April 21, 2014

"Some obligatory A4 modelling and the Thompson B3/3 re-emerges"

I am fast approaching the finish line with no.17 Silver Fox, with the welcome addition of Fox Transfers excellent etched numerals and lettering for LNER no.17.

 Yes, the numbers are off-centre. I had to check and double check this, but this is accurate for no.17 Silver Fox on this side only, in a photograph dated 1947. Since I want my fleet of A4s to be a mixture of LNER and British Railways branding, I elected for this combination for prototype 1 to show off the modelling to its best advantage.

The eagle eyed amongst you will note that this is not the correct tender for no.17, that having a 1935 bow ended, streamlined corridor tender and not one of the original 1928 stock (which this tender is). I have elected to leave the top half above the beading blue for the time being until such a time I can source, paint and finish a 1935 type tender for no.17.

Last things to do include adding lamp irons (always a pain and always left until last), adding the coupling, cab spectacle etches, then weathering and sealing with Johnson's Klear. I hope to have all of these done within the month, and also finish the Hornby chassis prototype 2.

Though I must confess, I have almost made my mind up on which chassis I am going to standardise on. It is increasingly looking like being the Bachmann type, it being heavier, more powerful, smoother and with the die cast cartazzi and lower firebox sides, less of a pain to mount these cheap GBL bodies on.

Now onto the Thompson B3/3. This model has been on the boil for nearly two years now. Started in what feels like a completely different life, I've now got around to shortening the B1 chassis at the front end, cutting and re-shaping the running plate (needed to be deeper) and adding the GCR swivel hook on the buffer beam.

On the Isinglass drawings, the depth of the running plate is very similar to the B1, whereas period photographs show the depth of the running plate to be much deeper. I pondered over this for some time, before realising the pitch of the boiler matches that of the original GCR boiler, which means that the standard fittings, though still all within 13ft high, makes the B3/3 slightly taller in a lot of areas compared to Thompson's standard B1 type.

This is perhaps best seen in a side on view. The steps are the correct length and pitched at the right height, but they do not match up to the steps of the GCR tender, unsurprisingly. The handrails have been fitted to the cab - notice the handrails on the front of the cab, one way of recognising the B3/3 aside from the as yet to be modelled splashers, or the larger 6ft 9in wheels (which are Hornby Royal Scot drivers, suitably modified with new balance weights).

Also note the replacement, larger bogie wheels fitted to a Thompson L1 bogie. I am hoping once the guard irons are removed, and a set of separate fittings are attached to the front buffer beam, that the model will look much improved in this area next time out.

Until next time.

April 13, 2014

"Silver Fox"

No.17 Silver Fox has seen the light of day for the first time…Fox Transfers etches and transfers.

The red - humbrol no.20 - really comes out well in the sunlight.

Frankly I feel a bit vindicated in the choice of blue, particularly when you compare to the image below...

…which shows an A4 in a rather pleasing, and not at all dark, shade. Frankly I think it looks the part, I am sure a lot of people will disagree with me and say I've got it totally wrong, but hey, I've put my work out there and actually done some modelling, including a full repaint and a lot of bodging.

The comparison of garter blue shades taken from a photograph of Herring Gull, found here. Even accounting for the deficiencies of film of the time, are we seriously saying that the below, the Hornby shade:

…is light enough to be considered a better match than that I've used?

For my own peace of mind, I finally have an A4 Pacific which I'm pretty satisfied with in a lot of areas, unlike previous conversions. Prototype 2 using the Hornby chassis is up next and will hopefully look just as good. I do know there's a few things I will do differently though.

The Bachmann chassis does feel like the natural choice at the minute, given the ease of the conversion compared to the Hornby chassis.

Until next time.

April 11, 2014


More tinkering with the GBL Gresley A4 body shells. This one, on a Bachmann chassis, has finally entered the painting and finishing stage.

The tender really does scrub up well though I will need to find a replacement spectacle glass for the tender, as it don't come with one fitted.

A bit of filling and filing was needed at the front end prior to painting blue...

…so I started on the tender instead. Note the extra access hatch added and the valances filled in and smoothed over in the corner behind the cylinders.

The next stage was a few coats of my own brand garter blue...

…painting the cab roof...

…and fitting the excellent Maygib sprung buffers.

Here's a few photographs taken outside in the sunshine.

The blue looks VERY light here but I think it will look very different when the black smokebox and the parabolic curves are added.

One thing i am very pleased with is the choice of Humbrol paint for the wheels, they look spot on. The body shell looks a very odd (if pleasing) shade of blue at the moment but I remain convinced that when the whole model is finished - weathered and all - it'll be a different story.

One random closeup of the wheels, a bit arty shall we say!

Until next time, when hopefully LNER no.17 will be revealed in all her glory. TTFN.

April 07, 2014

"A4 Conversions…again!"

It is almost an obsession. I seem to only be doing modelling updates of A4 Pacifics at the minute!

Here is prototype 1, a Great British Locomotives (GBL) body shell on the latest Bachmann A4 chassis, with a GBL 4472 corridor tender on a set of Hornby frames.

The model has had handrails, single chimney, access hatches added and the valances removed.

The primer has been applied, highlighting a number of areas to improve on before painting the locomotive blue.

I'm now feeling much happier about my project. Lots still to do (look at the buffer holes above, for instance, where I need to do more filling and sanding to get the shape I want) but it's starting to come together nicely.

Until next time.