Monday, 21 March 2016

101 Not Out - an S4/EM collaboration...

A little late in posting my acknowledgement of thanks to the organising team and all the demonstrators from the Scalefour Society and the EMGS.  What a fantastic day! Everyone that I spoke to was enjoying the atmosphere, the demonstrations and the layouts.

More appreciation and some photos of the event here 101 Not Out on the Scalefour Forum

And I was pleased that I was finally able to pick this up :-)



Thursday, 10 December 2015

A place to work...

Last month there were a few of us that turned up at the Cambs, Herts and Essex Area Group (CHEAG) in Newport for a natter about what modelling we are currently doing.

My good friend Carlos Vasco was explaining that his modelling time is rather constrained by the need to get everything out to use the kitchen table and then put everything away afterwards, as he doesn't have the advantage of a dedicated space that he can leave projects on. I thought that I'd post about a couple of solutions to this, before I hope to see him next at January's CHEAG meeting.

As I've mentioned before, I'm fortunate to have the space to have a converted bureau/writing desk to do my modelling on. If I want to be tidy, I push everything to the back and close up the front.

Bureau 08.JPG

Bureau 04.JPG

However it's still quite difficult to fit the "modelling bureau" in the back of the car for my semi-annual trips to

Something that I'd spotted was that the fantasy wargaming chain of Games Workshop had produced a portable workbench that they intended for gamers to paint figures on. Now these have been discontinued, but they do come up from time to time on Ebay. Here is an example of one in an auction:

They can be found on both assembled or unassembled form. I was fortunate to find an unbuilt example, so it was possible for me to decide if and how I wanted to modify it.


I've equipped it with a tufnol soldering area on the right and a cutting mat at the left hand side. With that is the mount for a vice. This is for one of the little (but good quality) modeller's vices sold by Eileen's Emporium. These have the advantage that you can buy spare bases for the vice unit, so I can swap it from my proper bench to this portable one.

The paint station comes with a variety of holes drilled for paintbrushes, although I use them for all sorts of tools. To stop things rolling around and to keep some type of order, I used a hot glue gun to fasten a cheap stationery tray to the board, which is useful for popping small parts in whilst working. On the other side is a glued down soldering iron stand, to stop that wandering around.


Two things that I should also mention are recommendations from the Missenden course notes. One of them is a wooden strip across the front of the underneath, to hold it square on a table and stop it sliding around. The other is to cover the underneath with some green baize to protect any surfaces that it is put on top of.

Now the thing that I mentioned earlier was that these paint stations are no longer produced, so they can be hard to find. So I was very pleased to find a new development at this year's Warley show. Whilst speaking to Grainge & Hodder, who do some of my 5522 etchings for me, I noticed that they had a laser cut worktray. They had produced it just in time for Warley, and had already sold several of them.

It's now a stock item, and can be found on their website:

Having examined it, it looks better designed than mine, and is also lighter. Obviously, it's also possible for you to customise it as you wish. If I manage to break/lose my original one, I'm sure that I'll buy one of these as a replacement.

I hope that this has given you some thoughts on what to do when space is tight...

Friday, 4 December 2015

Exactoscale 1, Swann Morton nil...

Mystery of the day: how come I have just broken two different scalpel blades, on two different knives, just trimming a couple of Exactoscale check rail chairs to fit?

I haven't suddenly gained super-human strength or anything, and this is literally the last rail to fit in the entire turnout.



Sunday, 15 November 2015

A finished hut...

After one hour and thirty one minutes of modelling, the platelayers' hut is finished.

The time wasn't recorded as a challenge, but simply a reflection to myself of being able to finish things in a reasonable time. My Y14 locomotive is approaching four years since I started it, and although there is only the lining and finishing to do, I still can't motivate myself to end the job...

Anyway, superglue was used throughout, I didn't glue my fingers together at any point, and nothing fell off when it was washed under the tap with Shiny Sinks.

So the next thing is to make a small base to place it on. I was inspired to do this little scene by this cropped section from picture in the Windwood Collection of the Great Eastern Railway Society:

GERJ 105 cover - PW hut.jpg

Unfortunately I'm not going to hit my target of finishing it by Friday night as work has taken me out and away from modelling for three nights this week.  Hmm... I have just cut this too fine!  It does give me the opportunity to make a proper job of the diorama base though :-)


Saturday, 14 November 2015

This weekend's little project...

For reasons that may become obvious in a few days, this weekend's project is a non-rolling stock, non-trackwork related one...

Prompted by a certain Mr Brandreth of this parish, on Monday I ordered a kit from Severn Models. This turned up on Thursday. I missed it lying on the doormat, which meant that I was only able to chat about it at that evening's CHEAG meeting, rather than show it.


The intent that it is assembled with superglue rather than soldering, so that will be an interesting experiment. Expect stuck fingers at some point!


Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Cracking on...

A couple of days ago, I wrote:

"However the real reason for the feeling of shame is that I've just gone to put out some materials to build a replacement turnout - and I found that I hadn't unpacked and plugged my soldering iron in since Missenden!"

Well, I haven't needed my soldering iron so far. My first task has been to salvage and clean up the rails from the ply-and-rivet built turnout that this new one is replacing.

That done, it's down with the template on a piece of board and start on construction:

This is the first time that I'm building pointwork using plastic chairs. I've done one of the Exactoscale turnouts in a box before, and found it quick and easy. So far this seems to be just as straightforward, and a lot less messy than soldered construction.

The one thing that I really like, and it's quite a childish pleasure, is that with the detailed plastic chairs, you finish a bit and it already looks "right". That gives quite a big sense of achievement.

I did discover that I'm dangerously close to running out of Daywat though, so I've popped an order through this morning for another couple of bottles, and some ModelStrip whilst I'm at it. That's for all of those wagons that I still need to restore.

Nothing for the next couple of evenings though, as I have to be out at work events and will have no chance to do any more modelling. I'm really looking forward to starting it again though :-)


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Oh the shame!

How long is it since I last updated this thread with news on my own modelling?  I've been busy with work, but not that busy.

There has been an autumn Missenden that came and went.  Very enjoyable it was as well, with excellent company, and some very good modelling to be seen on a range of people's projects.  It's amazing how many variants of High Level Kits appear in the 4mm group at Missenden!

I took along a good couple of boxes worth of ratty wagons.  These are ones that either

- I built a long time ago, and my standards have now improved

- I have carted around with me from house move to house move and have been damaged through being bounced around in boxes

- Built or part-built models that can be picked up cheap on Well Known Auction Sites that are a candidate for finishing or stripping down and rebuilding.

At Missenden I had mostly the latter, and spent quite a bit of time with a set of Xuron cutters, a sharp scalpel, and some files as I reduced a fair quantity of GWR wagons to their bare bones, ready for rebuilding in a fully sprung and cosmetically detailed way.  As the weekend wore on, the pile of plastic shavings around my workbench (these were mostly Coopercraft models) increased substantially.

Part of it was also to work on a set of five LNWR ballast wagons.  One of them was an original of mine, where I wasn't satisfied with the paint job on it, and the other four are updates to secondhand purchases.  I've just finished the lettering of them with the transfers from the original Ratio kits, and these are them sitting on mats whilst the varnish over them dries.  I use Testor's Dullcote, which seems to give a super-thin and properly matt finish when I've previously used it.

These seem to be drying nicely, and later in the week I'll be starting on the weathering on them.

However the real reason for the feeling of shame is that I've just gone to put out some materials to build a replacement turnout - and I found that I hadn't unpacked and plugged my soldering iron in since Missenden!

Oh woe is me!  I must do better!