Saturday 20 February 2010

Railcar Interior

The railcar has been making steady progress recently, an hour or two at a time in an evening, although it doesn't look like dramatic progress! Layers of 40-thou plasticard have been added above and below the floor, cut to be a tight fit around the chassis, such that it seems to stay in place with friction at the moment! However the main focus recently has been on the glazing and the interior, which because of the large windows all round, will be very visible.

In the corners of the body, between the doors and the end, plasticard was built up to make the recesses behind the handrails. Strips of 20-thou plasticard were cut for the panelling up to the windows, and these were glued in place with packing strips so that they form a slot for the glazing - cut from 20-thou plasticard - to slot into. The end glazing also slots behind the plasticard corner pieces. The pictures hopefully show this better than I can describe.

I've been given a drawing of the interior, which has been most helpful. I thought the best way to hide the chassis was with a dummy floor, made from 40-thou plasticard. This left enough space either side of the chassis for a couple of strips of roofing lead - in this scale the more weight the better, and it does help make the running more smooth.

With the dummy floor in place (the cut-out is to clear the capacitor, which is the highest part of the chassis) the tops of the seats have been glued on, and the end seats made up. The wide strip at the right-hand end would be the engine cover. The floor is about 3mm higher than it should be to rebate the chassis to the right ride-height., and the dummy floor over the chassis is only just below the window line, so any passengers will have to suffer major surgery in order to fit!
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Saturday 13 February 2010

Brighton Modelworld

I took my little boy along to the Brighton Modelworld show today. This show covers all sorts of modelling, from Lego to Model Engineering, dolls houses to radio control racing cars, boats to planes, and even robots. It is a show firmly aimed at the family, but judging by the good range of trade support, it is well supported by enthusiasts too. However, to be honest, from a model railway point of view, many smaller shows are far better! There were some excellent layouts, but to my mind too few, and much of the rest of the show was similar to last year. That said it is good to look at the skills of modellers of other subjects, and the radio control tanks are fun, plus the show is very interactive - we had a ride on a real steam train (see below!) and made a model aeroplane from polystyrene. Like I said, it is aimed at the family, and my son loved it!

On the model railway front I thought the best layouts were Overlord, the well-known model of a dockside in the midst of D-day preparation, and County Gate, possibly the most impressive 009 layout currently on the exhibition circuit. Now I must apologise for the poor standard of photo's, as ever photographing models is difficult whilst holding onto a 3-year-old!

This is based on the proposed extension of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway to Minehead, featuring not just stunning scenic work, but superb running and computer control, and also a well-thought-out imaginary history including freelance loco's and railcars that "might" have been built for the extension. One example of the latter is this Mallet "River Avon":

The builder of County Gate, John De Frayssinet, had kindly offered to give my son the "guided tour", which he was very excited about. As well as being allowed to view the layout close-up, and see the back of the layout with the stock, hidden tunnels, and computer control, the highlight for him was being allowed to drive a train! The deep concentration on his face hides his excitement, but don't worry my hand was not far from the controller stop switch!

So many thanks John!

You can find a few more of my feeble photos here.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Bold as Brass

Now I've not worked with etched brass much before, other than a simple diesel kit (where I used epoxy glue) and the cab of the Ruston I built a few years ago. So this is a bit of a first, and I did consider glueing the body together around a plasticard inner body. But that would be cheating, and more to the point, I knew it would be much stronger if soldered. I'm used to soldering wires when wiring up the layout, but I don't have flux, special solders, shaped iron bits, etc., however in this case I have managed (just about) with conventional multi-core solder and a standard Antex 25W iron. Reading Phil Parker's guide in this months Hornby magazine, other than the lack of flux I was not far wrong! Still, it seems to have worked ...

First challenge was to form the tumblehome on the sides, I did this by rolling them heavily with a wooden dowel onto a piece of card, a little at a time until the profile matched the ends. Then I soldered each end to each side, using the brackets supplied soldered to the ends first. The kit comes with no instructions, so thanks to the NGRM forum on tips of how to assemble.

Eventually I got the whole body assembled, pretty square and without much solder on the outside. The corner joints have come out pretty well, so I'm pleased with the result!

Here it is on the chassis, posed next to a Vale of Rheidol brake van (by Parkside Dundas) to give an idea of size. I mounted the brackets for the floor 3mm up the ends, so the chassis is set about 2.5mm up inside the body, which looks about right - possibly slightly lower than the prototype but will look in keeping with my other stock.

Don't forget this kit isn't designed for any particular chassis, so I have had to cut a hole in the floor to accommodate the Kato chassis. That was hard work, I don't find brass as nice to work with as plasticard. The floor is intended to bolt up into the body using the holes in the brackets at the ends, as shown below, thus allowing the chassis to be attached to the floor and glazing to be fitted after painting.

However here I am not sure. The body will be much stronger if I solder the floor in place, using the side tabs to reinforce the body sides. It will be easier to add glazing and an interior from above, as will be painting it without a roof, so I will have to make the roof (not supplied) removable anyway. In any case, those bolt holes will clash with where I would want to mount couplings, and I will need to add underframe detail below the floor too. So that leaves me with the problem of how to mount the chassis - I can't get it to clip in, I might be able to drill holes through the coupling pockets for bolts, but that means new holes in the floor ...

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