Sunday, 26 April 2020

Another brake van and another railcar

Back on the island the last couple of weeks have seen a few new arrivals. Firstly, a Bachmann Rheneas arrived, a nice sweet runner but a bit on the orange side and with a stupid face. The plan is to convert it to either a proper model of Dolgoch or  some sort of Isle of Stoner version, possibly cabless. Either way I need an NP Dolcoghification kit which is currently out of stock so the decision can be postponed. I've put it back in its box for now but I might start work taking it to bits and stripping the paint off it in preparation. 

Nice, but too orange.

I've mentioned before how much I like brake vans and after building the little 3D printed one a while ago I saw its big brother for sale via evilbay. I ordered it and then forgot about it. They take quite a while to arrive in normal circumstances; which these are not.

The kit makes it possible to build with the doors open so I decided that one open door was a good idea.

While looking for the whitemetal brake pipes etc I found a casting of a stove from a signal box interior (Wills?) kit. It seemed like a good excuse to add it to the van's inside.

I made a bit of a bodge putting it together but it's come out OK in the end and has entered service. Known by IoSR guards as 'the winter van' on account of how cosy the stove keeps it. 

Here it is, waiting for a run down the line.

Another random purchase was one of the newly re engineered KATO 11 109 chassis which replaced the venerable 11 103s. It finally arrived and I wondered what to do with it. On test it ran very smoothly and slowly in exactly the way the old ones didn't. I was never a big fan of them but I do have a couple of things which have them as motive power which will now need to be swapped out and become useful vehicles. Anyway, I didn't want to just do a swap for an old one so I had a rummage on Shapeways and found a rather nicely proportioned Tom Bell designed, two ended railcar.

The print as it arrived just with the new chassis clipped in place

Never one to build things as intended I set about mucking about with the body. It has a rather textural surface as I opted for the cheaper (although still rather too pricey) white plastic version. It has the advantage of being less fragile and easier to cut and drill but the disadvantage of a surface texture you can't easily flatten. I added some styrene H beams underneath and few other styrene parts to make the proportions more pleasing to my eye.

I wanted to fit an interior which I constructed to be able to be poked through the hole on the floor that the chassis fits in but I wasn't looking forward to finishing the inside through this aperture.

I thought about cutting the roof off but couldn't see how I could do it neatly enough to put it back on with it looking awful. Then it occurred that I could leave the edge of the roof intact and then put a thin covering on once the interior was finished. So out with the dremel and off with the roof. Then a suggestion was made in jest that it could be a convertible. I loved that idea and so tidied up the edges of the hole and got on with painting and building the insides.

The inside on the outside

With a sleepless night or two and continuing lockdown I finished the painting and detailing. The canvas roof is a piece of bog roll cut to shape and wound round a length of brass rod, stiffened with superglue and then painted. It's a similar idea to how I've made canvas cab backs for a couple of open cabbed steam locos.  I found the Dennis nameplates from the recent Narrow Planet Beyer Peacock build and it occured to me that it was an appropriate name for a railbus.

I'm rather pleased with the result and it has joined the fleet of steam and ic powered railcars and tram type things.

A gathering of all of the passenger trams and railcars. In the platform road  (L to R) are the small steam tram, 'Lady Susan' the big steam tram, 'Dennis', 'Herman' and 'Brigitte' and her O&K coach. In the loop line are 'Queenie' and 'Nursie'. 'Nursie is one of my oldest surviving vehicles and runs on a Bachmann 0-6-0 diesel.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Sinc Bach - an off island side project

With all this spare time being forced on me, I decided that it would be a good idea to try to finish some projects that have been long stalled. This is quite an extensive list but who knows how long this may last. I have a slate quarry in a camera case part built - Sinc Bach which I've started on first. Then there is the part built standard gauge n gauge preserved branch line - next in line as I have most of the bits I need now to finish it, at the moment it is just a baseboard and collection of parts. Third on the list is the 006.5 layout which is really only a small collection of rolling stock and track and an idea, this one will be fun.

However, back to the quarry. The back story is that the layout represents a small corner of a larger quarry somewhere n North Wales. As I live within walking distance of Dinorwic it has to be said that this is a large influence.

This is the whole thing as I left it shut away for probably ten years.

I had constructed a plasticard carcass of the dressing shed building and then run out of steam, I couldn't think how to make it look like it was made of  sawn slate waste blocks as the real things are. the conclusion I came to was that there was no quick way to do it so I set about stone cladding it with small cut up pieces of styrene sheet. It was very time consuming and it occurred to me to give up more than once but in the end I found it quite therapeutic and the result was very pleasing.

Quite a lot of quarry buildings had roofs made from layers of slate slab rather than tiles, this was for two reasons. Firstly, you don't want to waste finished tiles that you could sell. Secondly, tiled roofs are relatively fragile and so where there regular blasting operations which sometimes hurl large blocks of slate about the place a nice solid (at least a foot thick) slate roof is a good protection. Again I chopped up some styrene sheet to represent this.

Here it is after a squirt of grey primer, this confirmed to me that my technique was successful enough.

The other building that was needed was a weighbridge hut, the little brick built hut that came free on the front of the Railway Modeller was the perfect size so I built it and then stone clad it in a similar way to the big shed.

I had intended to put the weighbridge here on the exit tramway but it obscured too much of the dressing shed.

Some detail painting done and a lean too added with the diesel motor to turn the line shafting for the saw and other machines in the dressing shed.

My Brian Madge quarry Hunslet with the new position of the weighbridge. I'd repainted the loco some time ago with the intention of making it look in quarry condition, i.e. filthy but I hadn't plucked up the courage to filth it up. Now I have and it looks perfect, well as perfect as I can get it.

Plan A was to have the slate arrive from an adit in this corner, rather in the style of the Blaenau quarries but as a Dinorwic man through and through I decided that an incline was the way to go, it would have to be only the very bottom of a very steep table type. This meant I had to cut a hole in the baseboard for the table to drop into... this meant taking the whole layout to pieces but will be worth it in the end.

This is the incline in place.

The next job was to paint the incline and then add some basic slatey style scenery with balsa wood and styrene. Unfortunately I've now run out of  Mekpac so all styrene work has come to a halt. The next major thing being to construct the incline truck and the plate rail trackwork leading to it. I'll do this with styrene strip as most rail in areas like this in the quarry was only suitable for hand pushed wagons and made of flat steel plate, often using sleepers with cuts in them rather than chairs.

This is the current state of play, the next major job is to start to cover the whole ground and sinc walls with filler. Then a squirt of grey and some more acrylic to pick out some detail. Once all that lot is done I'll be able to add small bits of real slate especially in the tipped areas. The bottom of the sinc will be flooded with the coppery turquoise water that builds up in such places.

Wash your hands and stay safe.