Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Pic Of The Week 8

This is one of the pictures which was selected for use in Model Rail in December last year and no wonder because it's a cracker.

Once again Chris Nevard has lit the scene beautifully to really show off the fantastic paint jobs
Himself did on our Backwoods Miniatures 'Ladies' which are in themselves superb models, improved further by a lovely pair of bespoke brass domes turned for us by Chris Veitch.

Another Backwoods masterpiece, Taliesin, is crossing Rhoslyn Bridge heading for Blaenau in this shot.

Monday, 25 February 2013

A Brace Of Bogies

So, would you like to see how the Bettendorf bogie castings turned out?

Alright, then. Here's a set sitting at home under one of the finished B wagons:

I have to say I'm really rather pleased with them.

And for comparison, here's the same type of wagon with a pair of Diamond Frame bogies.


Your views are very welcome, as always.

There were 30 pairs provided for in the first batch of etches and they've all been accounted for already, but I'm sure it won't be too long before I'm ordering a second batch from Narrow Planet.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Bogie Man

A new delivery arrived from Narrow Planet this week - the Bettendorf bogie etches for the dozens of B wagon kits that have left my order book bulging.

I wasted little time in turning one of them into a master for the bogie detail castings.

My plan for the Bettendorfs is a little different to the Diamond Frame bogies I produced for the DZ wagons.

With the DF's I cast the axleboxes and the centre springs to be glued on separately, but what I'm hoping to do with the Bettendorfs is produce a single casting which copies the full bogie side to be glued in place over the brass.

The theory is that this will replicate the chunky look of the real cast bogie design.

One of the main differences, which you might be able to see in the picture, is that there is a nest of 3 springs in the centre of the bogie as opposed to one single larger on on the Diamond Frame.

I modelled this by chopping up and filing down some 10BA bolts. (On the DZ I used just one, larger, 8BA bolt)

I've now poured the RTV mix over this master so I won't have long to wait to discover if this method is going to work.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Pic Of The Week 7

The FR has had some exotic visitors over the last decade and they're great fun to model.

'The Darj' - Adrian Shooter's privately owned B Class tank - is one of our favourites and Himself did a lovely job with this Backwoods Miniatures kit which runs like a sewing machine.

It's not a model of number 19 as such, because the vertically-blessed Mr Shooter has raised the height of the cab and added a tender to his engine.

But we do have representations of the two replica carriages built at Boston Lodge to run with the loco on his full size garden railway. They were made from Worsley Works scratch-aid kits.

This is another of the frames from Chris Nevard's shoot where I think you have to look twice to be sure that it's a photograph of a model. It is a beautiful shot indeed.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Font Frustration

Transfers are one of the biggest challenges for narrow gauge modellers.

There are precious few authentic decals produced for our branch of the hobby, most probably because there are so few of us compared to the standard gauge crowd, so we end up having to adapt some of the vast selection of products produced for them to work for us.

Our current quandary is how best to letter up our South African wagons?

Let's make it quite clear that we haven't got any hope of getting something accurate because SAR used stencilled letters and numbers and I do not know of any transfers of that kind in 4mm. (If you do then please let me know.)

So our usual solution is to raid the catalogue of Fox Transfers. Their waterslides are easy to use and because they carry a comprehensive range of British outline designs dating back over the last century there's usually something in there that we can get away with.

It is, however, sometimes an expensive process of trial and error.

This is a shot of Himself's first try at lettering up one of the DZ wagons.

The numbers looks great. I think they may be from a set intended to renumber 1960's diesel locos. They all started with the prefix D, of course. Now, if only BR had a Z designation as well we'd be laughing...

What Himself used in the picture weres ome letters from a Gill Light alphabet sheet. Now, I've nothing against Gill - in fact I am distantly related to the late Eric - but these don't look right at all.

So instead I've raided my drawers and found a sheet of Franklin Heavy which are a bit chunkier and sent them down south to be stuck on and see if they work a bit better.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

DZ Flattery

There's no publicity like free publicity.

I was honoured a couple of months ago when fellow blogger and modelling writer Phil Parker purchased one of my DZ flat wagon kits to use as the subject of one of his Parker's Guide columns in Hornby Magazine.

The article appears in the March edition which hit the shops (here in the UK) in the last few days.

Phil wanted the wagon to accompany his build of one of Narrow Planet's 3D printed Baguley-Drewry RNAD diesel kits.

(Very appropriate considering Narrow Planet supply the etched brass components for my kits too)

Phil has very kindly forwarded me the picture above showing the completed pairing and he's more than done justice to the bag of resin castings I sent him.

If you have yet to discover Phil's blog there is a link to it further down this page on the right hand side.

In fact the CHMRC has rather taken over this month's edition because the cover star is our OO layout New Mills

There's more to read about New Mills and the other layouts in our collection by following the link to the CHMRC blog which you'll find at the top of the page.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Pullman Perfection?

These may be the best models we have yet built.

They are a pair of WHR Pullman carriages scratch built from styrene in 7mm scale.

It's been a long term project which has taken around 18 months from the first cut of plastic to the handover to the client.

Himself lent a hand with painting and lining of the completed carriages.

Comments and observations welcome...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Pic Of The Week 6

A very unusual shot of Taliesin at the bottom of the spiral this week.

Although the picture is shot from quite high up, compared to the others in the set taken by Chris Nevard which were mostly at rail level,  it is not a view you would normally experience viewing the layout with the naked eye because of the effect created by the wide angle lens.

It is perhaps the picture in the set which shows the layout as just that, a layout, rather than creating the illusion of reality.

The rather garish colours of this selection of vintage carriages distract the eye as well, I think.

Taliesin looks very nice, though.

Monday, 11 February 2013


The chemists among you may have already cottoned on to what this post is about - Red Oxide. Paint, that is.

The first of the B wagon kits I have assembled for clients have been given a coat of paint prior to being dispatched to their new homes.

This is one of the standard freight wagons. I am very pleased with how well the resin transfer rivets have cast and stand out on the painted wagon. (click on the image for a closer look)

And one of the WHR Bike Wagon versions.

I always think the splashes of yellow paint on the brake wheels and the handrails brighten up these rather humble, workaday wagons. The latest six delivered to Dinas are even smarter with the outer V hanger on the brake gear picked out.

By comparison the DZ wagons look slightly dull. This is one with the new South African ends I have started producing. Again the new rivet details stand out well.

These three wagons are sitting on diamond frame bogies, which the client has chosen. I'm hoping the first of the Bettendorf bogies, which will be the usual ones supplied with this kit, will arrive within days.

For more details, including contact information, click on the link on the right hand side of the page to the Boston Largs Works site.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Baby Steps

I cast two B wagon kits the other day.

Now, that may not sound very impressive on first reading, but taking into account there's a one week old baby in the household I think that's not a bad effort at all.

It might be that resin casting is the perfect form of infant-friendly modelling because the processes can be divided up into elements lasting no longer than 2 minutes a time, and even the stroppiest baby, and the most highly-stressed parent, can manage to wait a hundred seconds or so for the cause of the present distress to be addressed.

Once the two resin fluids are combined you mix them for 30 seconds and only have another 90 seconds or so to pour them into the mould before it begins to take on a syrup-like consistency. Then they can be left for around half an hour, or as long as you wish beyond that, before de-moulding and repeating the process whenever Junior next allows you 120 seconds free time!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Pic Of The Week 5

If you enjoyed last week's Rhoslyn Bridge moment here's another one...

This week's Nevard masterpiece captures Vale of Ffestiniog descending the spiral whilst Lyd runs in from Tan y Bwlch.

What a lovely looking machine 'The Vale' is!  So much thought, care and attention clearly went into the adaptation from the original centre cab & bonnet design of the Funkey. It will prove to be a narrow gauge classic, of that I am certain.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

St Bettendorf's Day

Let us celebrate the patron saint of 009 resin casters.

At long last the designs for the bogie etches for the bogies for the B and NGY wagons dropped into my inbox courtesy of that very helpful man at Narrow Planet.

It is a simple fold-up design just as with the diamond frame bogies for the DZ wagons. Brass bearings are soldered into the holes to create the axleboxes and hold the wheelsets in place.

Once I have a prototype etch the next step will be for me to design some false axleboxes and centre spring details which I can cast in resin to be glued on top of the brass.

Hopefully it will look something like this.

I will keep you appraised of developments.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Problems With Pipework

Himself is unhappy - our modelling is getting too life-like.

The cause of his distress is that after 20 years of 009 carriage building I have started to take on the habits of the real Boston Lodge craftsmen and never make anything the same way twice.

This he discovered while adding the vac pipes and other brass details to out latest carriage 121.

It turns out that I have built it differently to the first Superbarn 103.

On 103 the false frame and the footsteps beneath the doors were attached to the floor / chassis unit which fits up inside the body.

With 121 I bonded these details onto the bottom of the bodyshell, which has caused difficulties in attaching the brake pipe.

If it is stuck onto the bodyshell then it will prevent the chassis being removed.  But there was nowhere on the chassis to attach it.

After much cursing of my name, no doubt, here is the solution he came up with - note the extra blocks on the bogie bolsters...

I have also been ticked off for having made the truss rods and posts they sit on too low so the carriage would have fouled the track. These have been duly shortened along with the crank on the pretend brake cylinder.


He has also added the gutter pipes at each end and the whole carriage is looking pretty good now despite all the booby-traps I appear to have built into it.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Dinas Or Donnybrook?

I've got a pretty sizable collection of SAR NG wagons on the workbench at the moment.

Most of them are not 'mine', they're some of my resin kits which I am putting together for some favoured clients as 'added value' products.

As I looked up from by workbench towards the shelf where all these are stored I was struck by the thought of how, six months after I started this kit producing malarkey, it will now possible to create a very authentic South African NG scene in 009, in addition to modelling the modern WHR.

I believe some of my customers are intending to do just that, with some making noises about double-figure orders for the NGY ballast wagon and B wagon kits.

Prominent in the shot above are the two kinds of DZ wagon with the original height ends and the cut-down low ones.

I am also very pleased with the way the resin transfer rivets have cast on the latest version of the DZ.  The look particularly effective along the long run along the top of the doors and on the distinctive curved hinges.

Hopefully it won't be too much longer before I receive the etches for the Bettendorf bogies to go along with the B wagons and the NGY's and I can get both kits into full production.