Sunday, 4 October 2020

A Tale of Hinge Envy

Earlier in the year, before the world of lockdown, my thoughts turned to rolling stock for a future O9 project. Whilst some existing wagons could be used, more would be required if I went down a light industrial or agricultural route. In my analysis, my usual way of wagon building had three points of time consumption:

  • Scribing plank lines on styrene sheet
  • Creating wood grain effects
  • Adding bolt detail individually

The chance purchase of a Slaters sheet of rivet details on 20 thou styrene sheet prompted some experimentation. Using this and Slaters planked sheet the wagon body on the left was built, eliminating all three points of contention... However, it looked more like a wagon built from shed timber than planks! So the Mk2 version on the right returned to scribed planks on the sides (but retaining the Slaters sheet on the floor). 

The rivet strips were cut slightly finer on the second attempt and the end result looked quite reasonable. On the ends Evergreen channel section added further relief for minimal effort. However, once painted 
I wasn't entirely happy with the result, and I eventually realised why when the Chivers Finelines O-16.5 wagons became available again... very little can match the finesse of Roger's tooling on the hinge straps etc. I realised I had hinge envy!

When ordering Evergreen rod for 'Wilton' last week I had a glance down the Grandt Line listing from 7mm NGA sales and found some 'Engine House Door Hinges' (ref 3524). A quick Google confirmed that they might fit the bill with a bit of adjustment so a pack was added to my order. A Mk3 wagon body was assembled, and I took the opportunity to put a new blade in my scriber for the first time in a while, which has improved the plank lines compared with the previous build.

As the photo shows, I've shortened the hinges, and then carefully recovered the top two bolt heads and fixed them in new positions. I've also added the redundant top sections at right-angles to create the point at which the sides will be secured in place. I opted for some simple extra hinge detail added from 10 thou styrene strip and some rod through the hole of the moulded hinge. Simple pieces of bent 0.5mm wire represent the locking devices for the doors, I had started making something much more complex but decided to keep it simple.

After a coat of primer I was impressed with how the hinges/straps looked. As and when wagon production is decided upon the Mk2 version will be upgraded to match, it is 0.5 mm narrower but that will add some variety, as will differing hinge details and end supports etc, with the aim that there are a group of similar, but not identical wagons.


Sunday, 27 September 2020

'Wilton' - the 009 Simplex of deception

On return from holiday at the end of August  I decided to start a new project that has been in the planning for a while now. Having completed the ex-Ashover coach in LCLR condition and with a micro-diorama in mind, I needed a typical LCLR locomotive to stand with it. Having done some research into the various options I had settled on no.4 'Wilton' in it's Humberston condition. It still had the original bodywork when I visited the LCLR at Winthorpe in 2013 but has since been rebodied in a different style.

Having looked into various options on Shapeways for an 009 3D print Simplex chassis I eventually opted to scratchbuild the whole model, but incorporating the 3D printed buffer/couplings designed by David Malton that I had purchased some time ago. Building the model in this way allowed me to incorporate most of the bonnet into the chassis, giving the opportunity to add strength. Construction started in 30 thou styrene on the 30th August.

The cab was added from 30 thou styrene and 10 thou material overlaid on the bonnet sides to create the effect of the side sheeting overlapping the chassis frame. Surplus brass from A1 Models kit frets was used for the bonnet top and (presently removable) cab roof to gain strength in thin material. Details were built up using styrene rod for rivet heads, the exhaust and grease points on the axleboxes. The grille material on the front is from an ancient piece out of an MTK kit, inelegant but so is the prototype... The buffer/couplings were fixed in place and the plate around the bottom added from brass strip. 

Underneath the model there is a little bit of cheating going on. It is of course a dummy loco and rides on two Farish wheelsets. These are held in brass 'U' shapes drilled to hold the pin points, then attached to a length of styrene girder. Further bits of brass add strength either side. The axleboxes were fabricated from 20 thou styrene strip (20x80 and 20x20) and shaped once set to the distinctive Simplex shape.

Just as I thought the model would be ready for the paintshop, something was bugging me about it. I'd mostly worked from indistinct images, downloaded and printed on copier paper. I was not convinced that I had the boltheads on the frame in the right places (or enough of them) and looking at pictures of the loco as rebodied eventually confirmed this. Why I hadn't done this previously I've no idea... Going to add them I realised that the scrap of 20 thou styrene rod I had been using had been used up... This led to an order with 7mm Narrow Gauge Association Supplies being made on Sunday morning, arriving on Wednesday this week. 

I was then able to correct the bolt head detailing and then spray the model in primer.

I also realised that I had not added a cab door handle, and that perhaps the bonnet top needed a representation of hinges...

There are a few tidying jobs to do but I'm pretty happy with the result, hopefully it won't be long before the blue paint is required...


Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Summertime Blues (with lashings of Cream)

My semi-open coach conversion of the Roger Chivers O9 coach has finally reached the point of completion. I don't usually like to post pictures of models during the painting process, but I'll make an exception on this occasion. I had a few issues with adhesion that I put down to the age of the primer coat and over-handling of the model since, although it was cleaned several times. Paint is largely Vallejo acrylics applied by brush and overcoated with Humbrol aerosol matt varnish. 

Following varnishing I went off for a few days in Norfolk and on my return started to add the glazing to the (ex-Dapol railbus) side windows, using 20 thou clear styrene cut to side and flush fitted, secured in place with Kleer. This didn't go to plan on the first attempt and after a revision in practices, new glazing pieces and a fresh bottle of Kleer it went a lot better. The end windows are also glazed with 20 thou material, fitted into the recess provided on the kit parts. 

I then started focusing on a new project but this week I thought I ought to add a little weathering, wheels and couplings etc...The figures are a small selection I had to hand, temporarily held in place with BluTac. As with everything of late, until I decide on it's final duties they will stay temporary!

Weathering has only been lightly applied to the roof, underframe/bogies and a touch of dry brushing around the door openings to represent wear and tear. Overall I think this captures the look of a much-modified 15" gauge coach rather well, but I'm not in a hurry to build another in this form, maybe I'll reconsider in another 5 years... 


Friday, 14 August 2020

Summertime Blues

It's that time of year when I find that railway modelling slows down a little. With little to do other than a couple of tweaks to the ex-Ashover coach, the only other job currently in progress is the revival of  my semi-enclosed conversion of the Roger Chivers O9 coach. Records show it was started in May 2015 and last modified in January 2017, so this has been a long time coming.

Pleased with the result of painting the Ashover coach in LCLR blue and ivory livery I have dug the coach out from storage. This may seem to be an odd link to make but it must be all that vertical planking... Fellow O9 modeller Andrew Blackwell has always said this should be in a two-colour scheme, so here goes...

As with the Ashover coach I firstly masked off the areas that would be the darker colour and sprayed white primer on the areas that would be the lighter shade. The colours will be similar, most likely the same shade of ivory but maybe the Vallejo blue I bought as a comparison to the Citadel shade used on the 009 model. However, a lesson learnt from the previous job is to paint the interior first, especially as it is going to be much more visible on this model!


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...