Thursday, 27 February 2014

Laying The Foundations

I've started building the first of the second pair of houses for the Oberon Wood estate at the southern end of Beddgelert station.

I'm tackling number 25 first and have begun with the south end of the house, mainly on account of the fact it's the only blank wall which doesn't need any windows hacked out of 60 thou styrene sheet, which is never easy but necessary to give make the structure solid enough and prevent it warping.

One of the first things you'll notice is how deep the 'foundations' which is a consequence of the house sitting on a distinct slope.

Above you can see the large patio door at the back which faces Goat Cutting which will be a view that only the layout operators are going to get but it demonstrates our commitment to getting Bron Hebog right.

Below is the start of the front aspect.

The door will be hidden behind a wall forming a porch. The upper floor will overhang it and there'll be a garage jutting out on the right in due course.

At the moment it all looks a bit random, but I have faith in the Artistic Directors plans.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Fleet Of Flats

The other batch of DZ flat wagons are now finished and ready to be dispatched to their new owner who will set about transforming them into various types of SAR NG freight stock.

These seven have been given a blast of red oxide primer and the brake hand wheels picked out in yellow. They are mounted on my diamond frame bogie design.

Now its time to turn my attention back to making a model for myself again and get started on more of the houses for Oberon Wood.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Man With A Plan

I'm pleased to report the Artistic Director arrived on Friday bearing another set of his exquisitely drawn plans for the houses at Oberon Wood as promised.

I had anticipated he would have drawn the full row of properties which back onto the railway line as it runs in the cutting between the station throat and Goat Tunnel but it turns out he has only managed two, for numbers 24 and 25.

I had not realised just how complex the design of these houses is with bits jutting out here and here, overlapping and overhanging sections and a change in level from the back to the front too.

So it has undoubtedly taken a lot of time to get it all worked out from the photographs we have taken over the years and get it down on paper.

I shall get cracking with these as soon as I can.

P.S. The more observant may have noticed that this property is currently for sale if anyone fancies having NG/G16's running behind their back garden??

Friday, 21 February 2014

Border Raiders

I'm being treated to a visit by the other two thirds of the Bron Hebog team who are making their annual trip across the border this weekend.

The pretext, as usual, is visit to Model Rail Scotland at the SECC, which is one of the largest shows in the UK.

The reality, however, is that it is merely an excuse to indulge in a lot of rail travel, beer drinking and - in the case of the Artistic Director - baiting Scotsmen.

(He has consistently disregarded my earnest counselling that this is not a recommended course of action in Glasgow on a Friday or Saturday night!)

The good news for me is that he comes bearing a set of his exquisite hand-drawn plans for the next phase of the modern - that is 1960's - housing development at Oberon Wood which we need to include at the front left of the layout.

He delivered designs for the first pair 12 months ago and if you search through the blog archive you'll find lots of posts detailing the construction of them.

I'm looking forward to cracking on with these new ones which, from what I recall, will be even more complex than the first lot.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


It probably says something unflattering about my personality type but when batch building I like to try to bring all the models up to the same point at the end of each session rather than having some more advanced and others lagging behind.

That's why the other day I made up and fitted 14 of these handbrake wheels (etched for me by Narrow Planet)to the 7 flat wagons I've got on the go

I find there is a point in every model build that stands out as the most satisfying moment and with the ex-SAR wagons it's most definitely adding these brake wheels.

With their decagon shape they are so distinctive and for me slotting these in position is the moment the wagon comes alive - which is a silly thing to say about a resin model, I know, but I hope you'll understand what I mean.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Brakes Seven

I've been working flat out on the flat wagons all weekend.

The result of my endeavours is that the batch of seven DZ chassis and the bogies which have been assembled and given a coat of primer.

Those are intended to have 3D printed SAR wagon bodies mounted on top.

The second batch of seven are being made up as complete flat wagons, although they too may well have scratch built bodies added to them in due course.

Because they are complete wagons they need the brass brake gear added.

The next task is to prepare another seven pairs of bogies to go under them.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

A Garratt - With Knobs On

The boiler unit of 138 is really taking shape now.

The brass strip which represents the bands holding the cladding in place has been added as well as the castings for the dome and chimney.

All the holes required have been drilled and various other parts attached.

Himself has lengthened the steam turret just in front of the cab as quite a few pipes join it, and it will also have to have the whistle sprouting from it rather than being attached to the boiler side as was the case on 87.

One thing that's worth mentioning is the handrail knobs.

He has not used the short ones supplied with the kit on the main part of the boiler, but substituted them for  Alan Gibson medium length ones instead.

He tells me there are two reasons for this:

a)  If the short one are used the hand rails will not line up with the long hand rail knob on the smoke box.

b)  Using medium length knobs will allow him to get all the pipework in place that passes between the handrail and the boiler.

He's also modified the ash pan to resemble something more like the ones produced by Boston Lodge when they put their Garratts back on a diet of coal.

Putting the whole thing together it's beginning to look very impressive. I can't wait to see it finished in that lovely deep red colour 138 wears these days.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Bit In The Middle

With both the power units completed Himself has started on the main unit of 138 which as you can see consists mainly of a big boiler on a big frame.

Backwoods aficionados may have spotted he's made a slight change to the mounting position for the rear unit which has been set back slightly to allow more wiggle room on bends and point work.

(Nothing worse than a Garratt that's not bendy enough..)

It's a mod we've carried out on all our NGG16's and involves soldering on the rear reinforcing plate the other way round and drilling through the running plate again.

This just sets it back by half a hole, not very much, but allows the model to take curves better.

The front unit is mounted in the original position.

Himself is making very rapid process so expect another update this weekend.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Flat Pack

There's been a sudden surge in demand for my DZ flat wagon kits so the workbench as been turned over to resin casting once more.

I'm currently working my way through orders for 15 of them which fellow modellers wish to use as base for various SAR 2 foot gauge wagons, so of which will have scratch built bodies added to them while the intention is that others will sit beneath 3D printed bodies.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Crest Quest

Yet again patience has paid off.

Long term readers may recall that over a year or so ago we discovered a transfer maker (Precision Decals) who produced the most exquisite 4mm scale FR garter crests for us.

They were far superior to what was already available in terms of colour, detail and definition and I raved about them here on the blog.

I asked the owner if he would consider designing and producing an example of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland crest, which adorns the modern WHR stock for us.

He said he would but warned it was an incredibly complex design which would take a lot of time and effort to produce the art work for, time which would probably never be repaid given the relatively limited NG modelling market.

It has taken a long while but he has been as good as his word and I received a wonderful surprise a couple of days ago when I opened my inbox to see a message saying they were now available, not only in 4mm scale but also in 7mm and in three versions.

There is the standard English lettering, the Welsh version (below) and a third, longer Welsh version which I have only seen used in marketing materials and not on rolling stock - although, as always, I am open to correction.

For more details take a look at the Precision Labels site and if you can't find immediately locate the FR and WHR transfers then there is also information there on how to contact the company.

We're thrilled that these transfers have been produced and are very grateful to Precision Decals and hope that other NG modellers will also reward him with their custom.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Up Front

The second time you do something the easier it normally is, and Himself tells me this holds very true for Garratt chassis.

It's around three years since he built our last NGG16 (number 87) and in the process of putting the rear power unit of this new one together he re-learned all the tricks and wrinkles along the way.

As a consequence the front unit has come together very rapidly.

Himself tells me is stuck with how much these small 009 chassis look just like the ones you see being overhauled inside Boston Lodge Works.

I'm looking forward to him getting started now on the bit in the middle.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Carriages Completed

After many months of steady work I finally have a trio of completed resin Super Barns sitting on the workbench.

They won't be sitting here for very long, in fact, because they will be dispatched to their new owner who is going to finish them off with a paint job.

Building my first production run of resin carriages has been a very interesting experience and I've learned a lot.

It's certainly much faster than scratch building to produce the parts for multiple carriages, however cleaning out the flash from each window can be a bit of a chore, especially with the FR toplight design.

On the minus side you do have to be very careful to glue the parts together accurately. It's much harder to bond resin parts together than the equivalent bits in styrene - even when using slow set super glue which allows you some adjustment time.

That said, the carriages are a lot more robust and stand up a lot better to being handled and abused when fitting all the bits and pieces. They do not warp or bend so much as laminated styrene.

However, the glued components will break apart if they are subject to a shock such as being dropped on the floor. Yes, I've found that out the hard way a couple of times!

I can see me making quite a few more resin carriages in the years ahead.

Monday, 3 February 2014

A Little Filler

Removing the rivets isn't the only alteration that is required on the front tank of the Backwoods kit to turn it from a generic NGG16 into the WHR's 138.

Both the first pair of Garratts which were repatriated from South Africa had the tank filling hatches replaced with traditional circular ones giving way to a rectangular opening with a pair of doors which are hinged on either side.

I don't know the reason why this was done but my guess would be that it means you have a bit more leeway in how you position the locomotive beneath a water column.

So this is what Himself has come up with using a few bits of styrene.

You can see that it lifts off for access to the rear screw which holds the tank into the frame.

One thing forgot was it now required a bracket at the bottom of the tank to hold the rear screw, before it was held down by the tank filler screw hole on the top.

With the cosmetics taken care of now Himself is going to start work on putting the second chassis together to go under this lot.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Pantomime Horse

Well, it's the best description I can think of for the rear unit of a Garratt. On its own is it not the locomotive equivalent of the aforementioned theatrical animal?

Being serious, now, you can see that Himself has more or less finished the rear unit on 138 apart from the pick-ups, headlamp and something to represent the lubricator reservoir that sits just below the lamp and in between the sand units.

(And of course coal)

And a very fine job he's made of it too!

I thought perhaps you would also appreciate seeing that it is not just a static exhibit. He shot this brief bit of video to prove that all the wiggly bits wiggle as they should.

Now, onwards with the front half. Giddy up Dobbin!