Saturday, 31 December 2016

(to) Absent Friends

A big deal is made in certain circles about the so called 'curse' of 2016, and it is true that it does seem that more well-known individuals have been lost in the last 12 months than other years. But there are other loses closer to home that should not be forgotten, sadly I have attended more funerals in 2016 than ever before.

The miniature railway community felt the loss of one individual in particular in 2016, Dave Holroyde, who passed away on 2nd July. That this news came only days after the arrival of our baby daughter made it difficult to balance the contrast.

I had first made contact with Dave nearly 20 years ago whilst researching the 15" gauge railway at Britannia Park and always found him to to be knowledgeable and helpful, even with my more oddball enquiries! After years of correspondence we eventually met and then worked together on various projects with the Miniature Railway Museum Trust. His records almost always had the answer, his photographic archive the right picture. When I needed to illustrate Trevor Guests' Pacifics for my article in the 'Review' he was the first, and only, person I turned to.

Yesterday, whilst attempting research on a photo of a 10¼" gauge railway that had appeared on a forum I remembered that I had some notes from Dave on a relevant topic that provided an extra nugget of information.

Dave admires Peter Leadley's O9 model of 'Bonnie Dundee', built by Paul Windle

So tonight I'll raise a glass to an absent friend. Thanks Dave 🍺

Wishing all O9 Modeller readers a prosperous 2017.


Thursday, 22 December 2016

Wagons - an Estate of Mind

I often say that when I find myself tinkering with wagons that there is some indecision in the air... and it is probably true...

My O9 wagon fleet has been through a few sessions of splitting bodies and chassis, new bodies on old chassis etc, often to revert back to the starting point once I've got whatever frustration it was out of my system.

Although I generally scratchbuild my own wagon bodies, over the past few years I have collected together a number of Black Dog Mining wagon bodies for some long-term 'industrial' project. For some time this has included two WA05 open wagons:

Back in the summer I posted a picture of this wagon alongside Roger Chiver's Theakston wagon kit, and Roger commented on the combination: "They almost don't look like they are the same scale. It's the planks I think." The more I thought about it, the more it rang true... an attempt to cut one down to a single plank height did nothing to improve matters and they still looked huge alongside my own scratchbuilt, miniature railway proportioned stock.

These thoughts were occurring as I thought about the potential for a scenario where a 15" gauge railway was conveying loads, e.g. a farm or estate. I was reminded of two wagons that I built back in 2004 by cutting down (in width) two Black Dog WA04 bodies, adding handles on the ends to represent 'Tops' wagons:

These wagons were subsequently sold on, but I had a reference for the dimensions so could scratchbuild a "replica" on one of the existing chassis...

Having marked out the parts for a second it wasn't long before both wagons were in the process of being re-bodied. 

My usual method of creating bolt heads on wagons is to dice a suitable styrene section into thin slices then apply them individually (much the way Steve Bennett has on the masters for casting). On the first body I used Evergreen 30 thou square section, whilst on the second I used 25 thou round section. In the past I have also used Plastruct Hex section. Once applied I leave them to dry overnight and use a wide flat file to reduce them all to the same depth (I'm hopeless at cutting them the same). The second wagon is now awaiting this treatment.


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Carriage and Wagon

Winter maintenance occupies a lot of miniature railway's time at this time of the year, and it is no different in O9. The carriage and wagon department for 'Shifting Sands' has been busy (despite the railway not operating this 'season'!) with a few bits of catch-up work.

Coach 15, one of the scratchbuilt Exmoor-style fleet, has received a new roof. It is in fact the second new roof on just over a year, as the thicker one that it had last year looked out of place compared to it's stablemates. The new roof is formed from 20 thou styrene, heated in boiling water and reinforced underneath with various sections of Evergreen strip.

Meanwhile, one of the open wagon fleet has had something of a transformation. This is based on an example from the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway and originally built upon a Black Dog 5' chassis that dated back to my early O9 days. The chassis was robbed for another project and the body initially put to one side, until I decided to add a new chassis based on a Peco chassis, styrene section and axle boxes from Wizard Models/51L.

This has lowered the wagon a little and got rid of the slightly 'tip toe' look it had before, here is it when first built by way of comparison.

I have to say that both of these projects have created a fair bit of frustration in the paint shop, must be the time of year....