Friday, 28 September 2012

Something to rub

The lamps are done.
The roof was lined up as best I could and soldered on. The area around the pre-drilled holes tinned and after quite a bit of cleaning up the castings were fixed. I was asked whether I used a variable temperature soldering iron. No I didn't: 1. I wouldn't use such an expensive woosey bit of kit and 2, even with a 40 watt iron running at full belt it was hard to get enough heat going to get the 145 deg' solder to flow, such is the degree of heat-sink in something with this much metal. Everything is soldered save the steel to w/metal joint on the buffers which is superglue. I don't know why there is such a phobia about soldering. I started at school and have learnt more tricks as the years have gone on. Once you get a few basic principles in place it's pretty foolproof.

Now it's time for a break from the brake while I do other more pressing things. There is still much to do on it, but it'll wait another decade.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Fiddler on the roof

 I'd spent quite a bit of Sunday afternoon filing rebates for glazing and soldering in the passenger partitions. Yesterday I ripped two of them out again. I did ponder for a while on whether to take out the quarter light split ( seen above as the thinnest window bars) to take it to the earliest version, but thought better of it and left as the photo.
The lamps are a different game. Six holes drilled - the larger for the smaller castings which as yet have not been cleaned up, but are perched on top to see what it looked like. The whole lot just might get soldered together later today.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The deeper you dig...

The slight break in proceedings is the result of two things; 1, the start of this years study, and 2, the fact that the Stroudley coach kit ground to a halt because of questions; namely lamps. The instruction drawing shows two oil lamps, the period photo I have on the cover of Stroudley Locomotives has three, and just to confuse further the photo of the built kit on Roxey's site shows four, but there are only three in the kit.
I emailed Dave Hammersley at Roxey.
'No one has noticed the discrepancy before' he replied, and went on to detail the possible choices I had before me. One lamp over the guard's comp' regardless, early: no split windows (aghhh!) no partitions, two lamps. Later: split windows, two lamps. Later still: partitions and three lamps. This is before the gas came in so there are far more after that. My photo seems to show the middle version with split quarter light and two lamps over the single large compartment so that's what I think I'll go with. But note these are over the point where the partitions would appear, not over the doors as per the drawing.
The deeper you dig, the more there is to find.

Inspection car

Young Nigel is returned from yet another trip to the land of the dead parrots and bounced me this photo of a 2' gauge inspection car. The boiler suited chap is apparently in the driving position.
Lovely innit?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Back to ground level

I haven't forgotten the coach and did a little more this morning. Basic body now done and plopped on top of the chassis. There is still a fair bit to do and I have issues. Not least that the way that the folds are aranged means there is a gap all the way around the body/chasis join. It probably won't notice too much when painted and from a normal view angle, but from eye level at the moment it looks shite.
I'll press on.

Thursday, 20 September 2012


Spit kit done. There was some discussion with Lord Crawley about what to do about the same squadron markings being that the old man already has DW *K stuffed and mounted from the previous kit. I could have got hold of some more markings, but it hardly seemed worth it for a free kit. The afore mentioned Lord Crawley came up with the Arfix stand from the spares box. to create an 'in air' model. Why do the current kits not come with this useful bit of gear? If memory serves there were two or three sizes of the design for different size aircraft. The alternative was to give him the built kit, some cotton and drawing pin.
As I said below the 'Pack' version of the kit with paint etc. is not as good. The paint is a waste of time, the plastic seems to be of a slightly lower grade and the transfer sheet is less comprehensive. Having said that if you can pick one up at a budget price ( I've seen them in the Works for £2.99) then throw the paint away and upgrade it.

Worthing spendthrift

Worthing is a funny show - it never seems to get very busy and yet they always seem happy with the actual gate numbers. It's also always full of interesting things; more on that later.  It's also where I tend to pick things up at good prices. Firstly Ron had gatecrashed the show (as he often seems to do) and was set up next to Rhiw and doing a roaring trade in BR totem signs at £35 a pop. I was hoping to see him at Fareham in a few weeks and get Rhiw signed up, so that saved the wait and he produced this in a couple of minutes for fifteen quid (vinyl lettering on white 1/4" sheet).
Aside from small drills which I needed and picked up from Squires, I found a Bachmann pannier-cheap because it had been detailed- and a new 56XX from the same company at £29 and £44 respectively. This nails down the possible GWR layout to S. Wales which is not a problem as the research is partly done. I just need the Middleton Press 'Valleys books to round that out.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Post show wake up

Just about recovered from the weekend. People complain about how tiring exhibitions are - try working before and after one. Things have slowed slightly now and back to Daddy's latest budget Spit.
This is the pack version and labelled Daily Mail. Well you wouldn't get the Guardian giving away Airfix kits would you? However I can make a direct comparison with the last one and give a warning. You get paint, glue and a brush. The paint is greasy and sub-standard acrylic and is supposed to be Humbrol. I tried it on the prop, but gave up and used the normal stuff. The other saver is the transfer sheet. Those with a long memory will recall that I was amazed by the amount of transfers in the Spit kit... not this box. Annoyingly they have dished out the same squadron markings, but all the wing markings are absent. You just get the roundels and lettering. So even at this stage, if I was reviewing this, I'd say go for the standard Mk 1 kit and not the pack. You'll save on buying a couple of tins of paint, but you'll get a less finished and less classy model.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Just when you thought it was safe...

My dear old Dad loves a bargain (I've written that here before) so in some ways I'm not surprised by being greeted with, 'I got this with coupons out of the paper' and an eye movement to the kitchen worktop.
Another bloody Spitfire kit...

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Ducket gaps

 I returned to the coach yesterday and hit the bit that I thought could be tricky - folding up the brake end. Getting the lamp irons to poke through the overlay was a bit of a game. Then I came across a problem which left me scratching my head.
I'm making the assumption that this 7mm kit is blown-up from their 4mm ones as the instructions are obviously from that source. The ducket side is exactly the same height as the end when in the flat, which means, by the laws of physics, that when you introduce a reverse curve into it that it will end up shorter... and as can be seen, this is what happens. On a 4mm kit this gap is probably negligible. Here however... Pondering what to do about this.
The Norden flat.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Valleys '86

Graham Weller very kindly nudged me in the direction of this:

Several things are apparent: 1. how wrong I've got Rhiw. 2. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the units are three car 117's. 3. they have dragons on them in profusion. 4 There is a 37 dragging MDVs full of coal in 1986. 5. In the same shot there are bauxite liveried SWB vans parked up. Hmmm....

Friday, 7 September 2012

So what's wrong with Ashburton?

 I've noticed over the years that whenever Ashburton is mentioned, it gets a derisory moan, which is a bit of a shame. Being that there has been an amount of email discussion of late regarding some of Barry Norman's plans in MRJ I thought it might be fun to re-examine the old stager from PECO.
I first came across it in the above booklet bought c. 1975 (is it still in print?) The author is not credited though the inclusion of the plan below indicates that CJF had a hand in it; especially as the accompanying photo is credited to him elsewhere. It is suggested in the text that 'Ashburton can be assembled in three months.' I love the use of assembled rather than modelled. But furthermore he then argues against by saying that ' ... a line of this nature is inadequate.'
OK, so it's not Kings Cross, but it has been the basis for at least two classics (Buckingham Mk 2 and Charford) and probably many more. CJF probably only intended it as an initial exercise, but it's got a lot of potential. For instance, keep the train shed and put coal drops on the mill siding and it becomes instant NER. So sticking with GWR isn't compulsory. There has always been some complaint that the goods shed is hard to access. I don't see this as a problem and anyway if it was then a small degree of awkwardness is always preferable to keep the operator thinking.
For me it gets a thumbs up.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The old Brush

 When I was ten, my dad took me into Gamleys in Brighton and bought me a train set for my birthday and I suppose I've had a train set ever since. What was included in the set was an oval of track, a point, a half curve, a short straight three wagons and a Brush Type 2 as Triang-Hornby were still insisting on calling it. Though being a green one, it probably still was. And there lies the root of this short exercise.
As I said earlier the point of the project was not to produce a super-duper detailed 31, but to get one running and give it a little life using the Monty Wells article for reference.
The Arty Bits.
For some reason the bufferbeams were painted red  - steam style. Even a cursory glance at a photo of a 31 shows that there is a grimy recessed beam carrying the coupling and pipework. Adding pipework would have been a waste as it would foul the tension-lock coupler, so I 'improved' slightly by painting out the red and buffer housings in GW grey. Similarly weathering the bogies with my usual concoction of rusts and grey. The photo that I linked to in the first post shows  31 401 in sparklingly clean livery in 1986, I limited myself to dropping some black into the grilles and wiping to add some depth, and while the brush was full, blacking out the headcode boxes. The white dots are stumping me though. Tried painting them... ahem... that didn't work. Advice welcomed.
The only other visual change was sticking some microstrip behind the engine-room windows to represent the internal handrails.
The 'finished' 31 crawls around Rhiw very well. Still a little noisy (who needs DCC sound?) but very controllable. I'd go as far as to say equal to the newer Bachmanns. It's far from state of the art, but I'll wager that it will see quite a bit of use during the next couple of exhibition outings.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Interfering with old ladies

 Part 1 - The engineering bits. 
Mrs. F's father was a modeller (he's not dead he just doesn't do it anymore) mainly R/C battleships, a few large scale trucks and as I'm finding out the odd bit of railway. He's gradually clearing stuff out and bit by bit it's coming my way, initially in the form of two Airfix 31's which are both 'well loved'. One barely ran and the other had a limp where the bogie levelling peg was missing. They sat in the drawer for quite a while, but as I'm sorting Rhiw out for next week and because I tripped over Monty Wells' article in MRJ 11 yesterday I thought I'd see if I could get one good one out of the pair. The last thing Rhiw needs is an Eastern Region Type 2 running on it's ex GWR South Wales metals, but a few second on t'internet threw this up for it's number 31 401 :

You can't get much more western than Paddington, so maybe...

Both models were taken apart and the motor bogies greased and oiled, this made the runner a tad quieter, but didn't really improve the dog. Then I cracked the bogie frame getting it back onto the five(!) mounting clips (overkill or what?) The plastic is very brittle, which bearing in mind that it's probably 32 years old is not that surprising - my old lady is a little fragile. Nothing would stick it, from Mek to Daywat, so I resorted to brute force and welded back together with the rude end of a soldering iron. Everything was then clipped together and the wires re-soldered using the dog's main chassis frame that didn't have lugs missing. Thus two old ladies are now one.
Monty's article suggests that the corner body mount lugs be removed and the long cylinder lugs that take the central self-tappers be beefed up. I sanded a slight taper on each and forced  a washer on each with a little UHU as recommended.

The Airfix 31 as I already mentioned is 30+ years old, and while outstanding when it came out looks pretty rough compared to the new stuff. Though Ian Futers had a P4'd one pottering around on the influential Lochside  so why couldn't I? I reasoned that there was no point in splashing out on flush-glaze and etched grills as however much work I did,  it would  still be a country mile from even the current cheaper end  Hornby Railroad offering. Instead, I thought, a little aesthetic work to brighten it up and get it running would be the order of the day. If someone comes up and says ' Ahh, an Airfix 31, that runs nicely.' then that would be just fine.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Not the usual pose

 The above taken at Swanage last weekend. Not a fireman pose that the figure makers often produce. Our intrepid fire-person bounced through the cab doors and after a little adjustment in the bunker, swung back through the doors naval hatch style with a panache that would have made the Dukes of Hazard envious.
With a couple of weeks to the Worthing show it was time for a little clean and polish on Rhiw. The nest of spiders was dusted out and attention given to the lifting of the embankment. This happens occasionally with paper mache, but a bit of PVA and a suitable weight soon fixes.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Saturday Ramble

 Don't worry this won't be a blow by blow account of building an etched kit. I'm taking a break from it for a couple of days anyway while other things get attended to. Above: one of the completed sides stuck to the plain end and below: using a slotted scrap of 2mm card as a handle and spacer while soldering door handles.
 Finally a snap from last weekend. I'm not by nature a spotter or photographer, but will take a few shots if I'm out. Here 158 881 pulls into Romsey 26/8/12
Now what I need to be thinking about is getting Rhiw ready for Worthing in two weeks.