Monday, 29 June 2015

Two Green Engines

With most of the painting done here's the Atkinson-Walker and the Hunslet, in different shades of green. Well, it adds variety!

The Hunslet uses Halfords Racing Green enamel aerosol, as used on some of my O14 i/c locos. It has perhaps a shade too much blue in it, but does look rather smart. The shiny finish will be toned down and lightly weathered shortly.

The Atkinson Walker uses Heathcote Ford Meadow Green. When weathered it should give a slightly faded appearance. I've not yet fitted the cab doors or interior "details", and I've noticed the wheels could do with toning down too.

Unfortunately painting black enamel over the acrylic aerosol has reacted, causing crazing. I've only seen this with with cellulose paint before, but I guess I could strip it off and re-paint with acrylic. It's only happened on the roof though, so right now I'm thinking of leaving it alone - it adds a nice texture, and with a little weathering it might look good.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Boxing Day

Thakeham has literally been gathering dust recently, so I've finally got around to a job I'd been thinking about for a while - a storage box/cover. With no shows currently booked for future this might seem unnecessary, but it does allow me to safely store the layout (in the loft) free from dust or damage, as well as protecting it if it does go to another show.

It's made from hardboard as I had a sheet in the garage (no idea where it came from but it's not much use for anything else!), and fits the top and two open sides of the layout. The sloping front made it more complex than it needed to be but makes it easier to manoeuvre into small spaces like the loft or back of the car. It attaches to the layout with 4 bolts (two at the top of the backscene and one at the bottom of each side), these thread into captive "Tee nuts" embedded in small blocks of softwood, which have been glued behind the layout fascia.

With the bolts removed the cover just lifts away from the layout. The sides may bow a bit as they are unsupported, but it really doesn't matter. I found a gate handle in my bits box that makes a very handy carry handle - I've even managed to place it approximately over the centre of gravity!

Inside the cover the top (nearest) is stiffened by an off-cut of 9mm ply, while further ply and softwood pieces hold the joins together. The top sheet was bent down to meet the sloping sides and then boiling water poured over, which allows the hardboard to take on the curve shape. The layout name-board is just foam-core board, so is vulnerable but very light. It attaches to the layout with velcro so I put a strip inside the cover to hold it safely inside when stored.

The only down-side is that it has made the layout a lot heavier - the cover probably weights more than the whole layout! However it isn't exactly heavy and can be carried one handed, and just about manhandled into the loft.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Putting paint on the Hunslet

I've gradually been progressing the Hunslet towards painting. First the final details were added - the handrail and injectors. The handrail knobs were tiny and drove me potty, but I got there in the end. The injectors are made from nickel silver wire with a piece of wire insulation, following the prototype photos, fitted into holes drilled in the footplate, cab, and boiler, then super-glued in place. Actually right after gluing the left side solid I realised they might be better fitted after painting... so I left the right side off.

After a small amount of filling gaps and removing excess glue the body was cleaned and polished with a fibreglass pencil. However it doesn't look it in this photo as I then gave it a wipe over with a blackening solution. It doesn't blacken whitemetal, but it does dull it so perhaps paint will stick better.

Then it's out to the garage for priming, along with the Atkinson Walker Steam Tractor which has also been waiting for warmer weather! Halfords grey etch primer does the metal bodies, in about 4 thin coats from different directions. Standard primer was used for plastic parts too. This was followed by the main body colour - Halfords Racing Green for the Hunslet; a rather glossy finish but I'll deal with that later.

As seen here it has also received the first coat of black, though 48 hours later that doesn't seem to be properly dry so perhaps the paint has gone off? In addition the buffer beams have had a priming coat of white as red doesn't cover well. You can also see I've been scraping the paint off the injectors this side (the masking tape is to protect the paint behind), and that on the other side has been fitted.

Meanwhile, in between painting, the workbench has moved to other projects!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Pendon Museum Part 2

So on to the main displays at Pendon - and since there were a few comments appreciating the last lot, no apologies for another stack of photos!

First we come to the Dartmoor scene, with this impressive viaduct and distant moorland scenery. There's also a station, though the glass made photography difficult.

Probably the best known is the Vale scene, which covers a huge area. While that is in itself impressive, it is the standard of modelling and level of detail that impresses most - despite the size of the model, the standard is consistently high.

The closer you look, the more realistic scenes appear. Of course this has been created by a team of people over decades (and is not yet complete), so the scale is beyond what an individual can achieve, but that doesn't stop it being inspiring.

The whole scene represents a little part of England in the 1930's, while not based on an actual place the buildings are all modelled on real ones. The textures and colouring are superb.

Now my wife, who is encouraging of my hobby but not particularly interested herself, was very impressed - I think she enjoyed the visit more than she expected to - which says a lot about it! Of course I took loads of photos, if you'd like to see more I have uploaded the better ones here.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Pendon Museum - The Madder Valley

A couple of weeks ago I managed to visit the Pendon Museum. This model railway gem is tucked away in a quiet corner of Oxfordshire (literally, it's down a dead-end lane in a quiet village), but is well known within the hobby, but despite living a few miles away for 4 years some years ago, this was the first time I'd been.

The Madder Valley Railway was built by John Ahern in the 1930's and 40's, yet is remarkable in it's realism for the time - scenic railway modelling was in it's infancy and there was little if any commercial support for realistic scenery. Even by today's standards it is a good example of a railway in the landscape, something few modellers achieve yet many would like to. The railway travels from one town to another through landscape, with apparent purpose and belonging. It is also interesting as a freelance model that draws inspiration from many narrow gauge and light railways, despite being a OO "standard" gauge model, yet the whole works convincingly. Definitely an inspiring model.

More soon...

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A bigger SWING

Yesterday three generations of the Campbell clan enjoyed a visit to this year's SWING narrow gauge show in Bognor. The show, which has built a reputation for quality layouts and a friendly atmosphere, has moved to a new and bigger venue this year. That has allowed more traders and layouts, but not all of those were narrow gauge - there were some standard gauge layouts and general traders - making it into a sort of hybrid show, like a typical club show but with a strong NG influence. I guess that widens the appeal to local modellers, though it does dilute the feeling of an NG show a little. It was good to see traders specialising in scenics, not often seen at NG shows, and there was no shortage of NG traders too (including KB Scale and Narrow Planet this year), nor indeed any shortage of NG layouts.

Amongst my better photos is this one of (I think) The Orchard Line in GN15, by Simon Andrews, showing the amount of detail possible in a small space using this scale.

John Thorne's Bottle Kiln Lane (009) is always a popular layout, with excellent scenery and a fascinating range of locos.

Wisteria Collop (009) by David Simpson has an emphasis on scenery, which is superbly done.

Q Dump in 1:35 on 16.5mm gauge, by Nigel and Sue Tansley, portrays the WWI 2' gauge railways serving the Western Front, in this case somewhere in Belgium. There's a high level of observation and detail in both the scenery, and the accurately modelled trains, while the operators were actively engaging in conversation with viewers to explain the history. This was my son's favourite layout, and I can see why.

My favourite was Melinau'r Abaty (O-16.5) by Chris Featherstone. Identifiable immediately as a Welsh slate railway, it is heavily influenced by the Corris railway, but with locos and stock from other Welsh lines looking at home together. The layout featured a working stub point and rope-shunting (I kid you not) and really captured the atmosphere of such lines.

For more photos click here. So despite the changes associated with making the show bigger, it's a show still worth making a trip for.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

In Print - Twice!

This month's 009 News contains my article on modifying the Eggerbahn OEG coaches. Regular readers may remember the build on this blog.

Also this month I picked up a copy of Narrow Gauge World, and to my surprise found a picture of Landswood Park in the modelling section. The article was discussing different scales and the picture illustrated 7mm NG in a very small space - and it's nice to see the layout still attracting attention!