Thursday, 30 May 2013

Etch Test

An exciting arrival in the post this week was the first test etch for the brass bits and pieces to finish off the ballast wagons.
This kit has been much longer in its gestation that I had ever anticipated – I started out on the project in the autumn of last year – but it’s tantalisingly close to the finish line.

As is to be expected there are a few tweaks required to the design of the parts – a bit longer here, a bit wider there.
What I was most anxious to try out were the brackets and cog wheels which make up the ballast door mechanism.  They are designed to thread onto a length of brass wire , be glued into place to line up with the correct spots on the ballast doors, and then the four sub-assemblies can be fixed in position.

This is roughly how it’s going to look..
There’s going to be a bit of experimenting required to divine the simplest and easiest way of putting these bits together which I shall write up in the instructions.

With luck I’ll get the 2nd test etch back in a few weeks and if everything fits then I can start full production.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Ridge Way

There are only a few wee jobs to do to finish off the Oberon Wood houses.

I managed to tick one of them off at the weekend by putting on the ridge tiles on the roof - or more accurately a couple of strips of thin styrene along the join in the roof slates with some very tiny strips laid at right angles.

Just the guttering and the downpipes to go now before they can be handed over to the Artistic Director for him to work his magic on them.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Dorm Patrol

I've been able to get the final section of roof finished following the arrival of a fresh packet of Wills roofing slates.

This is the big piece at the rear which has to be cut into and offset shape and also requires a square section to be cut out where the dormer goes.

Here it is with the dormer glued in place and the chimney in position too.

That brings this second house to the same state as the first one.

And here's a shot of the two of them together orientated as they will be when in position on the layout above the entrance to Goat Cutting.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Spot The Difference

My pair of houses are almost at the same stage now. The latest one is on the left in this shot.

Like every good item of FR rolling stock the two are broadly similar but most certainly not identical, as you can see.

Progress on this model since the last update has included the dormer window at the front, the laboriously-scratched stone wall below it and the cutting to fit of two of the sheets of slate roofing.

Here's a close up of some of the details of the very complex layout of the front of the building.

At the rear you can see how the foundation level brick courses have been bonded on. Note also the right hand door which is another of the variations on this house.

The main bit left to be done is the roof at the back. I do not have a sheet large enough and I am waiting on a fresh pack to arrive in the post.

However, as you can seen, the dorm and the chimney have been made up ready to be fitted on.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Tank Command

Himself needs some spare parts to complete the latest rake of B wagons to represent the six which arrived this year from South Africa.

As noted in a previous post the positions of the vacuum reservoir tanks and the brake cylinders have been altered on some of them.

As these parts are cast as part of a one piece floor unit on the kits the plan is to hack them off and replace them with new ones.

Fortunately its quite simple for me to produce these by part filling the moulds - I just have to cut a small section of perspex to fit over the top.

You can see how they emerge with just a very thin film connecting them so they can be easily be cut out and should be a very straightforward replacement for the originals.

Monday, 20 May 2013

TV Repeat

There's another chance to catch a glimpse of our model of Dduallt on the telly (in the UK, I should say) tomorrow night (Tuesday).

The first episode of the two part series The Golden Age Of Steam is being screen on BBC4 at 8pm

Dduallt features briefly - don't blink, you might miss it - in a segment towards the end of the programme explaining how the Deviationists built the spiral formation.

(It was cheaper to come and film our model than hire a helicopter, you see.....)

If I'd known it was going to be shown again so soon I would have negotiated for repeat fees.......

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Window Dressing

Here they are then, the pair of wagons for display in the F&WHR shop at Harbour Station.

I've finished the B wagon in the style of the latest batch imported from South Africa which is why the V hanger is picked out in yellow.

Some SA NG purists I know have rather turned their noses up at this embellishment when the wagons were refurbished at Sandstone prior to shipping to Wales but I have to say I rather quite like it.

The DZ wagon has been done up to represent one of the WHR examples with the cut down, straight-top ends.

I hope they do the trick and drum up some passing trade for the kits.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Window Shopping

My spy spotted this in the shop window at Porthmadog Harbour Station last week.

I have been building up a pair of B & DZ wagons to join John's display but it seems I have been beaten to it.

I understand this B wagon belongs to an FR volunteer who, I guess, must have purchased the kit from the shop and has, according to Himself, done a very neat job putting it together.

It's gratifying to also see one my DZ wagon kits on show in its packaging too.

The four wheel wagons you see in the picture are examples of Peco's new OO9 ready to run range and the little loco is one of Chris Ward's 3D printed models of the Boston Lodge shunter Moel y Gest - or Castell Arrghh as it is also known to some on the railway.

I hope very soon they will be joined by my fully finished SAR wagons.

Kits are available off the shelf and online from

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Making Up The Neighbours

Some rapid progress on the second Oberon Wood house.

It'd cut out another set of the main walls blanks when I made the first house so they only required the window apertures to be cut and as I explained in my previous post, because of the way this house is positioned there are less of them to do.

Most of the eastern half of the house is now assembled as well, as you can see.

The obvious space below the overhang will be filled in with a fake stone clad wall which I will scribe by hand into styrene.

Here, then , are the two of them together for comparison.

Time to scratch some stonework next, I think.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Wheels Of Commerce

Good news for everyone waiting on the SAR ballast wagon kit.

At long last we finally have some designs prepared for the missing items on the wagons which are to be made in brass and hopefully the first test etch will arrive with me very soon.

The bits in question include the ballast chute door mechanisms which you can see in this picture below.

The plan is to etch the cogs and the brackets which can be threaded onto brass wire and fixed in place on the wagons.

Other parts to be included on the fret are the small and large handwheels which control the brakes and the ballast doors as well as the hood which covers up the brake cylinders at either end.

Once these parts have been test and any necessary revisions made either to the photo-etching artwork or the cast components of the kit we can begin to go into production.

Needless to say I will keep you in touch with developments here on the blog.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Tanks A Lot

More details are emerging about the variations in the new batch of B wagons imported from South Africa to Wales earlier this year.

The specific area of concern is the vacuum reservoirs.

Himself tracked them down to Dinas during a week volunteering on the FR and it appears some of the six evidently had new tanks fitted when they were refurbished.

Not only have they changed position, to the same side as the brake cylinder, but there also appear to be a number of different designs of tank, as you can see below.

As Himself says, there's never a dull moment modelling the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The West Wing

I've started work on the second of the Oberon Wood houses.

If you recall from the last time these are built in two distinct blocks and it is the smaller, west facing half that I have begun with.

Although he dimensions are the same there are a number of variations in the size and layout of the windows.

This is the rear elevation and you can see that the new one, on the left, has a door on the ground floor whereas the other one on the right does not.

Similarly at the front, the new one, on the right,  has a much smaller window upstairs that its next door neighbour.

At the moment I just have the three sides you can see prepared.

The fourth wall, which faces onto the railway in Goat Cutting, is different again. It has three windows, two downstairs and one upstairs, which I will have to cut out.

The first house has a blank wall on this elevation because the houses are positioned close to one another.

However the upside of this arrangement is that the big wall, on the eastern side of this new house is blank whereas the first one had quite a number of windows including the rather complicated bay window I wrote about previously.

Swings and roundabouts....

Monday, 6 May 2013

Going Round In Circles

I'm preparing another pair of demo wagon kits.

These ones are destined to spend their lives running around a display track in the FR's shop in Porthmadog in the hope of enticing customers to invest in some of examples of my Boston Largs Works kits which they will find on sale within this beguiling emporium.

For those who are unable to get to Wales they are also available through the webshop

As you can see here John is getting an example of a 'standard' WHR DZ wagon and one of the 2nd generation B Wagons, although extra parts to model the high end SAR version of the DZ and a bike wagon conversion for the B are available on request.

Hopefully they can soon be joined by an example of the forthcoming ballast wagon.  Production of this kit will commence when I receive etches for the door mechanism and the hand wheels which are being prepared for me elsewhere.

Not too long to wait now, I hope.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Steps, Rails & All The Gear

I've been cracking on with the WHR Tool Van this week and it's almost there.

Although the progress doesn't look spectacular there are a lot of details that have been added that all contribute greatly to the look of the complete model.

The handrail on the end which I mentioned in the last post has been fixed in position now.

The usual SAR brake gear has been glued and assembled. Because it's essentially a flat DZ wagon it's just a case of fitting on the etched components designed for my resin kits, most obviously the V hangers and the hand wheels at each end.

I have also knocked up a pair of footsteps from brass strip which are positioned at the platform end of the wagon.

Being cheap - or what I prefer to see as sensible recycling - I did not go to the expense of buying in a pack of brass strip for this purpose, I just snipped a section of thin waste fret from a large A4 sheet that came from Narrow Planet to hold together 30 sets of bogie parts.

It needed to be thinned a little further with a file but it's much better for the soul that paying for a whole pack when you only require a 50mm length...

You might also be able to spot the remains a couple of the hinges that used to support the doors in the long-distant days when this was a proper DZ wagon.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Humble Pie

I've had my comeuppance for extolling the virtues of my homemade roofing slates here on the blog.

Himself logged on and had a look at the pictures and sent me a message saying: "Very nice, but aren't they a bit on the large side?"

I grabbed my research pictures of the house in question and started counting slates.

Dammit, he was right! (He usually is...)

The prospect of ripping off and relaying all the slates - only even more of them - didn't immediately appeal.

So out of curiosity I delved in my drawer and pulled out the remains of some sheets of Wills 4mm roofing slates I had left over. (I erroneously wrote last week that these were made by Slaters) and they were indeed much smaller than my paper ones and a much better match, in terms of the number of slates on each section of the roof.

You can compare below.

Fortunately I had just the right amount of sheet, in the right sizes, to cut some replacement roof sections.

So, a week on, the house is back where it was.

Oh well, some you win....