Friday, 26 April 2019

Highland Railway Type B goods brake van.

Highland Railway Type B goods brake van d.25

I was aware that Walsworth Models had produced a kit for this attractive 6-wheel van and when I saw it on the Highland Railway stand at MRS earlier this year I thought it looked a quality product and I bought one. The kit proved to be well designed and etched in modeller friendly nickle silver, though rather let down by the quality of the brass castings.

I made several changes as I built the van, perhaps the most radical was altering the curve of the van roof which I thought was too flat. To do this I soldered a new correctly curved top onto the van ends, it wasn't a lot different but it made all the difference and I felt it looked better. However this small alteration had the unforeseen knock-on effect of having to remake the roof lookout windows, front and back, to match the curve of the roof and this was not a small job. I cut them to shape using a  pattern that I made from Peter Tatlow's very credible drawing on page 180 of his "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons". I noticed that the windows on the drawing were a little different to those supplied in the kit so remaking them proved to be a definite improvement to the model.

I thought that the way the kit was designed left the edges of the windows very thin, about 0.25mm which is less than half an inch, so I soldered 0.45 n/s sheet behind all the window openings, lookout, doors and van ends, so the glazing would now be set in over an inch and give the van a more chunky feel. I also beefed up the rather slim footboards with a lamination of 0.25 strip and cut down the upper footboard to allow room for horse hooks on the solebars.

The axle boxes and springs were cast as one piece in brass, the use of this material being I suppose an attempt to upgrade the quality of the kit. However something had gone awry at the casting stage and the axle boxes were set at an awkward angle to the springs and there was nothing I could do to fix the error other than cut the offending axle box off and discard it. The springs by themselves were acceptable and I soldered them to the solebar without the brass axleboxes which I replaced with some nicely cast white metal ones I had in hand from a Lochgorm kit.

The couplings and safety chains that enliven the buffer beam I made myself; the safety chain hooks came from the spares box as those on the etched sheet were over-etched out of existence. The coupling hooks are sprung fairly stiffly, largely to facilitate removal when I paint the model. I don't want the springs to allow the coupling hooks much movement if any.

The improvements I made to the van are small though the effort in making them was huge, I think it was time well spent though you can judge for yourselves by clicking on the photos to enlarge them.   

The suspension system and brake gear.

The two near axles are mounted on a centrally pivoted bogie, the rear axle is screwed to the floor; a long 0.6mm rod runs the length of the floor and acts as a self centering spring on the bogie. Unseen are the screws that hold the superstructure to the underframe to allow access to the interior for glazing at a later stage.

So watch this space... I'll be working the van to a finish now; tomorrow the etch primer then the paint shop as I need to photograph the painted model in time to make the deadline for the Highland Railway Journal.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Merrie Carlisle, more progress

LMS 5050, Merrie Carlisle

When we observe a real steam engine the viewpoint is usually low, however in the case of a model it's quite different, we view the model from above and one of the first things we notice is the space under the boiler between the frames where the inside motion sits and a Precedent displays her inside motion quite prominently. At the moment Merrie Carlisle has no inside motion, a very noticeable omission which needs to be remedied. I'm working on it and if I can make the motion work then I will, if not then it'll have to be simply cosmetic motion, non-working that is, either way it'll fill the gap.

The crew's working space...

I'm working on the loco crew now, they need to be designed so they don't both stand in the cab which is a very restricted area and even more so since the splashers are closer together than on the real engine, it's tighter by about a scale 5 or 6 inches, so watch this space...

The cab and backhead in detail.

The pale green floor area is Milliput into which a brass fret had been pressed to simulate the small wooden blocks that formed the lower cab floor on these engines, it'll work better when it's glued down and painted. There are two wooden inserts in the upper cab floor which have been made out of planking from a model ship kit. Most of the backhead detail owes something to castings from LGM. I think I've included everything you can see on the real thing though I never found room for the blower handle which I think was in the right hand corner somewhere.

Friday, 1 March 2019

LMS 5050 Merrie Carlisle progressing

The triangular ash hopper has a shield to prevent ash blowing up into the motion, the hole in it is not prototypical, it is for access to the body fixing screw.

The cylinder drain cocks can be seen below the front cylinder covers, their operating rods have been modelled as far as possible. The join between the working frames and the wider forward extension of the frames, which are fixed to the footplate, is clearly seen though is not obvious when the wheels are in place. The gap between the front and rear plates of both the buffer beam and the ash hopper are filled with Milliput. The void in the buffer beam allows the front coupling, which is pegged in place,  to be removed; these are fully working couplings supplied as a kit by CPL Products, the characteristic LNWR "T" bar is an added refinement. Note the front sand box nestling behind its outer cover, the lower part of the sand pipe is yet to be fitted.

Work on the detail in the cab is at an advanced stage.

The roof is soldered to the inner spectacle plate, both this assembly and the backhead can be removed so I can work on the detail, some of which you can see in this view of the engine. The lower footplate of the real engine consisted of a casting which accommodated wooden blocks a fraction over 1" square. I've not modelled this feature yet as I need some Scale Link 1mm square mesh which is proving difficult to come by. The idea is to push the mesh onto a flat piece of Milliput which, hopefully, will pop up through the mesh to form the "wooden" blocks!

Cab details progressing though there's still more to add.

Most of the castings used in the cab are from Laurie Griffin Miniatures and though they have all been modified in some way without them this sort of detail would not be possible.

Superstructure and frames pose on the wooden block that the engine is built on surrounded by the debris of a working session in the studio.

I bought some collarless handrail knobs from 62C Models which hold the handrail that runs along the larger vacuum ejector pipe on both sides of the engine. On the right hand side the hand rail operates the blower valve which is attached to the smokebox, this was done by turning a handle in the cab which I have not yet managed to model. Behind the chimney sits the smokebox regulator lubricator for which I have not been able to locate a suitable casting so I'll have to make one myself. The LNWR Society's re-publication of Bill Finch's book on building an LNWR Jumbo is invaluable and provides drawings of most of the details I've included in the model or have yet to make, Jack Nelson's book "LNWR Portrayed" is also useful to modelers

Friday, 25 January 2019

Merrie Carlisle Progress...

An incomplete Merrie Carlisle had a test run on the club layout in Carlisle recently, she went well and was well received by the members.

The smokebox has yet to be soldered into place and at this stage the wrapper has no rivet detail, nor do the cab side sheets. I plan to add the rivets later when construction is complete and I've done some research into the possibilities, of which there are four...

1. Brass rivets soldered or glued into appropriate holes. The rivets heads on the real engine are 3/4" d. which in 1:43 scale is 0.435mm. I think 0.5 would be near enough, though I'm sure drilling 250 rivet holes would be a task expensive in small drills.

2. HGW cast resin transfer rivets seemed a good idea and indeed they are very effective, easy to work with and leave no backing on the model as this is peeled away after the transfer sets. Unfortunately they're too small for gauge O locomotives as they're designed for model aircraft, 0.25 is the largest diameter of rivet they make and though they're fine for aircraft, to us they're mere pimples.

3. Archer Surface Detail transfer rivets are the favourite at the moment, they make O gauge rivets about the right size which adhere well to the primer coat. I've experimented and rubbed them with my finger and they stay put. They stand proud of the surface of the model by 0.12mm which is nearly 1/4" and a little on the low side compared to a brass rivet. I'll have to try them and see how convincing they are, this is after all an experiment. Another reservation I have is that the resin rivets are carried on a carrier film though this is very thin and I think will disappear under the paint.

4. Small Shop produce a "Nutter" tool which makes rivet and nuts and bolt heads that are glued in place with varnish. I've only seen a video of this in action but on the face of it the tool looks like a viable though rather expensive proposition.

The wheels are insulated at the rim and and are cast and turned to size by JPL Models.

The motor is restrained by a vertical member which engages in a hole in the top of the motor.
I may replace the M1824 with a more powerful M1833 if the locomotive proves underpowered, I think there's probably room for one.

The front wheels are sprung individually, following Geoff Holt's example, this arrangement is just visible bottom right.

There is a very visible void beneath the boiler so inside motion will have to be fitted, though I don't know whether I can make it work.

The upper part of the motion plate is in place between the upper part of the frames, which are attached to the footplate. The lower part of the motion plate will be attached to the working frames below and will carry the slide bars and provide support for the valve rods. The LNWR Precedents were fitted with Alexander Allan's straight link valve gear, mine will be fitted with the nearest to that ideal that I can manage.

The brass backhead casting is from LGM and has been narrowed at the sides because of the intrusion of the wider than scale cab splashers in O gauge fine scale. Recesses in the upper floor are for wooden inserts. There's a wealth of detail to go in the cab, it's a busy place. 

Electrical pick-up is by the so called American system, the current is led from the tender to the motor through the drawbar, which is insulated from the engine, using a method described by Nick Baines. I've attached a pick-up wire to the drawbar at the tender end which bears on the bottom of the tender floor above to ensure a good contact. Without this addition contact with the tender was uncertain and resulted in uneven running.

There's only a 9" gap between buffer beam and smokebox front so it's a tight fit for the cylinder lubricators which were modified for this situation from LGM castings.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Merrie Carlisle...first moves.

King Arthur lives in Merrie Carlisle,
And seemly is to see
And there with him Queen Guinever
That bride so bright of blee 

When I mentioned recently that I intended to make a start on a model of the LNWR's "Merrie Carlisle", one of the club members at CDOGG remarked that a plain engine such as a Precedent should provide few problems, well I beg to differ, it's just one problem after another. Of course that's probably because it's a scratch built engine and as such it's a prototype and I'm running into all the problems and unforeseen snags that are bound to crop up building any prototype. So it has been slow going, a tale of trial and error and of two steps forward and one step back! Nevertheless, as the accompanying pictures show I have the beginings of a Precedent taking shape in the studio. There are no correct Slaters' wheels available for this engine, which I mentioned to their technical department, however my revelation was met with a decided lack of interest. So I sourced the wheels from JPL Models and I have them in hand now, they are cast iron and nicely turned to size though demanding a good deal of work on the spokes to finish them. My drawing of the engine shows 6ft 9"wheels, those made for me by JPL are, at my insistence, 6ft 6" across the treads, though they measure 7ft across the flanges; I hope that the splashers will house the wheels without having to be made oversize. The boiler will have to be cut away to allow the front driving wheels clearance, a necessary compromise when working in gauge O fine scale and a reminder that this is a model, not the real thing.

There is a kit available for an LNWR Precedent from Mercian Models (ref. LNW1 @ £250 ) which is based on the old Modeller's World kit, however I chose the scratch building route as I thought it probably less bothersome and a good idea to put the saving into some quality brass castings.

"Merrie Carlisle" was built at the LNWR's Crewe Works in 1894 as number 860 and took its name from the opening line of a fifteenth century poem, "The marriage of Sir Gawain". It was one of only four Precedents turned out in the LMS red livery after the grouping and at the moment it is in that guise as LMS 5050 that I intend to finish the engine.

Note the double skinned cab spectacle plate. Rivets are absent from the cab sides though I intend to add them from Archers' Surface Detail resin transfers at a later stage.

Frames are cut from 0.7 nickle silver and are a respectable 27mm wide. The troublesome curly footplate is from 0.4 n/s.
Cab floor in place with locations for square wooden inserts on the upper level. The distance between splashers on the real engine is a miserly 4ft 3". The model splashers are only 3ft 10" apart, leaving even less working space for the crew.

Slaters' brass hornblocks slide in slots in the 0.7mm frames and are held in place by an "L" shaped keeper plate.  

The frames stop short of the open footplate behind the buffer beam. The wider cosmetic front frames are attached to the footplate and overlap the working frames in an obvious manner though when the wheels are in place the join is hardly noticeable.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Passenger Tank HR46 Complete

HR 46 Passenger Tank

Number 46 was built 2/1906 and entered service on the Highland Railway in unlined Drummond II green livery which it retained until taken into LMS service when the engine was painted red and numbered 15054. The model is built without the aid of a kit though it relies heavily on commercially available castings, mostly from Laurie Griffin Miniatures.

Cab doors open and close, a sneck locates over the stanchion to lock them in place. 

The bogie splashers are attached to the engine main frames which causes a clearance problem with the rear wheels on curves. I made the splashers as near scale as possible and after much fiddling and filing, a film of Araldite on the inside and some restriction of the throw of the bogie, the engine corners well now, though I don't think it will negotiate very tight curves.

Cab Interior with crew from Invertrain Models.

Most of the castings on display in the cab are from LGM, they are invaluable as making absolutely everything yourself is a very long way round. However nearly all the castings have been modified in some way or other to suit this particular engine.

The crew are from Invertrain's "Heroes of the Footplate" range and are chosen for their poses, which suit the small working space, they contrast with each other and don't crowd the cab. The driver's hands are over the cab beading and hold him steady when the engine is in motion. The fireman's feet are soldered to a small metal base, painted to match the wooden floor; double sided Sellotape holds him in place. Both figures can be removed from the cab without damaging any paintwork.

Transfers from Fox; number plates from Guilplates.

My next locomotive building project deviates for a change from the HR into the LNWR. Work is underway though not far advanced yet.
It's "Merrie Carlisle" a Precedent class engine which in LMS days ran in their very attractive red livery.
So watch this space...

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

G & S W R 16T Drummond Brake Van complete

Photo from the archives of the G & SWR Society.

The G & SWR Society kindly supplied the above photo from their archive of the brake van in pre-grouping livery which I used to complete my model. I drew the number and maker's plate by hand then scanned the drawings, sized them on the computer and printed them on the inkjet. Transfers are HMRS from their sheet no. 20. 

Drummond 16 Ton Brake Van
The mid grey colour of the van is of my own devising. I have outlined the panels and planks with a darker shade but have not carried out any weathering. The van measures 120mm overall and weighs a chunky 300g... and runs superbly. Note that the lower foot boards have been thickened to 0.9mm which is near the inch and a half of the real thing. 

Note the lamps in place and guard on the look out.

I painted the end of the van red which I think is possibly correct for a van in pre grouping livery. It also adds to the attractiveness of the colour scheme. The van ends featured curious double doors which opened outwards, their purpose escapes me. The roof, which can be removed to view the interior, is held in place by a screw in the chimney which locates into the top of the stove pipe inside the van. The guard in his red trimmed cap is from a "Heroes of the Footplate" figure, he has been repositioned slightly to fit into this particular van.

The interior is fully furnished and fitted.

The brake van is of the single skin variety, there is no inner planking so the structural framing is visible and has to be modelled which is probably a more onerous undertaking than furnishing the van. No helpful information has come down to us from G & SWR days, which leaves the field wide open to the imagination, so I opted for a contrasting maroon and cream interior and avoided any horizontal colour divisions as this would have been too difficult to paint in the confined interior. The floor planking was painted, dry brushed and lined and in turn contrasted attractively with the maroon fittings. I used a lot of masking tape when I painted the interior and left the window glazing until last so I could access the interior by poking my brushes through them. Only the stove, the inner brake mechanism and the corner storage box were painted separately and glued in place later.