Monday 31 May 2021

Malvern Flea and Collectors Market

Sue and I visited the Malvern Flea and Collectors Market today. It was the first large event that we had attended for well over 18 months and we were naturally apprehensive, but apart from some overcrowding in the main covered halls the morning went well with bright sunshine breaking through around lunchtime.

I really enjoyed being outdoors and browsing the stalls - a bit like a huge up-market carboot sale, so much so that we were talking of attending the next event later in the year.

For anyone not familiar with the even, the market takes place on The Three Counties Showground and has hundreds of stalls selling all sorts of stuff (and I do mean all sorts). I also felt safe, the organisers had taken care to make the paying public feel secure during these trying times and Sue and I enjoyed the morning out.

I came away with some bits and pieces, but nothing too big (or expensive). My daughter who met us on site (and was the person who suggested we go) picked up one of her most prize possessions a tea pot to match her tea set, something she has been looking for for years (and I do mean years).

Back home we spent the afternoon lounging in the garden and enjoying the sunny weather.


Saturday 29 May 2021

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. - recap

In this post I have taken a step back and included images of the raw material that was used to build the baseboard. I found the photos when checking my pictures file on the computer. There's not much to add to the earlier posts, but I thought they were worth including to show how the layout planning and construction has progressed.


Thursday 27 May 2021

MPB Model Supplies, Droitwich

I have just received news of a new model railway shop opening in St Andrew's Street, Droitwich, Worcestershire. MPB Model Supplies is due to open in June and I can't wait to see what they will be stocking.

Good luck.


Wednesday 26 May 2021

Sahara - M3 Lulubelle from Miniart

Images taken from The Modelling News 26.05.2021

While browsing the internet earlier today, I came across this new release from Miniart - The M3 Lee featured in the film/films Sahara. There have been two versions of the film, a later re-make with Jim Belushi and the classic Humphrey Bogart which in my opinion is so much better. (See image below).

For more details of the M3 Lee release, see this link.

The earlier 1943 film inspired me to build a 1/56th scale model of Bir Acroma the centre piece of the climactic battle. The model features in my Pen & Sword book Wargames Terrain & Buildings North Africa and The Middle East. For details of how to order a copy see this link.

Here are a couple of images of the finished model.

I've see both films and although the earlier film is in black and white and has some anomalies, I prefer it to the later re-make. What do you think?


Tuesday 25 May 2021

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. - completing the track laying

The track laying continued with more Peco O-16.5 narrow gauge track and some HO-OO turnouts I had spare from 'other' projects. 

As you can see I have deviated from my initial plan by adding an additional turnout at the rear of the layout (this will be covered and hidden by the buildings and rock formations).

The three turnouts are controlled by either wire-in-tube or directly by home made plastic sliders which are operated from the rear of the layout. Any areas that were cut out or cut into the foamboard base have been filled and then covered with torn newspaper glued in place with PVA glue. Please note that these sliders do not poke out from the rear of the baseboard but are contained within the edges. In the past I have experienced the issue of having these sliders/controls broken off if they stick out from the edges of the baseboard. Something that is extremely frustrating.


Monday 24 May 2021

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. - starting the track laying

I have used lengths of Peco 'Crazy Track' or O-16.5 narrow gauge track to form the bulk of the design. The flexi-track was glued down with PVA glue with the odd pin or nail to hold the shape while the glue dried. As you can see I have used some tins of soup to hold the track in place.

The white plastic former (top right of image) was built by me and used to ensure that the radius of 30cms was constant across the curves. One lesson that I have learnt when laying track is to ensure consistency.

The first turnout was installed as per the plan, at the front of the layout. It is a standard HO-OO turnout (I will remove or modify the sleepers later). The turnout was mounted on to a piece of thin plastic card coloured with a black marker pen (I didn't want any white showing through under the turnout sleepers).

To the left of the layout, I have started to add DAS Modelling clay which will blend the sleepers in to the groundwork.

All track joins have been soldered with additional power feeders mounted under the layout.

The final image shows how I have used some 5mm thick plastic card to act as a firm base for the turnout actuators. My plan is to have sliding switches at the rear of the layout which will work via wire-in-tube and operate the three turnouts. By mounting these sliding switches on to the plastic card which has been cut into the 5mm thick foamboard I should have a firm and level baseboard on which to carry out further work.


Saturday 22 May 2021


Regular readers may wonder why the number of posts have been down this month. Well, I've been busy on 'other projects'. 

This week is my grandsons birthday and as well as buying him his first Corgi car - an ice cream van, I have built this Dinosaur Hoop-la game for his weekend party. The Tricera-hoops was built for Charlie's fourth birthday from corrugated cardboard, foamboard and thin card then painted with acrylic paints. I can report that Charlie loved his new game and we had great fun trying to get the plastic hoops over the dinosaur horns.

Happy Birthday Charlie.


Monday 17 May 2021

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. - the baseboard part three

I have used some second-hand, 5mm thick ex-advertising foamboard signs to cover the whole baseboard. The foamboard was glued and stapled in place before I used strips of torn newspaper (applied over PVA glue) to give a smooth surface ready for paint and track laying.

I find that this torn newspaper is a perfect way to secure the foamboard and keep the weight of the layout down.

I then painted the whole board with some DULUX Endurance emulsion paint (two coats) that I had spare in the garage.

In the final image, you can see that I have marked out the track plan in readiness for the laying of the PECO O-16.5 'Crazy Track' (used for O gauge narrow gauge layouts).


Saturday 15 May 2021

Practical and Simple Wargame Terrain - part ten continued

Miniature Wargames issue 458 (June 2021) has the final part of my series on how to build simple and practical wargame terrain from every day and simply sources materials. The article shows how I painted the 1/56th scale European Windmill that had been featured in last months magazine - for details of how the model was built, see this link.

You can find information about the latest issue here.


Tuesday 11 May 2021

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. - the baseboard part two

Following on from my earlier Blog post, I knew that I needed to make the baseboard lighter and set about cutting unwanted segments out of it. I used a 20mm drill bit and a jigsaw to cut out segments that would not interfere with the track plan or wooden supports.

I continued to remove more and more of the chipboard, knowing that every piece taken out would make the layout easier to handle.

Eventually I had the final cut-up board, but still maintained the strength and rigidity.

The baseboard is 1220mm wide, 800mm from front to back and 40mm thick (the chipboard and the wooden supports).


Monday 10 May 2021

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. - the baseboard part one

The main baseboard was constructed from some spare chipboard scraps which were recovered from a skip. The two cable drum bases were of different sizes and needed a fair bit of trimming and sanding before they were joined together with woodworking glue.

As you can see in the first image, I used a simple pieces of string and a pencil to mark-out the curved front edge.

The front was cut with a jigsaw and I used more scrap wood (pallet wood) to add supports to the under side which were both glued and nailed in place.

The final image shows the simple oval track plan being drawn on to the baseboard. The biggest disadvantage with the construction is that the 20mm thick chipboard is so heavy. I will have to do something about that.....


Sunday 9 May 2021

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. - the planning

In this post I have included some of the many sketches I produced for The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. layout. The design progressed from this first image to the more complete plan at the bottom of the page.

The design called for a continuous loop with a loading siding to the front and some storage sidings to the rear (under the rocky back scene).

The trestle (to the front) was discarded as being too complicated and a possible weak point in the front of the layout (being too easily damaged).

The number of storage sidings (under the rocky backdrop) was still to be confirmed.

Hopefully this post gives some idea of the thought that went into the design - I had learnt from my earlier OSO Salt layout that Finley and Charlie just wanted to see trains running and were not interested in a back-and-forth design, added to this the trains will disappear into the tunnel entrance and then re-appear from around the right hand rocks.

In the next posts I will show how the baseboard was constructed.


Saturday 8 May 2021

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co.

The Yellow Pelican Mining Co. is a true flight of fancy, a scratch-built narrow gauge railway layout that I am building as a side project for my grandsons - Finley and Charlie. The model is based on a small, imaginary mining operation in the California/Nevada mountains and uses a run-down 18 inch narrow gauge steam railway to transport the ore. 

The model is being built to the scale of 1:27.7 or 1mm = 1 foot running on 16.5mm HO-OO/Peco 'Crazy Track'  track. The unusual scale means that almost all of the features will need to be scratch-built on HO-OO engine chassis and wagons.

The steam engines and wagons have appeared in earlier Blog posts while the layout baseboard was started during 'lock down' 2020, I am now waiting for the weather to warm up so I can continue with construction. Don't expect loads of updates as 'other' projects have and will continue to take priority, but I will try to post details of the planning and early construction steps soon.

What is Yellow Pelican?

A name made up by my grandsons and one that I quite like. The wooden box featured above was built by me last year from some spare pallet wood to store items during construction and features a hand painted yellow pelican and wording created on my computer and again hand painted.


Wednesday 5 May 2021

Emmanuel Nouaillier

I've found myself at a bit of a loose end this week, the weather, doubts over Corovavirus, different magazine projects coming to an end and nothing new on the horizon so I started tidying up some magazine articles I'd been storing in the attic.

Emmanuel Nouaillier has written for Military Modeller, Continental Modeller and a number of French language magazines over the years. I have collected a number of these magazine articles and thought it was time I collated them into a clear pocket folder. In the end I filled three presentation folders with the articles I had collected!

Details about Emmanuel Nouaillier can be found here.

Hopefully I will have something positive to report on soon.

Stay safe.