Thursday, 30 April 2015

Slow progress resumes

For many reasons I've made little or no progress over the last few weeks (including various family events and having to re-install windows on our computer). One distraction was my daughter's birthday, which did necessitate a couple of "modelling" projects with my wife:

The last few evenings have seen the modelling bench dusted off and slow progress has resumed on the Hunslet. After a suggestion on the NGRM forum I have taken the files to the safety valves, which hopefully look a little finer now, though I suspect they are slightly over-scale I doubt it will be apparent if I paint them black as the prototype. I've also made a cab roof from plastic to reduce weight behind the wheels, the loco is heavy enough already especially at the back. It's two sheets of 20" plastic curved with boiling water while taped to a mug, only the top layer overlaps the sides giving a thin edge, and some microstrip adds the rain strips.

The other major step was filing down the cylinders of the US-outline Minitrains chassis to remove the end flanges. I'd wondered about adding a thin wrapper to beef them up but they are already wider than the footplate, and if I file the outside they won't be round as the prototype ones are (well I've done it a little, so they are slightly oval already!). However I did manage to raise them by cutting off the top of the valve chest and packing under the saddle that holds them to the front of the chassis. They might still be a bit thin - not sure on that yet - and are slightly behind where they should be relative to the smokebox, but even in a side-on view they don't look too bad, and raising them up has really helped.

Just a reminder of the prototype. I have some pipework and handrails to add, shame I don't have any white-metal sandboxes like that as they would help weight distribution!

The cab roof and re-profiled cylinders are clearer in this shot, as is my attempt at a lower slide-bar from a piece of etch fret. It would really look good if I could get it to fit, but I fear this attempt may have failed!

As you might be able to see in this shot it is simply a piece of U-shaped etch that forms a (cosmetic) lower slide bar and the motion bracket, then folds back to the frames for support. Sadly this piece of etch didn't have enough space in the "U" for the con-rod to waggle.

It's good to be back at the workbench and I'd like to see good progress with this loco, but I won't promise it will be fast...!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Crawley Model Railway Exhibition

Yesterday I went to the Crawley Model Railway Exhibition, confusingly held in Horsham... anyway, it was a big show, with no less than three halls, about 25 layouts, good trade support and even a ride-on steam railway outside.

Potchullin (P4) is a layout I've seen before, but it was great to see it again. I rather like blue diesels, and these ones have (subtle) sound too, but it is the scenery that really makes this layout.

Harlyn Pier (O) is an attractive layout that struck me as having great atmosphere, I could almost smell the seaweed.

Clarendon is, unusually, set in the pre WW1 era, and as well as superbly made trains the scenery is spot on for the period, just look at the station forecourt.

Bron Hebog, a model of Beddgelert in 009, will need no introduction to readers of Rob Waller's Blog. It's an impressive layout, and as a fan of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland railways and 009, one I was looking forward to seeing. So I may bore you all with more pictures soon...

Port Wen is a 7mm scale NG layout I'd not come across before, but looks and goes well so I'm sure it will be popular on the exhibition circuit.

A layout that has been around a few years, but still seems original and interesting, is That Dam Railway in 009. Based on the many constructional railways used to build dams in remote parts of Britain around the turn of the 20th century it includes the workers village, moving cranes, and many details.

So an enjoyable show, and if you'd like to flick through some more photos click here.