Wrack and Ruin

A mid-life crisis in narrow gauge

Kate Out of the Gate

Yesterday I completed the IP Engineering ‘Kate’ diesel locomotive kit. It feels like it’s been going on for months but in fact it’s only been four weeks since the last blog post describing the start. There was however a longeur in the middle where I did little other than adding another coat of paint every evening when I had a spare half hour. (I hate painting, or rather I don’t mind painting itself - which is quite therapeutic as you smother grey primer with green/red/black - but I hate waiting for it to dry.)

Kate Takes Shape

The IP Engineering ‘Kate’ Pressfix kit arrived last week, along with a bottle of MEK solvent, so I started putting it together this weekend. The good news is, it’s a lot more straightforward, quicker and less excessively gluey to construct than messing around with whitemetal and epoxy.

So Simple It’s Simplex

It took a while to get through all the domestic tasks on Sunday morning, but eventually I was able to return to the IP Engineering Plate Frame Simplex kit I started last week. And once I got down to work, I was glued to it.

A Question of Character

Nantlle is the featured line in this month’s Garden Rail magazine (which incidentally I was impressed to see is now available again in WH Smiths for the first time in years, hopefully a sign of rude health following the new ownership). It’s a really lovely line, based on modern FR/WHR practice and set amongst some beautiful scenic work. Really quite… disheartening inspiring.

Breaking Eggs

I should have guessed it was a bad day when the pancakes went wrong. For some reason, a tradition has evolved of having American-style pancakes for breakfast on Sundays in our household. My youngest Junior Research Assistant always mixes the batter, usually with practiced ease, but yesterday the egg simply smashed into fragments, with yolk and pieces of shell dripping off her hand into the bowl. Whisking the batter, I managed to splatter a fair amount around the worktop and floor. Then I burnt the pancakes - not just the first batch but two further ones.

A Narrow Swerve From Extinction

I came here to write a mea culpa for neglecting the Rhach & Rhwyn over the past few years, only to discover that I’d been neglecting the blog even longer! (How long? Well, I just had to trawl right back through the archive to the first post to remember how I’d spelled Rhach & Rhwyn.) Occasional weekend services recommenced in the garden just the other day, after actual effort was expended in rescuing it from dereliction. So let me bring things back up to date.

Running In

20100418-112155_shrp Services recommenced on the R&R this weekend. Initial running problems were resolved by a) regluing the gear on to the driving axle of the loco to stop it slipping and b) fettling the curve under the cutting, which appears to have been undermined and pushed up by soil creep from the embankment, creating an apparently insurmountable gradient. Once this was done, we managed a non-stop service of several circuits.

Hint, Hint

Dear wife,

In lieu of a comfy armchair that we haven’t got room for and he’d never get chance to sit in, this Plate Frame Simplex would, I’m sure, be much appreciated by someone coming to terms with turning forty. And if there was any money left in the budget, a proper coach (or even better, this one in green/red) would be great too. (Both in 32mm gauge.)

Love,
Me

The Track Is Back

dscf1283_shrp A quick line inspection and some basic maintenance over the weekend has confirmed that the Rhach track lives to serve another “operating” season, having sustained no lasting harm over winter (and from some over-enthusiastic leaf-raking). As a plus, we have some lovely primroses growing out of the ballast. Rust was evident on a number of the mending plates again, so I’ve coated them with Jenolite jelly and metal primer, and I’m currently trialling two of the plastic-coated type as well. I’ve recharged the loco batteries and started thinking that I really, really should get round to finishing that station building (which only lacks for a coat of clear varnish) and the last wagon kit…