March 27, 2014

"Valances and bath tubs…"

So a few more updates on my latest round of Gresley A4 Pacific modelling. It's definitely still in the "work in progress" stage, but it's getting there.

Using a set of my valance templates (as designed and produced for me by Peter Harvey of PH Designs), I've removed the valances for the most part. They are a bit rough and ready and will need some more filing down and cutting but the basic shape is there and gives a great indication of what still needs to be done.

The buffer beam and front end requires some thinking, particularly for how the buffers will be attached and how I will fit a few other components. You may notice that certain pieces on the valve gear have been omitted - since this is the Railroad 4472 chassis, there are parts moulded onto the body shell such as the eccentric gear bracket, that are actually part of the other valve gear available, such as the super detail A4 type. I think it's safe to say I need to buy a set of those and replace the current valve gear accordingly.

Here's a side by side comparison with my last "de-valancing kit" prototype, no.32 Gannet, lined up with what will hopefully become no.17 Silver Fox.

Oh, and just so that London Midland fans can see something related to their railway for a change - here's the latest few pics on my City of Lancaster build, using a Hornby Duchess chassis and a GBL Coronation body shell and tender.

LMS locomotives are still not my thing, but I now have a new found respect for the "upturned bathtubs" in so much that their elegance isn't fully appreciated until you start poring over drawings and studying the lines of the running plate and casing. It's actually quite handsome in all over black too, that to come another day...

Until next time.

March 22, 2014

"More updates on a few A4 models and the range of etches"

So we're fast approaching the painting stage for the body shells, and we know this because...

The tenders are starting to get there. It's a long story with the paint - involves a few Bugatti enthusiasts, some paint swatches, lots of debate about adding white to mixtures…but I had a very special paint mixed up for me to paint my A4s in. The idea behind the full repaint is to offer something closer than either Railmatch, Precision or Hornby in their shades of "Garter blue" - which I would argue was never such, and probably should have always been described as "Bugatti blue".

Anywan, here is prototype 2's non corridor streamlined tender in its blue livery, on its way to be painted.

The difference in shades of blue compared to the Hornby model is startling. The level of detail however, with handrails added, is virtually the same. Cheap knock off tender body shell suddenly looking the part!

In addition, the wheel sets have been painted using Humbrol gloss no.20, which to me looked a better match than that on the Hornby A4 models I have seen recently.

Finally, prototype 1 now has its own tender, well on its way to joining the prototype 2's tender in the paint shop.

This uses the GBL 4472's tender body shell, in conjunction with a set of spare Hornby frames (the correct type with the wing shaped rear steps). Again, the wheel sets have been painted using Humbrol gloss no.20.

This model is now likely to retain its valances as it's going to remain a solitary one off with its chassis I think.

That's it for the moment. If you haven't been invoiced for any of my A4 etches, by the way, fear not - you won't necessarily have missed out. I am working six day weeks at the minute and have had very little time to sort out the orders.

Last week I managed to get a few sent off, next Sunday I will do the same again…it's taken four months to get through a list of twenty people. I apologise profusely for the delay, unfortunately holding down a full time job (and doing more than 35 hours a week at the minute too) is taking its toll a little bit.

Next time I will go into more detail about the possibility of new etches and a few re-designs of older ones.


March 19, 2014

"Some Great British Locomotive modelling"

So part 3 of "Great British Locomotives" part work is this rather nice model of 4472 Flying Scotsman. It's been clearly based on the Hornby model, and the super detail model at that, albeit with simplified detailing. So, is it any good?

Yes and no. The tender body is a direct copy of the super detail one, albeit unlike the Mallard tender a few weeks back, with moulded handrails. The tender body comes off with two screws underneath and fits perfectly onto an appropriate and standard Hornby tender chassis.

You can tell this is a proper tender chassis by the lack of red lining and the superior wheel sets!

Unfortunately the locomotive is not fit for much…at the minute. The boiler and smokebox are separate to the cab and running plate - a good thing - but the design of the body and the running plate are not conducive to motorising...

…not without chopping a heck of a lot of plastic away, and I mean a lot.

The boiler is however hollow.

The running plate is much the same, tragically moulded in such a way as to make fitting a Hornby chassis nigh on impossible without major surgery.

However the cab - which has an epic about  of glazing, correctly turned in side sheets, and the high cut out to the cab suitable for late 1930s Pacifics and post war (and preservation) 4472, is an entirely separate item.

This comparison shows the tender on its own frames and next to the spare Hornby tender frames I own (note they are correct for a corridor tender, with the right steps present).

The GBL tender frames, however, are surprisingly good copies in their own right. I have been pondering - given how the tender body simply screws down onto the frames through two screws on the excellent bottom plate, of adding axle boxes in some form along with Hornby wheel sets as above, to save on buying spare tender frames. They are nicely moulded and it wouldn't take much modification to make them proper runners, I think.

The body shell on the left is the Railroad 4472, the latest in a long line of modifications I have made towards my Pacific fleet.

The GBL running plate compared to the Railroad model.

And finally, the Railroad Scotsman cab compared to the GBL cab. No contest frankly, the GBL cab is superb. The glazing comes away easily and is very nicely moulded. Removing the handrails and adding new ones, and repainting will produce an almost identical cab to the super detail Hornby model.

So, is it worth £8.99? Verdict's out on this one. I do think the cab and tender are worth getting as spare parts but I do wish it had been designed differently in terms of the running plate and boiler arrangement.

It does make one think that had this artwork been thought through a bit more, static display models and easily motorised scale models could have been achieved.

Until next time.

March 09, 2014

"More A4 conversion work"

It's becoming something of an everyday occurrence here. My determination to finally put my own mark on the class A4, and produce a model I am happy with on all levels, is going to new levels of modelling insanity…!

So what have I been doing? I have been test fitting a set of Maygib A4 type Spencer double buffers. They are not fixed permanently yet (hence the droop) as I simply wanted to check the fit for the moment.

The buffer beam apron had the original shanks removed, holes for the Maygib buffers drilled and humbrol filler used to fill in the edges. Hopefully when complete it'll look much better than the original finish and either that on the Hornby or Bachmann standard A4 models. Rivets will be re-added using a sheet of Archer's resin rivets.

A new coupling will also be added at the same time.

The tender has had filler applied to fill in the chips and similar. Handrails to be put on the whole of the model, and the valances removed, later this week. Single chimneys from Graeme King will be incoming soon to replace the double chimney.

It's getting there. Really enjoying the build. The Bachmann chassis based prototype, prototype 1, is at the same stage of modifications and will be undergoing the same process these coming weeks.

Then it's all a question of paint…

Until next time.