Sunday, 17 November 2019

Oh Gear!

We're hopeful that there may have been a breakthrough which will enable us to complete our final NGG16 kit - not that there's actually a locomotive to model until the FR ever gets around to putting a collection of standard parts called 140 into service....

The issue is that we discovered one of the two Garratt kits we bought last year - the final two ever produced - were missing a vital set of gears for each bogie.

They are plastic gears with the outer ring having 20 teeth and the inner one with 10, and so far we've been unable to find anywhere that we can buy replacements.

However, the other day Himself was looking through his chassis bits box and discovered something that looked familiar.

It turns out they are gears from an old Ibertren 'Cuckoo' chassis, and it would appear that the only difference between them is in the centre which requires reaming out to accept the axles on the Garratt chassis.

He's going to make up a gearbox and see if his hunch is correct.

Whoever would have thought that the rough old Ibertren, the staple chassis of white metal 009 kits for so many years, would have anything in common with the ultimate expression of 4mm narrow gauge modelling, the Backwoods kits?

Friday, 15 November 2019


It feels like a long time since I was able to spend a couple of hours at a stretch at the workbench so I used to time I had the other day wisely to complete the detailing work on both sides of the new WHR observation car Gwyrfai.

Because its been so long since I made Glaslyn I have forgotten exactly which techniques I used to create the round corners of the panelling, so I had to come up with a new way.

What I did with the larger corners on the lower bodyside was to chop a 45 degree angle in a 15" x 60" strip and then file it away into a concave shape.

Then I cut out the these very small triangles, now with a crescent shape on one edge, and glued them into postion in the corners so that you can hardly see the join.

The cant rail was more challenging.

I know that previously I have done this by curling a piece of fine strip into a tight U shape, glued it in place and then used filler in the gaps.

Another solution would be to try to make even smaller triangles to bond in the corners.

Instead, what I did was drill a hole in the middle of a piece of 80" strip, then reamed it out until the hole almost reached the edges of the strip, and chopped through the middle of it, leaving two pieces with a half-moon bite taken out of them.

These were then glued in place between upper and lower strips which were already in place.

I think it's quite effective.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Aerial View

While waiting for the next update from the workbench I thought you might like to see an unusual view of the layout.

The venue for the Greenock show is a Kirk (church) which comes complete with a balcony around three sides which provides the perfect spot to get a bird’s eye view of proceedings.

It’s the only way to get a full appreciation of the size of Bron Hebog

Incidentally, this blog has now recorded over three quarters of a million page views, so a heartfelt thank you to everybody who clicks through to read it.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Round The Bend

Shock horror! I did actually get some modelling done at the weekend.

I had an hour of peace and quiet which allowed me to find the motivation to start on the hard bit of the WHR observation car build, which is starting to add the second layer of beading detail.

Boston Lodge has changed the design of these plush Pullman carriages so that where Glaslyn had its windows all on the same plane, and the FR pair have a gentle slope profile, Gwyrfai has a clear step with a curved corner.

And let me say it’s a bit of a pain to try and replicate using styrene strip!

I think I’ve made a decent attempt at it but it’s fair to say it’s one of the trickiest things I’ve had to tackle.

They really don’t make it easy, do

Saturday, 9 November 2019


I’ve not had a chance to do any modelling this week, so for today’s update here are a few more pictures from last month in Greenock.

Linda and Blanche spent most of the weekend coupled together hauling FR sets.

Both these locos are built from Backwoods kits which were not without their faults.

The tender for Blanche, as supplied, was too short and the domes too small, both of which we found work arounds for.

We finished our Linda in the midnight blue livery she wore in the 90s for the sake of being different, but it would be nice to one day get another in traditional FR green or even PQR black.

I’m sure before too long someone will come up with an RTR model of them, don’t you reckon?

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Window Pain

Normally it’s Himself berating me for clumsiness but this time the boot is on the other foot!

One of the farm buildings has been returned to me for repairs because Himself put his thumb through the delicate styrene window bars at one end.

This small outbuilding straddles a joint between two boards so is kept removable, and it was during setting up at Greenock last month that the damage occurred.

I doubt anyone would notice, but we know, so it needs to be fixed.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Pressing Matters

A problem that anyone who has ever scratch built out of styrene will have experienced is that the material develops a life of its own, especially when you’ve used a harsh solvent like MEK to glue it.

This can be quite acute when building up several layers such as with a carriage side which left to its own devices will curl like a banana.

Many years ago I found a partial solution in the old-fashioned photo album - remember them?

Between sessions working on the pieces I store them on the sticky page beneath the cellophane, and then for good measure place the album at the bottom of a pile of heavy books, as if pressing flowers.

It might seem like overkill but it does make a difference, especially when you begin to laminate the piece.

If you have time to leave it for the styrene to fully cure you will find it stays pretty flat thereafter.

You can also reduce the tendency to curl by using something much more gentle like Limonene, but the downside is the joint takes much longer to bond, and pieces can move out of position while you’re handling the model.