Saturday 28 March 2020

...and to buy one would be greedy...

I seem to have bought a new Minitrains steam tram loco by sort of mistake. I emailed Andrew Hastie to ask if he had any in stock yet and the next thing I know, one was on his way. I could easily have stopped it but I'd always wanted an Egger tram and this is a much nice thing; apart from anything else it runs beautifully.

Fresh out of the box

I'm not one to leave anything alone, so I straight away set about a few little modifications, nothing major as I didn't want to bugger it up. First thing I did was to order some Henschel works plates and name plates from Narrow Planet. It will be named 'Brigitte', Anyone's guess when the plates will get made as NPs etcher is in hiding - fair do's.

In a lot of ways the most obvious part of this loco is the roof so I decided that I'd change the plastic whistle for a nice brass one. In the process I scratched the roof and had to polish it out; I had wondered about a spot of paint on the roof but this confirmed it. Gunmetal from Tamiya is my chosen loco roof colour and I think it just gives it a bit of something. 

With the Jelly Models O&K coach

Looking in my loco bits box I saw a bell from a Minitrains F&C and it looked just right for a tram, on the roof would have been too tall so in the front window seemed a good idea. I've also given the loco some crew which along with the bell help to conceal the inevitable Minitrains flywheel. Using a couple of metallic sharpies I picked out the chimney cap in copper and the lamps in brass. There are some pipes running down the sides of the boiler so a similar idea with Tamiya tinbitz just brings them out of the dark slightly.

Nice loco

I've decided that with the enforced home isolation, I should get done as many of the little jobs that are on the never ending list as I can make myself do. So I started by re attaching the couplings to a TeeBee flat wagon that I dropped onto a hard floor. I also wanted to use the 009 society FR open coach with the tram but it had always had couplings at slightly the wrong height and no passengers. Both things now sorted it makes a good holiday train with another of Tom's prints, a slat seated open coach, this always looked nice but was slightly too tall so I cut a section out of the roof support and reattached it. Much  better. While I was looking for people I noticed that I had a large collection of Preiser luggage so I loaded up the flat wagon to go with the holiday makers.

Also stuck a cat on the roof... we have an old black cat who used to like to sneak into any car she could and get a sneaky ride so I figure that she might also like to ride on trains.

Loads of other half finished and unstarted projects to attend to so who knows what I'll do next... apart from wash my hands. Stay safe.

Thursday 19 March 2020

To build an engine would be an awfully big adventure

The world seems to have gone bonkers, mostly it seems to be shut. However on the Isle of Stoner in 1964 everything is just fine. It seems that the Ffestiniog Railway has sold off some of its small Birminghams or bug boxes as they are fondly (?) known. Lord Stoner being a bit of a hoarder of second hand rolling stock, three have turned up and entered service.

Obviously they are actually the new PECO FR coaches and they are lovely. Theses ones are in the first preservation livery of green and white. They look at home with the IoSR's double Fairlie and a small raje of PECO FR slate wagons.

The van is a Dundas kit but will eventually be replicated in the PECO RTR range.

Here they are. Delightful

Last year, at the Warley show I bought a Narrow Planet Beyer Peacock kit which I'd had my eye on for some time. Predictably I didn't want to build it exactly as intended as I didn't want a GWR looking loco. I decided to ditch the supplied boiler fittings which although very nicely cast in whitemetal, just screamed Great Western.

The kit is designed to fit onto the Minitrains F&C chassis which I just happened to have a spare one of. I hadn't had the loco building mojo since Christmas but a week of annual leave at home and the impending end of the know world spurred me on to have a crack at the kit.

It follows the usual NP paradigm of a 3D printed carcass with etched overlays. This works really well and makes for a very simple build which ends up looking very good.

Replacement boiler furniture added and a pair of RT Models PQR couplings substituted for the supplied ones and I was pretty happy with the new look. I also added vacuum brake pipes.

Then I had a crisis of conscience about the dome I'd chosen. It was a nice N Brass brass casting but being for an n gauge loco it was slightly too small. A selection of replacements were tried.


A Varikit one?

A bit of a long shot.

Down to a short list of four.

What about adding a sand dome? No.

Anyway with a suitable casting chosen and glued on it was time to start the spoiling with paint phase. A coat of Halfords grey primer on the body and the red/brown on the frames. the plan being to give the loco a sort of L&B livery vibe, leaving the frames red/brown.

This is the state of play so far. I managed to break the clack valve for the other side so one is on order and nameplates are on their way from those lovely chaps at Narrow Planet. It will be called Wendy, named after an old friend who is having a very bad time at the moment.

I've also been working on a 3D print that I bought off evilbay. It isn't a bad print but is slightly too large to fit with my rolling stock. I thought the best thing to do was to finish it off and put it up for sale on said auction site. I've added a few fittings and nameplates etc and given it rather a nice paint job.
Designed to suit a KATO 103 chassis I found a very cut down version that I tried to fit into an Eggerbahn tram some years ago. Despite having a large amount of the body work missing it still works well and with the added weight in the body of the loco, it runs really rather well.

Here it is pulling quite a long train up the hill by Town Quarry.

The next thing to do to the NP kit is to let the paint harden off and then to add glazing to the window, some crew and lining. I might be a tiny bit distracted as I'm also in the process of building a small n gauge standard gauge layout...

Smallerfield, a preserved branch terminus in the SW of England.

Sunday 8 March 2020

All quiet in the garage

I haven't done much actual modelling recently, but I have had a rummage in the stock boxes and tried out a few older things. This is the lighthouse resupply train with Sphinx the Kerr Stuart in the lighthouse siding.

The diesel bowser and ash v tip now have a length of jubilee track to sit on, made out of styrene strip.

The name plates arrived for Eva the Baldwin but still no one has bothered to give the loco a clean.

Arnold Lane Wharf and I spent three chilly days in the Slate Quarry Museum. Lots of families but really three days is two too many with this layout. All went ok though.

During the trying out phase I've had the NP 0-6-0 Bagnall out. It has never run properly and I think the problem is a quartering issue, I've improved it but it still isn't quite right.

People always wave at trains.