Thursday, January 29, 2009

Second stage

This is part 2 and is a catch up to where I am now. Both sides have been completed to the initial stage, with the blanking panel added too. The front obs end has also been fabricated. Next stage is the rear end and then to start adding the beading etc

A plasticard project

Above is the result of my first foray into scratchbuilding carriages using plastic.  I have to say that I started off sceptical.  How could a carriage like this be strong enough?  Isn't it just really fiddly?  I had read a couple of articles in the model railway press on this subject and I still favoured etched brass.  

So why have I started exploring this method?  Well a few things - firstly getting drawings of three FR carriages (100, 102 and 124) was really difficult - even after contact with fairly high up FR people, I was only able to get a drawing of 124 (and was explicitly banned from passing it on to a commercial kit manufacturer), 100 and 102 are elusive to this day.  So that meant etched brass was probably out unless I drew my own drawings from known dimensions and photographs.  ouch!

Then I was contacted (about another matter actually - bogies) by Rob Waller and we got chatting...he (rather splendidly as mentioned previosuly) offered to give me a masterclass on his methods for building in plasticard.  However he lives in Scotland, so a face to face meeting was going to be a problem. Over a few weeks he wrote an 'e-masterclass' for me , covering all areas of this construction method from sides to floors, roofs etc.  Armed with this I thought I would give it a go (and frankly it would be rude not to at least have a go).  

The first carriage to be tackled is FR 100, similar to the old 100 (of which I had a drawing).  Only a few changes are necessary and Rob was again very helpful here.  

So, the image above shows my first carriage side.  A drawing is taped to the underside of a piece of glass and evergreen styrene strip has been used to build up the basic structure.  Next will come the beading on top which will give it more strength and the depth of detail necessary to look believable.  

I made a few mistakes with this first side, but what I quickly learnt was that most errors can be sorted pretty quickly and painlessly.  Hardly any error is a total disaster.  You also really only need minute drops of plastic weld (or mek) to join the pieces.  Any more and it seeps underneath and bonds the side to the glass!  But even if it does, that will be the inside face anyway, so who is going to see that?!

So, a massive shout out to me man Rob, and hopefully within a short time I'll have a model of 100 to add to the collection.  After that it's 102 and 124, to be built the same way.  Then of the FR/WHR bogie carriages I only need to complete 26, 118, the new 116 and the new 2010 and 2100.  I expect to be able to get etched kits of 26 and 118.  The new 116 could be tackled either in brass or plastic...

I'm also hopeful that 2090 (in Boston Lodge at the moment) will come out looking similar enough that the kit I have in stock will still be OK and then we have the spectre of the new FR 103 (a wooden frame in the carriage works at the moment), the porthole bug box in a similar state at the moment (kit in stock) and eventually a replacement for FR 121, planned according to my sources.

All jolly good fun!

PS in the image it may not look like everything is square - that's partly the camera angle, partly shadow and partly the fact that parts aren't lying perfectly flat at the moment - with the extra details this will help flatten it out.  It's all square really!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

weekend work

So, as predicted, this last weekend two new 4ft x 2ft boards have been constructed for the FR side of the layout using the wood I 'had' to purchase to enable the construction of Thomas' 'layout'.

I even found room in the centre of his 5ft x 3ft layout for an N gauge 'test track' for running in new mechanisms - this is powered by either connecting two croc clips to the 00 tracks and using Thomas' controller, or by clipping them direct to my DCC controller. Sorted.

TK maxx have been selling off Bachmann underground ernie stock cheap (Thomas loves this series) - so a model of 'Victoria' or 'Hammersmith & City' which was £35 was snapped up for just £5! bargain. They run well on the new layout, although H+C is marginally quicker than Victoria much to Thomas' amusement.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wendy house nears completion

The roof is on, central tiles (obviously to be painted grey) added and all set up now ready for the soffits etc Nearly there. Colin

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Where were you...?

When the first black president of the USA was sworn in?

Me, I was down Jewsons mate.

News update

Thomas' oval of OO track has taken a battering by being put up and taken down so many times, so we decided it was time to mount it on a baseboard.  Measuring it up, I needed a piece approx 4ft x 3ft.  Now that's a 'problem', because sheets of ply are sold in two sizes - 4ft x 2ft and 8ft x 4ft.  

Obviously, I needed the larger size.  Why Jewsons - well 8ft x 4ft won't fit in the car, but they offer a free cutting service (unlike travis perkins or the local homebase).  So what to do with the other 4ft x 5ft? Obvious really - get the guy (Alan) to cut it into two more 4ft x 2ft panels leaving a single 1ft x 4ft piece left over.  Got my drift yet?

What that means is that I now have 2 of the 3 baseboards that I need for part 2 of the masterplan - the FR side of the layout.  cool eh!  If I make do with the third baseboard being just a foot wide, then I have all of them.

Even better is that this weekend I have been tasked with building the 2x1 frame for Thomas' layout, well it would be rude not to do the frames for the other boards at the same time wouldn't it?  I might even build some more trestles!


The bases for the Beddgelert end water tower that were found to be too wide, have been sawn off and the ballast replaced.  I just need to blend in the colours with the weathered ballast around it and it's done.  

The wendy house has had its internal partition added (with the hatch detail added) and the slate roof pieces have been cut from that far too thick and difficult to cut wills sheet.  Now all that is needed is for all the bits of the roof to be assembled.

I have given up waiting for drawings of the new 100 and 102 to appear and have found (thanks again to Rob Waller) that these vehicles are actually very similar to the old 100 (of which I have a 7mm to the ft drawing).  Now to shrink it in the photocopier and I can get on with that project. 


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Giga post


Lots of things have been happening, so here's a mega update. Firstly a good friend of my Dad allowed us to borrow his rolling bars and today we set about rolling the roofs of every carriage, planned carriage and loco roof I could find. I counted them later - 59 separate bits of brass! This is a massive step forward and, with the pre-cut strips from metalsmith too I have saved loads of time here.

As I alluded to in the last post, I am starting out on a project (with guidance from Rob Waller) to scratchbuild some Ffestiniog carriages from plasticard evergreen strip. Today at the Leamington model show I picked up some strips of the necessary sizes. I also found myself a compass cutter and some plastic weld (which could well be better than the mek pak I have used up to now). Game on.

So, the Leamington show then. I picked up a flyer a while ago from a local model railway shop. It had a map on the back of it, but frankly it was useless other than to tell you the approximate location - it didn't even tell you which junction on the A46 you needed (there are multiple junctions for Kenilworth/Lemaington! Looking at a road map, we headed for the National Agricultural centre (which had decent signage to it). Once in the site there was a bit of signage showing you where to park within the huge site, but we then struggled to find the entrance to the hall. A bit more thought would help here for those who are not used to the local area.
The entry price was a bit steep I thought (£5) and the secondhand stall was really disappointing - secondhand prices at close to the normal price of a kit new! Why risk second hand? Maybe that's ebay's fault - pushing up secondhand values?
On the narrow gauge front, the wonderful Fallgate was there (images below). This was its last show at the hands of its creator and it will be for sale in the next 009 news. A price of about £1,100 (stock is included and valaued at £700 which won't be separated from the layout) was noted. A super little layout if you can afford that kind of wonga in these 'crunched' times.

Trade support was good - squires, modelex, green scene, rural railways, castle trains, classic train and motor bus, C+L finescale, books, DVDs etc etc Other layouts were generally good, Hungerford stood out.
Back at home, the wendy house has had its sills added and has been put together into a basic 'box'. This gave me the opportunity to take some shots of the layout fully erected (even including the triangular piece) and with some new features added. I have also completed the ramp at the far end of the platform and painted it.

I also trial fitted the Beddgelert end tank. The bases didn't look right and now, having looked at photos of the real thing, I find that the bases are much slimmer than they are shown to be on the CAD drawings. So, the actual as-built on the ground is very different to the plans I have - oh well. I'll have to take a saw to them (ensuring that the legs of the water ower are central on the bases and then reballast around them.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Further progress

The wendy house is fast coming together.  All sides have now been laminated (30 thou backing on 40 thou board/batten and they are now ready to be butt joined together.  

The ends have been cut out to fit around the door / window and the roofline has been cut ready. Sills need completing and the internal partition cut out before it can be all put together.

Below is the progress last night, the sides just propped up against each other.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More on the wendy house


All the sides of the wendy house station shelter have now been cut out of board/batten and the two front pieces have had their windows added.  I've also started to add the small windows sills too.  The brass door (glued to the plasticard using the wonderful G-S hypo cement) has had a frame added in plasticard strip and the two shelter ends have also been cut out ready - they need shaping to go around the door and end window yet.  

I also made 5 more FR 2 ton slate waggons tonight.

On the cutting mat is some of the brass as delivered from metalsmith this morning - 5m in total of strips 28, 27, 26 or 25mm wide.  Now all I need to do is cut each to the correct length and run them through some rolling bars (I have a plan for this) before they can be soldered on.  Game on!

I also have a plan for modelling the elusive FR brake observation saloons - more on this soon - I am indebted to Rob Waller (of 'Dduallt' and soon 'Bron Hebog' fame) for his time in giving me some fantastic advice (a masterclass) in the construction of carriages from plasticard.  It is fair to say that he has (through some considerable practice given the number of carriagess he has modelled) mastered this technique and I hope to borrow some of this best practice to have a go myself.  Watch this space. 


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wendy House and Merddin update


Firstly, I have been doing more work on the 'wendy house' station shelter for Rhyd Ddu.  The sides will be laminated from 30 thou plasticard and evergreen board / batten.  This is the setup used by Geoff Taylor, so I thought it sounded sensible.  

However the windows need to be flush with the outer surface, so they are a friction fit against the board/batten sheet with the 30 thou sheet just acting as a stiffener.  Basically the board/batten window aperture is cut smaller and then filed to ensure a snug fit.  

The apertures for the windows in the 30 thou sheet need not be so accurate however and indeed need to be slightly larger than the window itself to avoid showing through. 

The back has been completed in board/batten as a trial and the 30 thou plasticard bases for the other sides have also been cut out (tonight).  The door has been glued to the 30 thou base layer and will have a frame added around asap (thin evergreen strip).  The next job is to complete the board and batten for the sides and ends and then think about the roof - I will be using wills slate sheet for that plus ridge tiles.

Meanwhile at the Gloucestershire works, Dad has completed a necessary alteration to Merddin.  

To enable extra space for the motion, the cylinders have been packed out from the frames. Backwoods do encourage this and apparently this issue was tackled on Taliesin by including this packing within the kit (although it does mean that the kit is not quite to scale).  I would always prefer a slightly out of scale engine though if it means it runs better!  

Images below, the white packing will of course be painted black.  The engine is in the early stages of painting.


Friday, January 09, 2009

250 not out


This is my 250th post on this blog (wow!). However recent progress has been hampered by very cold weather, christmas and colds etc.

However, 4 more trees have been planted on the layout and whilst on horticultural issues, I have been playing with some lovely busch plastic flowers which will adorn the flower beds on the station platform and around the steps from the car park. Below is a shot of the constituent parts of the busch kit:

I have also some good news on the carriage roof front. Metalsmith Ltd have quoted me for pre-cut long strips of brass. A survey of the carriages found that only 4 widths are required ranging from 25 to 28mm. The brass will be provided at the correct width, just requiring me to cut (with tin snips) to create the right length on a carriage by carriage basis. I need over 5m of brass though! This will save a massive amount of cutting, which without a guillotine would have been a 'score to cut' method (which is very easy to mess up if the steel rule slips even just a little and takes ages too). Happy days.

The latest edition of Model Rail features a good article (although please note that the back to back measurement for 009 should be 7.3mm not 9mm) from Darren Sherwood-Jones on the construction of his Backwoods NGG16 Beyer-Garratt. I have been in contact with him and he is planning a WHR layout too. Maybe he'll start a blog? If you're a member of the rmweb forum (simple registration if not) then some more details are here

Certain carriages remain a problem, particularly FR 100/102/124 and WHR 2010/2100. Potentially 2090 could come out of the works (where it is at the mo) looking different, but luckily I spotted this issue and haven't done much on the current kit anyway. I am preparing to draw my own drawings of these as various FR sources have shown that no official final 'as built' drawings exist.

Anyway, Happy New Year (quite an eventful year I suspect what with the opening of the WHR to Beddgelert at Easter and then Porthmadog in July, plus I expect to become a father once again in March!).