Saturday, 7 March 2015

LNWR Chopper Tank revisited.


LNWR Chopper Tank from an ABS kit with additions and improvements.

I had the superstructure of this engine painted by Conrad Cooper of Criccieth who also expertly added the boiler bands and LNWR lining. I asked him not to work on the cab interior as this was a job, along with painting the crew, that I wanted to do myself. This is a time consuming process and relies on hand painting methods rather than air brushing and lining techniques, I thought it more my line than his.

2-4-0T Chopper Tank

I hand painted everything below the footplate myself, paying particular attention to the firebox for which I used colours from photos of other engines then brought it to life with a good deal of dry brush work. I applied matt black to the smokebox wrapper and front then scrubbed this with an old brush to relieve the lifeless effect of dull matt paint. I dry brushed some metallic gunmetal onto edges and rails though when I saw the effect of this in better lighting conditions I thought I'd overdone it, so I'm in the process of removing some of this.

Chopper Tank cab interior

The HMRS publication "LNWR Liveries"suggests using two parts indian red to one part ivory black to reproduce the colour of the cab interior above the splashers. I found that a touch of black was enough to produced an acceptable effect, the HMRS recipe being too dark. Cab detail is from the ABS kit with some additions though I suspect it is not the full story, the pipe on the right hand side of the boiler does not enter the cab; if it did I know it would have given rise to a good deal more pipework. (see the coal tank cab below). Those wooden plinths beside the fire door for the crew to stand on are topped with real planking. The works inside the cab were lightly dry brushed with metallic paint then scrubbed with an old brush to achieve a metallic sheen which I think works well in the cab. The brass pressure gauge on the spectacle plate, which is a white metal casting, was first given a coat of metallic paint well darkened with black, this was then given the slightest of touches of rather brighter brass paint just on top where it catches the light and then doesn't look as good as a real brass gauge though, even after all that fiddling about. I'm not convinced that brass, silver and steel paint, even the so called "metallic" paints, however skilfully they're applied are successfull in representing these metals. It's a much better option to obtain a real brass gauge or a brass hand wheel than to attempt to paint a white metal one to look like brass. Note that the window surrounds are real brass!

Crew from the Heroes of the Footplate range.

You can just make out part of the wood block floor that characterised many LNWR engines between the splashers in this picture, The fireman is resting his shovel on its rear edge, beyond the floor is of steel plate. The crew, of about 1900, are from my own Heroes of the Footplate range (Refs: R1 & R2) and are designed specifically for a small tank engine. They are posed to maximise the space available in a cramped cab, the space being additionally restricted by over scale wheels and the resultant narrow gap between the splashers.

Note that painted figures are available from Heroes of the Footplate, prices on request.

LNWR Coal Tank cab interior

Cab of an LNWR Coal Tank c. 1891 based on a drawing in Pete Skellon's recent book on the LNWR Coal Tanks. This is work in progress and more pictures of the engine will feature in future Blog postings.


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