Monday, July 25, 2011

NGS Kit 17a Cartic 4 - Part III

Having had a couple of late nights watching Cadel Evans go around France on a bike (and didn't he do well in the end?) I had plenty of time to do something about painting the Cartic set.

Getting hold of primer (well, my preferred brand) out here is impossible as none of the hardware stores carry the brand.  Fortunately, I found a tin down stairs which I must have brought up from Brisbane at some stage so progress was made.

Spray primer - check.  Spray with local dark blue as an undercoat - check.  Wait patiently for it all to dry properly (in winter, out here...)  - hmmmm.  I did eventually get to the point where I could resume painting without wrecking anything.  Brush Precision Rail Blue on sides.  Find I don't have Rail Grey and sub-Freight Grey (1948-1964) instead figuring that the pics Paul Bartlett has uploaded of these to his web which I will use for weathering inspiration will mean that the exact shade of grey is moot.  White chains, ladders and brake wheels.  Axle boxes yellow with red stripes.  Buffer beams black - instructions found after the event say GW Chocolate...  Again, I don't think it will matter much when weathered.

Photos below.  Sorry for the iffy quality.  Taking pictures of white proved to be a little bit interesting this evening so I will have to have a fiddle.  All that is left is to wait for the NGS Transfer Officer to finish off said transfers and get a set - then weather the whole thing.  I would love it if Oxford Diecast produced some Ford Cortinas but until this happens (and not being a car buff) I guess they will run empty. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cartic Video

For those who were interested to see it in action, here is the model running behind my blue Cl 14.  No progress on painting or what not as yet - hopefully futher work at the weekend.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NGS Kit 17a Cartic 4 - Part II

Progress has been made with the Cartic in as much as all the nickle silver detail bits have been added along with hooks on the buffer beams left over from 2mm chassis kits.  I had attempted to fit the treads but have since discovered that trying to solder Stainless Steel to brass doesn't work!  I will glue these in after painting I think.

 The photo above shows one of the joins between the inners and outers (I think - might even be between the two inners to be honest - I don't remember!)  The design of the ladder makes it very easy to have it sitting out away from the body side.

The buffer beam detail - I put the hand brakes on bits of 0.3mm wire and then drilled holes so these stand out from the sides, just like the ladder.  The ladder at these ends is longer than the other ladders - pay attention...  No, I didn't initially.

Unfortunately the photo I took of the whole unit doesn't really work on this blog - to skinny owing to the way in which it is positioned. 

Amity suggested I should video the set going round the Kato test track and post it - if you are keen to see it in action, drop me a line at and I'll see what I can do.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

NGS Kit 17a Cartic 4 - Part I

For some time, I have eyed off the Cartic 4 kit from the NGS as being one of those kind of vehicles which would be interesting to have.  It was going to be a Rule 1 kit until 18 months ago when I decided to add the BR Blue era to my list of interests - a bit of research showed that a train of Cartics would be acceptable in this period and so it moved up the list from Rule 1 to "needed" (for a given value of needed as my wife says!).

The NGS advises that this kit is advanced (the website also says it comes with decals but mine didn't - I will have to chase this up but I may have older stock!  No matter as I will be getting at least 2 more) but I think, so far, that it would be a good introduction for someone who is comfortable with building plastic to move into brass - from my experience, it is shake the box, follow the instructions and voilĂ .

Photo 1 shows progress at the end of the first evening.  The plastic bases had been taken from the box the kit comes in, cleaned up and glued together.  I found that by putting them out in order, I avoided gluing the wrong bits to the wrong bits.  Next was putting the bits in for the articulation.  The loops can be shortened as desired for closer coupling - I shortened mine to run around the Kato 315mm radius set track curves as this is the tightest my layout curves will be.  Apologies for the ruler being upside down, but it does give an indication of how long the unit is when completed.

 This photo shows the first of the inner units folded up and in the jigs ready to solder.  The instructions say if you do it properly then you can move it around without if coming apart.  I must have done it correctly because that is what I found.  Taking the time to make sure the top deck is a drop-in to the locating channels on the side is the best approach - just like it says on the page.  I soldered mine together but using supa-glue to holding then epoxy to put it all together is certainly an option.

The two inners done - this was done on the second evening of progress and took around half an hour.  The second was certainly faster than the first and by the time I started on the outer units, I had dispensed with the jigs.  Once I had the two inners done, I checked to make sure they were still clearing on the Kato oval.

The end of the second evening.  The unit is basically complete as all which is left to do is add the rails and other nickle silver detailing parts, then paint (Rail Blue in my case) and source some transfers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Night Update - 15 July

I have had a busy couple of evenings.  Firstly UFO wise 6 HAA hoppers have been transferred having been backdated from sectorisation yellow to BR bauxite.  While the number panels don't match the RTR ones, I am not too worried owing to the perils of NVD and the fact that the complete train is 21 vehicles which I suspect needs a bit of variation.  These are the Farish HAAs, not the Peco nor Minitrix.

I have also made a start on three 10' wheel base brake vans as I discovered sometime ago that I don't have anywhere near enough brake vans.  I always thought half a dozen would do, but by the time I make up a couple of shunt trains, two block coal trains for the St Alban's Gas Works there isn't much left over so a few more are now in the pipe line.  I suspect it may end up being "you can't have enough brake vans" but time will tell.

Finally, a busy evening with the glue and solder has seen significant progress made on my Cartic4 from the NGS.  Pics and its own entry will be up over the weekend.  I have been very surprised at how easy the kit actually is.  Either I have developed my skills to a greater point than I think or the kit is genuinely easy provided you take your time - I suspect the later and all credit to the designer whoever it was.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Another episode of UFO sightings tonight.

As mentioned, I got a package of stuff from the NGS shop before their annual holiday and it contained a number of packets of transfers - one being MMT593 for Catfish, Dogfish and Mermaids.   I had obtained from various sources 7 Dapol Dogfish which I have painted black so they all match (this being the easiest colour to do so with and thus making them useful for most of my eras).   Naturally those repainted had no numbers and those which I didn't need to paint had the same numbers (yes, I know there were a number of options but I didn't end up with a variety of black ones) so to make things simple I removed the numbers from the 3 black ones as well thereby meaning I had to transfer all 7.  I had a look at Paul Bartlett's site as a means of checking where to put things as the two books I have with Dogfish in them have them in Dutch so not helpful.  As expected, there were a couple of useful shots there and so on with the project. 

To put 42 transfers on takes a bit over an hour I discovered - now all I need to do is a "bit" of weathering, make up some loads and job done.  In the meantime, I have replaced the Rapidos with short and medium shank Unimates from Red Caboose (sadly, these no longer appear to be available - very handy for close coupling fixed rakes on non-NEM stock) which makes the Dogfish handed.  The end wagons still have a Rapido fitted at the outer end to enable any brake van or loco to haul them.  I suspect they will most often be seen with an 08 (either Blue or Black when the Black one becomes available) and a Shark.  As it stands the control wheels are all at the same ends of the wagon - I might change a pair around for varieties sake.

Friday, July 8, 2011


About a week ago, a parcel arrived from the NGS Shop which contained one of their NGK004 Sealion brass kits.  I had purchased one about a year ago but had managed to turn it into a learning experience rather than a model - I discovered that my then soldering kit wasn't up to something like this but was more suited to wiring control panels and the like.  Since the 1st kit, I have obtained the DSE temperature controlled iron and built a few more etched kits so I revisited the scene of one of my heroic failures and had a second go.  Result above.

I am now in the position of trying to work out how to best fit the bogies.  The kit was designed with, I think, Micro Trains bogies in mind (as these were what you could get) but now the NGS has their own bogies and these were included.  A dummy run suggests that the ladders or hopper are going to get in the road so not sure if I did something wrong yet.  More to come.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Trees - Part III

I have managed to find time (with grateful thanks to Amity!) to get the tree finished.  At the end of the last episode, the tree had had the first coat of brown No More Gaps.  Since then, a second was applied and this gave a better finish as it covered the wire a bit more and was able to take some brush strokes to help simulate the bark effect.  So what do you do next?  Paint the tree of course!

The photo above shows some of Amity's acrylics which I borrowed to work with.  White, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Black and Raw Umber.  These were mixed around to give various shades and then applied to the tree frame.  Finally I dry brushed some moss green on what will be the northern side of the tree, just to see how it looked.

Above we have the painted tree.  In the bright winter sunshine of Outback Queensland, the wires are still noticeable but I was more interested in covering them up on the main trunk.  Not sure if it is as good as I could have done it, but too late now as the tree is finished! The green tinge is just noticeable with bits of grey and different shades of brown showing. 

I used Woodland Scenics FC183 Medium Green Clump Foliage for this tree.  I prefer to use the Heki mats but I don't have any here in Longreach and getting some would take a bit too long and I am keen to get this project finished.  The bag is one I have had for some time, so I will use it up on Swallow's End - although there may be a couple of Heki trees on the layout by the time it is finished.

The finished tree in all its glory.  Must be High Summer judging by the amount of foliage!  I used a spray adhesive and piled it on, waited half an hour, shook the tree (so any loose bits fell off) and repeated until I was happy with the coverage.

Making a tree is a time consuming process and it could be argued that, unless you are modelling a feature tree to match a photograph of your chosen prototype, not worth the hassle.  However, since I had the materials at hand, except the No More Gaps (which was a fiver I think - and will make quite a lot of trees assuming it doesn't go off in the tube while it is waiting!) all it really cost is time - and it is one way of filling in an evening or 3 and still doing some modelling.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Trees - Part II

My parents have been visiting Longreach this week for Darling Daughter's 5th Birthday so railways have been interrupted, despite being on half year school holidays.  Nevertheless, I have managed to get a few hours in here and there and progress has slowly been made on a couple of projects.

One of these projects has been the tree to show Amity how to do it.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the step between the last picture of Part I and the first of this series but basically you keep twisting the wire down into smaller and smaller branches and then solder them all to provide a degree of stiffness.  I had originally thought about adding some lower branches but in the end left them off.

The first picture of this series shows the finished tree having been washed to get rid of the flux residue (water as hot as you can stand it, soap and an old tooth brush) and then painted with some grey etch primer to give the next step something to key to.

The next step varies from person to person.  My preferred method is to use the product shown in the above.  Not sure what the UK/US or other places product is.  It is a water clean up, flexible filler which usually comes in white, but I discovered about 15 years ago, also comes in brown making it a bit more of an ideal base.  As it is flexible, I don't solder the branches solid as I am then able to make adjustments depending on the final location of the tree - I don't make trees to fit places to order, I make trees as something to do and then use them on layouts so the tree has to be made to fit!

The last photo this time round shows the first coat of filler applied.  It does a good job of filling in the wires and smoothing out some of the more un-typical lumps and bumps of the branches and trunk.  Depending on how well it goes, it maybe enough at this point to then paint with artists acrylics or oils depending on preference.  This one will get a second go of filler before that step.  The filler dries darker than this - I will try and remember to take a picture of the dry before I start with the painting!