Wednesday 30 January 2013

Making a start on the O&K

With the weather still too cold and damp to start spray painting in the garage, and enthused by the Landswood Park article, I thought it a good time to start on the Nonneminstre Models O&K loco kit I got last year.

With the main parts spread out it is clear there is a fair amount of flash to clear up, and probably a bit of fettling to get the parts to fit together well. However the detail of the mouldings is as good as I have ever seen in a white metal kit. The same can't be said for that poor driver figure though...

However I should start with the chassis, which is supplied assembled without pick-ups, and for 16.5mm gauge. The instructions say to push the wheels in for 14mm gauge, easier said than done but I found placing a wheel face onto a piece of wood with a hole for the axle, and hitting the other end of the axle with a hammer, got the job done! I have a KB scale gauge which includes a back-to-back check. However the axles were then a very tight fit, so I found it necessary to file the sides of the chassis block very slightly.

There isn't space for the pick-ups to go behind the wheels at 14mm gauge so they act on the tread, so it is suggested to fit them to the underside of the chassis, though I didn't want as they may then be visible. The instructions do say "We reckon those working in 14mm gauge are wee bit able!", hmm, thanks for the confidence but I'm not so sure.

The pick-ups are made by soldering springy wire onto a piece of PCB stuck to the chassis side in such a way it won't be visible after assembly. The instructions suggest soldering one side direct to the chassis, but I didn't want to solder it to white metal. I wanted to be able to disassemble the chassis without removing pick-up wires, so a notch was cut into each side of the chassis block so the wires can route to the motor through the same hole in the footplate.

With the footplate and bottom keeper plate attached the chassis can be test run. The first attempt didn't go well, the motor couldn't seem to overcome the resistance of the chassis. So I stripped the chassis down including removing the motor and layshaft, and spent some time filing back the chassis block and adjusting the pick-ups until it could be freely rolled. The second test was much better - now running smoothly - although it needed a lot of weight to make the pick-ups work well (although the track was dirty too!). With all that gearing it will be another slow runner...

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Wednesday 23 January 2013

Landswood Park in Print!

Landswood Park features in the current issue (93) of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review!

This is a real honour, as the 'Review is a highly-regarded magazine amongst modellers, especially those with more "obscure" railway interests! I consider the modelling featured in the magazine to be of high quality and inspirational, so I am still rather surprised I was asked to prepare one for my little box file. However the editor Bob Barlow has done a great job with presentation, and I have already received nice comments from those who have read it.

For more on NG&IRM Review Magazine click here.
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Friday 18 January 2013

Finishing the Skylark build

Well this one seems to have taken a long time to build, mainly because I've spent very little time on it recently! However it is worth taking time over the finishing of a model as it does make a difference. For example the roof casting is nice and clean, but works out a scale 6-8 inches thick, whereas in all the photos the Skylark roof is clearly very thin. So I decided to make a new one from plasticard, a sheet was taped to a tin can and dunked in boiling water. The roof was made from 3 laminations for strength and stability, the lower two layers cut to fit within the sides and the top one has chamfered edges. A sheet of brass may have been better still, but I find it easier to add the details in plastic.

The cab interior looked rather empty, and with no motor in there it was easy to knock up a firebox and backhead with more plastic. The gauges are stamped out of plastic sheet with a leather punch, while the safety valve cover is the end of a fountain pen ink cartridge! There's also a wire handbrake lever on the left of the cab. It may not be very accurate, but it's enough when viewed through the cab-sides.

Other details include the sand-box with it's pipes, and the operating rod from the cab. The couplings are screwed to plastic packing pieces behind the buffer beams, they will be removed for painting as will the cab roof and firebox. I then spent a while removing excess glue and fettling inside the body to get it to sit flat on the chassis again!

So now, along with the coaches, it awaits primer and paint. There may be some smoothing and filling to do as the primer shows up imperfections. However, right now it is far too cold to be spray-painting in the garage!
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