Thursday, 30 April 2015

Return Of The Bogie Man

That's right, I'm still soldering & folding bogies!

I'm pleased to say I am more than half way through the mammoth task, though.

There are 18 of the cast Bettendorf bogies to be produced. 12 have already been assembled with the brass frame and the resin details on top.

Tonight I soldered up the final batch of six.

It's a more enjoyable task than the foutery business of filing and fitting the resin parts because there's that element of jeopardy with the hot iron and the satisfying sizzle of the flux evaporating.

After these are done I've just got five sets of diamond-frame bogies which are much less hassle to put together because its quicker and easier to cut out and glue on the separate axle boxes and the suspension castings.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A Great Honour

Something different for you today.

When our good friend Steve Coulson passed away at the end of last year we were very honoured when we were asked if we would take custody of his wonderful working dioramas.

These beautifully crafted scenes featuring diggers, cranes and conveyors were an expression of his wonderful talent for practical engineering and parsimony being constructed, famously, out of CDs he collected from junk mail and components recycled from a multitude of scrapped household machines.

Having collected them from Wales Himself has begun the process of cleaning and fettling, and more importantly trying to learn how they were put together in the first place.

The first model on the workbench is  'Littledownham Sand Quarry'

He has taken out the operating modules one by one to clean check and service them.

Having been in store for a while there is a little bit of mildew and corrosion on some parts.

The first challenge he has come across is the lorry refusing to reverse up to discharge it's load after it has been filled by the digger.

 Instead it brings the load back to the quarry, so it has been taken out for investigation!

The moving features were built as removable modules as you can see here.

His suspicions are that it could be timer switches to blame as the motors all work if fed current directly.

Also he's found a reluctant solenoid , not wanting to return to off.

The digger is worked by an intricate system of cams and pulleys the concept of which Steve described in a highly entertaining series of articles for Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review.

These pictures show how beautifully build these mechanisms are with the parts painted and the neat wiring.

It shows the pride and care that Steve put into his engineering whether miniature or full-sized.

The excavator functions are worked by 1 1/2 lb monofilament fishing line.

Hopefully Himself will be able to give us more updates as he continues to explore the innards of these wonderful models and who knows, we may even be able to exhibit them to the public again one day.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Dipping In & Out

Whilst I won't deny that building a job lot of one type of model can get a little tedious it can be eased by breaking it down into small jobs.

So over the last couple of days I've managed to make a decent amount of progress on the eight flat wagons I'm building without having to spent long stretches of time at the workbench.

So I've managed to get all the brake gear fitted grabbing the odd half hour here and there.

This has broken the back of the task and with most of the bogies already made the biggest task remaining is to fit the brake hand wheels and spray paint them.

Lurking in the wings, of course, are the 30 spare bogies that I will need to assemble to complete the order.

I can promise you I'll be back to some more interesting modelling soon so bear with me just for a little longer.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Bearing Up

I've got a commercial job on the go at the moment which I'm fitting around the house building.

A regular client has requested a job lot of DZ wagon chassis and has also bulk ordered spare bogies, so last night was spent soldering up a dozen of them until I ran out of bearings.

As you can see from the picture I've already cast and fitted together the bodies - or perhaps I should say the floors - and I've already prepared a stockpile of the cast bogie sides

Tonight's task is to summon up the strength of character to begin cleaning up two dozen of them.

I won' try to pretend it's not mind-numbingly repetitive.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Himself's Hieroglyphics

I've been treated to a visit by Himself and, as usual, he has brought goodies.

This time, however, it's going to require a little, erm, interpretation...

Somewhere in there are the vital statistics of the new-fangled FR Observation Carr 150 which he jotted down on a scrap of paper for me on an undercover mission to the inner sanctum of Boston Lodge Works.

For those not familiar with this carriage here's a shot of it under construction a couple of months ago - it has advanced considerably since then.

As you can see it is a rather unusual vehicle and I'm going to need all the information I can muster when I come to attempt to make a model of it.

I'm still hopeful that I may be able to obtain copy of the official drawings from one of my moles in Meirionydd,  but if that's not possible - and I've already come across examples of back-of-a-fag-packet construction in recent years - then these measurements will at least allow me to make a stab at it.

That's all for the future, however. Right how there are houses to be built...

Monday, 20 April 2015


I've had house number 23 returned to me and you can see at a glance how chopping down the foundations to fit it on the layout for the show at Crawley has ruined my carefully engineered connection with number 22.

The remedy, of course, is to chop a similar amount off the bottom of number 22 but it will have to be done with care to ensure that the garage wall on the house on the left fits snugly beneath the overhang on 23 as it did previously.

A view from the back - which is the side the public doesn't see at exhibitions, shows that number 23 has acquired a patio now.

I think what I will do is finish the roof work on number 22 to bring it to the same point as the first house before I add the guttering detail to both of them at the same time.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Slating Again

It's been a busy couple of weeks what with a holiday and other domestic distractions but I have managed to get a little more done on number 22.

I have begun cutting and trial fitting some of the slate roof sections.

On a structure like this one some of these pieces are an awkward shape and they also have to be cut to fit around the dormer windows which is an added complication.

The garage also hides a little secret which is unlikely to be noticed when the house is in position attached to its neighbour - there is a small, thin section of pitched roof at the rear.

So far I've only got the front done.

The rear will be cut from one single piece and will have to have a dormer window and the chimney added. T

That's the next task.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

5 Years Later

The Bron Hebog blog is celebrating its half decade and what better way than by showing off a few of the snaps we took of the layout during the exhibition at Crawley at the weekend.

It was only a couple of days ago that I realised the anniversary was approaching and I wouldn't have guessed it was five years already - time really does fly.

It's been very rewarding to see the blog getting thousands of page views every month so thank you very much for coming by here and taking a look at what we're up to, it makes the effort worthwhile.

If you've not already done so you can also follow us on Twitter @BronHebog and like our Bron Hebog Facebook page.

I've never managed to keep any other kind of diary going before so I will admit to a sense of achievement at having the discipline to post here at least every other day.

At times I will admit that the tail has been wagging the dog, as they say, and I've been compelled to get some modelling done to ensure that I have something to write about, while on many other occasions I've been on the phone nagging Himself to sent me some snaps and demanding to know what he's been up to.

I wasn't able to make it to Crawley but I'm told the crew had a very enjoyable weekend.

The show saw a couple of debuts on Bron Hebog including a first run for the latest WHR saloon 2046.

And the latest house in Oberon Wood, number 23 took its place as a work-in-progress.

The next outing will be in September when we take Bron Hebog 'home' to the Welsh Highland Railway. You can find all the details on our Exhibition Diary page.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Gardners' World

Another little job that's been completed is landscaping around the first of the houses we built for the Oberon Wood scene.

As you can see the landscape gardeners have been at work..

At the front of the houses the very obtrusive tree has appeared.

I suppose it must have seemed a good idea when it was planted......

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Moving House

Having survived the journey south through the mail system in its cardboard cocoon number 23 has been given a trial fit on Bron Hebog.

In order to line up with the houses next to it it has had to have 9mm sliced off the foundations which is a little frustrating after all the effort I went to to ensure that it matched up precisely with number 22, which it shares a common wall with. Now that will have to be reduced in height too.

We're less than halfway through building the Oberon Wood scene but I think it's beginning to look quite convincing.

After the exhibition this weekend number 23 will be returned to me to finish off the remaining details such as the guttering and downpipes.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Number 22 Takes Shape

So, tomorrow (Saturday) is the big day! The first exhibition appearance of Bron Hebog in 2015 at the Crawley show..

We very much hope to see you there. Click on the Exhibition Diary page for details of the show.

I won't be able to make it along but Himself and the Artistic Director will be there to take charge.

Instead I've been concentrating on getting more done on the latest Oberon Wood house (22).

The 'south wing' is now attached and the basic shape of the full house can be appreciated for the first time.

This is the view from the front - the public viewing side.

And from the rear, which will very rarely be seen as it backs straight onto the cutting leading into Goat Tunnel.

And this final view shows how it sits in relation to its neighbour - they are joined at the garage but there is a small gap between the outer walls of the main bodies of the houses.

This is the sixth house I've built for the Oberon Wood scene - by my reckoning there could be as many as ten more to make....

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

River Tree Planting

Eventually there are going to be a lot of trees on Bron Hebog, but for the moment Himself is concentrating on populating small areas such as the banks of the Afon Cwm Cloch which flows from back of the back of the layout to the front.

At the moment only the north bank has been treated. In time there will be trees on the right hand side of the lane as well creating a sort of green tunnel.

Even at this stage I think this lane scene is beginning to look very effective. It would be great to hear what readers who know the area well make of it.

Himself has also been experimenting with some white paint effects on the river water to give it more of a sense of movement.

This is the view from the rear of the layout as the operators will see it.

I hope if you manage to come along to the exhibition in Crawley this weekend you'll be able to give the team some feedback on how Bron Hebog is coming along. You can leave comments here on the blog or on our Facebook page and Twitter feed - just search for Bron Hebog.

Monday, 6 April 2015

The South Wing

Work continues on the latest Oberon Wood house and I've cut and prepared the walls for the southern half of the building - the bit nearest the tunnel.

Put like that it sounds rather straightforward but once again marking and cutting the angles of the pitched roof melted my brain and it took a whole evening to get those two bits marked and cut.

There was also the added complication of shaping the bottom of the outside wall to match the ground profile which means that it won't stand flat and has had to be propped up for the purposes of the photo.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Down On The Farm

Himself has sent me some snaps of the latest scenic additions around the farm area on Bron Hebog.

The yard has acquired some gates, and livestock...

And on the old bridge over the river he has added some very nicely distressed guard rails.

There will be a great many small details like this to add to the layout which although basically complete in terms of track and basic scenery is very far from finished.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Linked Detached

I've been building this new house to a deadline of the Crawley exhibition later this month.

Not to get number 22 finished but to send the next door property, number 23, down to Himself so it can be temporarily located in its place on Bron Hebog for the show.

The difficulty is that the two houses are linked by a short section of garage wall which must locate in exactly the right position.

To do this I really need to have both models to hand which means I can't put number 23 in the post until I've cut, scribed and glued this wall into place.

As you can see it's only a short section of wall and it only took a couple of hours to carve all the stonework.

The other vital job if it was to be placed in position correctly was to add the foundations to the new house to ensure they are both sitting at the same height.

Now this is in place I'll be able to carry on building number 22 on its own and 23 can be sent on its way, although I'll have to have it back to finish it off with the gutters and downpipes before it can be fixed in place permanently on the layout.