Sunday, 4 December 2016

HR Loch an Dorb progress.

HR Loch class tender original length though without rear toolbox.

The main structural components of the tender are from the Lochgorm kit though the tank corners and curved coping are sections cut from brass tube as I could not bend the material of the kit, the coping was too intransigent and the corners kinked when I tried to bend them due to the oversize holes for the corner handrails. The steps still need improvement to remove the etched outlines above the horizontal part of the step.

HR123 in 1923. Courtesy of the Highland Railway Society.

A rear view of Loch an Dorb at Blair Athol in 1923 in the HR collection at Am Baile shows her running with an original tender with a rear toolbox. However the above picture, which I believe was taken in either 1923 or shortly after, shows her in HR livery with what I interpret as an original length tender though with the rear toolbox removed. A shorter one can be seen mounted behind the driver. The tender has at this time not yet been lengthened to the full length of the footplate. This is the style of tender that I've modelled (above). 

Smokebox and footplate detail

The inspection covers above the slide bars were represented on the footplate by an unsightly etched outline. I cut along the etched lines to create a rectangular hole in the footplate and made an infill to represent the covers which just need some tiny hinges to complete the effect. There may be something available in Archer Surface Detail transfers that will fit the bill.

Cab roof constructed from nickel sheet silver with brass extruded cross ribs. 

The roof is made from sheet nickel silver though the front curve is a section of brass tube, transverse ribs are extruded brass section. The tablet catcher on the cab side is an LGM casting to which I've added a handle that protrudes into the cab.

Detail of cab and backhead with roof removed.

There are three sources of information for the backhead detail; a drawing by Peter Tatlow; a GA of the 1917 engines and of course the backhead of the preserved Jones Big Goods in the Transport Museum in Glasgow. Though I've mainly based the details on Tatlow the other sources have helped too. Castings are mainly LGM, some of which are a little oversize, they have been reduced to the right scale with an unavoidable though slight loss of detail.

The oversize inside splashers contribute to limit the space available for a crew, which in the case of a 4-4-0 with so visible a cab interior, I consider mandatory.

The fall plate is attached to the engine and because of the protruding side wings and stanchions on the tender footplate I've had to make the fall plate cut-outs oversize to accommodate these as there is a good deal of movement between tender and engine on corners. Fall plates and tight corners are not compatible and neither I suspect are cab doors, particularly the bi-fold variety that the Lochs carried, though this is a problem I've not yet examined closely.
I don't think the engine will ever be happy running in reverse, however as the Highland did not encourage this practise it shouldn't present a problem.  

Thursday, 27 October 2016

HR Loch Valve Gear

HR Loch chassis progress so far.

The Loch class employed Allan's Straight Link valve gear and the parts and castings to build this feature are readily available from LGM.

The valve gear is suspended from the links that depend from the reversing shaft levers which are situated above the radius link on the reversing shaft.

The forked ends of the eccentric rods attach to the straight radius link in which the jointed valve rod pivots, these parts were assembled to form two separate units. This part of the valve gear is fairly easy to fathom from available drawings and is intended to work, the eccentrics will motivate the radius link and the attached valve rod will move horizontally.

More obscure is the manner in which the valve gear is supported from the reversing shaft lever above and this is where the model and prototype are going to have to go different ways as I don't think it feasible, at least not without huge effort, to model this feature of the valve gear according to prototype.

The lifting links depending from the reversing shaft levers will not be attached to the valve rod and radius link prototypically, they will remain cosmetic. They don't move anyway, at least not much, other than when the valve gear is reversed.

Allan's straight link valve gear rear view from above.

The complexity of the arrangement of links depending from the reversing shaft levers is evident in this view, the rear lifting link attaches to the forked end of the rear valve rod. The front lifting links attach to the radius link.  All the parts are now in place though the lifting links are not attached to the valve gear, they remain cosmetic.

The reversing shaft levers are mounted on the transverse reversing shaft just behind the motion plate.

Loco body in place showing the gap under the boiler through which the valve gear can be seen.

When your eyes accustom themselves to the murk under the boiler and you get in close there's still not a lot to be seen through the gap between boiler and frames. Most of the movement will be in the gloom behind the motion plate...and Yes, it has occurred to me that inside motion in this case might not be worth the time spent on it.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

HR Loch 4-4-0 Chassis Details

HR Loch class 4-4-0 chassis detail

The chassis frames are cut from 0.7 nickle silver sheet. The slide bars and connecting rods are from Laurie Griffin though they have had to be modified to suit the engine. A start has been made on the inside motion which is Allan's Straight Link Motion which is somewhat different to Stevenson's motion. Behind the motion plate can be seen the reversing shaft from which are suspended the levers to which are attached the lifting links that support the valve gear. Eccentrics will be mounted on the front driving least that's the plan at the moment! I await parts from LGM to enable more progress.

Loch chassis with superstructure in place.

The superstructure is mounted on the chassis here so you can see the position of the M1833 motor which will have to run without a flywheel as there's just not room for one inside the boiler when the motor is mounted upright on the rear axle. The motor is held in place by a fork mounted on the cross member which allows some recommended on the ABCgears website. There is room to add some weight to the chassis in front of the motor.
The 14BA screws retaining the front axle bearing in its slot can be seen, the axle needs to be dismountable so that the eccentrics and their straps can be fitted. These will be supported by the links depending from the brake shaft (or will appear to be) and the valve rods will pass through the motion plate and locate into a gland in the valve chest. The forked end of the brake lever can be seen on the left of the brake shaft passing behind the splasher.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

NBR Covered Van

NBR Covered Van from a Parkside Dundas kit.

I ordered this Parkside Dundas van by mistake, my intention being to purchase an NB open wagon, of which more later. I took the kit on holiday with me to Co.Wicklow and worked on it as much as I could in a gloomy corner of our holiday cottage during the evenings. Later, in better light in the studio at home, I replaced the rather clumsy brake gear with parts I made myself. I also did some artwork for a wagon plate which I printed on the inkjet as described previously in this blog on 10/2/2016 in "Wagons and Wagon Plates". I used transfers from HMRS as these have no surrounding film and definitely give the best results. Apart from the brake gear and the addition of door chains and a little weight the kit is built as supplied and despite being less than an enthusiast of plastic kits I'm quite pleased with it.   

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

HR123 Loch Class 4-4-0 Progress

HR123 Loch an Dorb

I bought only the superstructure kit from Lochgorm Kits, the chassis I decided to scratch build to my own design. All castings are lost wax cast brass and have been sourced from Laurie Griffin at LGM.
A substantial number of the etched components in the kit have been replaced with parts that I've made myself. The boiler as supplied had rather oversize bands so was the first item discarded followed closely by what seemed to be a rather clever cab interior fold-up which it proved on closer inspection was better replaced by something nearer the real thing. The boiler backhead was scratch built as LGM had run out of castings of this item; making this was quite a mini project in its own right. The boiler castings, chimney and dome that is, are very good however the safety valve casting leaves much to be desired, the upright valves are too far apart and too slim, and will need working on.

Wheels with the correct crank pin position are only available from JGM, these are cast iron ones which it seemed a good idea to try. As supplied the wheel castings needed a good deal of work to clean up and still need attention with some sort of filler here and there, I doubt that I'll go down this road again.

Power will be provided by an M1833 running in an ABCgears Mini gearbox which will be mounted on the front axle, pointing backwards towards the cab, which just leaves room for a flywheel which I consider essential, the running qualities of the engine being paramount.
Inside motion is a possibility however I'm not sure at this stage whether to complicate matters further, you can't see much under the boiler.

HR Loch Class cab details.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Four Recent Scottish Wagons.

GNoSR coal wagon

Built from a Dragon Models/Celtic Connections kit with minimal improvements, though I did make a wagon plate from a hand drawn original, sized on the computer and printed on the ink jet. Though flat, without relief, these "trompe l'oeuil" printed wagon plates nevertheless fit the bill nicely. The coal load is real coal laboriously glued with thin wood glue to a Plastikard support.

HR d.6 coal wagon

Built from a recently issued Lochgorm Kits "aid to scratch building" with a good many improvements to the basic etches, addition of a printed wagon plate and coal load. The wagon sides were thickened to scale with Slaters' Plastikard planking which was glued to the interior; the join along the top edge of the wagon was disguised by the addition of a thin metal strip which was soldered to the top of the outer skin and slightly overlapped the inner.

I painted all three of the HR wagons with Precision Paints' P953 Dark Brick Red (Matt), transfers are from HMRS. Weathering was by hand dry brushing helped along by a judicious air brushing of my own weathering mix and a good deal of scrubbing with a stiff bristled brush.

HR d.15 open goods wagon.


The HR d.15 wagon above is described in an earlier blog posting of March 2016 and is included for comparison with the d.16 open goods wagon below which is built with the help of Lochgorm Kits' recently produced kit for a d.16 open wagon; it is 6" longer than the d.15 above and displays a number other subtle differences of detail which give interest to the pair of opens.

HR d.16 open goods wagon.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

HR58 Jones Tank 4-4-0T

HR58 Jones Tank in Drummond II plain green livery 1902-1912

HR58 was built some time ago with the aid of a Shedmaster/LGM kit or rather an "aid to scratch building" though the precise amount of aid derived from the etches, the provenance of which is shrouded in the mists of time, is hard to determine; precious little I thought at the time. Perhaps they could best be described as providing more in the way of moral support rather than being of any practical use. However on a positive note the castings that came with the etches were good quality and quite indispensable. When construction was complete the engine languished for a deplorable length of time in the sidings of despond before I got round to painting it...this month in fact.

I built the engine originally as it would have appeared in LMS days with appropriate buffers, lamp irons and steam heating fittings. Between building the engine and painting it not only did several years fly by but my interest changed, so despite the attraction of the post-grouping red livery which suited these engines so admirably, I decided in favour of  finishing the engine in its pre-grouping guise, in the unlined Drummond II livery of 1902-1912. The HR green livery of that period before the Great War though plain endowed an engine with gravitas which when enlivened by an abundance of brightwork could never be considered dull.

HR58 Note the bottle shaped buffers characteristic of this particular engine in HR days.

 As I considered the as yet unpainted engine it became apparent that by some curious process of thought I had made the boiler too small, a mere 3' 8" rather than the 4ft clearly shown on the drawing and the more I looked at the engine the more the deficiency glared at me! I think the confusion may have had something to do with the diameter quoted in Cormack and Stevenson which I now realise must be without the outer cladding. So I decided that, along with a few other modifications to set her back into HR days, I'd have to re-model the boiler.

De-construction was the easy part of the process... and rapid, a couple of saw cuts and the offending boiler was off! Rebuilding was more painful as not only the boiler but the front of the tanks had to be reconstructed though the end result, as I think is evident in the accompanying illustrations, was well worth the bother. The profile of the smokebox, boiler and side tanks not only conforms to the drawing but also, being correct now, carries its own conviction. The steam heating pipes were quickly stripped off the engine as they were an addition of the LMS as were the lamp irons which were altered to HR pattern.

The buffers were however a problem as there were no commercially available castings for the characteristic bottle shaped ones used by the HR on this particular engine. I can find no other instance of HR engines being fitted with these curious buffers so the lack of available castings is unsurprising. My mate Bob Goodyear turned a pattern for one of these buffer housings on his lathe and had a set cast in brass from me by one of his mates which solved the problem, I think they look the part. A set of number plates and a builder's plate for the bunker rear were commissioned from Guilplates who also provided the HR transfers.

HR58 The brightwork enlivens the plain HR green livery. The fireman in nonchalant pose sculpted by Pete himself.  

As a base colour for the engine I used Phoenix P727 HR Dark Green 1885-1912 Dull to which I added just a touch of black to give the colour a little additional gravitas. I then added some P727 Gloss to the mix, just enough to enliven the surface, the amount of gloss is a matter of personal taste. I masked up as much of the brightwork as I could then airbrushed the basic green overall. A lot of work then went into cleaning up the brightwork. The smokebox, chimney, footplate, roof and other black areas were brush painted with matt black, these areas were scrubbed gently with a stiff bristled brush later to give the surface a dull glow rather than remaining completely matt. Light weathering was applied with thin washes of paint in all areas and some dry-brushing of lighter tones was used to bring out highlights.

HR58 running through the station with six bogie coaches at CDOGG on Saturday

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

HR 53 Lybster Complete.

HR53 served on the Wick to Lybster Light Railway from the line's opening in 1903 to withdrawal in 1929 running the 13 miles between the two towns several times a day. I have modelled the engine in the plain unlined green livery of the Highland Railway in which she ran throughout her service on the Wick to Lybster until repainting in LMS passenger red after the grouping of 1923.


Lybster had her first outing on the club layout at Carlisle at the weekend and performed very well indeed apart from some squeaking which I'm sure is coming from the wire pick-ups. I'll need to fix this before she turns out again I can't keep attributing it to wonky wheels on other members' stock.
Almost the first remark that greeted Lybster's appearance at the club was one that called attention to the fact that the name transfer on the left hand side of the engine (out of sight) might be a bit high, and indeed much to my chagrin it proved to be so.  How that happened I just don't know but it'll have to be fixed. I've detailed the cab interior which shows up well in these pictures but have still to model the crew. 

Friday, 11 March 2016

An Open Wagon and a Covered Van

HR d.29 Covered Van

This d.29 van was built from a Lochgorm kit with a few improvements and a number plate printed on the inkjet as detailed in my last posting. I dispensed with the rather complicated inner structure of the roof supplied in the kit and simply thickened the edges with 1mm square nickel silver section and soldered the roof in place. I added a bracing piece inside at mid point to stiffen the structure too.

HR d.15 Open Wagon and d.29 Covered Van

As promised in my last posting here's the d.15 wagon and a Highland van to complement it. They're part of the train of goods stock I've been constructing for Lybster to turn out with at the club in Carlisle tomorrow. The wagons were painted with enamels with transfers from HMRS. Weathering was largely done by hand and entailed a lot of dry brush work finished off with a light weathering mix applied with the air brush.

You'll see the wagons at CDOGG, in action with Lybster, which I finished painting just today, in my next posting.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Highland Railway d.15 wagon

Underside from the rocking axle end.

Yes, I know it looks the same as the d.16 wagon that was featured in my last posting but it's not, there are some subtle differences... the d.15 is 6" shorter than the previous open wagon I built and...well that's about it! It's not built from a kit, though it's not really scratch built either... it's built from bits and pieces from various sources helped along with some parts I made myself.

This wagon features correct scale thickness sides, a feature that is often a shortcoming with etched open wagon kits ; this was achieved simply by inserting some scrap etch between the inner and outer sides as I built the body of the wagon.

My starting point was a Dragon/Celtic Connections kit for a CR open wagon which I modified by changing the strapping and most of the fittings to create a d.15. The suspension, which relies on a rocking axle for its effectiveness I owe to parts from an etch by AMBIS. Buffers and axle boxes are from Lochgorm Kits though the springs are Slaters', they are held in place to some extent by the double supports for the brake gear on the solebar.

The rivets on the strapping are 3-D printed transfers from Archer Surface Details. I cut them from the strip supplied, positioned them individually and varnished them in place. I've undercoated the wagon now with acid-etch primer and so far they've withstood this and have not fallen off despite being handled. Using them was an experiment and I'm pleased with the result and they certainly look the part.

Coming Soon.

In my next post you'll see the wagon painted along with its companion HR d.29 covered van.

HR d.15 open wagon, note the builders plate behind the horsehook

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wagons and wagon plates

A pair of HR Jones d.12 fish wagons built from Lochgorm kits. 

Recently built and painted, the left hand wagon no. 2145 displays a wagon plate I made myself, the right hand one retains the etched plate from the kit which has been weathered to disguise its being barely legible. The two wagons are lettered differently so they are not identical twins. 

Jones 4 ton d.12 fish wagon number 2145 

HR d.4 8ton covered van from a Lochgorm kit with improvements and full HR insignia.

I built the d.4 van some time ago and left it without insignia, relying only on its number plate on the solebar, which I commissioned from Guilplates, for identification. However the problem with these etched wagon plates is that the numbers and lettering are not white as are the originals but shiny metal... nickel silver. I tried weathering over the plate which certainly took the shine off the metal numerals but left the plate almost illegible and not particularly prototypical. I tried dry brushing the plate with white paint but had no success there just didn't seem to be enough relief and it was all on too small a scale. So I decided to print my own plates and here's how I did it... 

Artwork for a HR wagon plate. 

First I scanned the illustration of a wagon plate (top left) from pg.64 of "Highland Railway Liveries" and printed it.
Then I traced the plate, without the number 4 on good tracing paper, tidied up the lettering and inked in the drawing with a black pen. I glued the inked tracing onto a sheet of white card to make in effect a blank wagon plate, at this stage without numerals.

"Liveries" does not include a helpful drawing of HR wagon plate numbers so I drew the missing numbers myself using the number 4 as a guide to style along with what I could glean from photos of wagons in the book and in Tatlow's "HR Carriages and Wagons".

They are quite dumpy letters, not much higher than they are wide. I drew them and refined them and when I was satisfied with the way they looked I drew them again onto the actual artwork and inked the whole lot in (bottom).

The separate number 8 will replace the 4 of "4 Tons" and 294 (centre) will be placed on top of 2145 to make a second wagon plate, others will follow.

I scanned the artwork and resampled it to size in Corel Photo-Paint. It was then printed on the inkjet on good quality paper and cut out with a scalpel leaving a fairly generous white border. I glued the printed plate to an 0.25 oval metal blank, sealed the paper with varnish and trimmed the plate to its final shape with a fine-cut file...and that's it!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Some Recent Wagons.

HR Fish Wagon with an interesting load.

The fish barrels are commercial resin castings though the baskets and the codfish, whose tail you can just see, and the flatfish on the deck are all cast in metal from my own moulds and now available from Invertrain. The wagon sheet is painted paper made from a drawing that I made then scanned, reduced to scale on the computer and printed.

HR D.16 Open Wagon from a Lochgorm Kit.

I built this wagon at odd moments in January from Lochgorm's recently released kit. I made improvements to the buffer beam and rebuilt the brake mechanism. The model was brush painted using enamels, the airbrush was used only at the last minute for some light weathering. The number plate on the solebar is printed paper glued to an oval metal plate and varnished to seal it. The artwork and printing was done on the computer for me by my daughter who knows about these things! And Yes...there is a number on the end of the wagon, third plank down...
Now it needs a load or something, possibly a folded HR wagon sheet, to add interest to the interior.

HR D16 open wagon and D 4 Covered van.

The open wagon is painted with Phoenix Precision Paints' Red Oxide which contrast with the covered van which is painted the earlier HR Claret... for which Floquil's Tuscan Red serves well. Transfers on the open are from HMRCS.

LNER Lowfit

I built this Lowfit recently from a Connoiseur kit which I intended to transport a tractor.  I improved the wagon by making the rings on the wagon bed actually work so they can be used to secure the tractor later, apart from this and changing the couplings to CPL ones the kit was more or less built as intended by the designer and a good design it is indeed.

The question is...which tractor should I use?  Below you can see my choices... an early Farmall tractor or a later rather classy Ferguson. Both models are 1:43 scale and available from Universal Hobbies; whichever one is used will have to be painted to match the wagon, at the moment they're still in toy mode.

Lowfit with Farmall tractor load

Lowfit with Ferguson tractor load.

Friday, 22 January 2016

HR53 Lybster construction complete

Lybster's "Drummond" backhead

Cab interior details are creatively reconstructed from what little information can be glimpsed in photos or derived from Peter Tatlow's drawing of the engine after rebuilding by Drummond in 1901. There may have been more to the backhead than I've modelled but viewed from outside the cab I think it looks the part as you'll see in the next picture...

Cab interior details.

The hinged cab doors can be open or closed, the curved topped rod behind the door holds it in position by locating in a hole in the footplate. The hinges are mounted slightly proud of the side sheet on a slim strip of n/s to enable the door to function. In the bunker is a removable block of Milliput to which the coal will be added later.

Lybster construction complete

Lybster will be painted in Drummond II plain livery in which she ran on the Wick and Lybster Light Railway from the opening of the line on 1 July 1903 to withdrawal and scrapping in 1929. A suitable driver and fireman, based on a photograph taken of the engine with its crew posing on the footplate sometime after 1917 are under construction.

Lybster ready for the paint shop

The circle of rivets behind the smokebox, along the edges of the tank top saddle and round the chimney are from Archers' Surface Details. They are relief transfers, easily applied and seem to stand up well, the success of this experiment remains to be seen after painting, however I'm sure they'll be better than no rivets at all which was the alternative.

Lybster performed well on the Carlisle club layout recently and hauled a respectable train, so I plan to take her through to the painting stage now. I don't want the engine to join the other neglected projects standing in the sidings of despair despondently wondering when their turn to be painted will come.

HR53 Lybster 1890-1929 (rebuilt1901)

Monday, 18 January 2016

HR d.16 Wagon and d.29 Van

Brake operating levers are on both sides, though the brake itself is only on one side.

The HR d.16 Drummond wagon is complete and ready for the paint shop. I made some improvements and adjustments to the kit and remade the brake gear as it was over-etched. I cut away the corners of both axle trays to allow space for the buffers to work properly and also cut a slot to accommodate the spring of the draw hook which improves matters. The end profile of the wagon was improved by making a new buffer beam and soldering a piece of square section behind it on the ends to give the beam its depth. I mounted the end part of the wagon on the new buffer beam and ensured that the end planking lined up with the side planks. I tweaked the position of the end stanchions to allow the four little bolts that flank the draw plate to sit comfortably between them.

The view above shows the rocking axle and its tray which has had material added beneath it to correct the wagon ride height. Adding a millimetre to the rocking axle end rather than subtracting at the other end also adds a little much needed space between the solebar and axle in which the springs and axlebox fit, clearance in this area is tight to say the least. The rocking axle tray is held in place by a rod which fits tight along the tray and is soldered to the upright prongs of the rocking pivot which protrude through the tray.

Lochgorm Kits HR d.16 Drummond open wagon

Buffers and couplings have been removed to chemically blacken separately. The wagon has been cleaned and degreased with cellulose thinners, a process which is done outside in the open air. The next stage is a coat of Halfords' aerosol acid etch primer.

Lochgorm Kits HR d.29 Covered Van

With care and a little modification the Lochgorm Kits' d.29 van builds into a good scale model of the prototype. The buffer beams were too wide so I made new ones, flush with the van sides and added safety chains, CPL screw couplings and a draw plate to match. One pair of the inverted "U" shaped plates which are fastened to the sole bar above the axleboxes was wrongly positioned. I found this out when I used the plates as a guide to the position of the axles, the van took on a decided asymmetrical aspect. I countered this by grinding off all four plates and replacing them with a new matching set from an AMBIS etch that I fortuitously found in my spares box.

Rather than use the rather complicated rib and stringer roof former supplied in the kit I added a cross wall to the van interior to brace the structure then thickened the roof with 1mm square section and soldered it in place. I can't see any need for it to come off anyway, there's nothing inside!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Recent Projects.

My desk with Lochgorm's D16 wagon amid the debris of construction

Two Highland Railway wagons have occupied me since Christmas both of which will be featured here on my Blog as soon as construction is complete. The wagons are Lochgorm Kits' D.29 Covered Van and D.16 Open Wagon, the latter can be seen with most of the brass-work complete on my desk above. Neither of these are easy kits, there's a lot of fiddling, adjusting and scratch building to do before a real scale model is achieved. A copy of Peter Tatlow's recent book, "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons" is a great help along with a scale drawing. Work started on these wagons 26/12 and they should both be complete, assembled that is, later today 13/1... three weeks hard work!