Decisions…

Today I think I had an idea. When searching the net I stumbled across the Middy – the Mid Suffolk Light Railway. 


Ignore the car park and look at the railway. Could the bit you see on the picture be turned into a micro layout? A little like this?


Trains enter from the right, the exit to fiddle hidden by a low-ish relief shed. Locos exit the shed for coaling and taking on water. 

All in all there is plenty of activity from a couple of tracks. 

But is it too much? Is it a quart in a pint pot? I love the idea of a loco squeezing between the shed and the station but is it too squashed? If I want a station with a bit of shunting thrown in should I make a bigger layout? 

The layout shown above could enter the MRL competition but a bigger, more long term project that makes the most of the small funds I can put towards model trains, rather than using them up on a short-lived micro-micro. 

One to think on I think. 

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A walk around Woodcote

Yesterday, Amy and myself took the chance to make the most of the beautiful weather that the weekend gave us. We made the short drive to Chetwynd Aston, parked up and walked the four mile ‘The Fox’ pub walk.

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Although the fields were not quite as full of rapeseed as they have been when we’ve done the walk before, it was still a lovely hour and a half. Then it was back home to watch the football.

Which was a much less enjoyable ninety minutes!

Brick Laying

Right, back to model railways.

As SWMBO is out tonight (watching Beauty and the Beast) I’ve stuck the football on and dug out the Ancorton Models cottage kit I’d started last year. I’d glued it together, covered it in air dry clay and then left it. Having found it, it looked like this;


So, following the Chris Nevard school of building, I found an old nail and got scribbing. Plenty of scratching and dust later and I’ve ended up with… drum roll please!



Really happy with it so far. I love the big stone cottages that are littered all over Shropshire so I want to replicate one of those. The idea is that this will be a rehearsal room for the local industry (limestone quarry) brass band, tucked away alongside a couple of sleepy railway sidings. 

As you’ll see, I’ve not fully decided on a plan, my back story for the layout is in place; an industrial ‘end of the line’ with a couple of sidings, a couple of huts and a generally sleepy atmosphere. 

Work is manic at the minute, I’m doing a PE specialism course that is taking up lots of spare time, we’re planning a wedding and my fabulous band, the Lions Beginners, have two contests over the next two weekends. It’s very busy and modelling time is at a premium so to get a bit of time to model tonight was most welcome. 

What if…

A few years ago, when I was in a wind band, we recorded a few CDs. I was in to the whole graphic design thing and was asked if I’d design a cover. I enjoyed it and was very proud when the band used my design on the first CD, and then asked for another for the next CD. I was also pretty pleased when my design concept was used for the latest Lions CD. However, I’ve done very little CD cover design recently.

It was time to put that right.

Imagine, if you will, a fictional brass brass band based in the town I now call home. Nova Brass Band are, ahem, one of the finest bands around and I just so happen to be their conductor. What? It is my fantasy after all! So, here’s the cover of their latest CD; Impressions.

CD Cover Idea copy

It features a stunning picture from the top of the nearby Lilleshall Hill. The track listing features many items that could be described as very ‘British’ with the odd item that hails from other cultures – but still paint vivid pictures of their background.

Track Listing:
Torch of Freedom (Eric Ball)
In Love For Me (arr. Harper)
Showcase (Christopher Bond) Cornet Solo
Variations for Brass Band (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
A Hebridean Lullaby (Philip Harper) Baritone Solo
Libertango (Piazolla arr. Sleith)
One Day (Paul Lovatt-Cooper) Flugel Horn Solo
Three Impressions for Brass – Royal Border Bridge, Berwick (Arthur Butterworth)
Flying Mallets (arr. Graham) Xylophone Solo
Men of Harlech (arr. Langford)
Bells Across The Meadow (Ketelby arr. Graham)
Toccata (Widor)
Calon Lan (arr. Jenkins)

Note: This band and CD are entirely fictional! Purely a bit of fun!

March Playlist

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No, not a playlist of marches, but a playlist for the month of March. As it’s February and March it’s contest season in the Brass Band world. Therefore I’ve got a test piece on it (from the 4th section back in 2013), a belter from the pen of Arthur Butterworth and a classic brass band arrangement. Furthermore there’s a Piazolla fizzer and some sumptuous Euphonium playing by the masterful Glyn Williams. Wonderful.

Devon Fantasy Eric Ball
Black Dyke Band conducted by Nicholas Childs

Bells Across The Meadow Ketelby arr. Graham
Black Dyke Band conducted by James Watson

Libertango Piazolla arr. Sleith
Fairey Band conducted by Mark Peacock

Peace John Golland
Fodens Band conducted by Michael Fowles
Euphonium Soloist Glyn Williams

The Royal Border Bridge, Berwick Arthur Butterworth
Black Dyke Band conducted by Nicholas Child

Toad in a hole

I’m not sure how, but my Toad-bash has gone slightly wrong. Somehow I’ve got my measurements very wrong and the roof is now 3mm shorter than it needs to be on the chassis etc. 

Ah well. 

It was always meant to be a little learning project. I’ve sourced a cheap replacement and will keep the bits from this kit that aren’t used to go in the bits box. This time I’ll keep the model as nature, or Ratio, intended and base it as a Shropshire – Ludlow – based model. 

Letting the grass grow beneath my feet…

The grass has been growing at my new micro layout. I’ve dug out the puffer bottle and given it an initial coating. So far, so good. Next the plan is to add a few longer strands around buffer stops etc and then I’ll see where I’m at. I want run down and uncared for so I’m going to need more for sure. 

I also want to break the green up at the front but, as yet, am unsure how I’ll do this. 

The picture above also shows my latest idea. Behind the back track I’m going to make a cobbled area for deliveries etc with a small loading platform. There will then be a brick wall running across the back scene, complete with gate to let traffic in out. On the far right I’m going to build my band room – making it low relief and connected to the industry this small yard serves. A colliery – presumed off scene – perhaps?


My last issue is front right. I need to disguise the exit to fiddle yard and, as yet, am undecided how to do so. Any thoughts or suggestions are very welcome!