Saturday, 30 July 2011

Keeping My Promises

Another thing I've been asked to write about is how I do raised, rounded window frames on my scratchbuilt carriages. So here's a pictorial guide.

The object of the exercise is to fix a thin strip, slightly thicker than the material the main bodyside is made from, around the inside edge of the windows.

In this example the carriage side is made from 0.20" styrene so I've used 0.10" x 0.30" strip for the rims.

First you want to get the strip to curl. I do this by pulling it between my thumb and forefinger, scraping the thumb nail against the underside of the strip.

Cut a section of your now curly strip and place inside the window aperture..

Hold it against one edge of the window frame (fine surgical tweezers are good for this) and apply solvent along the join, leaving it free at each corner.

Repeat this along another two sides...

When you get the bottom overlap the two ends of the strip and cut them so they will meet exactly. If you get a nice accurate cut you won't be able to spot the join on the finished model.

It is a tricky business, and when you first try it you might be wishing you had three hands, but the end result is worth the effort.

The final stage of the process is to use model filler to plug the gaps in each corner. (In this case I use that wonderful mid-Welsh product, Milliput) This is a side for FR carriage 116 I'm making.

Here's another example, on a bodyside for 'Carnforth' buffet carr 114.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Lusty Linda

We do our best here at Bron Hebog to make models ape reality. So just as the FR's Linda is being prepared for the paintshop so is ours.

This is Linda II. Like Blanche II it is a Backwoods Miniatures kit, although this time we're not having to borrow bits of a Dundas kit for the tender!

Unlike Blanche, Linda doesn't have a tender cab (usually) so you get to see all the control gubbins. And what a lot there is to see! Pete has really excelled himself with this kit.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

MOTW - Caernarfon Castle

I’m returning to the locomotive fleet this week and the WHR’s main passenger diesel ‘Caernarfon Castle’.

This is one of a pair imported from South Arfrica in the 1990’s and has retained its original, very continental-style GRP bodywork. (The second machine, which had been given a modified cab during its life in Africa, was selected for a radical rebuild to fit the FR loading gauge and became ‘Vale of Ffestiniog’)

Our model’s built from a Worsley Works ‘scratch aid’ kit. Allen’s etches provide for the bulk of the bodywork leaving you to complete the finer detailing.

It’s powered by a chassis from a Farish Class 90 chassis.

One of the main challenges with modelling the WHR & FR ‘Funkey’ locomotives is the bogies which are very tall, with the side frames extending well above the top of the wheels. This is a problem in 009 when you’re using a N gauge chassis which are mostly built around a big metal block housing the motor and drive to the bogies.

Simply fixing false Funkey side frames onto the N gauge bogies won’t work because they will foul on the metal chassis block and won’t swivel!

Our solution has been to divide the bogie frame in half, so the top is fixed to the metal chassis block and the bottom section, with the axleboxes and springs etc, is bonded to the N gauge bogie and only this lower part swivels.

Other extra details added to the basic body kit include the handrails at each end of the loco and the large headlight jewels.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Inside Story

With the saga of the louvres finished with I've been able to knock up and interior for the Service Carr.

There's plenty of scope for super-detail freaks to go over the top here, modelling every last coffee cup and scone in miniature, but you'll be relieved, no doubt, to know I've managed to resist that temptation.

In fact, it's a very basic representation indeed, because I've not even bothered to sub-divide the generator compartment from the toilet cubicle.

That said, however, there's still plenty of fun to have had with all the shelves and cupboards in the catering end of the carriage.

Still to be added in this view is the fridge and the grill.

Here's how it looks inserted into the bodyshell.

I've added some basic underframe detail too. These WHR carriages are nice and boxy down there, but there's a big space right in front of the vacuum brake gear, so I can't get away without doing that, unfortunately.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

MOTW - Water Tower

It's not an item of rolling stock this week but a structure. The water tower at Beddgelert.

No, not the manky concrete relic. A proper one!

The tower sits at the north (Caernarfon) end of the station and feeds the water crane at the end of the platform.

This model was made by Himself from brass, with various sizes of tube, wire and angle soldered together to form the base and the tank constructed out of etched brass 'Braithwaite' panels.

I particularly like the X shape bracing struts and small details like the feed pipe.

The tower lifts off the layout when it's packed away, and the legs locate into the concrete bases on the embankment.

This shot of the Funkey diesel 'Caernarfon Castle' gives a nice impression of the bulk of the structure.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Thin Red Lines

Himself has been getting cross-eyed these last few days applying the lining to Blanche II.

This time he's using waterslide transfers from Fox.

She's posed here with her MkII dome but the dome-meister is preparing to turn a third one after we have measured the real thing this time to be sure.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Corridor Connections

A while ago I promised to post a demo of how I make my carriage corridor connections. Sorry it's taken me so long to get round to writing it but here it is.

So, the ingredients...

1 piece of strip 40" x 100"
2 pieces of 15" x 100"
1 piece of 15" x 40"

Join the piece of 15 x 40 upright onto one of the 15 x 100 pieces. I press them up against my set square to get a nice flush joint.

Then I fix the piece of 40 x 100 on the other side, keeping the overlap as small as possible..

Turn it over now and use the remaining piece of 15 x 100 to bridge the gap...

The last job is to file off the square edges to make the box shape we have look something more like the folded over piece of rubber on the real thing.

I find a miniature hand vice just the job for this bit, and I use wet and dry paper to do the filing...

Repeat for the other side and a shorter one for across the top, and that's how I make my corridor connections.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

MOTW - WHR Pullman Obs

The MOTW this time is one of my P&J's (Pride and Joy's) the WHR's Pullman Observation Carr 'Glaslyn'.

There's a brass scratch-aid kit on the market now but I made this one first and did it the hard way!

The challenge with this carriage, as you've probably realised, is the curved front.

As you'll know if you've already read my carriage building guide my usual approach is to make up the bodysides and roof as one unit and have a removable floor /chassis. But on this carriage I needed the floor to keep the curved front section in shape.

I began by making this sub-assembly..

Which was then bonded to the other sections of the body like this....

You can see, above, how 95% of the floor will still be removable.

Next I made up the roof section. The front pair of window pillars won't be added until the roof is fixed on, and you might also notice that the curved front of the roof is slightly behind that of the bodyside at the bottom. This is because the front window pillars are angled backwards slightly..

Here's another shot with those pillars in place. The floor / chassis has been made up, too, including the skirt beneath the front of the carriage.

The actual carriage has since been named 'Glaslyn' in traditional Pullman fashion - by HM The Queen, no less!

Himself did a stunning job with the lining using 4mm and 2mm scale Fox waterslide transfers.

To be perfectly frank with you - and not having the model to hand - I cannot recall whether we have yet named our model, or if we haven't, whether we will indeed be doing so!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Service Carr Surgery

After weeks of procrastination I decided to conduct major surgery on the WHR Service Carr 2011. More specifically to replace the louvres on the doors of the generator compartment.

I had attempted to make these myself, chamfering pieces of 60" strip and fixing them on one by one, but feedback from readers on the blog and other forums suggested they weren't up to my usual standard.

The photo didn't do them justice - they looked a lot better in 3D reality - but the comments sowed some seeds of doubt.

For me there were two problems with them. They were too thick so there were fewer louvre blades (?) on each door than on the real carriage. The bigger issue for me, though, was that the bottom panels had a slightly wider spacing than those on the top.

It was one of those situations where you know you're not satisfied with the job, but you're reluctant to start messing about with it because of the chance of making it look worse.

Every day I would stalk into the study and stare at the carriage on the shelf, pick it up and examine it from all angles, desperately trying to convince myself 'it would do', all the while knowing in my heart of hearts that it wouldn't.

So this week I made up my mind to stop faffing about and sort it. I took the advice of one of my critics and ordered in some Evergreen clapboard styrene to represent the louvres.

Before that, however, I had to remove the originals. I inserted a new blade in the scalpel, borrowed the best wooden coasters from the coffee table to stack inside the bodyshell (don't tell Mrs W!), took a deep breath and began cutting.....

They came out easily enough with no other damage to the carriage (although I did draw blood from one finger) and then I set about cutting some clapboard pieces to graft into the holes.

I know, I know, it still looks pretty ropey, but once again I'm going to have to ask you to take my word for it that the photo is not a fair representation of how it looks to the naked eye, especially now those gaps have had filler put in them.

Anyway, it now has roughly correct number of louvres on each, so that's one problem fixed at least.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

MOTW - Carriage 23

This week's model is another carriage but is nearly a century older than the one we featured last.

Carriage 23's story has come full circle. It was built by Ashbury for the NWNGR in 1894 as a not-fully-enclosed 'summer coach' with half height doors. In 1923 it became part of the carriage fleet for the WHR and later lost a few inches in height in order to run through the FR tunnels when the systems were combined.

The FR took ownership in lieu of WHR debts in 1936 and it was one of the first two carriages used when services began again in 1954, and was in time rebuilt with full height doors.

In 2002 it returned to its first home, Dinas, to strengthen the WHR carriage fleet and lend the operation some token heritage.

Our model was scratchbuilt in a typically labour-intensive fashion. Rather than use pre-formed wood panel effect styrene every single plank on this carriage was added by hand.

It shows number 23 as running on the FR in the early 1990's after it had been extensively rebuilt with matchboarding and repainted green. The original Welsh Highland Railway lettering (save for one letter, I believe) was discovered in one of the Boston Lodge glory holes - sorry, storerooms - and it was finished in this all- over dark green livery.

At the time of the revival the carriage had been restored with plain panels and over the decades to come ran in green and ivory, all over red and maroon & ivory liveries.

When Dduallt first appeared on the exhibition circuit we had a whitemetal 23 built from the ancient GEM kit, which was finished in the Cherry Red livery it carried in 1988.

Along with a GEM number 11 (and a kit-bashed 12) these whitemetal carriages dictated how we built our Dduallt layout. There was no point building a model of the spiral if our locomotives wouldn't be able to haul such ludicrously weighty rolling stock up the hill. So we conducted a series of experiments to establish the maximum gradient we could haul trains up and reverse engineered the project from there.

Little did I realise that I would go on to scratchbuild dozens and dozens of featherweight styrene carriages in the years to come. Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Stone Me!

In between weekends spent cutting down trees above the Moelwyn Tunnel and greasing the points on the FR & WHR, Himself has also been managing to get a little of the important work done!

The paint job on the Romanian ballast wagon's been progressing steadily. Here it is with most of the black bits now coloured black and the most obvious lettering applied with transfers.

I don't think there's a lot of hope of being able to replicate all the hieroglyphics that pass for control instructions on the panel on the end of the wagon.

With there being only two models of this wagon in existence as far as I know (both built by me as it happens) I don't think there's much of a market for a commercial transfer designer / manufacturer to produce some.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Odd Ones Out

Here are the base layers for the next pair of carriages being made for a client.

On the top is the main section of bodyside for 116 and below is 114.

116 was the one-off aluminium bodied carriage built in the 1970's. It was another radical departure for the FR. A small fleet of 'Barns' had been built by the new company in the previous decade, but they were based loosely on an existing design theme (the L&B carriages) and the bodies were wooden.

This carriage was the first to be made only from metal and had big bus-sized windows. During a rebuild in the 80's it was indeed fitted with bus windows with the sliding opening at the top. It began life as a composite with a first class compartment at the bottom end but is being modelled in its third incarnation as an 'improved 3rd' saloon with the window spacings altered.

114 was the last of the three 'Carnforth' carriages with their distinctive square-proportioned windows and relatively flush bodysides. After this trio was built at the start of the 90's the FR returned to building 'Barn' style carriages in-house at Boston Lodge so it seems there will only ever be three of this kind.

The spacing of the window pillars immediately identifies it as a buffet carr. With the narrow high windows in the serving area 114 always reminds me of a miniature standard gauge MkIII catering vehicle.

The next step will be to form the rounded window frames on both carriages.

Friday, 1 July 2011

MOTW - 114 'Carnforth' Buffet Carr

It's back to the carriage fleet for the latest Model Of The Week feature.

114 is one of a trio built in the early 1990's under the InCa programme. The bodyshells were built at the former Steamtown depot in Carnforth (now the base for charter operator West Coast Railways). 112 & 113 were composites, with two first class compartments at the bottom end, while 114 was designed as a buffet carriage.

For their first decade in service they ran in this green and ivory livery and for a time operated as a push-pull set with diesel locos Conway Castle and Cricceth Castle. Which is how we run them on Dduallt.

They have since been repainted into the standard maroon and ivory livery and dispersed among the the FR fleet, with 113 spending a number of seasons providing extra capacity in one of the WHR rakes.

They remain distinctive vehicles with their comparatively flush bodywork and square, horizontally divided windows.

This model was scratch built from styrene, but using a thicker base layer than other carriages to account for the relative lack of beading.

The window frames are also worth mentioning. Like the P-Way mess coach 1111 they have a rim which is proud of the bodyside. I was asked a while back if I could post about how I did this and as I'm about to start building another model of 114 for a client I shall put some step-by-step shots on the blog.

The Second Domension

The 'production version' of Blanche II's new dome has been delivered. Here it is getting a trial fitting on the saddle tank.

Getting the dimensions right has been a process of trial and error. There are discrepancies between different drawings of the Penhryn engines and there's been a lot of measuring and scaling from photographs, running them through CAD software and emailing back and forth to come up with this size of dome.

As it was blog readers who pointed out the original dome (supplied with the kit) looked wrong, I'd be interested to see what all make of this one.