Thursday, 14 January 2021

Three Wagons Roll

The three new wagons seen in my last post have now received a coat of primer, doing it's usual wonder of making everything look a lot better. It also allows us to look at the wagons in more detail.

Firstly this is hopefully the final incarnation of the (ex) Shifting Sands 1-plank wagon. You may recall that this 6ft Black Dog Mining chassis gained a 2-plank 'Tops' body not many months ago with the original load transferred... we'll pretend that didn't happen... that body is heading back to it's original chassis and the load will go in another of the more miniature railway outline wagons in the fleet. The chassis was stripped of old paint and this new body uses one of the floors from the planned batch of wagons and one plank recovered from intended sides and ends.

Next is a fairly standard (for me) 'Tops' wagon on a 6ft Black Dog chassis. Another floor from the intended batch build and sides cut down to 2-plank (spare planks went to the body above). End handrails are recycled from the similar body that became the 009 Christmas present wagon, which was a shorter body intended for a 5ft chassis so I haven't gone totally mad! 

That 5ft body had been intended to go on the chassis of the last new wagon, a Sidelines Gnine chassis. This is the same length as a Black Dog 5ft chassis but with a longer wheelbase and taller from rail level. I had acquired this with a mine tub body as it was all Steve had at the time. I reduced the chassis height by about 1mm some time ago and had originally created a 'Tops' body for it. But it never looked balanced right in that form and the chassis seemed to look better with a flat or 3-plank body. As I have another 5ft flat in the works I opted to use a shortened set of 3-plank sides intended for the batch build, with a newly marked up floor. I used modified Grandt Line hinges again but only a pair each side rather than three, which looks a lot better balanced for a shorter wagon in my eyes.

They'll now join the queue for the paint shop (there are already be a couple of wagons in there to complete first).


Saturday, 9 January 2021

My Oh-Nine

Last year I tentatively started work on a new O9 project, based on Julian Andrews brickworks plan. More information can be found under the 'Getting Something Moving' tag. I had an aim of using some of the commercial models that have become available since I built 'Shifting Sands'. To this end I completed the MG Models 'classic' diesel, started converting some KB Scale open wagons to O9, as well as reviving a Black Dog Mining wagon larger than my usual stock with an eye on perhaps representing an 18" gauge line. 

It all ground to a halt, it started with problems with the loco build not least painting it twice, followed by my less than successful attempts to re-gauge the KB Scale wagons resulting in wobbly wheels (some would say it was prototypical!). Disheartened I diverted my attention to other projects...

More recently I started scratchbuilding 3-plank drop-side bodies to fit Black Dog Mining chassis, putting together enough parts to build a batch of 2 or 3 identical vehicles beyond the initial prototypes. I eventually hit on the use of Grandt Line door hinges (on the left) rather than using Slaters embossed rivets.

But they still didn't hit the spot, perhaps looking too 'main line' for a 15" gauge line, as I now envisaged the project. The more I thought about it I realised that the issue was simply that I had my own style of O9 modelling that differed a little from the commercial offerings I had initially tried to use. I used to joke with Steve Bennett of Black Dog Mining that commercial O9 models were all made to be as big as possible for the gauge (the mythical scale 4ft wide), whilst Gn15 seemed to be about making things as small as possible for the scale! My O9, on the other hand, is rooted more in the average prototype 15" gauge outline and a width of approx 3ft 6ins.

I also realised that I owned a fleet of O9 wagons that rarely saw the light of day on 'Shifting Sands' that with a couple of additions and changes I could create a fleet to suit a 15" gauge railway built to miniature railway proportions but with some sort of purpose. 

So I've started on a few additions (so much for identical!)...

Now I just need to find that purpose!


Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020 Hindsight

With the end of 2020 in sight the O9 Keef has had a few jobs completed on it and to all intents and purposes is considered "complete" enough to be sat in the display case. Since the last set of photographs I have added (and weathered) glazing, lightly weathered the loco and fitted MicroTrains couplers. These were the first set of couplers I had assembled for some time, I had forgotten what I was missing out on...!

One thing I haven't made any attempt to do is secure the body to the modified Bachmann chassis, it will likely be a blu-tac job. A reminder that the basic 3D print for this loco it available from A1 Models on eBay - and that I have made several changes to model, especially around the underframe.

There is an air of indecisiveness about the future of the model, it almost, but doesn't quite fit with my plans. A bit like 2020 really... I'm really happy that I have been able to continue modelling throughout the year but with hindsight, what has emerged is something of a mixed bag, a collection of individual models that actually achieve no real collective "whole". I started in this vein with MG Models 'Classic' loco, two paint jobs later and whilst it looks OK it might not be what I really want it to be.

Of course 'Beck Bridge' had a makeover to include a backscene, as seen above, which whilst successful it has still not found a real home for display!

At Easter, with time on my hands I started a micro layout based on Julian Andrews brickworks plan, this has never got beyond the initial phase other than a few tweaks as I searched for a suitable aesthetic for the rolling stock, and failed to get the result I wanted using KB Scale kits (nothing against the kits - just how I wanted to use them), and then some doubts over alternative scratchbuilds.

Not everything has been inconclusive, a Meridian Models Ashover coach kit received as a gift actually led to the one completed project of the year, the 009 diorama 'Humberston'. What started as a plain Manilla build of the coach in original condition turned into a customised rebuild of the coach to represent the LCLR modifications and a Simplex scratchbuilt to match, along with a suitable display base with platform and signal.

I hate to admit it but the other real success story was also 009, although the door is open for an O9 reworking for next Christmas!

Don't worry, I'm not about to rename the blog, plans are slowly coming together to revive the O9 micro layout and the locomotive and rolling stock aesthetic might also be resolved. Watch this space in 2021!

Happy New Year to our reader(s)


Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Alan Keef K12 in O9 - Everythings Gone Green...

With a dry spell of weather over the weekend I managed to get a coat of varnish over the ever-so-slowly painted Alan Keef K12.

The green is Halfords 'Meadow Green', but you might have guessed that! Black and red areas were brush painted, red first over red oxide primer and then the green and red were masked off for the black to be painted.

Grilles are some old etched fencing panels cut to shape, blackened, painted and added in between painting and varnishing. The cab side panel has not come out too badly in the end, although this is somewhat helped by the very flat finish the Humbrol varnish creates.

There are a few jobs to complete such as glazing and I think it will definitely need some weathering to hide the ropier parts of the paintwork. It might have to wait though...


Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Christmas Tree Halt

I think most micro layout builders have thought at some point about building a seasonal scene, myself included. I thought about it again in November this year in light of having acquired what I thought was a thick cardboard 30cm cake board earlier in the year. However I reckoned that I might have left it a bit late at my rate of progress so decided not to. Roll on a week or so and challenged to create a Christmas decoration for a virtual Christmas meeting I simplified the plan down, and this is the result...

More of a decoration than a serious layout, on starting construction I discovered the board was more likely MDF than card when stripped of the foil covering. I added some strips of recycled 8mm ply underneath to strengthen it. The track is some (very) secondhand N gauge flex track with the rails curved using an improvised rail bender. This was surrounded by mount card, and covered with wood filler. The rest of the scenery is polystyrene and card covered with wood filler, then a layer of white paint/filler/PVA mix and the snow itself is largely paint. Two Noch fir trees form the centrepiece and are accompanied by some smaller, bare sea moss trees, recycled from my daughter' s winter diorama.

The sign and bench are scratchbuilt from timber scraps, treated with button polish (shellac) and lightly painted. The sign was printed on photo paper and fixed in place.

The loco is my modified Minitrains Bagnall 'Isla' and the brake van modified from a Dundas WHR kit. The wagonload of presents was constructed especially for the project and started life as a scratchbuilt O9 body that was surplus to requirements, it was narrowed down, extra floor plank ends marked on and placed on a Colin Ashby 009 chassis. It contains miniature presents made from balsa blocks wrapped in miniature wrapping paper downloaded online and printed! 


Although 009 at the moment, in theory an O9 version is possible if the right stock was available...


Saturday, 21 November 2020

Alan Keef K12 in O9 - 3D Print Manipulation

I haven't managed to get much modelling done over the last couple of weeks, but I have managed to tweak the 3D printed K12 a little to better reflect the prototype. 

Having removed the original axleboxes and smoothed away the remains I added 20 thou styrene behind the frames cut to the correct shape, and then 40 x 30 thou strip to build up the depth below the axlebox positions. The bottom of each buffer beam gained a 60 x 60 thou strip. Once set in place these items were shaped to suit and Milliput used to fill any gaps.

New axlebox and spring detail is formed using various sections of styrene strip, the springs being much thinned down rod. I did try to scribe a spring effect onto this before cutting but it remains to be seen whether this will actually show up.

The grilles caused some fun and games as I initially thought I had no suitable square pattern material in stock. In the past I have used old sections of A1 Models chain link fencing etch for this but had nothing the right size in the usual place. Thinking that I had some fresh pieces in my 4mm scale scenic stash I was stumped when I couldn't find them, it was only when locating the diamond pattern etch I'd used on my 1/24th Lister that eventually found the spare length of fence!

The coupler blocks that I created a few weeks ago by laminating together styrene sheet and strip have been located at a height to suit MicroTrains couplers. They are drilled to allow a 1015 coupler to be secured with a screw from underneath. Bolt head detail is from EDM Models

On the front end I have added slithers of Plastruct hex section to represent the bolts at the top of the bonnet front. 

At this stage rather a lot of paintwork had been rubbed back, and I did have a concern that in places the primer had not adhered to the rubbed-down factory finish. Several edges saw the paint chip away all to easily... After a good scrub down I applied a very light coat of primer as a proof coat and also in the hope that it dried better as a thin coat. After a few more adjustments another coat was added and the end result was this.

It's a bit rough in places but it will have to do, and hopefully painting and weathering will distract the eye a little. I've now given it a rub down with 1500 grit wet and dry in preparation for a sprayed coat of green, I've chickened out of Keef factory applied orange!

If you fancy an O9 K12 yourself, A1 Models have the print listed on eBay here...

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Alan Keef K12 in O9 - Take 2

"I have a bodyshell I have adapted from a commission job that may be of interest." So began an email discussion from John Flower at A1 Models, in a later reply he said "The body I am sending you was done for a customer in 7mm scale for him to fit a chassis. He isn't doing O9 but it would be used in these gauges." The resultant parcel that arrived a few days later was opened with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, as John had described how the vendor he is using for printing now offers the prints ready-sprayed in a semi-gloss finish.

There it was, instantly recognisable as an Alan Keef K12. Those with long memories may well remember that I scratchbuilt one of these nearly ten years ago, then regretfully exported it to the other side of the globe! 

I'll have to admit, that on first impressions the finish didn't really grab me, but after about 3/4 hour of smoothing using 400 then 800 grit wet and dry, I had flattened off most of the finish. Certainly different from finishing raw prints with cycles of filler primer and smoothing, but with hindsight I would perhaps rather have that level of control. It is worth noting that the print is actually in a black material, apparently this is unpopular with some customers, are they conditioned by what Shapeways churns out? Personally I cannot see anything wrong with it....

Getting adventurous I marked up and scribed in the lines denoting the upper edge of the frames and buffer beams, and the panel join towards the front of the bonnet using an olfa (style) cutter. I also created some extra clearance inside to allow the body to sit on a much modified Bachmann Plymouth chassis.

When I say much modified, I mean filed and cut to within a millimetre of it's life, and converted to 4w in the process.

Compared with the drawing in the Alan Keef book, reduced to 7mm scale, the print is about 5mm too long and 3mm too wide, understandable as it was intended for a 16.5mm gauge mechanism. The other main area where the print differs visually from the drawing is in the bottom edge of the frames and the axleboxes.

A coat of grey primer allowed me to better judge the finish I had achieved. Unfortunately the printed bolt heads on the cab side panel didn't look as happy as I had hoped they would and I will be looking to reduce these considerably before going much further.

I'm also looking into modifying the bottom edge of the frames, as I would really like to add the correct shape by adding small fillets at the bottom of the frame and also to add depth to the bufferbeams. This will also mean that I need to alter the axleboxes. As printed the front one is not the same distance from the front as the back one is from the back (and they should be the same), altering this will actually make it match the power unit and better reflect the drawing.

More when some progress is made...