Tuesday, 26 December 2017

G & SWR Brake Van Progress

G & SWR Drummond Brake Van interior. 

I've completed the bracing structure on all the interior walls of the van now though the panelled doors are still under construction. The bracing struts are made from 2mm square hollow section brass and there are a lot of them. The floor of the guard's "house" is not part of the kit though the verandah floors are included. I made the inner floor from an etched wagon floor that I had left over from a previous project, this slides into place under the bottom of the inner bracing struts and is supported from below on spacers so it's on the same plane as the verandah floors.  I'll illustrate the underside of the van at a later stage to clarify this.

The doors are not glazed and I have no information on their inner surfaces so I'm panelling them in much the same way as the front. I've made a writing desk for one corner and a locker with a hinged lid for the opposite one. Lookout seats are under construction and the brake mechanism and handwheel will fit into a third corner; the fourth, being of restricted width because of the offset brake end door will remain empty. The kit itself is fairly compliant, it's not fighting back despite not being designed with an interior in mind, though the wheels caught on the underside of the superstructure when I tried them in place today. I cut out slots to ease the problem which would have been an easier task at an earlier stage before I'd half assembled the van.

In a gesture of generosity towards myself, in a moment of levity brought on by the approach of Christmas, I purchased from Andy Copp at Lochgorm Kits a set of etches and castings to build a HR d.24 brake van... so watch this space for details of the build in the New Year.

Interior detailing work in progress, desk and lookout seat in place.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

G & SWR 16ton Drummond Brake Van.

G & SWR 16ton Brake Van from a Taff Vale/Dragon Models /Celtic Connection kit

I took these pictures on my new iPhone tonight to show the model taking on a three dimensional presence at last as I've been working in the flat on the components for the last few weeks. The kit is not really designed with an interior in mind, it provides no help so, as an interior is my main concern with this model, I've been finding it hard work. The van is a single-skin affair so the internal bracing struts are a feature of the model not only inside the guard's "house" but also on the verandahs where all the edges have had 2mm square brass section added, in a similar manner to the real thing, to give solidity to the structure. The inner partitions are likewise braced with square section as can be seen best in the upper photo. I have no specific G & SWR reference for a guards van interior so I'm basing the detail on what seems most likely, using other similar verandah-both-ends vans as exemplars.
I'm going to complete the basic structure of the van now, sides, interior partitions and floor and then add the rest of the interior to include the lookout-seat, brake mechanism, stove, locker and desk.
I've sourced some cast brass lamp irons from Slaters, these are not shown on the drawing but are clearly to be seen on the only photo I have of the van. This photo was supplied by the G & SWR Society and shows the vehicle in LMS days; I have no photo of it in earlier pre-grouping guise, only the drawing that came with the instructions.

Interior detail beginning to take shape.

Some guards vans were of single skin construction similar to the G&SWR van under construction, however others had a double skin, planks being fastened to the inner bracing struts to form the double skin. If the outer cladding was vertical the inner would usually be horizontal.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Cambrian Machinery Wagon

Cambrian Railways 10 Ton Machinery Wagon.

This wagon, called a "Roll Wagon", in the Dragon Models catalogue was built some time ago and stood neglected, though not alone, in the sidings of despond until this week when I decided it was high time I cleared some of the backlog and did some painting. The etched wagon plate that came with the kit had a number but no lettering to identify it as a Cambrian Railways wagon, so I made one myself.

The most difficult part of this task was drawing the letters to conform to the oval shape of the plate and it was only on my second attempt that I achieved a reasonable result. I could not find an example of a preserved Cambrian wagon plate so I took the etched one supplied on trust and used it as a guide.

The wagon cries out for a load and I'm thinking about this now. I bought a Fordson F tractor from Universal Hobbies with this wagon in mind but it's not one of their best models. I have a Duncan Models kit for a Portable Steam Engine in the cupboard which would make a much better load though it would be a far more time consuming project.

M & G N Roll Wagon with portable boiler load c.1920

The above photo is copyright of the National Railway Museum & SSPL... here's a link to more photos on their site...


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Precursor Tank details

LNWR Precursor Tank No.44 c.1906

LNWR 44 was built from a Taff Vale/Dragon Models kit with many improvements and additional detail. Ample motive power is provided by an MSC Models motor and gearbox with 3 stage 40:1 helical gears. The completed engine weighs in at just over 1kg with space for more weight if necessary. I intend to test run her with a reasonable load at the Running Day next weekend on the Carlisle club layout. The cab interior is finished now so construction of the engine is complete.

LNWR 44 cab interior detail

I did not have a GA drawing to help with details of the cab interior, I don't think one exists,  so I've done my best with what information I have been able to glean from a variety of sources. I could have added more but restrained myself from filling the cab with dubious or speculative details. The cab rear spectacle plate features a coal hole at footplate level, access doors to the coal space and tool boxes and a brake wheel, note also the opening cab doors. All components are brass or nickle-silver, either sourced from LGM or made by myself, no white metal was used in the construction.

LNWR 44 Cab interior and backhead detail.

The backhead and front spectacle plate are a unit and can be removed for painting; the glazing slides between the inner and outer spectacle plates. The bottoms of the windows are six feet above footplate level so the crew needed some means of levitation to see out of them. The model's interior step arrangement is based on that of the LNWR Bowen-Cooke 4-6-2T which was introduced only four years after George Whale's Precursor Tank and which has a cab of comparable proportion and fortunately for which a GA drawing exists. The GA shows that the coal hole and shovelling plate of the Bowen Cooke engine was well above footplate level, a novel innovation which eased the fireman's task. I suspect that George Whale may have had a similar consideration for his crews, however the designer of the Precursor Tank kit thought otherwise so I 've deferred to his judgement in this case and left the coal hole at footplate level.

Contemporary photos of crew working in these engines confirm the existence of the interior step arrangement which served to elevate them well above footplate level and enabled them to see ahead through the cab windows.

The roof of the model slots into place and can be removed to facilitate painting and later examination of all the interior detail.

Exterior of cab of LNWR 44 with door open and showing some interior detail

LNWR 44 smokebox and buffer beam details

The removable lamps have brilliants set into them, clear to the front and red behind. The author's nickle-silver smokebox door replaces the white metal casting supplied in the kit. There are a large number of tiny brass rivets replicating the real thing in the hinges of the "piano front" and larger bolts can be seen on the bottom of the smokebox wrapper, these tiny brass fittings are inserted into holes and soldered in from behind.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

G&SW timber wagons painted.

G & SW 10ton swivel bolster wagon.

My attempts at printing a number for the wagon and a "To Carry..." plate to fit inside the raised edges of the etched plates that came in the kit just didn't work, the paper rectangles didn't fit properly and looked scrappy. So I removed the metal plates and replaced them with printed paper ones which I glued to thin Plastikard sheet to give them more body, the effect was much improved.

My artwork was for number 12783 which is the only register number known for these wagons, it didn't take long to substitute a "2" for a "3" to produce a different albeit speculative number plate for the second wagon which was then scanned, sized and printed to produce the plate. The smaller plates, "To Carry 10 Tons" were produced similarly ; the tare or weight of each wagon appears on the bottom plank under the "G".

Nos. 12782 and 12783 paired together.

The colour used to paint these wagons is my own interpretation of the G & SW's light grey goods livery. All below the solebar is spray painted, all above is painted by hand, in both cases with enamel paint ; transfers are HMRS Pressfix. A light weathering mix has been airbrushed from below which unifies the colour scheme and helps to tone down the bright white of the transfers and number plates.

Sketchbook page with hand-drawn artwork for number and load plates

Saturday, 28 October 2017

A pair of GSWR timber trucks

G & SW 10 ton timber trucks.

These timber wagons ran in pairs so really I had no option other than to build a second to make a pair with the one I made and featured on my blog in April this year. The kits are from the Celtic Connection range from Taff Vale & Dragon Models and were built from the etches for their pig iron wagon, as the timber truck etches are currently unavailable, so some considerable modification was required to correct the brake gear. I thickened the sides of both these wagons by inserting wires between the inner and outer skins to make them a scale 3" thick, the resultant gap between the sides is neatly disguised by the metal coping strip soldered along the top edge.

The stanchions on the ends of the bolsters are attached to the bolster sides by chains so they can be removed enabling the outer loops for attaching chains to be positioned either inside or outside the stanchions. Each of these loops has a hook attached and a chain with a turnbuckle is linked to one of the loops on each truck.

I removed the cast lettering on the weight and number plates leaving them blank as I intend to print suitable paper plates for these which will have the advantage of legibility and correct colouring.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

LNWR Precursor Tank

LNWR Precursor Tank No.44 built 1909.  3' 3" bogie wheels, exterior sand boxes and Bowen-Cook buffers.

Pete's Precursor Tank was built with the aid of a Dragon Models set of etches and the brass castings that come with the kit though without any of the white metal fittings supplied which were replace by components sourced elsewhere or by scratch building, an example of this being the smokebox door. Construction is complete apart from the cab interior which awaits delivery of an LGM brass backhead casting. There has been a good deal of improvement made to the basic kit and additional work has been done using contemporary photographs as reference to ensure that all exterior detail is included in the model. The basic inside motion parts from the kit have been fitted, viewed from the angle of the photo the slide bars are just discernable in the gloom between the frames.

The engine is powered by an M1833 motor mounted in an ABCGears gearbox which is mounted upright on the rear driving axle. Current pick-up is through wires bearing on the treads of the drivers and the rear of the bogie wheels on one side of the engine; on the other side the wheels are shorted by means of a wire inset behind the spokes. Slaters' wheels are used throughout, the axles run in brass bearings which slide in slots in the robust 0.7mm side frames. The upright motor leaves no space in the boiler for a flywheel, however the running qualities of the model were more than acceptable when she ran on the Carlisle club layout last Saturday.

The cab front is double skinned which allows the inner skin to be removed at this stage for detailing. The backhead and all its attendant fittings and pipework will be attached to this inner skin, an arrangement that also facilitates glazing at a later stage. Similarly at this stage the rear bunker assembly can be removed to allow access to the cab though later this will be soldered into place; the roof will be soldered on too as this will add strength to the structure. Nevertheless the large cab side cut-outs, generously proportioned rear windows and hinged opening doors will ensure that the cab interior detail remains much in evidence.

Monday, 14 August 2017

HR Passenger Tank... construction complete.

HR46 Passenger Tank.

HR46 was built without the aid of a kit, though there are two kits available for the engine neither the current Lochgorm kit nor the old Shedmaster/LGM kit was used, past experience suggested that scratch building this particular prototype was the answer. The model does however rely on LGM  for the majority of the castings required. Construction is now complete and the model awaits the paint shop. HR46 will be finished in plain though dignified Drummond II unlined green livery, which I can manage to paint myself.

The mudguards are fastened to the frames which rather restricts the movement of the bogie so the engine will not negotiate tight curves. At CDOGG on Saturday on the club layout she did not run as well as I had hoped and at times I noticed that the bogie wheels were lifting slightly on curves, a sure sign that all was not well. Back at home in the studio I set about remedying this problem and to this end I filed away as much metal as possible inside of the bogie wheel wells and painted this area with epoxy glue so there could be no problem with shorting out with the result that the engine now negotiates the standard 6ft radius curves and pointwork of my home test track in exemplary fashion, whether the model will now run similarly on a club layout remains to be seen. At the moment the engine runs without a flywheel, which is a situation that I'd like to remedy and one that I'm looking into.

HR46. The cab doors open and close and are fastened shut with a sneck similar to the prototype.   

The Highland Railway Passenger Tank bears many resemblances to HR53 "Lybster" which I built previously and which the design of the Passenger Tank was based on. There are also many differences, the Passenger Tanks were by no means copies of their predecessor.

Cab interior detail.

Detail of door sneck on inside of door, also tablet catching apparatus attached to cab side sheet.

Detail of mudguards attached to the frames. Note also the tank balance-pipe behind the step and the brake transverse shaft attaching to the brake pull-rod behind the mudguard.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

HR Passenger Tank backhead and cab interior.

HR46 Backhead complete.

I based the Drummond Passenger Tank backhead, to some extent, on that of the HR Loch class engines, for which a GA drawing exists. My presumption is that the Loch backhead followed standard Highland practice, so in taking this as my example I should be working on the right lines. I also took note of the backhead of the preserved Caledonian Railway 0-4-4T which my wife photographed from inside the cab. I thought that a Scottish engine, similar in many respects to the Passenger Tank, might afford some insight into the mysterious world of backheads c.1900.

The castings used in my reconstruction were mostly from LGM though I found the castings on offer from 62C Models useful too and of good quality, the injectors being from that source. Most of the castings I used were reduced in size and remodelled to some extent to suit the miniscule backhead. As an example, the bottom parts of the water gauge castings were cut off and replaced by a small tap, made from a hand rail knob and a length of fine wire, which reduced their length and enabled me to fit them above the shelf over the firedoor, which I reduced in width to leave room for the firedoor opening lever which is on the right, you can see its handle just below the water gauge.

On the left hand side of the spectacle plate can be seen the driver's brake valve which is connected to the injector on that side by a "flexible" connection. In reality the two are not connected at all, the flexible hose only butts against its continuation in the dark corner of the cab to enable the inner spectacle plate and backhead assembly to slide upwards for removal. There is an inner and outer spectacle plate, which much simplifies glazing at a later stage.
There is a metal plate on the cab floor under the firehole which is a detail I took from the preserved Caledonian engine, the floor planking, which is flush with the metal plate, is made of stripwood from a model ship kit.
The handle of the token exchange apparatus, which is out of sight outside the cab, protrudes into the cab behind the cab door stanchion.
The reversing lever, which attaches to the inside of the left hand inner tank, was a mini construction project in its own right. The tanks flank the backhead on either side of the cab and detract from the already restricted area of the cab, leaving little space in the model available for an engine crew ( see my previous post for a solution to the crew problem).

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

HR Passenger Tank... more progress.

HR 46 Superstructure practically complete.

The superstructure is almost complete and detail work is well under way. Castings for the tank top water fillers need a little modification and the dome needs rather more drastic surgery as I had to remodel the (wonky) safety valves which are mounted on top of them.
The smokebox door is made from 0.45mm nickle silver sheet cut to shape and persuaded into a convex shape in a doming block after which much filing produced the result above.

Cab interior partially finished

Some of the cab and backhead fittings are in place in this view, most of the castings have been sourced from LGM and need modifying for best effect. On the left cab side wall is the driver's brake valve that I cut down to size and at the same time moved the handle to the nearside, this apparatus will have a pipe that connects with the left hand injector which has yet to arrive though I've ordered what looks like an appropriate pair from 62C Models. Fastened to the the right of the spectacle plate is a lubricator again cut down from an LGM casting to a more reasonable size. The backhead water gauges look too big and need reducing in length, I may cut them down and add a small tap to the bottom which might leave room for me to fit a firebox door handle. The handle for the tablet catcher can be seen protruding into the cab between the stanchion and the inner side tank.

Opening door with cut-out to accommodate the tablet catcher mechanism. 

The hinged door has a sneck which fastens behind the front cab stanchion to keep the door closed. Inside the cab can be seen the coal hole door which opens by sliding upwards : beyond is the brake stanchion.

HR 46 Crew in action poses.

The driver is from the "Heroes of the Footplate" range which is now available from Chris Smith at "Invertrain". The fireman is my first essay in producing a shovelling figure, moulds for this are currently under development. Adding figures to the cab points up the very restricted space in which crews worked in these little engines.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

HR Passenger Tank Progress

Cab interior and backhead detail

My aim is to finish the sheet metal work first before adding the castings to the model. The brass backhead seen above is made from an etched fret supplied by Lochgorm Kits, it awaits fittings from LGM's 2-24 Drummond Backhead set. Though there is no drawing nor other direct evidence for the backhead fittings I believe they must have been fairly standard ones, much like those of the Loch class, for which there is a drawing, though adjusted to fit a smaller prototype. There is an inner front spectacle plate, to which the backhead is attached, which slides upwards so that this unit can be removed and worked on as a separate module. The circular brass window surrounds were etched to my own design.

HR 46 sheet metal work nearing completion.

The Highland built four of these little Passenger Tanks in 1905/6, based on Drummond's solitary HR53 of 1901 which was the subject of an earlier scratch building project on my Blog.

From the four possibilities I decided to model HR46 in original condition with the boiler bands on show rather than being covered by a saddle, which seems to have been added later across the side tanks of all these engines. Both front and rear spectacle plates are double to facilitate glazing.

Cab interior showing coal hole with sliding door.
You may notice that there's an "L" shaped angle piece covering the join between the boiler and the spectacle plate. This was made from "T" section brass, which can be persuaded to adopt a curved shape rather more easily than "L" section, which is quite intransigent. The rear flange is filed off the "T" section after it has been bent to shape to form the required "L" section.

The coal hole has a sliding door which adds interest to the interior of the cab, there will be much more detail in the cab before the model is finished and of course consideration is already being given to the poses and positions of the crew.

HR46 showing opening cab doors.

I've been poring over photos to try and understand the way that the sneck that holds the door shut from the inside works and I think I've got it; it's quite simple really and I'll see if I can replicate it in miniature tonight! There's a tablet catcher attached on the left hand side of the engine so the door will need a slot cutting in it to accommodate the operating mechanism of the apparatus which goes between the door stanchion and the tank side sheet.

Monday, 24 April 2017

A GSWR Timber Wagon

GSWR Timber Wagon

I built this little Scottish timber wagon recently from a Dragon Models Celtic Connections kit, it's now complete and awaiting paint and transfers. The wagon also needs a twin to make it viable as a load carrying vehicle. I thickened the wagon sides to a scale 3" and modified the brake gear on the etch to conform with that of a timber wagon rather than that of a pig iron wagon, which was the braking system on the etch. I also removed the raised lettering from the number and loading plates as I intend to design and print some improvements myself. The wagon floor is Plastikard planking mounted on the brass wagon bed. Length of the wagon over buffers is 120mm; weight is 175g. Though not an easy build, the wagon certainly looks the part and cries out for a mate to keep it company.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

HR Passenger Tank

Highland Railway 0-4-4T Drummond Passenger Tank

I decided to build my latest project, a HR Passenger Tank, without the aid of a kit although I was aware when I commenced the project that there were two kits available for the engine... I didn't think that either would be of much help. Laurie Griffin's lost wax castings for this particular engine once again are proving to be indispensable however. I began construction at the end of February and these  pictures chart my progress. The engine is up and running and will have a test run under club conditions on the CDOGG layout at the weekend.

Much of the mechanism is revealed in this rear view.
Chassis and mechanism in close-up.

I've shorted out the wheels on the right hand side of the engine and rigged up wire pick-ups bearing on the top of the left hand side driving wheels, the pick-ups should disappear nicely into the front splashers and side tanks.
The n/s pick-ups are mounted on copper clad insulation board from where a wire leads back indirectly to the motor terminal. The motor gearbox is from ABCGears, it's a Mini 7S with an M1824 motor which will have to run without a flywheel as there is insufficient room for one. It's not the ideal motor-gearbox configuration, though as I had it in stock, it'll have to do.

Rear bogie top view, note guard irons tight behind rear wheels.

I added extensions to the LGM white metal bogie side casting for this engine from 0.4 n/s sheet, the rear guard irons are attached to these...mixed solder and glue construction. The centre hole is for the pivot which at the moment is un-sprung though I'm thinking about this. Wheels run in 1/8" bearings without compensation.

Rear bogie underside
The pick-up arrangement can be seen in this view of the bogie underside. A detachable wire screws to the CCIB and leads to the motor. The right hand side wheels are shorted out, one with a wire and the other experimentally with conductive silver paint, which seems to work well.

Friday, 27 January 2017

HR Loch Cab details.

HR Loch an Dorb cab details

My previous post shows the backhead before I opened up the fire hole and added the mechanism which closed the hole. I modelled the details from photos I'd taken in the Transport Museum in Glasgow of the Loch's near relative the preserved Jones Goods. It seems that the hole was closed by a baffle which was hinged from the top and operated by that ratcheted handle on the right. A hinged grille closed onto this from the bottom though I've modelled the grille simply as a solid plate as I'm not sure how I can represent a grille in this scale.

An oil can, which I modelled on an example on display in Glasgow, is positioned to hide a joint in a pipe on the left hand splasher top where a pipe attached to the backhead meets itself as it emerges from the floor and makes its way to the splasher top rendezvous. The gap is necessary to enable the backhead to be removed.

The slight gap between the roof and the cab front will disappear when the roof is fastened in place at a later stage.

The two locating holes for the crew on the floor and splasher top are hardly visible.

I might try a coloured LED behind the fire hole to give a warm glow effect to the cab, possibly even a flicker, but I need to experiment with this, I don't know if I can make it work yet.

Friday, 20 January 2017

HR 123 Loch an Dorb; construction complete.

Though the superstructure of the Loch owes a slight debt to a Lochgorm Kits "Aid to Scratchbuilding" etch the model could be said to be almost entirely scratch built. A fair number of LGM lost wax brass castings have been used and these are easily identified on the photos following.

Showing the arrangement of the brakes and brake pull rods. I've simplified things under the tender, there was more to it than this!

The Jones Goods and the Lochs ran with identical tenders so I took some of the details of the tender front plate from the example on show in the Transport Museum in Glasgow. Note the bi-fold doors to the tender with a cut out on this side for the tablet catcher. 

Vaccum pipes always present me with a problem, here I've used n/s rod with the bend from a lost wax casting and a spring to simulate the hose.

The upright stanchions that hold the coal rails are from "T" shaped brass extrusions, coal will disguise any shortcomings in representing these fully. The bi-fold door can be seen clearly here, it needs some sort of restraint to hold it closed.

The bi-fold doors are closed, however the engine will not negotiate the curves on an average club layout with them in this position so they'll have to remain open when the engine is in action. 

The fall plate has rather large cut-outs so that the engine can negotiate curves, the bi fold door on this side is held in place by a length of chain. The cab floor is made of wooden slats from a model ship kit. 

Most of the rivets here are brass ones soldered into appropriate locating holes. The hinges of the inspection covers over the slide bars are short lengths of wire held in place with Super Glue.

Crew on the alert watching the road. The figures are available from Invertrain. At the moment the cab roof can still be removed so that the backhead can in turn be removed for painting. 

HR Loch class 4-4-0...the complete engine and tender.

A Crew for a HR Loch.

Crew seen with the roof removed

With the roof in place the cab interior is still a focus of interest and detail.

Little of the backhead detail is obscured by the crew.

Fitting figures into cabs so they don't fall over...How to do it...As construction of my HR Loch approached completion I turned my attention to providing a suitable a crew that would fit the cab without unduly obscuring the backhead detail or appearing to crowd the rather restricted cab area. You can judge for yourselves the degree to which I've succeeded. Both the figures are fixed in place with short lengths of brass rod. The driver on the left of the engine has a short 0.6mm dia. rod fixed in his bottom which locates in a corresponding hole in the splasher top. The fireman has a similar rod inserted into a hole drilled through his foot and up his left leg which locates into a hole in the cab floor. The figures are securely in place and do not fall over when the engine is in motion. I'm sure that this is the best method of fixing figures in place in cabs, they can be removed at will and the tiny locating holes are hardly visible.

Both these figures, which I designed with the cab of a 4-4-0 in mind, are now available from Invertrain