Gn15 Adventure chapter 1 (an ongoing project)

The Longstone & Whisperdale Railway 



So, what makes a seasoned 009 scale modeller try a completely different scale, three times the size?

Initially, one thing.  A photo of a little red loco in the May 2016 Railway Modeller.  It was a Gn15 Heywood Style "Harlequin" loco in a Smallbrook Studios advert.  I knew of Gn15, but I only recalled small layouts with IC locos, shiny figures and dolls house style scenery, that was, until I had a look at the Gn15 "GnATTERbox" website and saw many superb layouts, locomotives and rolling stock.  I bought the Harlequin loco kit and some 1:24 figures and despite seeing these models at many exhibitions, I had a bit of a shock at the scale I was dealing with.

Secondly, the realisation that I had too many 009 layouts and rolling stock models.  Some of them had been in boxes for years, so some of it had to go, as I had no space to keep them.  Then thirdly, I noticed the prices of many of the 009 kits and ready-to-run models were getting rather expensive.  Perhaps lastly, my eyesight had begun to slightly deteriorate and any larger scale project was going to be easier on the eye?


Small 009 saddle tank and railway worker compared with the first Gn15 loco I built and a figure, he is "Angus", the workshop foreman.






It was time to weigh it all up.  Could I eventually build a layout that would fit in the car?  I also had to consider what type of couplings to use, and whether I could run bogie vehicles, and importantly, what minimum radius curves I could use with the couplings and rolling stock I had, or which would look right and work right for me.



This was my first minimum radius test using "OO" scale track that I already had, here using 10" radius.  Though for the layout I wanted to use "O16.5" track.  






During May I built my first loco, wagon, and made two standing figures. Here it is before the name and number plates were added.  The sides of the motor were later painted black and the couplings were changed to Kadee.  Both loco and wagon are from Smallbrook Studio. The figures are from Modellers Resource.




The next item I was keen to build was a bogie coach.  I only had the two Modellers Rescource figures at that time so sizing the coach was a bit of a gamble.  I had bought a secondhand Lima PTA bogie wagon for the job and planned to build a scratch built body on the chassis.  

As I had been making many 4mm scale buildings from the Wills Materials sheets, I realised some of them would be ideal. The frames were 6mm Plastruct angle, and I made the body using Wills Tongue & Groove Boarding and Sheet & Batten Roofing sheets,  Plastic strip for beading and Peco Station building details for the window frames.



Building of the bogie coach.  It would be an 8-seater.









The completed coach, which has been re-wheeled, and since fitted with Kadee couplings.  The roof is detachable to enable passengers to be fitted.  The "W.L.S.R" letters stand for the "Whisperdale, Longstone & Spring head Railway" which has recently been re-named as the "Longstone & Whisperdale Railway".  (A summary of the fictional line will follow I hope.)




Further radii tests using the built stock and NEM tension lock couplings.  I was not 100% happy though.







The couplings so far used were the standard tension lock couplings with the NEM pockets.  I didn't think they looked too bad, but they were rather sloppy and the hooks kept falling off.  They also uncoupled themselves on tight curves.  But the decision about which type to change them to kept bothering me as couplings have never been my strong point.  This decision was made for me by a friend, who sold me some wagons with Kadee's attached.  Looking at these though, I felt out-of-my-depth.  I studied them a bit, and read a few articles and reviews.  As long as they are set-up correctly in the first instance they worked fine.  Although they were more expensive, I decided to go with them.



New loco number 2, "Jiro", a Smallbrook Columbine 0-4-0.  It came out OK considering I built it while high on drugs! - no, not those sort of drugs, the purely medicinal sort.

Also appearing are one or two wagons, some that were sold to me by my friend, which also to introduced me to Kadee couplers.




Before embarking on a full exhibition layout I thought it much better to build a small diorama first, to try different modelling techniques that suited me, and also to be a scene to photograph models on.  In my workshop I had a small baseboard that I originally intended to be a 009 layout, it would be ideal for the job, and the photo above was taken on this baseboard, and the picture of it below from above.  It will become a workshop and engine shed scene for the "L.W.R".  I had to use "OO" scale standard gauge turnouts to achieve the simple track plan though, as the layout is only 40" x 12".  But, they won't be noticed once covered in the yard gravel, mud and weeds.



The 009 scale layout board being turned into a trial Gn15 scene to experiment with new scenic techniques that I will have to get familiar with.  







Here is "Jiro" outside the maintenance shed that is being built, while some attention is being given to the tool wagon.  For the shed walls I have used Slaters 7mm Coarse Stone on an MDF shell.  I need to now make a detachable roof from plastic card and add slates, gutters, downpipes etc.




Here are the first figures I made, from Modellers Rescource.  After removing a little flash, the four body parts were glued with super glue and a few unsightly gaps filled, I used Humbrol Model Filler.  The whole figure was painted with dark grey (Humbrol Matt 66).  I don't use black as an underbrush, I think it is too harsh.  All the top colours were "wet dry-brushed" (as I call it!?) over the top.  The colour was not absolutely dry brushed, but some paint was absorbed by a rag first, then applied.  This leaves shadows where the tucks, creases and grooves are in the overalls, hands, and face.  

"Dave" is from the "Henry Ford & Co" kit by ICM.  







The finished maintenance shed, with the roof made of Plasticard with mdf supports.  A  sheet of card was then glued to each side of the roof, and individual card slates added with wood glue.






The bare ground cover was an experimental mix which worked nicely. A mix p.v.a., fine sawdust and colour (added from a Homebase matt brown/grey matchpot) was used, and then added to two large dollops of lightweight Advanced Polyfilla.  The trees of the gardens of Longstone Hall can be seen on the back scene.

Meanwhile, at the centre of the scene, an "Engineers Office" was built, while my wife is now adding scenery.  The office was built of a foamboard shell, with coffee stirrers glued on for the planking.  An mdf roof was covered in toilet tissue and glued down with p.v.a to represent roofing felt.  The valance was cut from plasticard.

A first tree in Gn15 scale. 



A part of a branch was used as the main tree trunk, holes were drilled in at appropriate places to accept  Woodland Scenics Tree Sprues, these were glued in with epoxy resin.  Also glued-in at the same time was a thick wire into the bottom of the trunk.  When dry the whole was dry brushed with Humbrol light grey matt. 








Woodland Scenics Clump Foliage was then glued onto the branches with Uhu.

These clumps were painted with a 50/50 mix of pva and water, and MP Scenery Meduim Green Leaf Foliage was dabbed on to the pva.

Ivy was added to the trunk using some spare scatter and dyed Birchseeds.










Angus and Charlie prepare to fill the tanks of No.2 "Jiro".  The water column was made with aluminium and rubber tubing, and a brass wheel was added to some copper wire for the water valve.






Angus has just put some coal onto the footplate of No.1 "Proteus".  An old "OO" wagon was used as the coal store.










A few photographs with the trees and some workshop details added.


























Inside the workshop Dave and Charlie are seen re-building the prototype bogie coach.  The original dimensions were too large and the vehicle dwarfed all the others.  

The coach was completley dismantled, and rebuilt 8mm lower and 3mm narrower, involving the re-making all of the windows too.




"Jiro" hauls out the re-built & re-painted bogie coach.
Workshop details being added in the maintenance shed.

Angus brings "Proteus" into the yard with some bulkhead flat wagons.


Charlie and Bert prepare to water-up "Jiro".


Next I built two four-wheeled coaches and extra wagons to build up the running fleet, and my mind is turning to a larger layout for exhibitions.



The two four wheelers now complete.  They have been made, like the bogie coach, with Wills 4mm materials, Evergreen strip and Slaters plasticard, but mounted on a Dapol 10ft wagon chassis.  The roofs are detachable so that seated passengers can be mounted inside.


During  November 2016 the weather was damp, cold and wet, so it was a bit of a job building the new baseboards for the exhibition layout.  The eventual design for the new layout is on four boards and based on the design of a 009 layout that I built in 2002 called "Sampson Vale".  It had a centre back scene and split the layout into three separate scenes, as the end of the layout became a third scenic section using view blockers.  This design has one or two advantages for me, it allows curves to be eased as there can be more width to the layout, it gives a longer length of track run (up one side, round the end and back down the other side) and provides the viewer with more to see (three scenes) and should still allow a fiddle yard area at the far end.



This is the underside of the layout photographed one evening just before it got dark.  The layout is completely on it's side and clamped-up so I could line-up the baseboard tops and drill holes for the ferrules and bolts that I use.




Here shown in the conservatory bolted up on it's legs for the first time.


The layout is 7ft 3ins (2.2 mts) long and 39ins (1 mt) wide on four boards. These dimensions were arrived at for ease of lifting, for allowing me to transport in the car, and to allow room to store in a purpose-built cupboard.



So, while the weather was really grotty I built a third engine, a Smallbrook Studios "Pierrot" 0-4-0 Hunslet style loco.  "Dave" is seen outside the maintenance shed preparing the loco for a trial run.


The control/fiddle yard board with track on it at last.  On this board I have used ordinary Peco 00 scale track and Peco surface mounted

PL-11 point motors which work quite well with a CDU.  

Underneath the board there are 74 wires of different colours and lengths for the whole layout power, to the track, Peco point motors, and Tortoise point motors for the scenic section.



I laid the straight sections of track in scale 15ft lengths, I think this gives the track more character, though I didn't use this on the curves in case it created dog-legs.


Weeds and weathering will be added when a full layout test is done.



Here the layout is seen one evening in January for it's first full track and train test.  The "Mill" board is on the left with the two sidings , one of which runs throught the back scene so I should be able to swap loads out of sight.  There were quite a few problems to solve! amongst them, two pieces of track we re-laid with better fixings to the board, two baseboard joints needing improving, a coach was found to be under-gauge and shorting-out electric feed to locos as they kept touching frogs when passing, and some of the electrics needed simplification.  Otherwise - all OK!!?






Here, I made a mock-up of the village hamlet board.  The proportions of a couple of the buildings may have to be modified, but at least I could scale and size the buildings to get a feel of what the scene will look like.


The general stores and cottage for Longstone hamlet.  The walls are made with foamboard with Slaters 7mm scale dressed stone added. The roof is thin 3mm mdf with individual card stone slates.  Windows are 40 thou acetate sheet with window panes made from  strips of double sided paper tape.  Paint on the walls is Humbrol enamel, but the roof is painted with acrylics. 





The shop now has the window display and adverts.

Longstone Gn15 scale

A chapel based on three Yorkshire buildings made in the same way as the shop and cottage.  The windows were supplied by York Modelmaking and are large 7mm scale items.

Stone work

All the stone work has been painted the same way in 7 Humbrol colours.  I tried to re-create the colouring of the North York Moors stonework.  First the mortar courses are painted-in with thinned matt white.  A general sandy stone colour (No.94) is then painted all over the raised stones, not to get too much paint on the brush, otherwise it will flood the mortar courses.  When dry, random darker stones are painted in with a medium brown (No. 110), Then lighter stones are painted in with a lighter beige-brown (No. 121).  When dry, a mix of  40% of 110 and 60% 121 is dry-brushed  all over and this balances-up the stone wall colouring.  

All this painting sometimes fills-in some of the mortar lines so some mortar lines are touched in, this can look like re-pointed mortar.  I also then paint in some of the older, more weathered mortar courses with a dark grey/green (No.75).  Lastly, I add a moss colour, dry-brushed to the base, internal corners or damper areas of some walls with a grass green (no.80).

A photo of the village board at the end of March after creating some of the garden walls, fences and roadway.

It seems that this article has a fault somewhere and is not loading images properly, so please see Gn15 Adventure 2.