that, he was a gentleman, always willing to help.
Thank you Tom.
I never met Tom's family, but I wish them all the best at this sad time.


Friday 17 February 2012


Alan Pearson, our chief arboretum chappie, has been rather busy over the last few months. Here are a few photos of Alan's work on Victoria's board (apologies for the garage lighting and background). He's also 'planted' a lot more trees and bushes etc. on the rest of the layout, so if you have only seen Fence Houses at Oxford in 2010, you are well behind!
No more prattle. I'll just let Alan's photos and inspirational work speak for themselves.

More prattle........ Alan's techniques will be explained in an article he is planning for one of the major magazines. I'll report here when it appears in print.

See all this for real at Nottingham!


Sunday 12 February 2012

More of Victoria

Team member John Robson and his wife Rita recently made their first trip to view Victoria viaduct close up. John sent me this photo, which struck me as showing how enormous the bases are for this listed structure. John's glamorous assistant here poses by one of the north side piers, where some of the scribbling of the local idiots does not detract from Victoria's (and Rita's) magnificence.

John's photo reminded me of a rather primitive drawing I'd been sent when researching the project, from the publication 'Fordyce - A History of Durham'. This shows Victoria under construction (1836-8), with the timber staging required to support the masonry above, a couple of derrick's for moving stone blocks around, and what may be a temporary contractors railway in place for supplying the stonework to the site.
Less than 4 weeks to Nottingham now, better get a move on!


Saturday 4 February 2012

Lambton 'D' Pit Headgear Etch

I made a posting here dated 29th March 2011, ending with the words "back down the pit" or something like that. Well here's what I'd started back then, after looking on and off at the 'Wrightscale' etched brass kit in a drawer for the previous 3 years (you may remember the kit being advertised in the 2mm Scale Association Magazine). Mr Wright also did the kit in 4mm scale, and I think they are still available.

Like many kits, there are quirks and 'incomplete' parts to the instructions. Even having to drill holes for some of the handrails in the floors (not lining up with the post centres) and some missing words on a page, I am still delighted with the kit and the efforts it took to (nearly) complete the model as seen here.
When I bought the kit I also availed myself of the additional etch that was on offer for a spare set of sheaves (wheels). These can be left lying around representing a spare set at the pit.
A long time afterwards I was looking at the kit etches and noticed that the main kit sheaves are about 2.5mm bigger in diameter than the additional etch! The axle bearings on both etches are exactly the same size, so it's not a case of the sheave only etch being 'shrunk' to a different scale. Weird, but as the sheaves are cosmetic only, it will not matter in my case.

The finished headgear will be situated on top of the roof of the colliery building next to the winding house on my little representation of Lambton 'D' pit on Fence Houses.

I'm now awaiting the latest test sheet back from the etchers any day now, and with various walkways, stairs and lots of wall and roof windows for the colliery buildings, I should be able to finish all the buildings in time for the Nottingham show in 5 weeks time...... hopefully!

Saturday 29 October 2011

Bringing the video links together

Not sure if this is the best way to display these links, but this will do to start with, at least they are all together and accessable by just one click!
Thanks to Ian Morgan and Mick Simpson for the videos.

1st is the FHMF 2FS 9F kit 2007.
2nd is the inaugral run in and out of the garage 2010.
3rd is the first test run at the Blyth club premises prior to the 50th anniversay Expo at Oxford 2010.
4th and latest to date is the NEFG meeting at the Blyth club 2011.


Monday 24 October 2011

AGM, Black 5 update, and a Fry-up

That time of year again, and good news from the AGM down in Aldershot for one member of the Fence Houses team.
The last posting here was about Simon's model of Wapping Bridge Signal Cabin, and guess what? Simon was awarded the Malcolm Stone Trophy. We liked the box anyway, but now Simon has the icing on the cake.
9F's breeding? Well that's what the comment was in the 2mm Magazine for August-September 2011. See the magazine photo of the two locos built by David Smith of Essex, from the FHMF kit. I hear that David won The Groves Trophy for one of them, so well done David (maybe I'll get round to finishing my own second one now!)
Talking about finishing things, we have been working on the layout (no, it's not 'finished' yet) after the Blyth show last August, but what with various illnesses in the team, plus a general slowing down due to lethargy and old age, well at least for me, we have still a way to go to where we want to get to. However, we have the Newcastle show at Gateshead International Stadium in just under three weeks now (12th-13th November) to look forward to, so no doubt the adrenaline will come pumping back in time to fire us all up again. Hope to see some of you there.
One thing I have done since Blyth is resurrect the prototype build of the Black 5 kit that had been languishing on the 'damaged' shelf, following a serious wheel slip and a bending of one of the coupling rods. I was expecting a complete strip down of the chassis to put things right, but was amazed at the fact that I just pushed all the wheels back in to 'quarter', and force re-bent the offending rod, to produce a 99% acceptable situation. I suppose my 'just go for it' attitude helped, as I was not expecting it to work, and nothing would have been lost anyway. See the attached two photos, which shows the loco still unpainted of course, despite chivvying from certain team members. Sorry, but I just like the gleaming brass fittings, nickel silver and white metal....... even at an exhibition. At least people can see the origins of the thing, and that it's not just another Chinese import (superb as they may be these days).

Finally, how not to handle your expensive DCC chips!
It's been a long time since I dismantled a Mashima motor to clean the commutator of carbon, and on re-assembling the parts, it's important to remember the insulating washers go next to the steel body, not on the outside of the wire contact strips/brush holders!

Have fun. Bob.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Simon says.......

Fence Houses team member Simon Perkins has been saying for some time that he has "nearly finished" Wapping Bridge signal box. It's been quite some time coming, but we finally got delivery last Wednesday, and all I can say is, that it's more than worth the wait! We now all need lessons from Simon in brickwork painting and weathering!
This little box is adjacent to the down main line, and controlled the southern end of the four track section junction that ultimately ends at another signal box, Penshaw North (see previous postings). There was approximately 1.5 miles between the two real boxes, but as previously mentioned in an earlier posting, our boxes are only 1.5mtrs apart. Hopefully no one will notice the lack of distance, once they see the effort and quality of the work that has gone in to the models!
These two shots show the box in position, but not finally installed, as we intend to put a retaining wall at the sides and rear, to hold back the earthworks. Simon can show us then how to create the fantastic painted finish he has achieved.