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Two Sister?s Farm


Tellarian

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Had these today from a customer who is a railway modeller.

His theme is the narrow guage railways that served the East Anglian potato farms from the 1930's to the 1960's.  It is all 1/32.

It is still in progress and will visit some railway shows, however there is something for the farm modeller as well.

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Out of interest who made the blue standard water washer fordson? . I remember my grandfather having one. He traded it in for ? 35.00 against a brand new 1957 Nuffield Universal DM4 and bought it back for ? 20 ( the ford never left the farm!!!). Apparently this was the way of giving discount in those days. I still have the Nuffield and the original invoice but a 1/32 model of the blue fordie would be nice.

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Yes the tractors are Scaledown.

Looks like this is a negelcted and overlooked piece of farming history - looks like the estate railways in the Fens were all lost on the 50/60's as more modern machinery came in, still a social and mechanical chapter in farming that overlaps the classis & vintage era.

There is even a book on the subject:

http://www.transportdiversions.com/publicationshow.asp?pubid=5530

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Hello all,

Firstly I will introduce myself my name is Peter and I am semi retired. During the better weather I work as a member of the safety team at a motor racing circuit.

I have been a railway modeller for more years than I care to remember and have always had an interest in agriculture as well, tractors especially. Over the years I have video filmed them and collected models of various makes in various scales. Although I seem to favour Fordson, the E27N being my all time favourite.

I recently joined Cheshire railway modellers an on line club, you can see my home layout under Peter Marshall in the virtual exhibition section. They are holding a competition for a mini layout not exceeding 4 square feet in area.

I have long wanted to combine my interest in model railways with my fondness for tractors. This competition provided the answer, a small highly detailed model of the narrow gauge railways that once worked in the fens. The layout is called ?Two Sisters Farm? after our two cats. It has to be finished by January 2008 as it is going to be exhibited in Crewe.

I bought the Britain?s barn kit from Steve and sent him some pictures of the railway.

If you are interested I will gladly go through what I have done so far so that you too can have a dabble if the fancy takes you.

Thank you all for your kind comments. I?ll try to answer any questions you may have

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Thank you all for the warm welcome, I will go through the process of making the model which is still in its early stages and far from being finished.

I wanted somewhere I could display my small collection of 1/32 scale model tractors that was more than just a static diorama. I had read Stewart Squires excellent little book on the potato railways of Lincolnshire and had always fancied making a model of a small part of it.

The track was narrow gauge, much of it purchased second hand from the war department after the first world war and was mostly around 2 feet gauge. The track ran from the farms themselves and out into the surrounding fields and were used to take out seeds and manure and bring back the crops when harvested. Some had connections with a standard gauge railway and others relied on road transport to get the crops to their customers. Most were small with the little railways being horse operated but some were much larger and used steam, petrol, and diesel power. Enough of the real thing let?s get onto the model which is fictitious and meant to represent a tiny part of one of the bigger farms. The period modelled is the early fifties. A word of warning if you do decide to make a 1/32 scale model using standard OO 16.5 mm gauge track to represent 2 foot narrow gauge track as I have done  be prepared for a lot of scratch building. Very little is available in this scale off the peg as it were, you are going to have to modify military 1/35 kits for instance and adapt other bits and pieces to suit. This I think adds greatly to the fun.

The main base board measures 38? long by 15? wide. it is made of 5mm thick MDF with 25 x 50 mm strengthening pieces of timber glued and screwed to it. To make operating easier and more interesting this main board is joined to what we call a fiddle yard. This represents the rest of the railway and is used to store and make up trains. You could if you had room combine the two onto one board. The good thing about doing it in small units is it costs less and you can always expand later as time and funds permit.

The picture shows the track laid and ballasted and an ex German Army Opel Blitz truck adapted to run on rails. I got the idea after seeing a similar thing done to a Bedford truck in New Zealand. As you can see the track layout is very simple with two pairs of points giving just 3 sidings. Some of you may recognise the un painted Scaledown tractor driver sitting on the bogie flat wagon.

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Thanks Peter.... thats really interesting as well... I've lived in the Fens for most of my life.... and I never even knew about the narrow guage railway we had  :-[ - how shameful is that  :-[

I love the idea of using a truck converted to run on rails.... I've seen pics of things like this in books.... in fact... one of the magazines this month had a massey 135 on rails as well I believe  :)

More More More.... er... please Peter  ;)

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Marky i know what you mean, i travel all over it and i wasnt aware either :o :o :'(

If you go towards March/Wisbech, at the roundabout near Rings End ( :D :D :D :D ::)) theres a embankment that i think used to have a railway on it, doubt it was for this though ???:-\

maybe you should ask your suppliers ??? ???

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With regard to location the largest ng farm railway was The Nocton Estate Light Railway according to the little book I have. W.Dennis and Sons established their Nocton estates with 8000 acres just after the First World War. This included land on Potterhanworth, Nocton and Dunston Fens around Nocton village. The centre of their operations on the estate was next to the main railway line between Lincoln and Sleaford. The ng line crossed theB1198 Lincoln to Sleaford road. Does this help Marky?

Now back to the model.

With the track laid and wired up it must be tested thoroughly at this stage to make sure it all works well. I used Peco flexible track for the curved bits and setrack small radius points for the turnouts. The track is really intended for  standard gauge model in 4mm scale, so we need to change its appearance to make it look like the rather rough narrow gauge track used on these farms. I removed about a third of the sleepers and roughly spaced out the rest. We can further disguise the track at a latter stage by using ballast and various scenic dressings. When you are happy that all is well you can paint the track a rusty colour making sure you don?t get any paint on the electrical contacts under the point blades. Any paint that gets on the rail head can be wiped off with a piece of  cloth. Next you need to ballast the track. Sprinkle the dry ballast all around the rails and up to the top of the sleepers, a small brush helps. Do a little at a time, be especially careful with the points and make sure the ballast doesn?t prevent them from working properly. To keep the ballast in place it needs to be glued.  Evo-Stik wood adhesive reduced in strength with 50% water is ideal. A couple of drops of washing up liquid added to the water lowers surface tension and will help it run into the ballast. Be very careful at the point blades and make sure you don?t get glue on any of the moving parts. Let the whole thing dry overnight. When the glue is dry check that everything still works.

Next time we will make a start on the scenery.

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Marky i know what you mean, i travel all over it and i wasnt aware either :o :o :'(

If you go towards March/Wisbech, at the roundabout near Rings End ( :D :D :D :D ::)) theres a embankment that i think used to have a railway on it, doubt it was for this though ???:-\

maybe you should ask your suppliers ??? ???

that embankment was part of the british rail network, linking spalding and the lincolnshire coast to the whitemoor marshalling yard at march where goods trains were made up for distrubution across the country so there maybe a indirect link  :) 
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I first cut and primed with two coats of white emulsion paint a back and two sides made of 5mm MDF about 15? high. This gives  a box without a front or a lid  giving  the model a background. The right hand side looking from the viewing side has a square hole cut in it for access to the fiddle yard. This  disguises the fact that the track goes nowhere, only into the two track fiddle yard. As the model depicts the fens I chose to model a road over bridge with a farm track, I could have made a tunnel or used a largish building instead.

I painted the sides and back a pale blue sky colour. This makes any model or diorama look more complete I think, rather like a small theatrical stage.

I made the road surface and bridge abutments and land contours that supports the road out of 5mm MDF and glued them with white wood glue (PVA).

When this was dry I cut some thin strips of card ( I used an old cereal packet ) and glued these to the contour formers criss crossing them over for extra strength. I glued mine with a hot glue gun but PVA would do as well, it just takes longer to dry.

Cover the track with newspaper held in place with tape as you don?t want glue and Pollyfilla on it. Paint PVA glue onto the card strips and cut a kitchen towel into small squares. Glue the towel squares to the strips building up several layers. Use a little water to thin the glue if it helps it will only extend the drying time. Allow to dry overnight then repeat the process several times until you have a rigid hard shell, which is strong but light. You could use polystyrene instead to form the shape you want but it is very messy, when cut the little bits get everywhere.

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Mix some Polyfilla to a sloppy consistency with a little earth colour mixed in it. The idea being if you get chips later if it is accidentally knocked they don?t show as white. The colour I choose has dried more pink than brown. Spread this onto the dry kitchen towel as evenly as you can. When this is thoroughly dry paint it with an earthy colour to suit the location you are modelling.

I made the bridge abutments with 5mm MDF cut to fit under the roadway. When the glue was dry I roughened the surfaces facing outwards with glass paper then covered the MDF with a coat of stiffer Polyfilla to a depth of about 3mm. Leave to dry overnight. You can then carefully scribe the surface of the Pollyfilla to represent random stones or what ever finish you want. Brush a thin watery mix of either a light tone water colour paint or a much thinned emulsion paint of the base colour of your stone walls. Then brush all over a watery wash of a pale grey colour to represent the mortar. This will tend to darken the whole thing slightly hence the starting with lighter colours. Pick out individual stones in different colours. If you have never done this before have a practice on some scrap pieces first.

When abutments  have been scribed and coloured to represent stone they can be glued in place using PVA glue. You could plaster, scribe etc with the abutments in place but they are  much harder to get at.

You will notice the Scaledown Fordson Major kit which is the most modern tractor on my little farm. The small 0-4-2 loco is in the throes of being Anglicised. The sacks of wheat or potatoes and oil drums are from a Tamiya 1/35 military kit. You can see how shallow the much modified Britain?s barn kit is, we call it low relief, it is much too big to model in full.

Some of these little farm railways used ex first world war rolling stock rather like this flat wagon to move their crops. The engine driver is a German soldier who is yet to be modified. Getting civilian figures in this scale is proving difficult.

Don?t worry if you are not interested in having a narrow gauge railway on your model farm, these scenery techniques can be used anywhere.

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