Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tractor for...

Universal Hobbies 1:43 scale Farmall F12

By way of a light diversion I thought a posting about my new tractor purchase might find favour. This is a McCormick-Deering Farmall F12 of 1935, though when I first saw it I thought it was a rather earlier beast. The F12 is one of 27 1:43 scale tractors listed by Universal Hobbies, the earliest one being the Fordson F of 1917 which, though an excellent model, does not compare with the Classic Commercials version, though as the latter is in kit form, this might be an unfair comparison. The tractor is intended as a load for an appropriate wagon, which I have yet to decide on though there seem to be only two agricultural machinery wagons available, those in the Connoiseur and Celtic Connection ranges. I don't think I'll try to add any extra detail to the tractor, it's a very fine little model, though I will tone down the toy-like paintwork and add a little light weathering so that both tractor and wagon display a unity of finish. I hope to feature the model in a later post. You can read an earlier article I wrote on this subject in the G0G Gazette Vol.18 No.12 Pg.57.

Friday, 24 October 2014

HR54 Yankee Tank Superstructure

HR 54 Yankee Tank

The nickel silver sheet superstructure of my HR Yankee Tank is almost complete. The boiler backhead, which is a much altered LGM casting, slots into place between the side tanks in the cab and can be removed which will help when I come to add the backhead fittings later. I have no information on these fittings, nor does any exist, so I'll do the best I can by basing the details of the backhead on what I know of other Highland engines of the time and include injectors, water gauges, a regulator and lubricators which should be a good start on what I'd like to be a busy cab interior. The vacuum ejector pipe which is mounted on the right side of the boiler, leading from the smokebox back to the cab, needs to connect to something inside the cab. Hmmm...I'm looking into this matter now.
The cab rear has been constructed as a separate assembly which will be soldered in place but not until I've done as much work to the cab interior while access is relatively good. The upper cab side sheets butt together above the cab entrance where the joint will be partly disguised by the half round beading surrounding the cab opening.

7mm Yankee Tank superstructure

The brass boiler fittings are very accurate castings and were supplied with the "Lochgorm" Yankee Tank kit, however they're practically the only parts that I've retained from the kit. The "Jones"chimney is a two-part casting which allows a common base to be fitted with different tops to enable modellers to build all five versions of the Yankee Tank that were built by Dubbs & Co. in Glasgow. However the safety valve casting supplied, being of different provenance to the chimney and dome, was much oversize and needed drastic time consuming surgery before it was acceptable.

Yankee Tank cab detail

The cab appears spacious enough from outside but in fact the interior is cramped by the bunker which protrudes inside the cab and by the over scale side tanks which leave little space between them for the crew. I intend to design a driver and fireman for the engine who should fit nicely into the cab but it will be quite a challenge. They will of course be available commercially in my "Heroes of the Footplate" range.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Laa'l Ratty

Waiting for the train to appear on the RER

Instead of blogging about grappling with near impossible modelling projects I thought a posting and a few photos of a trip to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway that I made recently might provide some light relief. It's called Laa'l Ratty in popular parlance of course and as you can see by the pictures the trip was before the onset of the rainy season. With wife and dog aboard I motored over to Eskdale Green, an unspoilt haven of peace in Eskdale through which the railway winds its way on its seven mile journey from Ravenglass to Dalegarth, the terminus, higher up the valley.

We stayed a few nights in Eskdale at the King George IV pub which is within easy walking distance of The Green station. Fell walking was the main aim of our few days in the West and we planned to bag a few of  Alfred Wainwright's "Outlying Fells of the Lake District", however the lure of Laa'l Ratty was irresistible and, after a strenuous day hiking round the tops above Devoke Water, we resolved to visit her the following day for a more restful outing.

We walked from the George IV past The Green station, along the overgrown lane and on over undulating Muncaster Fell (757ft) then down through the grounds of Muncaster Castle, past the excavations beside the Roman Fort and into the pretty little seaside village of  Ravenglass, about a 10k walk altogether. Lunch we had at the railway station in the sunshine, then later we took the train back up the valley, riding in style up magnificent Eskdale in a carriage open to the sky to alight at The Green station, a matter of a few hundred yards from our base, it was a great day out and much to be recommended.


Hercules of the RH & DR

Mighty Hercules, a 4-8-2 of the RH & DR was on loan from that railway due to a shortage of steam motive power on the RER. He was a bit too long for the turntable and had to be disconnected from his tender to be turned round; a great favourite with visitors.

River Irt in Ravenglass Station.

River Irt was also in service that day. Built in 1894 and named Muriel originally, she is the oldest working 15" gauge engine. She was rebuilt in 1927 and altered in 1972 to her current appearance. I'm sure that these engines and their attendant rolling stock would make great models in 7mm scale, though I really must resist the temptation, I've enough to do without that! Click on the link below for more info about the engines of the RER.

And no... the Yankee Tank project has not been abandoned, nor has it been shunted into the great siding in the sky, in fact I'll be posting some pictures of progress in the next couple of days; so watch this space!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Yankee Tank, Basic Structure.

Yankee Tank  HR54

The basic structure of HR54 is progressing slowly. I've struggled recently with the riveted side tanks though I think I've made an acceptable pair at last after a good many failures. I used a G W Models riveting tool to make the rivets but found that due to the amount of play on the carrier that it was far from straight forward consequently it took me some time to tame the machine and get it to do what it was supposed to do, namely to press equally spaced rivets in a straight line! I scored guide lines on the back of the tanks and steadied the carrier with my finger to ensure that each rivet was plumb centre of the line, spacing was less of a problem as the machine handles spacing accurately. Once the rivets were pressed the side was then cut to shape. It is possible to side step the rivet problem by building HR102 which was built with plain tanks without rivets and displayed significant differences of detail from the other members of the class. In fact all five of the HR's Yankee Tanks display appreciable differences, no two are quite the same.

I realised at a rather late stage that the front spectacle plate does not form a corner with the cab side sheet, the latter overlaps the former slightly, a revelation that resulted in another cab side sheet ending in the bin.

The Yankee Tank cab is ideally suited to double-skinning. I made an inner skin for both the rear and front spectacle plate so that the glazing will eventually slip between the two. The front plate will have the back-head attached and the unit will I hope be removable to facilitate detailing the cab interior. I note that Nick Baines http://www.nickbaines.me.uk describing the construction of his latest LNWR Problem class engine uses double-skinning to facilitate not only the glazing but also to make the backhead assembly removable... I'll take a leaf out of his notebook.

The cab entrance is a mere 1ft 3in wide, which suggests that the Highland did not encourage fat engine drivers. One of the few components that I used from the original kit is the footplate and I found that to achieve this small gap I had to add 3in to the rear of the footplate which was under size. I soldered a strip of metal under the rear footplate up against the buffer beam to form a protruding ledge which supported the 3in wide footplate extension.

The edging that surrounds the cab and runs along the tank tops is quite a substantial half-round section that I'm using 1mm half-round brass material from Eileen's Emporium to simulate. Half -round is not easy to persuade into shape! As you can see I've made a start on the cab rear where the edging will both strengthen and help conceal the join between the cab front and rear.

HR 54 Yankee Tank

The side tank fronts will be made as a separate component, overlapping the inner side and making a flush joint with the outer skin. This is part of the basic platework of the superstructure along with the roof, steps and tanks inside the cab which I'll tackle next. The cab and tank edging will be added in the flat and the boiler bands will have to be soldered in place before the separate assemblies...cab rear, side tanks and the boiler are soldered together to complete the basic structure.

HR Yankee Tank details of side tanks and cab interior


Yankee Tank side tanks and cab interior detail

As details of the interior of the cabs and back-heads of these engines are practically non-existent I'll probably build a typical Jones back-head with appropriate period fittings. The side tanks run through into the cab. However the rear drivers run inside them and to allow clearance for them the inner tanks have to be made wider than those outside which makes for a cramped situation in the cab which will have to be considered when I design the crew for this engine.
The narrow entrance and the double-skin of the cab are well seen in this view, the splasher/inner tank tops and sides are not yet in place.