Thursday, 31 December 2020

Flying Tigers!

 


The next two coaches are going well. They are more complicated than the first coach since they are brake composites. This means that they have more internal partitions and also a guard's doors on each side. I'm adding more detail and this includes a door handle, 3 hinges and a grab rail. The holes were drilled first, 0.35 mm for the grab rail and door handle and 0.4 mm for the hinges. The grab rail is made up from 0.31 mm diameter nickel silver and the door handles came from Roxey Mouldings. The hinges are the same door handles thinned down a little and pushed home all the way. They are very tiny and hard work to file.

The V hanger was also from Roxey Mouldings and then the step was fabricated from 0.5mm brass wire and some etch sprue from the box. In theory tinning of components and careful placement should make it easy but reality says there are two or three attempts before getting it right.

By now you may be wondering why Flying Tigers. I was struggling to hold the carriage and I didn't want to put it on a flat surface  as that might squash the fittings on the bottom facing side. I hit on using these two wooden pallets to support the carriage. They are probably 1/12 scale and came from Flying Tiger, one of those shops that has all sorts of bits you never knew you needed. Hopefully it is clear from the picture how I am using them. I'm not sure if the pallets are still available as I have had mine for a while.

The real advantage is that they are hollow at the side so the application of a clamp and a piece of wood and the carriage is clamped to the pallet and held robustly without damaging any fittings. Hopefully this picture from the opposite direction shows how they have been utilized. Unfortunately the picture also shows where the paneling is marked but hopefully that will not be so obvious once painted.



 



Sunday, 27 December 2020

Painted Coaches

 


A little bit of progress just before Christmas. The coach has had it's first outing to the paint shop. The panels are sprayed with Bronze Green from a custom paint supplier, the chassis is the same grey I used on Triumph, the balconies were done with coal black, the window surrounds were done with rust and the interior was a mix of antique bronze and ochre.

There are no colour photos from the period so there is a certain level of guesswork along with doing what looks right. The rust could be a little more brown but overall I am happy with the look.

The roof is still in grey primer. I'll aim to darken it a little but colours of roofs after several years service were always indeterminate. What I am not happy with is the bend in the roof which the photograph has cruelly exposed. I've bent it back into shape a little but I am thinking it will be replaced. This roof was made from 5 thou brass sheet and I am wondering if the issue will be less pronounced if I use 10 thou sheet.

The other 2 coaches are on the bench so I suspect I'll do a batch of 3 roofs and see how they come out.





Sunday, 6 December 2020

Progress on the Welshpool Coaches

 


The Welshpool coaches have been on on the back burner for too long. It was time to make progress. The first action today was to complete the roof. I had previously cut the roof with a V at each end and had them rolled to the required radius. I had also cut out some inserts to go in the V. The trick was to hold the roof upside down against some double sided sellotape with the insert roughly placed and then tack a bit of solder to give a little strength and then tack a bit in the other corner. Working like this you can push the ends of the insert around quite a bit until happy with the rough position. After that I bend a bit of waste fret into the inside and soldered that in to provide a base for the join. Adding solder from above then fills the inevitable gap and it is out with the files to smooth it down and make the end shape. The rain strip is then soldered on from 0.31mm brass wire. It gets a little dicey towards the ends as you are in danger of undoing the work already done on the joins.

The fittings on the roof are my own 3D prints and they are superglued in place. The roof was cleaned under the tap with soapy water and then took a turn in the ultrasonic cleaner to remove any final residue.

The next task was to add the truss rods underneath. The undersides of wagons and coaches are always hard to see but I decided the posts for the truss rods were really transverse girders. They should be attached to the underside of the solebars but mine go onto the underside of the floor to provide more strength. After that it was simply a case of adding some 0.5mm wire for the truss rods themselves. A clean and a session in the ultrasonic cleaner and now everything is in the airing cupboard drying out and warming up ahead of priming.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Sierra Leone No. 85

 


Another lockdown project has been completed. This time it is the Welshpool Sierra Leone No. 85 loco. I first referenced it in one of my October posts. It's been a relatively quick build because that's what I wanted after the length of time it took to complete Triumph. 

One of the ways to make it happen quickly was to adopt the plain black livery that the Welshpool & Llanfair adopted for the engine's last year of running in 2009. They put the engine back to it's original Sierra Leone livery and condition which meant reinstating the front coal bunkers and removing the Welshpool plates from the side of the cab panelling.

The engine is sat on my usual Dapol 2-6-2 Ivatt chassis which needed minimal bits cutting off. I made a few changes to the body. The coal bunkers which were just too chunky in whitemetal. The rear ones I fabricated from brass sheet and rod, the front ones are 3D prints I made. I fitted Greenwich couplings which necessitated some modification to the buffer beams. The air cylinder was a 3D print as the original suffered badly from mould lines where the two halves must have been badly aligned. The supplied tool box just didn't fit so that was another quick 3D print though a chunk of plasticard would have done just as well.

Lastly I made a fresh roof out of 10 thou brass. Having bought a set of G. W. Models bending rollers over lockdown I now wonder how I ever managed without them (actually I didn't, I have largely steered clear of brass till recently). I also modelled the open roof vent since every picture I have seen of this engine has it open. I am guessing that like many steam engines it is hot in the cab.

Overall the Dundas Models kit is excellent. For a whitemetal kit the parts are very crisp and fit together well. There was a slight discrepancy on the length of the side tanks but a bit of filler sorted that and I guessed, correctly as it turned out, that it would not be noticeable once painted.

Having done this one I am tempted to build a second one in the blue livery which it carried from 2003 to 2009. To me, the blue livery is much more attractive than the red North Staffordshire livery it carried from 1992 to 2003. The only problem is the lining which is much more complex than the one engine I have done so far.

That said, there are a lot of kits in the stash and it's time to finish the Welshpool coaches that have been in a semi built state for over a year now...

Monday, 2 November 2020

Photographing models

Recently I have found that I have struggled to take good photos of models. I would balance track on different boxes or mounting board but it was never a good experience. I can always use Melin Dolrhyd but the lighting isn't as far forward as it really needs to be for good photographs. I had a piece of track that originally was a DCC programming track set on something that could be fashioned into an embankment but it had no depth so something had to be done.

I found an offcut of MDF and started cutting out foamboard. I had an idea of a curve of track, set on an incline with a platform that could be used to host non track based products. The first picture shows the basic shape. A piece of wood is holding the stone walling join against the platform edge.


After that it was a case of laying track, putting some sandpaper down to represent the platform surface. Rummaging through the bits and pieces box I found some fencing from my first 009 layout and then I found a nameboard from the layout. I had to pause then as most work is done early morning and late night and I realised that static grass cannot be done in artificial light. It needs some natural, if grey, light to help with the colour blending. The second progress shows the progress after doing the grass.


After that it was onto the homeward stretch for a little bit of weathering and a hedge across the back to help with hiding the back. I also have a piece of backscene on a some floating mounting board that can go behind. The final picture is the finished product with Triumph on display with its nameplates that arrived from Narrow Planet recently.


All in all just a few hours work and now I have something readily available for photography.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

3D Printing in Winter

I had previously suffered some disillusion over a very low success rate with the 3D printer but I've had quite a run of success over the summer. Oddly, I had my first unsuccessful print the other day, completely out of the blue. The next print was fine but it got me wondering as to why.

Generally the 3D printer is fairly tolerant but I noted that the failed print happened right when the temperature dropped outside. The printer is upstairs in my den but it is next to the most northerly corner of the house and there is this point in the year when the temperature drops but it isn't cold enough to put the heating on.

Reading the label on the next bottle of resin I noted that it said that it works best between 25 and 30 degrees centigrade and we were definitely no longer that warm so what to be done? Reviewing the Facebook support group for my printer I noted that someone had used reptile heaters to heat the printer. You can get ones with thermostats built in but they appeared to have limited control.

In the end I elected to purchase a device that is basically a control box that has a thermometer on a cable and two mains sockets to turn the heaters on and off. I also purchased two small reptile heaters. I then had to drill some holes and into the printer to feed the cables without fouling the lid or any internal mechanisms. The reptile heaters were glued to the inside sides of the printer and the thermometer is glued to the back. All this is carried out with the Bosch cordless glue gun which is in itself a fantastic piece of kit.


Now I can set the temperature to be maintained between 26 and 28 degrees centigrade and if I put it on far enough in advance the resin will be at a suitable temperature for printing. It would benefit from more heat, these reptile pads are only 5W each but the next size up would not fit. It took a few hours the first day but the second day it hadn't cooled off that much and was up to temperature within 90 minutes. At 10W total it could be left on all day. That's less power than this computer uses and 0.3% of our kettle. 



Saturday, 3 October 2020

Welshpool No 85

The other project on the go is the Dundas Models Sierra Leone No 85 which runs on the Welshpool & Llanfair. Again, it's a quick build to provide extra locomotive power for the layout as and when exhibitions are back on.

Since being on the WLLR it has had some interesting liveries but after the lining of Triumph I have opted for the full black that was used on the WLLR just prior to it being withdrawn for overhaul. 

The model has gone together well. I would have to say it has been one of the crispest and simplest to put together. The only place that has needed filler is round the smokebox door, the side tank pieces being of slightly different length. Unfortunately you can't just trim a piece off the other end as that end fits tightly into the rear of the cab but really it is a minor inconvenience.

One aspect of modelling it in the year before overhaul is that it had the extra coal bunkers on the front of the water tanks. The bunkers supplied in whitemetal are, of necessity, quite thick. In real life the metal of the bunker would have been half an inch maximum but the thickness of the whitemetal was such that it translates to 3 inches in real life.

I found some brass offcut and bent it to shape but I made the mistake of not filing the groove at the bends with the result that the corners were curved rather than rectangular. Once I had corrected my error it still looked rather rounded. 

I knew I had to redo them but then I realised I could probably just print them. It was the work of a couple of minutes followed by a couple of hours of printing time but it gave me the opportunity to experiment with printing direct on the print bed which worked unexpectedly well, despite the fact that I made the wall thicknesses to be 0.4mm which comes out to just over 1 inch in real life.


The picture shows the three different forms, left to right. I am sure others can fabricate these parts quicker than I can print them but as it was literally 5 commands to design them and 1 extra command to produce the mirrored part, I am happy with what I can achieve.


Flying Tigers!

  The next two coaches are going well. They are more complicated than the first coach since they are brake composites. This means that they ...