Thursday, 30 August 2018

Pipes And Hoses

I dropped the BZ wagons off with Himself at the weekend for finishing off the brake pipes and the couplings and told him there was no hurry.

Works a treat, every time.....

As you can see, the pipe run, which is visible from the side view of the wagon on the track, has a lot of bends in it and the vacuum hoses on these wagons are very long and curvy.

Unlike most other ones which hang vertically these curl around horizontally so that the end doors can fold flat and connect when the wagons are being used in drive-through mode during engineering works.

Apologies to devotees of fast food joints for spelling drive-through properly.

On second thoughts, no, actually.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Fully Loaded

Himself has decided that too many of our BZ wagons have been running around empty for too long.

So for the show in a couple of weeks time at the Welsh Highland Superpower weekend he's made up some loads.

These large utility wagons are given all sorts of jobs around the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland system and these show one being used to carry loco coal with another couple full of scrub from a lineside clearance train.

We'll probably fill some other ones up with loco ash, which is how many of them are deployed.

All of the loads are removable.

They sit on a false floor made from sheet styrene which is raised up on stilts.

And if you're wondering how he got the coal in there (which is real coal, by the way) he put a layer of cling film inside the wagon before inserting the false floor, spooning in the coal and then pouring a diluted PVA mix over it all.

That way the inside of the wagon was undamaged.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

One Careful Owner

I've had a go at distressing the model of the Ford Puma to try to make it look like it's had an argument with a Garratt.

Does that look convincing?

The technique I used in the end was a heat one of my spoon-shaped scribing tools over a gas burner on the stove and press it into the panels which look the hits.

The area was weathered using a dry brush to try and pick out the shape more and then the previously shiny plastic was given a coat of matt varnish.

I'll take it over to Himself's place later today and see what it looks like abandoned by the lineside.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Just Brake Pipes To Go

As far as my part in them goes the two BZ wagons are done.

The main thing that they're still missing - apart from colour, of course - is the brake pipe runs and the vacuum bags, but that's Himself's speciality so I shall pass them over to him to complete that job.

As is quite often the way I never really appreciated how different the two are until I studied them in detail for making the models.

Not only are there very different side door solutions on the two designs but they have their brake cylinders on opposite sides.

I've also come to the conclusion that the one nearest the camera is derived from a cut down B wagon while the one at the back, with the remains of the hinges on the frames, was built up on the chassis of a DZ wagon.

Oh yes, one more task I forgot - fitting couplings to the bogies.

That might help.....

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A State Of Distress

Vandalising models doesn't come naturally to me, but that's what I'm going to have to do for a very up-to-date scenic feature on Bron Hebog.

Recently a car had an 'argument' with a Garratt - and came off second best - on the occupational crossing, also called Bron Hebog, which is at the back right hand corner of our layout.

The vehicle involved was a Ford Puma and it got me wondering whether there were any suitable scale models available on the market?

A quick internet search turned up one of these, conveniently in red, the same colour as the car involved in the incident.

This particular model is to HO scale, which is smaller than the 4mm scale of OO9, but there is also a useful modelling dodge to have things at the back of a layout smaller and so add depth by making them seem further away.

As this will be indeed be placed at the furthest away point on Bron Hebog it should work well.

The challenge now is to make this pristine plastic Puma look a little more like this....

Monday, 20 August 2018

Last Of The B Wagons

A couple of weeks ago I showed you a picture of the final Worsley brass B wagon which Himself had finished tarting up, now it's been painted and is ready for lettering and a coat of varnish.

It's the extra little details he adds which really make these models for me, such as the footsteps which hang down and are picked out in yellow, and all the grab handles along the side of the frame.

Put together with all the resin Mk2 designs I've produced we now have a very long string of SAR freight wagons which look very impressive running together behind one of our Garratts on the layout.

Come and see for yourself at Superpower next month - all the details are on the Exhibition Diary page.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Harold The Second

We have a number of duplicates in our fleet, mostly this is because we've made an improved version as our techniques have improved, or because a better kit has come onto the market.

In the case of the Boston Lodge works shunter Harold (better known by it's nickname 'Shitty the shunter') we're having to make another one because our original one was stolen.

That's right, it was nicked - and I still feel very angry about it.

It was taken, many years ago now, while we were exhibiting Dduallt at a specialist Narrow Gauge exhibition in Leeds - most probably by an 'insider', because it was parked in a headshunt in the middle of the layout so it was not as if a member of the public visiting the show could lean over and swipe it while the layout was running.

That suspicion that it was a fellow 'modeller' - I use the term advisedly - has always cheesed me off more than the fact it was pinched.

Anyway, it's always been a long term ambition to replace it, and recently Himself started putting together the body which we adapted from a Chivers kit.

Our first version ran on a Farish DMU power bogie but it was a little bit of a squeeze, so for this incarnation I suggested to Himself that we use one of the spare Arnold 'Kof' chassis I had tucked away for a rainy day.

As I say, it's a long term project, so don't expect to see it appearing anytime soon.

And when it does rest assured that I will be keeping a very close eye on it!

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Ready To Run Revisions

Himself likes to tinker - it's been a lifelong habit.

As soon as we received our Bachmann Baldwin 590 he was pulling it apart - as much as he dared! -to see how it worked.

So it was little surprise to me when he said he wanted add some extra details to make it look more authentically like the Col. Stephens hand-me-down.

One of the features which stands out in the photographs from the time, and isn't included on the Bachmann model, is the homemade cab back sheet, which was no doubt added to provide protection from the liquid sunshine in the top left hand corner of Wales.

In the spirit of (I presume) the fitters at Dinas, he's knocked up something in styrene which can be clipped into position.

He hasn't been able to figure out a way of doing the same for the side extensions without permanently fixing them to the body, but a quick search of the web brings up pictures where it only had the rear part fitted.

My main concern is that it looks far too clean and shiny for 590, but then we are modelling the railway in the present day when the locomotives do, by and large, look immaculate.

(Although it has to be said the WHR Garratts do tend to look a little more 'honest' in daily service than the pampered fleet on the FR.)

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Happy Couplings

Himself is on a mission at the moment to standardise, as far as possible, all our couplings.

This has gone so far as to fit brass Greenwich couplings to the lead and tail waggons of our slate train where they couple up to the locomotives.

Previously these were fitted with chunky plastic BEMO couplings which for a long while were the standard in OO9.

The most vital thing with couplings in any scale, but especially this one, is that they are aligned properly for height with one another and you can see in the picture how we use a little jig knocked up out of styrene to set the height of the bottom of the coupling face.

The advantage that the Greenwich design has over all overs is that because the shaft is made of brass it is easily bent either upwards or downwards to make fine adjustments - the key thing is to make sure it is fixed very firmly to the model, otherwise you will pull it off when you go to bend it.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Black Spot

I'm ready to make the first casts of the Mk2 BZ wagon.

The side piece has been finished off with its rivets.

These are tiny resin dots fixed onto waterslide transfer film, produced by the American firm Archers, and they very simple and effective to use.

I brush a coat of clear varnish over them before I cover the whole thing in RTV to try and stop them being pulled off when I removed the cured mould, which mostly works.

As with the first wagon the ends are going to be a two-stage process because of the differences in the hinges / supports where they fold down flat on the real wagons.

I will cast two copies of this piece - which has all the details common to both - and use them to make another pair of masters.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Bogie Maintenance

More fettling of the stock has been going on this week over at Himself's place.

Our Merddin Emrys has had its bogies out so that the couplings can be changed from the chunky ones we used since it was built for the brass Greenwich design which is standard fit on all our carriages and wagons now.

There have also been a couple of bogie upgrades for the Barns.

Observation Car 100 and its one time running mate 124 have been treated to a pair of my own design of brass and resin modern FR bogies.

There are still a lot of our older carriages which need these so I will have to pull my finger out and cast a few more soon.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Looky Likey

Well, up to a point..

Over the last few days I've been getting on well with the second of the BZ wagon sides.

It's got to the point where all it needs before it can be used as a master is to add the resin rivet transfers along the bottom of the frame.

(Yes, I'm afraid I do count them, but it's only a handful of them.)

The FR currently has two of these hybrid wagons but - inevitably - they're very different from each other, meaning I need to make separate masters for each of them.

In the picture below they're posed one above each other.

So how many differences can you spot?

Monday, 6 August 2018

BZ Together

I've been gluing the first set of castings for the BZ wagon together.

All went very smoothly.

The crucial thing with a wagon with different ends is that you get them on the correct end of the chassis - this is because the vac cylinder and reservoir are on different sides beneath the chassis.

In the picture above you can see the slanted struts which I added in styrene.

I fix both the end pieces on first and check they're sitting centrally and vertical before adding the side pieces.

These days my adhesive of choice for working with these resin kits is 60 second superglue - you get a decent amount of adjustment time without the long wait - and the risk of slippage - which comes with even the most rapid two part epoxy.

I think I shall set this to one side now and start work on the masters for the other type of BZ wagon, which looks a lot less straightforward.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

BZ Progress

Because one day somebody had the great idea of making the new variant BZ wagons 'drive-through' they have asymmetric folding ends, which means people like me can't get away with making just the one master.

I started off by making one basic end with no hinge details - cast two copies of that - and added the parts which make them different from one another.

The only bit that it's not really practical to cast is the triangular bracing struts which go on the one with the longer hinges - or more that it's not doable in a one piece flat mould like I use.

So I've had to form these up out of styrene strip, which was a rather fiddly job which I will not look forward to on the second one.

At this point I have the basic kit of parts to form the wagon body.

I've cast a second side section and added the grab rail at each end.

Time to see how it goes together now,

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Multi-Media B Wagon

The last of our Worsley Works brass B wagon kits is ready to be painted.

It had been sitting for a number of years in its naked state with the etches soldered up into a box but none of the details added on.

Himself finds putting on all the angle section pieces rather fiddly, with lots of burnt fingers along the way, and is quite determined that this will be the last of them!

Many other details have been added and this is now a truly multi-media model.

In addition to the brass body he's used plastic strip on the side doors and the brake cylinder and the reservoir tank are spare bits I cast from my resin kits for the later style of wagon.

He's also chosen to use the bogies we developed in conjunction with Narrow Planet with the brass frame and the cast detailing pieces.