Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Big Rib

Once again I find myself lamenting that I've not spent as much time as I would have liked to at the work bench in the last week or so, but there has still been a little bit of progression on the 2047 project

I've cut and fit the laminated false ceiling which along with the chassis will help to keep the sides of the carriage straight, and in particular the delicate top rail along the top of the windows.

One piece of it rests on top while there is a slightly smaller piece beneath which sits in between the sides and stops them bowing inwards.

Along the top is the first of the longitudinal ribs which will help support the stressed styrene skin which I will fix in place over the top - these are to stop it bowing like a banana in the middle.

There will be another two lower ones glued on either side before the roof skin goes on.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Deep Purple

Himself has been seized by a mania for vintage carriages.

This is not a problem - indeed it is something I am doing all I can to encourage.

19 is making rapid progress having been primed and given a couple of coats of glorious deep purple livery since I last posted about it.

The tricky bit with this carriage will be attempting to replicate all the ornate gold leaf lining around the panelling.

Given the size of a 4mm scale model and the limits of how fine the transfers available are it will probably have to be some kind of lining-lite compromise.

The mania I mention is that he has also dug out a Worsley body for 15 in its current high-Victorian state in order to finish it off.

(It was purchased and soldered together a couple of years ago when we were making a new model of 16 and to our shame didn't initially notice that the one we had had windows in the ends and the one we needed, didn't. Opps!)

He's also talking about repainting, or replicating, our models of 17 and 18 which currently are Langley ones painted in the basic, two tone Mountain Prince livery as per their condition in 1988.

This is not entirely satisfactory because the etch for the bodies shows the full panelling but back in the 1980's this pair were running around with most of it stripped off. (Such different times!)

So option A is to dunk them in a bath of paint stripper and repaint them in their current livery BUT only if it is possible to replace the existing Grandt Line bogies with Dundas FR ones.

That will depend on whether there is enough room beneath for them to swing.

If not then he is talking about purchasing another pair of frets from Worsley Works and making complete new carriages.

As I said previously, I'm not about to stop him.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Bogie Swap

Building bowsider 19 has caused Himself to have a rethink about out existing model of its sibling, 20.

This was also built from a Worsley Works kit but we opted to go our own way on the bogies.

We used the same ones that are running under our Langley pair 17 and 18, which are plastic Grandt Line 'trucks' - plastic wheels and all.

25 years ago it seemed like a better option that using the fold-up brass bogies which came with the kits, but they've always wobbled like nobody's businesses.

So for 19 Himself has decided to try and fit a set of Dundas FR 3'6" bogies, but he was concerned about whether they would have enough swing tucked up between the bowsider's frames to get around the tightest curves on Dduallt.

Well, it turns out they do, so he's decided to retro-fit them to 20 as well, which also means mounting the coupling on the bogie (as opposed to a an independent sprung fixing) and chopping away a tiny bit of the frame beneath the balcony.

Hopefully there'll be a whole lot less wobbling going on now.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

One One Eight

Our latest Superbarn is passed for traffic.

(I'll be in trouble for writing that - officially we're supposed to call them Super Saloons.)

As the kids used to say, whatever!

So we now have a fleet of six of them - three of the original style and three of the later style with the big windows - to go along with the service car and the Obs 150.

I'm looking forward to being able to run all of them together as one rake when we show Bron Hebog at Bressingham in June.

It won't be long before I'll have to start work on the 7th of them because Boston Lodge are busy building number 120.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The Body Shell

It's time for the most exciting bit of a carriage build - gluing all the parts together to make a body shell.

The first task is to fix the sub-assemblies for the doors in place on each end of the main side pieces.

In the shot below you can see all the parts laid out.

And a few minutes later here they are joined together.

One of the things about gluing styrene pieces together with solvent is that they can twist and warp if you give them the opportunity so once the body parts are put together I am always anxious to make the floor piece to sit inside and stop any ideas it has about bending inwards like two back-to-back bananas.

The next job will be to drill the holes for the bogie pivot bolts and begin to think about making a roof.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Back To Work

I have managed to shake off the modelling malaise and found an hour or so to work on putting the beading onto the ends for 2047.

The truth is it wasn't so much a lack of motivation but a case of lots of other things to do which had kept me away from the workbench.

There's not much more to do on these now.

The corridor connections have already been made so it'll be very easy to glue them on.

When that's done in I won't be far away from being able to glue the 8 bits together to make up a body shell.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Pay Attention!

I'm kicking myself for falling for the oldest one in the book.

There I was merrily making bits for 2047, using our model of 2046 as a guide, without stopping to check that they are completely identical.

Talk about a beginner's error!

The difference I discovered was at the top of the doors.

Every other WHR up to and including 2046 had a solid panel, with beading, above the window.

What I hadn't clocked was that on 2047 this has been changed to a small glazed panel, the same as the FR Super Barn design.

Fortunately I noticed this while I was still working on detailing the sub-assemblies, so it was reasonable straightforward to chop the panels out and add in a bar at the top of each of the windows.

If hadn't noticed until I had glued the bits of the body shell together, or even worse finished the whole carriage, I would have been fuming.

Oh well, we live and learn, Or not, as the case may be....

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Detailing Doors

It's taken me long than I would have liked to get back into a modelling routine in 2018 and very little has been done at my end of the operation in the last couple of weeks.

I did receive my new stocks of styrene strip, however, and I have made a start on detailing the end door assemblies for the WHR saloon 2047.

At the moment they're about 75% finished.

I still have to add the droplights in the windows and there is the kick boards to be put beneath as well as the footsteps.

This is just one end of the carriage, there is another pair of single doors which I haven't started on yet and the ends as well.

So there's quite a lot to be done.

I have the materials now, I just need the time and the motivation.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Very Vintage Carriage

Sometimes models imitate reality in more ways that just appearance.

Our carriage 19 is a case in point.

The real one was the last of the FR's 'bowsiders' to be restored after the preservationists' took over, taking many years to get back into traffic.

Even then it didn't take them close on the near three decades it's taken us to complete our vintage carriage fleet.

Once upon a time, when we started modelling the FR in 009 there was only a kit available for one flavour of bowsider - the first pair 17 and 18, from Langley - and it wasn't until many years later that Worsley Works came up with a set of basic body etched for the second pair.

(The four are not identical, you see. This irritating FR habit goes right back to Victorian times.)

When we were first building Dduallt the intention was to have all the locomotives and rolling stock finished in the condition they were in in 1988.

That has withered away over the years and now our stock boxes are a right mish mash.

In 1988 19 was the last bowsider left in all over red livery and for a long time intended it to be at the top end of a full set of red carriages along with 11, 105, 106, 12, and 16.

I can't remember when we bought the etches for it but what I do know is that Himself made a start on it, then obviously got distracted by something else, and it has sat for years with the basic body and frame put together but that's all.

I made an interior for it, which you can see in the picture below, and that was when I was living in my previous house which we moved out of nearly 9 years ago!

Finally, though, its time has come and he's resumed work on it, fitting Dundas FR bogies and Greenwich couplers, making up the truss rods and soldering the roof on.

There's still the question, though, of what colour to paint it.

When the Victorian bogie carriages all went through extensive restorations at the start of this century they either emerged in incredibly ornate Victorian splendour or dowdy inter-war colours.

Unfortunately for Himself, 19 emerged in a rich dark plum livery, complete with gold leaf around the panelling, just like the curly roof van.

Very sportingly he's declared that is willing to give this a go.

The fun and games of painting it are a little further down the line.

The most immediate question is how we're going to reproduce the lamp pots along the roof?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Lovely Lined Lilla

So, after many hours of very delicate work, here she is - a lined out Lilla.

All she needs now is for the name and works plates to be fitted, which are currently on order from Narrow Planet.

As I'd hoped the lining really does help to draw the eye away from the inevitable imperfections of the 3D printed surface in places, although I have to say that the Robex body is one of the most impressive I have yet seen which is why we decided to take the plunge.

It is a shame that the motor and fly wheel is such a bloody great intrusion in the cab, but we shall do our best to disguise it with a portly locomotive crew.

To return to a theme in the post on the latest ready to run announcement a few days ago, we should be grateful to Minitrains for coming up with a simple, and very well running outside frame chassis which can be exploited by kit and CAD designers alike.

I can't wait to see her running on the layouts in due course.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Odd Jobs

I've hit a wall with the body of my new WHR carriage because I've run out of the right size of styrene strip for adding the beading detail.

My back-up plan of raiding Himself's stocks failed because he hasn't got any either!

So while I wait for fresh supplies to arrive I've had to think about what other jobs I could be getting on with to progress the model which is increasingly being built in reverse order.

The seats and tables have already been cast - that was the first thing I did - so instead I've soldered up a pair of bogies and glued on the castings with the axle boxes and suspension details.

For these latest WHR saloons I've made a new mould to represent the roller bearings and improved suspension which have been retro-fitted onto the former SAR wagon bogies at Boston Lodge.

For the fold-up brass part I can use the same etch which goes into my wagon kits.

I've also taken the opportunity to get my least favourite bit of a carriage build out of the way and fabricated and shaped the corridor connections which are very fiddly to do.

The new packets of strip should be hear soon and then I can begin detailing the door and end pieces which I made last week.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Small Is Beautiful

We're only a week and a half into 2018 but already we've had what I believe will be one of the highlights of the year - the announcement by Bachmann of a second series of ready-to-run 009 locomotives.

This time the subject is the iconic Quarry Hunslet - the so-called 'Alice class' small ones including the FR's Britomart.

This is phenomenal news for 4mm narrow gauge modelling.

I had heard from very good sources that this was in the offing, but I dared not believe it until I saw the confirmation which came at the weekend.

Rather strangely, you might think, this provoked intense debate on some 009-focussed social media groups.

Not because of the choice of prototype but just the fact it was happening at all, which I have to say I found very puzzling and also rather regrettable.

To me this news cannot be seen as anything other than a good thing.

How could we possibly object to 009 getting exposure and support from one of the big four beasts of the UK model railway scene?

(By which I mean, in no particular order, Hornby, Bachmann, Heljan and Peco - please don't write in.)

This is what many of us have been crying out for.

I suspect for a lot of us we hardly dared to believe it was possible.

Yet now we find that people are complaining that it is a bad thing, that it will damage 009, that it will stop people modelling.

I'm afraid I cannot follow the logic in that argument.

No one is born into this world scratch-building or constructing intricate etched brass kits.

Every single one of us started our love affair with model railways somewhere and I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that for the vast majority that began with a ready-to-run train set - and probably a OO one at that.

We have all followed our own paths and 'play with trains' in a way that makes us happy.

Some of us will have gone down a road that leads to us making our own kits or building from raw materials and others won't.

And that's all there is to it, when you boil it down.

It is a hobby for goodness sake!

As a group - as 009 modellers - to complain that we don't get any manufacturer support, and then when, at long last, we do, turn round and say it's a bad thing makes us look for all the world like a spoiled child who whines that they're hungry and then when they're presented with food turns their nose up at it.

I'm not aiming this at any individuals. Before anyone sets the comments section ablaze, this is not aimed at you.

However, being January, Burns Night will soon be upon us and I think it would be wise to take inspiration from Scotland's national poet:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

(If ye cannae understand that then just Google it!)

Of course, I suppose if anyone had legitimate reason to be peeved by the announcement and curse his luck it would be Himself.

Months after completing the very intricate task of painting and lining out our kit-bashed Brian Madge Britomart we could have waited and saved ourselves the bother.

But that would take the fun out of it, wouldn't it?

We're delighted about Bachmann's move and will undoubtedly be buying more than one of the new models - the variants without cabs - because both of us would like to have models of some of the other wee engines which have made guest appearances on the FR and WHR over the years, but with Brian Madges kits having become like the proverbial hen's teeth it was not looking like a realistic possibility any time soon.

Now all that has changed.

So we say thank you Bachmann!

I hope you will too.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A Start On The Doors

I got around to doing some actual modelling at last.

The next task on the WHR saloon 2047 is to make the base layer of the doors and the ends.

Like the FR Superbarns - sorry, Super Saloons - these carriages have the doors at either end inset so I build them as separate units to be glued onto the end of the central section of the body.

The WHR carriages are much wider, because of the more generous loading gauge, and they are also easier to make because they do not have the windows above the doors which extend upwards into the roof which make the FR carriages that much harder to model.

I've also made the first stage of the ends which are noticeably deeper and are tricky to fabricate with that curved top piece and the challenge of making sure you have positioned it perfectly centrally so you have the same overhang on either side.

I won't be able to start on the next layer, however, until I've got my hands on more of the right size of thin strips.

I could order some online or I could just raid Himself's stockpile.

Decisions, decisions....

Friday, 5 January 2018

Let There Be Light

A lot of the presents I received at Christmas were FR related in one way or another.

Between us Himself and I were given three most interesting books about the railway which will keep us both very happily entertained for many weeks.

For a long time I have coveted some LED lamps which he has on his workbench which cast a lovely bright, white light and I intimated that I'd quite like some too.

Another pleasant surprise was to be given a new, smaller, cutting mat which was handy because my existing one has not been perfectly flat for some while now and is starting to look very battle-scarred.

This is all the motivation I need to break out of the festive stupor and get back to work.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Ready For Varnish

Our sixth 'super saloon' is almost ready to join the fleet.

Himself has finished applying the top coat colours on 118 and the transfers have been put in place.

All that remains is for the body shell and the chassis - which is also on the shelf out of shot - to be given a coat of satin varnish with the airbrush, but I suspect he'll wait until Lilla is also ready and do them both at the same time.

Trying to keep up with the FR's modern carriage fleet is rather like chasing an empty crisp packet in a gale.

Although we're currently up to date the railway is about to overtake us again with the seventh in the Super Barn series, 120, under construction and the second of the new observation cars 152 essentially complete.

Both of those will be on my 'to do' list for 2018 but first I've got to get back to work on the WHR saloon 2047 which has been untouched since before Christmas.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Lilla Lining

Happy New Year to you!

I've got a rather nice picture for the first post of 2018.

Himself has been making steady progress with the second stage of the lining on Lilla, adding the thin red lines inside the pale blue which he put on first.

It's very delicate and painstaking work and what you see here is the result of a number of short sessions at the workbench because dealing with something as small as a quarry Hunslet in OO9 you quickly tire your brain and eyesight.

For the red lines he's switched onto the Kemco / Modelmaster waterslide transfers which are a little bit finer than the Fox product he used on the blue and the corner pieces have a smaller radius as well which works better for sitting inside the blue.

For the moment he's just got the 'clock side' of the loco done but it's clear that it's going to look stunning when it's finished.

Lining it out also has the benefit that, hopefully, it will distract the eye from the imperfect surface of the 3D printed body which still has many obvious horizontal bands despite his efforts to tidy it up.

I guess we've just been spoiled by having so many brass locomotive bodies in the fleet.