Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Rock Formation

So it's time to put my rock casting plan into action.

One of the first hurdles to overcome is how best to make the mold.

Most of the time the masters I make are glued onto a sheet of styrene, and, crucially, they have at least one flat surface and very little undercut.

Neither is true of the pieces of rock we are making copies of, and I'm not especially keen on using acres of fresh styrene sheet either. (Have you seen the price of it recently?)

So what I've hit on is to borrow a technique from two-part molding and place the piece of rock on bed of modelling clay which is stuck onto a reusable wooden board, and then has a styrene box built around it.

This then has the RTV poured into the box in the usual way and once that's set I can begin casting copies.

One of the things which I have noticed already in casting the first few pieces is how fast the resin sets.

Compared to the carriage and wagon sides I usually cast, which are comparatively thin, these rocks are quite thick in places and it's noticeable how much more heat is generated as the two parts of the resin cure and harden in front of your eyes.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Oberon Gets Its Wood

Himself has spent the week on a tree-building binge.

(I've no idea what's come over him because it's a job he hates.)

Anyway, he's made enough to plant the hillside on top of Goat Tunnel.

Here's a view which you very rarely see, as if you were standing on the famous PB&SSR 'Bridge to Nowhere'.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Little Train Meets Big Train

Himself was down in Wales a week or so ago volunteering on what was once known as 'Kids Week', the FR's pioneering, and long-running, event to enthuse the next generation of volunteers.

He took with him our model of the new observation carr 150 so that it could be inspected by some of the team who built the real one.

While poking around the carriage works to gather information on what they're building at the moment he posed it for a photo on the front window ledge of the follow-up 152.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Done My Bit

The new 118 is ready to pass over to Himself for all the finishing off and the painting.

I usually leave it to him to do all the tricky metalwork such as bending the brass roof skin and fitting the brake pipe which runs all along the carriage, weaving this way and that.

There's also the devilish handrails to fabricate to go either side of the doors (he hates doing those) and the vacuum pipes to fit.

I've made up a pair of our brass and resin bogies but they'll need some precision violence to make sure they can swing enough for the tightest curves on Dduallt and they also need to be fitted with Greenwich couplers.

So actually it's quite a long way from being finished.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

School Of Rock

One of the major jobs left on Bron Hebog is to complete the rock faces of Cutting Mawr.

As long-term followers of our layouts will know, up until now we've been in the habit of using real Welsh rock as a scenic material, but that does have consequences for the weight of the layouts (and the poor team who have to carry them in and out of venues when we're exhibiting).

So Himself has decided that the time as come to experiment a little.

We still believe that nothing has an authentic texture quite like the real thing so he has set me the challenge of seeing whether I can replicate a few pieces in resin.

This should be easy enough, although I'm going to go through a job lot of RTV silicone and a fair bit of resin too.

The challenge for him will then be to paint them to make them look realistic.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Seats Are In

I'd saved up one of the most satisfying jobs of the carriage-building process to a moment where I had the time to enjoy it.

So with a the prospect of an undisturbed evening at the workbench ahead of me I sat down and fitted the seat and table units to 118.

These are my own modular design which I cast in resin and - with just a little bit of filing here and there - fit like a dream with the seat backs all lining up with the window pillars.

It's a very nice feeling to see something you designed and produced working so well in practice and it really takes the bind out of producing carriage interiors from scratch, which could be very time consuming.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Pips

After the trauma of fitting the truss rods (every time!) making up the boxes which represent the various things hung under a modern FR carriage - such as the diesel-burning heating unit and the associated fuel - is child's play.

Of course, no model of the FR Superbarn carriages would look quite right if it didn't have something to represent the distinctive blocks along the side of the underframe.

In fact these are brackets which support the sightly wider wooden body which you can see on this shot taken earlier this week of the under frame of what will be 120 in the welding bay at Boston Lodge.

In my case I don't bother to try to make scaled-drown brackets, instead I just glue small cuts of styrene strip in the right places.

It looks effective as far as I'm concerned and that matters as much as rivet-counting accuracy in my book.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Doing The Chores

Everyone has tasks on a model project that have to be endured rather more than enjoyed.

As I wrote last time, for Himself it is making trees, and for me its always been making up the corridor connections.

It's not that they're particularly difficult to make, just slightly fiddly and drawn out with lots of bits of styrene to be cut, glued together and then shaped to make up the six finished pieces needed.

But they do look good, so it's worth it in the end.

The other job which I never look forward to is making up and fitting the truss rods which is just down to my pure incompetence when it comes to bending metal.

No matter how much care I try to take I can never get the angle of the bends correct at the first attempt, nor the holes in the floor which the ends are inserted into, which results in much tiresome faffing about.

It's just one of those necessary evils which has to be tackled as part of making a carriage but I'm always glad when it's done.