Sunday, 30 August 2020

The Other No.5

 An invitation for Sunday lunch at Himself's gave me the opportunity to inspect progress and I was really pleased to see how great Maenofferen tank waggon looks now it's been painted  - a coat of red oxide primer will be sufficient for this model - and with its transfers in place.

It's always hard to judge when the model is still in resin or styrene form whether you've captured the look of the real thing, but if I say so myself I think I have.

Just as well, really, given how the first ten kits for sale have been cast this weekend...

Friday, 28 August 2020

Red Tanks

An exciting moment in the build of 130 as the first of coat of paint is applied to the bunker and tanks.

Trying to choose a colour for a model is always a tricky business. You have to take into account the effect of scaling, and also that people tend to see the colour as their mind's eye recalls the real one.

Thus we've opted for a BR crimson shade for 130 which by the time it's lined out won't look too far away from the real thing, I hope.

It's terrific to see yet another Garratt for Bron Hebog on the home straight. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Twenty Forty Eight

 There's another new carriage in the fleet.

Himself has completed the varnishing of WHR saloon 2048 and added the handrails beside the doors at each end, which is perhaps his least favourite job of all.

Each of these monster WHR carriages are scratch built in styrene.

There's now four of them to this design and had I known they would end up mostly (note the careful use of the word) identical, then I might have made a master to cast resin copies like I do with the FR Superbarns.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Garratt Goes Grey

 Our 130 has reached a significant stage with the start of the paint job.

Just like with the real locomotive Himself is starting with the tank and bunker on the assumption that as they've been painted, lined and fitted to the power bogies that they surely won't be changed before it enters service?

There's still some pipework to be added to the boiler unit in the area in front of the cab, but until that is plumbed in on the real one we won't know for certain what route it will take to get to its destination.

The handrail knobs have been fitted along the boiler but the rails are still to be threaded through them.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Another One Joins The Fleet

 I'll keep this post short and let the picture do the talking.

As you can see, Lyn is now lined, varnished and reassembled, and ready for action on Bron Hebog, whenever model railway exhibitions are allowed again.

I've written before that Lynton and Barnstaple locos are not my favourites, neither is the unsubtle Southern livery, but Lyn is the most appealing of the lot.

I think it's perhaps got the Earl of Merioneth attitude - it doesn't pretend to be pretty, it's just built to do the job.

And if you don't like that, tough!

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Tank Talk

I'll soon be in a position to start production of the Maenofferen tank waggon now I've successfully produced a master and test casting of the chassis.

As I explained in a post a couple of days ago, this uses the Dundas 3-ton waggon floor which has been extended at each end.

To make it easier to fit the wheels, however, I opted to design it to use the solebar and axle box part from the kit which slots neatly into place.

The waggon kit will be a relatively simple one, with two big blocks of tank to fit together - and fill / file any obvious join mark - and the floor part.

The other vital bit is the domed cap of the tank filler which is done as a separate casting.

For simplicity for customers I am thinking that for this kit I will look at supplying the kit with the wheels and Dundas parts included.

However, I don't intend to carry a large stock at any time so expressions of interest now would be helpful so I can gauge how many bits I need to buy in.

Emails to the Boston Largs Works address, please.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Best Seats In The House

The mini-heatwave hasn't been conducive to spending long periods at the workbench, so Himself has been catching up on little jobs, such as tweaking the tender of Welsh Pony.

This is yet another excellent example of why you always wait for the FR to finish building the real thing before you contemplate completing your model.

Build your tender according to the kit instructions and you would have nearly all the space inside free to hold coal, but observe Number 5 trotting around on the Covid shuttles this summer and you will see they've done a Prince on it and created a couple of cheeky perches at the front of the tender.

Wouldn't that be a lovely place to sit and watch the Vale of Ffestiniog slip by?

There are another couple of embellishments which have been added to increase the authenticity - handrail knobs have been repurposed to adorn the front of the tender body.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Sole Man

After a visit to see Himself - and his vast collection of leftover kit parts - have in my possession the bits I need to complete the chassis master for the tank wagon kit.

As with the version I made for our layouts it's going to be based around an extended Dundas FR 3-ton slate waggon chassis.

I intend to fit the extension bits to the floor plate in styrene and cast that piece in resin, but to complete the rolling chassis I'll be using the solebar and axlebox mouldings from the kit, plus the wheels of course.

Hopefully later this week I'll have the first example completed.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Key To The Door

Himself's jaunt to Wales last week resulted in him getting that chance to see two of the FR's newest toys in use, which is more than I can expect to do in the foreseeable future.

One of them was Welsh Pony and the other was the replica of carriage 21.

I confess to still being slightly puzzled by this rebuild, given this design's notoriety for not being the most comfortable of conveyances.

I only sat in it for a minute or so while it was in the carriage works at Boston Lodge and could feel the rail of the seat digging awkwardly into my lower back, and on those end benches perched up over the bogies my knees were uncomfortably high.

That was with it sitting still, so I hate to think what it's like 'Bakerlooing' up the line - to steal a phrase from the doyen of FR magazine editors, Dan Wilson.

However, I can imagine it's just the job for the Covid-safe compartment service to Tan y Bwlch, and if heritage means anything it should be an authentic experience, I suppose.

Even so, it still seems a little odd to sell off the tin cars, which although far from the standards of the current saloons were still a vast improvement on compartment stock, and be recreating what is surely their heritage equivalent? (A one-time cheap and cheerful solution to boost the carriage fleet.)

We still don't have a 21 in our fleet, but hopefully that will be corrected soon as I have one of the Worsley body kits on back order.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Early Progress

So I summoned the motivation to try having a go at the bogies for the MoD flat wagons.

These are much more chunky than your standard Hudson bogie and the idea is to make a master for a piece which can slip on top of the Dundas plastic bogie frames.

I've made up the basic frame with styrene channel and strip although I've yet to do anything about the axle boxes and suspension.

Even so, I'm feeling pretty encouraged.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Southern Comfort


Before leaving for a week in Wales, Himself was making startling progress on the lining on Lyn.
It was a stroke of good fortune that one of the sets of 4mm scale standard gauge Southern locomotive lettering produced by Fox fits exactly for the tanks.

The same was not true of the numbers for the tenders which were a little on the large size, but we found a set of numbers in yellow in the general alphabet and numeral section of the catalogue which are a lot more suitable. 

The white lining is very impressive, particularly around the nameplate on the cabside and even more so on the oval plate on the bunker.

I'm never really been a fan of the Southern livery on any size of locomotive - it's a bit too 'in your face' for my tastes, and I've never felt Lyd fits in on the FR like that.

I much preferred it in the spoof BR black, or its original pre-grouping livery would be even better in my mind.

Somehow the loco which suits it best is this big, boxy American interloper.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Flat Share

The tank wagon kit has been a diversion from the project I'd intended to be getting on with this summer, which is a request I received to make (and reproduce) some models of the modern ex-MoD flat wagons in the FR fleet.

The body should be relatively straightforward but the challenge is going to be the bogies.

These wagons were produced by Hudsons and share the same wheelbase as many of their older designs, but these ones are very beefed up and have a very chunky horizonal handbrake lever stuck on one side.

The plan I have in my head is to try and produce a casting which will somehow glue onto, or slip over, the plastic bogie frames produced by Dundas.

Resin is a poor material for casting the entire bogie as it doesn't flex as much as injection moulded plastic, and that makes them liable to break at the weakest point when fitting in the wheelsets.

I have a spare set of Hudson bogie parts to begin experimenting on, I just need to summon up the motivation....

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Sliced And Diced

I've given into public demand to attempt to make a kit for the Maeofferen Tank Waggon.

OK, well more like a couple of Facebook comments, but I'm a soft touch.

It's a challenging thing to try and reproduce.

My approach with my own model, you'll remember, was to cast a series of hollowed out rings, but I ended up wrapping them in very thin styrene to avoid any hint of the joints.

That would be too complicated for a kit because you would have to align the rings very precisely.

So I wondered instead about whether I could split the tank in half at its widest point?

I chose to go across the middle - rather than top to bottom, because this way I could cast the tank filler and the support brackets more easily.

Again it was a two-stage process,  stating with one relatively thin ring and joining four copies of that together, then using that as a master to create three sections which put together are the correct length.

Because I use open back castings the tank is a solid block of resin this time, instead of being hollow.

There was another stage where I filled and smoothed any obvious ring indents before adding the extra details.

As you can see from the picture at the top the result is quite effective.

It will require the builder to do a little filing and smoothing to fully disguise the join between the two castings but I think most modellers should be able to make a reasonable fist of it.

Onto the chassis, next.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Lining Lyn

Himself is making steady progress painting our Backwoods Baldwin Lyn.

He's reached the lining stage of the process.

Although its the white which stands out most in the picture there is also some black lining there, forming the neat edges to the green.

This was applied first and has been varnished to provide a better key for the narrow white lines.

They're a lot simpler to apply that on many of the FR locos because they have 90 degree joins instead of inverted corners which can be a real pain in the backside.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Brass Bands

I've been adding the fiddly brass details to complete the Maenofferen tank waggon.

Himself kindly provided a sheet of brass boiler bands which are just the job for the metal strapping which is a very distinctive feature of this waggon.

They're about 1mm wide but, inconveniently, don't wrap all around the tank but instead have a joint at the top which means they have to be made out of four pieces rather than two stretching right around it.

This required a lot of bending and shaping before they were super-glued in place, and the same went for the struts at each end.

Incidentally, have you noticed that isn't positioned centrally but overhangs the chassis more at the filler end?  

I wonder why that might be?

The last pieces I added was a handle on the top of the filler and locking screw, both of which I formed out of brass wire.

Now I shall hand it over to Himself to attach the couplings and paint it.