Monday, 15 January 2018

Very Vintage Carriage

Sometimes models imitate reality in more ways that just appearance.

Our carriage 19 is a case in point.


The real one was the last of the FR's 'bowsiders' to be restored after the preservationists' took over, taking many years to get back into traffic.

Even then it didn't take them close on the near three decades it's taken us to complete our vintage carriage fleet.

Once upon a time, when we started modelling the FR in 009 there was only a kit available for one flavour of bowsider - the first pair 17 and 18, from Langley - and it wasn't until many years later that Worsley Works came up with a set of basic body etched for the second pair.

(The four are not identical, you see. This irritating FR habit goes right back to Victorian times.)

When we were first building Dduallt the intention was to have all the locomotives and rolling stock finished in the condition they were in in 1988.

That has withered away over the years and now our stock boxes are a right mish mash.

In 1988 19 was the last bowsider left in all over red livery and for a long time intended it to be at the top end of a full set of red carriages along with 11, 105, 106, 12, and 16.

I can't remember when we bought the etches for it but what I do know is that Himself made a start on it, then obviously got distracted by something else, and it has sat for years with the basic body and frame put together but that's all.

I made an interior for it, which you can see in the picture below, and that was when I was living in my previous house which we moved out of nearly 9 years ago!

Finally, though, its time has come and he's resumed work on it, fitting Dundas FR bogies and Greenwich couplers, making up the truss rods and soldering the roof on.


There's still the question, though, of what colour to paint it.

When the Victorian bogie carriages all went through extensive restorations at the start of this century they either emerged in incredibly ornate Victorian splendour or dowdy inter-war colours.

Unfortunately for Himself, 19 emerged in a rich dark plum livery, complete with gold leaf around the panelling, just like the curly roof van.

Very sportingly he's declared that is willing to give this a go.

The fun and games of painting it are a little further down the line.

The most immediate question is how we're going to reproduce the lamp pots along the roof?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Lovely Lined Lilla

So, after many hours of very delicate work, here she is - a lined out Lilla.


All she needs now is for the name and works plates to be fitted, which are currently on order from Narrow Planet.

As I'd hoped the lining really does help to draw the eye away from the inevitable imperfections of the 3D printed surface in places, although I have to say that the Robex body is one of the most impressive I have yet seen which is why we decided to take the plunge.


It is a shame that the motor and fly wheel is such a bloody great intrusion in the cab, but we shall do our best to disguise it with a portly locomotive crew.

To return to a theme in the post on the latest ready to run announcement a few days ago, we should be grateful to Minitrains for coming up with a simple, and very well running outside frame chassis which can be exploited by kit and CAD designers alike.

I can't wait to see her running on the layouts in due course.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Odd Jobs

I've hit a wall with the body of my new WHR carriage because I've run out of the right size of styrene strip for adding the beading detail.

My back-up plan of raiding Himself's stocks failed because he hasn't got any either!

So while I wait for fresh supplies to arrive I've had to think about what other jobs I could be getting on with to progress the model which is increasingly being built in reverse order.

The seats and tables have already been cast - that was the first thing I did - so instead I've soldered up a pair of bogies and glued on the castings with the axle boxes and suspension details.


For these latest WHR saloons I've made a new mould to represent the roller bearings and improved suspension which have been retro-fitted onto the former SAR wagon bogies at Boston Lodge.

For the fold-up brass part I can use the same etch which goes into my wagon kits.

I've also taken the opportunity to get my least favourite bit of a carriage build out of the way and fabricated and shaped the corridor connections which are very fiddly to do.


The new packets of strip should be hear soon and then I can begin detailing the door and end pieces which I made last week.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Small Is Beautiful

We're only a week and a half into 2018 but already we've had what I believe will be one of the highlights of the year - the announcement by Bachmann of a second series of ready-to-run 009 locomotives.

This time the subject is the iconic Quarry Hunslet - the so-called 'Alice class' small ones including the FR's Britomart.


This is phenomenal news for 4mm narrow gauge modelling.

I had heard from very good sources that this was in the offing, but I dared not believe it until I saw the confirmation which came at the weekend.

Rather strangely, you might think, this provoked intense debate on some 009-focussed social media groups.

Not because of the choice of prototype but just the fact it was happening at all, which I have to say I found very puzzling and also rather regrettable.

To me this news cannot be seen as anything other than a good thing.

How could we possibly object to 009 getting exposure and support from one of the big four beasts of the UK model railway scene?

(By which I mean, in no particular order, Hornby, Bachmann, Heljan and Peco - please don't write in.)

This is what many of us have been crying out for.

I suspect for a lot of us we hardly dared to believe it was possible.

Yet now we find that people are complaining that it is a bad thing, that it will damage 009, that it will stop people modelling.

I'm afraid I cannot follow the logic in that argument.

No one is born into this world scratch-building or constructing intricate etched brass kits.

Every single one of us started our love affair with model railways somewhere and I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that for the vast majority that began with a ready-to-run train set - and probably a OO one at that.

We have all followed our own paths and 'play with trains' in a way that makes us happy.

Some of us will have gone down a road that leads to us making our own kits or building from raw materials and others won't.

And that's all there is to it, when you boil it down.

It is a hobby for goodness sake!

As a group - as 009 modellers - to complain that we don't get any manufacturer support, and then when, at long last, we do, turn round and say it's a bad thing makes us look for all the world like a spoiled child who whines that they're hungry and then when they're presented with food turns their nose up at it.

I'm not aiming this at any individuals. Before anyone sets the comments section ablaze, this is not aimed at you.

However, being January, Burns Night will soon be upon us and I think it would be wise to take inspiration from Scotland's national poet:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

(If ye cannae understand that then just Google it!)

Of course, I suppose if anyone had legitimate reason to be peeved by the announcement and curse his luck it would be Himself.

Months after completing the very intricate task of painting and lining out our kit-bashed Brian Madge Britomart we could have waited and saved ourselves the bother.


But that would take the fun out of it, wouldn't it?

We're delighted about Bachmann's move and will undoubtedly be buying more than one of the new models - the variants without cabs - because both of us would like to have models of some of the other wee engines which have made guest appearances on the FR and WHR over the years, but with Brian Madges kits having become like the proverbial hen's teeth it was not looking like a realistic possibility any time soon.

Now all that has changed.

So we say thank you Bachmann!

I hope you will too.



Sunday, 7 January 2018

A Start On The Doors

I got around to doing some actual modelling at last.

The next task on the WHR saloon 2047 is to make the base layer of the doors and the ends.


Like the FR Superbarns - sorry, Super Saloons - these carriages have the doors at either end inset so I build them as separate units to be glued onto the end of the central section of the body.

The WHR carriages are much wider, because of the more generous loading gauge, and they are also easier to make because they do not have the windows above the doors which extend upwards into the roof which make the FR carriages that much harder to model.

I've also made the first stage of the ends which are noticeably deeper and are tricky to fabricate with that curved top piece and the challenge of making sure you have positioned it perfectly centrally so you have the same overhang on either side.


I won't be able to start on the next layer, however, until I've got my hands on more of the right size of thin strips.

I could order some online or I could just raid Himself's stockpile.

Decisions, decisions....

Friday, 5 January 2018

Let There Be Light

A lot of the presents I received at Christmas were FR related in one way or another.

Between us Himself and I were given three most interesting books about the railway which will keep us both very happily entertained for many weeks.

For a long time I have coveted some LED lamps which he has on his workbench which cast a lovely bright, white light and I intimated that I'd quite like some too.


Another pleasant surprise was to be given a new, smaller, cutting mat which was handy because my existing one has not been perfectly flat for some while now and is starting to look very battle-scarred.

This is all the motivation I need to break out of the festive stupor and get back to work.


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Ready For Varnish

Our sixth 'super saloon' is almost ready to join the fleet.


Himself has finished applying the top coat colours on 118 and the transfers have been put in place.

All that remains is for the body shell and the chassis - which is also on the shelf out of shot - to be given a coat of satin varnish with the airbrush, but I suspect he'll wait until Lilla is also ready and do them both at the same time.

Trying to keep up with the FR's modern carriage fleet is rather like chasing an empty crisp packet in a gale.

Although we're currently up to date the railway is about to overtake us again with the seventh in the Super Barn series, 120, under construction and the second of the new observation cars 152 essentially complete.

Both of those will be on my 'to do' list for 2018 but first I've got to get back to work on the WHR saloon 2047 which has been untouched since before Christmas.