Sunday, 28 February 2021

The Sea Side

Although it's been a big week for us taking the metaphorical covers off two new locomotives for the fleet, I haven't managed to get that much modelling done myself.

I'm in the middle of delivering another epic voluntary project, which is eating up most of my free time, so I was pleased to be able to get an hour in the study making a start on the other side of Carnforth buffet car 114 - the side which faces the sea when it is on The Cob, otherwise known as the 'engine side' in Boston Lodge parlance. 

This foundation stage is always the most important bit to get right.

You need to make sure it matches the other side in terms of length and height, that the window pillars are perpendicular and a mirror image of those on the opposing side of the carriage when it is assembled.

My next task will be to tease the thin strip into position around the inside edges to form those distinctive window frames on the Carnforth stock.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Go Large

Sometimes progress on our layouts and stock moves at the speed of glaciers, but the end result is always worth the wait.

So it is with our 'Large England' Welsh Pony which is 99.9% finished nearly 8 years after construction began - and many more still since the ill-fated Mercian kit was purchased.

It's been put back together and test run after varnishing, and I have to say it really looks the part on the Victorian set.

The missing 0.1% is the works plates on the cab sides - we're having some slightly smaller ones etched for us by our friends at Narrow Planet.

This is now our fourth complete England Engine - although only three of them are powered.

Maybe it's time to stage an official line-up in the fiddle yard?

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

One Three Oh!

Just a couple of weeks behind the real locomotive our 130 has been completed and is undergoing some running-in on the WHR main line!

Himself reassembled the locomotive after the varnish had set on the boiler unit and reunited it with the power bogies which were finished last year, before taking it for a spin on Bron Hebog.

Unfortunately he doesn't have a large enough garage to put up the whole layout - but we can get the long top end section from the Rhyd Ddu fiddle yard down through the S-bend into the station running.

The lounge is the only part of the house large enough to accommodate the entire layout, but I suspect that might be out of bounds.....

Monday, 22 February 2021

Almost There

The arrival of warmer weather has allowed Himself to venture into the garage / workshop and unleash the airbrush on a number of models which have been awaiting a protective coat of vanish.

Of most interest to readers of this blog, I'm sure, are our latest FR and WHR locomotives.

Welsh Pony has all its transfers applied now, although when this photo was taken was still awaiting the fitting of the nameplates.

130 has been refitted with a lot of the extra piping and the handrails are the last things to be fitted, along with its number plates on the cab.

Both are going to make stunning models when they are reassembled and tested, hopefully within the next few days.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

No Cutting Corners


A start is being made on my mission to scratch build 'Carnforth' buffet car 114 for a customer.

The most difficult part of this trio of FR carriages is representing their big windows which have a very obvious frame with rounded corners.

The solution I hit on when I made my own fleet of these around 20 years ago is to create the window apertures as usual with vertical and horizontal pieces of strip, with the square corners.

Then I take a very thin piece of strip - in this case 0.10" x 0.30" which when fixed on its side stands slightly proud of the 0.20" thick window pillars.

I curl that around the inside edge of the window, glueing it only along the straight edges with the smallest drop of solvent and letting it naturally form an arc in the corners.

With some very careful cutting with the scalpel I can made the two ends meet so precisely that you can't see the join unless you look really closely.

It takes a little while to do each one but I think the effect is worth the effort.

Afterwards I will use Milliput to fill the cap in the corners and once its painted you'll never notice.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Stripey Boiler

There's been rapid progress with the next stage of lining out the boiler unit of 130.

With great skill Himself has applied the very fine straw lines around the boiler bands and begun work on the cab sides.

There's still some touching up to do on the corners, you'll notice.

Already you can see the finished effect is going to be terrific.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Black Lines

The real 130 steamed back into action this week and our miniature version is not far behind.

With the main plum colour and the large expanses of black painted Himself has worked through applying the edging transfers around the cab and on the boiler bands.

We use lines of waterslide transfers because you get a much sharper definition than you would ever manage with a brush.

They will get a protective coat of varnish before the trickiest job of applying the fine, straw lines begins.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Copy Shop

I've been given a new scratch building challenge.

A long-standing customer is looking for a model of the FR's Carnforth-built buffet car 114.

Straightforward enough.

The challenge is that the other two parts of the trio of carriages have been built using the Worsley brass scratch aid kits, but mine will be constructed from styrene.

What I have to do is try to and make mine as good a match as I can, which is tricky given the nature of the materials they're made from.

They've sent one of their existing carriages to use as a guide.

In case you were wondering, the reason I've been asked to scratch build it is because 114 has undergone changes to its design - an extra window on one side - compared to the Worsley version.

Monday, 8 February 2021

Sir Handle

Every so often I am astounded by Himself's ingenuity.

A case in point is when I received an update on progress with painting the boiler unit of 130.

What I noticed first was not the finish but the rather clever - and also wonderfully simple - way he is managing to avoid touching the wet paintwork.

He's using the hole at the back of the footplate where the rear power unit is connected to fix on a makeshift handle.

There's been something extra added in the cab, where he decided to use some styrene rod, and tiny brass wheels, to represent the various gauges and controls.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

The Repair Shop

Looking back, I think the moment you realise you've become a parent - or more specifically, a Dad - is when you become aware of that unshakeable belief in your ability to fix stuff.

I'm still very much an apprentice in this compared to Himself.

But I have say I'm rather pleased with my efforts to restore a distinctly second hand ventilated van.

My youngest picked this old Mainline van up from a bric-a-brac stall at the local exhibition a couple of years ago, but it wasn't until very recently that I noticed one of the sliding doors was missing.

I pondered what to do about it until I dawned on me that I could use my casting know-how to make a copy of the door and its runners.

Once it's painted I think it'll end up looking rather convincing.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

No More Hanging Around

Himself has decided he's not going to wait any longer for illusive evidence of the pipework on the 'engine side' of 130, so it's time to start painting it whether it's right or wrong.

There was one remaining piece of brass wire to be connected up on the side of the firebox, and we'll just have to hope that they haven't decided to route it anywhere radically different to on the other three WHR engines.

The completed boiler and cradle have been given a coat of primer as the first step.

Both power units and their tanks / bunkers have been painted and lined in the gorgeous maroon livery, so this is the last step for completing the locomotive.

This will be our fifth NGG16 in the fleet, but only four of them represent WHR machines, the doyen of the quintet being turned out in plain black with Alfred County Railway branding on the bunker.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Ducks For Cover

It seems some of my blog readers have long memories...

Just when I thought I could put the resin away for a couple of weeks, at the end of another couple of weeks of casting kits for sale, a correspondent enquired whether I still had the moulds for brake compartment duckets?

They recalled when I was scratch building our latest models of FR carriages 11 and 12 I came up with an easy way of reproducing the tricky, curvy bits which stick out of the side of the van ends.

Fortunately for them I am a notorious hoarder and never knowingly throw away anything that 'might come in handy one day', and the moulds were stored in the miscellaneous box.

This time the intended target, I believe, are models of the WHR Pickering carriages.

* Correction - they are in fact models of 11 and 12