Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Breaking Cover

The varnish was barely dry on our new carriage 20 when it made its debut at Troon.


It made up a very nice little Col. Stephens set with 16 and 10, but what it really needs is a plain green big box on the front to finish it off.

There is one in the stock box which hardly ever sees the light of day. For some reason, which I can’t recall, we painted it all over cherry red - the vends and everything - which wasn’t even correct for our nominal layout year of 1988 (because only number 5 was in use then.)

I wonder if I can persuade Himself to repaint it?

Monday, 20 May 2019

It's Not About The Money

We've just returned from a very enjoyable weekend showing Dduallt at one of the local exhibitions, in Troon, organised by the Kyle MRC.

As you might imagine one of the big topics of conversation in the hall was the heartbreaking news spreading online about the vandalism attack on the show organised by the Market Deeping club at a local school.


All of us could imagine how we would feel in that same situation, and its been remarkable to see how far the story has spread on social media.

One of the most interesting aspects for me - and I'm going to be a little controversial here - is the way so many people have responded by donating money through a crowdfunding appeal.

Putting it very bluntly: it's not about the money.

It's about decades of passion and dedication which have gone into creating these models.

It's about time - and the one thing money can't buy is time.

It seems to me that more and more these days our first reponse to distressing events is to set up crowd funders - to reach into our pockets and donate money.

Why?

Do we do it to make ourselves feel better, I wonder?

Don't get me wrong, I have every possible sympathy for the people whose models were wrecked in that mindless, pointless act of stupidity, but I'm concerned that some people may be lulled into thinking that money is the way to fix it.

Perhaps my response is conditioned by being a scratch and kit builder?

If our fiddle yards were filled with ready-to-run stock then maybe I'd think differently, because I'd know that I could go out and buy replacements and the only limiting factor would be what I could afford.

But for us, and our layouts, it's different.

We built Dduallt over 25 years ago, and building all the stock has been a continual labour of love through that quarter of a century.

It is genuinely priceless.


Perhaps what's been nagging away at me this weekend is worry that all the people clicking the 'donate' button, and adding a few more pounds to the total - which stands at over £41k as a write - might not always be thinking deeply about what's been lost, and what it represents.


Friday, 17 May 2019

Hudson Healthcheck

Himself has been doing some last minute maintenance on the stock ahead of the exhibition in Troon which starts tomorrow (Saturday).

We’re still going through the process of converting all the couplings from Bemo to Greenwich ones, and the latest to be done is the replica Hudson ‘toast rack’ 39.


This was a model I scratch built one summer holiday when I was a student, so we’re talking mid-90s here, and I used one of the Dundas kits for 37/38 as a guide and source of bogies.

Eventually I think we might replace our semi-opens with new models in their current liveries.

Since I made my 39 the 009 Society produced a limited edition plastic kit for it.

If anyone knows of an unbuilt example that is potentially for sale i’d Be very keen to hear more about it.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Weight Watching

With the prototype chassis complete and working well, Himself has been beefing up the Bagnall, Gelert, to give it a little more tractive effort.


One of the challenges with 3D printed bodies is their extreme lightness, especially in a scale which has previously got used to heavyweight white metal locomotive bodies.

So he has stuffed lead into every available orifice.

The only visible bits are these pieces you can see in the bunker, which has yet to be filled with coal.


Lead has also been fitted inside the side tanks and also stuffed into the smokebox and the front section of the boiler, which all helps with the weight distribution on a model which runs the risk of being tail-heavy.

The chassis we've test build for the developer has an very clever roller system above the bogie truck which provides excellent support and a smooth swing.

If you look carefully you'll also notice that the nuts to secure the motion have been fitted now, and Himself has also created a firebox piece to fit inside the cab.

The fixed rear coupling will need to be replaced with one that swings before it can haul anything around our tight curves going boiler-first, but visitors to the Troon show this weekend might catch a glimpse of it having a - rather improbable - test run around the Dduallt spiral.

Monday, 13 May 2019

LED There Be Light

Ahead of us taking Dduallt to the Troon exhibition next weekend Himself has decided to upgrade the lighting.


Ever since we first took it on the road, around 25 years ago, we'd used traditional spot lamps which gave everything a slightly yellow glow.

Now he's fitted the stanchions with LED versions the same as we have deployed on Bron Hebog.

Already I can see they are a big improvement, and because they're much smaller, they are also hidden behind the name boards.

All the details of the show are on the Exhibition Diary page, so if you're anywhere near the Ayrshire Riviera next weekend we'd love to see you.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Parliamentary Train

I've done a little work on the interior of the Gladstone Carriage, making the long upholstered benches for the glazed centre compartment.


These are going to be a little awkward to fit because of the way the floor attaches to the body.

There are two brass boxes, which have captive nuts inside them to hold the floor in but they are fixed to the body not the chassis.

So I can't fix the seats to the floor in my usual manner because these boxes would be in the way.

It also means that the whole carriage will need to be painted and glazed before the roof is fixed on, which Himself is not going to like very much.

I wonder if I might have to end up splitting each into three sections?

Making these seats also got me thinking about the history of the carriage and its claim to fame in being used by the former Liberal Prime Minister.

I'd always assumed it would have been selected for him because it of it's observation car qualities to admire the Snowdonian scenery - but now I wonder whether it was chosen because the layout, with the benches facing each other, would make him feel like he was back in the Commons?

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Chequers

Himself got to an advanced stage with carriage 20 - having given the body a coat of primer - when he spotted something that wasn't quite right.


This is one of the bowsiders which still bears the evidence some of the more practical overhauls they've had to keep them going after 140 years or more.

In this case it's the chequer plate which covers the step on the balconies, while others have been rebuilt with wood in more recent years.

It was quite a simple job - for him at least - to cut and bend some etched brass sheet to shape and get it fitted.

As always, it's the little details...