Sunday, 29 November 2015

Beautiful Barns

Four years after they were built our latest pair of Barns are almost ready to join the fleet.

For those who are not dedicated FR carriage-spotters - and we are a select bunch - I should explain that what we have here are models of 105 and 106 in their current condition.

105 is the last of the truly original 1960's Barns, although it is seen here after a very comprehensive rebuild with a toilet in place of its 1st class compartment in the centre and new style half windows replacing the orginal louvres - it was the last of the carriages to retain these I believe.

It still bears witness to its original, and somewhat pioneering condition, when it had a chemical bog at the bottom end of the carriage - there is still an extra window pillar to be seen on the seaward (or engine)side of the carriage.

106 is a total rebuild of the original carriage with a completely new body but to the same outline.

It was followed by another new Barn, 107, before the advent of the super-sized, Super Barn design.

Both these carriages are running on my new brass / resin FR bogies (available to buy from Narrow Planet, by the way) and they just require the fitting of brass grab rails and a coat of varnish to be declared fully finished.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Wee Shed

After the rapid garage construction I've moved onto the small outhouse next to the farm house.

It's another simple four wall structure, the  principal challenge is scribing the stonework which, as you can see, I am halftime through already.

The solid wall will need to have a doorway cut into it but I will scribe it first before that is inserted.

With luck I should be able to have this finished by the weekend - 2 buildings the space of a week  - not a bad effort at all.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Double Garage - Double Quick

It's amazing how much modelling you can get done while Strictly's on the telly.

90 minutes precious peace on Saturday night saw me knock up the detached twin garage which will sit at the end of the row of houses we've got on the Oberon Wood scene at the moment.

The reason I was able to get it done so quickly was the complete absence of windows - it's cutting those which takes the time when making buildings.

Next I shall tackle the hut next to the farmhouse.

It's very small but I'll take me a little longer I reckon because not only are there windows and doors to cut but also stonework to scribe.

Still, it's a good feeling to get something crossed off the 'to do' list so quickly and easily.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Getting My Way

The battle of the colour brown appears to have been resolved in my favour.

Himself has sent me a snap of the current state of progress with painting 105 & 106 to see if I approve.

I understand he borrowed another pair of eyes to choose the colour and picked something described as 'German camouflage red brown'.

Frankly I don't care what it's called, I'm just relieved that this time it looks like something made of wood rather than the distinctly pink hue that ended up on 11 & 12.

Speaking of which, I have employed some gentle persuasion and he says he's going to go over the offending areas on those carriages with this colour.

So I've got my way in the end.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Meter Reading

What I hope will be the last bit of construction on the farm house has been completed - a rather large utility box on the outside of the front porch.

It appears to match what's on the photographs so I guess it must be right.

Having considered the matter I think I will continue on with a few more buildings.

There's an outhouse for the farm and a detached twin garage for the housing estate which I should be able to knock up very rapidly.

We're not in a hurry for either of them because due to imminent domestic relocation at Himself's end there may not be any work done on the layout boards for at least a year, but it'll be good to know I've got them crossed off the 'to do' list.

Plus it's another excuse for not having to try to build 150 yet.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Pipes In Place

I've been inching towards getting the farm house finished.

The last of the down pipes were put on last night.

All that remains to do - apart from painting it, of course, but that's not my job - is to make something to represent the gas meter box on the front porch.

The question now is what to do next?

There is a small outbuilding next to the farmhouse which I suppose it would make sense to do just now.

I've also got plans for a couple more of the crazy Oberon Wood houses.

Perhaps should I get on with assembling the latest Super Barn castings for the new 117 which I made a couple of weeks ago?

Or - whisper it - even start work on observation car 150?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Barn Backlog

Himself is cracking on with the Barns which have been waiting for years in the queue for painting.

He tells me that he's forgotten how simple and straightforward these are to paint without the inset doors or the fancy handrails that adorn the Super Barns.

They're looking good so far I reckon.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Pipe Down

I've been able to get back to working on the farm house this week after completing the batch of wagon kits to restock the Narrow Planet webshop.

I've started fitting some of the gutter and drain pipes starting with the back of the house.

The ornamental collector is from a sheet of Wills building details.

It's probably a little too big because the house has been scaled down as it's at the back of the layout.

That said, the only people who will see it, because of its position, are the operators anyway.

The exterior pipes enhance the look of the building but I'm not currently planning on attempting to add guttering - does that make me a bad person?

Friday, 13 November 2015

Annie & Clarabel

Our latest pair of carriages are finished! More or less.

There are just a few minor tidying up jobs to complete on them.

It's Himself who has christened them after the famous Awdry vehicles and I think it rather suits them particularly since I hope they will spent quite a lot of time being dragged around by a bustling little blue engine on Bron Hebog.

If the truth be told I'm still not entirely convinced by the colour on the window droplights, I still maintain it should be more of a brown shade but that aside I'm delighted with the quality of the finish.

What do you reckon to them?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Bigger Bogies

Rather than simply watching paint dry Himself had been working on completing another long-term project which involves some of my new FR carriage bogies.

What they're going under is this pair:

They are replacements for 105 in its cuurrent condition with a toilet compartment in the centre where the 1st class used to be and the reborn 106.

Both our existing models of these two are in 1980s all-over red livery so obviously of no use at all on Bron Hebog.

Monday, 9 November 2015

The Camera Never Lies

Colours are the only things that Himself and I ever fall out about.

The disagreements are usually confined to shades of green and brown, so 11 and 12 in their current vintage livery are fertile ground for disputes.

The colour in question is the droplights in the windows.

These days they tend to be painted rather than varnished.

Photographs would suggest it's the same reddish-brown as on the ends.

On the models although the colour we picked looks alright on the ends I'm still not convinced it's right on the windows - it looks far too pink-ish to me.

This is where it doesn't help being 400 miles away - I only have the photos to go on and I'll have to hope they're misleading.

Anyway, the bodies have been varnished now so I'll just have to put up with it - unless we want to fall out again....

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Mass Production

The wagon kits have been selling so fast I've had to set aside a week to cast another batch.

I suppose it's a nice problem to have.

Narrow Planet has shifted a load in recent weeks with the lion's share being sent abroad which must be doing wonders for the UK's balance of trade deficit.

I expect my Queen's Award For Export is in the post...

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Coming Along Nicely

Himself is cracking on with painting 11 and 12 and they're really starting to look the part.

11 in particular looks so iconic with the ivory highlights around the observation windows and the deep green all the way up the duckets on the guard's van.

They are both quite complicated carriages to paint but even now I'm pretty confident they're going to look terrific when they're finished.

Completing these two in this livery has been a very long term ambition but I think it's going to be well worth the wait.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Lean On Me

I've taken a break from the almost non-stop casting to do a little more work on the farm house.

The big outstanding item is the lean-to shed at the north end of the building.

It's hard to get a good view of this bit of the house without trespassing but the Artistic Director has done his best to interpret the photographs we have and I'm turning it into three dimensions.

The front face is interesting because it's a mix of wooden panels, crinkly tin, a doorway and window.

I have some old, thin, transparent Wills corrugated iron sheet which I've employed here and I'll use again for the tin roof.

It's very effective and should do the job well.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Primed Pairing

Since I last posted about 11 and 12 they've made a lot of progress with both of them now in primer.

I find you don't get a proper sense of how a model has turned out until you see it with some paint on it and I'm very pleased with how they're looking.

The cast duckets look very nice and Himself has done a great job on the underframe on 12

As I've written before many times I'm not a rivet counter or a fine-scale freak and my usual test is whether a model has to look for the real thing - and I think in this case they do.