Wednesday, 25 November 2015

3mm Society 50th Anniversary Exhibition

The 50th Anniversary Exhibition was held at the Gainsborough House Hotel in Kidderminster on Saturday 17th October 2015. 

This very rare occurance of an all-exclusively 3mm scale public exhibition had an impressive total of 14 layouts, with a few still being work-in-progress, on display. The variety of layouts demonstrates the versatility and possibilities of 3mm scale, from "traditional" 12mm gauge through 14.2mm finescale, from steam-era to Modern Image, to the truly esoteric with Irish Broad and Narrow gauges represented.

A massive and heart-felt thanks goes to Allen Doherty of Worsley Works for the considerable effort of organising this event, held at the same venue as the 3-day “Worsley Works Modeller’s Weekend” tutorial and practical assistance workshops that are held every year and that welcome modellers of all scales:

Billton Goods – Tony Briddon

12mm Gauge

A typical LNWR/LMS goods depot as it would have been in the early 1950’s.  The inclusion of a short stretch of main line permits the operation of a wide variety of loco’s and rolling stock.

The track is handbuilt to 12mm gauge using code 60 rail on PCB sleepers. All points and signals are manually operated to reduce wiring connections and improve reliability. The locomotives and rolling stock are a mixture of 3mm Society kits or scratchbuilt.
All the buildings are replicas or are closely based on real buildings, mostly from the Northampton  area. 
The layout itself took 9 months to construct although track and building construction started about 4 years prior to that. Two operators are required to operate the layout to it's full potential.

Billton Goods is to be featured in Railway Modeller in Autumn 2016.

Sabins End – Kevin West

12mm Gauge

Sabins End is a small country terminus station somewhere in England. The local buildings are all built of stone, so if the rolling stock is Southern or Great Western it could be set in Dorset, or if they are LMS or LNER - maybe it is Yorkshire?
The station has a main platform and a bay which gives access to the mill siding with a small goods yard opposite the platform.
The layout is built in modular form on two baseboards 4' x 18'. Track work is by GEM, locomotives are white metal kits running on Triang chassis, rolling stock is modified Tri-Ang rtr and kits by Peco, GEM, Esanel, K’s, Kitmaster, BEC and the 3mm Society.
Buildings are mostly made from card kits from the 3mm/TT range by Bilteezi, the mill building is a warehouse re-scaled to 3mm. Platform edging and the road bridge are modified Peco N gauge. 

Wadebridge - John Bateman 

14.2mm Gauge

Wadebridge started life in 12mm gauge and was first taken to a meeting to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the 3mm Society in Salisbury in 1990. A start had been made on the buildings and trains were running. The track had been constructed using bullhead rail soldered to etched baseplates from Ken Garratt and then soldered to PCB sleepers. Chairs, including keys, were fabricated from plasticard strip. 

However, the extra level of detail and scale length turnouts did not look quite right in the narrower gauge of 12mm and thoughts were turning towards finescale and 14.2mm gauge. The plunge was finally taken in 2012 when the track and cork were removed from the Wadebridge baseboards and the tops cleaned up to start afresh in 14.2mm gauge. 
Turnouts are operated from the original control panel by Fulgurex motors under the baseboard using a mechanism devised by John. The track is laid on 1/8” cork sheet using plywood sleepers, plastic chairs and finescale bullhead rail from the 3mm Society. Ballasting is in progress using sieved stone from Meldon quarry. Tiebars are fabricated from custom etches fitted to PCB hidden by the cork layer. A layer of ballast will be applied to the PCB - you don’t notice that the ballast moves with the tiebars! This trick is adapted from the original 12mm layout. 

 The layout is set in the 1930s and many 3mm kits have been collected and built over the years. This includes Beattie Well tanks and O2s from Jidenco with scratchbuilt chassis. Many of the original SR Jidenco kits were reduced in collaboration with 3SMR in addition to those produced by the 3mm Society. The Society also produce the 45xx from Churchward and Dave Finney reduced the T9 from Martin Finney as a trial for 3mm scale. John Bateman and John Walker have also collaborated with David Andrews to reduce his U and N kits. Locomotives built from these kits now provide the mainstay of services for Wadebridge.
Coaches have been obtained from Worsley Works and Branchlines as well as the Society and the Society offer a superb range of wagon kits from the likes of Parkside and Cambrian, amongst others. Andrew Thomas produces etched chassis to match.

Finnegan’s Crossing - Mark Fisher

9mm Gauge - TT9

Finnegan’s Crossing is a depiction of a very small Irish narrow gauge station in 3mm scale running on 9mm gauge track (TT9).  It is based loosely on the Cavan and Leitrim, though the stock that runs on it come from an assortment of Irish lines, both north and south of the Border.
Finnegan’s Crossing is a 4 foot by 4 foot circular exhibition layout, with some provision for shunting (a loop and a siding), and lots of provision for just letting the trains run, and discussing them with anyone interested enough to listen. 
Track is Peco 009, with the points controlled by wire in tube, with additional microswitches to confirm polarity. The buildings use Alphagraphix kits as templates, scaled down to 3mm. The trees are Bowden cable and/rubberised horsehair, and the hedges are wire wool.  
The only unusual feature is probably the street-lighting, which was done cheaply using discarded Christmas tree bulbs under the layout and fibre-optic from a light filament toy run up the brass tube light standards.
Rolling stock is a mixture of scratchbuilt (by Mark and Paul Windle), kitbuilt using Worsley Works kits, and some home made resin castings from masters by Paul, Charles Insley, and Mark himself.  There are also now some 3D printed wagons and coaches available.   
If anyone else is interested in TT9, then Mark would love to hear from you.

Ballyconnell Road 

15.75mm Gauge

Ballyconnell Road is a unique creation in being 3mm scale Irish 5'3" gauge and is a team effort by Laurence Hendry, Stephen Moor, Mick Rawlings and Andrew Shillito. 

The layout is a model of an imaginary station on an imaginary part of the Great Northern Railway of Ireland, being an extension of the Bundoran branch southward toward Sligo. We imagine Ballyconnell to be a seaside resort to match the attractions of Bundoran itself (which in reality it does not, but this is our bit of railway and we can imagine what we like) and also is close to the Bayrites mines so we have tourism and industry to add to the more likely traffics of cattle and the local populace.

The layout is famously circular with a 7’ outside diameter and a small through station and single fiddleyard at the rear – set up for one person operation. The beauty of this arrangement is that you get some 15’ of running line between exiting and re-entering the fiddleyard. 

What can a visitor to this part of Ireland expect to see? How about a sleepy country station with a working goods yard, mainly bullhead track (made from 3mm society & Ian Osborne components), fully signalled with typical GNRI lower quadrants (scratchbuilt with Worsley arms and operated (fairly successfully!) by servos) and a wide selection of local motive power and rolling stock. Much of that is scratchbuilt or kit bashed (Worsley) – look out for the inside motion on many of the steam locos. 
Passenger stock is mainly Worsley and Bill Bedford, the railbus is based on a resin body and railcar “A” is scratchbuilt in nickel silver. Freight stock is entirely plastic; some are 3mm society Parkside kits converted to Irish prototypes, but the majority are scratchbuilt. 

Oxenhope - Victor Hall       

14.2mm Gauge

Oxenhope is built to 3mm finescale standards and is a representation of the Worth Valley Railway’s terminus in the 1950s. 
The track is built from code 70 bullhead rail soldered to copper-clad sleepers. Points are controlled by wire-in-tube using DPDT slide switches to throw the point blades and change the polarity of the frog. Most of the buildings are scratchbuilt from laminated plasticard, but the road bridge, walls and fences are modified N-gauge products. 
The locomotives are mainly from etched brass kits and represent prototypes that could be seen on the line before and during the preservation era, plus some personal favourites! Passenger rolling stock is a mixture of Kitmaster Mk1 and Worsley Works coaches all running on compensated bogies. Freight stock is from a variety of 3mm Society kits.
Oxenhope was not intended to be an exhibition layout, hence the controls are on the viewing side, so please excuse the operators if they “get in the way”! 

Aldgate Hill & Norton Folgate - David Wheelton & Jim Barry

12mm Gauge

The Aldgate Hill extension from Old Street was opened by the Great Northern Railway in 1888 in order to gain access to London’s east end and the docks in particular. Unfortunately for the GNR by this time the GER and the NLR had this traffic all but sewn up so that only the passenger facilities were built.  

The layout depicts the rail blue period between 1969 and 1975 (up to and including the TOPS renumbering). This allows green diesels with ‘D’ numbers through to blue locomotives with TOPS numbers to run together with a mixture of rolling stock. Trains portrayed are the local suburban turns to Finsbury Park and Hitchin (class 31 and non corridor coaches) with through coaches for Leeds and Newcastle to be attached to trains from Kings Cross at Hitchin. Other traffic is mainly Newspapers for the distribution centre at Norton Folgate and the occasional engineering train.
Built as a salute to CJ Freezers famous ‘Minories’ concept, the layout has been built using Ratio track and points by 3SMR. This layout could not have been built without the 3mm society and the few independent suppliers brave enough to be involved in this scale. Use has been made where appropriate of old Triang models such as signals, the class 31s and modified suburban coaches. All other items of rolling stock are either kit or scratch built. The majority of the buildings on the layout make use of the excellent download kits from Scalescenes.

Melrose Town – Alex Larson

12mm Gauge 

Melrose Town is a small fictitious town on the Hertfordshire/Suffolk border. It is served by a terminal line which branches east off the Cambridge to Bishop Stortford main line at Calderwood Junction, a fictitious station south of the town of Calderwood. Here the line diverges and enters a tunnel, climbing to emerge from the tunnel a short distance from the approach to Melrose Town station.

Melrose Town station has three main passenger platforms and a bay platform, all covered by an impressive roof. The bay platform acts as head shunt for Melrose Creamery. The creamery is situated on the south side of the station approach, before the road over bridge, and comprises a loading platform and two sidings for loading milk tankers.

Melrose Town is home to a tramway system, the Melrose Town Electric Traction Co., started in 1920 to provide cheap transport to nearby towns and villages. In 1948 it was decided to update the system and replace its ageing original open top tramcars. At this time the tram system in Rotherham was closing so a bid was made for the eleven redundant single ended tram cars on their system. 
The bid was successful and the trams were transferred by road to Melrose Town. Now in 1960 the system has been reduced in size, as routes to local towns and villages have been taken over by bus services, and routes have had track lifted and overhead wires and support poles taken down.

Bigbury – Paul Hopkins

12mm Gauge

Bigbury represents a terminal station off the GWR main line in Devon The layout is built on four baseboards, two of which are reclaimed from a layout built by a colleague that otherwise would have been scrapped.
The majority of the buildings, scenery and trackwork represent the features and layout of a typical GWR South Devon Branch line and are all proprietary or scratch-built from items which can be purchased from most model shops. 

The locomotives and rolling stock also represent those operating a branch and are made from a combination of 3mm Society kits or are scratch-built.
This event was Bigbury's last public appearance as it has now been retired from the exhibition circuit and has been passed on to a fellow 3mm Society member, and Paul is now in the planning stages for a new GWR-themed layout.