Monday, 30 April 2018

Van With A Plan

My Dundas kit for the VoR van arrived just in time for the weekend and I managed to snatch a few minutes to see how I could use it as the basis of a model of the vehicle as it runs on the WHHR now.

The main issues to address are that these days the van has lost its matchboard sides, replaced by large, smooth panels, and windows have been cut into the ends.

The look out duckets are also gone.

My plan all along has been to make a new body shell from styrene, but looking at the injection moulded parts - which are as fine as you'd expect from Dundas - I decided it would be a shame to waste the solebars and the footboards which are nicely detailed and a stronger part than I could make myself in styrene.

So what I've decided to do is to try and cut them off and then graft them onto the bottom of new sides and ends.

I've already got as far as measuring and cutting out the blanks and making a hole for the window in the single door on each side.

Now I shall be getting out the fine strip and starting on the panelling.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Killing Time

I had a odd situation this week where I had an evening with an opportunity to spend a couple of hours doing modelling, but no obvious project to be getting on with.

This is most unusual.

If my Vale of Rheidol van kit had arrived I would have made a start on the BR blue WHHR van, but it hadn't, so I couldn't.

So instead I decided the best way to make use of the time was to get ahead of the game and get out the resin and cast the pieces for Superbarn 120.

This is an enormous gamble because I haven't yet seen any decent pictures of the latest FR carriage being built at Boston Lodge, let alone looked at it in person.

Perhaps it shows I'm getting complacent in my old age?

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Fiddly Furniture

I've had (yet) another of those spells where you suddenly realise to your horror that you've not got any meaningful modelling done for the best part of three weeks.

(I my case I blame the Easter holidays, a visit from relatives from the other side of the world and finding myself used as an unpaid chauffeur for the kids.)

Clearly this situation is unacceptable, and with Himself otherwise engaged this week the blog would have ground to a halt if I didn't pull my finger out and do a bit of work.

So I've been getting on with assembling the seats for the new observation car 152 from the castings I made around a month ago.

It's quite fiddly work completing the sixteen seats for the rear saloon which need to have the arm rests created out of small pieces of square section styrene strip.

Twelve of them are fixed back-to-back to be located at the window pillars.

The carriage body is with Himself to have the brass roof and the front window pillars made up in brass so these seats will be set aside until it comes back to me for the interior to be fitted,

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Garratt In The Gap

Having fixed the last bits of rock onto the sides of Cutting Mawr and added various bits of infill and foliage to finish it off Himself decided to pose 138 and a selection of carriages in there to show it off.

One of the things which really pleases me about it is that it's hard even for me to tell at a glance which are the genuine pieces of rock and which are those which had been cast in resin.

I have to run my fingers along them and feel for the cold ones just to be sure sometimes.

It's a vindication of the decision to try to save weight by making copies, although it's perhaps not the most cost-efficient way of doing it because you do get through a lot of RTV and resin.

I hope you enjoy these views because it's only possible to get angles like these when the layout is disassembled.

And if you'd like to see if with your own eyes then come along and see us at Narrow Gauge East at Bressingham in June.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

On The Wind Up

It's provocative enough us giving a run out to our model of Russell on Bron Hebog and we could see even more muttering with what I'm thinking about as my next project.

If the pictures had emerged a couple of days later you'll have thought the WHHR painting their ex-Vale of Rheidol guards van in BR blue livery was an April fool.

I've always had a thing about the blue livery on the Rheidol, it takes me back to my childhood, and one day I'd really like to have a model of one of the Swindon engines in that condition.

We'll need a brake van to run in the WHHR train I'd like to assemble, and this van has made it to Beddgelert on the test trains, albeit in a brown colour scheme.

There is a Dundas kit for these vans, although they're in original condition with matchboarding and lookout duckets.

My plan would be to employ chassis from the kit and use the sides as guides for making alternative sides from styrene.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Welsh Weather

So in the end we poked around in the collection of old paint cans, as you do, and thought we'd give this a try.

I think it'll do the job for now.

It's very neutral and to my eye at least gives the impression of a dull, overcast day.

(Not that you ever get many of those in the top left hand corner, of course....)

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Scene But Not Seen

Himself has finished the woodwork for the backscene.

That was the easy bit!

The difficult bit is deciding how to decorate it and I don't mind admitting that we're both in a bit of a quandary.

What sort of colour or effect should we be going for?

Any advice or suggestions are most welcome because the situation here, frankly, is that one of us is colour blind and the other hasn't progressed much in the artistic department from drawing stick men in playschool.

There's the potential to ruin with some very subtle scenic work on the layout with a backscene that sticks out like a sore thumb.


Monday, 16 April 2018

Away From Prying Eyes

The task of completing the pre-exhibition snagging list continues.

(You have got Narrow Gauge East at Bressingham at the start of June in your diary, haven't you?)

The job this weekend was starting to build a removable backscene screening off the fiddle yard at the back of the layout.

I have mixed feelings about backscenes.

On the one hand, as a visitor to exhibitions I quite like to be able to see what goodies they've got lined up in the sidings to whet the appetite.

On those occasions when you are the exhibitor, though, I also feel the opposite urge to want to keep things hidden.

Running a layout is like putting on a performance and you want our audience to be concentrating on what's being played out on the stage, not watching the actors waiting in the wings.

You also feel you'd like to maintain the element of surprise about what's coming down the tracks next.

With neither of us having a particularly artistic bent we're not about to attempt to paint a scene onto the plywood.

In the long term I suppose we could look into getting a panoramic picture of the slopes of Moel Hebog printed out and pasted onto it, but for the moment Himself will most likely just give a wash of paints to represent a untypically overcast Welsh sky.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Depths Of Cutting Mawr

Himself has spent most of this week adding more rock, and resin fake rock, to the sides of Cutting Mawr.

It occurred to me that the picture I posted last time might not have given an impression of just how deep it is, so this time I thought I would pose one of the WHR saloons on the track to give you some perspective.

The bulk of the job is done now.

He's sent me away with a few more selected lumps of slate to mould and copy to finish off the inside wall and then it will be a case of infilling the gaps with rubble and foliage.

The irony is that most of this will be unseen.

Not only is the cutting so deep that you have to peer over the top to see into it but it's also 15 feet away from the front of the layout.

At least you know it's there, though.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Gold Leaf

Himself has begun applying the transfer lining to our new, old carriage 15 (if you can follow that logic).

This is an even more thankless task that on carriage 19 which completed not so long ago because there is even more of the fine gold lines and tiny weenie curves to be slid into position around the intricate beading on what are reputed to be the UK's first bogie carriages.

At the moment he's just done the very start of one end, but it's a painstaking business but I'm sure the end result will look fabulous.

Once again he's using the Fox Transfers waterslide lining sets.

I suppose it may be some consolation that it's no easier doing it on the real carriage where all of this detail is applied in an equally intricate fashion using genuine gold leaf.

If you've never been to one of the FR's Victorian Weekends you really should make the effort to go because the restoration, rebuilding and recreation of the vintage carriage fleet is something to behold when you see them all brought out and being played with.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Keep On Rocking

Himself has started work on the last major scenic operation on Bron Hebog, completing the rock lining of Cutting Mawr at the back of the layout.

Most of it is not actual rock, but it is a perfect copy because I made moulds from pieces of genuine North Wales shale which I cast copies of in resin.

Himself has given them washes with a variety of acrylic colours and they are fixed into position by being pressed into a bed of plaster.

It does look very deep, doesn't it!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

You Can't See The Join

Now it's had a coat of primer on it I can asses how good a job I made of the conversion of WHHR carriage number 7, chopping off the top of the sides of the Dundas kit and adding the row of windows.

If I say so myself you wouldn't be able to tell that it wasn't meant to be like that.

Himself is also planning to add a few finer details, like slicing off the moulded handrails and door handles to replace them with brass ones - you can just make out the holes he has drilled to accept them.

He's also replaced the plastic air brake pipes which come with the kit and has made up his own from wire.

On with the painting now.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Bogie Bearings

The first of our WHHR carriages is on wheels now.

While the plastic used for the injection moulding in the Dundas kit is nice and soft for cutting and altering when I was kit-bashing the body, these days they're now using it for the bogies as well.

This means that it's a very necessary precaution to drill out the axle boxes from the inside and fit some brass cup bearings.

With Bron Hebog being a very long layout by 009 standards the chances are that left in their original state the pin points on the wheel axles would very quickly bore out the locating holes in the bogie
frames leading first to loose wheels, and then eventually, no wheels.

This was certainly our experience with Dduallt so we're taking no chances with the even longer run.

You can see in the picture that he has also soldered an extension to the Greenwich coupling so it can be glued into position on the bogie.

Next it's onto painting the carriage in a mix of green and brown shades which is never going to end well for Himself, alas....

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Comfy Seats

It's been a quieter period on the modelling front for me.

The one small job I have managed to get done is casting the seats to go in the Superbarn observation car 152.

The castings are fresh out of the moulds and so still need their flash cleaned up.

Bucket seats in the front saloon come in two halves which need to be glued together and the big arm chairs for the back will require me to add legs at the front and arm rests in styrene.

They will be fixed back-to-back before they're put in place in the carriage.

There's no hurry to have them ready because the body shell is at the back of the long queue of work in progress with Himself to fit the brass roof and the window pillars at the front.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Tools Of The Trade - 2

Although Himself's in no hurry to begin the Robex Gelert project he couldn't resit having a fiddle to see how the Fleischmann chassis would fit within the 3D printed body, and I couldn't resist giving it a test run to check whether the chassis (which has been sitting in a drawer for more years that I care to remember after being bought on German ebay) actually worked.

The short answer is that it did, and made a very ghostly sight running around Bron Hebog.

Now, anyone who's ever modelled one of these Bagnall tanks will know that the design is very rear heavy, even in featherweight 3D form, and the pony wheel is essential to keep the front driving wheels on the rails.

Well yet again Himself's hoarding of 'bits that might come in useful one day' has come to the rescue.

In his former life working on pianos he saved some little cylindrical lead weights (they're used to counter-balance the keys) and it turned out that one of these was a perfect fit inside the hollow smokebox, and also the perfect weight to balance the loco on the track without a pony wheel in place.

So remember that the next time someone near and dear to you is ordering a clear-out and tells you: "you're never going to use that stuff,  you know......."