Wednesday 19 September 2012

Making progress... 4 of 5

Just a short update on this locomotive.  It's an M&L GWR 1076 (or "Buffalo") saddle tank.  It was also the first or second P4 locomotive that I built, at the age of 18 or so.

Over the years it has got a little battered, so it is being "refreshed".  That includes doing a decent job of painting the cab fittings.  I found an excellent picture on the website of the GWS, and used that to prepare the cab.  The cab itself is now and authentic green, which I never knew at the time that the model was built!

This will never be a "state of the art model" but I really like it for sentimental value :-)


Monday 17 September 2012

Making progress... 3 of 5

Whilst I had my weathering paints out (or rather the Citadel washes) I made a start on the ex-L&Y Pug that will be an industrial engine.  

I did the cab area, in the first stage of an exercise to tone down the colours to match the weathered state of the brick red livery that I have in a photo of a similar saddle tank from the 1960s.

The first picture shows it with the cab off, and the firebox and back of the boiler made suitably grubby.  This was by using black washes to sink into the textures of the castings and leave the highlights just a little duller.

The second picture shows the challenge that I will have when I finally bring the body and cab together.  Because this is an RTR model, the cab simply clips into place.  That means that there is quite a wide join that I will have to fill and disguise.  I'm thinking that creeping decrepitude means that the vertical sheet meeting the footplate will probably be quite rusty and grimy.

However the join is less obvious when viewed from the side.

It's got some way to go, but I feel that it is starting to look the part...


Monday 10 September 2012

Making progress... 2 of 5

Readers of a certain stamina may recall that I had a small disaster when previously trying to weather the timber upperworks of my tram locomotive.  The weathering mix that I applied had dried glossy, and I was concerned that I would have to strip the paint off and start again.

My success with the Citadel washes meant that I was willing to give them a try on this model, before turning to something more drastic.  And this is the result.

Much more matt, and a convincing settling of grime into the grooves.  I've also used a more reddish colour ("Raal Red" - no, I don't know what a Raal or raal is either...) on the inside to bring out the planking.

Although not visible here, the floor has also been made grubby.  I nearly became carried away and did the roof as well.  However common sense saw the better of me, and I'm going to wait until I have studied a few colour photos to see how the weathering patterns can be made more realistic, rather than just my impressions of the effects of smoke and rain.


Sunday 9 September 2012

Making progress - 1 of 5...

It's time to move things along.  I have too many pieces of rolling stock that are sitting around waiting to be finished, and I'm dithering from one to the other.

So early on Sunday morning, I bit the bullet, picked up the paintbrush and had a really good session of getting to grips with my work in progress.  The first thing that I went for was an LNWR wagon.

This is the Ratio plastic kit, fitted with MJT rocking W-irons to provide suspension, and an etched nickel silver brake lever which I think came from Ambis.  This wagon was basically completed, and I can't remember how long ago it reached that stage - ten, fifteen, twenty years?    Anyway, it had been battered a little bit in moving from house to house, and it needed some paint chippings repairing, and the rather mangled Sprat & Winkle couplings replacing.

When that was done, it was time for some weathering to reflect the reality of late Victorian/Edwardian railways.  This was done with a mixture of Citadel miniatures washes, which really do work as well as others describe.  I think that it was Craig Welsh that first brought them to my attention.  I think that there will still be room for "traditional" weathering techniques, such as described by Martyn Welch.

Anyway, this is how it turned out.  The load is an assortment of packing cases from an old packet - made by Knightwing, I think.  I still have a lot of them to go through!  The pale grey sheets are actually lead sheet, folded and glued into place to add weight to the plastic kit.  They started off dark grey - normal lead colour - and have oxidised to this colour over the years.  An illustration that acts as a warning to support those tales of exploding boilers!

Anyway, I'll try and keep this one safe this time, and not get it damaged again...


Saturday 8 September 2012


When I acquired the Ulpha Light Railway, I was fortunate that it wasn't just the baseboards, it included the whole supporting package - trestles, sub-baseboards, lighting rig, etc.  Until now, apart for a quick test assembly after I brought the layout home, I've done nothing with them apart from move them from place to place around motorbikes in the garage.

However as today's weather was so lovely, I had the opportunity (after painting half of the front garden's fence) to get started on renovating them.

Just as with most things on the layout, the underpinnings are a little "tired".  I've dismantled the trestle legs and scrapped all of the rather rusty fastening bolts.  Nice new stainless ones will be their replacements.

And to get rid of the wear and tear, each leg lower was cleaned by sanding it down on all sides, and drilling out the adjustment holes to a constant size to match the new bolts.  If I get chance tomorrow, they'll get a coat of paint.

And the sub-baseboards that sit on top of the trestles and form the foundation for the proper baseboards were a little flexible under load, so they have now had a good "glue and screw" to make them more rigid.

Unfortunately by the second one, I had run out of g-clamps, so it is currently resting under an assortment of cans from the garage!

If the weather holds tomorrow, and I get the time, I can start painting them.  Now this feels like making progress!


Saturday 1 September 2012

Chequebook modelling...

That's a phrase that I dislike.  

Personally, the whole reason that I do railway modelling is to create something.  The enjoyment is in the making, and not the purchasing (although a look at my stock of unmade kits may suggest otherwise).

However when I look back and realise that the last entry on this blog was four months ago, I realised that (1) I needed to find more free time to pick up a soldering iron or paintbrush, and (2) that the only modelling that I had done in that time was of the chequebook variety.

Waving a debit card at the RailWells show in August saw me come back home with one of these:

I have read many of the pros and cons of the ZTC 511 controller.  In particular, both Tim Venton and Gordon Ashton spent much time actually showing me the way that it is used, and I thank both of them enormously.

Finally, it came down to feel.  This is a tactile system to use.  It gets me away from the computer style of interface that I have to deal with all day.  To me, it looks "right".

So the next steps will be to get one of my locomotives that is under construction "chipped up" and see what it can do...  Oh and find some more time for Real Modelling!