Sunday, 20 August 2017

Cutting Casting

The story of my modelling week has been casting a job lot of resin rocks for lining the massive cutting at the back of the layout.

I've made five molds using pieces of shale collected in the North Wales area over the years and I've made a few copies of each.

In order to give Himself more options when using them, in a mosaic fashion, to line the cutting I have cast a number of smaller pieces by pouring resin into only a small area of the mold.

One of our concerns is that it repeated patterns could be obvious in the rock walls so this should help him break it up a bit.

The reason we're doing this is because Cutting Mawr is so long and deep that to line it with real rock would make the baseboard very heavy and more awkward to carry and lift into place when the layout is exhibited.

Incidentally, the difference in the colour of some of the pieces is because half way through I moved onto using a new bottle of Isocyanat.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Enigma Variations

I have posted before about how Boston Lodge has developed a hybrid SAR wagon design which has been dubbed the BZ.

It features a large centre door within otherwise fixed sides, just like a B wagon, but it is built to the much more user-friendly height of a DZ wagon.

It also has another Welsh innovation which is end pieces that are hinged to fold down flat so that, when parked, a rake of wagons becomes a drive-through platform.

Very clever.

Himself saw the second of these nearing completion while he was volunteering on repairs to the works recently, and returned north with the unwelcome (but inevitable) news that they are not identical.

Far from it, in fact.

This second once has been built with a major revision to the side door arrangement.

Instead of a door which was the same width as on B wagon, on this 2nd BZ it has been extended to occupy the space of two of the previously fixed panels either side.

Compare the latest wagon above, with the first version below.

It would also appear that the most recent one has been converted from an existing DZ - the brackets along the side being the giveaway.

The significance of this, of course, is that it scuppers any ideas I held of making one master model and casting a run of them.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Rock Formation

So it's time to put my rock casting plan into action.

One of the first hurdles to overcome is how best to make the mold.

Most of the time the masters I make are glued onto a sheet of styrene, and, crucially, they have at least one flat surface and very little undercut.

Neither is true of the pieces of rock we are making copies of, and I'm not especially keen on using acres of fresh styrene sheet either. (Have you seen the price of it recently?)

So what I've hit on is to borrow a technique from two-part molding and place the piece of rock on bed of modelling clay which is stuck onto a reusable wooden board, and then has a styrene box built around it.

This then has the RTV poured into the box in the usual way and once that's set I can begin casting copies.

One of the things which I have noticed already in casting the first few pieces is how fast the resin sets.

Compared to the carriage and wagon sides I usually cast, which are comparatively thin, these rocks are quite thick in places and it's noticeable how much more heat is generated as the two parts of the resin cure and harden in front of your eyes.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Oberon Gets Its Wood

Himself has spent the week on a tree-building binge.

(I've no idea what's come over him because it's a job he hates.)

Anyway, he's made enough to plant the hillside on top of Goat Tunnel.

Here's a view which you very rarely see, as if you were standing on the famous PB&SSR 'Bridge to Nowhere'.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Little Train Meets Big Train

Himself was down in Wales a week or so ago volunteering on what was once known as 'Kids Week', the FR's pioneering, and long-running, event to enthuse the next generation of volunteers.

He took with him our model of the new observation carr 150 so that it could be inspected by some of the team who built the real one.

While poking around the carriage works to gather information on what they're building at the moment he posed it for a photo on the front window ledge of the follow-up 152.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Done My Bit

The new 118 is ready to pass over to Himself for all the finishing off and the painting.

I usually leave it to him to do all the tricky metalwork such as bending the brass roof skin and fitting the brake pipe which runs all along the carriage, weaving this way and that.

There's also the devilish handrails to fabricate to go either side of the doors (he hates doing those) and the vacuum pipes to fit.

I've made up a pair of our brass and resin bogies but they'll need some precision violence to make sure they can swing enough for the tightest curves on Dduallt and they also need to be fitted with Greenwich couplers.

So actually it's quite a long way from being finished.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

School Of Rock

One of the major jobs left on Bron Hebog is to complete the rock faces of Cutting Mawr.

As long-term followers of our layouts will know, up until now we've been in the habit of using real Welsh rock as a scenic material, but that does have consequences for the weight of the layouts (and the poor team who have to carry them in and out of venues when we're exhibiting).

So Himself has decided that the time as come to experiment a little.

We still believe that nothing has an authentic texture quite like the real thing so he has set me the challenge of seeing whether I can replicate a few pieces in resin.

This should be easy enough, although I'm going to go through a job lot of RTV silicone and a fair bit of resin too.

The challenge for him will then be to paint them to make them look realistic.