Layout Progress #8

Sometimes advice can be so obvious it can feel like a chore giving it, but I am going to do it as I made a monumental cock up in Six Quarters and that is DO YOUR BACKSCENE BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY BUILD THE LAYOUT.

It seems obvious right? Yeah it does. How I wish I decided long ago on what the backscene plan was before tearing off and doing everything else.

My sister had planned to do the backscene following a change of thought against a plain grey wall, but when she saw how much had been done on the layout she shuddered and said she would do it on a bit of paper and I could stick it on. This terrified me as so much was already on the layout it would be super obvious that I had stuck this extra bit of paper down. Also she is super busy being an adult so it was some way off.

As I often do, I had a brain wave, a brain wave so clever I instantly impressed only myself. Of course I would do it, what I mused could possible go wrong?

Well it surely would go wrong, but my sister’s planned bit of paper would surely cover up my monumental cock up? What I did not remind myself was the last time I drew anything was when I was 7 and I sketched myself flying a spitfire over Dover Castle. No one could tell that from the unfathomable drawing, but that is what I meant it to be. It lived on the fridge until it was ‘accidentally’ binned circa Summer ’95.

So armed with some charcoal pencils and a £1.49 coloured pencil set I went for it. The brief was a backscene that took your eye off the stark grey but did not mean a viewer would shout ‘WTF?’ when he or she first looked at it.

My darling wife who can criticise me for walking down the stairs in a certain way looked at the layout and shouted said ‘SO WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME?’ which is the biggest compliment, trust me if it looked outrageous she would of said and she did not even notice until I pointed it out, then I think she even said she liked it.

However at 1500 I nearly took the layout outside and set fire to it as I was not happy, but since then I have dragged everyone into the spare room (post man, milkman, man in the wardrobe) and they have all said that in a impressionistic way its not obvious. Also Chris likes it and was dead against any rash burning. So following are some photos of it with it’s new backscene, some new weathered wagons (put a wash on the 21 ton hoppers), some waiting to be painted Knightwing bits AND some progress on the left hand side.

Note also the new pile of scrap metal (I really need to remove the flash line on the drum)

The reason progress has kicked off on the left hand side is I finally managed to make it to Pete’s workshop to get cracking on the building, we did not do as much as we thought we would as we chatted and procrastinated a lot. However at least I know the size of it.

In terms of locos at the foot of this post is a fixed up 08 shunter. The only model to get smashed in the house move over 2 years ago I managed to fix it with Plastikard and turn it VERY industrial.

And thank you folks, we hit over 10000 views this week. That is incredible as really this blog is a load of nonsense.

Backscene as a ‘whole’


New metal pile and backscene



Washed wagons and Knightwing loader


Zoom on the finished (well painting at least) Hornby new 21 tonner
Waste ground taking shape next to the hole. That car won’t live there, something more evil will.
Pete’s Workshop


Industrial 08 takes shape – Bits from RT models as always
Ignore those bent rods…

The Model To Save Hornby?

Just over a year ago Hornby announced the Peckett W4, the first major steam outline 0-4-0 since Dapol’s L&Y pug. For the first time, I have certainly seen, pre-ordered allocations are selling out.

Why all the fuss? The answer is simple, Hornby have hit a gold mine and for them it could not come soon enough.

The Peckett is the first model to truly be like the original Mini car, it has infinite possibilities for customising. Its small size means its suitable for a new generation of layouts that fit in modern homes, and it’s cheap compared to the big stuff. Add to that it can just about be seen working in every corner of the nation, it is simply the loco for the masses at the right time.

The chassis will no doubt replace the Dapol pug chassis as the first choice for bashers and kit manufacturers for a myraid of other 0-4-0 bodies. I have not been this excited about a ready to run release since Heljan announced class 33s back in the 2000’s.

This little loco really could save Hornby and if that is not enough to convince you, just look at it…

The little loco is still promised to start it’s revolution before Christmas and in breaking with frugal traditions OTCM towers have TWO on order. I think that probably says it all.


Hornby already have the service sheet online:


Does this look like an easy conversion to EM/P4? It could also be the first step into a finer world without any suspension larks, just like the original Dapol pug.

A comprehensive review will be undertaken right here, so watch this space.


Mini Update on Pit Checks

While the front of the layout needs a repaint, I decided to go backside before face and add on the ‘point handles’ eBay came up trumps with three NCB Hatfield pit checks which I thought would bring the whole theme together…


Visions of Steam…

A while back, while visiting the Foxfield Railway, a browse through one of the second hand stands produced a book by the title above. 

Now we, as with many others I’m sure, tend to gloss over the wonderfully generic ‘steam’ books so often seen, which on the whole provide little information of interest to the reader. For some reason we picked this one up and after a very quick flick through, it was put on the must buy pile and cash changed hands.

What is presented inside is a wonderful selection of high quality images showcasing the last days of industrial steam in South Wales – of particular note are the shots showing the more human side of operations.

If you come across this book it is well worth a buy!