Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday night workshop

Did some more on Swallow's End tonight - the area around the cattle dock has had some landscaping done (and the drills bits have turned up so progress should be restarting over the weekend in good light - too overcast and the light in the lounge is good provided small children aren't sleeping there!) along with some more painting to the Signal Box.   I seem to be in a bit of a rut modelling wise - too many projects on the go possibly dividing my attention and I can't really focus.  Hence the short up dates of late.  They are trying to jump start the mojo and the enthusiasm which has taken a beating from my being tired from that horrible four letter word!  Anyway - Friday night football tomorrow so hopefully another chassis off the production line (or maybe two...) for the fruit van train for the W&U.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Photo update - 30 March 2011

As promised - albeit a little late - some photos of progress.  First up the SR Brake.  Very pleased with the kit build - not entirely sure the paint job is up the to standard.  I will see how it goes - at least stripping Nickel Silver isn't as worrying as stripping plastic!
Second - the LNWR signal box.  I haven't including the shot of what I am wanting to copy - and there is a bit of a way to go.  I am quite pleased with painting progress on this and I am hoping to have it finished (and possibly a little diorama for it) by Easter.  Interior is merely primed - I am going to fit it separately as I want to paint the levers to match what the leaver diagram for St Alban's Abbey was even though the box isn't accurate.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Football season has started again Down Under and I spent a good few hours watching games from Round 1 this past weekend.  I also made a start on some painting projects which have been waiting for the cooler months (although this is a relative term here in Outback Australia).  I managed to get primed the LNWR signal box mentioned some months back and the SR Brake Van of more recent recounting.  I also made a start on painting the top coats - although much to my despair the tinlet of matt black was dead and unable to be resuscitated and the only shop in town with anything like hobby type stuff, while carrying some of my preferred Humbrol paints, is presently out of No 33.

The signal box is being painted to be similar to the photo on the back cover of the Oakwood Press "The Watford to St Alban's Branch" and the brake van in BR Bauxite.  Unfortunately there was no opportunity to take photos of same over the weekend and I was held up at work a bit later than normal this afternoon so none to show - stay tuned - hopefully tomorrow (when I am also hoping to have solved my matt black shortage!).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SR Dia 1579/1582 Brake Van - Update

Current state of play.  I have managed to get most of the van done and a rolling chassis.  I still have to sort out the roof detail (the vents are easy but the chimney is proving a little bit of a problem as I don't have anything the right diameter in my bits box that I can see - but I am sure there is something.  There is still the hand rails, then painting and the addition of three link coupling chains to the hooks.  Other than that, mostly done.  I am hoping to have it substantially finished by the end of the week along with D2201 and the mineral wagons, thus finishing the first train for the W&U plans - only 12 months after starting...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cattle Dock Part IV

Progress on the cattle dock has been slowed owing to breaking the last of the fine drill bits I was using for it.  Annoyingly I had managed to get though half of the posts on 2 bits - one ended up blunt after a short time but the second soldiered on quite nicely.  Then in the space of 5 holes, I broke it, and both the replacements!  Not happy.  Many naughty words. 

So the state of play is I have gotten three more posts done from the last photo and I am one post away from having to make a decision about gates.  Still haven't worked it out - but since the ordered replacement drill bits have been on the way from Hong Kong (although a shop... so a bit bemused!) since the 8th of March I am hoping to get back into it later this week.

The funny thing is I was looking though my Oakwood Press book on the W&U tonight and discovered the Upwell Cattle dock is very similar to what I have designed.  So I guess it isn't as freelance as I thought!

SR Dia 1579/1582 Brake Van

2mm members hopefully will recognise this - David Long advertised this kit in the most recent Magazine.  It appears a van of this type is the end of the last train from Upwell to Wisbech on the 20 May 1966 so naturally, it was on my list! 

Mine arrived early last week but I wasn't able to do much with it until I had printed the 18 pages of comprehensive instructions (or destructions - even DD1 calls them this, much to her mothers chagrin).  Having printed and then had a quick look, the pages were put aside as my parents, sister and eldest niece arrived for the 2nd birthday of DD3 on Friday.

Given that Footy Season is just around the corner, and having waved our guests goodnight, I had another look with the view to making a start in front of the first game on Thursday coming.  However, I decided that things appeared pretty straight forward, so a start was made last night, and further progress in front of the Pakistan v Australia pool game in the longest World Cup of all time.

The photo at the top shows what I started with.  The one at the bottom is were I am now - which is at the bottom of Page 9 not having started on the underframe assembly.  David mentions that he had trouble putting the verandah doors on - I had no dramas but I use a paste flux and tend to find this will help things stick to where you want it.  I suspect solder paste would do something similar.  As I thought on the second read through, it is straight forward, nothing has needed fettling - in fact the only "issue" to date was all my fault - I folded a 180d fold the wrong way and didn't realise until I had soldered it down... naughty words and a 15 minute delay and everything was back where it should be.  Hopefully some of the chassis tomorrow. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cattle Dock Part III

This week I have been plugging away drilling 5 holes per post.  As I don't have my bench drill here in Longreach, this has been done using my pin vice and fingers!  It takes around an hour to do the 5 holes - 0.3mm drill for a 0.2mm nickle silver wire.  As you can see in the photo the holes haven't all lined up - I have been using a jig - but I suspect the lack of true verticalness in the drilling has played a part.  There is still some tidying up and tweaking to do on this lot and I am hoping by the end of the weekend to have gotten around to the next corner - only 3 posts to go on this run! 

I still haven't sorted the gates yet.  I have thought of using thinned down Peco level crossing picket gates or using the Ratio cattle dock kit gates like Missy did.  I have also thought of adapting some M&GN gates which David E sent me.  Not sure - any suggestions would be appreciated!

Friday, March 4, 2011

So you want a fence post...

How do you get one?  In my case, I wanted 26 (subsequently revised to 24 but this is still in a state of flux) and, following the experiences of others, I settled on brass.  I found a length of 1mm square section and worked out the dimensions by putting a model cow up next to it.  This resulted in the height being settled at 5 feet (scaled down to 10mm) and a peg of 1.5mm below to fit to the model - but since the hole in the model are round, and the section is square, I was left with the "how do you fit a square peg in a round hole?" dilemma.  Without a lathe, the answer is improvise.

 Measure the length you require - I found the best way to mark it was to use the razor saw.

 Two marks - one for the cut spot (left hand) and one for the location in the pin vice in the chuck (right hand)

Positioned and ready to cut.  I found it easiest to cut in the pin vice rather than out.

 Cut it to length

I found the emery nail file was the best way to turn it down.

Voila!  Remember when you are looking at this, it is 12mm long...

So not the prettiest method - nor the most elegant - but it does the job.  As I said in a much earlier post about my soldering kit, the pioneers didn't have a lot to work with and managed some brilliant models so there is no reason why we can't manage - at least it is a variable speed electric drill rather than trying to work out how to do it via pulley and rope!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cattle Dock Part II

I had a quick visit to Brisbane last weekend for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary celebrations.  While there, I took the opportunity to get a few bits and pieces to continue on with some of my increasing number of UFOs (seems a bit like trams - none, then lots!).  Amongst the UFOs I was wanting to get on with was the cattle dock for Swallow's End.  With the design work done (thanks again Missy!) it was a matter of finding the bits to construct the fence.

While the Highclere one has 0.5mm square brass, I was unable to source this so settled for 1mm instead.  6 inches is quite a thick post, but cows are stroppy and bulls even more so, so I figure that while the original had 3 inch posts, my bulls are bigger and crankier and thus need bigger posts - at least that is the story.  I have also managed to get some 0.2mm nickle silver wire which I will be drilling holes for to thread through the posts.  Still haven't really worked out how I am going to do that with a minimum of swearing!

So far 10 of the 26 posts have been manufactured.  The process involves cutting 12mm lengths off the longer length, sticking them into my small chuck which is in my drill which is clamped to my workbench and then "turning" a point using a file to stick the completed post into a 0.5mm hole drilled into the cattle dock.  As I said, so far 10 done but the time is coming down with practice.  I know it isn't as elegant as a lathe but I imagine it is just as quick (if not quicker) and works so it will do me.

Two pictures below with cow posed to give an idea of the progress.  If Lisa wasn't asleep in the lounge with Amity watching TV, I would probably be doing more rather than writing this!!  I will try and get organised enough to take some pictures of the step by step process - after all, one of the sub-purposes of this blog is to show people how I do it and to try and demystify the process.