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Dirty Models……..

Now, I wonder if that heading will gather a few extra viewings………..?

As I have mentioned before on this blog, every few months I catch up with a group of mates to have a joint modelling session.  The general gist of these is a combination of banter, a bit of modelling, more banter, a visit to the pub, even banter, a bit more modelling and all nicely rounded off with some more banter.

Last week  saw us on the south coast to do some weathering – or rather some of us.  One of our number was preparing for their imminent marriage whereas Oly (one half of OTCM) felt his budding TV stardoom was a sufficient excuse to hang up his airbrush.   We do fear that Oly may not return to the fold; preferring instead to do his modelling with Brad, Leonardo and Denzil once he makes his silver screen debut in the autumn – don’t forget your roots Oly……….

We were all concentrating on different things; Peter constructed the better part of a bridge for his Aultbea layout and Chris was weathering some rather neat little shunters. For my part, I concentrated on weathering some of the stock that I have been building lately (and sometimes not so lately!):

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First up is a pair of horseboxes.  On the right is my HR version based on a Microrail kit – still in need of some glazing.  On the left is the Caledonian’s equivalent based on a kit from by Spratt & Winkle.  Both are in their pre-group livery as can be seen.  As such stock was used in passenger trains, I have sought to give them an aged but largely cleaned feel – with the dirt largely present around ironwork and difficult to clean spots.

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Having mucked up the weathering of some brake vans at the previous weathering session, I was also keen to get these corrected.  This is where I have got with them.

As can be seen, I do not follow the school of thought that the pre-group or 1920’s era stock was constantly pristine.  If you bother to look at contemporary photographs, little is clean and some of it is downright grubby.  Railways in the steam era were very dirty places; it is inevitable where so much coal, ash and smoke prevail.  Furthermore, I can not see even the most houseproud of railway companies regularly (or probably ever) cleaning their goods stock and most of these show stock that is care worn and soiled.  This is the feel I am seeking to capture; not the utterly neglected and on its last legs look of the final days of steam but of railway materials that earn a living the hard way.

The pair of brake vans above are to HR diagram 39 from 1922 and are from a Lochgorm Models kit.  There is some doubt whether they were delivered in 1922, as there are no known pictures of any of them in HR livery.  However, I applying the “its my trainset rule” a number of modellers have painted them in Highland colours; including Paul Bannerman whose example is below.

The other highland brake van I weathered was the diagram 38 brake van.  This originates from a Microrail kit and may well still be available from David Geen occasionally at shows as he does own the rights to the artwork.  I have modified this with the early pattern roof look outs.  These allowed the guard to look over the train around the twisting curves that characterised parts of the Highland’s system.  However, there were complaints about whacked heads as the guards came up and down the steps to look onto the lookouts and as a result they were modified with approach cutouts on the roof – take a look at the Lochgorm’s page above to see an example.

Next up on the weathering front were some wagons and NPCS.  The first pictures being the weathering to a couple of the items I have described in the pages here – the Oxford Rail NB jubilee wagon and the Mousa Models LNWR van.

And then some rather more ancient models of mine, a Highland Railway meat van from a Sutherland Castings kit and a GC van from another Mousa Models kit.

Finally, a group of wagons for Benfieldside.  The hoppers have been seen before and the brake van we will hear more of another day.

 

 

In Praise of Cellulose Paint

A few months ago I was criticised for preferring to use cellulose paint when I spray; the concern being that cellulose thinners are aggressive and will damage the air-brush.

On the basis that I am of the view that “if it works for me” then I am going to carry on using it I am doing so.  I am helped by knowing that I am not alone in my preference as Ian Rathbone also recommends it and also because I have not yet had any issues with my airbrush.

The reason I prefer cellulose is that it gives an amazingly smooth paint finish every time, it drys very quick and gives a very durable finish.  Judge the former at least for yourself.

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More on the model in a future post……..

Early Pattern Lookouts for Dia 38 HR Goods Brake

I have been doing more with the Scrap Tank, but I haven’t managed to take any pictures due to needing flippers outside yesterday.  So instead, lets see something else that was on the test etch that I have recently had returned.

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This is the early style lookout for the dia 12 Highland Goods Brake.  As originally built these lookouts formed by a single slot to the centre of the roof and were fully glazed to the front and back.  In use guards complained that they caught their heads on the lip of the roof as they climbed in.  To overcome this, many of the vans were rebuilt to include ramped approaches to the centre of the lookout were incorporated, to become what was arguably the signature feature of the Highland’s rolling stock.

Microrail produced a kit for this van 30+ years ago and this included the latter style of lookout.  I had a pair of these kits and ended up acquiring a third one and I felt I really could not have another one just like the first two!  So I had an inspiration and thought it would be fun to make the early pattern lookout.  The old man’s book came out and a scan of the drawing loaded up into the CAD machine.  From here it was a relatively simple exercise to draw up the difficult bits, the glazed screens, and the more simple roof.

The components went together easily and do give a very different feel to the Microrail kit as intended.   I also made a number of other adjustments, to the footboards and also the panelling, to make the model both different and authentic.  The latter, the beaded panelling, is a right pain in the whatsit and took much longer than any other element of the assembly – so don’t to it unless really want to!  And this is what it looks like next to the kit as originally intended, with the later style lookout.

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I will be making these available via the Miscellany Models site shortly, when I have done enough of the other elements I am working on to do a production run.  In the meantime, I do have a pair of very slight seconds (there is a tiny bit of over etching – almost impossible to see, the pictures of my vehicle have the same problem).  These are available for the price of the metal; say £2.50, plus postage (which won’t be much).  Ordering is via here:  http://miscellanymodels.com

And the real thing looks like this:

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(C) Bill Steel

Christmas is the season for…………. jolly well finishing stuff off!

Over the break, I have been concentrating on trying to finish things.  Like many people, I find it much easier to start a kit or project than it is to get it fully finished.  Indeed, do we every truly finish our models – certainly not our layouts!

Back in March 2013, I completed a dia 39 goods break.  These were the final Highland Railway break vans and it is not clear that they were actually finished prior to the end of the HR era.  Given that I model in the mid 1920’s, I am quite content to do this in LMS grey which to date I have not seen the model depicted in!  The main body painting has been completed and the van has been lettered but weathering, the interior and final detailing/glazing is still to be completed.  Based on the Lochgorm Models kit with minimal adjustments (a few pipes below the chassis and sprung W irons in lieu of the compensation provided in the kit) this is what it presently looks like:

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Also coming through the paint shops are a pair of vans.  The first is a Great Central van build from a Mousa Models etched brass kit and the other is a LMS early standard van from an injection plastic moulded kit from Cambrian Models.  Both are pretty simple models to build; the Mousa Models one was built as designed and no adjustments were found to be necessary.  I only fitted springing to the Cambrian one and got rid of the rather too thick W irons in the process.  Again the bulk of the painting is complete, but some dirtying work is definitely still required.

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Apologies for the slightly squiffy photos; I left it a bit late in the day to take them and the light was poor.  I have made a lot of progress painting the NER hoppers, but the photos of these really did not make it and need to be repeated.  Something to post tomorrow I suspect!

Diagram 39 Brake Van

The latest completion off the workbench is a goods brake van.

This is a diagram 39 version; which was the Highland’s last brake van design (and there is some speculation that they were not delivered until after the start of the LMS era but if someone has a photograph in HR days, we would be all eyes!).  These were quite modern by the Highland’s standards and were the first ones for several decades to do away with the lookout on the top of the roof which was likely to be a retrograde step given all the twists and turns of the Highland’s lines.

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It was built from a Lochgorm Models kit; constructed mostly as intended. However, I elected to insert some sprung suspension using Bill Bedford sprung W irons, rather than the designers intention of compensation. I also found that the sides were a little tall, so these needed to be cut down a tad. Other than this, it is was pretty easy. Having bought some of the NBR Models etched builder’s places, this became the first model of mine to be fitted with one – so a small first!

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