What did you do during the war grandad?
This post is a bit of an apology because I have been so quiet on here of late………
I do have my excuses though; related to the Covid pandemic none of us are enjoying. I have been pretty busy at work dealing with these places – the Nightingale Hospitals. I am not encouraged to say too much, especially given as I write this the pandemic is clearly getting a grip of the country and world again. I can say that so far, I have been inside five of the seven of them and I expect to see at least one more. Just to ensure I know what it is like for the hospital’s customers, I also decided to get a dose of the virus (with many thanks to the kids at my local school passing it to my wife).
So in the future when I have grandkids on my knee (not too soon please kids……….!) asking me what did I do in the 2020/21 covid war, I have something to say!
I have also allowed myself to go off in a tangent a little, as I have had a crack at a Thompson full brake. This was produced during WW2 when shortages of materials meant that they were built with teal planks rather than either teak or steel panels. The sides are flat without a tumblehomes and were unlike anything else on the LNER at the time. Steve Bank’s website has a lot of helpful information on these along with a good number of photographs, well worth a look at. This is an LNER official picture of the as built vehicle.
Now this was chosen in part because I thought it would be a nice easy kit to make and part because I wanted to use some of Justin’s new sprung Gresley bogies; hmmmm it didn’t come out quite like I planned! The first little set back I discovered was that the prototype was on 8’0″ bogies, not the LNER’s normal 8’6″ equivalents. So having taken a good look at Justin’s bogies, they were slid back into their packets to await a future project (I sense this full brake will be getting something to run with it fairly soon!). Instead, I used some of my Fox bogies from which I omitted the detailing elements and substituted some MJT cast sides which I had to file back so that they were not overly thick.
The next difficulty was with the Comet chassis, which I found to be somewhat clunky. I decided to ditch the fold down truss arrangements as they were only two dimensional. Instead, I used milled brass section folded up. It was a bit of a challenge to solder these together even the use of several different melt point as there are five separate sections to join at the same location. MJT do a suitable underframe too and I will be giving this a go for my next LNER coach )of which some are planned).
I now build most of my coaches with separate underframes and roofs. I then stiffen these up with a piece of 1*1mm brass strip at the head and 1*2mm at the base. The row of fan lights to these coaches meant that the former needed to be lower than I would have preferred and it needs the lip on the roof to keep these straight and in place. It is also necessary to put in some spacers to keep the side walls appropriately spaced without bowing. These provide convenient place to affix the roof with as can be seen here – although I did find the aluminium rather difficult to get the glue to attach to, it took no less than four attempts and a fair amount of liberal spreading!
I was particularly pleased with painting of this coach. Firstly, I departed from my usual paints (either Phenoix Precision or some cellulose paints I have had mixed) and took Jim Smellie’s advice and used paints sourced from Craftmaster. Craftmaster are supplies to the 12 inch to the foot heritage rail scene and claim that their colours are carefully researched by matching real samples. Certainly, their Crimson Lake is the one I am now most comfortable with, which is what I was looking for. I have found you need to spray them at a slightly higher pressure than normal and also a little more thinned but having done so, you get a clean, neat and very opaque layer. It does need to be left several days to properly harden, but once it has it is also the most durable paint I have experienced for a while (Humbrol in particular is not good these days I find).
Once lettered, I sealed this with a coat of Dullcoat but it seems that the matting agent in mine was just beginning to turn as it slightly lightened the BR maroon. However, for a parcels full brake I was pleased with the effect, but I do need to be careful where a full passenger livery is required. So one more for the next weathering session – parcels stock from the 1950s onwards were typically shocking!