Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Beck Bridge II - Rethink!

Something was bugging me about the 'Beck Bridge' cat food box diorama... I liked the concept but what wasn't working was the practicalities of what the diorama would be useful for, or how it could be stored. It wasn't going to be much use for photography as the bridge handrails were central and got in the way, and it couldn't be displayed anywhere as it would be too vulnerable to being knocked etc.

So I had a rethink and vanished off into the workshop....

Apart from the bridge it is all new material. Well, I say new, leftover 3mm MDF forms the base, with a frame of 12 x 21mm timber leftover from the box build for the 'Old Quarry Line' along the back and supporting the bridge/trackbed (more 3mm MDF). More offcuts of polystyrene form the landscape with a healthy dose of DAS modelling clay to blend it all together. The concrete bridge abutments are from 'Fab foam'.

The track is Peco, when I laid the Pizza layout at new year I ended up with a lot of individual sleepers due to the way I cut up and manipulated the sleeper base, so I have used these sleepers with all the webbing trimmed off and the ends squared off. The ones on the bridge had extra treatment to further neaten their edges as there will be no ballast at this point, in the manner of the bridges on the (now closed) Markeaton Park Light Railway.

This new version of the scene will both fit in my display cabinet and allow stock to be displayed without the bridge slap bang in the middle!


Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Beck Bridge - a new diorama

Before Christmas I posted about a diorama built using a cat food box and polystyrene. I had a vision of using similar methods to create a scene of a 15" gauge line crossing a beck on a girder bridge and I started work on this on New Year's morning. As I didn't have as much polystyrene to hand, but plenty of cardboard boxes to dispose of, I actually filled the bottom of the box with layers of card cut to be a snug fit.

I actually sellotaped the layers together and then glued the whole block to the base and sides of the box, making it quite strong. I used some chunky clamps and a piece of plywood to make sure the box sides didn't bow out and actually stuck to the inner card layers.

The following day I inserted the polystyrene layers and blocks built to allow a valley to be carved out. The clamps and plywood were used again to make sure everything stuck all around.

I added some 3.5mm foam core into the gap at the bottom of the box as a potential future watercourse, and carved the basic shape of the landform into the polystyrene using the existing opening as a guide.

However, something didn't look right and I mused over this for a day or so. I then removed 1/2" of polystyrene from the top of the box, re-shaped the slopes to a more gentle grade and slightly reduced the angle (and size) of the bridge abutment supports. I think this improves the overall balance of the scene.

The bridge is a modified Wills SS28, with the lower handrails removed from the girders to look like a lightweight 7mm scale bridge suitable for a 15" gauge railway. I will make new abutments representing cast concrete, as the basis of this I added cardboard uprights to the abutments to make the bridge deck fit snugly.

DAS modelling clay has been used to shape the bottom of the embankments as they were not easy to carve from the polystyrene. Once this is dry the ground cover can be started... watch this space...


Sunday, 6 January 2019

Did anyone order.... Pizza?!

Over the Christmas and New Year break I had set up my 009 layout 'The Old Quarry Line' on the workbench as something to sneak away and run a train on if time allowed. Which it did, and would often lead to a request from the smaller members of the household to see a "choo choo" running.

Imagine my surprise when the requests continued after the layout went away, so I hatched a cunning plan and rang the local take-away....

...who couldn't help so I retrieved a pre-prepared base from the workshop and added Peco 009 'crazy track' as a topping...

In what is probably a micro-layout first the basis of this is a 250mm disc of 6mm MDF that first saw use as a canon wheel (the barrel of which was 3" downpipe!). During one of my periods of doubt over the 009 project this was given a square frame of 12 x 21mm timber underneath and a ring of cork on top, before being left to mature.

The rails were removed from a yard of Peco track and bent using a home-made rail bender made from three screws and a piece of wood, as advised on the Gnatterbox many moons ago. The sleeper base was cut up and reassembled with all the joins between sleepers on the inside of the curve. This was then laid using a home-made 4" 'tracksetta' style template following a pencil line drawn using a compass, with a slither of card under the outer rail to provide basic superelevation. The whole layout is just one piece of track, wires were pre-soldered to the last two rail joiners I had in stock - luckily everything went to plan!

Extra toppings will be decided in due course....

Happy New Year!


Sunday, 23 December 2018

'Taz' in time for Christmas

I have to admit that I've not really been too enthusiastic about completing this model, but having had a few bursts of activity on it I have now completed the reaming post-paint jobs. I've added sufficient weight (25cm of self-adhesive window leading strip) to allow the Tomytec chassis to perform reasonably well, MicroTrains couplers, cab glazing and finally some light weathering and the all-important driver.

The tiny nature of this model means that from most angles the driver is not really visible, he is a combination of a Preiser 1/50th head/upper body (and feet) and Slaters seated legs. I did wonder if he might need a drastic haircut to make the cab sit down on the chassis frame properly but it made little difference...

I think that's about it, I just need to decide what to use 'Taz' for in the longer term, in the meantime I now have an O9 loco that can make it around an 009 layout. Clearly that man "is far away" (to misquote Father Ted).

And finally, I'd like to wish all readers of O9 Modeller a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Saturday, 15 December 2018

A Winter's Tale

For some reason the last few weeks have been full of thoughts as to "what comes next" and I'm sorry to day that I'm no further forward than usual. I did start work on a desk-sitting test track scheme using what can only be described as "cork board technology" but even that has proved to be flawed in testing - I clearly haven't learnt the lesson from 'Upcycle' about length vs desk size...

However, I had a welcome distraction when studying my daughter's winter term homework sheet - "create a winter scene". My mind seemingly switched to diorama mode as I wondered what could be done with materials already to hand. She then told me they had been learning about Joseph Farquharson at school and that provided a few ideas that shaped the final model.

What has resulted is a study in cat food box, polystyrene, wood filler, PVA and some snow scatter that I actually received as part of a well thought out 'secret Santa' present last year. She got involved at all of these stages of scenic development, with varying levels of help!

Detail touches include a length of Peco flexible fencing, a length of twig as a log, cheapo 7mm scale figure, a hare from the spares box and 'Olaf'. The trees and bushes are sea moss, sprayed brown and then when dry sprayed with hairspray and scattered with more snow powder (mostly achieved by little hands under supervision).

The reindeer wrap was added as a novel finishing touch (and because covering the print on the box was taking several coats of paint). Just to prove that this started as a cat food box:

Filling the box with polystyrene (mostly sheets and blocks) didn't take a lot of time or effort and it was carve-able the next day, including cutting the box sides down to shape. I think this would prove to be a useful method again if an "instant" diorama was required.


Sunday, 9 December 2018

Minitrains Bagnall - Transformation Complete

My 009 Minitrains Bagnall wing-tank rebuild and repaint is now completed. I tempted fate somewhat with my 31st October posting about the "curse of the paintshop" as my initial attempt to prime and paint over the factory finish was marred by poor attention (or lack of) to the primer layer and then the bottom end of an old can of aerosol paint that had been around since my O9 'Pandora'. Stripped right back and new paints purchased the result after a couple of coats of Dullcote are most satisfactory.

Having given it a run on my 009 layout 'The Old Quarry Line' I had a play with the camera and software....

That should be the last you hear of 009 on here... until next time!


Thursday, 6 December 2018

PW Crew Comfort

Spurred on by reviving the semi-complete 'not DA1' I looked into the incomplete projects box to see what else might be revived. My eyes settled on the 4-wheel coach I had assembled from Dapol railbus left-overs and last seen on the blog in May 2015 (and that date rather surprised me too...)

I had never had a real plan for this coach and to that end it had been completed with running gear adapted (badly) from an old coach bogie and only passive provision for MicroTrains couplings. Realising it would make a rather nice crew coach for the permanent way department I have replaced the running gear with a modified Peco wagon chassis and made proper provision for MicroTrains couplers. I then stripped back the primer on the body and tidied it up a little, especially around the ends of the roof which were never my finest work.

At one end I blanked over the end window on each side and added a vent cut from an old A1 Models BR class 37 etch. In fact I think these had previously been used on the original version of my model of 'Jay' before I realised I had made it a little overscale.

On the end itself is another etched addition, I suspect that this is again A1 in origin, alongside an electrical connection from the railbus spares box.

Internally a cupboard has replace the seat at this end, complete with a kettle fashioned from Dapol and Knightwing leftovers.

Another recycled part is the window set into the other end, this was once in the same position on one of my very early coaches that had to be dismantled.

It has been fun making these changes, and yes, there is something of a nostalgic tone to working with leftover kit parts and odd bits of etch...