Saturday, 31 December 2016

Review Of The Year - Part 3

And so to the final installment of our look back at the modelling year.


The Disco Car was finally complete and painted and underwent some light test running on Dduallt prior to delivery.

The method of delivery was very unique, and appropriate, in that it involved a trip in the cab of Lyd from Porthmadog to Boston Lodge Works.

Another significant carriage development this month was the fitting of the roof and glazing to our model of 150 with their devilish curves.


Within a few weeks of Himself handing it back over to me I'd finishing making and fitting the interior to this most luxurious of narrow gauge carriages.

The posts for October - which you can search for on this blog - described how I made masters for the saloon armchairs and the seats in the front observation section from styrene and cast the ones I used out of resin, with some extra styrene details glued on to finish.

Himself also delved into his drawers and put together a couple of B wagon kits which had been lying unmade for a couple of years.

They required some modifications to represent the prototypes in service on the F&WHR


Towards the end of the year Himself decided that it was time to resume work on Bron Hebog itself which hadn't been touched for more than a year since it was last shown at Super Power at Dinas in the autumn of 2015.
The task in hand is to model the line side fencing, which we're doing using cocktail sticks and thread.

With 150 sent back to Himself for painting and lining I could devote myself to making the service car 125.

By the middle of the month the sides and ends were ready to be assembled into a body shell.


And so to the final month which has continued along the same lines.
I have been working on fitting an interior to 125.

While Himself has been making progress with the fencing on the layout.  There's rather a lot of it!

So all that remains is to thank you for dropping by and reading the blog in 2016, and to wish you all the best for 2017 and we hope that you will continue to come to these pages so we can share our progress with you.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Review Of The Year - Part 2

So here we go with a look back at the second third of 2016


It was only now, many months after I'd made it, that Himself got around to painting the model of the Cwm Cloch farmhouse, which in recent years has been spruced up with a rather natty duck egg blue shade on the render on the front extension.

I was trying - and usually failing - to keep up with the production of carriages at Boston Lodge Works by making up another set of superbarn resin castings to make a model of carriage 117.


With the bodyshell made I turned my attention to the interior of 117.

These days I have taken to casting the seats and tables from resin with some units which I designed to fit together in multiple so the seat backs and the table tops line up with the windows every time.

Himself returned from a holiday to find that in his absence the cat had been wandering around the house - and the garage - looking for comfy places to curl up to sleep.

Unfortunately one of them turned out to be the Up home signal on Dduallt!


Come the summer months I'd finally plucked up courage to tackle the most complicated FR carriage yet - the new observation car 150.

Himself was putting the finishing touches to the 'Disco Car' 121.

My client's exacting specifications included having the sliding light windows wide open as they always were to ventilate the carriage while the dancers were enthusiastically boogieing.


I'd chosen to cast the sides of 150 to give the model extra strength, and after pondering the issue for a while decided that the best solution for the curved end would also be to make a master using brass with a styrene skin, and then cast the production version too.

Of course, the real carriage 150 couldn't enter service until its partner Service Car 125 was, er, ready for service.

So I also began work on a model of that too, only this time it would be made entirely of styrene.

It's another very complicated carriage with the generator compartment door on one side and an inset staff access door on the other.

To be continued....

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Review Of The Year - Part 1

For the last few posts of the year I always like to take a look back at all that we've achieved together in the last 12 months.

Sometimes when you're only spending a few minutes at the workbench at a time it can seem like you're not making much progress, but when I review the year like this it brings home how much has been done.


I began the year by attempting to have something of a spring clean of the shelf above my modelling desk which is where I dump the castings which don't turn out perfectly when I am producing a batch of wagon kits.
Fortunately, one of my customers is happy to take them off my hands as 'scrappers' to decorate his South African NG layout .

So I thought I could make a quick few quid by assembling them into some very tired looking wagons for him.

The only flaw in the plan is that I never did get paid for them....

I also began the year making a big effort to build some of the remaining houses we need to complete the Oberon Wood scene.


The big news in the second month of the year was that the layouts completed their migration to Scotland with Himself after just over a month in storage.

They survived with only the most minimal damage - a couple of fence posts knocked over on the edges of some of the boards - and we soon had Dduallt assembled for a test run in its new home.

I continued building houses and by the end of the month we had three of them ready.


By this time I reckoned I needed a break from house building and I decided to make a start on a carriage commission that I'd promised to build for a friend more than a year previously.
This customer wanted to recreate his misspent youth in miniature with a model of the (late) FR 'Tin Car' 121 converted to be used as a 'Disco Carriage' on special charters for the volunteers.

With Himself getting settled in his new home we were able to get out the board with the Oberon Wood scene on it and try out the new houses in position.


As a one-off favour Himself agreed to take a look at a friend's Backwoods NGG16, which he'd bought from a popular internet auction site.

The loco ran very rough and some major errors had been made during construction as water tank on the front power unit looked like it was ready to be launched from the ski ramp at the bow of an aircraft carrier!

I was also making steady progress on the 'Disco Car' with the body or less complete by the end of the month.

To be continued..

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

A lot of people like to recycle their Christmas cards at the end of the festive season, and we're no different here at Bron Hebog.

We thought you might like another chance to see one of the Artistic Director's seasonal sketches which we featured as our Christmas image back in 2010 in our first year of blogging.

Happy Christmas to all our readers!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Boxing Day Comes Early

A rare midweek day off meant I had a view hours to try and finish off some of the remaining
jobs on 125, the biggest of which was adding all the ancillaries beneath the carriage.

The way we build our carriages, with all the interior detail fixed onto a removable chassis, it sometimes seems like this is the major part of the model and the bodyshell just an extra we slip on top.

While not attempting to go down the super-detailed route I felt I simply had to try to represent the kitchen taps.

Just when I thought I had done all my bits and was ready to take it over to Himself to fit the brass roof and fettle the bogies I remembered the inevitable thing I've forgotten - the electrical connections at each end.

Oh well, it'll just have to wait until after Christmas now.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Marker Posts

There's been more work going on setting out the fence lines on Bron Hebog.

Last time I 'posted' on this topic they were being laid out on the ground around the farm, now they are fixed and painted.

As well as progressing the lineside fence Himself has been inserting some markers   on the land in the middle of the S bend.

Work in the garage will probably have to be suspended due to the demands of festive family duties but will resume in the New Year, no doubt.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Making It Look Hard

Whenever I have to work with brass I always end up making a meal of it.

Bending and fitting the truss rods is always a lot more hassle than I suspect it is supposed to be.

Maybe it's because the angles are so subtle, or perhaps there is a trick or technique I haven't cottoned onto yet, but there is an almost never-ending series of tweaks and adjustments to try to get the pair of them to match.

Now they're fitted I can breath a sigh of relief and get back to the styrene to make up all the other bits that hang beneath the carriage.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

On Guard

Most of the interior of the service car is sorted now.

The bottom third of the vehicle is taken up with the guard's compartment which only really has any contents on the engine side.

Despite earlier writing that I don't bother with details that no one sees I have gone to the effort of representing fittings such as the electric heater, the fire extinguisher and the first aid kit on the shelf.

The empty clock side presents a problem in that we usually rely on the interior furniture to hold the glazing in place.

So what I've done here is the same as I did on the almost empty Disco Car I made earlier this year and fixed a length of L girder along the edge.

Hopefully that will do the trick.

Extending Boundaries

Himself is either really into his fence post planting, or he's deliberately avoiding finishing off the lining on 150.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because he's certainly making speedy progress around Bron Hebog.

The fence line now extends around most of the S bend.

The next stage will be to fix on the boards along the front with the station.

Before that, thought, there are still some fences and walls to add in to divide up the fields.

What's remarkable is how much more complete these little brown posts make the layout look.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Meals On Wheels

The bits I needed for the bogies for 125 arrived in the post and half an hour with a soldering iron, a set of broaches and some superglue later the new Service Car is on wheels.

The bogies and the door unit will almost certainly require some adaptation in order to get around the curves on Dduallt - or at least at the 'bottom end' where there is the cut in on the frame.

It may be a while before this can be done because the layout has been taken down while Himself works on the fences on Bron Hebog.

At least now, though, I can fit the truss rods and all the gubbins beneath the carriage and be sure they don't hang down too low.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

That Sinking Feeling

I've continued fitting out the 'kitchen' of 125.

Along the 'top' of the 'engine side' there is a continuous row of units and appliances with a worktop above which includes a pair of sinks which I have duly sunk.

I do intend to fit something that represent the taps which can just be seen peeking above the window ledge, but I'll leave that little detail until towards the end of the build.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Shut Up

No, not you. I'm referring to the high security storage in the buffet area of Service Car 125.

The bit I've been working on is the full height shelves on the clock side at the Blaenau end of the carriage.

These can be covered up with roller shutters so I've decided to take the easy way out and model them in the closed position using pieces of clapboard styrene sheet.

The work tops in this carriage are worthy of note because they come up to the level of the horizontal bar about a quarter of the way up the window.

This is going to be interesting challenge because we need to paint the back of the glazing so from the outside it looks like it has a film on the glass but in the inside it needs to look like a wood panel.

We're going to have to give that one some thought....

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Fitting Out

I was intending to continue working on the under frame of 125 next - those tricky truss rods.

(Well, they're tricky for me anyway, because I've never been that good where bending brass is concerned.)

To do that I really need to have it sitting on bogies, but I don't have any of those yet because I am waiting on fresh supplies of bearings and wheels to arrive.

So instead I've started on the interior.

The biggest feature, and the most obvious thing to start with, is the big central compartment which contains the generator and the toilet.

As they're both obscured from view behind the louvred doors and an opaque window, I shall not bother to add the internal division.

I have never been one of those modellers who bothers with details that no one will ever see.

That doesn't make me a bad person, does it?

Monday, 5 December 2016

Post Haste

I popped in on Himself over the weekend to see how he's getting on - not that I'm checking up on him, you understand.

Progress on lining out 150 has stalled.

(It's the kind of job you have to be in the mood for.)

However, the fence line is extending nicely on Bron Hebog.

As well as the trackside fencing there also also some around the farm to be installed.

You may recall I mentioned there is an awkward section on the S bend which straddles a board joint.

This means there is a run of four posts which sit on their own on a corner - I wonder how long they'll last?

That section of fence continues along the front edge of the board to its rear, where the track is doubling-back towards Rhyd Ddu once again.

The brown space in the foreground is where the ruined barn goes - and making that is going to be one of my priorities in 2017.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Pips

I did warn you not to expect rapid progress on 125.

For various reasons it's been one of those weeks where I didn't get a lot done at the modelling desk.

What I did manage was to fix on the pips on the under frame of the carriage,

These are a very distinctive feature on the Superbarns.

In fact they're not pips but, I believe, brackets which support the wood-framed body shell.

For our purposes, however, they can be represented with small pieces of thin styrene strips.

The challenge is to get them all in a straight line and on the same level.  Placed too high they will affect the height that the body shell sits on its chassis, too low and there's an obvious gap to be seen,

They also have a habit of falling off randomly during handling and painting

Thursday, 1 December 2016

String 'Em Up

Himself has been carrying on with the fence installation around the S bend, all the while muttering that he takes pity on the contractors who had to do it for real all the way down from Rhyd Ddu to Porthmadog on Phase 4.

You'll notice that due to the location of the board joint the fence line on the upper side of the line, in the middle of the picture, will have to be broken with a stand-alone section on the other board.

As you can imagine these fence posts are going to be very vulnerable to knocks when putting and taking down the layout, or even shifting the boards around in storage.

So Himself has cunningly strengthened the ends ones by securing them in position up against a length of piano wire. (He never throws useful things away even when retired!)

What's not so smart is that he's also realised that when the fence line marches up over the high edges of Cutting Mawr the board will most likely no longer fit in the face-to-face storage racks.

So fine were the tolerances that those couple of centimetres will make all the difference.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Back To The Floor

After taking the best part of a fortnight to cast another batch of wagon kits to resupply our friends at Narrow Planet I've been able to resume work on 125.

Unfortunately, for the purposes of this blog, what I've been doing is not visually spectacular.

Firstly, I have drilled the holes for the bogie locating bolts.

This doesn't sound like the pinnacle of railway modelling achievement, I appreciate, but you must see this in the context of the humiliating experience of discovering that on my last carriage (Observation car 150) I managed to drill them off-centre to the extent that it fouled the walls of the cutting under the bridge on Dduallt.

So this time I did this routine task very carefully indeed!

I have also added on the skirt which represents the very prominent frame that the Superbarns are built on.

This one is more complex than the others because it includes the cut in on the clock side for the staff  access doorway and an alternation on the engine side to allow for the doors on the generator compartment.

This is the most boring bit of carriage building - it will get more interesting, I promise.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

122 Upgrade

Fitting proper-sized modern FR bogies to all the modern carriages is going to be a long-term project, but Himself has begun with one of the carriages that shows them off to advantage - Stefco's one-off 122.

These are the bogies we make up with brass frames etched by Narrow Planet, fitted with 'top hat' bearings which then have resin castings with the axle box and suspension detail fixed on top.

So far we have them fitted beneath all the Superbarns, the rebuild of prototype 116 and a couple of the most recent Barns I've made to replace to older models.

Quite a way to go then...

Friday, 25 November 2016

Fence Line Advances

Himself is going through a spell of multi-tasking.

As well as painting the Observation Car 150 and upgrading the bogies of some of the older carriages he has also been spending some time in the garage inserting more fence posts on the layout.

The section he's working on at the moment is the middle section of the S bend.

In order to put more of this, the central part of Bron Hebog, together Dduallt has been taken down for now.

It's more than 6 months that it has been up and running in the garage and I'm struggling to think of any occasion where it has ever been put up for more that 4 days continuously.

In fact it's probably the first time since 1989 that we've had an actual layout to run, which is when we moved from a house where there was a large OO layout in the loft.

That's rather a long wait.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Now For The Tricky Bit

The painting of Observation Car 150 is finished.

Now comes the challenge of lining it out!

Just like with the Welsh Highland carriages Bodysgallen and Glaslyn, Himself will be using the waterslide sheets produced by Fox Transfers for 4mm scale standard gauge Pullman carriages which are about the closest we can get.

There have to be some compromises but they do the job well enough. Or at least we think so.

The hardest bit will be trying to replicate the very fine vertical lines on the window pillars.

Expect some more pictures in the coming days.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Wire

Himself's been getting on very well with the fences.

The first section to be tackled - at the back of the layout on the run down past Bron Hebog Crossing - has had the posts painted and some representation of the wire added.

We do this by running fine cotton thread between the posts, wrapping it once around each before carrying on down the line, repeating it three times.

The real fencing has both horizontal an vertical wires which form a square pattern but we're not about to attempt that, so we've gone for the same method we used on Dduallt.