Monday, 11 May 2020

How riveting

With several projects on the go it is inevitable that they go slowly. Lockdown hasn't changed the time available during the week for modelling but at least there are good solid modeling times at the weekend.

Here is the work of a labour of love, adding rivets. I lost track of the number of hours spent doing this and there is still the other 3/4 of the engine to do.


It's a job that can be very rewarding when they go on well but when they don't... It is also so fiddly that I lost track of which spacing of rivets to use. The difference is so small that I went "space blind" at one point and definitely used the wrong ones. Also, having started the other side tank I now realise I have missed 3 rivets off this side. I think I may have just labelled myself!

Ultimately I am still pleased with the first attempt at using these decals. I am hopeful it will add depth to the model when finished. I'm guessing another week until all the rivets are on and by then the next attempt at finding the correct green will have been delivered by the postman bearing gifts.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Triumphant Progress

In my last post I showed work on Triumph, an 0-6-2 Bagnall tank that used to be part of the Bowaters mill complex in Kent.

The body had gone together okay but, being a whitemetal kit, it was not crisp at all and the side tanks just didn't want to be parallel with each other but we got there.

The next stage was to add some detailing. There were a few obvious items that needed adding:

  • There are rods that run along eh top of the water tank on each side so these were made up from a scrap of brass with a nickel silver rod.
  • The safety valve casting had a gap between it and the cab front so that was slimmed down and a piece of brass glued over to represent the lever.
  • There is a rod that runs from the cab to the sandboxes. This was soldered up from a piece of square nickel silver. It should lie flat on the side of the sand domes but I decided to drill out the sand domes and push the rod into them otherwise there would be no strength in the part and be at high risk of being knocked off.
  • There are pipes that run from each sand dome on each side which have a very visible joint in them.
  • A whistle was made up from more brass and nickel silver.
  • It also got a detailed cab from bits of plastic, nickel silver and even some wood.
  • A replacement roof was also formed as the whitemetal one was just too thick.

The photo below shows the finished result though it is cruel from being blown up larger than in real life.


Adding this level of detailing was a new experience for me and practically everything had several attempts before I was happy enough. Generally I chose materials that were too big and needed replacing with something thinner or finer.

It was then cleaned and primed with some etch primer but it has not gone on well. The primer was an existing can that I had used before with mixed results. This time it came out worse, patchy and thick in places. It afforded me the chance to see some of the blemishes that needed fixing but ultimately it's going to be stripped and another can used.

Once the primer is replaced, the next stage of detailing can begin. The real engine has a significant number of rivets on the tanks and once you see them you realise the model is too flat. I've never tried them before but I've been given a sheet of Archers rivets so I built a mock side tank from plasticard, The rivets are very fragile and it was suggested I put them on after priming to limit them disappearing in paint. There was then a question of whether to put them on before the black and/or green. In the end I stuck with straight after primer, then sprayed the green, then brush coated the black as below


After that it was time to consider the lining. Again, something I had not done before but I wanted to try it. I picked up some Fox Transfers in the smallest thickness they had. As warned, they were tricky to keep straight and it probably is better to go for thicker ones and thin them with an overlaid black transfer. Nevertheless I was pleased with the finish. I discovered to my cost that I had no micro sol/set in stock and it shows with the various transfer edges still being visible and not being able to bend a transfer round the larger curve. The smaller curves were bought. I counted that there are 30 small curves on this engine alone so that sheet was worth purchasing.


The result is pleasing and with practice I ought to be able to avoid some of the mis-joins that you can see close up.


Saturday, 4 April 2020

Not Going Out

The world has changed and not immediately for the better. Here in the UK we are two weeks into lockdown and are trusting that the measures in place will keep the number of deaths from Covid-19 under 20,000 which is what is described as a "good" figure. The immediate impact for me is working from home and I am one of the fortunate ones who can do that and carry on getting paid. Not everyone is so fortunate. There is more time and some of that time has been spent on reorganising the "office" so I can work from home all day. The computer has gone from the den where I used to occasionally work from home and, as a result, I now have a larger workbench for my modelling. I have had a serious reorganisation of the room and this is the result.


This means I can have more projects on the go at once. Usually I try to stick to just one project at a time but with multiple projects I get the chance to move to another one when I hit a roadblock on one and need to do some thinking. Also, I have the space so why not use it. Equally all exhibitions have been cancelled so now I have no deadlines and can afford to be a little less focused.

The first project is the model of Triumph mentioned in the last blog. The body is largely complete and I have been contemplating the detailing. Today I drilled out of the windows so I can put in open ones. I should have done that before building it! More on those in another blog.


It's clear that in the future there is going to be a layout based on Bowaters so I expect a Facebook page to appear soon. Bowaters itself is not easily modelable but I will find something from it to create a layout from. I look forward to building something more industrial. In the meantime the locos can run on Melin Dolrhyd provided they can get round the curves!

The second project is the 3mm 4F kit that I bought a while ago. I used to model in 3mm but could not make a working chassis. I am going to have another go and am determined to be successful this time. I invested in a Poppy's jig and have got as far as loosely assembling the parts in the jig.



I have a couple of options for motor and gearbox. I do have an N20 motor and gearbox combination produced by a member of the 3mm Society and I have a High Level Slimliner+ on order. When that arrives I will make a decision on which to use.

The third and final project is Southwold in 3.14mm to the foot. David Eveleigh designed this stock to run on 2mmFS track and it came out to this weird scale of 3.14mm to the foot which is close enough to 3mm and so there will be a layout in 3mm that contains standard gauge and narrow gauge and it will be Southwold based - you can't hide the shape of those wagons.


David's etches contains 16 four wheeled wagon chassis, 4 six wheeled wagon chassis, 2 coaches and 3 engines plus some odds and sods - a whole layout's worth at one go! As you can, see the etch above for one of the wagons is exquisite. It is also tiny!

That's it. Everything on the workbench currently and, yes, I am procrastinating over the Welshpool & Llanfair coaches!

Sunday, 1 March 2020

On Becoming an Author

In the last 2 months I have had two articles published. The first was in Issue 121 of Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review. The second was in the March 2020 issue of 009 News.


The articles were written for slightly differnet audiences but both were an overview of the layout, how it came about and how it got to the state it has. Needless to say there is a very nice feeling of accomplishment, otherwise known as smugness, that the work done is of sufficient quality/interest to be included in these magazines.

I have one more article in the making but I need to finish the model I am writing about. More to come in the future! 

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The first cut is the deepest

The Kenavon show has been and gone. The layout ran very well though the Earl definitely prefers travelling anti-clockwise. A couple of couplings and lead weights came off when I was packing away and I also dropped a cattle wagon which broke into 4 parts but all were fixed in a 15 minute session on Sunday.

The one obvious problem was that I had previously made some card tunnels to prevent light getting in from the sides but they have warped slightly and because I made them too small the stock was always hitting them. There is absolutely no way the coaches are going through so new ones need making before the next show.

I also need some information for visitors to read. I was asked the same questions over and over again so have ordered some acrylic stands to go on top of the layout - the advantage of a layout with a top! The bookmarks I had ordered were a great success, I gave them out to all the children and some adults as well.

The next show is Nailsea at the end of March and that is likely to be a much tougher test of the layout as it will be its first 2 day show. I possibly have enough stock but I think one more engine would get the roster up to something that can accomodate one or two failures without having to repair on the fly. I also should finish the coaches but I sense some serious procrastiantion going on there...

I've had the kit of Triumph from the Bowaters Paper Mill complex, now preserved as the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Railway, in the stash for a while along with a spare Bachmann 2-6-2 N gauge loco. The kit is meant to go on a Minitrix 2-6-2 chassis but I used the Bachmann under Joan and it is a very good runner.

As always, there is some initial work to marry up chassis to footplate and some significant cuts had to be made to open up the footplate to accomodate the block of the motor. Hopefully it will be worth it.


I was not aware of the Bowaters Mill Complex until recently and it looks a fascinating prototype, not least because they also had the engine Monarch which went to the Welshpool and Llanfair where it performed equally badly and a kit is available...

Sunday, 9 February 2020

How an impending exhibition focuses the mind

The exhibition season is about to start. Melin Dolryhd is going to appear at 3 exhibitions in 3 months. Over Christmas I made great progress on coaches but then January came and all I can say is that I am glad January is behind me. It was a month of calamity in the Taylor household and progress on hobbies came to a very solid halt!

Now with 2 weeks to go till the first show of the year I need to make some progress. The layout is fine as it is and there is always detailing to do but I am short of trains to be comfortable with a one day show and am definitely short of stock for a 2 day show should any of them feel the strain.

Joan is back available though still needs detailing. Hopefully it's plates will arrive in time but it made sense that since Joan is a preservation engine of the WLLR then it should haul a preservation train so a hunt of ebay and hey preto, an instant train.


Having set the time period of the actual layout to 1912 I have a few more options in terms of stock. Bolster wagons, flat wagons and sheep wagons all existed by this point in time so examples of all are in the paint shop waiting to be completed. First one completed are the sheep wagons.


If any more wagons are finished before the first show then it will be a bonus. For now, I believe I have enough stock to run for a day.

I wonder if anyone will notice but these pictures were taken on my new phone. Up till now all pictures were on my Panasonic DMC-TZ60 Compact Zoom which is a great camera which I used because my old phone had a rubbish camera but I've upgraded my phone to a Samsung A40 and it is nice to once again have a phone with a decent lens in it.

If you want to know which shows I am attending then please pop across to the website or Facebook page.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

And Then There Were Two

Not yet at the full complement but with some perseverence the second coach is now in the same state as the first. The confidence of having worked out all the issues on the first coach showed with how quickly this one went together.


I'm using Lilliput bogies under these coaches but the couplings on the bogies were fouling the underframe and everything else is Greenwich so I ordered some Centre Point Couplings from Sven at Tramfabriek and they were really quick to put together and they just work.

I have the third coach to build but I am short of bogies for those. I have some Banwy ones to try but I'm not sure I want to mix and match now that the Lilliput ones have proved effective. Can I sneak some more modelling time tomorrow to get the full set - I might even play the album to celebrate!

How riveting

With several projects on the go it is inevitable that they go slowly. Lockdown hasn't changed the time available during the week for mod...