Sunday, 23 June 2019

New Toy

It was an itch that wasn't going away and whilst you are told never to scratch itches, I couldn't resist. My birthday present to myself was a 3D printer. Most people are aware now that there are two types of printer, Filament or Resin. Filament printers are those that melt plastic and Resin printers are those that deposit resin under ultraviolet light. Both have their pros and cons but as I was going for detail I opted for a resin printer, the Anycubic Photon S. It's the latest version of a very popular printer but there are limited supplies at UK Amazon - I saw they were back in stock a couple of weeks ago and bought one. Now they are out of stock again.

2 weeks after the day of arrival I finally produced the first print from the test file.

It's a lattice cube that stands about 2 inches tall and prints exactly as you see it in the picture without any support. In the end it took just over 6 hours to print this.

Why did it take so long to do the first print, mainly because of the paraphernalia that is required with resin printers. First off I had to reorganise my den to have a solid area for the printer to sit on, then you need the IPA to clean the print plus containers to put the IPA in, then you need to build/buy a UV curing box, then you need to work out how to use the software. Combined with working for a living it all took time to get up.

Right at the last minute, Kathy Millatt produced a great video on resin printing which helped build confidence and fill in a particular blank I had.

Next up is a railway test print, to learn to use the software better and to get back to building stock for Melin Dolrhyd.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Fiddle Yard Wiring

One task that had been left for later is wiring the points in the fiddle yard. For it's first outing the points were operated manually and there was no frog wiring. This wasn't an issue and it was fine to operate like this. Long term I have half an idea to automate the fiddle yard which means it does need wiring fully.

At a recent 009 Wilts group meeting, Adrian turned up with a new point motor, the MP1 from MTB Models. They are available from  DCC Train Automation. They are a motorised switch with adjustable range, automatic cut-off and a single pole switch. They are also very compact with a 45mm x 45mm footprint and less than 20mm deep. They run off AC or DC.

An order was placed and they were waiting for me on my return from a business trip and a bank holiday Monday seemed an ideal time to complete, what is, a very dull job.

The picture shows the primary end of the fiddle yard with the three motors in place along with the power connections and high frequency cleaner. As an aside, the cleaner was also a post show addition and showed that one particular engine has a dead spot in its pickups somewhere. It flashes with each rotation of the wheel!

The layout has now gone back onto the units where it is stored and I can carry on with detailing the layout and building stock.


Monday, 20 May 2019

First Outing

Last week the layout had its first outing at the Loddon Vale MRC 50th Anniversary Exhibition in Swallowfield, close to Reading. I had attended this show before as an operator for Matt Kean and he came and helped me this time. With it being just 10 minutes from home it made it an ideal location to try the layout - close enough to dash home if anything was needed (it wasn't).

We were put in a corner which was fine and had plenty of space to work with. It was less than 30 minutes to put the layout up and with experience we could probably get it down to a lot less. The inbuilt lighting proved it's worth as the day started fair but got dark and wet at one point and the lighting in this corner was not that strong.

The layout attracted some lovely comments which was very gratifying. The water was commented on as the light catches it as you move your head which does create a good effect. In the picture above Joan, painted plain black, is hauling some WLLR Goods stock.

I took a few photos but would have been better either with a flash or tripod as many came out more blurred than I find acceptable. Above is one of Matt's rakes - North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway 0-6-4T ‘Gowrie’ single Fairlie hauling a mixed train of Festiniog and NWNG carriages.

The embankment provides a good viewing point for stock. This is the same train but from a more realistic low level view.

WLLR 'The Earl' with the goods. Matt had fixed the nameplates that morning so it is steadily looking more and more like it did in Cambrian days.

A close up of 'The Earl' is not too shabby and really shows off the lining that Matt did.

Overall the layout performed well. The obvious niggles were:

  • The legs didn't all touch the floor. At home it sits on a shelf and sometimes on the carpet which hid the fact. Coffee stirrers were used at the show but adjustable end pieces would definitely be of benefit.
  • The rail joins had not been soldered down and whilst they could be aligned it was clear they needed a more permanent fixing and this has already been done, soldering the ends of the rails to copper pins.
  • One of the fiddle yard tracks was out of alignment and a rail had come out of the plastic fishplate. I had soldered the frog wire to close to the end which had caused a poor fit. This has already been rectified.
There's still plenty of detailing to do but for a first outing it was a very successful event.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Earl

The Welshpool and Llanfair only had two engines, The Earl and The Countess. There has only been the one kit by Golden Arrow and that has been out of production for years. Fortunately I was able to purchase a ready built one from Rod Allcock, a longstanding member of the 009 Society. Rod had built the loco as it ran in the GWR era and I was happy with that as I wasn't going to start messing with a loco built by Rod despite modelling the Cambrian era.

However, there was one thing bugging me about it, the couplings. They were the bulky whitemetal sort and the kit has them set relatively high. Mine isn't a shunting layout so that wasn't an issue but it was itch that would not go away.

I was looking at it a month or two back and had a soldering iron in my hand and took the plunge, literally - straight through those whitemetal blobs. One thing led to another and before long the paint had been stripped and a quick email to Chris Meach ascertained that original castings were still available. The dome, whistle cover, top feed and chimney were all replaced.

I've painted it in Cambrian Black and it has been lined for me by my good friend Matt Kean and just looks stunning as a result. Mind you he was able to point out that to be correct I should have shortened the cab (I had missed the fact that the GWR lengthened the cab) and the smokebox should not have had rivets in the Cambrian era. There's a definition for that sort of observation! There are some other bits that should have been reverted but I'm happy with how it looks. It sufficiently captures what they looked like in original form.

It's just waiting for plates which are on order and a little bit of tidying up. Most importantly it has Greenwich couplings and they are at the right height.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Well that never ran on the Welshpool & Llanfair!

In the stash of half finished items I discovered a Backwoods Miniature Diesel. It seemed a quick win to paint it and have it available to run on the layout. There was some work to be done as the base had warped from being too tight on the chassis. This necessitated filing off part of the Kato chassis, then ripping off the side frames and then applying some gentle heat to the body whilst some weights were forcing the body back into shape. Repainted it is an interesting item that can trundle round the layout as something different.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Wasp 2

I've continued with building stock for the layout and Wasp is making progress. After the quick initial build I was faced with installing 8 grab rails round the doors. I'm not sure I have ever done this before. I knew I had a Handrail Bending Jig from Bill Bedford Models so I dug it out and tried it but due to a lack of technique on my part the wire ended up more curved than right angles. I resorted to the old fashioned method of bending the wire in pliers and got the angle I needed. The jig is clearly good for consistency but I need to improve my technique.

I tried soldering the handrails but made more mess than wanted to resorted to superglue. First I made a spacer from plasticard, then inserted the handrail and then spotted some superglue on the front using a cocktail stick. Once set I added more superglue to the rear and scraped the superglue off the front.

Writing this article I realise I glued the handrails such that their outer faces are level when they should be the same distance off the panel, the ones on the doors stick out further because the doors are further out. They are not coming off now! Rivet counters can cringe when they see it go by.

Once that was done it was time for painting. I had a couple of goes with primer and settled on a standard Halfords' grey primer for the body and a WarHammer black primer for the base. First rookie mistake. Painting yellow over those colours is just hard. I should have used a white primer. Colours are subjective, combined with sunlight and ones own eyesight you never really know what you are looking at. Consequently I am a little free with my choice. The yellow was a WarHammer colour which was too thick. Eventually I remembered I had some thinners and the last couple of coats have gone on much better.

I had a Tamiya green which I started to brush paint but the finish wasn't smooth so I sanded that down, masked the loco and used a Humbrol Dark Green spray can which is not as dark green as I would like but it was handy. The side window frames were painted using a WarHammer silver, seriously thinned down and applied with a 00000 brush, yes there are 5 noughts in there. Whether the window frames are painted or aluminium in real life seems to depend on maintenance. For consistency I have painted all the side frames in silver and the front and rear frames are painted green though I am pretty sure that one of the side frames was green.

I'm left with underframe detail, glazing, windscreen wipers, roof fittings, coupling blocks and striping the yellow panel. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

More stock - Wasp

Although the layout is set in the early days of the WLLR I have been looking at the kit stash with a view to increasing the available stock. I have the 3 coaches to do but they invoke a level of trepidation. I've never built a Worsley Works scratch aid kit and don't really want the coaches to be first. Then I spotted the etch of Wasp. It's far too modern for the layout but, so far, there is nothing on the layout that screams a particular era. It fits on a Kato tram chassis and I just happened to have one of those as well.

It took a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to solder up the pieces. The hardest part was deciding where two particular pieces went. In the end I realised they were bottom bracing for the cab unit. After that it was relatively quick to glue two pieces of plasticard together and then stick them to the roof with contact adhesive. I'm slightly concerned the fumes might attack the plastic but I used the glue sparingly. A file and several grades of sandpaper have been used to shape the roof. It doesn't have to be perfect.

There are several photos to be found on the internet but there is an excellent photo on flickr which is taken from above the railcar which shows the roof detail - the only photo I found of this.

New Toy

It was an itch that wasn't going away and whilst you are told never to scratch itches, I couldn't resist. My birthday present to mys...