Sunday, 22 December 2013

Seasons Greetings from O9 Modeller

Time for a quick seasonal update from the O9 Modeller camp.  Firstly, a very Merry Christmas from all at Peake Towers to readers of the blog and all fellow O9 Modellers, please do keep in touch with the latest about your own projects through 2014.

You may be wondering what has happened to the diorama concept that I have mentioned a couple of times. Well, it got a fair way into being, before those nagging doubts crept in and I had a rethink on the way it went together.  I then came to the decision that the shed really should belong on a micro layout rather than diorama, so the diorama has been reduced to something that could sit within my wall mounted display cabinet rather than in a separate display case.  It may never be completed at this rate...

On a more positive note I have completed three more pages from the old Fotopic site, bringing the 'Shifting Sands' story up the the point of the layout's first public appearance in November 2006, and detailing the construction of 'Pandora'.  To mark this point in progress, I've recycled the 2007 Christmas header from the old site!


Sunday, 8 December 2013

Early in the Day II

It's been rather quiet on the blog of late, in fact I'm fairly sure that someone stole November...  Anyhow, I have made some progress with the planned diorama 'End of the Day', to the extent where there is ballasted track on a base, some painted up fencing, and this (low relief) shed building:

On my return from Skegness I had consulted with a few well known miniature railway enthusiasts about the South Parade line, which resulted in a few more photos coming my way which showed the shed in earlier days, revealing it in an unpainted concrete finish rather than the painted finish it now has.

I have had to stretch the Skegness design slightly in width to accommodate two 15" tracks and incorporated features from different eras in its life.  I've finished most of the paintwork tonight - the irony is that at the present point of time the diorama project is a bit up in the air (long story) and the eagle eyed will see that the opposite door is open to that in the diorama mock-up.  Part of me feels this might be too good for a diorama and needs to be on a layout! Hmm...

A quick description of it's construction.  A 5mm Foamcore shell, clad with cardboard for the concrete areas (including all those ribs!), pained with a mix of lightweight filler and acylic paint to get some texture, then lightly sanded back to remove some.  Wooden parts are basswood or 1mm plywood, whilst the roof is Wills 4mm scale box profile steel, cut up to give a sheet join and thinned on the lower edge.  Hinges and door furniture are scratchbuilt, whilst the fixings on the concrete panels are Grandt Line mouldings.

Oh, if anyone is wondering what has happened to the Shifting Sands pages from Fotopic - I will get back into the swing of uploading these, I promise....


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Scooting over to Hull

It was good to catch up with Peter Leadley and the Clee Valley Railway today at the Hull exhibition.  Peter has described his O9 project on the NGRM Online forum and this was it's debut show.  Peter has put together an interesting collection of O9 locos, some being one-off scratchbuild's by fellow Hull club member Paul Windle.  Sadly some issues with the Windle 'Bonnie Dundee' hadn't been resolved, even the SMR's chief p-way engineer's input was sought.... Luckily though the issues with his Guest-style tender loco may have been identified, hopefully Peter can have it running on the Sunday!

Peter's has the first completed MG Models steam loco I have seen on a layout - painted in Northern Rail purple!

An overview of the layout, coaches are built from Avalon Line kits I made the masters for some time ago (just don't ask about the bogies...):

I promised Peter a visit from the SMR 'Scooter', here it proves that it, and a wagon, could fit on the turntable together:


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Early in the Day

It may not have escaped your notice that there hasn't been much model railway activity recorded here of late (well, not much activity at all really). That really is because there is nothing to report, so please don't think I'm hiding the construction of a new 30ft extension to 'Shifting Sands' down in the shed ready for a big reveal in the spring - I'm not! Perhaps when I wrote the piece "The last one for now" about the last O9 wagon I had completed I somehow tempted fate?

With other distractions about the house now at a low, I have put some thought to building something.  Not minded to start a layout or item of stock, I have chosen to build a diorama in a display case that can double-up as a photographic background for O9 stock.  After a few sketches and false starts, I have composed a scene that will (for display purposes at least) accommodate my original locomotive and stock from my early days in O9. The name of the piece 'Early in the Day' reflects both this and the depiction of the start of a day's running on a miniature railway:

This use of the early stock in many ways is a result of the ongoing work I am undertaking with the uploading of the content of my old Fotopic site to the blog, if you haven't yet rediscovered this content it can be found at the top right hand corner of the page.

The overall size of the diorama will be 32 cm x 17 cm, giving plenty of depth for photography, a fault I soon found with some of my earlier dioramas:

The shed building is envisaged as something rather understated and may be inspired by a building I photographed back in the summer.  The weekend after re-acquainting myself with 'Katie' at Cleethorpes we headed back to the Lincolnshire coast for a week-long holiday in Skegness. Here is a town with a rich miniature railway history but sadly now without a line.  This shed and a nearby slabbed platform are evidence of the last 10 1/4" railway on the south promenade (and the 12 1/4" tramway that replaced it) now most of the formation was now lost under grass:

Incidentally, a walk on the seafront at Chapel St Leonards proved fruitless for a former site for a railway referred to in two articles in 'The Narrow Gauge', I discovered on my return home that we had been looking at the wrong end of the promenade!  Still intrigued by all these lines I sent a few emails on my return home to those who would know a little more and posted a plea on the 'Miniature Railway World' forum. The results of this brought a few nuggets of information and some vintage photographs. With my curiosity largely satisfied, whether I take any of this research further really depends on the motivation and time to do so, a bit like railway modelling really…


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pages from Fotopic - shiftingsands.fotopic.revisited

"Shifting Sands is the name of my O9 (7mm scale, 9mm gauge) railway modelling project, an attempt to model a seaside miniature railway in a compact space of 3ft x 2ft, on a modified cork notice board.... 

I have always been interested in miniature railways, which I put down to visits to Fairbourne and New Romney in my early years! The idea of modelling one has been in my head for few years now, but progress has been slow, going through several changes in track plan and locale. Things seem to be progressing now though...."

I wrote the introduction above in October 2005 on the original website.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I started it sometime after the demise of the fotopic site as a means of showcasing new O9 projects.  I don't think that there was ever a hope of the fotopic site returning and quite frankly I wrote it off as a loss.  It would take forever to reassemble all the pages and how on earth would I know what I had written?

I then discovered that someone had been a lot more thorough than me in his recording of my work and had saved text copies of the Fotopic site pages.  Step forward Mick Thornton, well known 'roving reporter' and photographer of all things narrow gauge in model form.  From Mick's archived pages I am able to reassemble the pages, although each photo requires work to resize and edit as required.  So from a seemingly impossible task it has become simply a lengthy one.  The plan is to gradually reintroduce pages to the blog, where they will be found via the top right hand side menu, rather than as dated blog postings.

What the original site did not include was the background, planning and modelling processes I had gone through to get to the Shifting Sands concept, although bits of my thinking may have appeared on various discussion forums at the time. I have therefore added an introductory 'Path to Shifting Sands' feature to set the scene for the project.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

September Sunshine

The first weekend in September used to mean one thing for me, the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway's 'Models and Miniatures' Gala weekend, a mixture of model railways on display in the Griffin Hall building and usually at least one 15" gauge visitor running alongside the home fleet. It was always a very friendly event and we took 'Shifting Sands' on two occasions as it was the ideal venue to display and interpret the layout, as indeed was it's period in residence in the 'Rails to the Sands' exhibition for a couple of seasons. As one visitor commented, stepping back outside to see real 15" gauge trains at the seaside after watching 'Shifting Sands' became a little confusing!

'Shifting Sands' at Cleethorpes in 2009, the author and Spongebob-clad helper.
Alas, with the changes to Griffin Hall to accommodate much of the 'Rails to the Sands' content from the display over the road, and the tightening economics of moving 15" gauge equipment between sites, the event has not run in the last few years. As the recent 1940s-themed event featuring 'Katie' from Windmill Farm proved visiting locomotives at the railway are still popular, however it is easy to underestimate the amount of effort, careful negotiation and expenditure to bring in multiple visiting locomotives for a railway-themed gala event. It is hard to imagine now the kind of gala event that the CCLR ran in the mid-1990s being feasible in today's economic climate, with up to 6 visiting locomotives at some events. The September events usually brought some of the last summer sunshine to the coast, an added bonus!

'Synolda' from Ravenglass at Cleethorpes September 2008
At one of the last 'Models and Miniatures' events the comment was heard that the circus was about to roll on to the next town for the following weekend. Indeed it did, as the second weekend of the month is that of the Kirklees Light Railway's gala weekend and at that time some of the locomotives, and many of the visitors, would attend both events.  The photo above was taken the week before the KLR's 'Battle of the Atlantics' gala.  The last few years have been a different story, as the KLR team have been able to accommodate larger (and potentially more crowd pleasing) visitors than before. This year will see Romney, Hyth & Dumchurch 'Pacific' no.7 'Typhoon' visit alongside Bure Valley tank no.8 'Thunder'. I'm not sure how they will be able to top that next year, but I've every confidence that they will...

The author aboard BVR no. 8 'Thunder' in 2008

Sunday, 11 August 2013

'Katie's Return to Cleethorpes

It was a perfectly normal Facebook conversation with a member of the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway engineering team... until...

"Will be worth your time coming to the 1940s weekend to see the guest engine at Cleethorpes for the weekend."
Me: "Is guest engine literal in both senses?" 
"Bring your camera. As it will be a blast from the past."
Me (tongue firmly in cheek): "Very nice of Austin to lend you Konigswinter back..."

Many locomotive names were discussed in jest,  but one was missing and I knew (and I think he knew that I knew) that it could only be Trevor Guest's 'Katie' returning to the railway for the first time since she was resident on the railway prior to being sold to Austin Moss at the Windmill Farm Railway for restoration.

'Katie' has always been a favourite of mine, ever since a visit to the Fairbourne railway in the early 1980s, when she pulled our train to Penrhyn Point:

Katie's re-appearance at the Cleethorpes 'Little Unusual Steam Gala' in September 1994 was both a joy to see but heartbreaking that she wasn't working.  Imagine my surprise to find in February 1995 that she was still at Cleethorpes and in the process of being restored to use!  Several happy years of use were enjoyed by both railway and enthusiasts before her owners, Wigan Council, sold the locomotive to Austin Moss and she left Cleethorpes for restoration.  The last time I had seen 'Katie' was back on 12th April 2008 in the workshop at Windmill Farm:

By Wednesday 7th August it was confirmed, 'Katie' was pictured outside Lakeside shed on both Facebook and the Miniature Railway World forum. Travel plans were in place, so off to Cleethorpes we headed on Saturday 10th August. Arriving at Lakeside station, 'Katie' was ready in the shed area coupled to the Alan Keef 'council' coaching rake, ready for the off. There was only one problem, the timetable was running behind and we had to wait for two trains to head off to North Sea Lane before Katie moved off the shed and into platform 3 at Lakeside.

I stayed with 'Katie' for the full round trip, enjoying every moment of the journey. In may ways it was like the old days at Cleethorpes, other than the fact the the line to North Sea Lane was only a dream when 'Katie' left the railway, and that locos used to face the other way around, oh, and the shade of green is now darker....

Later in the day I took a nostalgic trip to the flood bank by the workshop area, to capture Katie heading along the line from Kingsway station (itself changed in location since 'Katie's departure).

Here's the same view on 8th July 1997, when you could see the Pier and leisure centre from here (and the sun shone brighter!).

All in all a very enjoyable day, thanks to Austin and the CCLR volunteers.  There's only one downside, a model of 'Katie' remains a dream, my skills don't extend to Twining valve gear and outside frames!


Sunday, 14 July 2013

Last one for now...

You may remember seeing this before, it sneaked into my pre-Christmas post regarding Diesel no.3, however since then it parted ways with it's original Black Dog Mining chassis (which reverted to a chequerplate flat top) and seemed destined for life as a grounded body...

The Black Dog chassis never looked quite right balance wise, so it's eventual replacement is a WB01 adaptor from the same manufacturer and a Peco 10ft wheelbase N gauge chassis.  The wider side frames of the WB01 actually looks more balanced than the original chassis and the whole wagon now sits a little lower.

Anyway, that really ought to be the last of the wagon tinkering for now...


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A right pair of mongrels

There has been some mention on these pages in recent months of various bits of tinkering with Black Dog Mining wagons, starting with the creation of two 3-plank 6-foot wagons on the night of Narrow Gauge North and then some (unseen on the blog) tinkering after the 7mm NGA show.

However, something wasn't right, especially with the two wagons created on re-used underframes after Burton.  These two underframes had seen several bodies, the 6 foot one was the basis of the 'Shifting Sands' chequerplate flat then a box van, the 5 foot one various flat wagons amongst others.  The gained new Black Dog bodies in the form of a replacement chequerplate top and 2-plank open.

However, something wasn't quite right with just adding new bodies.  Mention in an email conversation last week with Andrew Blackwell, present owner of my earlier Black Dog conversions (narrowed down 6 foot 2-plank opens  modelled as 'Tops' wagons with end handles) set me on a train of thought, especially as I started to look through old photos of my work and perhaps actually appreciating what I had done.  This then led to some reconsideration of my fleet of Black Dog wagons and by Thursday morning (I had a day off) I had actually pulled the two apart for reconsideration.  The end result was a 5 foot version of the narrowed (by 2mm) 'Tops' wagons and by narrowing and slightly shortening the body, the reconstruction of the 'Shifting Sands' chequerplate flat wagon - including fishing the original overlaid steel solebars from the bin! 

I think I realised that sticking bits together was easy, it's customising and making them your own that is the fun part...


Sunday, 30 June 2013

Taking a fence... again...

I've carried out some careful surgery to 'Shifting Sands' over the last couple of days, removing a length of concrete fencing, and replacing it... with a length of concrete fencing.

"Madness" I hear you cry, and you may well be right, but do let me explain.  Some time ago I build a small photographic diorama that was intended to be the virtual extension of the 'Fun Land' fence that forms part of the scenic break on 'Shifting Sands'.  I spent some time stencilling the letters 'FUN LAND' onto the fence to good effect.  With the possibility of re-using this fence on another project, but having to paint out the lettering, I opted to replace the fence on the layout with the lettered fence:

Having managed to remove the old fence andsplice in the new section, I carefully attempted to blend the colours.  There is a difference with the colour of the section that holds the sign, but that isn't really noticeable under normal conditions.  I've had to add backlighting to this shot as otherwise you cant' see too much through the hole in the sky!  The surplus fence sections, after a visit to the fence doctor, can now be re-used.

Some of you may have noticed that I re-edited my last posting here and may wonder why.  Well, I suppose I had been a bit hasty with a project and eventually realised that I had made a mistake and ended up reversing what I had done.  This is the photo that was removed:

Having swapped the generator wagon body onto a new chassis and built a replacement to larger dimensions, I realised that I had made a mistake and reversed the alterations, it simply didn't look right  The good news is that the new styrene body is now taking a life of it's own with a steel framed chassis scratchbuilt underneath, riding on a Peco N gauge chassis disguised with surplus Black Dog axleboxes:

Mind you, I still haven't decided what I need all these wagons for....


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Taking a fence, Pretenders, Mites and Burton

(aka "A General Catch-up")

Yet again time seems to have vanished into a black hole, so here's a quick summary of the pre and post Burton developments for 'Shifting Sands'.  Overall the day at the 7mm NGA's AGM went well, it was good to catch up with like-minded O9 modellers and fascinating to see the launch of the first ever plastic kit for O9 rolling stock, from Chivers Finelines.  I'll post something about that another day, I promise!

Firstly, something  visitors to Burton didn't see.... this short length of the new Peco spear fencing appeared on 'Shifting Sands' the weekend before the show, but never became permanent.  Quite simply, despite it being a detail I wanted to add, it just didn't look right.  I think that is due to two factors - firstly it is a little random, even if it is entirely in context, secondly, three panels would probably have looked better than two, in just the same way that an odd number of coaches in a train look better than even.  On a practical note it possibly wouldn't have survived long at the front edge of the board, despite some re-enforcement!

Don't take a fence...
At Burton the layout was graced by a visit from two locomotives belonging to Jordan 'Rough Shunter' Leeds, based on Ravenglass and Eskdale prototypes.  Both were built on commission by Paul Windle and painted by Ken Gibbons.  Sadly the usual 15" gauge story of coupler incompatibility made it impossible to use them in service, and 'River Mite' took objection to 9" curves.

Ratty 'Pretender' visits 'Shifting Sands' (and looks at home)
'River Mite' poses for photographs
The opportunity was taken to line the two locos up with my own Ravenglass style loco 'Cumbia'

Ratty motive power line-up
The view above reveals some of the pre-Burton work on the layout in the shed area, the eagle eyed will see that the caravan has moved back slightly, allowing the installation of a small coaling stage and a revised mix of details.

I had promised myself no further wagon tinkering before Burton, and true to my word I waited.... I did make a couple of purchases from Steve Bennett at Black Dog Mining at the show and these have allowed a couple more wagons to be created to join those assembled after Narrow Gauge North.  It's best not to ask too many questions about how many times some of my Black Dog chassis have swapped bodies and dare I say it I have had my eyes on the Black Dog chassis under some of the 'Shifting Sands' fleet... but that moment has passed (largely after remembering Steve Bennett's compliments about the generator wagon just visible in the picture of 'River Mite') and common sense now reins .  Well, most of the time anyway....

[Edited 29/06/2013]

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Countdown to Burton

Blimey, it's June 1st.  That means it's only a week until 'Shifting Sands' makes it's trip to the AGM and Convention of the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association in Burton upon Trent.  We have of course done this before, as shown in Mick Thornton's photo from 2007.

Locomotives and stock are being checked over and tested, for most of them it is a good 18 months since they were last used, and I've been able to make a few planned changes to scenic details, so please do come along and play 'spot the difference'!  There's still a little to do but hopefully things are on schedule to get the layout boxed up Friday night for the trip south.

In order to soak up some inspiration an afternoon at the Sherwood Forest Railway was in order, where a warm welcome, and equally warm sunshine, were available to allow some photography and several train rides.  I do sometimes miss the immediacy of my old Fotopic websites to record days like these, photo-only content doesn't always work with blogs and Facebook uploads seem to get lost in the ether of time.  Sites such as Photobucket or Flickr don't allow the level of control over the page appearance as Fotopic did....


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Little Things...

Not a lot to report from the O9 Modeller workbench of late, in fact progress has remained set at a speed below slow... I have managed to paint a batch or two of smaller scenic items, some of which have an immediate use and others may have to wait for the end of the next ice age.

Some extra parts have been added to the Scooter's back-box on the advice of a former RH&DR employee (note also that the couplers are in place and light weathering applied):

The rest are currently stored in a Chinese take-away container for future use, there are a mixture of Skytrex, Knightwing, Black Dog and other parts:

Some of these are destined to add some fresh details to 'Shifting Sands' in advance of it's appearance at the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association AGM and Convention in Burton-upon-Trent on 8th June, though my plans for certain additions to the layout look set to fall by the wayside as my supply of 'round tuits' has vanished, I suspect they may have gone to the tip when I last tidied up the shed.

Others are for future projects, notably the tote bags of aggregate, the hardcore* 'Shifting Sands' followers will know that there are two of these on the layout already and we're not about to go into competition with Wickes.  As to what these future projects are depends a lot on time, energy, motivation and imagination (all in short supply), all those jobs that need doing around the house (which are abundant) and the lure of other distractions, some actually miniature railway related!  Time will tell, though if anyone can loan me a TARDIS I'd be grateful....


* Sorry, no pun intended. Honest...

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Building the Romney Scooter - 2

Someone seems to have stolen the last two months, honestly.... alternatively, if anyone could explain to me where they have gone I'd be grateful....

The workshop eventually warmed up to allow primer application and subsequently a coat Halfords aerosol yellow over the warning panels (with suitably improvised masking) in order to give a gloss base to later apply the Fox wasp stripe transfers to.  I opted for 1970's style green, which was brush applied (a blend of Citadel 'Snot green'* and Vallejo 'Black green').  All other colours were also brush applied and were all acrylics except the red, which was a Revell enamel.  Varnish is Railmatch matt from an aerosol.

Once painting was complete and left to dry for a few days, I added glazing - 10 thou clear styrene held in place and coated with 'Kleer' floor polish, added Araldite to the headlights to make them look like light lenses, and also fitted the exhaust, load and roof in place, added weight in the cab and bonnet and fitted the Kato chassis in place with 'tacky wax'.

Since these pictures were taken I have added MicroTrains couplings and lightly weathered the model to a 'day to day' condition.  More pictures soon, hopefully with a more interesting background....


*which prompts the statement "oh yes it is!"

I'll get my coat....

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Re-roofing the 'Romneys' - Completion

Just a quick update, some warmer weather a few weekends ago allowed access to the workshop at at reasonable temperature so the new 'Romney' roofs were primed, painted and varnished.  Following this they were fixed into position on the coaches and lightly weathered.

I'm very impressed with how these roofs have turned out, given that in the past I have not been confident to use the Dapol/Hornby surface as it came due to the problem of hiding the joins.  However, I've managed to loose them well on these (I put this down to employing a little more patience in rubbing down and re-filling), so these may form the prototype for future roofing work.


Monday, 11 March 2013

A pleasant diversion on the way to somewhere?

As those who have observed my construction of the Unit Models wagon kit may have mused, I seem to be on the cusp of one of my industrial/agricultural minimum gauge phases.  Those who know me well will know that these periods don't often last that long, this time might be different, we'll have to see!

At Narrow Gauge North a conversation with Steve Bennett of Black Dog Mining about what O9 bits he had to hand resulted in the purchase of two wagon bodies that by close of play that same day had been attached to two chassis from my stockpile and were ready for painting:

The biggest/longest part of the build was cutting out the mountings for MicroTrains couplers....

A few weeks ago I had started an experiment in building O9 wagon bodies from Basswood, a technique I had wanted to play with for a while.  I hadn't got that far really, but a spare floor that I had marked out to fit a 5ft Black Dog Mining Chassis has been put into use to rebody my chequerplate flat wagon (itself a throw-together of surplus bits).  All the staining/painting/weathering work on this was completed in an afternoon:

Who knows where it will all lead?!


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Building the Romney Scooter - 1

When Allen Law launched his 'Minimum Gauge Models' range the one that caught my eye was the RH&DR 'Scooter' to fit a Kato mechanism.  The Scooter, or PW2, has been an item of Romney stock that I've known about for years, my late 1970s/early 1980s guidebook to the line shows it at Hythe next to one of the famous Pacifics.

I've only met the machine (I hesitate to say 'locomotive') once, on it's only trip away from home to date, to the Kirklees Light Railway in September 2011, where it operated with 'Redgauntlet' on the shuttle services.

The MG Models kit includes a number of compromises, some can be overcome to a degree but I think that you just have to accept that this isn't going to create a fully accurate rendition and just get on with it.. I have made several alterations and additions to enhance the kit as it comes.  Sorry there are no real "in progress" shots, I just wanted get on and build.  Here's the model, my guidebook, and a useful photo downloaded from the internet:

A closer view of the model, the biggest compromise of them all is the wheel positions, they should be right at the ends of the frame, the real machine is built on a former 4w coach chassis:

Head on view.  The handrail is one of my additions, as are the buffers, a bargain find at a recent exhibition:

Side view, I replaced the etched grille with a finer mesh from the scap box (dating back to an old MTK kit eons ago). I've added strips to the edges of the roof, and along the bottom of the cab sides, to represent the door sliders on the real machine:

I've scratchbuilt an exhaust from brass wire and tube, the real thing seems to have one formed from plumbing parts...:

After a pause in work I added the de/re-railing bars under the bufferbeams, made from scrap brass and some rail, soldered together in a jig.  They are too long in the photo, now corrected.  Ironically I have had to superglue these to the buffer beams as I've used plastic infills to tidy up the slots for the MiroTrains coupers and provide a mount for them behind the bufferbeam.  Headlights on the cab front and rear have been made from HO scale truck wing mirrors on a homemade mounting :

I did manage to find space for a customary Dapol part in the grouping created to cover up the part of the Kato chassis that pokes out into the rear compartment.  It's joined by a Merit 4mm scale postal sack in a new life as a bin bag:

The real loco now sports a hinged cover to this compartment, as seen here at Kirklees:

After some cleaning up both with a glass fibre brush and a good wash, it will be time to blacken the corners and vulnerable areas with gun blue, and then it will be time for primer (assuming the weather wants to warm up the workshop a little!).


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Building a Unit Models wagon kit - 3

As predicted, various levels of weathering have appeared on the Unit Models wagon.  The whole wagon received a thin coat of brown translucent paint, an old product from the sadly missed Penhaven range.  This was followed by a wash of black over the more naturally coloured planks inside.  I then used dry brushing exclusively, some warm rust tones on the strapping, then highlights in two shades, darker followed by a lighter shade.

I've fitted MicroTrains couplings - I do need to touch in the screw head with some black paint, but this may have to wait until I decide whether to give the whole wagon a coat of Citadel 'Purity Seal' varnish once the workshop is warm enough.


Friday, 22 February 2013

Building a Unit Models wagon kit - 2

Just a quick update really.  The weather last weekend was warm enough to venture to the workshop and waft some primer (sounds so much more refined than blast...) over the Unit Models wagon and also the Romney style coach roofs, acknowledging that for them it was a first coat to find any defects in the filling (which I did...).

I was surprised to find that the Unit Models wagon had a lot more surface texture than was apparent in bare resin form, and not all of it looked too convincing, so I soothed out the sides a little where required, back to resin in places.  At this stage the wagon looked a mess and I seriously considered not going any further with it.  Common sense prevailed and using Games Workshop Foundation series 'Charadon Granite' paint, lightened a little, coverage was no problem, although a second coat is always worthwhile.  Metalwork was picked out in a off-black mixture and the inside in a natural wood colour.  The whole lot now has a coat of Vallejo matt varnish to protect it ready for the inevitable assault of weathering.

Meanwhile, the soldering iron has been in use again lately, but Ill leave that for another day, got to scoot...!


Monday, 4 February 2013

Building a Unit Models wagon kit - 1

The chance discovery of a very cheap Peco N gauge wagon (for the cost of a chassis kit) at the Pontefract show last weekend led me to buy one of the relatively recent Unit Models O9 wagon kits to see what they are like.  I chose the wooden open wagon with a drop-side door.

On opening the box the kit is in two parts, a chassis frame and body, both cast in resin.

Both parts are relatively flash-free although there are some blow-outs in the casting of the various bolt heads.  I opted to replace these with plastic rod slices as it seemed to be the quickest way of resolving the problem. At 29mm wide this is definitely a 'minimum gauge' wagon and although I had thoughts of trying to narrow it to c.25mm to match my other stock I decided to build it as it came as a 'quick' project to fill the odd spare minute or two.

It was at this stage that I realised that the chassis I had was a 10ft wheelbase one rather than the 9ft version required for the kit.  Ooops.... This was easily resolved by cutting away the centre section of the chassis completely (having stripped away all the N gauge brake gear), which will also allow space for a little more weight between the sections.  The Unit Models frame includes a nifty cut out for the Peco weight to sit in:

As can be seen above, I've removed a 1mm x 5mm slice from the centre of the headstock and added a piece of 1mm styrene behind it in order to accommodate a MicroTrains coupler.  With the body assembled to the frame the wagon is actually complete and ready for painting (which will have to wait for warmer weather to spray the primer).  I've added some wire handles/catches for the drop down door.:

More once painting is underway....