Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Vincent is into production at last...

The long running Vincent Black Shadow master for a 1/6th scale kit has reached the end and the parts are now with casters, moulders, decal producers, etc.
It won't be cheap, but regular updates with pictures I have sent Richard over the last year of master making are all going on his new Facebook page. You need to "do" FB to see the page. Just click on and you should  get there.
The very first parts from the very first mould.  Many, many more yet to come.  This is the first master I have made where it took two people to carry the boxes of parts safely to the caster!"

Wednesday, 24 October 2018


After a year I am nearing the end of the Vincent Black Shadow master. Obviously it doesn't actually TAKE a year. Other stuff has been done, other things have to be waited for, reference material gathered, visits arranged and made to sketch and measure real ones, etc.  Having made the components there is then, with such a big and complete model, a period of checking.  Checking that things fit in place, checking clearances and fits generally, checking that I haven't forgotten anything, and most of all....checking all the nuts and bolts.  Yes, nuts and bolts.  Whilst they are not actually threaded, they are obvious in their presence and most actually do keep things in place. They HAVE to be there and they are so easy to miss while you make bigger, more obvious , perhaps more challenging parts. It's perfectly natural top miss a tiny bolt when you've just sculpted a magneto cover or one of those ludicrously abstract cylinder heads.
These are relevant to the wheels and front suspension.
The essence of the front suspension,  the legs, bristling with dummy nuts and bolts, but if the legs are shiny black the polished faces of the chrome look nuts and bolts will contrast beautifully.

I'm hoping one more day should see it done, then all off to the white metal caster, resin moulder and tyre maker.  And I can take a break.  I have some boats to restore.
Oh and a 1/43rd scale 'bike and N gauge locos and a Gypsy Moth aeroplane and, and, and...

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Make do and mend...

At the weekend I've decided to leave the big stuff behind and just do jobs for me.  Of course that usually morphs into Kanyerjustas. You know...Kanyerjust sort that door out, Kanyerjust top up the pond, etc.  Today the light seems to have run out after all that lovely summer and Indian summer and it's pissing down with rain.
I did get a bit done yesterday. I finished the carrying case for the Crash Tender and painted some bits on the wee Star SY 3 yacht restoration.  I'm really getting a taste for this restoration lark. It has more challenges than making new.  And making do and mending has always been my main interest. I know I can make new. I've nothing to prove there, but restoring is always something new to think about.

The Star yacht with the first coat of enamel on the lower hull.
Tinplate fittings scraped free of rust and mast repaired from 2 broken halves.

The front slides down hammered aluminium angles.  The case will eventually have stands to keep the boat's prop and rudder off the floor.  Now I have to make similar for the Vanity yacht,Chris Craft, the Darby One Design and the Greavette.  Then where do they all go?!

Friday, 5 October 2018

Give me strength!!...

Tonight I watched less than half of a new TV series called the Great Model Railway Challenge.  It had been advertised for weeks and I'd had time to ponder how awful it would almost certainly be.  But, Ye Gods I hadn't bargained for the disaster that met me at 8 o'clock on Friday evening.  To think my dear wife had foregone Gardeners' World for this drivel.

Three teams of baggy arsed, pot bellied old farts, recently ( or otherwise) pensioned off from, no doubt, well pensioned jobs got together to be given completely predictably stupid and irrelevant tasks to acheive with an 8x4 roundy roundy train set. I do NOT consider any part of their magnifying headsets, overpriced Noch electro static grass applicators or round ring desk lamps to be anything whatever to do with model railways.No amount of airbrushery where a paint brush would do will make a bodger into a modelmaker.  The one encouraging scene was where one old boy on being shown the scratchbuilding challenge, declared with some disgust that he was a modelmaker, not a clown.
That challenge had to be explained by the producer/presenter so that people knew what was scratchbuilding. It too had nothing to do with modelmaking being the insistence on the use of a high heeled shoe and a lipstick!  An ugly ginger denim wearing token female, more at home on Big Brother, I would have thought, warned she would be looking for creativity.  God forbid!

I have to confess, at that point, I too was missing Monty Don and told my wife to switch back to something realistic and interesting.

This debacle follows another model series that was bloody rubbish, where a team of British (always has to be a team doesn't it?) model flyers challenged a team of German model flyers to relive the Battle of Britain with models. For the most part the models, all built to one standard...low, were appallingly badly flown to the point that one could not discern what was happening, except for one pilot and SHE (HE...IT) was a transgender!  How thoroughly Media of them.  Apparently, on that occasion "we" beat the Jerries.  How would we know.  I have not watched that again, either.

There seems to be a kind of terminal unwritten statement in the Media that modelmaking must be pilloried and ridiculed out of existence and since the screen is everybody's modern bible they will do it by TV.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Sudden loss...

I learned suddenly the other day of the death of an old friend.  I had known this gentleman since the first week of my internet presence, on my old Mac, back in the late '90s.  We met over his superb set of web pages called Model Boat Wizards.  Rich loved many things, but woodies and models of them (mahogany classic speedboats), motorbikes and the Islands were his passions.
7 years ago he had to have a lung removed. He never really found out why and that, I imagine, as much as its removal and subsequent disabilities annoyed him. He was not a smoker.  Maybe it's true what they say about wood dust, for his models were all wood.  He could make a Liberty aero engine in a boat that you would swear was made of metal.

Attitudes to hand made models changed recently and he lost his interest, especially when aol summarily removed all the websites they hosted and we lost Model Boat Wizards.  Rich never really knew what to do after that.  He passed on to me two lovely jobs I'm sure he would have done himself previously, a Miss America X and a Baby Horace III, which are now in a restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia, called Artie's.  He sent me books on woodies which I treasure, but when he found little or no interest in all the hundreds of drawings he'd amassed over the years he made a huge bonfire in his garden and they were gone.  That, is the fault of the model world. No club or museum could be arsed to answer him. It was out of disgust and despair for the hobby that he burned them. For all I know he might have done the same with the kits and books he had remaining, because they would have been too expensive for him to send or me to receive, thanks to sudden huge increases in postal charges.

I'm lucky to have some CDs he recorded, telling the story of an old Allard J2X that his chum once owned, which seemed to be jinxed. His rumbling voice is both restful and amusing.  He went under the handle of  Chatham on my followers list. He could rarely leave a comment due to blogger being difficult, but he'd always mail me instead.

                                           Sock it to 'em up there, old chum. Give 'em Hell.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Touchy, touchy...

Recently I have come off various enthusiast sites/pages/forums because I make a reasonable comment or give an opinion to which I am perfectly entitled and some picky, touchy bastard gets totally snotted out with the comment.  There's no point in wasting time with these turds, so I fire back a snotty comment and leave the site/page/forum.  I therefore find that I am now on so few pages on Fartbook and no forums at all, that I wonder of the point in remaining on Fartbook at all.  If it weren't for my son's page about Triumph Renown restoration and a couple of pages my chum runs on 1/43rd scale slot cars, I could easily leave the time wasting crap altogether.
I can't believe how touchy people are.  I got a load of Belgian abuse from some goofy turd this morning who put up a load of heavy crap about car enthusiasm and then showed a picture of a modern Ford Focus or some such arse liquid.  I just said "'s just a Ford"  And whoa, off he goes, calling me all the things under the sun!  So, I don't know how he became a friend in the first place, clearly an oversight, but he sure ain't any more, especially after what I called him just now!
And as for Yanks who can't take any form of criticism whatever, the less said the better. I reckon if somebody shows a video on FB of a row of filthy, rusty, hideous so-called rat rods, I have a public right, nay duty to comment upon them, but the response was pure personal vitriol.  Sad gits.  Don't offend me in a public place and expect me to make no comment and rat rods offend anyone with aesthetic tendencies. Same thing on a woody boat page. Silly dog's paw exhausts on an otherwise beautiful boat, yuch. I said so and I was pounced on by some Yank who couldn't take criticism.

                                               Suck it up Bubba and blow it out yer arse.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Almost there...

Well, after a year, the Vincent Black Shadow 1/6th scale master is almost finished. I finally got the etchings from France, via Portugal and glued them on. They were too fragile for solder.  I finally got enough pictures to make an operable front stand. Almost as abstract as the cylinder heads which I've done, but which need some cleaning up.  I made the exhaust today until the delivery of brass rod turned out to be 4mm diameter steel in 5" lengths.  I'm expecting the right stuff tomorrow.  Even just 2 apparently simple curved pipes are actually far more complex in shape and relationship than you'd first think.
We have had the wheel rims done by a process called SLA.  Some call it 3D printing, but it isn't.  A laser hardens a microscopic layer of resin in a bath of the stuff and then it pops up one layer.  There is also a complex support system which is very brittle, but he results were superb. Right down to the bumps from which the spokes issue. 
He is currently making tyre masters INCLUDING the writing on the tyre wall, Avon for the front and Dunlop on the slightly different rear.  Because all this stuff now has to be done from computer files, he is also doing the transfers artwork, equally beautifully.  Where, once, I did it all, my job these days tends to be one of not merely pattermaker, but "facilitator", harvesting work from the best in their fields.  It annoys me that they can all charge much more than I, even though I consider what I do to be beyond most of them and what they do something I could quickly learn if I didn't have to pay through the nose to do so (£500 a day plus accommodation!)  But these days it's the only way to get these things done.

I made the pattern for the hub recently. I was dreading it, but as ever with a feared job, it went swimmingly.  The caster is currently making 4 of them for me to modify into a set of parts. The front hubs have 5 bolts holding the spoke flange to the main hub flange and the rear has 10. I will get the 4 castings back and make one set with another 5 bolts.  The one side, front and rear has to be just the flange and the other, front and rear is the flange and hub cylinder, to be joined at one side.  Here's the brass pattern for the 5 bolt original. The ten slots round the etch take 2 spokes each and were done by drilling the hole centrally and then sawing out either side with a piercing saw. It went very easily. I was surprised and relieved!

Also made the chain guard. That was going to be two sides with a central piece sandwiched betwixt, but it turned out to be far more domed than that would allow, so the only way to make it was to beat two sides over at the top to get the curvature, then be filed straight and soldered together and filed to one curve. Then tiny fixings had to be made and soldered to it.
Why do photos taken with a mobile 'phone end up in a different orientation to that at which they were taken?

Well, with just a few final parts to be made and a final check that everything fits, we should be done.  Then, I have to make all the little changes that make it a Black Lightning and then a Series D.
And if that ain't enough, the next whole bike will be a BSA Gold Star with a Rocket Gold Star Twin to follow that!