Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Help and advice for those starting in, or converting to P4 standards. A place to share modelling as a beginner in P4.
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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:35 am

This months get together, being the first in the year, was a looking back over the year and a look forward to what we will go on to next. A few engines turned up with their builders for a quick run past on the dining room table. Not all the locos being built were there due to a couple of regulars not being able to make the meeting. Jim has two locos under way and nearly finished and Bruce also has a loco underway, but was absent due to going into hospital for an operation. So we missed you Bruce and everyone hopes you have a complete recovery. So this one is partly for you Bruce. :)

The first loco we will have a look at is Phil's N2. The engine is going to be used on his projected branch line and is well known as the engine which is in the famous Bennie overhead railway. Phil also brought along a set of carriages which he is going to use and we had a look at his method of re-setting the bogies to get the correct ride - so this is not just about building a first loco or two, there have been other things going on over the year. On Sunday he also brought along a model which he had bought from Don Rowland some time ago and he had made some modifications to it so we ran this as well on the day.

Back in September the locomotive chassis was taking shape.

The first loco is Phil's N2 here being worked on during an earlier session in the workroom.
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Here is the engine on the day having had its run past. It runs beautifully, but from Phil's point of view it needs proper painting and weathering. So we have decided that we will put time aside this year to run a short course to allow everyone to get a good paint finish.

Phil's coaches in their travelling box. He has been adding flush glazing and we had a discussion about flush glazing techniques. The photograph was taken in September when he had just started to work on the glazing.
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The Don Rowland loco under test during the September meeting.
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The locomotive after work done and having had its run past on the day. Happy with how it operates it will have a repaint some time soon.

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:34 pm

The next locomotive trundling down the track was Chris's M7 tank. This uses a Perseverance chassis. Chris has his layout well under way and has had everyone over to look at and operate his layout which works using full sized block instruments, so this loco is one being built while he concentrates on other things. He has made up CAD drawings for an alternative chassis and is not entirely happy with the locomotive's running, however it was running reasonably well on the day and looking good, the problem yet to be resolved was to get both of the bogie wheels to take their proper share of the rear end weight, something which I am sure is quite resolvable. :)

Chris also brought along a rather nice signal box which he has been building using a mechanical cutter for the barge boarding and tiles which take no time to make with the cutter - the results are very good and more refined than normal plasticard brick. The East Group are using one just now for the production of window frames for the buildings we are making for the new extension of Burntisland. He also brought along a rather nice brass kit for a LSWR coach which he is working on. He is not entirely satisfied with the signal box glazing which is of a liquid type, there are a number of solutions to this, which I have a feeling we may cover soon. We had some discussion on flush glazing as Phil was busy on his carriages. I have suggested using slide glass as a means of glazing - the glass is cut-able providing you use sharp scissors and cut the glazing under water as this reduces the shock so that the glass does not just shatter. You do loose a few, but there is no substitute for glass and perhaps brass coaches lend themselves to the use of this material.

I am sitting writing this in front of the TV while a program all about Venice is on and they are using three D scanners to map Venice - now if that was connected to a three D cutter or printer! - this is probably the future of modelling in a grand scale. I remember seeing three D aerial photographs of the Forth Bridge and the station at Stirling for the first time and the illusion of being able to pick up a miniature of the Bridge. :)

Here is Chris's M7 which really looks the part and will be very much at home on his branch line.

The signal cabin now complete with interior.

Chris's carriage is also coming on well and is being well built - everything nice and square, still much to do, despite appearances. There is the paintwork and interior still to do as well as the glazing.

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Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Postby JinglingGeordie » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:12 pm

[quote="Allan Goodwillie"] We had some discussion on flush glazing as Phil was busy on his carriages. I have suggested using slide glass as a means of glazing -
Allan thinking back to Nancy's days in the lab makes me think it is slide glass covers and not slide glass. Sorry to be pedantic.

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:32 pm

Hi Jinglin' Geordie :)
Yes you are of course right and no, not pedantic, just a bit sloppy of me! :o Here is the stuff, I meant to find some on Sunday and give Chris enough to try out for himself. As you can see the proper term is "Microscope glass cover slips". I have used it on a number of Ian Kirk kits I built some time ago. The glass can be stuck in using the thin red, narrow, double sided tape which my wife uses for card making - it is used for permanent attachment.


Another engine that was there on the day was my son David's Co-Bo which he bought for Christmas and which he intends to S4 when he can get wheels which I believe are available from Ultrascale. Dave has a number of locomotives all running on S4 drop in wheel sets so we may be looking at the conversion later in the year.


A number of locomotives were not there on the day including David's J72, Bruce's Caley 0-6-0T which are still under development and Jim's two engines, both chassis running and the bodies still being finished off. I also had a couple of engines which I have built recently for my new layout, but as I am not a beginner I am not putting them up here.

A couple of photographs show one of Jim's locos at last September's meeting. We were using the day as a testing session for ironing out running problems - no problems with Jim's loco when running back and forth on the test track. Jim may want to put a couple of recent photos of the engine up here sometime soon. :)

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Here the loco is being loaded and checking for levels, using one of the jigs adapted for working out weight distribution.


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Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Postby RedDragon » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:04 pm

Microscope slide slip covers are incredibly cheap on ebay, £5 or less for 100 pieces at 24x50 mm. You can also buy microscope slides with a frosted (etched) panel that are good for coach toilet windows and kitchen car windows.

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:52 am

Thanks Red Dragon, :thumb

I did not know about the frosted version. I used to run some solvent over thin plasticard glazing and that did the job. For white toilet windows I have done something similar and stuck on some cigarette paper to give that thin translucent white glazed look. On glass, varnish can be used to stick the paper.

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:30 pm

:D It is a little time since we had any report as to how things have been going, but in fact everyone has been busy and the locomotives are continuing to be completed over the summer - we will probably have a procession of engines in the autumn when most will have them finished. Some have successfully finished more than one engine.

We have also covered several other topics recently including a discussion on gauges as well as an introduction to Templot by Fergus, one of our little band - Fergus drew out Burntisland when we were in the earliest stages of construction of the layout 15 years ago and has a fair bit of experience using it. I am hoping we will have a session with Lindsay Galloway who is also a keen user some time in the autumn.

James Batchelor has been busy designing a new uncoupler using super magnets which I think will deserve, at the very least, an article in the Snooze when he comes to the final version - those who came along to the last meeting were able to observe its latest incarnation. He also has ideas on making the MERG Servo 4 boards more reliable. Personally,I have had some distrust of them after a number of incidents on various layouts, but with increased knowledge I now understand, I think, just what has been leading to trouble at exhibitions. James has various remedies which he has been trying out and I also know John Stocks has also done some work on his lovely layout to overcome similar problems, but using different solutions. There will be much discussion about MERG kits, which are extremely useful, coming in the autumn and some of the members of the group are intent on joining.

The discussion on gauges is maybe pertinent as little is printed about their use, however, there has been discussion about the triangular gauge elsewhere on the forum, which is worth having a look at. The thread (for the Starters Group) is worth a read before we get together in the autumn to make baseboards and track.

I am going to introduce a new thread just covering the track making course as it may make it easier for others to find and be able to use, on the forum as well as our Starters Group. :) I know how much the loco building threads have been used which made me think that a separate thread for the track making program might be a good idea. The thread will just add to what is available already on the forum, but will put a number of things together that can be found elsewhere if you took the time to look.

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:14 pm

Having had a summer break we are going to have our first autumn meeting this Sunday coming. Some of the group may be interested in the new layout I am building myself, I was not going to put it up as part of our starters group thread as it is likely to be far from a starters group type of layout and I do not want to distract from our Starters Group thread. :)

If you want to follow my own new layout you can find it here:


here are a couple of summer pictures taken at a meeting of O Gaugers which I attended at Ian Jack's on Saturday where we had a minute's silence for Richard Chown.

A rather nice A1 pacific emerges from the bushes with a lovely rake of caches

Well there has to be one hasn't there?

A lovely day relaxing and playing trains outside.

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