Friday, August 18, 2017

Standing Still

While writing the previous post I realised that I did have some model, albeit a tiny amount, to show you. If you remember from the last modelling post back in April I'd made a few small steps forward with my model of Tallylyn, including fitting the smokebox door. When I posted I'd just about convinced myself that I could live with the moulded smokebox door handles. Usually these are one of the first things I'd look to replace on a model, but I thought I could live with these, but a few comments on that post made me realise I'd regret not altering them.

So as you can see I've now gently removed the moulded dart, fitted a turned replacement, and resprayed the primer. The new dart looks quite different to the handles currently on Tallylyn but I've based these on old photos from the period I'm modelling the loco. I think this looks a lot better than it did before and I'm glad I didn't do any more work on the model before replacing the dart because it was easy to do without doing any damage; if I'd left it any later through the build process I'd probably have had to respray a top coat of paint which would have been much worse.

Unfortunately that was still the last modelling I've managed and I did this back in the second half of April so I've still no real progress to report.


It's been quite a while since I last published a local history post (I got distracted by Scottish grouse shooting railways) but a new photo has come to light that shows a different view of one of the local railway accidents I've talked about before; specifically the Bullhouse Railway Accident which occurred on the 16th of July 1884..

All the previous photos I've seen of the accident site have been taken from below the railway line showing the carnage in the road and fields. This photo though is taken from the Penistone side of the bridge looking down into the road. It would appear that rather then showing the direct aftermath of the accident this photo shows the cleanup and possible salvage of useful parts from the destroyed wagons and carriages; note that the upturned carriage is missing it's wheels.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Two Steps Forward...

As predicted back in November I've had very little time for modelling over the last six months. I have, however, managed to grab a few minutes to take two small steps forward on the Tallylyn model. The last time you saw the model on the blog I'd just fitted a lamp bracket to the rear cab sheet. Well I've now also added one to the smokebox, along with the smokebox door.

The smokebox door is a 3D printed replacement from the Narrow Planet detailing kit. The door isn't a perfect match for the time period I'm modelling (the door would have been smaller looking at photos) but it's close enough.

As you can see I've also made a start on painting the model. Only a very basic start though; primer from a rattle can on the separate body pieces. On the plus side this hasn't shown up too many areas that need any work before more painting can take place. So the next decsion is what colour am I painting it. I had wondered about going with a heavily weathered black, but I think I'll go with a heavily weathered dark green (so weathered as to be almost black) instead.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

21 Pages

Some of you may remember that way back in July of 2015 I started work on a small diorama depicting a disused railway bridge. I built the model as an entry into that years Dave Brewer Memorial Challenge held at ExponNG at the end of October.

Over the roughly three months I spent working on the model I learnt an awful lot of useful and interesting techniques, and while I'd documented them on the blog I thought that, even though I'd not won the challenge, an article on the building of the model might be interesting to a wider audience than this blog enjoys.

Having written for Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling REVIEW before I ran the idea past the editor, Roy C. Link, who agreed it was an interesting topic for an article. My original plan was to put an article together fairly quickly by pulling text and images from some of the blog posts I'd already written. Clearly things didn't quite go to plan as it took a year before the article was finished, but it finally appeared in the most recent issue (109) of the REVIEW.

It wasn't that I was particularly slow in writing the article, in fact as I hoped it would it started to come together quite quickly from the posts I'd already made. What happened was that I decided to include a little more of the history of the bridge and the railway it was part of in the article and once I started to do some research things kind of snowballed.

What I discovered was that the line over Duchal Moor was one of only two railways in Scotland, the other being at Dalmunzie, that had been built to aid access to grouse shooting moors. So my research expanded from a derelict bride to two entire railways and as such took a lot longer than planned. It also resulted in more details emerging than would sensibly fit in an article that was predominately about a small diorama so it became two articles; one on the modelling of the bridge and one entirely devoted to the history of the two lines.

Given that both lines were closed or abandoned over thirty years ago and neither were ever open to the general public tracking down enough information to produce an interesting article took some time. I was very fortunate that requests for information in a couple of places turned up people who had either visited one or other of the lines, or had useful photos and documents which they were willing to share. The result was a 12 page article including a detailed history of the lines and rolling stock, maps, and a number of previously unpublished photos. Of course these 12 pages are in addition to the 9 page article on the bridge model, hence the title of this post as issue 109 of the REVIEW contains 21 pages of my work. Viewed another way, assuming my maths is right, about 45% of the magazine is stuff I put together, so hopefully people will enjoy both articles; it's worth buying for the other 55% alone!

If you are interested in reading the articles then you'll have to pick up a copy of the REVIEW as I can't simply repost all the material here (you should be able to get issue 109 as a back issue shortly) but I do have one thing to share with you all.

When researching the line at Dalmunzie I came across an old cine film which had already been digitized and uploaded to YouTube. The entire film is made up of a number of reels shot over a number of years and shows life on the Dalmunzie estate. While the whole film is interesting if you are only interested in the railway then there are three clips at 8:30, 29:50, and 30:40.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ivor the Engine

As I predicated in the previous post I've not really had much time for modelling over the last thirteen weeks. I've no idea when this will change, but when it does I'll have another project to start on...

Obviously Toby isn't old enough to be choosing Christmas presents for people yet, but Bryony and I thought it would be nice if we each had a present from him at his 1st Christmas that wasn't at all baby related and that would give us something fun to do when we eventually have some free time for hobbies again. Bryony got a very nice hand turned yarn bowl and I got a kit to build Ivor the Engine.

I've fancied building Ivor for a few years ever since Paul pointed out that PH Designs did a kit for a 7mm scale model. Since then they have also released the kit in 4mm scale; actually two kits one for OO gauge, which I've got, and one for EM/P4 for those who like a more accurate track gauge.

What you get in the "kit" is the etches and a sheet of transfers leaving you to source wheels, motor, gearbox, and boiler fittings; not really what I'd call a kit. To make matters worse the recommended motor is the Mashima 1015 and Mashima motors aren't made any more, plus the instructions don't list a specific gearbox as far as I can see. Finally there aren't any wheels that are a perfect match so those suggested in the kit require cutting up to produce the correct number of spokes, and therein lies another problem.

As you can see I've been collecting together some prototype reference material ready to help with the build. This includes the storybook I've had since I was a child and some stills taken from the DVD of the complete series (all the colour episodes anyway). It turns out that the book and TV series are a little inconsistent, especially when it comes to the wheels. In the TV series Ivor appears to have wheels with six spokes, whereas the wheels clearly have eight spokes in the book. It gets even more confusing as some shots, in both the TV episodes and the book, show balance weights on the wheels while some don't.

So while I'm sure it's going to be a fun build, when I eventually have the time, it's clear there are a few issues to sort first, namely which motor, gearbox, and wheels to use. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions I'd be grateful if you left a comment.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Modeller's Apprentice

It's now been a month since I last posted and over a month since I last did any modelling. This isn't for lack of interest but rather a serious lack of time. This is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future either, so you can expect posts to be slightly more sporadic than usual.

Some of you already know why I've been busy, but many of you won't so here is a clue....

That photo was taken on Sunday when I introduced my three week old son, Toby Arthur, to his first steam train -- I didn't even have to go far as this was another running of the Tin Bath railtour along the line at the bottom of our garden (see here and here for more details)

At the moment any "free" time I might have is probably going to be spent catching up on sleep so it's unlikely I'll get much modelling done for at least a few months. I'm also probably going to be more careful about the use of paints and chemicals in the house so some things may need to wait for me to tidy the garage and for some warmer weather (there is a light covering of snow outside as I type this). That being said I've got a couple of new models I'd like to have a go at designing and some articles to write, both of which I can do on my laptop in short bursts of a few minutes here and there between nappy changes and cuddles.

Of course there is also a flip side to all this, in that as he grows up I'm hoping I'll be able to interest him in trains which would mean days out to preserved railways, train sets (as opposed to model railways), as well as models I could build him. Clearly having called him Toby I'm going to need to build an LNER J70 at some point, and while only a minor character maybe I'll need to find an Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2T as well. Before we get to Thomas the Tank Engine though I'm going to start by reading him Ivor the Engine from a book that was read to me when I was small, plus I've always fancied building a model of Ivor.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Figure Painting

So in the previous post I mentioned I'd used a new painting method. Technically it's not new, but it's not something I'd tried before and that is stain painting to colour the figures.

All the figure painting I've done in the past (either recently or when painting Games Workshop figures in my misspent youth) has followed the same approach of block painting colours and then either picking out the highlights with dry brushing or emphasizing creases using thin washes. The problem is that this can be quite time consuming and more importantly finding complimentary colours for highlights and washes can be tricky. This new, for me, approach inverts this process. If you want lots of details then I followed the suggestions on this web page, but essentially you can see the whole process in these four photos.

The first step is simply to paint the entire figure black. This is followed by dry brushing with white to pick out the highlights. Colours are then added using paint diluted with water (to a consistency like milk). Rather than completely covering the underlying areas this essentially stains the lower layers allowing the creases and highlights to show through. A quick waft of matt varnish to helps tie everything together to give...

This is of course a rather cruel close up being many times life size, but you get the general idea. As I said at the start it's not a new idea, but was something I've never tried before, but from this brief test will be something I'll be doing a lot more in the future.