Sunday, 30 September 2012

Let's Get Ready To Rubber

I'm just about ready to make the first mould for the ballast wagon kit.

Here you see the wagon side in its moulding box about to be covered in silicone rubber.

This isn't the same side I showed you the other day. I decided to make a second one because I wasn't completely happy with the angle on the ends of the hopper.

You can see it's got some additional details on now such as the two gearboxes which are part of the mechanism for opening the doors on the chutes, the triangular brackets at the very ends and on the left one of the supports for the two brake cylinders which sit diagonally opposite each at the ends of the NG-Y's.

If the mould turns out OK and I get some satisfactory casts from it then I shall move onto making masters for the hopper ends and the main frame of the wagon.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Funnel Find

It's amazing what you find when you rummage about enough, isn't it?

After writing a post a few days ago saying that the one bit our new Britomart was lacking was a tall, thin chimney Himself discovered that he had one all along, languishing in a box of bits in the garage.

It just so happened that around 20 years ago a fellow modeller passed on a lot of redundant 009 bits which just happened to include most of the parts of a Chivers Quarry Hunslet kit which we have been searching in vain to purchase for the last two months.

So Britomart now has her chimney, and very good it looks on her too.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

MOTW - 110

It's back to the '70s again on Model Of The Week with my version of the pioneer 'Tin Carr' 110.

This carriage is perhaps the most appropriate of all the rolling stock we run on our other layout Dduallt.

When it was built it first saw use on a special shuttle service on the first section of the Deviation, around the spiral as far as Gelliwiog.

The carriage worked in a push-pull operation with the diesel Moel Hebog out of the bay platform at the top end of the station, which is also a feature of our model of Dduallt which is nominally set in 1988, the last year of the 'classic' Deviation trackplan there.

In fact 110 ran its first season incomplete, in a rather skeletal, semi-open condition until it could go back into Boston Lodge at the end of the summer to be completed.

It set the style for a the FR's second generation of modern era carriages which were markedly different to the wooden-bodied 'Barns' of the 1960's.

The 'Tin Carrs' had inward opening doors and entrance vestibules at each end, with a distinctive dome shape to the roof above and with windows either side of the corridor connections, allowing a view through into the neighbouring carriage in much the same fashion as many subway trains around the world.

They had very distinctive ribs on the bodyside beneath each window pillar which were arranged in a rather traditional pattern with alternate narrow droplights in between larger fixed windows.

Compare it to a side-on view of one of the NWGNR Ashbury 'Summer' carriages and you will see a very similar design theme.

110 remains unique because it was much longer than the 'production' carriages which followed and were built on ex-Isle of Man Railway underframes. This prototype was built with a central spine and is also quite distinctive on the FR in that it has no visible frame beneath the body.

110 had its push pull controls removed in 1990 and ours mostly runs, as the real one does, towards the top of end of a carriage set, as the last corridor vehicle before the so-called 'lock ups' which are coupled in front to add capacity as required. With this role in mind I built the model with its corridor connections closed at the Blaenau end.

As part of a noble tradition of FR singletons (along with the likes of 116 and 122) 110 has always been one of my favourites.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Ballast Wagon Kit

So I've started work on my second resin kit project.

The follow up to the DZ wagons is going to be the NG Y ballast wagons, of which there are two on the WHR.

I've begun by tackling the master for the main side section of the kit. Here is progress after a couple of hours at the workbench.

Designing a kit, especially one that you intend to produce in an open-backed mould is a very interesting challenge.

It's quite a different approach to scratch building and you might say more akin to reverse engineering.

You have to be able to imagine the complete model and break it down into the least number of constituent parts.

So whereas when I scratchbuilt these wagons for Bron Hebog I began by making up the hopper and the frame separately before joining them together and adding the second level of details like the U channel straps, the sensible way to tackle making a casting master is to make up the largest flat piece you can.

In this case it means attaching the side of the hopper to the frame at the outset and adding on all the surface details an an early stage.

I will post further updates as the work progresses.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Making A Spectacle

Himself has begun working on detailing Britomart's brass cab.

The most obvious new bits in the picture below are the frames for the spectacle plates which he dug out of one of his bits of odds 'n' sods that most modellers have.

You can also see how he was narrowed the back sheet and added the handrails which run the full height on both sides and added a lip to the curved profile on the upper side sheet.

Its really starting to look the part now, I think.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

MOTW - Parry People Mover

We have an example of one of my little modelling indulgences on Model of the Week this time.

(And if you can't indulge yourself on your birthday then when can you?)

I have a very soft spot for the Parry People Mover.

This is another of the models on Bron Hebog that, as far as I know, is the only one of its kind.

My PPM was scratch built in styrene and runs on a Kato tram chassis. There are lots of previous posts documenting the build if you have a look back through the archive.

The model's appearances at Beddgelert on Bron Hebog are, of course, complete fantasy.

The real machine left the WHR in a state of mechanical disgrace around 15 years ago when the line only ran to Dinas, and even when the vehicle ran it did not excatly cover itself in glory.

So feeble was its performance that it is highly unlikely that it would ever have managed to surmount the summit at Rhyd Ddu to roll down the hill to Beddgelert, although its flywheel would no doubt have reached V max by the time it did.

I think the PPM's appeal to me lies in that sense of the 'white elephant' and also its stark modernity and the utilitarian bus-style interior which remind me of the FR of my childhood - the angular Earl of Merioneth and the 'tin carrs'.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Britomart - Plan B

Our search for a Chivers 'Quarry Hunslet' kit having drawn a blank Himself and I have decided on an alternative course of action to complete our new Britomart.

Brian Madge - who makes the cab-less 'Alice class' kit we are using for the business end of the model - kindly offered us some basic brass front, back and side sheets of the correct profile which he had lying about, and Himself has been busy forming them into a cab.

As you can see here it looks very effective.

The plan is to use resin transfer rivets to complete the detailing and bring the naked brass to life a bit more.

Here you can see some of the detail Himself has already added to the back, such as the sliding doors to give a bit more elbow room when stoking the fire.

He has also done something about the big hole beneath the saddle tank which should really be filled by the boiler barrel.

He cut two pieces from a brass tube and soldered them under the tank, although they can't be put too far in as the motor has to pass up between them.

The other issue with using a brass cab rather than a whitemetal one as we had originally planned is that it will reduce the weight of the loco and slash  it's feeble tractive effort still further.

We may be able to recover some of this by filling in the area in between the frames where the firebox sits. It needs something there in any case because right now the our model also has daylight where there should not be daylight.

Oh, and there's the small - or should that be tall? - matter of the chimney. But I'm hoping a friendly man with a lathe might help us out with that one....

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The DZ Dozen

Modelling time this past week has been devoted to completing the casting of the first batch of 20 DZ wagon kits.

About one third of the orders I have are for supplying completed, built up wagons, which I got through last month, which left me with a dozen left to produce.

Most of the kits you see here are destined for the shelves of model railway section of the FR's shop at Porthmadog Harbour Station.

Once I have received the frets with the etched bogies and brake gear then they can be bagged up and dispatched.

Friday, 14 September 2012

What Next?

I've been swithering for quite a while about what I should make next.

Although I've got plenty of contract work on the go with the DZ kit project and the KMX tamper I'm building I always like to have a project for Bron Hebog on the workbench.

There isn't anything 'new' to make at the moment. I won't be starting on the Superbarn 108 until Boston Lodge have finished the real thing and I can see exactly what it's going to look like, in case there are any changes from 103 and 121.

Instead I find myself reviewing the stock boxes to see if there are any models from the Dduallt fleet that need to be replicated or repeated for use on Bron Hebog.

Two such vehicles are the observation carriages 111 and 11.

111 is a prime candidate because my existing model of it shows the carriage in its original 1990's livery.

That won't work on Bron Hebog, however it would be a shame to leave it gathering dust in the stock boxes because the real 111 is quite often taken for a trip up the WHR and so it would be well worth making a second model of it in its current condition to use on the layout.

It is a similar situation with carriage 11 - as I still insist on calling it.

My existing model of this carriage is even more dated because it is portrayed as a 1980's vehicle.

Along with its sibling, number 12, the real number 11 has been repainted a number of times in the last three decades and is currently wearing a 1950's heritage livery.

A new 11 would fall into much more of a 'nice to have' category than 111 because its trips to Beddgelert are confined to special gala or vintage workings, but it would be a much more enjoyable model to make and I've always had a bit of a soft spot for it.

So as you can see, it's a bit of a head or heart scenario. Do I build the more useful vehicle or the one I like more?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

MOTW - 2090

Another one of the original Winson's this time on Model Of The Week.

2090 was the only WHR-style brake carriage, and indeed the only lavatory fitted carriage until the first of the service carriages came along.

In fact, it came close to becoming the second service carr because the original plan was to rebuild this vehicle before the railway changed its mind and stripped and rebuilt 2020, the first of the semi-opens.

This was the second of the Winson carriages that we modelled, so it is now well over a decade old.

It shows 2090 as it first ran on the WHR with a one bay guard's compartment at the Caernarfon end.  This was later extended to allow for storage of the refreshment trolley, and the carriage was altered a third time to include a toilet.

2090 is easily identified by the double doors at both ends.  The other three saloons in the original batch had single doors and the most recent triplets, built at Boston Lodge, are a metre longer and have single doors at one end and a double at the other.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Pullman Painting Progress

I haven't written recently about the two 7mm scale WHR Pullmans I've been building for a client over the last year or so.

A year? Well, Rome wasn't built in a day, you know, and this pair are going to be very special when they're finished.

Himself kindly offered to deploy his airbrushing talents to finish them off so they've been exported to Oxfordshire where they are in the process of being painted.

Here is 'Bodysgallen' in primer...

And a shot of 'Glaslyn' showing the card template for the glazing in the big end window. Because it is curved and angled back the glazing needs to be cut into a crescent shape.

I can't help noticing that in the process Himself has managed to break off the front vacuum pipe. He really is all fingers and thumbs you know...

(In fairness I should not discount the possibility that he deliberately removed it to make applying the ornate transfers around the front of the carriage easier.)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

DZ (c)

Not another DZ wagon? I'm afraid so.

This is the third and final one (for now) for Bron Hebog.

1403 is different again from the other two I've already built in that it runs about with no ends and no 'wee dangly bits' at all.

The pillars between the doors are the same as the b type I showed you at the weekend, so I cast the sides using the same mould before chopping off the WDB's and adding the posts at each end in styrene strip.

It is still short of the brake gear - currently being etched by the nice man at Narrow Planet - and I've got vacuum brake pipes and hoses to make up too.

I said at the begining that this is the third and final DZ for Bron Hebog.

This is on account of the fact I'm not actually sure how many DZ's the WHR actually has and in what condition they are in?

I do have evidence about the existance of these three wagons and what they look like so we shall limit our fleet to these until I get information about others.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

MOTW - Bowsider 18

This is now one of the oldest carriages in our running fleet.

It is one of a pair of Langley Miniature Models brass kits for the 1876 Brown, Marshalls twins 17 & 18.

It shows 18 running as it was in 1988, the nominal year of the rolling stock for our original 009 layout Dduallt, when the FR's carriages had begun being repainted into the two tone livery.

It was a very plain colour scheme compared to the ornate Victorian liveries some of the Bowsiders are currently wearing, but arguably it did a little more for them than the all over red of the '70s, or even worse, the short-lived varnished teak livery of the mid '60s.

It was around this time that 18 was stripped of much of its panelling which means this model is somewhat inaccurate because, as you can see if you look closely, all the detail is there half-etched into the brass sides, although the livery does disguise it somewhat.

More of an annoyance is the positioning of the classification transfers on the doors. The words should really be in the panels rather than below them. But at the time , 20 years ago now, we only had some rather crude dry rub transfers to use which, even if it were possible to get them to sit in the sunken panels nicely, were fare too large anyway.

Better quality and smaller waterslide transfers are required in a situation like this.

Partly because of all these compromises, and also because our carriage fleet has expanded along with the FR's over the past two decades, 18 see less use on our layouts these days, and is usually confined to a role as a spare carriage rather than being marshaled in one of the core carriage sets.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Optical Illusion

Our Brian Madge chassis for our new Britomart is up and running.

Unfortunately appearance can be deceptive and Himself has not found a way to fit the new outside frame chassis into the old body but is merely holding the two of them in such a way that it looks like he has.

So the search / wait for another Chivers / Five79 Quarry Hunslet kit continues.

However the picture does give a good impression of how fabulous our new Britomart is going to look, and Himself tells me that the Brian Madge kit goes together easily and runs a treat.

It really is a very neat piece of design.

Himself does note that there is one thing to be aware of if you're assembling the motion using solder.

Apparently it is very easy to loosen the crank pins on the cranks if you linger too long with the the iron.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

DZ (b)

I've completed the body for my variant DZ wagon.

This is the wagon (1412 if you're a DZ spotter) which has been given a Boston Lodge makeover and many new bits including removable ends, a different type of pillar between the doors, new vacuum pipe placement and a replacement hand brake operating device. And those are just the differences I've noticed!.

You'll see there is quite a lot of white styrene on this model which is because it's not really possible to cast some of the new parts in an open-back mould, and my resin casting skills haven't advanced as far as two- part moulds yet.

That is why I'm building this as a one off for Bron Hebog and will confine kit production to the 'standard' DZ (as if there was such a thing....) the component parts of which can be cast without having to add bits on by hand afterwards.

You might also notice that there are a couple of  'wee dangly bits' missing, and not the same ones on each side either.

This is just another example of how the FR / WHR delights in keeping us modellers on our toes.