Chetwynd Aston MkII

I mentioned in my last post that Chetwynd Aston was now Chetwynd Aston MkII. I hadn’t liked the cluttered feel to the yard so took one Y point out and just had two sidings. I have also ripped the scenery up too and now – having added ballast – I have the following:

I’m far happier with it. Although operation is a little more limited, I’m happy with what I’ve got. I’ve decided to properly plan the layout too, so I got the paper and pencil out and sketched away. 
The idea is that – as in MkI – I’ll block the entrance to the fiddle yard by a building, although rather than a pub I’m looking at an old cottage. I want a small barrow crossing on the front siding, allowing access to the small yard office in the middle. I also want another small hut at the back of the layout too. Add in some fencing and greenery and there you go.
Finally I’ve done some weathering on the grey 16t mineral wagon. I love doing things like this that add a bit of individual character to a model. In this case, the ‘CAFC’ graffiti that has been drawn into the gunk (bottom left) is the little touch I love the most!

Bits and Bobs…

It’s been over a week since my last blog and things have been a bit hectic. So, now I have five minutes I thought I’d put together a ‘multi-post’ featuring several things I’ve mentioned in previous blogs.

Football Manager
Since I’ve been back at work FM has taken a back seat… thankfully! After guiding Telford to the brink of promotion I was offered the Sheffield Wednesday job and helped them stave off relegation. Having signed Ben Garratt from the Alex to fill their void in nets and Nick Powell to provide ammunition to Fernando Forestieri I started the season quite well. However, their chairman’s itchy trigger finger meant that after a few defeats I got the sack. After this I decided to head back down to the lower leagues and applied for – and got – the Worcester City job. I only played one game with them before the summer holidays ended and haven’t been on it again since. Ah well…

Crewe Alexandra
I blogged about Crewe’s impressive start but mentioned that I thought that I had probably jinxed it by talking about it. Since then they’ve won both games and sit third in the league! Nose-bleed territory!

Derbyshire County Cricket Club
At Derbyshire, things haven’t gone so well. They’ve won something, however it’s the wooden spoon. A few of the better players have signed up to new contracts, a few promising youngsters have done so too and, just today, the club announced that Gary Wilson has joined them from Surrey – something of a coup. Yes, he’s a keeper/batsman and Harvey Hosein – a cricketer I rate extremely highly – is the same, but surely the thinking is that Wilson can play as a batter when Harvey has the gloves and – if and when – the youngster needs a break, Wilson can don the gauntlets. A good signing and hopefully a good winter of recruitment.

Chetwynd Aston
I’m now on ‘Mk II.’ I wasn’t happy with the cluttered feel to the first version so have ripped up a siding and some of the scenery. We’ll see how things progress on this one as and when.

Four quick updates. One blog post. I’m happy with that!

Up the Alex!

It’s been a while since I blogged about the Alex. Added to that the busy nature of my summer holiday and the new school term (and job) means I’ve not spoken about the start of the season. So let’s put that right.
Last season, obviously, was a total bust. 24th out of 24. Knocked out of the cup by a non-league team. A pitiful amount of points and a protest against the manager. Not one to look back fondly on.
However there were some signs, even in that car-crash of a season, that indicated there was hope for this year. The loan signing of Ryan Lowe saw the Alex have their best run of form all season, so when he signed permanently in the summer, hopes were raised. Zoumana Bakayogo was, when he regained match fitness, an impressive addition to the left back spot. His contract renewal in the summer was also looked upon as something of a coup. The club held on to highly-rated goalkeeper, Ben Garratt before manager Steve Davis pulled off a couple of great deals. Chris Dagnall, lower-league goal-getter-extraordinaire, signed on a free for two years. He was soon joined by young Chelsea winger, Alex Kiwomya, who made such an impression in his first month he scored 3 goals (one of which was nominated for goal of the month) and was nominated for Player of the Month too.
All of this has added up to make the fans, many of whom feared the club dropping straight through, amend their initial expectations. An away win on the first day of the season (which hadn’t been achieved since 1994!) was followed by another away win against Sheffield United. Two draws against Hartlepool (a six-goal thriller, decent for a team that scored as little as Crewe last year) and Portsmouth followed before taking Blackburn to extra time. A late winner in the home win against Doncaster was the icing on the cake. Things look promising. 9 points on the board – which didn’t happen until late November last year – and a goal threat that hasn’t been seen at Gresty Road for a few years means that. hopefully, Crewe can have a good season, far better than what all fans expected.
Of course, they play Exeter tomorrow and after all that I’ve written… I’ve probably put the kiss of death on them!

Chetwynd Aston: Micro Layout

Today saw quite a bit of progress on my new micro-layout, Chetwynd Aston. Having previously come up with the track plan and back story, I took advantage of it being the last day of my summer holidays and set to it.

The main focus of today was landscaping. On the far side I built it up using off cuts of foam board cut to shape, whilst on the near side I used papier mache (the Hattons catalogue comes in handy again!). It’s a messy business but was more suitable for the viewing side due to what was required. I then cut a channel under the Moody Mallard – which now has it’s roof finished! – for the wiring. The wiring is attached to the track and is nice and simple, just one feed. Even better was the fact that, when tested, it worked!

I then treated myself to a little ‘play’ session of photography. I can’t actually run the full layout yet as I am missing a Y point, which I will pick up tomorrow. However, I placed a few bits and pieces – including a suspicious character, his pretty assistant and an odd blue box – to get a feel for how things might look.
You might notice that both photos include a Sentinel shunter. This arrived this morning and I wasted no time getting it on the layout. I’ve had emails saying my other 3 wagons are out for delivery too, so soon I’ll have all stock too.
It’s been an enjoyable day!

Last Orders Please…!

Today I started work on a pub for my new micro-shunting layout, Chetwynd Aston. Using some spare mount board and a Scalescenes ‘Stucco’ download I shut myself away in the office and got on with making a tiny watering hole named ‘The Moody Mallard.’ Here’s a little step-by-step guide as to the process so far…

1) Cut the bases for the sides out of the mount board. I made a chimney breast out of foam core as this gave me the required thickness for that part of the building.

2) Cover the sides with the Scalescenes stucco sheet, leaving it to dry whilst weighted down. Once dry trim to fit, leaving enough overhang to wrap the paper around the sides and around door and window frames.
3) Glue the sides together, using corner triangles to make the edges meet. Whilst this was drying I made the pub sign and glued it on. 
4) I made the window frames from sticky label, cutting it out before fixing it to see through packaging and sticking to the inside of the shell.
5) test fit on the layout. The Moody Mallard is designed to act as a ‘view-block’ so that the viewer can not see that the line has no buffer stops yet does not go anywhere. The test fit seems to show this works. At this point I made a small ‘lean to’ entrance. 
6) I tackled the roof next. Using a Chris Nevard idea I made loads and loads of 5mm squares by chopping up some junk mail (in this case, a Hattons catalogue appropriately enough!). Then gluing the roof base I, one by one, placed the tiles using the point of a craft knife to pick up and position. Twenty minutes saw me do the lean-to before I’d had enough for one day! I left it to dry before painting the tiles with grey acrylic primer. I’ll do further colour work with various washes and darker shades.
That’s where I’m up to right now. There is still lots to do including printing an interior to give some detail to the inside. However, I’m pretty pleased with it so far.
Hopefully when it’s finished you’ll be able to almost smell the tankard of ‘Fursty Ferret’ that the octogenarian sat at the corner of the bar is supping…