Friday, 19 December 2014

Primed For Action

Having chided Himself on the pages of this blog last week for going on strike and not venturing into the workshop when the cold weather hit he's been working hard this week.

Our 2nd model of carriage/van 10 has been treated to a coat of primer now along with another duplicate, a model of carriage 116 in its current condition.

This one has been sitting in the drawer of doom for a few years now.

116 has spend a lot of the last couple of years strengthening the rakes on the WHR trains, if memory serves, so it'll be a very useful addition to the Bron Hebog fleet.

In fact it's the 3rd model we have of this mid-1970's prototype, the other two showing it in its original configuration as a composite with the 1st class compartment at the Porthmadog end, marked by a wider window.

The carriage was rebuilt as a 3rd class saloon a few years ago with the window spaces equalised which is the way its been captured here.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

10 Plus 10

Over the years we've acquired a number of duplicates in our carriage fleet.

Mostly it's on account of the FR rebuilding the original or changing it in some significant way or my scratch building techniques improving to such a degree that it was vaguely embarrassing to have carriages I built over 20 years ago running around on the layout.

In the case of Number 10 - no, never Van 2 around here! - it's a combination of both of the above plus a third factor: the failure of the original.

In this case it's just one of the plastic bogies from the Parkside Dundas kit which has given up the ghost, and they're easily replaceable, but it provided a very good excuse to do something I've been meaning to do for a number of years now which is built a second kit and finish it in the livery the vehicle is currently running around in, with the red stripe along the bottom of the bodysides and on the ends.

So to this end Himself has been making up another Dundas kit and adding extra details such as the gutter downpipes and the truss rods beneath the frame as well as the vac pipes.

I hope this might spur us on to creating a fuller Col Stephens set to run on Bron Hebog where we're rather short of Heritage train formations - I'm already thinking about new models of carriage 16 and 20 in the green and red livery, making use of the Worsley Works scratch-aid kits.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Tricky Truss Rods

Another one of the big changes on this 4th FR Super Barn, the new 119, is a new design of truss rod - and it's a bit of pain to model.

Most other carriages have two plain support posts which descend from the frame but the ones on 119 have a triangular design.

Not only that, but the truss rods themselves have anchors mounted below the frame - square boxes which the ends disappear into - instead of continuing on up to an end point hidden inside the frame.

So how was I to replicate this?

The proper way, on course, would be to mount some boxes with holes drilled into which I would poke the ends of the truss rods.

However I saw a number of issues with this.

I would have to drill holes at an angle in a small block of styrene. Tricky.

As well as bending the angles in the brass wire - which his always something of a trial and error process - I would also have to cut them to length very accurately. Again, tricky.

And unless all this was positioned perfectly I foresaw a chance that there would be a lot of strain in the structure, either on the boxes representing the anchor points where they are glued to the frame or where the wire is glued to the support posts.

So in the end I decided to cheat!

You can see in this picture that I've mounted the truss rods in the same way I have on every other Super Barn,

There is a more-or-less 90 degree bend just beyond where the anchor point is supposed to be, and some styrene strip is glued in front and along the bottom to appear like a solid box for those who aren't looking too closely.

You can call me a coward if you like.....

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Soft Furnishings

I managed to eek out the last of my resin to cast a set of seats and tables for the new Super Barn 119.

I'm pleased that the seats which I produced for the first trio of Super Barn fit perfectly in this redesigned carriage with the seat backs lining up exactly with the window pillars as they should.

This is more remarkable than it may appear because you have to take into account that I had to draw out my own plans for this model because Boston Lodge does not appear to have anything approaching a drawing of its latest carriage, only a 'back of a fag packet' sketch as I previously posted about.

So clearly I got my calculations and scaling spot on.

While on the subject of furnishings I should perhaps explain and apologise to any reader who has become a little bored that there's only one project on the go to blog about at the moment.

What's Himself been up to you may wonder?

Well, after our return from Hull, Himself has finally had to give into to demands to refurbish the spare room cum office cum modelling room, a task which he has managed to dodge and defer for the best part of two decades.

The problem is now he's finished it the domestic authorities have ruled that he's not allowed to model in there any more lest he should contaminate the new carpet with paint spills or solder splashes!

So he is banished to the garage which has been rather chilly of late, and you know how pensioners feel the cold....

Thursday, 11 December 2014


Before I can cast the seats to go in 119 I need to renew the mould.

This is the third mould I've made from the master now.

I usually reckon that each one is good for around 20 casts, but with each Super Barn carriage needing 7 sets of tables and chairs you can see that I have to produce a new mould after every third carriage or so.

Because the seats are quite deep - at least 1cm high - the mould swallows a lot of RTV rubber, about 30g, which is usually enough to make a mould for a typical SAR wagon side.

So I can get many more wagons out of each mould than I can carriage interiors, which I suppose makes these seating sets less efficient to produce.

That said it's still much quicker and easier to cast all the seats than it is to make them from scratch.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Loving The Jobs You Hate

There are times when you just have to grit your teeth and get on with the more boring bits of a model build.

For me this is invariably the corridor connections.

In my book they're absolutely essential items to getting the look of modern FR / WHR carriages right.

I have seen quite a few models of FR Barns made from the various brass kits on the markets but hardly any of them have had the hinged extensions added on let alone anything which represents the rubber folded and fixed at the ends where they rub up against the neighbouring carriage.

And no matter how well made, or well painted the carriage it just looks wrong.

(Unless, of course, it's a Barn in its very original, teak-liveried condition)

And that's why I think it's worth going to the effort of making them, but I won't deny it is an effort.

Each piece - and there are 6 of them needed for a carriage - is made up of 4 bits of styrene, so that's 24 pieces in total to be glued together and shaped.

I've written a full step my step guide on the blog before so have a search back through the posts if you're interested in having a go yourself.

Even when you've done the fiddly part of gluing together the U section (rubber bit) and fixed it into the main piece which connects to the carriage end you've got to shave it with the scalpel blade, file and finish it off with emery paper to give it a convincing, rubbery appearance.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Floor & Ceiling

I've been making steady progress on the new 119 with the floor and the main part of the false ceiling going in this week.

The Super Barns have a very distinctive skirt beneath them. On the real carriage it's the frame, of course, but in model form it makes more sense for it to be attached to the chassis and slip up inside the bodyshell.

The false ceiling is not as vital on a resin carriage as it is on a styrene one, where it is crucial to keeping the sides straight.

As I described last time, the resin carriage sides are much more rigid, but there's no harm in using the same laminated design with the lower half providing a lip which the top of the bodysides can be bonded to when the carriage is complete.

(Our Super Barns have a brass roof skin unlike all our other carriages)

Next I think I shall make the corridor connections - always one of my least favourite jobs....