July 15, 2014

"…Mallard, and a minor rant on buffers"

So I am aware I may be boring a large majority of you at present. For the last two years, the majority of my blog posts - when it comes to modelling anyway - has centred around the Gresley class A4 Pacific. In my defence, they are a large part of my future modelling plans and my test pieces I do now will provide valuable experience for when I go to do future models.

Case in point: I have decided beyond reasonable doubt that I severely dislike Hornby's front buffer apron piece. The actual buffer beam shanks are much more slender on the real thing in my opinion:

Bittern, masquerading as Dominion of New Zealand three years ago, showing the very thin buffer beam shanks.

Now look at the buffer beam shanks on my two A4s. There's no comparison: the Maygib products on the Great British Locomotives body shell is by far superior. A real pity as that's the one thing which really lets the Hornby Railroad and super detail models down in my view.

(And before anyone starts, yes I am aware of the difference in shade between the various photographs of the models and the real thing above. Wait until the models are weathered and then sealed with Johnson's Klear and then judge!)

Things still to do on no.e22 Mallard include adding lamp irons, cab spectacle etches, cylinder drain cocks, bucket seats, cab glazing, transfers on front of casing and stainless steel numerals on cabsides fitted.

Quite a list, but it does feel good to get off my backside and do some modelling, even if it's just a respray with some added details in this case.

Until next time.

July 07, 2014

"Casting resin tenders…"

The great thing about model railways, is that one day you could be building baseboards, painting a train, or messing around with rubber moulds and Alumilite resin plastic.

As regulars to this blog may be aware, I am currently in the process of building a fleet of A4 Pacifics, and as a prototype I made a model of no.17 Silver Fox. Well, that model hasn't got the right tender type behind it. Until now...

This is a semi-successful first casting of a streamlined 1935 A4 corridor tender. This is intended to go behind Silver Fox, and hopefully will lead to further castings for the rest of the intended fleet of A4s which share this tender type (more than you'd think!)

I will make another attempt later next month with this mould and a two piece one, but for what it is, not bad for a first casting.

Please note that this one is a solid lump of resin! The weight of the piece means it probably won't need metal weights on the chassis when fitted to the Hornby tender frames it is intended for.

I am going to try a two piece mould next month to compare methods. The weight of the solid one means I probably won't need to add metal weights to a set of Hornby frames! The Alumilite resin used is extremely hard. I will clean this prototype up during the course of this and see how it comes out as a tender.

You'll note I left the window moulding on the rear of the tender - will probably just paint the window black and the surround silver. You can't see into the non existent corridor on the Hornby ones anyway…

Until next time!

July 06, 2014

"The layout building begins…"

Many years ago, I had a little six feet by four feet model railway. It was a Christmas present from my father and grandfather, when I was seven years old.

The baseboard which formed that first model railway formed the next, which was christened Copley Hill in 2006 and formed the basis of this blog for many years. I had lots of fun, whether it was filming those early episodes of The British Railway Stories, filming the Hornby Vs Bachmann review videos (sorry for the lack of updates there by the way!) or just watching my favourite trains go round and round.

Times change, and interests grow. I wanted more than a roundy round with a shed in the centre. I wanted something which could sustain my interest and increasing locomotive fleet.

This Christmas, that baseboard turns twenty years old, and it will form the centre board of the fiddle yard for my new model railway, as yet unnamed.

So in the last few weeks I made a start, finally, on replacing Copley Hill. I started with building the first of what will eventually be six scenic baseboards.

They are laser cut baseboards, available from Tim Horn here. The reviews in the model railway press had been favourable, so I thought I'd give them a try, buying his pack of three light weight baseboards first.

They go together very well, with nothing more than press fixing, a bit of wood glue and a small mallet. Perfect for my hamfistedness!

This afternoon, I finished the last two of the first three boards, and then started layout planning. I have a vague idea of what I want from the finished layout, and so put together a bit of a photo opportunity.

So the idea is to create a mainline on a lower level and one on a higher level, with tunnels at either end and making use of retaining walls almost everywhere.

What I like about this side is that the width and length of the baseboards make them pretty easy to handle.

The crossover of the two lines is likely to include a girder bridge, which I am working on.

The embankments are likely to be built up by sections of off cut foam board.

So I'm afraid, not a lot of detail today. Forgive me, it is Sunday and I am preparing for the week ahead.

Please feel free to say hallo to me at the Talyllyn Railway on Friday if you see me out and about. I will be there with The British Railway Stories' artist Dean Walker, presenting a special piece of his artwork for them to auction off in aid of repairing their no.1 locomotive.

Until next time.

July 02, 2014

"Little Bytham"

A little video of some runs Silver Fox made alongside a proper Hornby A4 (namely, Merlin) owned by Tom Foster and my solitary Thompson A2/2, Wolf of Badenoch, on Tony Wright's exquisite Little Bytham layout.