Monday 21 July 2014

What to choose?

Having seen that the Missenden Modelling Weekends have had a very nice write-up in a recent (current?) issue of the Railway Modeller, then realisation struck me over the weekend that I had better sort out a booking.

For me, a great deal of the attraction is being able to stay "on campus" and therefore to wield a soldering iron late at night or early in the morning.  The ability to retire to the bar, fetch a pint of real ale, and then carrying on modelling in convivial company [1] is a lovely part of the atmosphere.

So this morning, I found my Round Tuit and my credit card, and I made a booking for the Autumn Weekend which runs over the last weekend in October.  So that's me sorted for accommodation.  The challenge now is what to do...

Usually, as you may have seen from past postings, I join the 4mm locomotives group and spend the weekend happily soldering.  I've done a weekend in the past waving a brushful of turps around with Dirty Tim, and that was good fun.  But I fancy something different.

There is a course on CAD design for 3D printing, which is very tempting.  However as I am nicely getting to grips with 2D design for my own etches and 5522 instruction sheets, I'm not sure that I want to do this.  More to the point, spending all my working week in front of a computer means that I don't really want to spend a modelling weekend doing that as well!

I don't *do* electronics - that's not my idea of fun.  Again, I think that it's that IT/thinking type thing that doesn't seem to be relaxation.  Another alternative is going back for yet more 4mm loco building.  Perhaps making progress on my Buckjumper?  It has been sadly neglected since the Missenden Spring Course.

However I'm starting to be very tempted by Barry Norman's scenic sessions.  Now who do I know that can produce some baseboards for me???


[1] Usually with a man that has cooows on his layout ;-)

Monday 7 July 2014

Going medieval...

...although not in a good way.

Before we went away for the weekend, I decided to glaze the windows of the Coffeepot.  Normally, when I am faced with windows in a locomotive cab, I leave them unglazed.  Yes, they can look empty, but from normal viewing distance that isn't really noticable, and I'd rather have that than do something cack-handed that looks obviously wrong.

However for this model I decided to try something different, so I remembered that a while ago I had invested in one of those pots of "glazing solutions".  You know, the ones that you spread around the windows using a cocktail stick and them leave to dry.

Well, I did that, popped the model safely under a dust cover, and left it to dry.  The finish had been quite lumpy immediately on application, and I had hoped that it would smooth down and settle into a glass-like finish.  Well, it had, but not quite as I expected:

The glazing had smoothed, and set, but it was left with many small bubbles in it.  In fact, it looked like the sort of handmade glass that is often found in historic buildings, with the slight imperfections from the blowing technique before industrial production began.

However I don't think that Stratford at the end of the 19th century would have been using glass such as this.  

Fortunately, with a gentle prod with the tweezers, I was able to extract all four solidly set discs from the apertures.  They came out with no damage to the paintwork, which was nice as well.

The dilemma for me now is whether I have another try, knowing what to look out for and possibly pricking the bubbles out with a scalpel blade.  The alternative (which I'm currently favouring) is to just leave it and not risk an accident with the paintwork.

I'm tending to favour the second option at the moment...


Friday 4 July 2014

Get out more!

Visit your local Area Group!

Or, as I did yesterday, visit your second nearest Area Group, in this case of the Scalefour Society.  It's one that is a little far away for me to visit every month, which makes it even more enjoyable when I can.

In a little over twelve months, the North East Essex Area Group have grown into a lively and well attended monthly meeting of like-minded finescale modellers.  They have their own section of the Scalefour Society Forum, but most importantly also have coffee and biscuits at there meetings!

Last night I was present at their monthly meeting.  This is hosted in the spacious surroundings of the clubrooms of the Colchester Model Engineers, surprisingly enough, in Colchester.

We had a turnout of eleven that were present at yesterday's meeting, seen here gathered around the former Derek Genzel test track that was donated to the group and has been renovated.  It's quite a test track as it actually has three separate signal "boxes"!

In the foreground was a discussion of Jol Wilkinson's latest construction.  A London Road Models kit of (if I remember the box correctly) an LNER D12. This was in part finished state, and it was literally the first time that the locomotive had run under its own power.

In the background, there was admiration of  Richard Hall's class 47.  Rather than being an RTR conversion, this had been built some time ago from an MOK (Modern Outline Kits) etched brass kit.  Richard said that this was the first time that it had run in around twelve years!  It was initially a little reluctant to move, but it was soon running up and down the length of the track.

So very definitely a meeting of "something old, something new"...

And the promise of something new continues next month, when it is intended to have a lecture on using 3D printing for modelling.  I hope that I can make it!


Wednesday 2 July 2014

Another sunny morning...

The lovely thing at this time of year is that it's bright and sunny in the morning.  That means that with a bit of enthusiasm, I can sit down at 6am in the morning for a quick 15 minutes on modelling before having to make myself ready for work and leave the house.

This morning it was weathering.  The dirty grimy stuff, rather than the bright sunny stuff outside.

In the foreground is my Coffeepot, which has started to lose its "fresh from the shops" sheen courtesy of some black washes to knock back the brightness.

In the background is a whitemetal kit of a Highland Railway open wagon, which has had parts of the floor repainted.  Last night I replaced parts of it, as preparation for re-mounting Sprat & Winkle couplings on it.  

The former mountings were horrible and inaccurate, with twisted wire melted into lumps of plasticard.  All of that was removed, and the floor suffered as a result.  So I "let in" some new planks, and I have a natty little etch for a coupling mount that I designed last year to be part of the 5522 Models range.  This is another opportunity to test the design out to make sure that it works as I intended.

Given the long days, I hope to have some more painting done tonight...