Sunday, 31 May 2015

A few bits and bobs left over... (in honour of Dave Lister)

"There's a few bits and bobs left over, but its always the same when you do a bit of do-it-yourself, isn't it?" Wise words from the guy who mended the Chicken Soup machine on the 'Red Dwarf'...

But it is indeed true.  Having completed three Dapol Railbus/Drewery Shunter loco bashes over the years I have rather a lot of left over parts, including spare window-wide panels and the sliding doors by the plenty. Some time ago I hatched a plan to use these, plus a complete new kit, to make an O9 railbus, as previewed here in 2012. Last November I did actually start to put together the parts for this project, however, despite making up sides (one side with doors, the other without), and front ends, something didn't quite gel.

Having put all the parts to one side, on re-examination I decided not to go ahead with the railbus and I took apart many of the parts and sought out how to recycle them. The door-less sides and ends, plus roof, were re-purposed as parts for a diesel loco with Evergreen 'siding' used to make grilles, and subsequently sold on as I couldn't see me completing it any time soon...

So what to do with all those window-wide panels...  well, would you believe that the width of a window frame from a Dapol railbus kit matches almost exactly the width of the Chivers seat moulding?  You may ask how I found that out, but kicking about for ideas I somehow offered the Dapol parts up to the Chivers kit... What you see here is actually the window panel with the bottom half of the side cut off and then turned upside down so that the top panel replaces the armrest of the Chivers kit side. The roof is made from further Dapol left-overs.

Inside I have created a footwell for the middle doorways to give a bit more legroom for passengers, this modification could be applied to other Chivers conversions.

After a lot of fettling and filling, sanding etc the coach was primed and I think the overall result justified the work involved, it is almost impossible to tell it is a kit-bash. The roof is currently loose-fitted to allow access to the interior for finishing off, hence the gap!

With a few panels and all the doors still left over, I looked for a further project to use up some parts. This coach started life as eight (much modified) doors and two side panels, plus a roof offcut.  The underframe is scratchbuilt in styrene, incorporating a much cut-up wagon bogie to hold the axles. 

It is based loosely on coaches built by the Parkinson's for the Southend Miniature Railway in the 1920s (to a similar style to the Great Yarmouth/Sutton bogie stock) - but my model is somewhat larger than scale, despite which you can't actually sit a figure in it... not to worry, my plans possibly see it as a static item, awaiting restoration. A comparison with the Chivers conversion shows they are about the same height but different window lines.

Both coaches now await painting but colours and finishes depend on future use...


Monday, 18 May 2015

Come in number Eight...

I'm pleased to report that the second A1 Models locomotive is now complete, seen here posed on 'The Headshunt' diorama....

As can be seen above, I've added the windscreen wipers and number plates, and I have subsequently applied some light weathering, in the form of washes on the underframe and buffer beams and dry brushing over the grilles, bolt heads, edges etc. 

Having a play about with photo angles on the recently completed diorama.  I hadn't expected this angle to work so well!

I couldn't resist the opportunity to compare the two versions of the kit before the bigger one departs to pastures new, the smaller one is definitely closer to how I imagined this kit would look when I first suggested it to John Flower.

"I'm an industrial locomotive, I look down on him.."
"I'm a pleasure railway locomotive, I look up to him..."


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Watching 'The Headshunt' / A1 Models Hunslet Update

I don't plan to add much more to the diorama 'The Headshunt', but a couple of additions that I've made this week can be found in this update. The figure is a Phoenix example from S&D, I've had him from very early in my 7mm modelling days and was one of a couple on which I used the black undercoat painting technique. He isn't permanently attached so in theory there could be an array of alternative figures to stand here! The other addition is rubbish... a black bag full, up against the wall, this was sculpted (badly) from left over Milliput from a filling job.

But just what is that chap looking at? This maybe....

As a taster of how the diorama can be used for photography, my almost complete, second version, A1 Models 'Hunslet' poses for the camera. I was in the process of getting her prepared for a trip to Peter Leadley's Clee Valley Railway at the Cleethorpes exhibition, although there are still a few details to add and weathering to tone down the livery.  

The boffins in the Shifting Sands workshop had rigged up a suitable coupling for use on the CVR allowing the loco to run solo, its performance impressing the CVR operators.


Friday, 1 May 2015

Completing 'The Headshunt'

I've been adding a few more details and finishing touches to 'The Headshunt' photographic diorama.

As the scene represents the end of a station area I have included appropriate signage on the barrier at the end of the platform.  This is from an old Lithoplan 4mm scale set of signs but seems large enough in 7mm scale!

Another small detail that was required was a linkage between the RC Link point lever and the point, this is a piece of brass strip bent to shape with a Grandt Line bolt at one end.

As hinted at last time, I have tweaked the ballast in places to build up the levels, and also added some more Silfor grass tufts along the edges of the ballast at the far end, adding some more detail but really just to hide some awkward patches in the ballast cover!

I have tidied up around the edges of the scene, using a black surround, a contrast to recent efforts in natural wood, I have used matt black paint. In typical fashion I have added the diorama name in dry-print lettering to the front edge and protected it with matt varnish.

There are a few extra items to add in due course, not least a removable figure to stand by watching proceedings, however the diorama is now largely complete.