Friday, 27 February 2015

New Bogies On Test

We've been trying out the prototype FR bogie I made up a couple of weeks ago.

Himself has attached couplings and given the pair a coat of black paint and installed them under our new model of 116 to see how they look.

As I expected they need quite a bit of packing to get the ride height the same as with the plastic bogies we've been using, although it varies from carriage to carriage.

(It seems I'm no more consistent than Boston Lodge in the way I build them!)

It doesn't necessarily show on the model, because only the bottom half of the bogie is usually visible on FR carriages, but if we're going to try to fit these as replacements throughout the fleet then it could have consequences if the old pivot bolts are not long enough.

So I've decided to get a Mark II etch designed which will have the stretcher beam 1.5mm higher which should reduce the need to for packing.

It will mean going through the process of making another master for the resin cast of the axle box and suspension details but it'll be worth it to get it right.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

More Carriage Painting

We still have one more WHR carriage yet to enter service and it is the latest one, 2046.

I scratch built this model out of styrene and now Himself is busy painting it.

2046 is very different visually from the other WHR carriages with its big, wide windows with the thin, sliding toplights above.

Now that the FR has its revised Super Barn 119, has joined it on the railway then there is a little more of a family appearance developing, but it still takes a little getting used to to my eyes.

Himself has added a little extra detail which I hadn't thought of - he's fixed some handrail knobs onto the seat backs to represent the brass knobs on the real carriage.

With luck 2046 will be ready in time for the Crawley show in April so we have have our WHR carriage rakes up to full strength for the first time.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Primed Planet

Our replacement Conway Castle is coming on a treat and has been given a coat of primer ready for painting.

This one, you'll recall, is being built because our original engine - our very first OO9 model, in fact - sports the orange / black / grey so called 'Bertie Basset' livery of the 1980's and so is totally inappropriate to use on Bron Hebog to represent this workhorse of the WHR reconstruction and Dinas yard factotum.

There are also a few detail changes on the body such as the proper cab doors and the square cornered windows and some air filters which sprouted on the bonnet in the intervening years.

Conway Castle II is again built from a Chivers white metal kit running on an Ibertren chassis, but it has received an organ transplant in the shape of a Mashima motor donated from our original model of Blanche which was forced into retirement when its outside frame motion self-destructed at an exhibition with Dduallt a number of years ago.

The motor was still a good 'un though, and Himself tells me this 'Conk Out' runs very sweetly.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Only 8 Years Late

We now have a full set of 3 13m saloons after Himself finished off painting and assembling 2044 and 2045.

This means we've almost caught up with the real WHR in the size of our carriage fleet - our model of 2046 is in the process of being painted right now.

On the real railway three carriages were built in 2007 and our models of them spent quite a few years stored unpainted in a drawer while Himself - quite rightly - concentrated his efforts on getting Bron Hebog built.

In fact, to be pedantic, we have more carriages than the WHR because we have models of the original semi-open 2020 and the service car 2011 which it was rebuilt into.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

138 Ready For Action

Our third NGG16 is finally ready to enter service.

Himself tells me it took him most of a day's work to reassemble the locomotive after it had been split up to allow painting, with lots of fiddly jobs like reattaching pony wheels and soldering on the wires which connect the two power units and ensure even smoother running.

All 138 needs now is its number and works plates which are being etched for us by Narrow Planet.

As you can see from these pictures of it posed on the Cemetery Crossing segment of Bron Hebog it's going to look really striking at the head of a full-length WHR train at exhibitions.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Oberon Wood - Phase 3

Every so often the Artistic Director surprises you with an unexpected surge in productivity.

So imagine my delight when an envelope arrived through the letterbox at the weekend containing exquisite plans for another 3 houses to make up the Oberon Wood scene.

These drawings are a true work of art and I am being careful to file all of them away after the models are built because they will make a wonderful archive collection.

To my mind they are to 009 modelling what the hand-drawn Wainwright books are to hillwalking.

I may be exaggerating slightly but I'm sure you get the point I'm making that they are beautiful things in their own right aside from their intended utility.

Yet again all three buildings are hideously complicated with nooks, crannies and split levels and it will be challenging to turn these 2d images into 3d models.

These three will complete the row of houses backing onto the cutting into Goat Tunnel and Himself has ordered that their construction be prioritised!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Bogie Bodge

I received my first test set of blank FR carriage bogie etches a while back and this week I got around to doing something with them.

The first stage is to sacrifice one of the etches and use it as a template for various structural details such as the axle boxes and suspension which I add on with styrene.

It is a little tricky as I use superglue to fix it to the brass and it is the most unforgiving of solvents.

This then becomes the master from which I create a rubber mould.

After leaving the rubber to set for a day I was able to start casting the first copies.

4 are required for a pair of bogies and they all turned out satisfactory at the first time of asking.

Next go back to the brass bogie frame, solder in the 'top hat' bearings and fold up the frame so it looks like this.

Then the castings, which have been cleared of flash and the holes for the axle boxes reamed out, can be pressed into place and glued on. It's so simple!

I've made it sound as if it all went perfectly, and in a way it did, but very early on in the process, right from the moment I offered up the first styrene axle box to the brass frame I began to suspect we hadn't got the size / shape of the etch quite right.

On its own the outline of the etch looks right enough but as the details went on it became clear that they should have been made taller with more frame above the axle boxes.

Then when I placed one of the bogies side by side with the Dundas Vale of Rheidol bogie which we have been using up until now it became crystal clear that they need to be taller and the stretcher where the bogie is bolted onto the carriage is much too low for it to be a like-for-like replacement.

So I think we're going to have to go back and get the etch redrawn and go for a MkII design.

I'm not in any way upset about this. All design is a process of trial and error and I take inspiration from the memory of our late friend Stefco who I'm sure would have thought noting of tweaking and trying again to get things right.

Friday, 13 February 2015

From The Carriage Works

Himself has been putting in some long days in a continuing effort to clear the backlog of carriages waiting to be finished off.

He complains that it takes him as long to put on the final details, such as handrails, paint them and then glaze them as it does for me to build them in the first place. He has a point.

First in this post we see the last two of the 13m saloons which I built a number of years back - 2044 & 2045

The main job on these has been to fabricate and fit the handrails, which Himself tells me is his least favourite task.

The difficulty is that the latest designs of carriage have handrails which are attached with a T style post at each end rather than a nice, simple 90 degree corner which could be bent in a jig in seconds from just one piece of wire.

As Boston Lodge is continuing to knock out new rolling stock with this style of accessory there doesn't seem to be any prospect of his life getting any easier.

Also just about ready for traffic now is our rebuilt 116 which I have to say is looking rather tasty.

(And, yes, we are aware that the end doors are currently painted differently. This is a period piece.)

All it requires now is a pair of proper-sized, modern FR bogies.

I'll have some news on those this weekend all being well.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Wagons Roll (Off The Production Line)

This week I've finished off the latest batch of SAR / WHR wagons I've been building for a client - these are the ones fitted with the PECO couplings which I was posting about a couple of weeks ago.

If you're tempted to have some of these wagons on your OO9 layout our kits are stocked in the FR's shop (at Harbour Station and online) and some of the proceeds of each sale will be donated to the fund to restore Welsh Pony to steam.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Change Of Plan

So, it turns out we're not making a 16 after all.

I didn't look closely enough at the picture Himself sent me of the Worsley Works etches and was left red-faced by a correspondent on our Facebook page who pointed out that what we had could only be used to make a model of 15 in its current ornate Victorian condition.

I looked again and the penny dropped with a clang! How could I not have noticed the big windows in the ends or the fancy covers on the frames.

Unfortunately, as you can see, Himself had already started to put it together so now he's got no choice but to try and replicate all the intricate gold leaf lining on the carriage.

I feat the air is about to turn blue...

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Duckets Done

Having received new supplies of resin (having first received new supplies of money courtesy of my employers) I've been able to try out casting some duckets for my new models of 11 and 12.

The results are very satisfactory.

The first couple of casts had to be scrapped as they came out of the mould too soft and became distorted. I think probably because the ambient temperature was too cold during the 'big chill' last week. (My study isn't heated as luxuriously as the rest of the house.)

Being the first use of new bottles of resin may also have something to do with it I suspect.

The second pair were left much longer in the mould - around an hour - and the cut outs in the side for the windows were supported and kept square while they cured fully over the next 24 hours.

Having been glued in place on the carriage sides a little extra beading detail was added to finish them off.

I think the parts are almost ready to be glued together into a carriage body shell now. How exciting!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Fleet Replacement Programme

The process of upgrading and replacing our rolling stock to better suit the era we're modelling with Bron Hebog continues.

While I am scratch building new models of brake vans 11 and 12 in styrene Himself has taken delivery of a set of Worsley Works etches for the first bogie carriages 15 / 16.

Our existing models of these were ones I built in styrene more than 20 years ago. They're showing their age and are wearing liveries from the last 1980's so ultimately it would be good to replace both of them.

To spare Himself an horrendously complicated paint job I am minded to express a preference for finishing this first one as 16 in its current Col Stephens green livery and it can be run with our replacement for Van 10 which is just being finished off.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Test Etches Arrive

Time to crack on with another of those project which we seem to have spent years talking about but not actually getting anywhere with.

This week the first test etches arrived from Narrow Planet for our modern FR carriage bogies.

The plan is that just like with the SAR wagon bogies we will insert brass bearing cups and cast a resin piece to glue on top with the axle box and suspension details.

Until now we've been adapting Parkside Dundas Vale of Rheidol bogies and adding some styrene extensions to bulk them up a bit.

The picture shows that there won't be that much difference in the overall length of the bogies but the wheelbase of the brass one is clearly much longer.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Look out

A reader of the Bron Hebog Facebook page asked me how I was going to make the master for the guard's look out duckets on 11 & 12 so I thought I should show you some step by step pictures.

Instead of trying to carve the curvy shape out of a solid block I prefer to build it up with a framework with a thin styrene skin over the top.

In the first picture below you can see I'm making it up on a thick section of styrene because it's going to be used as a casting master.

I'm using 0.60" seize styrene and I've laid out the formers for the flat, square upper section of the ducket.

The bars on the outer edges of the top section are inset because this is going to form the tiny window opening - you'll see the effect when the skin is placed on top.

I've quartered a piece of styrene tube and glued that along the top - with a slight lip - to represent the tumble home at the top and the very bottom bar has been shaved a little with the blade of the scalpel to round off its edge.

Next I glue on a 'skin' to the exact same width as the framework.

It's quite thin. I've chosen 0.10" sheet. You'll see why in a moment.

You can also see how the window opening is there now.

In this last shot which shows the completed ducket you can see that I have pressed the tail of the skin down and glued it to the backing piece to form the distinctive curvy profile and chopped it off at the bottom.

I have also added some thin beading strip and filled the gaps with Milliput.

Now it's ready to have a box built around it and be covered in gooey moulding rubber mix.