Thursday, 5 November 2020

Coaches and sand and locos

It's been a week or so of finishing things off, not like me really. I have a stack of things to finish still but being part furloughed again I should find the time.

First thing finished is the Dock tank bash, in primer here...

...and in finished paintwork here. I'm rather pleased with this conversion but I'm not sure that it will live with me for long. I've got far too many locos already and more on their way, of which more later.

This is one I made to sell really. An A1 models box cab on a KATO 109 chassis. It has a rather charming lumpishness to it and you can see through the body grills to the gubbins inside. I used a Langley whitemetal casting of an engine and the radiator chopped off the end of the ROCO bash I did last month.

A small job done was to add the etched 'restaurant' signs which arrived from Narrow Planet.

The main job finished off has been the painting and glazing of the new van and coach to finish off the tram set to go with 'Elizabeth' or 'Brigitte' the Minitrains tram loco. For once I've managed to make two of the same vehicles which look pretty much the same, so they go together rather well.

The van is a particular favourite, but as has been observed before, I do like a brake van.

Here the tram set is passing the newly rebuilt and re-sanded beach area, it still has some work to do on it but the general look of it is much better. I really must sort out the back scene as it spoils the look of the whole new bit of layout.

I spent quite a long time over the weekend and Monday making a video of  Underhill so that it could go on the 009 Societies YouTube channel. They are making a big push with social media and the web site so I was flattered to be asked to contribute. Turns out it is much harder to video a model than the real thing. Anyway if you have 12 minutes to waste, click on the link below to see mine but also a growing collection of other excellent layout videos.

Daisy and the quarryman's train feature in the video, amongst other things.

As I type I'm waiting for the postman to deliver one of the new Bachmann n gauge Percys. It remains to be seen if it is any use for anything 009 but a small, well made 0-4-0 chassis can't be bad news; except for the wallet. Watch this space for my further thoughts in the next thrilling episode.


Sunday, 25 October 2020

009 allsorts

I can't believe that it has been well over a month since I've updated the blog, I've been busy at work but now we're locked down again I guess things will be quieter. Any which way up, I did change the scenic flavour of the field which had hitherto been a not very convincing sand dune. Fundamentally I just covered the sand in PVA and went for it with the static grass. I've left a path of sand which leads to the derelict building, it works well being underneath the grass. A definite improvement.

Next port of call was the new ROCO diesel chassis, I decided that one of the motor replacement kits from Tramfabriek might help, it was always a bit of a limping Lulu which I had put down to the  poor quality of the ROCO motor.

However, having swapped it out for the new unit I was not happy to find that there was not much improvement. At first I just shrugged and put it to one side but it niggled at me that it didn't run properly despite being brand new with a good quality motor fitted. 

I gradually dismantled the chassis to its component parts and inspected them closely for bits of dirt in the gears etc etc but there was nothing. After much head scratching and reassembling and disassembling, swearing and so on I finally found that one of the gears had a rough edge to the moulding which was rubbing on the chassis block. A quick smooth off and all was fine. The quality control at ROCO needs some work.

I added a handrail on the bonnet too, a set of plates will finish it off nicely.

Fourdees locos had always attracted me except for two reasons, They were too expensive; not in themselves but for my budget and the ones I could afford had KATO 103 chassis which I think are not nice. However they have recently started using 109s which Are very nice and have introduced a few new models which I could nearly afford. When I saw 'Elizabeth' I fell in love and pushed the boat out.

Here it is in action, despite being quite light it will still pull three PECO L&Bs up the line. It is a little shiny and I don't like the 3D printed dome which I have plans to replace with a brass one. To make it my loco I've removed the surplus air brake pump and added a little weathering, I'll probably give it a waft of Dulcote too once I change the dome. Otherwise a cracking loco which looks right at home on the island.

With added weathering and hauling the tramway coach converted from a Chivers Five79 Innisfail coach. More of this latter.

I mentioned my dislike of KATO 103s earlier and I have a gradual replacement scheme for the ones I have used in the past. One such replacement has been under the Omnidenominational, multi faith, mobile contemplation vehicle. This is a Rushby Resins kit and was actually on a 104 so I duly purchased a 110 to replace it, unfortunately the plastic superstructure of the new unit is slightly larger than its predecessor so some surgery was needed on both the KATO and the coachwork. I extended the bonnet  slightly and carved away as much of the insides as I could; the end result is great and now runs nicely. I need to sort out the interior lighting now as the stained glass windows look good when illuminated.

The arrival of  'Elizabeth' and the Minitrains tram loco, 'Brigitte' have meant that the tramway origins of the IoSR are becoming more obvious. The long term plan for layout extension includes a section of roadside running as I have a bit of desire for this. As I mentioned the Innisfail conversion looks rather good with the new loco so I set about creating a whole train to suit. I started by converting the spare Dundas VoR van kit, somewhat inspired by David Taylor's 7mm vans, I used a NP balcony etch to give an outside balcony rather than the duckets of the kit as intended. I tried adding a lower footboard but ended up removing it as it didn't look right.

Here are the two coaches and the van, spoiling by painting awaits.

I always keep an eye on evilbay for interesting n gauge locos for a good price and this Minitrix dock tank popped up, I got it for a good price and it appears to be virtually brand new. All the gear train is nice and tight and the wheels are bright and shiny. My very first 009 loco which worked was one of these which I converted by making a new cab from styrene and adding a new chimney. Long gone now but it made quite a handsome looking loco and so I thought I'd have another go and see whether I'd got any better at it since 1975... possibly not.

First job was to remove the cab roof and side which just clip on, remove the buffers and chop the chimney  and safety valves off. I also rubbed down the sides to get rid of the transfers. I remember on the original you could always see the shape of the BR crest and fleet number under the green paint.

Starting to add new bits from the odds and sods collection, so far so good. Cab next.


Sunday, 20 September 2020

Dreams come true

I've done a fair bit of modelling this month, the first job finished was the power car for the DMU set, not only does it run well on the KATO 11 109 but I'm also pretty pleased with the look of it too.

The next project was to build the non motor driving car and I'd bought a Dundas VoR van kit to build one from but then I came across something similar I built for use on the St Ruth layout. It was part of a train that ran up to the lighthouse. 

Being made from the same kit it was pretty much what I intended to do from scratch, it neede a bit of tarting up and some detail adding to make it look like it was designed to be the second part of the set.

Long story short, I took it apart and added a variety of styrene strip and changed the roof vent for a whitemetal torpedo like the one used on the motor car.

Here it is all finished and on a test run up the Underhill branch. All I need to do now is build the rest of the layout so it has somewhere to run...

In other news I found a ROCO six wheel diesel for a reasonable price and set about anglicizing it. This was inspired by seeing Dave Malton's visiting loco last month, also the very first ready to run loco I had was one of these many, many years ago. This time I was determined to make a better job of it.

The main offending parts were the cab, the radiator and all the stuff on the back of the cab, so it all had to go.

I spent a happy day filing and gluing new bits in place. The radiator is from an Airfix lorry kit, the exhaust pipe and new cab steps are 'n brass' castings as are the handrail knobs. Theses are the smallest I've ever used but they look the part and are very nicely made. The horn is a brass part from A1 Models The cab front and rear and the buffer beams are whitemetal parts from the big box of bits. My favourite RT Models brass PQR couplings completed the job.

Once it had a squirt of primer I realised that I had basically just remade the cab and it still looked very continental. A look in my book of Hudswell Clarke diesels showed me that locos of the type that I was aiming at had curved cab windows and so a further rummage in the bits box came across these cab sides which once cut and filed to shape do the perfect job, to my mind.

Green seemed the obvious colour, I've ordered works and name plates from Narrow Planet and it will be called 'Granville' to go nicely with the big red Drewery named 'Arkwright'. It has been a funny sort of year, after all.

Here it is in action on the works train, it needs running in as its rough as you'd expect from these and I think I'll probably change the motor out for one of Svens conversions. I did one before and it made a world of difference.

On the scenery front, I've been looking at the sandy field which has never looked as I wanted it to really so I think I'm going to cover the sand in grass to make it more of an ordinary looking field. I've got some nice tents somewhere so maybe a camping field would be nice. I really need to bite the bullet and get some proper sky too, then I can sort out the beach once and for all.

While I was painting the 'Granville' I removed some of the overdone weathering on 'Eva', you couldn't see the livery at all and as that was why I bought it in the first place that seemed a bit thick. Only thing is, now it notices that the nameplate is wonky.


Wednesday, 2 September 2020

I have a dream...

 I just got back from a family holiday on The Mull of Galloway in Scotland which was, as ever, very relaxing. The Mull itself is like an island but is actually attached to the mainland, the scenery has been very inspiring for a future extension of the IoSR. I didn't have any modelling with me but I did ponder the next phase of construction of the layout; at the moment my music equipment is in the way but a chap can dream. After an evening of planning in my head and on paper I actually dreamt about the layout and solved a couple of problems.

This is a panoramic view of the area that the extension would/might occupy. The fiddle yard is just visible on the extreme right.

The plan is to replace the fiddle yard with a corner board where the line curves round and there is a station with passing loop, rather in the style of Tan y Bwlch and then the line would run under the window on a section of roadside tramway line before turning again into Port Lucy Station which would be where the keyboards and racks are on the left in the photo. Port Lucy is where the Main IoSR line meets the Underhill branch, being the modelled part. The mainline runs into the same station out of a tunnel, this is where the trains would disappear but I've never worked out how to have them turn round for the return into the station. I've had all sorts of fancy ideas about balloon loops on silly gradients but to no real solution. Anyway, what I'm driving at is that I dreamt all this in action and the mainline trains were PECO L&B coaches with driving trailers on both ends...

So, on my return to Wales I ordered a couple of Dundas VoR vans and a KATO 11 109 chassis to make the first of the driving trailers.

Raw ingredients

Work after the first night's efforts.

The chassis parts and the floor were put away for later use and the sides and one end stuck together as nature intended. After that I cut the other end to provide a low front and a back to the cab area. The duckets have been placed nearer the double doors creating a shorter van section and then infront of the gaurd's door is the driving compartment. Styrene strip was used to plank over where the ducket should be. I used the bonet and radiator from the trusty RAF ambulance Airfix kit to give the beast a snout.

After lowering the body slightly more and adding some detail parts here it is on test.

It will need some weight adding as it struggled to pull two carrs and the half truckle which I used to represent the other, un-powered driving trailer, as yet un-built.

Quite pleased with the look of it so far, need to build the other end now then paint them.

It's always nice to have a guest operator and visiting trains and just before we went to Scotland there was just such a visit from a rather Ffestiniog Flavoured modeller. These are his Dundas bogie coaches with a PECO bug box in green.

This is his ROCO diesel in FfR livery, loco named Barnard Castle

Here it is again with my rake of ROCO skips in tow.

These rather nice Victorian Bug Boxes came to stay also, which was nice, as they are absolute works of art. Just need a suitable loco now...