Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Atso-Cad LNER D120 Pigeon Van

The bloke who I am making all these cattle vans for also managed to obtain this little gem of a kit – I was too slow when County Rolling Stock had them.  Steve Da Costa, the designer, now has a Shapeways shop (here) with Ben having obtained his Patriot kit (and very nice it is too.  However, too many UFOs here in the queue to get one…yet) from him via this means recently.

Anyway, I have had this kit of Ben’s sitting around for nigh on 12 months and I thought it was about time I got it sorted – and it was a nice break from cattle (more of which later).

Atso D120 1
This first picture shows pretty much what you get.  Wheels, chassis and body with some brass and white metal detailing for the underframe.  The original, as I understand it, was Rapid 3D prototyped then cleaned up to create a master, from which a mould was made and then a production run cast.  Hopefully Steve adds it to his Shapeways shop as I would mind having a couple and another of our LAG lads would like some too.

As there is only two parts to the main bit of the kit and minimal flash, this didn’t take long.  Drill out for the whitemetal buffers, glue in tophat bearings for the wheels, glue on the vacuum brake cylinder and the brake shoes – which you can just see if you look hard enough – and you are ready to paint.  The photo above took roughly half an hour to get to from opening the box.

A quick glance at Historic Carriage Drawings Vol 3 by Tatlow gave numbers, liveries and some useful drawings which showed two pipes for steam and brake were fitted.  Ben models the SDJR at Sturminister Newton (see here on RMweb and then follow links from there to get a better idea) tentatively in the 1950s (well there is a green 9F which often makes an appearance hauling a long rake of coaches – having said that, the other day a Class 60 was running!) so the model was finished as E70199 in BR crimson.  I found some pipes in the bits box to put on each end.  Once glazed and what not, a light dust of Tamiya powders gave it the necessary cross country look.
Atso D120 2

Monday, January 20, 2014

Layout Makeover – Part I

Last year I had to make a choice – refresh my current layout (which was built back in 2000, and then put in storage in May 2008 before being re-erected in January 2012) or scrap it and build a new one.  A number of factors had to be considered – not least the cost in both dollars and time for building a new one and the fact that I would be lacking a layout for the time it took to get a new one up and running.  In the end, I decided to refresh St Alban’s Priory.
The first steps which I have taken involve redoing all the grass, using static grass.  Back in 2000, static grass wasn’t something I had heard of – I assume it was around but no one I knew was using it then.  Fast forward and it seems to be the bee’s knees, cat’s pyjamas and mutt’s – well you get the idea.
One of the LAG members had acquired a static grass applicator – Google if you haven’t seen one but basically its a metal tea strainer wired to a electric flyswat.  Don’t earth it when on as it give a loud crack, scares the mutt and makes you jump, spilling the contents of the strainer.  Every time.  Yes, every time you earth it – you don’t get used to this.
I have managed to get quite a bit of the layout done – I should work out the square footage of the layout but the scenic area in total is roughly 800mm by 4000mm.  Obviously the ballasted track, goods yard, platform and gas works all takes up a fair chunk of this but there is quite a bit of grass coverage too.
The five photos take you through the sequence I have adopted in doing this – I did take one with a ruler to give a sense of the size but it didn’t show up.  However, the length of the earthing clip (you have to create a circuit obviously or the static charge doesn’t work) is a bit over 450mm (or 15 inches if so inclined) and I usually do an area with a nail in half way – so about 800mm long by what ever wide.
Grass 1
The beginning.  The foreground has already been done – and the end of the platform used to end in the world's narrowest ramp so it has been removed (no barrow crossing anyway) and will be replaced with a square end with steps for anyone who needs to go that way.  Signals for the platform will be going here too – possibly colour lights but not sure.  Working in any case.  The area to be treated is the big green patch beyond the ladder of points for the yard.  The line over the back in front of the retaining wall is to the Gas Works which is just out of shot to the right of picture.  The centre house is the subject of the previous post here.  The grass to be replaced is some foam based product by Woodland Scenics, the code and title of which I have long since forgotten but it has faded quite a lot – in a good way, but faded none the less.
Grass 2
The area which is going to be attacked gets covered in PVA glue.  We experimented a bit with the viscosity of the glue and found the thicker the better so it goes on neat and is then spread around with wet fingers – keep a bowl of water handy to dipping your fingers in to keep them wet rather than gluey.  The water helps with the conduction of the electrical current later.
Grass 3
This shows the area covered with glue – it goes off a bit to the left and to the right (there is a base board join to the right – it went up to this but no further.  I didn’t want to glue the baseboards together  by accident).  I have also kept it back a bit from the track – not quite up to the ballast shoulder simply because with the layout set during the steam era, not much grew where the trains went.  St Alban’s Abbey (on which this is based) was a fairly busy station for a terminus – the Gas Works playing a critical part in the density of the traffic.
Grass 4
Grass done.  You can just see in the middle of the grass at the back the 12mm nail I used to provide the grounding pole for the applicator.   At this point the grass hasn’t been vacuumed to get the surplus off so it is quite lumpy.
Grass 5
Once the glue has dried (out here in Australia in Summer this is overnight if, like me, you do this after the evening meal – if I did it after breakfast the glue would be dry by lunch!) and using a piece of cloth or old nylons over the end of the nozzle, carefully vacuum the surplus up and return to jar.  The slight difference in colouring in this pic is probably due to the fact that it was taken at 0930 rather than 2130 like the previous 4.
Grass 6
I am using three colours – the one in the glass jar is 5mm lengths and the main one I am using.  The other two shades are both 2mm lengths.  All are from the Heki range which is available at my LHS.  There is a bloke handy who does a lot more varieties and in smaller packs – didn’t know at the time I purchased! 
5mm scales at 2’6” high which by Australian standards is high grass – the home of some sort of snake which will kill you in 10 mins most likely.  In the UK, it means the weather has been warm but wet and no-one has been able to mow.  On a layout, whilst high it looks right.  The 2mm stuff – scaling at 1’ high – just looked wrong.  All the looking was at NVD – normal viewing distance for an exhibition (remembering that this is a layout which has been on the local circuit and maybe again) – of 1m.  We figured the look was more important and as it looked right with 5mm grass, and wrong with 2mm, the 5 was used the most, and the 2mm for colouring.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kestrel Designs Semi-Detached House

House 1

This is my entry in the Detailed Line-side Kit category at the BRMA(Q) AMMC.  Unfortunately I wasn’t successful, but it was an enjoyable experience and I learned a lot – now I have 8 more to do to complete the street scene on the back of St Alban’s Priory.

The basic kit is that of Kestrel Design’s KD31 – Semi-Detached House and the detailing was inspired from reading an article some years ago in Grahame Hedge’s N’spirations Magazine – Number 3 from 2011 for those of you playing at home.  If you haven’t gotten a copy of this one, it is in my opinion, one of the more N’spiring of the 12 which Grahame has published and I am certainly grateful for the inspiration for this make over.

To give you some idea of what I did (and I did this for the judges) here is a photo showing the detailed kit along side a kit which has merely had Humbrol No 70 added to the walls and 64 to the roof:

House 2

House 3

The article details it step by step although I did deviate – I didn’t highlight the mortar runs in the brick work, and I went for a grey slate roof rather than the red tiles.  I also did the waste vent pipes differently (not sure about in the UK but in Australia you don’t put the sewerage and storm water down the same pipe – the pictures in N’spirations 3 have the vent pipes also connected to the gutters!)  The model looks much better in real life – it is, in the first picture, in its place on the layout but I haven’t fixed it down yet which enabled the other two pictures to be taken – than in the photos.  Looking at the photos at a high resolution on the computer screen I wonder why I thought it good enough to enter in the first place!! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Diorama – Completed

Waaaay back in 2012 (!) I posted this.  As I wasn’t eligible for the BRMA(Q) Diorama category following my win in 2011 with my cattle dock (late comers or the forgetful can find it here – clearly I need to do something about titles!) I didn’t actually get around to doing much more with it – although one of the LAG members did get his finished and he was successful in winning the Diorama category at the 2012 BRMA AMMC.

With the 2013 competition approaching I thought it would be opportune to get it out, dust it off and finish it with a view to entering it on the day.  Unfortunately I didn’t take too many pictures of the progress from what was in the blog post from 2012 until close to the competition date – a small matter of having glue on my fingers and the wife not liking me touching her DSLR camera while my fingers are thus coated (picky picky!).

In any event, it was completed using bits and pieces from the scraped Swallow Street (which I had hoped to resurrect in 2012 – fail – and then moved it to 2013 – also fail and may get around to it in 2014 – unlikely) from which I gained the inspiration.

2012 Diorama 7  The blue isn’t actually part of it –  is a folder on the shelf behind it.  Papers all by Scale Scene.  The Terrace is a couple of blocks of half inch by two inch pine with a chamfer cut on for the roof.  Chimneys balsa with some styrene for pots.  Lamps Ratio, seats Langley (I think), trolleys Kibati (sic).

2012 Diorama 8

Detail of the seated passenger waiting…  On the day of the Competition, the 4CEP DBSO was added to show a train arriving.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

South East Queensland Area Group Meeting - 11 January 2014

We had the first meeting of the combined N Gauge Society, 2mm Scale Association and British Railway Modellers of Australia N gauge Area Group for the new year today. The group has been operating since February 2012 and meets on the Second Saturday of the Month.  If you are a member of any of the mentioned organisations and you’d like to be added to the group email list, please get in touch.   The purpose of the meetings is to work on projects, swap tips and ideas and pick the brains of those present to solve any issues which might have arisen whilst working at home.
Today’s meeting had most of the attendees looking at modifying ready to run Private Owner Wagons.  The intention is those who are members of the BRMA can use the results of this project to enter the Modified RTR Category at this year’s AMMC.  The two photos below (and accompanying captions) tell the story of the start of a pair of Peco 10’ PoWs using the 2mm SA Beginner’s Guide as a starting point.
Peco Conversion 1
The top wagon is the modified one (which hopefully was obvious!)  The inner mouldings designed to hold the Peco wagon load up and in place have been cut out with a sharp scalpel (the chisel type works best) and then the sides have been thinned down by scrapping an older No 11 blade along them and finished off with a fine file.  The overall width has been reduced from 0.8mm down to something more realistic of 0.3mm
Peco Conversion 2 
Again, the top one is the modified one.  This picture shows that the brake gear has had a razor saw passed down it and then the rod and V hanger have been further thinned with a scalpel.
Further detailing is planned over the coming months to produce some wagons which are more suitable for a 1950s era layout than a 1930s one.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

LMS Cattle Wagons

As promised last post, here is the first of the three BRMA(Q) AMMC entries from 2013.  These two cattle wagons were the winning entries in Category C – Kit or Scratch-built Rolling Stock.  The competition was of a high standard in this category and it was one of the most popular with 8 or 9 entries.
LMS Cattle Wagons 2
The kits are 2mm Scale Association etches – kit number 2-602 which is actually the MR Cattle Wagon with a low top rail and two bars to D298.  As I built these for a friend – and the rest of the rake as seen in the picture below – and he wanted them in LMS livery, that is what they are and why the title is what it is.
Nothing special about building them – layer the detail on, then build the box, add the floor and roof and fit to the desired chassis.  Pictures in the consulted literature (Essery’s MR Wagons Vol 1 & 2 published by OPC) suggested livery variations which have been produced. 
I am presently doing a rake of cattle wagons from the 2mm Association for Ben to run on his layout based on Sturminister Newton on the SDJR – this is where the five wagons below are photographed.  The rake will be expanded as I complete the builds of the various types offered by the 2mm Association – ones completed include in addition to the pair above, 2-601 and 2-603.  I am going to be doing some using kit 2-606 and the plastic bodies 2-514.  There may even be a 2-600 amongst the collection of UFOs out in the shed.  Not sure.  Stay tuned.
LMS Cattle Wagons 3

Saturday, January 4, 2014

BRMA Modelling Competition 2013

Last November the British Railway Modellers of Australia (Queensland Division!) had their Annual Model Making Competition and, for the second year in succession, all the major prizes were awarded.  We have obviously gained a critical mass with this after 10 years (the Competition was first held in 2003) and hopefully the standard of modelling as a whole improves as a result.

I was ineligible for two categories as I was the 2012 winner for the Kit or Scratch-built Locomotive (LMS Garratt by Fleetline – those of you familiar with this kit will be a little bemused, as I was, considering that I didn’t do anything special to it – just glued it together and painted it with cheap black spray paint.  I wasn’t at the competition in 2012 so I don’t know what the other entries were like) and the Modified RTR Locomotive (a detailed Peco Jubilee).  I entered four categories this year – Kit or Scratch built Rolling stock, Modified RTR Rolling-stock, Diorama and Detailed Line-side Structure Kit.  The last one I was especially keen to have a go at as it is the only category which I haven’t won – mind you, I haven’t previously entered it either!

As it turned out, I was successful in two categories again – both were satisfying wins for various reasons but neither was the Detailed Line-side Structure Kit.  Better luck next year.  I was successful in the Kit or Scratch-built Rolling Stock and the Diorama categories.

I plan on putting up a post about each of the winning entries – and the model which I put in the Line-side Structure Kit category – over the next few days.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year and a new beginning.

2013 didn’t exactly go according to plan railway wise – and certainly not blog wise.  It was very much neglected and for those of you who were regular readers, I apologise.
I did get quite a few projects started and a couple finished during 2013 but I tended to find that I didn’t take any where near as many photographs as I used to when I first started the blog – and with the computer not being as convenient to the modelling location as it was when we lived in Longreach getting around to updating the blog fell be the wayside.
Anyway, enough of the boring excuses.  A New Year has dawned and, thanks to my wife, a new beginning on the blog front.  Amity has shown me how she keeps her blog updated – and this is whilst managing a home, running her own business and bringing up 5 kids while I am at work!  Assuming the apprentice learns from the master (had to get some sort of Sith analogy in there) then all will be good and regular updates of progress on my modelling with return.

In closing – a picture of what the 5 kids and beautiful wife gave me for Christmas just past.  Undoubtedly some will be bemused but, given some of the projects I will be involved in this year, the 2nd and 3rd parts of the Book of the Black 5s will be handy.
Christmas 2013