Thursday, 6 August 2020

Next Stop, South Sea Lane

After nearly a month in the paint shop the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway ex-Ashover coach is now painted to my satisfaction. Apart from primer and varnish this has been completely brush painted. The ivory is Vallejo 'Ivory' and the blue Citadel 'Lothern Blue'. The grey and black shades on the roof and underframe are mixed from various blacks/greys etc. Like a fool I forgot to paint any of the interior until after completing the exterior (!) and opted to use a simple scheme of blue/ivory in the vestibules and just grey primer and brown seats inside the saloon - you cannot really tell through the windows.

After a coat of Humbrol aerosol matt varnish the windows have been glazed individually using 20 thou material (sides) and 10 thou (ends), fixed in place with Johnsons Kleer. The roof was then fixed in place with solvent-free Uhu, but not before a couple of low-key plastic figures were added inside at one end. 

I then applied some weathering, a subtle dry-brush around the underframe trusses and bogies, and some slightly less subtle effects on the roof, which had a wash of a translucent brown paint and then dry-brushing in grey/brown. Part of me feels I might have gone a bit too far with the streaks, but I remind myself that it is from a seaside railway and will have encountered it's fair share of Seagull "deposits" that would have been washed down in the rain...

Whilst I mull over the options for a diorama or operational use it has gone into the display case to be admired. In the meantime another coach has appeared in the paint shop to appear in a similar livery, and that is O9...


Wednesday, 29 July 2020

One Man and his Tub

My last post hinted at a micro-diorama featuring a Black Dog Mining mine tub. The body was painted a few years ago using a salt weathering technique to give a patchy rust effect. Originally on a Black Dog chassis it never really looked right, so I had planned to fit it to the KB frame with a mind to using it on the layout project I started at Easter. That has stalled and the use of KB based stock has now largely been ruled out. However, I opted to finish off this build with a diorama project in mind, and here it is, all 85 x 70 mm of it...


The chassis was painted with red oxide primer, then given various rust effects by stippling on paint in rust shades, then wetted, salt applied over the rust areas and once dried sprayed with matt brown paint. With the salt removed some dry brushing and weathering powders have enhanced the finish. The wheels have also been weathered, not that you can see them here!

I felt that it needed some sort of context to be displayed in. My original idea had been some sort of mine entrance, with the intention of laying the track using KB Scale components to 14mm gauge, as doodled here.

I wasn't convinced that I could convincingly get the height of the piece to look right, but I liked the look of the slope down on the front left corner, something I had experimented with a couple of years ago on a test piece I had made using polystyrene. Ironically this was also made with the mine tub in mind but never completed and only used for test purposes.

I stripped off as much of the old material as I could (recovering some of the tufts in the process) and started the rebuild, cutting back the polystyrene at the left edge and right rear, and adding 5mm balsa wood cut to shape in it's place to add the height. I added some rocks cast in plaster of Paris some time ago, made in impromptu baking foil moulds to use up something the kids had been working with. The rocks and balsa were blended in with modelling clay with some texturing added.

The rocks were then painted dark grey, followed by lighter shades through to a final dry-brushed light grey/cream shade. The next step was my usual scenic mix (brown-ish paint, filler and PVA) with Woodland Scenics earth sprinkled over whilst wet. Once dried I added hanging basket liner and some recovered Silfor tufts, treating the hanging basket liner with areas of scatter applied over hairspray. A couple of Martin Welberg weed tufts were also added to add extra textures and a couple of bits of sea moss bush that were surplus from previous projects were also used.


A few bits of the original ground cover can be seen in places around the track and in the front dropped area. My usual timber surround has been added, but rather than following the lay of the land it is lower in height with the exposed edge of the scene painted a neutral grey. I think it works reasonably well...


Monday, 13 July 2020

The State of Play

I've deliberately not dwelled too much here on what one railway modelling magazine has called the "current heath emergency". There have been no great proclamations of "lockdown projects" and if anything my output has slowed over the last few months rather than increased. There have been odd exceptions, Easter weekend laying track for a Julian Andrews inspired micro layout being the main one.

You may be wondering what has happened to that, ironically labelled as "getting something moving". Well a perfect storm of issues with finishing off the primary locomotive, then issues with some of the intended rolling stock and a heavy dose of despondency have kicked it into the sidelines for the time being. One day it will be completed, in some form or another, but whether it is the next bigger project to emerge is another question completely.

So I started on the Ashover coach on 009 as a distraction, I think issues with other projects going awry  led to me build it practically out of the box before eventually realising I wanted to make some changes. I finally plucked up the courage to make those changes step-by-step and it is now in the paintshop, but not before examining my acrylic paint collection and realising it was deficient in useable creams and light blues. A socially-distanced trip to Boyes saw me acquire a likely ivory shade and two different blues to try from Vallejo and Citadel. 

The present thinking is that there may well be a LCLR-themed micro-diorama for this coach to inhabit, using a Wills station halt kit to represent the wooden platform at South Sea Lane station. This might not seem very ambitious but it seems achievable. Perhaps the future is better represented by these focussed set-pieces rather than anything bigger and operational?

The other factor at play in the current climate is the need to use my workbench 5 days a week as my place of work. This looks set to continue for at least the rest of the year and maybe beyond. With some additional equipment now in place this does clog up the space a little, I've settled on a weekdays/weekend setup that does allow some modelling on weekday evenings. As an aide to this I've made myself a work tray from a piece of furniture board (actually a piece from an Ikea unit) and some of the last of the lovely veneered ply I have that came from an old wardrobe.  A lip of quarter round strip under the front edge locates the unit on the desktop, and I've cut down the chunk of wall-planner to fit on top!

I've included a couple of pockets at the back to hold bottles to but haven't gone overboard with paintbrush holders etc. A couple of coats of varnish have given the inside an attractive finish, whilst the outer edge is painted dark brown over the top of the veneered side of the ply, as the veneer has worn away in many places due to joining/sanding/drilling etc.

After the end of each session the work tray can be moved under the desk onto the top of some stacking crates, ready for use the next day. Whilst not an excuse to be untidy it means that work in progress can be left out to some degree.

You might just spy a Black Dog Mining mine wagon on a KB Scale chassis, a leftover from the failed wagons for the "getting something moving" project. This is due to feature in another micro-diorama piece, and it might be sooner rather than later...


Friday, 3 July 2020

The Humberston Amendments

After much deliberation as to how good a job I could make of it, I removed the drop-frames in the windows from the ex-Ashover coach. Using a 0.5mm drill bit a hole was drilled in each corner of the frame and with a new blade in the craft knife I carefully cut around the edge of the frame. This removed the frames quite cleanly and any tidying up was achieved with an emery board and one of my home made sanding sticks.

Some reconstruction work was required to create the LCLR style frames. It's nowhere near the amount of reconstruction the real thing has received! The more I look at photos the more I can see how the non-platform side of the coach currently in use at Winthorpe is in effect totally new, replacing the side removed when the coach was used as a stand at a sports ground. As such the model will never fully replicate the prototype, but I can live with that.

Having removed the moulded drop-frames I replaced them with a representation of the LCLR window frames. I've made an allowance to semi flush-glaze by leaving a 20 thou recess at the back of the new arrangement, to achieve this another brass template was created to assist. The new pieces started with the sill cut from 10 x 30 thou Evergreen strip, then the inner beading from fine strips cut from 5 thou Evergreen sheet. A further strip of 5 thou material has been added across the top of the side to represent a strip that on the prototype is attached to the roof. This is supported over the doorways by a strip of 30 x 60 thou styrene reduced down on one edge.

The end windows had a new insert along the bottom edge from 10 x 20 thou strip. I've also added lamp brackets at both ends in the LCLR position, and representations of the bolt heads on the corner post from 0.5mm styrene rod. On the side with doorways further slices of rod represent the fixings at the end of the handrails (removed at the moment to be reinstated after painting). I've also added a representation of detail to the base of the brake handle using an EDM Models bolt head/washer and a slice of larger plastic rod.

I have opted not to alter the tiebars and to accept this as a compromise, I've also decided not to add air brake pipes etc, these were only added in the 1980s and I can only find evidence of this vehicle having an air brake pipe at one end whilst at Humberston, but both ends at Winthorpe. As these details are a bit ambiguous I have left them off, but they could be added at a later date if required.


Saturday, 27 June 2020

Salvation from Frustration

Not long after it was last seen here my O9 MG Models 'Classic' diesel vanished into the workshop, ostensibly for a few finishing touches like couplings, an air horn and a comfier seat for the driver. The works foreman declined to comment on suggestions it had been seen back in the paintshop, claiming he was using a corner of it as his "special projects workshop"... whatever that is...

Truth be told, there was a bit of a bodge in the original version of the coupler housings, adding them after painting was a daft idea, and the amount of handling the loco was getting resulted in a chip through to brass in the bonnet front paintwork. With the frustration of the bodged joint between bonnet and running plate fresh in my mind I opted to add new coupler housings before painting, which resulted in a rather drastic "touch-up" job...

One of my other frustration in recent weeks has been with what would have been rolling stock for the new O9 micro layout, specifically issues I was having re-gauging KB Scale skip frames to O9. With the project in limbo whilst I try and decide which direction to go, the worst victim of my experimentation (which had two melted axleboxes from a daft attempt at pushing the bearings in further), gained a couple of, ahem, modifications. A bit of mucky paint later and...


Sunday, 14 June 2020

From Ashover with Love

Back in February I was given a Meridian Models Ashover coach for my birthday. Having ridden in the real thing a few times at the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway this is an item of interest for me. I had considered doing a build in true LCLR condition, but the more you look at the coaches at Winthorpe, the more the 60 years or more of use and (putting it politely) rebuild work, shows up. Early pictures of them at Humberston reveal that not a great deal could have been left in the 1960s when they were acquired, these are two of the vehicles used as spectator stands so probably lost a lot of material whilst at Clay Cross.

Looking at one of my 2013 pictures, the obvious changes are that the drop-windows are gone on sides and ends, the sliding doors are replaced by hinged doors on one side (fixed panels on the other), the steps are gone and even the underframe trussing is different - it was newly fitted at Humberston.

I have therefore resigned myself to a build of the kit that captures the essence of the LCLR but maybe not the details. I feared that taking great chunks out of the window frames would not end well (or neatly) and the doors seem essential to maintaining squareness. I know others have made very interesting conversions from these kits, but as a first-timer this is essentially a straight-build of the kit.

Further study of photos revealed that the LCLR coaches have no torpedo vents on the roof - of course I checked this after fitting them so off they came and the holes were filled in... The roof of the LCLR examples also looks somehow "heavier" so have used 20 thou material rather than the 15 thou material supplied.

I'm now considering a couple of changes to the build that ought to add some individuality. Having looked at the photos and drawings the handrails by the doors are rather prominent and I am considering adding these in 0.3mm wire. I'm also considering opening up the door windows as a halfway house between ALR and LCLR condition. We shall see...


Saturday, 30 May 2020

Classic in Maroon

Outwardly it may appear that it has been quiet of late on the workbench, in reality there have been a sequence of frustrations...

My MG Models 'Classic Diesel' build contributed a few of these, not least the area that I was least happy about, the join between the bonnet and footplate. I suspect that I haven't got the bonnet sat down into the etched groove properly, and didn't help myself by trying to be too clever when gluing the painted parts into place - I had excess glue ooze under the edge. I tidied it up as best I could in the hope weathering could hide it. I tell myself that a real loco like this would most likely have a bonnet that consists of a frame bolted to the underframe, so there ought to be gap. 

Weathering too two attempts and I think I have got it about how I want it. Its maybe a little too much on the bonnet sides compared to elsewhere but I figured that area would get mucky, especially if the bonnet side flaps were opened up with grubby hands on a regular basis. And it's too late to change it...

The main effect I have been seeking is to enhance the louvres on the bonnet sides, to achieve this I washed over a dark grey, then removed a lot of it quickly to leave a deposit at the base of the louvres. When this was dry I dry-brushed a maroon colour a shade lighter than the main body colour from above - to highlight the top and edges of the louvres. The same colour was used to highlight the edges of the bonnet and cab etc.

Other areas have also been weathered, including the underframe and bufferbeams and the top of the exhaust. I have made a couple of adjustments since looking at the photos, I'm still not 100% on the model but getting there. In theory there are two remaining jobs, to add couplers, and an air horn in the hole I drilled for it in the cab front!