It's been a while since I last posted anything on here - not because I haven't been doing anything, in fact quite the opposite. The business of actually getting down to business has taken priority over writing about it, and quite rightly so!
But I thought, for the sake of anyone who's following my progress, that it's only polite to put my head around the door once in a while and let you know how things are going.
Having said I've been busy, there's still not a whole lot to show for it! I'm discovering that, whether it's just my perfectionism coming through, or simply a matter of fact, that it takes a lot of time and patience to do things properly.
My Airfix brake van is still semi-complete - the new Gibson wheels came through and I've finally got around to painting them, hopefully in a suitably grimy and weathered state. I was hoping this meant I could glue the second half of the underframe into position with the wheels in place but I've now discovered I need to get some new bearings to fit into the Airfix axle bearings to take the differently shaped axle pins on the Gibson wheels. This means waiting for another order from Mainly Trains - once I've determined which type of bearings, from the multitude available, I actually need (awaiting responses from the uk.rec.models.rail newsgroup on this at the moment).
I've also filed down the suspenders and brackets on the footboards to hopefully achieve a finer profile. These will need to be painted before attaching to the van sides to prevent the paint running onto the underframe, which I've already painted.
The moulded handrails have also now been filed off and planking re-grooved where necessary. I've bought some fine brass wire to make the replacement handrails from but haven't started making or fitted these yet.
I fitted new metal 3-link couplings in place of the moulded Airfix ones last week. This required a bit of drilling and cutting but they now fit very nicely.
I've not worked out what colour the van body should be painted yet. I've seen photos of vans in BR bauxite (reddish brown) and also grey - I think grey was the colour of the original NER vans though, so bauxite is probably correct for what I want.
As for the layout itself - further to my last post I decided that the shed road needs to cross the basebaord join to avoid things looking articicially cramped. I played around with some very basic paper and card mock-ups of the engine shed, signal box etc. and realised that in 3D things need more space generally to look 'right'.
I think in the end this aspect of things looking right is a good deal more important overall than having the perceived extra running length beyond the station approach so having the engine shed eating into this space is a small price to pay.
Anyway, I should get back to the modelling. I've got a C&L point kit sitting here waiting to be built - I suppose I'm delaying it as long as possible because it seems rather daunting!