Monday, 30 January 2017

Nearly Ready For Service

Himself has finished painting 125, the new FR Service Car, and all that remains is to give it a coat of varnish.

He did spot something I'd missed when I built it - the kick plates on the bottom of the doors.

Rather than attempting to paint them in situ he was quite canny and cut the pieces out of thin styrene and painted them black before gluing them into position.

The carriage looks very smart - and shiny - just now. I'm very happy with how it's turned out.

It may well be the case that' he'll wait until there are a few more models ready to varnish before firing up in the air brush, however.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Little Blue Engine

It's been waiting for a couple of years but finally our favourite Quarry Hunslet is getting painted.

The loco is built from a Brian Madge kit and it's an absolute beauty with it's accurate outside frames and very smooth running.

Leaving aside the Double Fairlie, I think it is fair to say that these little work horses are the quintessential Welsh narrow gauge locomotives and I know I'm not alone in having a very soft spot for them.

Although it's little more than a toy in terms of the FR locomotive fleet it has got all over the system over recent years giving us plenty of opportunities to bring it out for a play on Bron Hebog.

Ironically, the real locomotive is currently stripped down and the boiler is in the process of having it's 10 year inspection.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Scraping Completed

At last I can put my dental tool away because the final wall of the barn has been scribed and the seven walls are now joined together.

The effort now turns to the roofs.

The higher section, at the rear, is to be represented in a mostly complete state although there will be a number of slates slipped or missing, with some areas of daylight opening up.

The front section will have just the rafters remaining in a suitably distressed state.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


Much to my delight Himself has got straight on with the task of fitting the replacement wheelsets to our Welsh Pony in the hope of curing it's limp.

To do that he's had to strip the chassis and has removed the brass discs which were glued onto the plastic wheel centres to transplant them onto the new ones.

In the picture you can see that two of them have already been fixed and the others are setting with the aid of some hair clips to hold them in position.

There is no valve gear to deconstruct on an England engine, which is a good thing, but the main difficulty on this chassis is with the slide bars which have had to be bend by 90 degrees to remove the front wheels.

Attempting to remove the cylinder assembly would have risked the whole chassis falling apart, apparently.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

One Wall Left

Scribing the barn walls has advanced steadily, although I might have hoped to have got the job finished by now.

I am, however, onto the final section of wall, the gable at the rear which includes the window which I suppose gave access to the hay loft once upon a time.

Once that is fixed in place I can give it a try out in position on the layout before moving onto the roof.

Modelling that in an advanced stage of dilapidation is going to be interesting, but I hope, fun too.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Pony Wheels

For the last couple of years our model of Welsh Pony has been put to one side in a state of semi-completeness.

This is entirely logical in that the locomotive should (hopefully) turn a wheel again for the first time since the 1930's later this year, and once we get to see the completed locomotive we can finish ours to match.

There has been another reason, however, why it's been ignored, and that's because it was born malformed.

Alas, this is a lame pony.

The reason is that one of the wheels on the kit - which I understand has been withdrawn from sale and, somewhat appropriately, is now as rare as rocking horse poo - came with its axle hole drilled off-centre meaning the engine has always with run with a very pronounced lurch.

Fortunately for us, one of my contacts knows the kit producer and has been able to procure a spare set for us.

(Yes, I know they look like Small England wheels, but there is an etched disc which is glued on top to make them look like the Large England's more solid wheels.)

The challenge now for Himself is to see if he can get our little nag galloping along before the FR does.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Farmyard Scenes

There have been more little details added to the farmyard along with the (scale) miles of fencing going on the layout.

Some etched brass gates have been added around the place.

Himself as also cut, fitted and painted the resin breeze block wall I cast for him.

The whole area's still far too tidy, though, but it's getting there.

Monday, 16 January 2017

First Coat

The wild weather of late has kept Himself out of the garage which means he's made a fair amount of progress on painting the new Service Car 125.

The body has had a first coat of red and cream.

He also tells me that getting the black paint on the louvres of the generation compartment doors (and nowhere else) was a bit of a pain.

The interior is done and he's done a terrific job bringing alive the details on the bulkhead in the guard's area.

I hope we'll still be able to see it when it has the body on top again.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Cooking Fat!

He's done it again!

Not content with demolishing the Up home signal on Dduallt while Himself was away on holiday last summer, the other day the mischievous moggy was found taking a fancy to Bron Hebog.

In this case it was probably the sheaves of research photographs which made an irresistible place to perch, but I fear he'd find the the scatter just as comfy.

This will not be tolerated!

It reminds me of the joke about the man who comes back home from the pub a little worse for wear one night, trips over the family pet and declaims: "I'll kill that cooking fat!"

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Three Walls

So I've made a little progress with scribing the stone walls on the old barn, as you can see.

These are the walls for the smaller section at the front.

There will be a taller, four-sided structure that this attaches to in due course.

Each side was about and hour and a half's work so there's a chance I may get the basic shell completed by next week sometime.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Describing The Barn

After my last post about starting work on the model of the old barn a few people got in touch to ask about how I scribe stonework into the styrene?

(And a few others wanted to question my sanity...)

One of the questions was about what kind of tool I used.

I don't know exactly what it's called but this picture may help.

I've read some suggestions that it's some kind of dental tool - which rather puts me off ever going back to the dentist, if you ask me - but all I know is that I picked it up on a tool stand at an exhibition more years ago than I can remember.

I use the tool a the left hand end - the sort of pointy-spoon-shaped piece.

I hold the shaft very close to the bottom in the same way as you would a pen. The point is very sharp and it doesn't that that much pressure and a couple of passes to gouge out a convincing amount of styrene.

There are different types of plasticard, I know, but the stuff I use is probably a lot softer than you might think it is if you've never seen this done before.

The effect, I think, is rather good, especially at a distance.

The only problem is that the surface is much too smooth very rough or lumpy stones, but it's quite acceptable (to me anyway) for walls built out of Welsh slate blocks which can be quite flat.

Besides which, once it's six feet away from the viewer, as this will be, who is ever really going to notice?

Sunday, 8 January 2017


The new service car is going straight into the paintshop over at Himself's place.

Before it gets a coat of primer, though, he had to cut, fit and paint the glazing.


Yes, paint.

In what, I suppose, was an attempt not to make the new carriage not stand out too much in a rake of standard saloons they fitted windows even in places where they are completely obscured by the internal fittings.

In previous carriages there were solid panels in these spots but on 125 there is blacked out glass instead.

Our solution has been to carefully mask off the areas on the pieces of perspex and apply black paint to the innner surface.

And a metalic grey in the case of the toilet compartment.

I think the effect is going to be very realistic when the body shell is painted.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Barn Blanks

I've picked up my scalpel for the first time in 2017.

My first project this year will be to fill in one of the very glaring gaps on Bron Hebog, the old barn which sits in the middle of the S bend as the line climbs out of Beddgelert.

Usually with the buildings on the layouts it is cutting out the windows from the blank pieces which is the most bothersome task.

This model doesn't have so many of those to worry about, and even though I will have to scribe all the dry stone effect into the styrene what's really going to be tricky is depicting the roof.

You can't really see it from the angle in this photo but the smaller half of the building at the front was in a very dilapidated state at the nominal date we set the layout, even though some renovation work has taken place since.

There were many slipped slates and large areas where the rafters are exposed - it's going to be quite a challenge to get right.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Service Car Roof

Himself found the time for a litle light modelling in the run up to Hogmanay and cut, shaped and fitted the brass roof to the service car 125.

We use this solution on on the superbarns - rather than our usual method of styrene secured to a flat, false ceiling - because of the the inboard doorways at each end of the carriage.

Although the (slightly) larger WHR saloons also have inset doorways they have a flat section above them rather than the curved profile and the toplight above of the FR superbarns.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Breezy Does It

While Himself was busy inserting fence posts around the farm scene on the layout he took another look at our research photos and discovered that there were some walls missing.

Not your iconic Welsh dry stone walls, but walls built out of what you and I would probably call breeze blocks.

So he asked if I could knock some up by scribing into styrene?

Seeing how he was only needing around a foot of wall, in total, I agreed.

When I sat down to do it between Christmas and New Year, though, I realised I'd forgotten just how boring it can be.

By the time I'd scratched out six inch's worth I decided I couldn't face doing it another three times - because you have to do it on the back as well - and it occurred to me that there was no good reason why I shouldn't short circuit the process by using this first piece as a master and casting the rest.

Thanks to my inherent laziness I was able to leave the silicon rubber to set overnight and then the next morning, in the space of 2 hours, cast four sections which he can now use to make the 1 foot section of wall required.

So now I'm freed up to move onto the next project.

The bad news is that it also involves a lot of scribing into styrene and this time there will be no resin rescue option.