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!


Sunday, 10 May 2020

Trigger's Broom

Yesterday I spent some time considering what the rolling stock requirements would be for the 'Getting Something Moving' project. Amongst other options I wondered how I could generate further Black Dog Mining chassis if I went wholly down that route (other options under consideration include KB Scale Hudson chassis).

I opted to free up a chassis from one of my recent 'tops' wagons by adding the 'tops' body to that Shifting Sands classic of the low sided wagon with generator load, seen here when first completed about 15 years ago. I had been considering adding a 'tops' body to this anyway so it isn't as huge a leap as it seems....

It's had a couple of rebuilds over the years, including a failed and subsequently reversed chassis swap. On this occasion I decided it was less destructive to do a chassis swap under the newer body and after drilling dummy bolt holes in the new floor to match those on the original wagon, switched the load and details over, aiming to get everything in the same places. Some grey paint has altered the colour of the new body from brown to weathered grey. Why swap the chassis you ask, well to me it is still the same wagon...

Where's Trigger when you need him?!


Monday, 4 May 2020

Adding Character

It's been a couple of months since my MG Models 'Classic Diesel' build featured here, at the time it was put to one side awaiting some inspiration to hit as to what it was going to be used for. With the 'Getting Something Moving' project requiring shorter locos than most of my existing 4w fleet I have been looking at ways of completing the build. Wanting to add some character to the model I opted to look at how I could add some more detail to the underframe area to hide the Kato chassis and create something more realistic. 

My starting point was to look at 'Redgauntlet', the RHDR loco that clearly inspired the kit.

Scouting around the spares boxes I found some Parkside 4mm scale solebars and W-irons, from a poorly-built kit I had picked up at a show for a pound or so just because it had a decent set of Jackson-Romford wheels underneath. After a false start trying to thin one of the W-irons down, which weakened it somewhat, I opted to make the Kato chassis narrower  instead. This was not without incident... Eventually after a trip to the workshop to meet the "big" file all was well! The axlebox units were added to a structure made up from 20 thou styrene and 40 x 80 thou Evergreen strip.

Wanting something in between the W-irons that could be fashioned into a Lister-esque weight below the solebar. I scouted around the spares box and looked through the usual Dapol railbus and Drewery bits. However, what caught my eye was the tool/battery box part from the Knightwing shunter kit. Just one problem, there was only one, despite me building three of these kits over time. Luckily I remembered one was stuck to the back of a redundant tender in the loco bits box so that was carefully pinged off and cleaned up. 

On the loco body I decided to add a box alongside the bonnet at the cab end, echoing a feature on 'Redgauntlet' (on the opposite side to the picture above) and some other 15" gauge locos. This will have a sliding panel added once tidied up, it is only held in place with blu tac in the picture, hence the wonkyness!

I also opted to construct a new, more characterful, exhaust on the other side. This was soldered up and holes drilled in the corresponding positions on the bonnet side. The old hole in the bonnet top has become a filler cap, this is a Dapol Drewery coupling rod pin that had already lost it's hex head.

Just in case anyone thinks the weights look a bit low to the ground, there is an extra thickness of blu tac holding them in place , in practice they will sit at the same point as the base of the Kato chassis.


Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Getting Something Moving 4 - Sequence

Over the weekend I continued to play with test run the project. Having tried a fulls/empties system through what will be the hidden right-hand end of the circuit I found that I ended up having to hand-shunt behind the scenes a bit too much, it was far from a smooth operation. Eventually I found an operating pattern that works for me, which looks vaguely realistic even if it does rely on some trickery.

It goes a little something like this:

  1. A train of "fulls"(incoming load), represented here by the grey loco and (ahem, empty) wagons (three wagons in reality). This is always propelled anti-clockwise, pausing as it enters the unloading shed at the lower end of the curve on the right.
  2. Whilst paused, the other train (blue loco) which is empties or maybe bagged produce, runs around clockwise to the fiddle yard siding at the rear.
  3. The "fulls" trains then sneaks off back to the FY around the hidden part of the circuit. The blue loco, perhaps having switched wagons, then reappears anti-clockwise and goes back to the font siding.
  4. It might leave the wagons here and head to the workshop (curved) siding and pick up another wagon, only to be interrupted by the fulls arriving again. Once they are gone it can take the wagon from the workshop to the FY siding.

There are a few variations possible and you can swap locos between duties if the one off the "fulls" backs into the workshop siding and is replaced by the other loco. I had to make a couple of adjustments to the layout to make this system work in reality, increasing the length of mainline isolated by the fiddle yard point to accommodate a loco+3 wagons and a slightly lengthened hidden siding (it will poke through the backscene and have to be hidden with the circuit). Once I had done this, I was able to make a video to demonstrate it...

Ironically I discovered that this pattern is possible without any of the section switches I have installed, but they do add flexibility. It also seems to potentially work with the stock equipped with MicroTrains couplers, so I might not need to switch to Greenwich for this layout.

Of the wagons seen here only the ones in the empties train are likely to be used on this layout, the others are a bit too "miniature" in style, new wagons can be built when the final load is determined. The grey diesel in the photo, an MG Models kit as seen on my workbench a couple of months ago, is likely to be finished off for this layout as it is a bit shorter than existing locos and looks better on the tight curves.