Thursday, 28 July 2016

Cast First Time

There's nothing quite so encouraging as a new master and mould producing a perfect casting at the first go.

So this is the 'engine side' casting.

Now to get on with finishing the master for the 'clock side' and I can begin to think about actually putting something resembling a carriage body together.

Exciting times ahead!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Engine Side Mastered

I think the first side of 150 is ready to be covered in pink gunge to make one of the two moulds which I will require.

Fortunately this carriage does not have as much intricate beading detail as other FR carriages so it only took around a hour to get this done.

Details worthy of note are the use of small, pre-shaped triangles which are glued into the corners of the main body panel to give the rounded look.

I've also stuck on small pieces of brass wire at the left hand end to represent the hinges on the 'secret door' in the observation saloon.

This is what is known on the FR as the 'engine' side of the carriage (a term relating the location of items within the old erecting shop at Boston Lodge, the engine in this case being a static one which drove the overhead machinery shafts) but for everyone else will be understood as the side which faces out to sea when standing in the platform at Harbour station.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Fresh Air

Himself has set a new benchmark in the drive for customer satisfaction with the glazing for the Disco Car.

My customer - who is on an ultimately futile mission to recreate his lost youth, but don't tell him that - asked to have his model of 121 finished as if it were in the middle of a rave-up at Dduallt with all the windows wedged wide open to ventilate the sweaty specimens within.

It's not the best photo in the world but you can see that Himself has done his best to oblige.

There are just a couple of jobs left to complete the model.

The numbers need to the added to each end, the roof requires a final coat of paint and there are door handles to fit before it receives a coat of varnish and is ready to hand over.

Friday, 22 July 2016

New Doors

Part of my plan for building Observation Car 150 is to make use of my existing masters / moulds for the single doors and the corridor end.

It isn't quite as simple as that, though. (When is it ever?)

The doors on 150 are a little fancier than your standard (3rd class) Superbarn, naturally.

The superior touch is the rounded corners at the top of the beading on the door.

What I have done, as you can see here, is to fettle two of my existing castings with some small pieces of shaped styrene glued in the corners which I will use as a new master.

I guess I must be getting lazy in my old age.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Side One

The most rapid and dramatic progress during a carriage build comes right at the start of the process when I make up the first of the body sides.

It only took around half an hour to fabricate the first part of what will be one of the masters for the resin body shell.

What you see here is the base layer made out of 20 thou styrene and strip which will have a second layer of beading detail added on top top complete it.

I make these up on a sheet of glass placed above a scale drawing.

I use a miniature guillotine to chop up the strip and when I glue each pillar in place I use the end of a metal ruler to ensure that each one is fixed as close to vertical as possible. Checking and any fine adjustment is done later using a set square.

Once all the pillars are in place I measure and mark at each end where the cant rail should go, then using that metal ruler again as a guide I chop them all off to the same height and fix the strip along the top.

(This is where I use the set square to check none of the pillars are wonky)

The final stage on this carriage is to cut and glue into place another horizontal strip to represent the toplight windows.

I used an off-cut of 60 thou strip as guide to ensure they are all fixed at the same height before adding in the little pieces that divide the toplights in half.

I shall make the opposite side, next, and ensure it is identical, before going on to add the second layer.

If you'd like to know more about my scratch building technique you'll find an illustrated, step-by-step guide elsewhere on the blog.

Monday, 18 July 2016


I have begun work on 150 which has meant tackling one of the trickiest bits right from the outset, the subtle reverse curve on the waist line of the carriage at the front end.

What's trickier still is that it needs to be done twice and they need to be identical as far as possible.

The next step will be to add the window pillar sticks and the cant rails along the top.

My intention is that these two sides will be used as masters to make resin copies which will make up the main bodyside along with the vestibule doors and the corridor end which will also be cast.

The curved section at the front...I haven't come to a firm decision on that yet.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Above & Beyond

My appeal for a few measurements of Observation Carriage 150 to check the accuracy of my homemade drawing has been answered - and in spades.

My secret agent went out and took a whole series of measurements along the body and went the extra mile and a half and produced this handy graphic with the figures in imperial and metric.

How's that for service!

The data did show a slight inaccuracy in my drawing, although not what I was expecting.

My concern was to confirm that 150 is longer than a standard Superbarn - which this exercise proved - but I was surprised to find it was around six inches longer that I had drawn it.

I have revised my drawing and now we're good to go.