Friday, 28 April 2017

The Leveller

For the first time since I began building it the house is sitting straight and level.

The wonkiness is part of the design because the ground slopes up from the front to the rear, and because these houses have a few courses of brickwork on show below the render I have to make them with the bottom of the walls following this profile.

In order to stop the building leaning when we put it in place on the layout I add these foundations with styrene sheet fixed to the inside surface of the walls.


This has a number of functions as well as making the house sit level.

It is a surface that I can glue the three brick courses onto, using pieces of embossed styrene for the job.

The deep foundations also give us a lot more scope to build the scenery up around the house and 'plant' the structure in the landscape rather than sitting on top of it, if that makes sense.

You will also notice that I have added the chimney since the picture I posted two days ago.

The remaining tasks are the brick courses, the ridge tiles, window ledges and guttering.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Bit On The Side

Just when I was thinking that I had finished the main structure of the house I remembered there was a small extension I had to add onto the side.

This is the wall which faces the public at exhibitions so I can't really ignore it.


I've had to make a few assumptions with this.

From the images on Google Street View I make out the basic shape and position of this extension, but as it sits behind a solid garden fence I can only make a guess as where there might be any windows and doors.

The only purpose I can see for a small addition to the building here is to act as a porch and it doesn't look to me like there is a door in the wall at the side or to the front, so I've presumed there's one at the back.

In fact, the whole of the rear of the house is guesswork.

I had no images to work from to I supposed that as the front of the house is a mirror image of another of the houses in the estate which we have already made then I would copy the outline with the position of the windows and the doors reversed.

I think maybe some tactical shrubbery is required when we come to landscape around it.



Monday, 24 April 2017

Red Lilla

Himself has put his repairs to the cab front of our 3D print of Lilla to the test by giving the body a coat of primer.


The join is not quite invisible but it doesn't stand out especially, the only difference to the rest of the model is that the lines are vertical rather that horizontal.

Now the body has a coat of paint, rather than the translucent finish of the print,  you get more of an idea of the quality of it.

In places, particularly the rear cab sheet, I am surprised just how visible some of the lines are, even having opted for the best quality print.

Despite that I remain impressed with the way the body has been designed, and it is clearly a very impressive technology.

For the moment, however, it is clear that it cannot compare to the quality of finish that can be achieved with etched brass or injection moulding.

The one consolation is that the pictures of the recent repaint of the real Lilla at Boston Lodge show just how rough and pitted the surface of the platework is, so perhaps by the time our engine has been top-coated, and lining distracts the eye, the imperfections of the 3D print might not be quite so obvious.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Roofing Begins

I have started to fit the roof to the latest house.


It appears at first glance that it might be simple but in fact these pieces are very complicated to cut and fit.

The lower section was particularly tricky because it needed a slit in the middle and a slice out of the right hand end to fit around the wing walls either side of the recessed gallery window.

The upper piece also has to be done carefully with its double dog leg

I'll be moving round to the front of the house next but that also has its challenges with a piece which needs to fit around the dormer window and the section on the top of the garage which includes a tongue which goes up into the bottom of the gully.




Thursday, 20 April 2017

Last Windows In

It's always hard getting back into the modelling groove after a week on holiday but I did manage to restart work on the house and get a couple of hours in.


I've finished off the main structural elements of the walls of the house now, adding the dormer to the upstairs room nearest the camera and the wall on the opposite side with the gully that connects it to the opposite side of the building.

The long gallery window at the back, which is a feature of a number of the houses in the development, has been made up and fitted into place.

The obvious next step is to cut and fit the sections of slate roof.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Faerie Queene

Our Britomart is finally complete.


The name and works plates have been fixed on and she's been reunited with that wonderful little chassis.


You only really see just how dinky the loco is when you see it lost in the middle of the expanse of Bron Hebog and sitting next to one of our NGG16's.


The project has been a slow burner but I'm really delighted with how it's turned out.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

It Came Off In Me Hand

Our first adventure in 3D print modelling has got off to an interesting start.

I mentioned in my first post after the arrival of our body for Lilla that Himself's first impressions were that it felt flimsy - we'll he's just discovered quite how delicate they really are.


The print came with what we assume was a blow hole in the cab roof where there is supposed to be a small hole where the safety valve pops out.

Himself had used Milliput to fill the gap and was working to smooth that out, holding the model with a finger on the front of the cab, when it went clean through the very thin panel between the spectacles.

What you see in the picture above is the repair job he's done with some styrene.

A number of other small and vulnerable bits have also been knocked off during attempts to polish the surface - the supports on the end of the springs and the handrails in the cab for instance.

These can easily be replaced with styrene or brass, so it's no big deal.

While it's very impressive that these small details can be printed it does leave me wondering whether it's wise that they should be?

Due to the nature of the way the print is built up modellers are still going to want to smooth and polish off any obvious ridges - even with the best quality products - however it's clear that they must be handled extremely carefully while doing this.

Perhaps instead of trying to create something that is as near as ready to run standard as you can get it, might be better to treat these prints more like scratch-aid kits, leaving the modeller to add finer details in other materials?

Or maybe it's just Himself being all fingers and thumbs after decades working with white metal and brass?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Also In the Carriage Works

Welsh Highland brake coaches are quite the fashion at the moment.

On the real railway Boston Lodge has been converting one of the original series of Winson-built saloons into a vehicle with a on-board toilet and storage for catering supplies.

It will re-enter service renumbered from 2041 to 2091, continuing a series which started with the original brake coach from the first set, 2090.

This has also undergone many modifications over 2 decades in service but our model remains in the condition it was first delivered to Dinas.


Ours too have also undergone a programme of improvements over the years, with the bogies being swapped from the plastic Nine Lines L&B wagon bogies we began with to my own fold-up brass and resin SAR diamond frame bogies, a pair of which have just been fitted to our 2090.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Service Car Sprayed

Our latest carriage, the service car 125, is just about finished.


It's been given a coat of matt varnish with the aid of an airbrush and there are just a few details to finish off before it's ready to join the rest of the Superbarn fleet.

The footsteps at the doorways need to have their yellow safety line added along the front edge and there are also those pesky handrails to fix in place either side of the passenger entrances.



After that it will just be a case of slipping the glazing pieces into place.

There is previous post about these describing how we painted the back of the clear styrene to create the effect of the blanked out panels in the kitchen area and, of course, the toilet.

Of course what the service car really needs is its running mate 150, but I won't show you a close up of that until it's completely finished.


Monday, 10 April 2017

Tool Box

Here's a closer look at Britomart, one of the models which were being given a coat of varnish in the previous post.


Himself has fixed in place a couple of the finishing touches including the oil can on the back corner of the running plate and the rather natty wooden tool box which is perched on the top of the saddle tank in front of the cab.

The final job is to fix on the nameplates and the Hunslet works plates which have been etched for us by Narrow Planet and then slot in the chassis.

It's a beautiful little model and I look forward to it appearing on many special charters and 'jollies' on Bron Hebog in due course.



Saturday, 8 April 2017

Soft As Satin

Himself has been saying for months that he would wait until the weather turned warmer to catch up on his backlog of painted models which require a final coat of satin varnish.

Now the clocks have gone forward he's decided it's time.


The models you can see here - split into their constituent parts - are the new Britomart, the service car 125 and the observation car 150.

The latter is an interesting case.

I have restrained myself from posting any pictures of it while it was being lined out because I intended to do a big reveal when it was finally finished.

That was around Christmas time, though, and my resolve appears to have weakened.

The one thing preventing us from considering it properly finished is that Himself needs to think of a way too represent the curtains in the window of the rear saloon.

All suggestions appreciated, I'm sure.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Front Rooms

Finally we have four walls connected - or to be more correct, four elevations - because these houses are made up of umpteen segments.


The new bits in this picture are the walls at the front left.

The upper one has a dormer window and is suspended a few feet in front of the ground floor one creating a sheltered area in front of the main entrance door.

There is still one very tricky bit to do in adding on the other side wall which creates a distinct gully in the roofline between the two halves of the upper floor.

It is, however, undeniably beginning to look like a house, and unmistakably like an Oberon Wood house, too.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Put The Rubbish Out

Another of the distinctive features of the houses in Oberon Wood is that many of them have these built-in cupboards with slim, slatted doors for keeping the bins or your mop and bucket in.

The flats on South Snowdon Wharf next to Harbour station are the same.

That's the bit I've been working on these last couple of days.


As you can see this bit of wall also includes the front door and a full length window plus a sloping roof, just to keep me on my toes.


Even more entertaining is that, as you can see above, it still doesn't connect with any other bit.

You have to be so careful when putting these house models together or you'll end up with something really wonky looking.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Bald Yins

I don't know how much excitement it's possible for narrow gauge modellers to take - and I know I'm late with the breaking news here - but the first of the Bachmann Baldwin tanks have broken cover.

(I nearly required fresh underwear, I don't mind admitting.)

Photo: Bachmann

These follow on from Heljan's L&B Manning Wardle models and are also expected to go on sale before the year is out.

We're hugely excited by these models because a Baldwin 4-6-0 is an iconic WHR loco, although very much in the modellers' licence zone as far as modern day Beddgelert is concerned, but we can dream.

The other reason is because I had never expected us to be able to have a realistic model of one of these locos,

Yes, there have been body kits around for a long time but no way of getting a chassis with the proper wheel arrangement - with the big gap between the 2nd and 3rd driving axles - unless you built your own from scratch (which I did once see done beautifully in a magazine article).

We've already got our reservation in with the lovely people at Festshop.

These engineering prototypes looked to have captured that perfectly as well as all the messy plumbing (to the eyes of those brought up on British designs) and I'm really looking forward to getting to see if they've captured that top heavy, about-to-roll-over-any-moment look of the real thing.

Hopefully the extra 1mm in the gauge hasn't spoiled that.