Thursday, 31 March 2011

Observer Core

Another day at the workbench for me, and yet another Barn. This time it's a model of FR Observation Carr 102 for a client.

102 was built to replace the pioneer Observation Carr 100 which saw out its last days on the Welsh Highland at Dinas as a mess coach for the track gangs before the rotten bodywork was turned into firewood.

Its main difference from the 1960's carriages was having two large windows at the end of the observation compartment divided by and single pillar instead of three windows. However it retained the guard's compartment at the other end although the sliding doors of the original design were done away with.

So after a few hours work the basic core bodysides were fabricated..

And as I write this one of the sides has been given a secondary layer of beading detail and window droplights.

With the latest Barn designs not having the rounded rubber glazing seals that 105 has this build is simpler and swifter.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Joy Of Lyd

I've been waiting a wee while to write that headline!

Himself has been busy with the business end of our Backwoods Manning Wardle, and it's not been a wholly joyful experience so far.

He reports that the valve gear has been fitted and is working one side, although it did fall apart once! He also had to ask Backwoods Miniatures for a new set of cranks as he could not get rid of a bind on one side.

Here it is with the valve gear in place.

And here's a shot of the joy valve gear assembly itself..

I think perhaps Himself is being too hard on himself. Some other esteemed 009 modelers consider the Joy valve gear to be all but impossible to assemble and build their models with a simplified version.

It's also worth recording the great customer service we have always experienced from Pete McParlin of Backwoods Miniatures. As mentioned above, we've always found him willing to help out when customers have a major c*ck up assembling one of hits beautiful and intricate kits.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Romanian Red

A little more airbrush action to show you all.

The Romanian ballast wagon has had a coat of red primer.

The top coat colour for the hopper will be a little more towards the maroon end of the spectrum, and the frames will be black, but it gives a much better impression of how the finished model is going to look than white styrene and bare brass.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Birth Of Another Barn

Not another Barn! Don't you make anything else? That's what can hear you all saying.

Yes, I'm afraid so. Boring this blog, isn't it?

This time its FR 106 (V.2002) which was a total scrapping / rebuild of the original 1960's bodywork and set in train the new generation of FR Barns such as 107, 102, 100, 124 and the Super-Barns 103 and 121.

Here are the component parts ready for assembly into a bodyshell..

And with a basic floor and roof structure keeping it all nice and square...

This model is for keeps. It is a replacement for our existing 106 which is modeled with the original bodywork and in the 1980's all-over red livery, and so not really suitable for using on the 21st Century Bron Hebog.

Incidentaly, in an idle moment the other day, I was totting up how many Barns I've built over the last 20 years, and it's rather a lot.

2 x 100 (original condition) 1 of them is now rebuilt / repainted as the WHR mess coach 1000

2 x new 100 - one for me and one for a client

2 x 101 - a second model was built to replace the my first ever scratchbuilt carriage.

2 x 102 - one for me, one for a client

2 x 103 (buffet car) in original and 1990's rebuilt condition

2 x 104 - again, a replacement for a dodgy early scratchbuild

4 x 105 - 1 dodgy early example, a second in red, another with a toilet for me and a fourth for a client

3 x 106

1 x 107

That's 20 Barns, and that's not including the models of 124 and Super-Barn 103.

Am I alone in spending two decades making the same models over and over again??

And before long I'll be making this one...

If it looks familiar it's because it is. It is old Observation Carr 101 which has been rebuilt and turned 180 degrees for a new life as a third class, Bleanau-facing Observation Carr with proper wheelchair access. In true FR style it's gained a new number, 123.

It will soon become my third 101 and my 21st Barn.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

KMX In Colour

Himself has been getting straight on with the task of painting the latest batch of models sent down from Scotland and he's emailed a couple of snaps of the first coat of paint on the KMX tamper.

My first reaction on opening the email was, wow!!

Now I've been building this thing for the best part of three years and that's a long time to keep looking at a model in virgin white styrene so I was stunned at how good it looks it its proper yellow livery. (I hope that doesn't sound big-headed.)

The roof has been sprayed in dirty black, which is not quite as black as pure black. You'll just have to take my word for this because it looks pretty black in the pictures.

There's at least another coat of yellow to be sprayed on and then it'll be a case of picking out details in other colours, mainly black and gunge, on the tamping head and the tines and all the other mechanical bits.

For comparison here's a shot of it all in primer.

I would like to hope we'll have it finished in time for Dduallt's appearance at Railex in Stoke Mandeville in May when the tamper may be making its first foray up the FR mainline (aside from testing on the Cob, that is).

Monday, 21 March 2011

Pretty Pictures

Himself has been sending me some portrait snaps of his handiwork over recent months and I thought it was perhaps time to gather them together in one place.

So over on the right you'll now find a link to a gallery of ex-works photographs of some of our latest locomotives and wagons fresh from the paint shop.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Riveting Stuff

While I've been blogging about building various Barns over the last few weeks I've also been continuing with another long standing project: the 7mm ex-SAR ballast wagons which are being made for a continental client.

The final stage of construction / detailing is to add the rivets, which are mostly found on the frames and the operating platforms at each end.

For these I've decided to use an ingenious American product - rivet transfers. Basically these are tiny blobs of resin stuck onto ordinary waterslide transfer film and you apply them just like any other waterslide product. And quite brilliant they are too.

You can buy them online from the manufacturer Archer Transfers

They release from the backing paper as easily as any transfer I have ever come across needing just a second or two in the water before they can be slid off the backing paper.

The downside is they don't seem to stick to the model that well and I've been brushing them with decal fix solution in the hope they will soften and stick a little better.

Some other modellers apply them after the model has been primed, but in this case the primer will also be the top coat so they are being applied straight onto the styrene, which may well be a factor in how well they are, or are not, sticking I suppose.

It's taking a while to do them because I find after a while the little spots begin to swim in front of my eyes!

What do you reckon so far, then?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Big Bananas

If you've been reading the carriage building guide (you'll find a link over on the right if you haven't seen it yet) you'll have seen me mentioning the way the laminated styrene carriage sides have a tendency to curl up, due to the action of the solvent, and how when you join the sides and ends together for the first time it looks more like two bananas placed back to back rather than a railway carriage.

Until now I've not posted a picture of this, so I made sure I took a snap when my latest carriage (FR Barn 105 for a Boston Largs Works client)reached this stage so that you could see what I was on about.

It looks rather catastrophic but it's not a big problem. In fact, so long as they bend inwards, it's a help. Once the floor is inserted (see below) it keeps the sides nice and straight, and the roof structure will do the same job at the top.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Nameless No More

For more years than I can remember our model of the FR's newest double engine, David Lloyd George, has been running around without nameplates.

Finally it is proudly sporting a pair...

Until recently 009 nameplates have been very hard to come by unless your kit came with them or it was one of the more popular / common prototypes, which DLG is not.
But, 009 modellers, despair no more, because in the last year or a new nameplate supplier has appeared on the horizon. Narrow Planet provide a completely bespoke, and in our experience, highly efficient service, and will design and produce plates to your exact requirements at a very agreeable price.

A number of other models are now also sporting Narrow Planet plates including Planet diesel Upnor Castle.

K1 is now fully dressed...

As is NGG16 87....

Monday, 14 March 2011

Encore Une Grange (Another Barn)

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, this indeed a carbon copy of the last model I made.

Progress has been steady since I returned from holiday on the 'copy' of FR 'Barn' 105 for a Boston Largs Works customer.

As you can see most of the beading is on the two sides (which are not a mirror image - see previous posts on the history of this carriage for an explanation) the next job is to turn them over and mock up the full wooden droplights on the doors and the half droplights on the small windows.

The ends have been cut from styrene and will be beaded-up, and then we're getting tantalisingly close to fixing them into a four-sided carriage shape.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

So Long, Farewell...

Today it was time to say goodbye to some old friends which have been a fixture on the shelf above my modelling desk for many months.

They are, from the back, the WHR Romanian ballast wagon, the KMX tamper and the FR's rail mounted cherry picker.

Himself has taken them away to Bron Hebog HQ in Oxfordshire for painting. We've been on holiday together for the last week on the beautiful Hebridean island of Islay - which explains the lack of posts.

Islay, by the way, is highly recommended, especially if you take a recreational interest in Malt Whisky and mirco-brewed real ales. (Hic!)

Back at the workbench this week I'll be aiming to resume progress on rebuilt Barn 106 as well as an order for models of 105 and 102. I'm also going to try to get to grips with transfer resin rivets on the pair of 7mm ballast wagons.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

May We Suggest...

There's a new blog on the Net you might care to take a look at - it's for Cooper Hire MRC, Bron Hebog's parent organisation, if you like.

Cooper Hire MRC is a loose affiliation of three old boys and one 'overseas member' (Me). They get together about once a week to blether and booze and occasionally they might get round to some modelling too. At the very least they'll have a thorough and comprehensive discussion about the modelling they might do at some unspecified point in the future.

Aside from Bron Hebog and Dduallt the 'club' are custodians of two other notable layouts.

New Mills is a OO layout set on the WMCL which has been exhibited across the UK for many years as a modern image layout and is now been recast into a 1960's steam/diesel/electric transition era layout.

Of more interest to narrow gauge modellers is the collection of 16mm models built by the late, great Don Boreham, the godfather of UK narrow gauge modelling. We have built a small exhibition layout, Merioneth Town, to display his famous models at exhibitions.

The website is still being developed but if you'd like to take a look you can find it here

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Himself has returned from another undercover spying mission to North Wales, infiltrating a lineside maintenance working party at Rhiw Goch as a means of penetrating the interior of Boston Lodge Works to bring back intelligence reports on the progress in the conversion of the original WHR Winson semi-open into a service carr.

Looking at the pictures smuggled out of Porthmadog it's remarkable how different the carriage looks and how much they've been able to do so quickly.

It looks pretty stark and slab sided without any of the beading in place yet. It's quite unusual and amusing to see a real carriage like this which is more akin to the first stage of my scratch-built carriages (see the guide on the page menu over the right if you haven't read this yet).

Once the beading goes on I'll be ready to start making my model of it.

As you can see one side of the carriage has a big opening. This is the compartment which houses a generator to power the electrical equipment, such as fridges, in the buffet section of the carriage.

The service carriages also includes a toilet compartment and an area for the guard, with a vacuum setter and hand brake etc. As far as I know this concept is another in the long list of FR 'firsts'. I'm sure someone will correct me if I am mistaken.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A Barn Again Modeller

I could be forgiven for a certain feeling of Groundhog Day right at the moment.

I've begun work on a new model - another FR 'Barn'. This time it's to make a version of the current 106 which had a total body replacement 10 years ago.

Here are the two naked sides without any beading detail.

106 is a little simpler to make than 105 because all the window edges are square, so there's no fiddling about with tiny triangles and then filing them down.

But here's the rub.

I've agreed to make another model of 105 (and Obs 102) for a Boston Largs Works client so I feel like I'm seeing Barns in my sleep....