Monday 23 March 2015

Locos everywhere

Since the trauma of smashing and coating Alice Morgan in woodchip I've been busy at work but today I had a chance to catch up and make some progress.

I'd restored the cab and given the nearly finished loco a coat of primer when it was pointed out that the couplings looked a bit clunky compared to the rest of the loco and I had to agree that they did.

I had some more subtle couplings in the form of a brass etching that had come with a kit so I removed the 3D printed couplings... This resulted in breaking the rear buffer beam so it looked dreadful. I decided that a styrene replacement was the answer.

I was much happier with this version and after some excellent advice about using Decalfix instead of water to apply Archer rivet transfers I added a row to the buffer beam.

All was going well until I recieved a parcel from the lovely chaps at Narrow Planet which included several sets of Borsna couplings. In the words of Homer, 'Doh'.

Another problem also arrived with the new couplings in the form of the much anticipated LKM NS2 kits. I know I should finish one thing before starting another but I didn't as usual.

The LKM uses a Minitrains Gmeinder chassis

The NS2 is a mixed media kit which uses the different materials to their best effect. It has a 3D printed basic body which then has etched nickle silver overlays to add detail. It went together in an evening on the lap tray, a nice kit which makes good use of the great Minitrains chassis but allows the toy like Egger style body to be discarded. the only change I made was to add the discarded etched couplings from Alice Morgan as the scale couplings didn't work well with BEMO or PECO style hoops.

Today I gave them both a coat of  primer in the morning and a first coat of acrylics this evening. 

 At the cheese factory with fellow NP loco Eigiau

First coats of the main colours

Saturday 14 March 2015

Calmer now

Well now, I'm calmer now. I rebuilt the cab using a styrene front and sections of strip to build up the sides, it's not perfect but considering the mess it was I'm pretty happy.

I had ordered some bits from Peter's Spares, a GWR whistle and a smoke box door handle. With their usual fantastic delivery speed they arrived yesterday so I fitted the smoke box bit. I'll add the whistle once the painting is finished although I have drilled the hole in the front plate.

In the rebuilding process some of the rivet detail has been lost so I tried out the archer rivet transfers I bought at Warley last year. The most noticeable area of missing rivets was the side of the back cab sheet. I fiddled about and swore some more but got them in place, they dried out and fell off. I think there isn't enough space for the adhesive to stick too so I gave up. The strip I put at the waist band on the back sheet stuck so i left that one.

With great trepidation I took the MK2 version to the garage and sprayed it with primer... this time I was more careful and all is well.

Pretty pleased with the results, Wondering whether to change the cab roof for a simple plainer version, I probably will. The other big question is that of colour; in theory the IoSR loco livery of hull red is on the cards but I'm wondering if a green of some kind might suit...

Thursday 12 March 2015

Bugger, bugger, bugger etc

It's been a mixed day. Up until this evening it had been most enjoyable, the rain lashed down and so I felt less guilt than usual for sitting on the sofa getting on with the new loco and half watching Time Team.

I changed the chimney for a double Fairlie one and added sand pots from the same. The coal bunker rails are, as usual, from Langley etched L&B seat etches. I added a layer of styrene around the cab top to give slightly more height as the new chimney was slightly taller than the original one. All nice and balanced, looking good so I gave it a test run. All was good.

So I'd made good progress and so this evening it was ready for a coat of primer. I took it out to the garage and set it up on my usual spray painting spigot and gave it a nice even coat of Mr Halford's grey primer. All was well, I turned round to check the coverage and dropped it onto the floor of the workshop.................................................. The cab smashed into numerous pieces and various other bits fell off. The floor of the workshop is covered in sawdust... wet paint... sawdust. I swore copiously and salvaged the bits I could find and tried to get as much of the paint/sawdust mixture off the bits worth saving, all the while swearing some more.

The sticky remains

The floor...

I gathered my self up and the bits of sticky mess and came back indoors. I didn't actually blub but I was tempted. Any old how I then spent a happy couple of hours of self flagellation whilst cleaning the mortal remains and evolving a strategy for restoration. 

The cab front was mostly missing and the rear was snapped in half just below the mid point. Apart from the woodchip wall paper effect I'd created this was the worst of the damage. One of the cab steps was missing and the coal rails were buggered but those can be replaced easily enough. I set about the cab by sawing the broken cab rear in half leaving the curved and broken bit with a straight edge. Plan A was to make a cabless version and so I cut the smashed bits off the front cab and stuck the rear bit back. 

I don't like the cabless option so plan B which is for tomorrow, will be to recreate the cab. The back sheet is salvageable and the roof wasn't involved in the accident. The glazing has also survived being nowhere near me to break.

I've had to file off some of the rivets so it will be an excuse to try out the archer transfers I bought at Warley last year.

What a twat.:(

Wednesday 11 March 2015

More brown and another new loco

I spent a happy hour or so in the garage with the paints today and gave the bit I did yesterday a coat of darker brown. On the far end bit which already had 2 browns on it I dry brushed some yellow ochre and then some black to start to build up some depth and get a similar colour to the hill above St Ruth. Starting to have fun now.

This evening I started work on a new loco from Chris Ward: ages ago I sent him a Fleischmann Piccolo 7000 0-4-0 to see if he could design something to fit on it. At the time it was still available new and we sold loads of them to go under Langley Prince kits... Time passes and the wait was worth it as I really like the look of the new 3D printed loco. Described as a scratch aid in the instructions I'd say that was a little harsh as it is pretty much all there.

The kit as it comes and a chassis

The quality of the print is hugely improved from the old machine and once it has another coat of primer and some top coat I'm sure it will need very little work at all. I may change the dome and possibly the chimney to help add some weight but they don't need replacing.

After a couple of hours on the lap tray it was looking like this. The cab roof is still not attached and the footplate and body castings are not conjoined yet. One of the neatest aspects of this loco are the cylinder wrappers which just slide over the n gauge versions and help give the loco some weight. Nice, and I believe they are available as spare parts, I'll be needing a couple of sets to improve the look of a couple of 7000 based locos in the fleet.

The strange T shaped piece you can see in the upper picture is a tray to add 'liquid gravity' to to balance out the weight of the motor. Works very nicely too. I've also ordered some name and works plates from NP, Alice Morgan. If you haven't watched 'Luther' I suggest you do.

With my modified WHHR saloon to give an idea of size

Monday 9 March 2015

Blue sky thinking... well brown sky

I finally found some time to get out to the garage today having bought 2 x sheets of hardboard and some ready mixed poster paint over the weekend.

Plan A was the new sky over 'The Big Hill' area. Tom suggested putting battens on the wall rather than attaching the hardboard to the layout and it was a stroke of genius... so I did.

In the second picture you can see where the new board is attached to the old backscene, there is a 6 inch bit of 2 x 1 glued to both to hold them in line. The clamps can come off tomorrow.

At the far end there isn't room behind the layout to fit battens in so I've just pinned the hardboard to the wall. There is a slight gap at the the corner but I'm going to have a curve to avoid the old 'corner in the sky' problem.

The weather was so bloody awful that I didn't get as far as I would have liked with the next phase but I made a start.

Three browns and black

My plan is to give virtually everything a couple of coats of brown, by way of mud, and then to start adding detail colours and then green stuff. When I've finished with painting I'll add the sky, I've got some Gaugemaster sky paper which is nice but the backscene behind St Ruth is a deeper blue. I think it was Faller and it isn't as realistic in some ways but it does suit my more saturated colour palette.

I popped back this evening to check if the paint was drying matt, which to my huge relief it was. I then gave the bit I'd already done a quick going over with a darker brown which has already started to give it some depth. I like this stage in the scenery making, I'm sure it will distract me from wiring for a nice long while.

It doesn't look much yet but I have high hopes.

Wednesday 4 March 2015


I didn't have a chance to do much yesterday but I did find a radiator to add to the railcar and I fitted a pair of torpedo vents to the roof. It is gaining some character and will be a useful out of season vehicle when the tourists don't swell the trains.

I added some handrails to the doors too, in my classic style they seem to be a bit wonky.

My week off starts tomorrow so hopefully I will get some more work done on scenery and who knows maybe grasp the nettle that is wiring?

Tuesday 3 March 2015

A railcar unexpectedly appears

I've been too tired to bother or too busy to get round to it recently but last evening I opened my tool box to see what was what and there was the last of my Chivers Inisfail coach kits and a Minitrains Gmeinder... Hmm, my warped brain thought. 'I can make an engine and a coach or bodge the two together and have yet another railcar... I'll blame that Neil Rushby for planting the seed in my mind.

Anyhow, that was the progress at bedtime. The roof is just sitting on and the chassis is not properly attached but you get the general idea. Not sure whether to go for a radiator on both ends or only one, it will have a driving cab at both ends.