The Tender Behind (and other stories)



With the main loco body essentially complete, attention turns to the back half of the loco. Again cast buffers from my favourite source have been fitted and a drawhooks will also be fitted. As the old Bachmann tender comes it has a load of moulded and rather uninspiring faux ‘coal’ load which I’ve removed by careful scoring with a scribing tool. So that it didn’t look like a full load of coal in the tender, I’ve further doctored the ‘inside’ of the tender to a profile approximate to what would actually be inside this type of vehicle. Not having seen inside an LNER 4200 gallon type, I can’t vouch for the overall correctness of the way I’ve angled it, but since it’s going to be hiding under a part load of coal it shouldn’t be too obviously out!

I’ve also been looking at my intended ‘new build’ programme for this year and have come up with the following list:
Wagons ;
1 x Bogie bolster D plus 2 x Bogie Bolster E – These are already being described in the blog as you can see a couple of posts back.
Next will be three Plate Wagons to the vacuum braked diagram 1/432 or 434 using Parkside topsides and Bill Bedford chassis.
1 x Trestrol bogie trestle wagon from the Rumney kit.
Additionally, I’ll be producing three Diagram 1/204 12 ton vans using the old Airfix bodies and Rumney chassis.
Finally I have two Lochgorm kits for the LMS diagram 2079 van which was in fact a wartime unbraked version of the LNER standard planked 12 ton van.
Locomotove wise, I’m not 100% decided this far, but the shortlist includes one of my NBL Diesel shunters and completion of the ex-LMS 2P that I started last year.
Other slightly more outlandish ideas I’m entertaining are preparing scratch built chassis for my Pickersgill 3P and D40 4-4-0s.
Another loco I wish to re-chassis is the ex Caley ‘300’ class 0-6-0 I acquired last year also.
In addition to this I have a couple of RTR conversion to EM planned including an ex-LMS Compound loco and ex-LNER D11/2 loco.
I reckon it’s a fairly ambitious programme for a year and we’ll see how I fare against the self-set target
Anyway, I’ll post another progress report for the J39 tomorrow so have a good weekend!


You can make me whole again…



Well, as you can see, the Jenny Frost-style makeover of the J39 continues with the smoothing down of the plasticard infill of the lower boiler. Some thinning of the moulded boiler bands has taken place to match the new microstrip bands on the new section. Replacement cast buffers have also been fixed to the beam and we’re heading rapidly towards the paint shop phase.

While all this has been going on, Hornby’s first all new 2015 release has sneaked in under the radar in the shape of the 21 ton hopper wagon.

Now, I’ve not run this model under a ruler or critically checked the measurements against a drawing but it has the correct look of this type of wagon and so far nothing visually jarring is evident.
The mouldings are crisp and good looking with the rivets and long brake levers, signature features of the LNER Diagram 100 vehicles represented by the model having been executed with post-‘Design Clever’ finesse.
EM modellers will be pleased to learn that this is a nice, easy conversion. All that is required to accommodate a Gibson EM wheelset is to gently file away some material from the back of the ‘tie bar’ linking the two brake shoes on each assembly as shown below.
That done, the wheelsets will just push into place without difficulty.
The only thing you need to look out for when filing is that on some wagons, the brake shoe assembly isn’t glued as securely as it might have been, so be gentle when filing.

Hornby appear to have learned from their thankfully short lived evolutionary dead end of 2013 and are back out producing respectable models.
“And what’s more”,as a silly auld fart called George once said; “they’re doing it deliberately.” 😉


Touching (up) the Void

Some light modelling tonight as I turn my attention to the aesthetic side of my J39 project. You’ll remember the sizeable gap that existed under the boiler, something that was necessitated by the old split frame chassis under the Bachmann model. I remedied this by cutting a piece of 30 thou Plasticard and shaping it by dunking it in boiling water then shaping it round a piece of brass tube of suitable diameter. I then attached this to the inside of the boiler using Plastic Weld. Once this was done I then cut lengths of Microstrip which as you can see I’ve applied over the initial plasticard insert. This has built the diameter of the boiler out to more or less where it should be. Tomorrow I’ll set about sanding and filling to smooth things out and hopefully eliminate any trace of a join.
I can then use some more microstrip to represent the boiler bands.



It certainly fills in that huge void underneath the boiler and even that daft spacer.
This taken care of, it’ll be time to attach the replacement buffers and couplings.
Then, like Jimmy Cagney, I’m gonna fill it full of lead…


Not remotely Sunday Blues


Well, I’m back to work (such as it is!) tomorrow after the first week off I’ve had since July. In truth it was pretty much a wasted week on account of the atrocious weather up to Friday although Monday’s visit to ScRSG proves the week’s honourable exception.
Sleeping till 9am on what have been very dreich and stormy mornings may have helped with what Jamie of Culreoch suggested is perhaps a sleep backlog of years but it doesn’t make for a very productive use of daylight hours when such things are very curtailed anyway at this time of year. I think I may have an in-built intolerance to meteorological low-pressure systems as I always get somewhat lethargic when those westerlies blow like they’ve done the last two weeks.
I probably needed the break from the routine though. I wasn’t particularly active in terms of modelling terms this week but some faltering progress has been made with the J27 and J39.
As reported previously the J27 wasn’t proving an easy gig where pick-ups were concerned and I ended up replacing the wire with some .31mm brass on the front 4. The rear pair are really awkward in terms of pick-up placement so instead I’m going to equip the outer four on the tender instead which will require some form of permanent drawbar connection.
I also took the opportunity to further crop the motor shaft which was still not quite sitting comfortably in the firebox.
Unfortunately in doing so, the heat or vibration generated by using the (previously used and I suspect blunted) carborundum disc appears to have inflicted terminal damage inside the motor.


Fortunately I had a replacement handy and AFTER testing it, carefully this time, cropped the shaft, swapped the worm gear over from the Norwegian Blue motor and re-fitted it.
It now runs very well forward but hardly at all in reverse which I suspect is down to a minor meshing issue. Ah well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s another point on the learning curve.

Anyway, things move on.
Today, Jamie and I met up and headed up to explore the course of the old Cairn Valley line to Moniaive, North of Dumfries. A great walk was had round the village and back roads down to Kirkland, returning to Moniaive.
Moniaive itself is a beautiful wee village and it’s seriously a place I feel I would like to live; such is the impression I gained of the place and it’s clear that many like-minded souls to myself live there. A genuine sense of community is apparent and there appears to be a healthy cultural life in the place too.
Meanwhile, the old station building still stands and I snapped off a couple of images in the low winter sunlight.






A few landscape shots also give an impression of the surroundings.
For some time I’ve felt the need to get some kind of layout project underway and I think some kind of Cairn Valley type scenario will lend itself well to the kind of small space I can spare at the moment. There are many scenes in Ian Kirkpatrick’s study of the line which scream out their modelling potential. I have to say that I’m really attracted to the idea of living in the place but there are of course practical considerations and I would certainly need to find work in Dumfries. Fortunately Dumfries is commutable from here in the meantime should I need to get things in hand to sell up here and move on. Clearly this will require a bit of forward planning and organisation as well as securing suitable work in Dumfries but I feel this is just what I need right now. It’s rare that a day out walking can provide you not only with some much needed fresh air and exercise, but a whole package of modelling inspiration and a wider sense of direction and purpose in life.
Moniaive appears to tick so many personal boxes and in truth is less remote than impressions suggest. There’s certainly none of the Royston Vasey atmosphere you sometimes find in out of the way spots.
So, at last I’ve discovered the right sort of where and why.
I just need to work out the how.
So here goes; wish me luck! 😊

Under the circumstances, this seems an appropriate tune from my favourite purveyors of weird electronica!

Source – The Cairn Valley Light Railway (Ian Kirkpatrick), Oakwood Press, 2000
ISBN 0-85361-567-5


Day return to Wharfeside.

I’m off this week so yesterday I took a run up to Glasgow to visit the ScRSG guys and have a play with some of my recent creations under test conditions.
The J27’s pick up arrangements were, as feared, sadly wanting so she’s come back to works for new wipers made from 0.31 wire and some other modifications that should help things along.
Things were more positive with the J39 and though she has had no body weight attached as yet she ran in very quickly and even started showing off by pushing the lengthy rake of 16 ton minerals around Wharfeside, admittedly with assistance on the curves on occasion due to the lack of weight. Still impressive though and it bodes well for the loco’s performance when she’s fitted out and complete.


Now that 44903 is essentially complete, it was time for loaded running trials so she found herself powering through Wharfeside at the head of the Thames-Clyde express, taking this heavy but free-running rake of coaches in her stride. The back of the loco is still somewhat animated and I must now get some packing on that very weird rear axle arrangement that Hornby used on this model. Hopefully this will calm things down a bit there but otherwise 44903 runs steadily and sure-footedly. The tender which is a mash-up of Hornby body, Comet outer frames and LMS Models sprung inner chassis runs like a dream.
Here, Dave, did I mention how good the tender was? 😜



Anyway, as usual, it was good to see the guys and I came away with a few unexpected goodies too in the form of some hard to get wagon kits and another nice etched kit for an NBL Diesel Hydraulic shunter.
I do like these machines; stylish in their own way and very much a signature Scottish ‘Yard Puggy’ of the early Diesel era.



As always, a good afternoon back in my home city with the gang and I’m already looking forward to the next one!


More on the D51




Today, I’ve been adding the larger superstructure components to the D51.
I’m leaving the roof off for ease of painting for now but essentially, the superstructure is complete.
Now for all the fiddly detail parts.
There are imperfections a plenty in this, my first etched loco but I’m reasonably pleased all the same with a fairly old and unsophisticated kit.
Airfix it ain’t..!


After all the jacks are in their boxes…



Well, there we are. Another festive season bites the dust but I’m still enjoying the novelty of free weekends for now and since there was no requirement to rush around this week as in the previous few, I had a pleasant one indeed. Whether it’s down to getting the old job out of the system, my new healthy eating regime or the bright, frosty morning I’ve no idea but Saturday found me in a fantastically chilled out and positive mood the like of which I’ve not enjoyed for a fair old time. I’m pleased to say the feeling persists and it seems to have coincided with an upswing in creativity hereabouts!
Saturday morning saw me complete this O Gauge Class 52 Diesel for a friend who wanted a well-weathered 1970s finish for the model.
Large scale models require a bit more work than 4mm jobs but as the first of three my friend wants done, this has turned out not bad.







I didn’t have much else to concern myself with apart from doing a laundry and giving Abi her walks so a lot of time was spent on small modelling jobs such as altering three coaches to have ScR prefixes to their numbers. I also made a start on a Cambrian Bogie bolster D kit tonight which is a build I’m running in parallel with a Rumney models conversion to create a superior BR Bobol E from the old Lima model. These are seen at the top of the page. The etched components on the Rumney kit are well produced and in the case of the larger parts easy to use. Smaller parts are more fiddly but with care you shouldn’t have serious problems though it does seem that they are hard to get at the moment. If you see another give me a shout!
The Cambrian Bobol D is pretty much what an experienced builder of this range would expect and up to the point where I left it for the night it has built just as the Boplate did. It now needs the bolsters, brake gear and bogies added. These are of a lower spec than the most modern Parksides for example but for an experienced wagon basher this will not provide any nasty surprises. Both models are going to be equipped with LMS Models cast buffers. Whilst I’m aware that it may appear like I’m offering blatant advertising and product placement for Dave’s products here, they crop up so often because I find them so inherently bloody useful and they really do lift a frequently overlooked feature on even very modern RTR.
In any case giving the items exposure is also a way to say thanks to the wee buffer fairy who keeps putting additional items in my not infrequent orders!
Keeping with the subject matter I might as well mention the other buffers I’m using this week; BR Standard with Oval Head. Primarily intended for the 4MT tank, these are also appropriate for a number of diesel classes including 17, 26/0 and 40.
Anyway, I have fitted some to a Bachmann 4MT, a Class 40 from the same source and also the Heljan Claytons you’ve previously seen on here.
Below are a couple of images so you can see the improvement for yourself.



Finally, whilst there’s not much RTR arriving that I find directly relevant, I finally collected my new Hornby K1 yesterday. There will be work required to correct the (well publicised)
slightly kinked running plate and it will be converted to EM in due course but I have to say that first impression speak very loudly.


Anyway, that’ll do for now as bed beckons so while I remember, a happy , healthy and prosperous new year to you all.