Saturday, 30 July 2016

B Side

Or perhaps, to be pedantic, it should really be the C Side.

C as in Clock.

Whatever, this is the other main bodyside piece of 150 (the landward side) which has had its second layer of detail added and has been glued onto a piece of thick styrene sheet ready to be used as a master.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Cast First Time

There's nothing quite so encouraging as a new master and mould producing a perfect casting at the first go.

So this is the 'engine side' casting.

Now to get on with finishing the master for the 'clock side' and I can begin to think about actually putting something resembling a carriage body together.

Exciting times ahead!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Engine Side Mastered

I think the first side of 150 is ready to be covered in pink gunge to make one of the two moulds which I will require.

Fortunately this carriage does not have as much intricate beading detail as other FR carriages so it only took around a hour to get this done.

Details worthy of note are the use of small, pre-shaped triangles which are glued into the corners of the main body panel to give the rounded look.

I've also stuck on small pieces of brass wire at the left hand end to represent the hinges on the 'secret door' in the observation saloon.

This is what is known on the FR as the 'engine' side of the carriage (a term relating the location of items within the old erecting shop at Boston Lodge, the engine in this case being a static one which drove the overhead machinery shafts) but for everyone else will be understood as the side which faces out to sea when standing in the platform at Harbour station.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Fresh Air

Himself has set a new benchmark in the drive for customer satisfaction with the glazing for the Disco Car.

My customer - who is on an ultimately futile mission to recreate his lost youth, but don't tell him that - asked to have his model of 121 finished as if it were in the middle of a rave-up at Dduallt with all the windows wedged wide open to ventilate the sweaty specimens within.

It's not the best photo in the world but you can see that Himself has done his best to oblige.

There are just a couple of jobs left to complete the model.

The numbers need to the added to each end, the roof requires a final coat of paint and there are door handles to fit before it receives a coat of varnish and is ready to hand over.

Friday, 22 July 2016

New Doors

Part of my plan for building Observation Car 150 is to make use of my existing masters / moulds for the single doors and the corridor end.

It isn't quite as simple as that, though. (When is it ever?)

The doors on 150 are a little fancier than your standard (3rd class) Superbarn, naturally.

The superior touch is the rounded corners at the top of the beading on the door.

What I have done, as you can see here, is to fettle two of my existing castings with some small pieces of shaped styrene glued in the corners which I will use as a new master.

I guess I must be getting lazy in my old age.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Side One

The most rapid and dramatic progress during a carriage build comes right at the start of the process when I make up the first of the body sides.

It only took around half an hour to fabricate the first part of what will be one of the masters for the resin body shell.

What you see here is the base layer made out of 20 thou styrene and strip which will have a second layer of beading detail added on top top complete it.

I make these up on a sheet of glass placed above a scale drawing.

I use a miniature guillotine to chop up the strip and when I glue each pillar in place I use the end of a metal ruler to ensure that each one is fixed as close to vertical as possible. Checking and any fine adjustment is done later using a set square.

Once all the pillars are in place I measure and mark at each end where the cant rail should go, then using that metal ruler again as a guide I chop them all off to the same height and fix the strip along the top.

(This is where I use the set square to check none of the pillars are wonky)

The final stage on this carriage is to cut and glue into place another horizontal strip to represent the toplight windows.

I used an off-cut of 60 thou strip as guide to ensure they are all fixed at the same height before adding in the little pieces that divide the toplights in half.

I shall make the opposite side, next, and ensure it is identical, before going on to add the second layer.

If you'd like to know more about my scratch building technique you'll find an illustrated, step-by-step guide elsewhere on the blog.

Monday, 18 July 2016


I have begun work on 150 which has meant tackling one of the trickiest bits right from the outset, the subtle reverse curve on the waist line of the carriage at the front end.

What's trickier still is that it needs to be done twice and they need to be identical as far as possible.

The next step will be to add the window pillar sticks and the cant rails along the top.

My intention is that these two sides will be used as masters to make resin copies which will make up the main bodyside along with the vestibule doors and the corridor end which will also be cast.

The curved section at the front...I haven't come to a firm decision on that yet.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Above & Beyond

My appeal for a few measurements of Observation Carriage 150 to check the accuracy of my homemade drawing has been answered - and in spades.

My secret agent went out and took a whole series of measurements along the body and went the extra mile and a half and produced this handy graphic with the figures in imperial and metric.

How's that for service!

The data did show a slight inaccuracy in my drawing, although not what I was expecting.

My concern was to confirm that 150 is longer than a standard Superbarn - which this exercise proved - but I was surprised to find it was around six inches longer that I had drawn it.

I have revised my drawing and now we're good to go.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Design Time

Before I can begin on a model of 150 I'm going to have to create my drawing for it because apparently there is no such thing as an official one.

It rather begs the question about how they ever managed to build the real carriage, but such is the mysterious world of Blodge....

Anyway, back to my drawing.

I've made up this first draft using some measurements Himself took for me.

The difficulty I have is that I don't have any values for the overall length of the carriage.

Himself provided me with measurements for the widths of the various windows and I've used those as the basis for this plan.

What is concerning me just a little is that the carriage comes out at a smidgen longer than one of the standard Superbarns (that's a technical term, you understand) and now I need to ascertain whether that is correct or not?

One person I asked - who should certainly know - told me I'm on the right lines, but being the diligent journalist I am I would like to get that from a second source before I commit to using this drawing.

So I have tasked one of my secret agents to sneak up on the real carriage and take some more measurements for me.

I shall report back when the intelligence reaches me.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Venting Frustration

I don't think I've ever had a model before where I have left off so many bits in error.

Himself was getting on towards the final stages of painting the 'Disco Car' when he spotted something missing from the roof - the vent from the gas boiler compartment.

As it happens it's an easy part to knock up from a lump of styrene and glue it on, which is what he's done.

It wasn't as if I'd completely overlooked the vent.

It was on my mental 'to do' list but somehow got forgotten about in my excited rush to declare it 'finished' and get onto the next project.

Still, looking on the bright side, the paint job is looking good.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Don't Forget The Bogies

There I was thinking I was almost done with 117 and ready to hand it over to Himself to knock up a brass roof and solder up some of the pesky Superbarn handrails (he hates it when I make him do those) when I realised I hadn't made up the bogies yet.

These days all my new FR carriages are being built with our own design of authentic FR carriage bogies using a fold-up brass base (produced for us by Narrow Planet) and some detail castings which I turn out to glue on top.

'Top Hat' bearings are soldered into the frame to hold the Parkside Dundas wheelsets and they run like a dream.

These pictures show the bogies folded and soldered (top) and then with the castings pushed on and glued into place (below).

The final stage, which is not shown here, is to add a section of 80" styrene on top of the stretcher so they can swivel beneath the chassis properly, but equally you could to this by putting a deeper pivot on the chassis.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Screen Time

I remembered one last job I had to do on the inside of 117.

(I told you that snagging lists were never ending.)

It's the small screens that divide the saloon from the vestibules.

You can see from the picture that I knock these up from styrene and I've glued them to the inside of the body rather than have them fixed to the floor with the seats.

This was another job where I was very pleased with the new slow-bond super glue I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

With a task like this it's good to be have half a minute or so to make fine adjustments to the positioning but also know that you will get a firm fix very soon after that.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Bits You Don't See

My carriage roofs are multi-functional.

They're made as a styrene laminate.

Part of its purpose is to help keep the top of the bodyside straight and give the shell some strength.

Where there is a plastic skin being curved over the top then I also mount some ribs which help the top surface to keep its shape.

Lastly, I glue some strips on the underside which the hold the top edge of the glazing in place and, along with the seats and tables, keep it up tight against the inside of the windows.

That's what you can see in the picture here.

It's usually the last job I do before bonding the roof in place but not this time because, as has become our way with the Superbarns, I shall ask Himself to cut, bend and fix a brass roof to the carriage.

Monday, 4 July 2016

I'm Glad That's Done

So in the end I decided to tackle one of my least favourite jobs: the corridor connections.

Might as well get it out of the way, I reckoned.

I'm not too keen on it mainly because it's both fiddly and slightly boring at the same time.

The fiddly bit is joining the three bits of strip together the make the U section.

The boredom comes because you have to do that six times, and then after that there's a lot of filing and sanding work to round off the corners so they look at least something like bits of rubber folded over.

I'm always glad I've done it though because I think it's really essential to getting the look of  FR corridor stock right. 

It's just that I never look forward to having to do it.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Four Steps At A Time

When a carriage gets to this stage of a build you end up with what seems like an ever-lengthening list of small details to complete it.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that you can begin knocking them off in a spare 10 or 15 minutes, which happens to be all the time I've had in a single session just recently.

The latest progress is that I've fixed on the footsteps at each corner of the underframe and I've also fixed on some small bits of strip which represent the brackets underneath the bodysides.

These are a distinctive feature of the Superbarns.

There is no shortage of these small jobs, the trouble is I can never decide which one to tick off the list next.