Saturday, 31 December 2011
2012 is going to be an exciting year for Bron Hebog. We'll be taking the layout out twice in April and May to shows in Hampshire and Buckinghamshire.
Between now and then Himself, the Artistic Director and The Guru will be putting in a lot of hard work on the scenery. The layout will most certainly not be complete - far from it - but we hope you'll be impressed by what we do have to show you.
Up here at the Scottish end of the operation my modelling resolutions are to keep pace with the Boston Lodge carriage works and get models of the new Super Barns 121 and 108 made this year.
I would also like to make a start on a model of the prototype Parry People Mover, which I flagged up on the blog last year. I have a Kato tram chassis ready in the drawer so I've no excuse, other than lack of time and space on the modelling bench, for not getting it done.
I anticipate Himself will also be finishing off Linda in the next few months.
And there's one final aspiration, for this blog to break through the 100k barrier. Please help us along by liking Bron Hebog on Facebook or following us on Twitter.
Thursday, 29 December 2011
At the time I made this carriage, at least ten years ago or possibly more, I considered it the most challenging model I'd yet built.
Some of the trickiest bits were the oval windows, which I described making for the larger model a few days ago.
This model of 'Bodysgallen' is in the condition in which the carriage was delivered to the WHR, complete with the table lamps which didn't hang around for long. Our solution for modelling these was to break open and steal the cast lamps from a OO Hornby model of a Pullman coach which was lying about in a box at home. They were a perfect fit.
Other details intended for a 4mm standard gauge carriage are the transfers which are from the Fox Transfers range. They're perhaps a tiny, weeny bit oversize, but they do the job and look very effective.
My one regret with this carriage is that I built it with the corridor connections in the closed position at both ends, because that's how it was running on the railway when I researched the model. It's been on my mind for a while now to make some bits which I can graft onto at least one end of the carriage to look more like the corridor is open and in use.
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
The challenge on this carriage is creating the round corners of the panels. I've done it the same way on this 7mm model as I did on my 4mm version which runs on Bron Hebog.
I curl a small length of styrene strip and then feed it into the corner gluing it along the straight edges on either side. When all the corners are done I fix some more runs of straight strip in between to complete the panel effect.
Model filler is deployed to deal with the gaps that remain in the corners.
I've also used more strip to finish off the windows, starting with the long horizontal bar and then cutting some small pieces to very fine tolerances to fix in place for the vertical divisions.
The next stage is to complete the four door sub-assemblies and the two ends and join them all together into carriage shape.
Saturday, 24 December 2011
We appreciate you taking the time to linger a while and read about what we're working on as Bron Hebog inches towards completion.
Highlights of the year for me were the completion of our models of Lyd, K1, and finally finishing the KMX tamper, a project I had been working on for more than two years.
It was also a lot of fun to take Dduallt out on the road again and to get the chance to meet a number of readers face to face.
I can only hope you've enjoyed reading about our models as much as I've enjoyed writing about them.
PS. Thanks to the Artistic Director (Francis) for the lovely festive illustration of Dinas (FR) in times gone by.
Thursday, 22 December 2011
It's one of our models that I am particularly proud of because of the challenges I had to overcome making it and because, as far as I know, it's the only model of this wagon.
The Cherry Picker was conceived, designed and built by the FR's Signal and Telegraph department staff and volunteers as a faster and much safer way of maintaining the railway's 'pole route'.
The guts of the machine is a self contained, skid mounted unit which was found in a scrapyard near Blaenau Ffestiniog still attached to a life-expired Bedford CF van.
It was bought and the hydraulics fully overhauled by the team.
Boston Lodge built the well wagon onto which the skid was mounted and the wagon runs on a pair of spare Hudson bogies, one of which has a hand brake.
The team had a stroke of good fortune when they discovered that the base of the lifting unit would fit neatly inside the shell of an old mobile generator unit, which in turn was a snug fit on the well-wagon.
Just as I wrote last week (about mess coach 1000) it's another fine example of FR recycling and ingenuity and the wonderful thing about it is the whole machine looks as if it could have been designed that way on a blank piece of paper.
My model is entirely scratch built (except for the Hudson bogies which are made by Parkside Dundas) and 99% of it was done in styrene. (The 1% is the etched brass non-slip chequer plate surface on the well-wagon.)
I am particularly proud of my representation of the picker basket on the end of the boom which was also fashioned out of one piece of thin styrene which was curved, bent, folded, and finally, bonded into submission.
If I was a much better metal-worker it would have been more logical, I'm sure, to have made this out of brass, but I'm not and so I didn't.
Neither am I much of a micro-engineer so I'm afraid the picker boom is very much a static model.
Unfortunately this is one model you'll probably never seen running on Bron Hebog unless the FR retro-fits the real wagon with vacuum brakes to comply with the WHR safety regulations.
But as there's no pole route on the 'Dark Side' why would they ever need to?
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
The hairiness in this case is dyed carpet underlay which we use to represent long, straggly wild grasses, a technique we previously employed on Dduallt.
In the first shot above, of Goat Tunnel Cutting, you're seeing the underlay as it is first applied in a thick layer. When the top layers are pulled off and it is teased out it looks much subtler, as here below..
Here you can also see how other flocks and tiny pieces of stone have been scattered on top of complete the effect.
Of course, what you're looking at in these pictures is but one tiny corner of Bron Hebog, so Himself will have many more hours of teasing and sticking the underlay to cover the many scale acres of layout.
Sunday, 18 December 2011
These are quite simple to knock up with relatively few, thick, pillars compared to your average carriage.
It also has two distinctive Pullman windows at either side so it was ovaltime again and the challenge was not to make a horlicks of it.
(Did you see what I did there?)
It took me a few goes to get them right. The key is getting the size of the guide triangles in the corners correct.
My first attempts were either too thin or not tall enough. These windows are a lot fatter, and more circular than the ones on the doors. I got there in the end though.
Here's a before and after shot.
Friday, 16 December 2011
He's blown a first coat of paint over it...
We're quite intrigued by what the purpose of this building was? It has a quite a distinctive chimney and it is positioned away from the main buildings. A drying process or power for machinery such as milking or shearing, perhaps?
Do any readers with agricultural expertise have any suggestions?
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
This jaunty little diesel is another of the FR's Great War veterans which has been in Wales since 1925, although it spent its first 31 years as a petrol drinker.
For me the secret of Moelwyn's charm lies in its outside cracks and the unusual layout with the jack shaft at the front. It is quite a sight when running at speed as it pogo's up the line with a metronomic bouncing motion.
Our model was built from one of the wonderful Meridian Models kits for the original spec 0-4-0 Baldwin tractor which Himself adapted to add the frame extension and pony truck at the front which date from a 1957 rebuild at Boston Lodge.
Moelwyn is also a favourite of FR stalwart Ian Rudd who coerced Himself and other willing volunteers into repainting the loco into a rather smart crimson livery a couple of years ago.
The pictures above show Moelwyn running with Britomart on Dduallt recreating, as accurately as we could, Ian's 60th birthday special this year which traversed the entire FR & WHR system.
Monday, 12 December 2011
The embankments have been made up with Mod Roc and the next job will be to paint and weather the plaster cast walls which are a Ten Commandments product, by the way.
These pictures again show off the quite superb painting job from the Artistic Director which really emphasises the first class work with embossed plasticard and styrene on the bridge by Himself.
Overall a great team effort!
The Bridge To Nowhere is going to be a very eye catching feature of the front left corner of Bron Hebog.
I think it's going to look even better to the naked eye than in these photographs and those of you within easy travelling distance of the south east of England will be able to see for yourselves when the (incomplete) layout is shown at exhibitions in Hampshire and Buckinghamshire in April and May.
See the Exhibition Diary page for details.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
During one of Linda's FR overhauls - in the mid-80's I believe - her safety valves were moved from their position inside the cab onto the top of her big, shiny dome, which was given a little upward extension, which some people refer to as a 'Roman Helmet'.
You can see it here in this mid-90's shot of Linda leaving Tanygrisiau.
This is all relevant to Bron Hebog because Himself is in the process of building a Backwoods Miniatures 'Linda' to replace our ageing Dundas / Ibertren model.
Our intention is to finish the loco in the Midnight Blue livery as in the picture above.
If you look back through previous posts - or indeed if you've been reading this for a while - you'll see how we had to call in outside assistance to turn up a new dome for our Backwoods 'Blanche' because the one supplied with the kit is a little undersize.
Our friendly man-with-a-lathe, Chris Veitch, also volunteered to take on the tricky task of turning up a dome for Linda complete with her helmet, and here is a glimpse of how he's getting on.
It still needs something to represent the actual safety valves in there but I for one thing it looks terrific.
The helmet, incidentally, is now history, with Linda's safety valves returned to their original position during her most recent overhaul and her dome restored to its proper dimensions.
Friday, 9 December 2011
Himself, the Artistic Director and The Guru are taking the road to Wigan to exhibit the Cooper Hire MRC's flagship WCML layout New Mills at the finescale show this weekend.
So if any of our readers are going along to the show do please say hello to the them.
New Mills will be shown this weekend in the 1960's steam / diesel transition era.
There will be another chance to see it at the end of February at Model Rail Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
It began life in 1965 as the first of the 'Barn' Observation Carrs and was truly revolutionary in terms of passenger comfort and luxury on the FR.
By the early years of the 21st Century the wooden body was well past its designed life-span and rapidly reaching the point where it was financially and practically more sensible to scrap it and start again: which is exactly what the railway did.
The original 100 had a final fling in passenger service on the WHR before it was stripped of its posh Pullman armchairs in the rear saloon, mounted on a pair of ex-SAR bogies, and saw out its days as a mess coach for the volunteer gangs laying the track on Phase 4 of the rebuilding project from Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog.
And when the rails reached Porthmadog it was no longer needed and was scrapped.
To avoid confusion with the brand new Observation Carr 100 it had an extra 0 added to its running number.
Our model of 1000 is also a neat piece of recycling.
It began life in the passenger fleet on Dduallt as a model of 100. In time, as my scratchbuilding skills improved, I made a second model of 100 and this one gathered dust in a drawer.
When the real carriage was requisitioned for 'departmental service' at Dinas, Himself decided to give our old 100 another lease of life.
Accordingly it was mounted on a new set of bogies, had most of its interior detail stripped out and received some wasp stripes at either end.
Running as 1000 this previously discarded carriage now has many years service ahead of it on Bron Hebog.
The Green Party would be proud of us.
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
This carriage was designed to look like a mini-version of the famous Brighton Belle Pullman parlour carrs on the Southern Railway and has doors dominated by those very distinctive elongated oval windows.
So how am I going to make those? Well, I'm doing exactly the same as I did on the 4mm scale version I made a number of years back.
It relies on the same technique of curving a styrene strip that I have demonstrated before to make round-framed windows.
From left to right here you can see how I start by making a rectangular frame, then glue some triangular pieces into the corners. Then I curl in the strip which is 40 thou thick so it stands a little proud.
The next step is to fill the gaps with Milliput and they'll be ready for the second layer of detail such as the framing around the door.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
After I'd built it we realised = on a subsequent research visit to Beddgelert - that the smallest of the buildings had been made with a door where it should have had a window.
So I have set about fixing it.
Here's the offending door...
Fortunately correcting the error was relatively straightforward. By good fortune I found an off cut of 60 thou styrene which was exactly the right width to fit in doorway...
After a few minutes work scraping away with one of my dental instruments of torture we end up with a reasonably convincing styrene graft...
I am comforted by the though that once the Artistic Director has finished with his brushes no one will notice the alteration.
Friday, 2 December 2011
Here you can see some of the Cwm Cloch farm buildings after they have been given a base coat with the airbrush.
These barns, longhouses and sheds were made from plain styrene sheet with the stones scribed into the plastic one by one and the slates were applied as strips of thick paper with a cut to define each tile.
Now the models are one uniform colour it's pleasing to see how convincing are my efforts to represent the dilapidated roofs on these buildings.
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Although it was built for use with an off-peak push-push set 111 has spent most of its time in service functioning as one of the first class observation carrs at the Porthmadog end of the train sets, albeit very much the third choice these days.
111 was the last in the line of the 1970's design of 'tin carrs' which were built on former Isle of Man Railway underframes and used a lot of off-the-shelf components from the bus industry including seats and the beclawat sliding light windows.
As a child of the '70's I've always had a soft spot for these carriages. Along with the new Earl of Merioneth - unkindly dubbed 'The Incredible Hulk' or simply 'The Square' - they impressed me with their modernity during my visits to the FR as a kid.
Our model of 111 shows the carriage in its original green and ivory livery and runs with the other 5 carriages that made up the INCa train set and is most often paired with the push-pull fitted diesel locos 'Conway Castle' or 'Criccieth Castle'.
We run it in proper push mode too, with the loco at the Blaenau end of the train propelling the six carriages down the spiral and through two sets of points in the Dduallt station loop.
It does so time after time with barely ever a derailment and I happen to think that's no mean achievement in OO9.
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
This was built by Winson Engineering, like the other five original carriages, but it was a metre longer and arrived a year later.
I've never had a works drawing for this vehicle and so I made my 4mm scale model from measurements of the carriage I took myself in the shed at Dinas. So as you can see I am having to produce my own scaled up design for a 7mm model.
The drawing board, incidentally, is one of the best purchases I've ever made as a aid to scratch building. Yes, I know there are free computer programmes like SketchUp out there but I'm quite happy back here in the 20th century thank you very much.
Saturday, 26 November 2011
It's not entirely irrelevant because it's a snap of the 7mm observation carr I recently built getting a trial run at its new home.
The layout is Rhyd by David John and from the pictures I've seen it looks a real beauty.
David will be showing this layout at the exhibition in Perth - that's Perth, Scotland, in case any of my Australian readers get confused - in June.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
This vehicle takes the railway back to the Victorian era of the curly roof luggage vans (and their non-curly cousins) as a bogie vehicle in front-line service which doesn't carry any passengers - apart from the one's sitting down to use the loo, of course.
The concept is a carriage which combines all the functions that would normally be dotted about the train in other vehicles such as the guard's compartment, a toilet and the kitchen / buffet area.
124 goes a stage further because it also holds a generator to provide the electrical power for the carriage's equipment.
124 is not an entirely new carriage. The bodyshell - which is rather ugly, if we're being honest about it - is brand spanking new but it has been plonked on a third hand underframe which was once upon a time a carriage on the Isle of Man Railway, then ran around as 1981-built 'tin carr' 121, before that was scrapped and re-born as 124.
It most respects this model of 124 was a fairly standard 'Barn' build with the exception of the glazing.
To give the crew some privacy some of the windows on the real carriage are covered in a reflective film, the kind that allows you to see out from inside but which looks like a mirror on the outside.
How, we wondered, were we going to recreate this in model form? The answer, in fact, was to do exactly the same as on the prototype. We were kindly given an off cut of the self-adhesive film used on the windows of 124 which was applied to the back of the styrene glazing, and it works a treat!
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Himself has blown a coat of matt varnish over it with his airbrush and the glazing has been slipped into place.
And that's about all there is to say, other than that building this model has been a real eye-opener for me and if I was starting modelling the FR again from scratch again I think I would definitely go up a size to 7mm.
Do you like it?
Sunday, 20 November 2011
These are quite tricky things to make because they cannot be done by simply bending one piece of wire into shape. The struts that fix the vertical hand rail are positioned a little way in from the ends.
The only way to replicate this is to cast or etch a single piece or to fabricate it. I have done the latter.
Now, those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know that me and soldering irons have only recently become acquainted, and making bits like these provides many exciting opportunities to suffer third degree burns.
There is also plenty of scope to muck them up, too. It's vital to make sure that they're all identical and that the struts are all soldered on in the same spots.
Himself had made some in 4mm when completing some of the latest WHR carriages and informed me that they were complete swines to make!
All these considerations led me to one conclusion - I needed a jig.
My solution was to start off by drilling parallel holes into a piece of thin tongue and groove to hold the struts...
Not only would this guarantee I could make each of the handrails identical it would also do most of the holding for me, which is just as well because I definitely don't have asbestos fingers!
Here you can see the wire being offered up to complete the handrail...
A dollop of solder on each of the joints and the job's a good'un. Here are all four now made up...
Here's how they look on the model during a trial fitting..
Friday, 18 November 2011
I think the finished result looks absolutely fantastic, a triumph in fact, but I couldn't really tell you much about how it was done other than the self-evident fact than the Artistic Director is very talented.
So I was pleased when he offered to tap out a few observations on how he did it:
Himself has excelled again in his recreation of 'The Bridge to Nowhere', that iconic entrance arch to Beddgelert. The archeology of the early railway history in this area forms an important component of our layout and this particular structure will be a key feature at this end of our model.
Studying this bridge as we have for many years, it reveals a complex mix of materials including slate, limestone and a warm, almost orange, sandstone. The southern face gets the sun and is consequently paler but the north facing stonework is another story, dark and damp! After more than 80 years minerals leaking through the structure have created wonderful staining and crusts more often associated with underground chambers and caves.
Consequently the wonderful model, faced with appropriate embossed plastic, deserved the very best paint job if all that character was to be captured.
I worked from over 30 images of the bridge, each capturing a different aspect, colour or stain, and not forgetting a piece of presumably Welsh graffiti under the arch!
Only acrylic paints can produce the blend of colours, the streaky and crusty mineral deposits and the subtle colour transitions, sometimes within an individual stone. As with our stock weathering I rely largely on matt white, leather and for built structures like this, a dark grey rather than black. Acrylics may dry fast but nothing beats them when you are working up a different hue on each individual stone. A real challenge but hopefully we have delivered!
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Not everyone is a fan of its aesthetics, however. Among railway workers it was colloquially referred to as the 'Blue Brick'.
While researching this post I had one of those moments when you suddenly notice how the years have flown by. If you'd asked me I wouldn't have guessed that this model is now 10 years old but I realised it was when I looked out an article I wrote for Railway Modeller in January 2002 about its construction.
Oh dear, I'm feeling rather old now!
Anyway, back to the model. The basis is a Worsley Works scratch-aid kit running on a Farish Class 90 chassis.
(See a previous post about our model of the WHR's original outline Funkey 'Castell Caernarfon' for more on our solution to represent the much bigger bogie frames on the locomotives.)
There is no such thing as a 'bog standard' Worsley model. Because of the concept of the kits, which provide only a basic bodyshell, there is tremendous scope to detail the model in your own way.
Thus there is gratifying payback in the look of the finished locomotive for all the extra effort a modeller puts in.
For example, some of the added details which Himself put on our Vale were handrails on the front and sides, the upper and lower headlight clusters and windscreen wipers to name just three.
He also took care to shorten the roof which is well-over length as etched.
Our 'Vale' is finished in the original National Power livery - in deference to the firm which sponsored Steve Coulson's radical rebuild of the South African machine to fit the FR loading gauge. We used paints from the Railmatch range and the transfers (decals for foreign readers) are those produced by Fox for a 4mm scale model of the handful of GM Class 59's which once upon a time wore NP livery.
Since the WHR was once again connected to the FR the locomotive has seen extensive use on the 'Dark Side' but, of course, not in this technicolour livery. (It now sports a two-tone green not unlike that originally applied to the Class 47's.) This, of course, will preclude us using this particular model on Bron Hebog and we shall probably have to build a replacement in the 'correct livery'.
Oh sod it! Why rebuild a perfectly good model? Let's just run it out of period. It'll give the smug pedants something complain about at exhibtions!
Monday, 14 November 2011
The task this weekend was to fix all the interior details in place, and there are a lot of them.
Just like with my 4mm carriages the seats, tables and the internal dividers are fixed directly to the chassis and are designed to fit up inside the bodyshell with just enough clearance to slip the glazing in place after the carriage is painted.
Here's how it looks if you take a peek through the windows..
Friday, 11 November 2011
One of the jobs he's been getting on with is starting work on some of the many trees we will need on Bron Hebog. Our intention is model the principle trees around the station as closely as we can.
The basic structure is being developed by extracting the copper wires from Tri-Rated Cable and twisting them into various tree forms e.g. oaks or beech.
Stage two sees the application of solder to bind the fine copper wire and then a covering of a filler over the main trunk and branches before final spraying.
Woodland Scenics will then be applied to provide the foliage.
Thursday, 10 November 2011
I didn't particularly want to write a negative post, or give you the impression that I don't enjoy my modelling (of course I do) but the fact remains there are some bits of the process that are more absorbing than others and some that are downright boring.
I often find that making the interiors falls into the latter category, particularly with a carriage like this where I have to repeat the same process 14 times for one type of seat and the other 12 times.
I love starting work on a new model and seeing the outline develop. There's another high point when all four sides are joined together and it starts to look like a carriage, and again when the roof goes on.
But, frankly, I can take or leave doing the bits like the corridor connections and the seats.
I wouldn't say I had a short attention span, and neither am I one of those people who starts lots of projects and never sees any of them through, but I can't deny that midway through a build I find myself longing to get it finished so that I can start work on the next thing.
I think that's why my heart sank when Boston Lodge turned out a job lot of three WHR saloons a couple of years back and I spent many months avoiding the issue - getting on with other models instead - before I forced myself to knuckle down and get the job done. (In business-speak they are a very 'core' part of the stock for Bron Hebog and had to be done.) I can distinctly remember the moment when I told myself to 'get a grip' and 'get it over with' while on an especially relaxing holiday strolling on one of my favourite beaches on the beautiful Isle of Islay.
Is it just me, or is this something that a lot of other modellers experience as well?
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Here it is pictured in the Down loop at Dduallt with the green and ivory push-pull set.
This is the 2nd version of 'Mountaineer' to have run on the layout. Both have been built from venerable GEM whitemetal kits but the one you see here has been altered and improved in a number of places to more accurately show the loco in the condition it ran in the late '80s and early '90s.
The most obvious change is to the cab. The GEM kit shows 'Mountaineer' with the slope-sides it received during its first rebuild at Boston Lodge. It took full advantage of the FR's loading gauge but left little room for the the driver and his mate to safely poke their heads outside. It was changed to a more traditional FR Fairlie-style profile in 1983 after one too many of the Alco's crew had brained themselves on lineside structures.
At the front end we built up the are around the cylinders to look like the piston valves it received in 1982 and - although you can't see it in the picture, unfortunately - Himself knocked up something approximating the not-so subtle lubricator.
The chassis is one of the least sophisticated in the fleet. It is an unaltered Arnold 0-6-0. There are no outside bar frames, cranks or clattering bits of Walschaerts valve gear to be seen and wouldn't be surprised if the layout operators visibly wince every time it emerges from the fiddle yards into public view.
Getting something better down below has long been on my wish list. For a while I considered fitting a Roco outside framed chassis, as others have done. I don't mind admitting it was the cost of purchasing one of these which put me off and it was probably just as well seeing how other 009 modellers who have shoehorned these mechanisms beneath heavy whitemetal kits have watched helplessly as they self-destructed and wobbled into oblivion.
At the moment my current thinking is to adapt a Backwoods outside frame chassis, but as with so many other things it's just a question of getting round to doing it.