Sunday, 29 March 2015

Grass grows along 'The Headshunt'

Progress is being made on the 'The Headshunt', this may seem like a vast leap, but honestly, it isn't really...

The track was ballasted a week or two ago, using Woodland Scenics material laid dry, misted with water (with the obligatory drop of detergent) and fixed with Johnson's 'Kleer' polish. The last week has seen the ground turfed with Woodlands Scenic turf, the walls fixed into position and the grass applied using hanging basket liner.

Getting an idea of how it works photographically (if you ignore the shed interior background!)...

Once I was satisfied with the grass coverage - I had a few failed areas that refused to stick down when I tried to remove the backing - I trimmed it down with nail scissors, brushed it with a toothbrush, mowed it with a razor and did some more trimming. The grounded van body was then glued in place.

From the other direction, the roadway in the foreground will be clutter-free to avoid any focus issues...

This afternoon I have dry-brushed the sleepers and then gone over the hard surfacing and ballast with various weathering powders to add some colour variations and tone everything together.  I also subtly added some weathering powder into parts of the soft surfacing.  The final act was to add some 'Silfor' tufts into the grass in odd spots that had missed the hanging basket liner, this adds some variety to the texture and colour of the grass.

I really must make up the fence for the front right hand corner next...


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Building the A1 Models O9 Hunslet - Details, Details

The bits box has been duly raided and the second A1 Models loco now has a semblance of a cab interior. Keen Dapol-watchers will spot bits of Drewery shunter, railbus and even mineral wagon if you look carefully enough...

The driver figure is a Preiser 1/50th scale example, converted to a seated pose using the legs of one of the cheap Chinese imports. He is bang on trend with his skinny trousers and woollen hat. His seat cushion is made from Milliput to suit the space available and to sit the driver in neatly.

The bits box provided an air tank and small equipment box from a Dapol railbus kit, and the display panel from a Drewery shunter. The control handle in the driver's left hand is a tank from the railbus, with a bit of mineral wagon brake lever added on top. The lever on his right is a Black Dog Mining part.

The start of work to form the coupler pockets can also be seen, using Evergreen flat and quarter round sections. Once set the top bar was shaped to match the quarter round section and bolt heads added on the side sections. The pockets were subsequently drilled to accept a MicroTrains 1015 coupler and screw.

In the cab interior I have added some conduits/pipes from 15 amp fuse wire.  The wire in the front right hand corner runs to the headlight in the cab rear.

One final detail to the body has been to add filler flaps to the bonnet top, one for fuel, one for water. These have been added from 5 thou styrene sheet.  Modelling these makes an interesting change from representing the cap itself.

The model is now ready for cleaning up and awaits it's booking in the paint shop...


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Alas Narrow Gauge North

Today should have been the 2015 Narrow Gauge North exhibition but alas, it wasn't meant to be as the announcement came back in November that the show was cancelled due to issues with the venue.

There is probably no such thing as an ideal exhibition venue when you have a large section devoted to large-scale live steam and it has to be said that the Benton Park School is probably not one of the finest examples of educational architecture!  However it served the show well enough and it is sad that an unenlightened attitude has deprived a local charity of a useful revenue earner.

We had been sounded out about taking 'Shifting Sands' to the show this year but I didn't ever get around to following up the potential invite...sorry... As my penance I'll be doing a days hard labour at the Sherwood Forest Railway.

As a narrow gauge modeller who doesn't have the opportunity to visit many of the specialist events (largely concentrated in the southern part of the UK) the loss of Narrow Gauge North does deprive me of an opportunity to catch up with retailers such as Black Dog Mining and Avalon Line, and have a glance over the legendary 009 Society sales stand to see if there is anything of cross-over use... add to that the chats with like-minded modellers, I'll certainly miss the trip around the Leeds ring road this year.

Luckily March is quite a busy month for exhibitions locally and I have been able to spend some of those pennies that just have to be spent at the new event held in Lincoln at the beginning of the month and at Mansfield last weekend.

Let's hope Narrow Gauge North can return in 2016 and take it's share of the expenditure.


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Building the A1 Models O9 Hunslet - Version 2

In February I was able to pick up a new kit from A1 Models at the Doncaster "Festival of Railway Modelling" (John had been absent at a few recent exhibitions which had delayed things a little):

This builds into an altogether lower locomotive which is much more suitable for O9 15"/miniature railways than my previous build:

As I still had no Kato chassis to hand at the point of building, this has been built up to fit a Bachmann Plymouth. I had hoped to use a Black Dog Mining chassis frame under this loco, but the one I have does not fit around this second-hand chassis, so I replicated the design in styrene, albeit 1mm lower in overall height. The only alteration of the kit to fit this chassis was to take a chunk out of the cab front before folding up the etch, just visible through the cab doorway:

As usual I have added a few details of my own, the headlights and air horns are A1 Models turned parts from the 4mm diesel range, whilst the cowl for the exhaust vent is a Dapol 'Pug' buffer head. I have added Black Dog O&K axleboxes to the chassis frame, but this time I have built up the frame plates around them to give a different look. The boltheads are EDM Models mouldings whilst the straps at either end are Grandt Line dummy rail joiners cut in two:

I still need to add detail to the coupler area and also fit a cab interior, no doubt raiding the bits box once again...


Monday, 9 March 2015

Progress up the Headshunt

Just a quick update to show progress on 'The Headshunt' diorama that I have been creating.

Since the last update I have added some detailing to the track, namely spikes to the dummy pointwork and dummy rail joiners from both KB Scale/RC Link and Grandt Line ranges. The trackwork has been sprayed as the initial stage in painting/weathering it.

The groundwork has also started to take shape:

Having built up some variations in layers using cardboard, I used kitchen roll and watered down PVA to smooth out some of the transitions and give some basic ground shape. After this was dried a filler/PVA and paint mix was applied to give a base for scenic work.

The areas that represent hardstanding were given a three-stage treatment. The first is a relatively thickly applied coat of Green Scene 'General Muck' textured paint, applied with a mix of brush and spatula (!) Whilst this is drying I mix up some filler/PVA and black paint to a fairly stiff mix and apply this over the top of the first coat, attempting to flatten the surface off as I go. Once fully dried, this surface can be sanded back a little smoother to give the appearance shown in the pictures. At a later stage it can be weathered as required.

A closer view of the point with it's added detail and the hard surfacing behind some platform edging stones made from painted mounting card.  I have blended in the edge of the cobbles previously laid on the board, they will be weathered in due course.

The next step is likely to be ballasting....