Thursday, 30 October 2014

Bron Hebog Crossing

Another couple of snaps of yet more gating / fencing work.

Himself is now working at the very rear of the layout on the crossing known on the WHR as 'Bron Hebog' - with the name inspired by our layout.

You can also see that he's begun to paint the rail webs a rusty colour here too, so we're slowing working our way around the layout.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Mix & Match

There's been good progress on the tamper match wagon since I last posted about it.

Underneath I've added the brake gear from the OO9 Society kit although because I have fitted an extra floor section I had to trim the top of the plastic pieces so they sat in the right place.

Fortunately there was plenty of  'meat' on them so there was still a reasonably solid slice of plastic to glue it into position.

You can also see in the shot above how the couplings are mounted on blocks of plasticard to set them at the correct height.

On the real wagon the chopper head is also at this height and the altered couplings have been fitted with a step in the shaft.

I also made up the 3 tool boxes out of styrene.

And here they are glued into place on the wagon.

I have a few rivet head transfers to add and then I think it will be ready to paint, so there's every chance it will make its debut on Bron Hebog at Hull in a just the weekend after next.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Bridge Work

Some modelling on this layout involves a little more ingenuity - and suffering - than merely sticking together bits of plastic to make dozens of gates and associated fences.

One such task is reproducing the walkways installed on the new concrete bridge over the stream on the last of three crossings right at the back of the layout.

You don't need an encyclopedic knowledge of the model market to know that's not something you can buy off the peg - we were always going to have to make our own.

Had I been asked - which I wasn't - I probably would have tried fabricating the brackets from styrene section.

Himself, having more masochistic tendencies, decided to solder them together in brass.

Even with the aid of a jig he devised it still led to some very sore fingertips I understand...

Now they will all be will be soldered to the mesh and glued to the bridge, then a guard rail can be made and attached to the end of the brackets and bridge ends.

The shame of it is this bridge is positioned right at the back of the layout and the only people who are going to get a good look at it are the operators.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Rusty Rails - Clean Conscience

When Bron Hebog, and before it Dduallt, are described in exhibition programmes or magazine articles they are usually referred to as being built by Father & Son.

The hard truth, however, is that there's not a lot of 'son' about the building of the layouts.

Yes, I do my share of making the rolling stock, building the buildings and waffling on this blog, but I cannot remember ever lifting so much of a finger to assist with the construction of the baseboards or the track and scenery on them.

So last week when I spent a half term holiday with the family chez Himself I felt an overwhelming urge to put that right.

And so I spent a happy hour or so painting the sides of the rails rusty on the first part of the S-bend.

It wasn't a particularly skilful or taxing contribution to the construction effort however it does have a disproportionately positive impact on the overall look of the layout.

If you've never done it painting the rail webs is one of the easiest thing you can do make your model railway look better.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Gate Post

Himself is being kept busy with more of the fine detailing work which still requires completing on the layout.

There must be at least a scale mile of fencing needing to be put in and still some occupational crossing to be equipped with gates.

This one is on the first curve out of Beddgelert station and the four gates were made up from 1mm wide styrene strips.

Modelling a real location means you're very unlikely to be able to get away with using ready made farm gates that you could buy in your local model shop, but the effort of building your own is rewarded when you see the finished effect.

This is another crossing, to the south of the station and very close to the starting point of the layout which has now been painted.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Seeing Double

I'll make no excuses for posting some more pictures of my 2nd model of the KMX tamper.

Building the first one was enough of an achievement - and I still think it's the best thing I've done yet - so I'm chuffed that the second has turned out more or less identical to it.

Before handing it over to the client in Hull in a couple of weeks time we took the opportunity to pose it on the layout with our own one.

I think they look rather good together if I say so myself. So, I'm pleased to say does my client who also keeps a blog Penlowry.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ghost Trains

I mentioned a few days ago that Himself is hoarding a drawer-full of un-painted carriages, mostly complete but still in virgin white styrene.

(In his defence he has been rather busy building Bron Hebog so we'll let him off)

Among this fleet of ghost carriages are models of the current Barn 106, the original Barn 105 with a toilet in place of the first class compartment in the centre, and unique 1970's carriage 116 as rebuilt as a 3rd class saloon.

These models were all made a number of years ago now and knowing the FR as I do my very real fear is that the actual carriages will be rebuilt once more and altered before Himself has got these models finished.

The latest carriage in the queue for the paintshop, of course, is 2046 which had a try out on Bron Hebog to check the ride height against the other WHR carriages.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A Lovely Couple

There are some jobs you can't do from 400 miles away and one of them is setting coupling heights.

So the new tamper match wagon I'm making has had to be transported south so it can be stood next to the KMX tamper and have the coupling fitted so it matches precisely.

With that small job done it can be dispatched back to Scotland to be finished off.

With a bit of luck and a following wind it might even be ready for the exhibition in Hull next month.

You may also notice that the rail webs on this section of the layout have now been weathered.

It makes a huge difference and Himself is slowing making his way around board by board.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Taking Stock

Taking a new layout on the road has prompted Himself to rethink the storage of our rolling stock.

We've used these very safe and sturdy bespoke wooden boxes for a number of years now with Dduallt but the order in which the carriages were laid out in the rows was becoming increasingly anachronistic.

The formation of FR carriage sets changed greatly in the years between us first showing the layout in the mid-1990's to the present day, with new carriages being built, others rebuilt and re-using the numbers - and in many cases that was all the shared with the previous one - and the order in which they were marshalled mucked about with.

All the new models we built to keep up with developments on the FR, and all the new WHR stock, was stored in an ad hoc fashion in a new set of boxes and not in any formation that related to the order they were running on the real railway.

As the years went on it was taking longer and longer to get the stock transferred from the boxes into their formations on the layout, and became a right faff when it was time to dismantle the layout at the end of the exhibition.

So this is how the boxes are laid out now.

Here's the main WHR carriage fleet...

And the main FR box...

It still contains some glaring anomalies for a 21st Century WHR layout - like the push-pull set in its two tone green livery. Yes there is enough replica building to keep me occupied for a number of years.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Match Point

With the tamper finished for my client I can, at last, get around to working on our own KMX. Or at least the match wagon which goes with it.

Making a match wagon has been a long-term ambition, as I wrote a few weeks ago.

This project is going to be a 'kit bash' and I'm using one of the OO9 Society's latest in-house kits for a generic RNAD wagon which is the basis of the real WHR wagon.

The key bits I need from the kit are the solebars and axles boxes and I'm also making use of the plank effect wagon top.

I got Himself to measure the wagon for me at Boston Lodge Works a few weeks ago so I have some proper data to work from.

Interestingly, if you're building the RNAD wagon kit you need to chop the ends of the solebars because they are over-long (they are also from a mould for another kit) but it just so happens they are the perfect length for the match wagon.

The floor, however, is too short in the kit, which made it harder to use it as intended to set the solebars the correct distance apart.

So what I've done is to cut a piece of styrene to do the job because there is plenty of clearance above the wheels.

The kit does come with two floor pieces (that legacy of its design for another kit, again) so I was able to cut a slice from the second one to make my floor to the correct length.

Now I have started to add the side extensions before setting about making the storage boxes on top.

The floor on this wagon sits much higher than the typical FR / WHR wagon so before going much further I think the next job is to compare it to some of our existing stock to work out how to mount the couplings at the correct height.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Emergency Stop

Finally my 2nd KMX tamper is ready.

This one is for a client who has decided to paint it himself so there are some bits left off for the photographs such as the hydraulic lines on one side and some pipework which disappears into the engine compartment at one end.

The last job I needed to do was to cut and fit all the small emergency stop buttons, which the tamper is festooned with, and that involved cutting many slivers from styrene rod less than 0.5mm thick, for the buttons, picking them up in the jaws of pliers and gluing them into place.

I hope I've made as perfect a copy of the original Bron Hebog tamper as I can. The test will come at our exhibition in Hull next month when I plan to hand it over to the new owner. He's already indicated he'd like to see the two of them side by side.

And, yes, I do realise I've got the roof on the wrong way round in the photos. Doh!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


A few days ago I wrote a post about making the master for the new bogie design for 2046.

At the time I was just about to pour the RTV mix into the casting box. I left it for a day to set, then removed the mould and filled it with resin for the first time.

The first casts can sometimes be a disappointment but this one was perfect. Very soon I had another three cast, cleaned up, and ready to fit to a brass bogie frame.

And here they are at home under the carriage.

So that's 2046 just about complete - or as much as I'm going to be doing to it.

I shall now pass it onto Himself to paint and finish off - he'll have to cut and fit the glazing and solder up a set of the handrails which go each side of the entrance doors. (He won't thank me for that)

Don't hold your breath to see it in traffic on Bron Hebog, though, because Himself has a whole rake of virgin white carriages waiting to be painted.

More on that soon....

Monday, 6 October 2014

Discs & Pads

Given the job I do I'm very good with deadlines - and on the wireless we measure them in seconds - but the flip side of that is I'm very poor when I'm given an open-ended task and procrastination and diversion are the order of the day.

This goes a long way to explaining why more than two years on I still haven't finished my 2nd model of the WHR KMX tamper which I am scratch building for a customer,

A very patient customer, it must be said.

(The fact he doesn't have a layout to run it on probably goes a long way to explaining why he's not been hassling me to finish it)

However, we have finally decided on a handover date when we exhibit Bron Hebog in Hull next month which gives me a few weeks to complete the final bits which need to be done.

So last week I removed the motor and the trailing bogie - which is a Kato 'shorty' chassis which has been split - and added some of the bogie details such as the outboard disc brakes.

These are made up from some large axle bearings which I have filed down and glued onto the plastic bogie frame before fixing on some styrene to represent the calipers.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Rolling Along

The last big challenge of building the new WHR carriage 2046 is producing a new design of bogie.

Boston Lodge turned the carriage out with heavily modified SAR diamond frame bogies with roller bearings and altered suspension.

I already have the brass frets for the bogie frames, because I use those in my wagon kits, but I need to make a new master for the axle box / bearing and suspension details to cast in resin.

On the version for the wagon kits I cast the axle boxes and the springs as separate parts to be glued on individually.

When it came to producing the other variant, the Bettendorf bogie, I ended up casting the whole bogie side as one piece and I've decided to do the same again this time.

One of the reasons I've chosen to do it this way is because of the difficulty I'd have cleaning up the axle boxes if I cast them on their own. It would be rather fiddly.

As you can see the master is ready in its casting box for a covering of moulding rubber and in a couple of days we'll be able to try it out with resin,

Thursday, 2 October 2014

White Lines

We did say before the show at Woking that while the layout may be complete in terms the length of the run and the basic shape of the scenery it's a long way from finished.

So Himself has got back down to work with some detailing on the first board which includes Cemetery Crossing.

New things to be seen here are the tarmac surface, road markings, cattle grid, gate and fencing.

For a moment I thought he'd scratch built the cattle grid but I'm told that it's a laser cut wood kit.

He's also altered the course of the footpath from the cattle grid alongside the line, along with the gate gap in the wall, because he wasn't happy with the old alignment.

The rail webs have also been weathered which makes a huge difference. There's a lot of track to do on this layout so it'll be a while yet before that job is completed.

And on the logistical front a new lot of clips for the end transport plates have arrived and have all been fitted.

He's also fixed Velcro all the way around the front edge of the layout to make it easier to hang the curtain at exhibitions and save making a lot of drawing pin holes in the wood.