Sunday, 28 September 2014

4mm, Ahoy!...

I've just received the flyer from Neville Kent for the little boats I mastered for him.
Displayed in a small harbour scene, which is just what they were intended for.  I wish I had the computer skills to produce such a thing.
I've put this on my blog as Nev has enough to do just supplying his well known 9mm gauge chassis for OO9, O9 and 2mm scale locos.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Funny thing, scale...

Having just started doing a bit of the church project today, it occurred to me that the massive thing is the same 7mm scale as the Bentley Continental R I did the master for, many years ago.  And this is just the chancel!  I had to add some to the bottom of it too since taking some measurements with my Grandson yesterday.

This is going to be a big model!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Bloopers anonymous...

With all the talk of less than "perfick", goolies well dropped and hammers used to finesse Caley Singles, it occurred
to me to fess up to a couple of my own, just for fun.

I was asked to do an S-Type Jaguar for a very popular company doing solid , underdetailed, but shiny and reasonably priced white metal 43rd scale car models.  I really couldn't see any major pitfalls, so I banged away at the brass confidently and then I realised that as Jags go, this was looking very like a SAAB 96!  There are similarities in a very general way, but something had to be done.
I looked at it carefully and hurled it at the end wall of the workshop.  "That's better", I said to myself and cut new 2mm brass sheet, hammered as before and produced a perfectly good S-Type from the get-go.  I think my wife picked the first attempt up and put it on the side bench, which she did regularly when she brought me teas down to the workshop.  One day I defeated her when I'd thrown a clamp-on vice at the same, long suffering wall because it hit me on the head when I rose from the carpet search for a dropped item.  I'd calmly unscrewed it from the bench then hurled it wall-wards. It had buried itself evenly not in, but through the wall.  Meanwhile I just clamped the other one in place.  I was bleeding from the scalp, but felt so much better.

These things continue, of course, but suffice to show what I was able to save from a job I just HAD to admit defeat on.  I had made a full styrene model of a lovely old narrowboat called Roger.  Thinking myself such a boatie I soldiered on , making rivetted skins in litho plate and gluing them on and only when the interior was all done and the lettering hand painted did someone bravely remind me what I knew already, but had completely forgotten.  Roger was a wooden boat!
Now styrene hulls can be pulled apart, but hand lettered cabins with scumble staining and barber's pole painting on the swan neck have to be saved, so this is what is left, but will go on another boat, this time with wood grain and tar where I'd stupidly put rivets before.

The stove and drop table cabinet with lace plates, but I didn't finish the graining before the big "mistake" was noticed.
The notional Russell Newbury came out easily.  It wasn't right for Roger, but was all I could find info on at the time.  I now believe that most Nurser boats had a 15HP Petter semi-diesel single, so that will now be made for the Roger model and the RN will go in something more snobby and modern.
The swan neck, tiller stove chimney and exhaust chimney of Roger.  All correct and re-usable.  Made from brass, the handle and chain of the stove chimney are made from pewter repousse foil, now all but unobtainable, so a Chinese takeaway foil one can be made, then stroked with a fine tip Pantone pen to look like brass.  You can do the same to represent copper or nickel with a dull red or straw Pantone respectively, but they must be spirit based or it all just comes off.

So, the choice is, dependant on your particular temper setting, destroy it totally or make use of what's salvageable.  But never be afraid to admit it.  It does, after all, show great self criticism, which is the one thing a modelmaker needs before he ever cuts brass, card or styrene. arse!

Well, the much vaunted Finescale Model Railway Review has just dropped on my doorstep.  And, on first flick, that's where it may as well stay.
Brash colour throughout, no scratchbuilding at all, all kit bashing, even the 2mm scale pannier.

Oh dear.  It seems Mr. Shackleton has had more of an effect on this potentially exciting new periodical than Mr. Barlow, by a country mile.  He it was who once told me that "nobody makes anything any more", when he was editor of MRJ, having asked me for articles on roads , rivers and boats and having read and enjoyed those articles.  Clearly a confused soul.

Nope!  If you haven't shelled out your six and a half quid yet for No.1, I'd say keep your sheckles in your pocket.  This new mag. is not worth half that money.  There's not much of it.  It's not noticeably finescale and there's no real modelmaking evident anywhere, unlike the early MRJs.

A wasted opportunity and a huge disappointment.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Why DO I do this?...

This is what I sometimes make passing mention of:-

I make masters for model aircraft companies as well as slot cars and railways.  This particular client got some part started masters in a deal when he bought a small company.  This box of wrong, mis-shapen mouldings, vac-formings and "dabbles" is what I was given to base the correct pattern on. This is a Pilatus PC12 turbo -jet "executive" jobby in 1/72nd scale.

This involved taking the best of the bad jobs and cutting them so viciously that they became unrecognisable and then rebuilding them with Milliput, including the entire cockpit area on both sides.
Then they had to be re-fixed with superglue and Milli until they matched the plans.  Then they had to be ground out and scraped internally till they looked reasonably smooth and even (an on-going process).  In order that I could give the fuselage a decent section I had to cut recesses in one half and add tongues in the other which register perfectly.  Who remembers "locate and cement" on early Airfix instructions?  Well it was the crap fit of those early kits that made me give up kits for life. I was 8 years old and vowed never to waste another penny of my hard earned pocket money on a kit.  I have kept to that in the intervening 54 years, too.  But irony, or is it paradox, of ironoxes, I end up making the patterns for other peoples' kits.  At least I can make sure they fit!

Here's work so far:-
Any line you can see on these is where I have either filled, removed, shortened, reduced, extended or totally restructured what I was sent.
The fin section is all new as there wasn't anything in that junk box of previous bits to use or modify.
There were no wing roots or fairings at all.  These are entirely Milliput.  The portholes were either not there, filled or in the wrong place and there were no cockpit sections whatever. These are entirely Milliput in sections, cooked on top of my tower unit where it gets a bit on the warm side.  The black is Milliput black, which I have had to take to because the dealer had no yellow/green, that most of the model is so far.  But fear Milli is very good, sets hard and sticks better than yellow/green. Just takes some getting used to when the lighter stuff has always been there.  The black is a little more expensive, but just better.  BTW, the white stuff is crumbly, chalking crap. It's no finer than green or black, so don't waste your money on it.

Now here's a right old mixture.

Here we have previous resin wings and weird kicked up separate tips, extended with Ureol on the roots, including black Milli, styrene on the tips (there were too skinny) and epoxy one-shot filler, borrowed from German contracts in the 90s to fill digs and scratches.  The wings were at least half an inch too short AND different from each other.  The tailplane was a good half inch too narrow, so it needed adding to, but is so thin it's very difficult to keep a line of superglue holding.

Here we have the insides showing. The best way to smooth all that is to grind up a suitable bit of thin steel and scrape it to shape.  Files just don't remove enough, or have the shapes needed. Although a small good quality gouge can help start it.

So there we are. Not all masters begin with a block of Ureol or wood.  Some time IS saved, but less and less it seems as the work goes on.
Wait till you see the Leopard Bizjet he's given me!

OH, BTW....ignore the previous post.  The mystery message box didn't come up this time.  Clearly my picture files were there all the time!  I went to an older file and downloaded an R1 hydro pic. perfectly (another interest!).  When I went back to "pictures" it worked fine.  Damned pootahs.

End of Blogger?

I just tried to add a new post and when I clicked the image icon I got a message saying my photo files were unavailable.  It put up a new page saying "from a blog"," from Picasa", "from your phone", etc.

What the hell is picasa?,  I have a camera, so why would I want to use a phone (I have no mobile phone),  when did this happen?
Why the bloody Hell can't they leave alone what ain't broke!?

If I can't post photos as I always have done, I will have to end the blog.  I will not be pushed around by the tossers who own this outfit.

Has anyone else found this nonsense today if they happen to be with this outfit?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

My first commission

A comment of Iain's on the previous post about "old modelmakers" got me thinking....This is my first ever commission.  A sand barge from the Essex coast called Peterna.
I was 18 when I made it, 44 years ago.  It has a basswood hull covered in litho plate and everything else is nickel silver.
I'm really not sure that I've improved on that!  Just got a lot quicker.  Which is what makes a professional, as opposed to an amateur, which is most definitely what I was then.  I remember getting a massive £85 for the model and £25 for the mahogany base and case!

A bit of Gilbarco's finest...

Just a quick update on the fuel pump.

A very careful coat of self-etch primer for the brass, followed by a completely pointless attempt at spraying with Vallejo acrylics.  You have to thin the paint so much, it just goes on like water and does much the same, pools, runs and doesn't cover.   So I left it to dry and put a couple more very thin coats on the main body, with the gauge face all masked up.
I'd already used Maskol as a resist to the paint and to give a slightly curly edge to the peeling paint on the front panel.  Not too much, just enough for a suggestion of wear, rather than neglect, but not being able to spray it with any success as I had no enamel or cellulose the right colour, I actually used gouache paint!  As it went on it caused a few tiny bobbly bits for some reason, but since it was supposed to represent a hand painted pump, often and carelessly, the poor finish actually looked fine.
The hose was made from nickel silver wire with care to make it look like a naturally coiled stiff pipe. The nozzle is a piece of tube pushed on and flattened in the vice.  The holster is one of the etchings I had done.  At the other end of the pipe is the flow meter that pumps used to have. A kind of clear cylinder with a barber's pole spinning round inside, is done with brass rods and soldered up.

All that remains is to make the switch that turns the delivery on, the other side and either a globe or a suggestion of where the globe once was, I haven't decided yet.
The dial was hand painted, including the Gilbarco logo with a VERY fine brush and just visible behind the clear glazed face.

This pump will be for DERV, but heaven help the attendant who pumps that muck into the Jaguar XJ13!
That was the first of my small range of 1/43rd scale model car kits and is now an astonishing 28 years old!!  No wonder the epoxy headlights have yellowed a bit and the wiper's gone missing.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Peeling paint, Mk 2...

I've now tried the next attempt at peeling paint using white spirit on the bare wood, then Vallejo.

I think Vallejo might be too good a paint, or maybe I didn't let it dry enough, but I think a little too much paint came off, although I still like the effect, especially once I've distressed the lower parts of the boards.

Still experimenting!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Lizard boy strikes again...

Haha!, He's gone and done it again!  The little Lizard Man who runs RMWeb has booted me off...for telling the truth that Pendon is losing its way, Geoff Kent's garage was overblown and MRJ ain't a patch on what it once was.
I bet he thinks I give a toss, too!  I only joined it again to ask about lobster pots and bugger all help I got on that one!

It seems that it doesn't matter what the silly little toady does on that much reduced and reviled forum, the new owners (magazine BRM company) haven't the balls to tell him where to go. I can only surmise he works for nothing!

Ah well, the welcome over the pond at freerails is never in doubt and the modelmaking is always infinitely better than anything the patrons of RMWeb can ever come up with.
Goodbye, Lizard man and damned good riddance to you!

New standards for grasses and trees?...

I can do no better, ladies and gents, but send you hither:-

I always go back to my American chums at Freerails, when I get booted off the British forums.
And anyway, nobody does this in England.  (It should be said that this thread is from a Dutch guy)

I have never tried static grass applicators, but I know there are cheap home built versions you can knock up from bug bats and the like.  I therefore have no knowledge of all the different makes and types of fibres, weeds, turfs, available, but I think I will have to learn about them because this is just too good!
Grass applicators for tree building and bushes that are astonishingly realistic.  But the real tour de force is the silver birch, around page 13-14 on that thread.

I have resisted static grass for a while because I thought it a bit shiny and false-looking but now, at last, I think resistance is pointless.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Peeling paint, a simpler way?

I have been reading up methods of creating that peeling, flakey paint finish which is so common on old, uncared for wood, like the doors of Tony's garage workshop.

They are all so complex, requiring layers of alcohol, dyes, thinners, PVA glue and paint.  Certainly excellent results can be obtained with these methods, but I wondered if a simpler method couldn't be found.
I couldn't see why something masking the wood which could be removed easily shouldn't do the job, so I bought some Humbrol Maskol today.
I prepared the wood, a small sliver of my beloved steamed pear, a wood with no figure and a close grain, by sanding it with a coarse sandpaper and a little remodelling with a knife at the bottom to suggest missing and rotten timber.  I didn't take too much care to engrave the planks of the door, but that can be done later on further experiments.
I WILL try the other method, once I've written it all down as I'm damned if I can remember it all!

But for now, here's my simplified attempt and I'm quite chuffed with the result.
On the other side is a single colour layer, equally convincing, so here I thought I'd try for the appearance of an old layer of a contrasting colour showing through a newer, lighter one and then the whole lot flaking and peeling back to bare wood.  This is probably one of those pictures you need to click on to see the big version.
All I did after the sanding and poking about with a knife was to paint some little streaks of Maskol with a very fine brush onto the planks, especially at joints and at the bottom.  Let it dry, then go over with some acrylic paint. I only had Valejo paints in acrylic, so I gave it a coat of a darker blue than I would like, but didn't have anything else.  That dries very quickly and then I did some more Maskol streaks and finished with a coat of white over that.  By the time I'd washed the brush (SO important with acrylics), the test piece was dry.  I then wrapped some blue masking tape round my finger and pressed down on the piece. On removal of the tape, the layers of paint came away beautifully from the Maskol, which, when removed with a fine pair of tweezers, was pulled off to reveal bits of the older coat of paint.  
I am very happy with this 10 minute experiment and will give it some more twists tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Back to business...

And so, back to modelmaking.
As I work on slot car master, railway wagons and model aircraft patterns I am always looking at these etchings. I have them in a wee pot and have had for years, since I squeezed them onto a fret for my last Riva model. Indeed, I had to cut the Aquarama Special badge from the side of these.  I decided it was long overdue to make the pumps up.

They are for a Gilbarco petrol pump, one that still stands near where I used to live.

Here are bits in place on and with a Perspex body cut and shaped to take them.

I opted for the early pattern digital dial face.  This is in a recess cut into the Perspex, with the sides of the recess rebuilt to shape with styrene strips.
On the left is the etching for the front of the casing.  It was, of course, thin and flat being an etching so I had to make it round edged to give it some bulk.  This was done over a piece of brass shaped to fit "inside" the face section, allowing a piece of aluminium to round it over the brass.
You can see the brass piece that the etch was pushed over and the basic untrimmed etch on the left.

Here, the louvres have been added from slips of styrene strip, scraped to a triangular section, four each side of the casing.  Above it is an etched escutcheon for...erm...something!

And here's the whole box o' tricks with the front pump casing added, but not yet fixed, as the dial has to be painted yet.

The front piece has been glazed with thin clear styrene.  The gap 'twixt that and the dial is pleasing.
The extra visible at the bottom will be trimmed off before the assembly begins and a rod for fixing added into the Perspex.
I am planning on doing two of these.  One for petrol, one for DERV (diesel) and then maybe a different pattern for Paraffin (researches to be completed).

The old ones are the best...

Pursuant to the last post, I have just received a couple of old (Nos 50 and 51) MRJs off ebay.
Both are Bob Barlow issues.
Both are generous in page numbers.
Both are a damned good read.
Both have articles by and for serious scratchbuilders inside.
More to the point, both knock spots off the current efforts and have models inside of truly marvellous quality, compared with the current crop.

Chee Tor in 2mm finescale, looking like the very spine of England has been modelled in its entirety.
Bramblewick, P4 standards, North Eastern Railway.  Understated, but magnificent quality. Lots of scratchbuilding.
And best of all and the reason I ordered these old mags...Ditchling Green by Gordon Gravett.  I have seen this layout and spoken at length with Gordon.  A delightful self deprecating gentleman. He was as complimentary about my masters for the vintage car kits he used as I was about the whole layout and we had a damned good old chinwag for some time.  For me, Ditchling is THE Gravett creation. I don't much care for Pempoul. Not enough of it and erm...French.  Although he and Maggie have captured that falling to pieces look of any French village I've been through.  One 2CV, one Renault 4 and a rusty Tabac sign on a closed shop.

Compared with the latest MRJ I bought and criticised below, these earlier issues are a joy.
I have never heard of the builder of Bramblewick, Tom Harland or the builder of the beautifully observed and executed Leigh-on-Sea farmhouse, Lionel Currie.
But if you have a copy of MRJ, No.51, have a look again at this superb set-piece.  And wonder, as do I, where all the truly great stuff is, by people we rarely hear of and similarly wonder why the same "flavours of the month" keep cropping up and getting more exposure than, perhaps, they deserve.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wool pulling going on?...

Just received a single copy of Model Railway Journal, the latest issue.  I wanted a look at a model garage that was being raved about in forums and press by Geoff Kent, who seems to be elevated to deity status lately.  I didn't know the name, not being a show goer or mag. buyer, club member or fashion victim.
I nearly flicked the pages past it.  It is simply nothing more than dozens of other depictions of country garages down the years.  It's nicely grouped, yes, but that ain't rocket science, is it?  It seems somehow very incomplete to me.  The structure's too clean and there just isn't ENOUGH there to achieve Lionisation.  I'd searched for evidence of the wider layout on the net and frankly wasn't blown away with that either, so I thought this garage would HAVE to be good judging by the reception it's had.  But no, I'm afraid deification requires more...a LOT more.  Have a look at this thing in the MRJ No 233, then have a look at Iain Robinson's country garages on his blog.  Which one is the full Monty?  On a model which is being touted as some kind of ultimate example we have proprietary vehicles, bought in signs and pumps from Dart Castings!  Come on MRJ, fingers out please.
I can only assume that Mr. Kent is the current drinking pal of the little clique that run the magazine. They come, they go.  They can't even keep an editor.  And if they did and he was like Mr. Shackleton, they'd probably be joining the model railway magazine choir invisible by now, pushing up finescale daisies.  Tired and shagged out after a long RTR squawk.

Come on, MRJ, cast the net a bit wider or bring back the original contributors who are still upright and sensible.  There are many good modelmakers out there.  Not all do the fashionable shows or belong to the in clubs.
How very spooky, whilst I am typing this, on the wireless they're playing "I'm in with the in crowd".

No more magazine extravagances for me, I think!  That would have bought me a coupla pints of Wherry or a box o' chocs for Chris.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Walls...garage and church...

A day of odd jobbery. Pack the Skoda following its repair from Post Office incompetence, send it back.  Clean the flue out on the stove in readiness for the chills in a few weeks (we hope, there's still good weather so far.), file and make location tabs for the PC12 fuselage halves, lose scalpel somehow...

So, I figured I needed some change-as-a-rest time.  I'd checked that I had enough South Eastern Finecast brick sheet.  I had, but it was English Bond!  The garage workshop is stretcher bond! Heavily painted and very faintly mortared, but noticeable nonetheless.
I'm not in any way a patient man, so I decided to make my own brick sheet.  I have all this layout card after all.  It turned out that a sheet was just long enough to do the main front wall of the workshop, so I set the digital callipers to the right measurement for a brick course, locked them and pushed their sharp little teeth all the way down the sheet, both ends, then with a slightly blunt scriber, part of a cheap Lidl tool kit, in the craft knife handle, ran the courses through with it against a nice steel edged wooden straight edge I found at a Sunday market.  At the right distance down the sheet (62mm) I stopped and using the desk lamp to shine through the card when it was held against the structure, already cut out, I marked the card and cut it out.  Impressing the card with the scriber and the vertical joint "chisel" is tedious, so I only do it where I have to, hence marking out the windows, doors and even where I know large adverts will be placed on the face of the wall.  Why do more than you need to?

This should show the impressions so far. Little bit left on the front and one end wall to do.  The other end and back, like the office, already made are rendered.  That will take advantage of the fact that the workshop was the first thing I made from Foamex.  I can impress a patch of wall lower than the surface, then impress a little brickwork into that and bingo!...brick showing through render, which has spalled off in the damp/frost cycle that ruins render everywhere.

Here's a closer look at the card with the stretcher bond pressed in.
The workshop is to be painted a lightish, washed out grey and from any distance, it's difficult to see the brick bond at all.

This is layout board, by the way. I have packs and packs of it!
This side is shiny which might have a use, I haven't decided yet!  But it does make a great surface for spray glue, which is how it'll get attached to the structure.

Also had a wee play with Foamex as a base for the church model.  Very promising and Valejo paints cover very well (and I hate acrylics), but I'm sure I shall also experiment with gouache, my particular favourite paint for arty stuff, like painting lots of sightly different lumps of stone.
Checking my pictures of the church walls, it looks like I'll have to impress the smaller stones much more deeply and striate them with more vigour and definition, but I do think Foamex is the answer.  Painting it all will be a much more sensitive, complex job than actually building it!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Bloody useless chain stores....

Went into town today, partly to get a wee poke o' messages  (as my Glaswegian lodger used to say), but mainly to have a look at and possibly even  buy a copy of Model Railway Journal.  I've seen it in there before, but this time they hadn't been sent any.  "We only sell what the stockists send us."  This was Smiths, fer Chrissakes!  They are the distributors in most parts not covered by Menzies anyway! Why is the gormless, bum-fluff whiskered, limp wristed ponce paid?  Any damned fool could just open parcels from the distributors. That ain't shop-keeping, is it?

So, I go all the way to the nearest one time stockist and after he managed to list it on his steam driven computer, he tells me they had a delivery of nil.
There is, apparently, a picture of Geoff Kent's Black Lion Crossing filling station and garage that has the model world abuzz and agog. I want to see this picture before I buy the expensive magazine. Nobody will put it on a forum because of some copyright tosh (even though you can put the cover on the forum).  I've looked at the two pictures of this layout on the net images and I can't see what all the fuss is about with what I can see so far.  Scratchbuilt lorries?  Big deal.  How many have I made by now, I wonder, in brass...locos, coaches, wagons, cars, tractors, buses, boats?...No this one had better be worth the cover price!

I cannot justify over 4 quid for a slim magazine if what's in it is not up to scratch.  Scratch, ha! This is at least the only model magazine left where a few still scratchbuild, but even that isn't worth a subscription.  Last month it was all diesels!  Now that really is expensive bum tissue!

So, I suppose I have to wait until this issue gets put on ebay, as it surely will, just because some tatty chain store can't be bothered to train its dimwit staff to actually order their own stuff.  Even though the rest of that display stand had some of the most esoteric, unread crap I've ever seen!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

One morning in Autumn

Some days are just great, aren't they?
We'd decided to pay a visit to the Sunday Market. It's all in all the best locally, although we do tend to get lucky at even the small ones.

Within no time I spotted a pair of trailer mudguards, in stainless steel, which will be ideal for my Burlington Arrow kit car's rear end.  £7-50 the pair!
Then a 2015 road atlas for 3 quid instead of 8 and a large scale map of the Broads, where we are due a short holiday soon, for 50 pence.
So far, so good.  Normally there's an expensive tool stall I take little notice of, but I spotted a punch that looked ideal for rivet embossing on models.  Expecting some inflated price I was staggered to hear "two quid, mate".  Whoosh, bit his hand off!  Looking at it, I rather think this is a dedicated model railway rivet punch. Beautifully made, too.
A couple of goodies for the grandchildren and a cuppa, but for some reason we decided to have a quick look round again and to my astonishment I spotted a copy, absolutely mint, of Power Boat Speed, by Kevin Desmond.  This is THE history of racing boats and hydroplanes by an acknowledged expert in the field.  I bought a copy when it first came out, in1988, but it has never been reprinted.  The stallholder, busy chatting to someone, absent-mindedly said "a quid, mate".  I could barely stop myself laughing!
We even found something for Chris, who, bless her, rarely sees anything she wants, but there was a lovely big lump of rose quartz, which she loves.

On the way back we stopped off in Elm to have a good look round All Saints Church.  We hadn't been back since we were married there 24 and a bit years ago.  It was noticeably quieter, even, than the village high street as soon as we went in.  I'd forgotten how big it was!  An internet search shows that it will be 900 mm long in 7mm scale, so not impossible. I have space in my new shed for it.
It's made of a few different types of stone, which will make it interesting to model.

24 and bit years, since Chris and I stood here with our families and friends

Having parked in the pub's car park to visit the church, it seemed churlish not to avail ourselves of the hospitality of the Sportsman.
The last thing anyone could accuse me of being!
I'd never been in this pub in all the time I've lived up this way, so I was happy to down a half of Guinness in the garden.  It's a delightful little Pub and the old East Ender Publican looks a lot like Norman Wisdom.  I kept expecting him to fall down and shout "Mr. Grimsdale"!

So there we are, what a lovely morning in the early Autumn sunshine.  Profitable, too.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Me time...

Well, I'd Milliputted the PC12 fuselage and found myself with no obvious job to do.  I'd made a recent half-hearted resolution to not work at weekends, reasoning that none of my clients do, so why should I?
So, putting that into effect, I grabbed the first Lantern Yard building in the box beside me and decided to push it forward a bit.
That turned out to be the Nissen hut based small motor mechanic's workshop.
Unfortunately, it had been damaged a bit since I first made it.  So the dormers were repaired, but not with any care.  "Motors need fixing for the locals,  I can't be all weekend fixing the tin roof.  So long as it keeps the water out that'll do."

This model, like the others for Lantern Yard were started in cardboard, before I discovered Foamex, so need a bit of bracing here and there, which makes an entirely open workshop a bit tricky, so I've decided to make it with hanging sliding doors, a la aircraft hanger, but reduced a little.  I haven't any small angle brass or styrene to hand, so decided to do the cladding.  In some ways this is based on a farm building near here and so has a few courses of brick base and is then shiplap covered up to the corrugated Nissen hut roof sheets.  It keeps the shed within a reasonable footprint, compared with the full hanger size.
The brick is some of Dave Ellis's vac-formed sheet.  Now, my bonnet bee comes a-buzzin' in here. Nearly every brick sheet-covered building I see has two problems.  Firstly the corners are never modelled properly. The courses, never mind the bond are not usually carried round the corner.  It is more difficult with the South Eastern Finecast sheet like this as the vac formed nature leaves a corrugation showing.  That, though, can be filled and left, then modelled round the corner when all is nice and solid.  And the filler is what you see having gone on above here.  Just ram it in with your thumb and leave it for a few days to completely harden.  With Slater's sheet being moulded and therefore solid on the back, all you need is to solvent weld the corners and later file or scrape square, then run the courses round with a Swiss triangular file.

Secondly and possibly more important, is the tendency to leave the bricks untouched on the main sheet.  All that does is make your brickwork look like cobbles with that obvious line of reflection along the top of every brick.  In real life, unless the wall is seriously weatherworn, you don't see any depth to a normal mortar course.  Different colour maybe, just, normally, but the bricks are flat, sharp edged.  My house has absolutely sharp edges. It is 102 years old and the mortar can barely be seen or felt, so let's not draw attention to it on the models.  The only noticeable mortar is where some local cowboy has piled entirely the wrong muck into overly scraped out courses.
Rub down the brick sheet with a decently abrasive sheet (even 150 grit will do) and finish with a Stanley blade scraped at a diagonal angle, so the blade doesn't get caught in the mortar moulding and make a ridge.  Take it down to a point within an ace of its life.  You'll still get mortar colour in there, don't worry.
But it'll look like brick, not cobbles.

The wooden planks are made from layout board. It's a holdover from the days when people actually glued pictures and sheets of text (called gallies) onto a pre marked sheet ready for printing.  It's really a thickish cartridge paper with a shiny face one side.  I picked up tons of it free from an office supplier who didn't know what to do with it since computerisation of every damned thing these days. I have allowed the odd long one, but most lengths are more than one plank for a bit of interest.  Nail marks are put on with a model aircraft rivetting tool.  They can be reduced or accentuated after the painting stage.

Once it's on Lantern Yard one of these will be poking out of the half open doors.

I did the range as brass masters, years ago, so it fits my self imposed stricture of having to make everything on the model.  It's the reason I reluctantly work to 7mm scale for the railway stuff.  I've made so many models for others in that silly scale. I like the bulk, but 7mm to 1 foot!...  I ask you!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Hole in the wall and other reasons to be cheerful...

 As a scenic rather than a railway modeller there are some scenes that just creep up and whack me on the head.  I don't much care which class of diesel loco it is, but how can a chap resist this as a wee diorama?
Especially as I actually remember these shunting on Gt. Yarmouth quays when I was a kid, maybe 11 or 12.  The pub is still there, but the house isn't, so neither is that miniscule gap.  Shame. You see I have a weird thing for railways that run close to buildings, especially buildings of an essentially domestic kind.  Not for me the obvious factories full of those steel framed windows.  I KNOW that behind this little set-piece there are low sheds full of printers and upholsterers. That's more like it.
Imagine nipping outside your shed door for a quick Woodbine and having a Drewry shunter take the end off it!
So this has to go in the in tray for consideration for one of my set-pieces.  It's White Swan Yard, btw. It's the end of the loop line from Yarmouth Beach Station on the old M&GN.  Just behind the photographer it joined the GER line from Vauxhall station and went off down the quays.

I'm thinking 2mm scale for this one as before the Drewry shunters they used proper Tram engines and I just happen to have made a master for one of those for N-Drive....

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

I don't remember that!....

I was having a look for "stuff" today.  Stuff I know I've made, for me mainly, when the muse was upon me and inevitably never finished.
I had a vague idea where it was, but with a small workshop, 2 caravans and a new shed to choose from it was likely to take a while, especially as the contents of the caravans is slowly being sorted out and they're not exactly tidy!

But I found the Cadbury's tin a lot of it was in. I love tins. I keep all sorts in tins.  I've got Wallace and Grommit's cookie tin, every kind of tartan, you name it.
So I lifted the lid in hope and there was a pile of relics that would do justice to a dubious chapel in the Spanish hills.

My ancient sleeper built buffer stop, made of real wooden sleepers and rail properly rusted in the garden one winter. Don't tell me the colour's wrong, this is yer akshool rust.  It's intended for my unfinished 1/32nd scale narrow gauge diorama, which I gave an old friend, who died a month later. Probably bonfire fodder by now.

Then there's the Drummond Bug.  Good Grief, that's kicked around for years!  I saw a drawing in an old Model Railway Constructor and had to make it. Not for me the big mainline buggers.  I like the weird and wonderful.  This coincided with my then new interest in 7mm scale.
I include it here, because it is truly scratchbuilt. A bit of a hobbyhorse of mine.  I cannot stand all the whingers on forums who want, want want, but are too lazy to have a go at actually making one.  It's cheap and no more difficult than building some overpriced kit.
Good old nickel silver silver sheet, cut with a piercing saw.  The boiler is rolled to shape, with turned brass formers in each end.
As it happens I had some etching on the go for a client at the time and included the footplace valances and bogie mudguards.
Everything else is hand cut.

The inspection saloon bit is done in styrene. Amazingly it hasn't warped. I usually get a lot of trouble with that.
The interior is more styrene for the seats with tissue stuck on before the paint to suggest a texture.
The toilet compartment window is "frosted" by having tiny scoring with a knife applied on the back, leaving tiny bits of clear, through which you could possibly see Dugald Drummond shaking the drips off if he was less than discreet.


The chassis is 1mm brass sheet pierced to shape. Slater's wheels and a proper motor, a Romford Terrier with a home made gearbox to allow double "crawler" gearing.  I don't use Jap crap.

And here are all the boiler fittings, turned at the time on my Unimat 3 lathe.
It was having the use of a variety of lathes at school, on which I turned many fittings that got me into scratchbuilding model locos.  When I left school I went round the metalwork shop stores, dropping every piece of brass rod in my brief case.  I was the only lad who ever used it. It finally ran out a year ago!
I did rather push the boat out at this time as I decided it should have inside valve gear, very visible through the boiler/frames gap.  It was here that I more or less stopped as I couldn't work out how to make the one and only drive axle into a crank axle.
And those pesky mudguards?  Look at them. Every mad scheme to hold them on, but none successful.
Also seen are the steel connecting rods and a few spectacle rims in brass.

Now this gave rise to the header title:-
Completely scratchbuilt in very thin nickel silver, obviously a narrow gauge chassis, but of what, I can't, for the life of me, remember!