Friday, 31 July 2015

Just Ladders Left

I'm about ready to begin painting the water tank wagon.

Since the last update I've added a few more of the final details including the vacuum pipes and, in a very fiddly operation, soldered on some tiny lengths of brass wire to represent the levers on the valves on either end of the tank outlets.

The pipes were not straightforward either because on one end the outlet pipe passes behind the hose and I had to do it in such a way that the tank can still be taken off for painting - it won't be fixed down until the very last moment when I will also add the ladders.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

More Gardening

The new Oberon Wood houses are looking a little more established now Himself has been able to do some 'gardening' at the front.

The road through the estate has also been properly surfaced.

So this is basically how this scene will appear at Dinas in a few weeks time.

This segment of the layout is still very obviously a work in progress but I hope we'll be able to give a good impression of how it's going to look when it's completed.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Inlets & Outlets

I've spent the last few details beginning to add the essential details to the water tank wagon, such as the filler and the platform on the top and the two outlets on either end where Fireman Sam connects his hoses should it ever be required at a lineside incident.

The platform is a tricky little piece fabricated from styrene strip with etched brass mesh on top.

It was very flimsy and delicate while it was being made and didn't stand up to handling well, but now it's glued in place on the top with the mesh attached it is seems to be more solid. Lets hope it stands up to the rigours of service at model railway exhibitions.

I have also dug out my trusty resin rivet transfer sheets to add the detailing along the frame.

There are also half a dozen grab handrails to be fitted along the frame before the chassis and tank are painted - still as separate units.

Only when they are painted and finally glued together will I be adding the ladders on either side.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

A Great Wee Show

There are just 7 weeks to go now until we take the layouts - note the use of the plural - out on the road.

I may be biased but I think this has the makings of one of the best narrow gauge model railway exhibitions anywhere in the UK this year.

You can see a full list of the layouts which will be on show at Dinas here and there are a few of them which I'm really looking forward to seeing with my own eyes for first time.

It could be the last ever chance to see Bron Hebog and Dduallt running, including for us, the team, so I hope as many people as possible will be able to get along over the three days.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Mock The Week

The Artistic Director has been hard at work too.

He has produced a cardboard mock up of the farmhouse at Cwm Cloch Isaf.

The design of the model is complete guesswork - we have only a handful of photographs taken from public rights of way to go by - so it's important to check that the scaling and the dimensions of the building look right in place on the layout before finalising design on paper and handing the plans over to me to produce the finished version in styrene.

The other very obvious missing feature in the middle of the layout is the barn which sits in the middle of the S bend.

Like the water tower at Beddgelert station this is another one of those structures where we're going to have to pick a moment in time in which to depict it.

When we were first researching the layout, back in the days when the railway was only running to Dinas, this building was a neglected ruin.

Today it has been transformed and redeveloped.

Our version will be somewhere in between when it was in the early stages of rebuilding.

This is going to mean even more work for me because the front half will have to be roofless and that means scribing the stone walls inside as well as out!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Tank Trial

So, here we go. The tank is resting on its supports and the wagon is on its wheels.

What do you reckon?

I think it's got potential.

Looking side-on at it it doesn't half look long!

As I don't have any of the finished stock for the layout here I've been holding up some scrap B wagon sides next to it and comparing it with photos I can find online to try and get some reassurance that it's roughly the right size.

The tank matches with the measurements I was given, and the DZ chassis is a known known, but you always have that doubt in your mind.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Saddle Up

While the tank is the big ticket item on the water tanker project there are quite a few smaller bits to make before I can think about fitting it into place.

Prime among these are the 3 cradles which it rests on atop the flat DZ wagon chassis.

As these need to be identical to each other the easiest thing to do is make one master and cast the three I need for the wagon.

I'm making this wagon without ever having seen it with my own eyes.

I do have the benefit of some research pictures taken for me by a friend, and another who ran a tape measure over it, but I've made an assumption here that the supports are in the form of a saddle rather thatn separate ones on each side - it's very dark under there and impossible to tell from the pictures I have.

If I've got it wrong I'm sure someone reading this will be quick to correct me.....

I have also been carrying out the alterations to the DZ wagon chassis.

It's not really possible to use the side castings from my flat wagon kit because they include the remains of the stanchions and door stops which have been stripped off the frame used for the water tank wagon.

So instead I have fitted plain lengths of styrene which I will decorate in due course with transfer rivets.

There was a similar issue with the ends so for this I have adapted a couple of castings from the ballast wagon kit which are uncluttered.

I've also put together a pair of diamond frame bogies for it run on.

Once the saddle parts have been cast I'll be able to see what it looks like with the tank on top!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Chocolate Buttons

I've cast the ends for the water tanker and at first glance they do look like something you'd find in the confectionery aisle.

Much trickier than casting this pair was to ensure the ends of the plastic tube they were to be glued onto was flat and square.

I spent best part of a day filing, sanding and then squinting at them from all angles before deciding it was probably as good as it was ever going to be and sticking the caps on.

It doesn't look quite like a railway tanker yet because it still needs to be dressed with a filler, ladders and outlet pipes at each end but I feel the project has taken a big step forward.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The Odd Couple

I've done all I'm going to do on 11 & 12 - now they're going to be sent off for Himself to add the finishing touches including glazing, an underframe on 12 and, of course, paint.

(Oh, and the small matter of bogies!)

At one time these carriages were identical, starting off as luggage vans, but over time they've ended up looking very different with 11 undergoing major cosmetic surgery and 12 having a radical operation to stretch it.

Now they're very much the odd couple.

My 12 now has an interior which was quite straightforward to make and fit.

Both carriages have also had their footsteps added and the electrical connections.

(I'll let Himself add the vac pipes because he makes them better than me.

11 has also had the handrails fitted at the back which are in place of the standard FR corridor connections.

Whether they will be finished in time for Bron Hebog appearing at the WHR Superpower event in September remains to be seen.

All I know is it's out of my hands now.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Working On The Water Tank Wagon

The time has come to make a determined effort to finish the water tank wagon.

I cast the DZ chassis a while back and many months ago I got my hands on a length of 22mm plastic tube for the main body of the tank.

What's been holding the project back - aside from all the other things I've been building - is the lack of something to use for the ends of the tank.

My idea all along has been to borrow from this legendary plastic kit.

You may recognise it as the Kitmaster / Airfix / Dapol oil tank wagon which has been around since the year dot.

We had a fleet of them when we used to model OO standard gauge.

The advantage is that the tank ends are separate parts which are ideal to be re-sized for the smaller diameter of the new WHR water tank.

The first step is to employ my trusty circle cutter.

As you can see from this pic of a trial run I've cut it a smidgeon on the large side so the edges can be filed down further to give it a nicely rounded profile where they join onto the tube.

My plan is to cut one disc and use it as a master to cast copies.

There's not a lot more I can do until the mould is ready.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Lower Deck

More progress on the revised fiddle yards with the track being laid on the lower level - the Porthmadog end of the layout.

Most of it is in position except for a couple of Y points which have still to be obtained.

The layout is not a mirror image of the upper end and the changes affect the shorter sidings.

This is due to the long sidings being towards the front at this end of the layout so by the time the fan of points has reached the back of the yard it has eaten into the space available for the short sidings.

As a result the furthest away road will not have a run round facility but will have an isolating section at the end and the train will have to depart before the incoming locomotive can be released.

Himself has also added an extra siding off the 3rd of the long ones which may well end up getting used to stable the Engineering Consultant's bridge inspection train!

Across the middle section of the yard the arrangement of the long sidings is identical top and bottom.

Himself has also made up the control panel at the bottom end and added all the switches and tape for the diagram.

The two blue lines at the right hand side will be for loco stabling.

Now it's time to turn it over, fit all the point motors and wire it up!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Extended Sidings

By discreetly squirrelling away some of his meagre pension into a secret slush fund Himself has saved sufficient pennies to buy some more point motors to complete the top layer of the extended fiddle yards.

This shot shows quite dramatically how we are going to be running either very long or very short trains on Bron Hebog

The long lines will be able to handle a 10 car modern WHR rake while the smaller ones on the left will be used for works trains or heritage rakes so only need to be long enough for an asthmatic England engine and a couple of bowsiders.

With such a stark division in the length of the roads the onus is going to be on the operators to ensure they match the trains dispatched from either end with capacity at the other terminal.

It would be dreadful thing if your opposite number was suddenly faced with an incoming double-headed Garrett consist with no where to put it.

I'm sure it would never happen on purpose.....

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Garden Design

There's been a degree of educated guesswork involved in landscaping the gardens of the three new houses on the layout.

We don't have many good pictures to work with from our research trips because a) it's not really the done thing to tramp into peoples' gardens unsolicited and start taking pictures - they tend to get a little alarmed - and b) the sides of Goat Cutting as so steep that it was out of the question to scramble up and take a peek over the fences.

So Himself has made a working assumption that the three houses have all got a patio of some degree and there is also a lawn.

(Which all seems quite reasonable to me)

Having created the basic shape of the land with chicken wire it is covered in a layer or two of Modroc.

Apologies to those modernists among you who find this technique distressingly traditional.

At the front of the houses there are some small areas of grass bank and rockery which have to be created in a similar manner.

Once the Modroc is set is is treated to a coating of plaster - horrors!

You can also see from this shot from above that the final shape of the roadway in the cul de sac has been formed and styrene kerb stones fixed in place.

Now we go away and find something else to do while this all dries...

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A Slap Of Paint

Before the landscaping is done around the new houses they have to be painted which is what Himself has been getting on with.

Fortunately because they are mostly whitewashed render this is more straightforward than it might otherwise be.

These properties are among the more colourful in the row, however, with some vivid blues and reds around the doors and windows.

The most delicate task was picking out the fake dry stone wall on the front of the garage attached to number 22. 

Next attention will turn to laying out the gardens at the back.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Future Plans

So what's next on the agenda?

Well, I've still got plenty of projects that I want to get completed in time for our appearance at WHR Great & Small II in September.

First priority is to build the interior for my model of carriage 12 (our 3rd incarnation of it) which is supposed to look something like this.

It's relatively straightforward so I'd like to think there's not much more than a week's work in that.

There are a few other foutery details to finish off on both of those carriages, like the vacuum pipes and the electrical connections, and then I shall send them off to Himself to fettle and paint.

I am also determined to get my WHR water tank wagon finished in time for the show at Dinas.

So far I have acquired the tube for the tank - for free! - and cast the main chassis block in resin.

What I need to do now is get hold of a Dapol oil tank wagon kit to rob it of the end sections and summon up the motivation to get on with it.

I also have designs for another two of the Oberon Wood houses ready and waiting.

The next ones on the list are those nearest the entrance to Goat Tunnel which begin a row heading down towards the front edge of the layout.

And when they're done, looming on the horizon like a recurring nightmare is new observation carriage 150.

I feel a headache coming on.....

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Room At The Back

The remainder of the first class interior for number 11 has been completed.

As well as the observation section at the rear the carriage has a compartment behind with four seats arranged around the central corridor.

It doesn't show up so well in the photograph here but the right hand seat at the back is wider than the other three, and the sliding door leading into the guard's compartment is offset.

I do not know if once upon a time this was considered to be a double seat and two passengers used to be expected to squeeze themselves into it but I doubt that's still the case now. Is it?

This compartment is also the only access point into the carriage for passengers but there is a second door, with a frosted glass panel and engraved FR crest, which separates it from the observation saloon.

With both doors closed and the train underway it makes for a very convivial little space for you and your companions.