Tuesday, 13 October 2020

I See a Baseboard and I want to paint it Black

On Friday morning I looked out the window to see that not only had the goats turned the ELR's coach on to its side, but they had already started eating it.

I swore. Very loudly and for a long time, using a very naughty word.

And I felt like giving up. Not just the ELR, but everything.

It was the proverbial last straw. 

On at least one level I've decided to scrap the ELR. It is the railways or the goats, and whilst their rescue was yet another "over my dead body"  argument that I lost, and they have left a trail of destruction in their wake, I am very attached to them.

At another level, and perhaps it helps that I'm thinking on more than one level, I'm considering radical alternatives for reconstruction. In pretty much every other aspect of my life this is where fate plays a card and there would be a ridiculous coincidence. If railways were like cats yet another wanted feral would walk into our lives  - currently nine of them, I think. But no such luck so far.

Perhaps it might even force me out to my comfort zone, and into the front garden, where I've been suffering from the 7 1/4" gauge equivalent of empty baseboard syndrome. 

One idea I'm exploring in my head involves abandoning the very first section of the line, at least for now, and gaining access to the front garden from the other side of the house. That would significantly reduce the amount of line exposed to the goats and force me to use the back garden section much more as a spur to the engine and stock shed just for use at the beginning and end of the day, rather than as a railway in its own right. It would also give me access to a better alignment in the front garden with less need for earthworks but would add the need for two substantial crossings of the driveway. And Issy would have to move the caravan. We will see.

On the 7/8ths front, I managed to find time to treat the marine ply baseboards. In the long term they will be covered anyway, but using a black tinted preservative seems to help me envisage how the line will fit in. I all still looks dreadfully ugly but I can see where I'm going with it. I need to start thinking about a few simple structures to provide scenic blocks.

It is odd looking forward to Winter with a workshop re-established. I lost so much of last year to the workshop/studio/office move.  I keep looking down at the "railway" end of the studio and pondering the long term 7mm plan. I can't yet free up the space to make a start on the Last Great Project but I'm increasingly wondering why I'm not focussing on 7mm  rather than 4mm. Not that the 4mm projects won't carry on, but I need to build up a feel for 7mm again.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Autumn Thoughts

 It has been an odd Summer, hasn't it? What has struck me is how busy I seem to have been despite lockdown. so much so that when I took a couple of weeks off at the end of September I more or less collapsed in a heap for the first seven days, before filling the second half of the "holiday" with some of the much need chores around the garden. One of the biggest was getting round to painting the outside of the studio. At some distant point in time this is scheduled to be the terminus of the ELR, so painting it a decidedly none railway colour was a big decision. Other factors swayed the choice, and it has certainly done a good job of visually shrinking the building so it is less obtrusive.

Being unobtrusive is also one of the aims of the initial 7/8ths line. I'm sufficiently happy with the proof of concept that I'll be bedding it in as a semi-permanent line over the rest of Autumn. I've nothing specific in mind but I'm also allowing for potential extensions at either end.  I was hoping to finish off the 7/8ths rolling stock whilst I was off work, but with the black dog yapping at my heels it was as much as I could do to get the roof on the gunpowder wagon. Again massive thanks to Bole Lasercraft for providing the replacement roof. It really is a lovely kit.

You might have noticed the slightly smaller rolling stock in front of it. It is one of several key purchases that I bought last year but have only recently been delivered. It is a Busch HOf set, destined to have a Narrow Planet 6point5 body on the loco.  I've three possible layouts in mind for it. The original intention was to provide the railway element of the Scalescenes wharfside boxfile layout, and that is still top priority. The second is a variation on a well known 009 rabbit warren layout which I think could work really well given the magnet aided adhesion and the possibility of hiding an absurd gradient in a tunnel. The third option is another variation on the Cadeby theme but modelled in  TTn2.

That would, of course, mean scratch-building or 3d printing some stock. And oddly that brings me to another recent delivery of something bought last year... but more of that in a later post.