Monday, 30 January 2012

Tables & Chairs

I seized upon the chance of an afternoon of domestic solitude to complete the interior of the 7mm Pullman carriage 'Bodysgallen'.

The tables, armchairs and the internal dividers are in position.

This shot shows how the interior is built up on the chassis / underframe.

There's not a lot more to do on this carriage before it's ready to be painted. The outstanding jobs are the handrails on either side of the doors to be folded up from brass wire and on each end I need to make and mount vacuum pipes and electrical connections.

I also need to mount the Kadee couplings and set the heights correctly - when I finally get my hands on some.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tunnel North

A couple of days ago I showed you some snaps of the rock work forming the northern end of Goat Tunnel. Himself has not wasted any time in filling the gaps with foliage.

That makes all those individual fragments of rock look a lot more convincing, don't you think?

What really gives it away as a model is the virgin ballast and the shiny rails, but don't worry, that'll be sorted out soon enough.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

MOTW - Carriage 12 / Van 5

This carriage has had one of the most varied careers of any item of FR rolling stock.

In the freeze-frame reality of Dduallt it remains running as Carriage 12 even though the prototype has reverted to its original identity as Van 5.

Let's have the history lesson, then.

The vehicle was built by Brown, Marshalls as one of the second generation of bogie brake (luggage) vans. (With a conventional roof rather than the curly roofs of the first three.).

By the end of the 1920s the railway had less use for these type of vehicles and it was rebuilt at Boston Lodge with a new body, incorporating a guard's compartment and passenger accomodation in 1st and 3rd class.

It was one of the two carriages first restored for use when the railway reopened and was given the number 12.

It had another makeover in 1957 when it was refurbished and altered. The longitudinal, compartment-style seating was changed into an open saloon formation and a sales counter installed for an embryonic buffet service.

A rudimentary corridor connection fitted so it could work as a twin set with sister carriage 11, which by now had been turned into a first class observation carriage with windows installed at one end.

It was altered again in 1963 when the body was lengthened and mounted on a steel underframe.

In 1982 larger windows were provided in the centre of the carriage and it is in this condition that our model is shown, paired with its sibling, carriage 11.

In 1999 it was repainted into the green and ivory livery carried in the 1950's and early 1960's and in 2005 returned to its original identity as Van 5.

It is currently undergoing a very extensive overhaul at Boston Lodge and is set to emerge restored to how it looked when first lengthened in 1963.

This is our second model of 12. The first was kit-bashed from a GEM whitemetal kit for carriage 11 which had an extra styrene section grafted into the middle of the body, much like the real carriage did.

As you can imagine it was quite a heavy model, which is less than ideal on a layout such as Dduallt with a severe gradient, so this replacement was scratchbuilt in styrene.

Carriage 12 ran for a couple of seasons on the WHR along with 11 as part of a secondary train set, so in due course I think I will end up making yet another model of this carriage to run on Bron Hebog showing it in green and ivory.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

220 Bits Of Styrene

A tale of tedium for you this time. I've been making the seats for the 7mm version of 'Bodysgallen'. These are not simple seats, either, but the plush Pullman armchair sorts.

There are 20 of them in all and each one of them is made up of 11 pieces of styrene that all have to be cut, shaped and fitted.

To spare my sanity I've been doing it in little sessions - sometimes for 15 minutes at a time - over a number of weeks. Trying to do it all in a single go would have been just too boring.

Still, no use complaining, its all part of the scratch building experience.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Bottom Left Hand Corner

At last there's one small bit of Bron Hebog which is starting to look finished - well, sort of.

Himself has been busy spreading yet more carpet underlay liberally on the front left hand corner board - the one with the southern end of Goat Tunnel and the 'Bridge To Nowhere' - and the markings have been added to the road along with the height warning signage on the bridge.

Bear in mind that there is a lot of tree cover to be added to this board, although you are starting to get a good impression of what the finished layout will look like.

And the scale of it too. This board is just one of around 15 scenic boards which will make up the complete Bron Hebog.

I'm starting to get quite excited about showing it off at the Sparsholt exhibition in April.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Sticks Of Rock

A reader, Frank, asked a question yesterday about what we used to stick the pieces of rock onto the layout to form Goat Tunnel and the cutting.

I have asked Himself and he tells me he used a hot glue gun to secure the larger bits and oridinary PVA for the smaller pieces.

(I would normally have posted a reply to Frank in the comments section but Blogger appears to be having some functionalty issues in that department tonight....)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Tunnel Vision

I have another scenic update for you today.

Himself has been working on the other end of Goat Tunnel. This is the northern entrance, hidden out of view around the corner in the cutting at the bottom of Beddgelert station.

You can't really call it a tunnel portal in the traditional sense because the four tunnels on the WHR were left as raw holes through Mother Wales.

And if you're wondering what we use to model them the answer is genuine Welsh rock. No, not the minty, pink and white sticks tourists buy in the gift shops in Beddgelert, but thin bits of shale we collected from the Rhinogs behind the village where my Grandmother lived.

It's a repeat of the technique we used on Dduallt. It does, of course, add considerably to the weight of the layout boards, but as we built those out of 2 x 1 and are covering them with wire and plaster you are entitled to assume (correctly) that lightweight construction isn't a priority for us.

When this section of the railway was being relayed they had to take care with the alignment to ensure the larger modern rolling stock fitted through safely and Himself reports that he has done likewise on Bron Hebog, checking that the carriages with the biggest overhangs (the 2 Pullman carrs) can squeeze through OK.

At the moment it still does look rather like a collection of small lumps of rock but we will be adding lots of scenic material into the gaps to represent the foliage which is a feature of this cutting and that will help blend the pieces together to look more like one rockface

And anyway the tunnel mouth will be hidden out of sight of most people viewing the layout.

There's a picture of what the other end looks like in these previous posts here and here.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

MOTW - Lyd

Here's the second half of the L and B double bill on Model Of The Week.

I'm not sure what more I can tell you about Lyd that you don't know already given that its official launch pictures remain the most clicked post on the blog.

Our model of the loco - which made its debut on the FR / WHR in 2010 - is already a historical curiosity on two counts: the spoof BR black livery (which suited it far better than the Southern green, in my opinion) and because ours is oil fired.

(The young Lyd was never happy on a liquid diet and was weaned onto solid food just before Christmas and is apparently thriving on it.)

Mechanically, our Lyd is a standard Backwoods Miniatures kit. That is noteworthy because most of the other 009 Manning Wardles you will come across on the exhibition circuit have undergone rather traumatic transplant surgery and suffer the indignity of running with N gauge internals.

On this model the alterations are on the outside with the profile of the cab cut down at the corners to fit the FR's loading gauge - as on the real engine.

Monday, 16 January 2012

If Walls Could Talk...

....they could tell you exactly how they're painted.

Unfortunately, I can't, on account of being hundreds of miles away on the occasion when the Artistic Director arrived with his brushes and pots of acrylic paint to finish off the walls lining the road near the 'Bridge To Nowhere'.

The results are most certainly up to his usual standard..

Lying in the road you can just make out the height warning triangle signs which are about to be installed on the bridge.

Thanks to the wonders of modern home computing it was a relatively simple task to scan an image of a sign with the correct bridge dimensions, re-size it and then print out a miniature version (twice) to mount on the model.

By the way, you can read a little more about Francis' technique with acrylics in this post.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Green Kink

Himself has been undertaking more underlaying and a lot of Bron Hebog is turning green.

Here's a shot of the kink immediately south of Goat Tunnel as the line heads towards Cemetery Crossing.

You can compare this picture with previous views of this spot in this post which explains how this section of the layout had to the re-engineered following a surveying error.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

MOTW - Buffet Carriage 14

This is part one of a Lynton and Barnstaple double header for Model Of The Week - buffet car 14.

This carriage, which began life as Brake Third number 15 on the L and B in 1897, opened the way to a revolution in FR carriage design when it was rescued from a field at Snapper Halt and reborn at Boston Lodge as the railway's first genuine corridor buffet vehicle.

With the old route through the restrictive Moelwyn Tunnel abandoned the FR reset its loading gauge and roomy number 14 was the carriage which showed what was now possible.

Its dimensons and design themes were unashamedly copied in the creation of the new 'Barns' which first appeared in 1964 and indeed are still appearing today.

This is our second model of 14. It was scratch built in styrene and portrays the carriage in its present condition following a major rebuild in its centenary year which restored it to something more akin to its original L&B looks with the panelling and guard's duckets, although they are more slimline due to the less generous clearances in North Wales than was the case in Devon.

My first model of 14 was of the carriage as running in the early 90's with its simpler panel layout, louvre windows and fitted out inside with formica and metal framed ex-bus seats.

Today 14 looks and feels very much more elegant with a varnished wood interior and perhaps the most comfortable seats on the railway - and I include the first class carriages in that - I believe they are former tram seats.

With the wonderful local Purple Moose ale on sale from the counter at the Porthmadog end of the saloon it is to my mind the most pleasant and atmospheric way to travel on the FR in a 'modern' corridor train.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Dome From Home

Linda's bespoke 'roman helmet' dome has been delivered, hot off the lathe.

Here are some shots of the lady trying her new hat for size.

From above you can see how Chris has added the safety valve detail.

And for comparison here is Linda posed with older sister Blanche to show the difference in their profiles.

True FR anoraks, of course, would be able to reel off a list of sisterly differences. I can think of three obvious ones straight away.

Any advances on three?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A Little One To One

I've been back working in 4mm scale in the last few days. Gosh, it seems awfully small after building all these 7mm giants!

The carriage in question is 121, the new 'super barn' being built at Boston Lodge right now.

Here you can see the one of the bodysides at the first stage of the build.

The new 121 (there was a 1980's tin car that formerly bore than number) is supposedly identical to the new 103. I say supposedly because there's no such thing as identical where the FR carriage fleet is concerned.

I'm taking a bit of a risk in starting work on 121 before the real carriage has been finished and enters service, but I can see enough so far from pictures of the carriage under construction to be sure that the pattern of the windows is the same as 103, which is why I'm making these sections first.

There are some minor alterations to the design, according to my sources at Boston Lodge, who've told me the windows in the ends of the carriage are just a little bit taller than on 103.

If you've been reading this blog from the start you'll know that I had my fingers very badly burned with 103 when with the model 90% finished I discovered that the drawing of the carriage I had smuggled out of Boston Lodge for me was wrong! You can read all about it here

Hopefully 121 will be more straightforward.

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Roof Sticks

And so to the task of completing the roof on the big Pullman 'Bodysgallen'.

This carriage has a very shallow curve so I've taken a bit of a gamble by only putting in one support rib along the centre of the roof. (There are usually three)

Usually I shape the top of these by scrapping away the edges with the scalpel and then finishing off with emery paper. This time, though, I decided it would be quicker and easier - although more extravagant - by topping the rib with a length of half-round styrene strip.

In the picture below you can also see the piece of styrene for the roof skin has been prepared with a triangle cut from each end for the domes.

Here the skin has been bonded in place - or more like battered into submission...

And then the Milliput can be pressed into the ends and roughly smoothed to the right shape. It takes 24 hours to set properly but once it does it becomes rock hard and can be finessed with emery paper.

With the roof left to one side to set I turned my attention to the floor / chassis, fixing the bogie mounting points and making up the distinctive long boxes for auxiliary thingys.

And finally, for now, the corridor connections and the footsteps at the entrance doors were glued on.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

MOTW - 87

I think it's appropriate that our first Model Of The Week for 2012 should be the WHR's flagship locomotive NGG16 number 87.

87 is one of four Beyer-Garratts currently on the WHR. Three of them have seen service so far. It was one of the first batch of NGG16's built by Cockerill in Belgium in 1936 and is the oldest in the fleet.

It was purchased from store in Exmoor following a large private donation which also covered the cost of an extensive restoration at Boston Lodge Works.

Our model is made from a Backwoods Miniatures kit which has been altered to better represent the earlier design of this class. One of the more obvious changes is the removal of the narrow windows on the cab sides.

This loco spent its first season on the WHR in 2009 in this light grey livery and although it has since been repainted into a midnight blue colour scheme we thought the grey was so distinctive and unusual that we should show our model of 87 in this guise.

In years to come, as memories of its short-lived livery fade, I think it'll become a real head-turner and conversation point on Bron Hebog at exhibitions.

For a number of years now our Garratts (we have three in the fleet at the moment if you include K1) have been rostered on implausible - if not downright impossible - running in turns on Dduallt.

We hope you enjoy these snaps of the big girl taking a gander around the spiral.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Best Bit

After weeks of hard work, finally I've got to the bit of carriage making I enjoy most - assembling the kit of parts I've created into a bodyshell.

On these WHR carriages the process starts by joining the recessed door sub-assemblies to the main section of bodyside...

And then the ends can be bonded on....

At last all the bits connect up into a box...

This is where the carriage usually starts to fight back, and 'Bodysgallen' was no exception from the rule.

The next stage is to make a removable floor which sits a little bit up inside the body. In a plain rectangular carriage this is usually quite simple, but on these WHR vehicles you need to cut away sections at the ends for the inset doors.

I find its quite tricky to get these right first time, especially when hacking away at large sheet of 60" styrene and you're making cuts of up to a foot long. I find myself trimming ever more fine slithers of styrene off the piece in an effort to get it fitting snugly, only to discover later on that it's now a little too small and then fiddling about grafting on equally thin strips to build it back up again.

Anyway, I got there in the end, and now there's the base of the roof made up too.

The next stage is to add the support ribs and fix a styrene roof skin in place - which is easier said than done - and mix up some Milliput to form the domes at each end.