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Timber!

A fairly big day in Glenmutckin’s life today; the start on baseboards.

As I mentioned in the last post; a couple of my team who help on Portchullin made the mistake of both criticising my carpentry skills and then admitting that they ran a joinery business.  I guess you can see that they thus talked their way into a task and we spent day one in doing these today.

I know that a bad workman blames their tools; but by god having all the proper kit makes things much faster and a great deal more accurate!! To say nothing of someone who knows rather more about joinery than I do!!

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The intended design will be predominantly open design around a skin of ply.  Initially a rectangular box is being made, as above.  After we have made the first batch of these we will then laminate a further layer of ply around this to provide the material to support the raised scenery and also to house the rebates for the pattern makers dowels – when we have done it hopefully the pictures will make it more clear.

We got three of these boxes made today; here are two of them – what is particularly pleasing is that they are perfectly level across the joint (see the bit of timber laid across the joint).  This is an area that I really did not get right on Portchullin and I note that lots of other modellers don’t either – right up to the famous person modelling Leamington Spa.

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So thanks Tim and Julian – I am sure some signals can work their way back!

And a small plug for my hosts; if you are looking for a powered loft ladder; give them a try http://www.st-joinery.co.uk/electricloftladder.html?gclid=COfvoN-HyrwCFYWWtAodjCQAcw

Where did we get to…………?

When last I updated you on Glenmutchkin, we were making the legs.  These have been reassembled and look like this:

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They are not yet finished as I wish to make a mount for the support girders; so it will soon be time to prevail on my brother again!!  However, I have been tinkering with plans and have come up with the baseboard layout and a rather tidier rendition of the basic plan:

Glenmutchkins Plan 2

A little unusually, I am making the layout two boards deep as I am trying to get a lot of “depth of field” in the model.  Portchullin works very well in this regard to the right side where there is a bank and you do not see the back of the layout but less so in the station building area or across the bridge.  The depth of field is intended to try and overcome this but I will be having quite high hillsides behind again for much the same reason.

I am hoping that I have been able to book a bit of time in some friend’s joinery shop this week to make a start on the building of these.  Five of the boards are relatively simple; the last two (nos 3 & 7) a lot less so.  One of the chief areas that Portchullin lets itself down on is the quality of the baseboards – compensation/springing is a must on steam locos for example!  My friends (Tim & Julian) pointed this out with some vigour and told me that they really knew being joiners…………well you can see where that led for the next layout!

Every favour has a price though; so I am down to build something in return for them!

Cutting and Shutting

I wished to use builder’s trestles for the supports for Glenmutchkin as they fold down, are very sturdy and durable (and are fairly cheap).  But, I also wished to go for a fairly full depth on the layout and they only come in the one depth (about 26 inches).  This meant I needed to cut and shut them, to make them into a stretch trestle.

Fortunately, my father in law was over at the weekend, and he has had 40 years in the motor trade so could tell us a thing or two about how to cut and shut (sorry Bernard!).   So, coupled with my brother and his welder, we have managed to cut and shut the first three trestles (the others do not need the same treatment).

Here is my brother James hard at work on the smaller of the three.

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I need to sort out a better means of storing Portchullin’s lighting pelmets.  One of the lessons I have learnt from Portchullin is that it has too many odd shapes and insufficient thought on how it should be stored/transported.

 

Cutting the first Sod

Tomorrow should be a big day for Glenmutchkin, because if my brother remembers we will be cutting the first sod of the layout building.

Now all good railway lines start with a ceremonial cutting of the first sod by the Duchess of something or other; typically with a nice silver spade and after which everybody retires to the local hostelry for a fine dinner…………….whilst the navvies start the really hard work.  Well we probably will only be different by dropping the silver spade.

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More seriously, as long as he does not get blown away in the forecast storms, my brother will be bringing his welding kit over with him, so we can make a start on the big chunky bits.

Welding kit……………on a model railway; am I going crazy?   You’ll have to come back to find out!

Etching Artwork

I have not actually picked up a modelling knife or soldering iron for a couple of weeks now; largely because I got a bit of a bug for sorting out the etch artwork.

I have now completed, I hope, all of the artwork I will need for all of the signals that will be required on Glenmutchkin.  Indeed, it should do all the signals I and just about anyone else ever needs for any scheme based on the Highland era!!!!

I am fortunate that I have a couple of an 1895 McKenzie & Holland catalogue and a further partial copy from a bit later.  I have also been provided with a number of really good drawings of bracket signals from M&H, prompted by my ramblings on the web.  This has given me with a pretty good handle on how they were constructed and I can draw up rather more comprehensive (and a little more specific to the Highland) artwork than are available form any of the other sources.

So this is what I have come up with.  Firstly, an etch of all of the arms, balance weights and a track mechanism for raising the lamp to the top of the post (I think this was peculiar to the Highland):

Signal Arms and Bits Model (2)

and then an etch that includes the large brackets used for the multi-doll signals and all of the support brackets and landing.

Large Bracket with ribs Etch Master v2 Model (1)

and this one is the smaller bracket; used on twin doll signals:

Small Bracket with ribs Etch Master Model compress (1)

I have been recommended to use PPD as a first port of call for etching, so they have been winged off tonight.  Lets see what a week or so brings us…………..

As this is now out of copyright, an article by OS Nock on the Highland’s signals from the Model Engineer might be of interest too – it may even show what I am trying to make in the etchings a little more clearly.

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And for my next task, I am going to have another bash at the water column and the finial; more on this when I think I have been successful!

No, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. Interlocked Lever Frame – Part 4

With thanks to someone else for the quote.

I managed to get all of the locking bars, installed over the weekend and the dogs (the teeth that engage in the sliding bars) to get the interlocking going.  And this is what I get to:

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This shows all of the components assembled in place.  The dogs engage in slots in the sliding bars but the dogs have angled sides – so if nothing holds them in place the movement of the slider pushes them to one side and the slider can move.  When another slider is in the way (ie there is an opposing lock set) then this can not occur – so it locks shut.

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To stop the sliders popping up when they encounter a lock, a lid has been fashioned.  I wanted all of the locking to remain visible, so this is just a skeleton.

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I did find that the angles of the slots needed to be just over 45 degrees for the locking bar to move easily and they also need to match the dogs quite neatly.  If I do this for real, I think some lost wax masters and then castings will be required to ease the process of manufacture.

The frame does lock well and neatly.  Of course I made a few errors in where slots were to go but having made it from plastic, these were actually quite easy to sort out.  What is more significant is that there is some slop in the levers – this occurs worst where the yoke of the bar that runs through to operate the toggle switch and sliding bars goes over the base of the lever.  The hole in this is a bit too big and it means that the lever can move 30 % of its intended movement before it makes the sliding bar move and hence encounter the lock.  This does slightly defeat the object of the locking and will need some work.  I have an idea of linking the two more physically but if this does not work, then it may be back to the drawing board.

All in all, it works though and it is quite fun working through the desired move, working out what then needs to be thrown and in what order – although this may send my team a bit over the edge in the heat of an exhibition!  However, some manufacturing refinement is going to be needed to make it work better.  I remain tempted to use the potential kit that might be available but this makes the locking invisible and I am not so certain about this.  Food for thought!

Interlocked Lever Frame – Part 3; the experiment continues

The saga continues and I have now made all the trays and the bars that the locks go into.  As I have yet to colour the actual levers on the frame, I have coloured these to ease my understanding of things.

As this is an experiment, I am making this out of plasticard/evergreen strip to speed construction.  The final thing will be in soldered and milled brass.  I have yet to come up with a plate to secure all these bars in place, so they will not flop out as they presently appear that they might.  This is what we currently looks like:_DSC10271compress

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I have been warned that I may snap my tappets from the locking bars or something else.  This is due to the significant mechanical advantage that the lever has over the through of the bar – if you look at the end view you can see that it is about 10:1, so I can see why I am being warned.  Ultimately this is an experiment so I will take it easy with the frame if it breaks I will know that it will need to be tougher next time!

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Interlocked Lever Frame – Part 2; More Experimentation……

With a lot of help from Keith Norgrove (thanks Keith) the locking design for the lever frame should now be concluded.  This is where we are at:

Test Layout Signalling Plan v3 Microsoft Word - Test Layout Frame list v3 Locking chart plan - test layout v2The lever frame is also ready to receive the beginnings of the locking frame; so guess what i am doing this weekend………..

The Road Overbridge – Part 2

The bridge is coming along and is now close to finished (constructionally).

It has taken a lot of time with plastic filler to get the stones to meet neatly at the corners and also to be coursed sensibly at the corners.  Having said this, I am inclined to think it is one of the more important parts of modeling structures and buildings.  Cracks or missing sides/ends on a building are just a total no no and even an untrained eye (I am a chartered surveyor so it is worse for me!) spots the error immediately.

This is where we have got too:

Lots of filler in evidence - but there is still more too do!

Lots of filler in evidence – but there is still more too do!

The abutments end on

The abutments end on

With a carriage to give a sense of scale - the Microrail Drummond All Third has only been on the stocks for 15 years...........

With a carriage to give a sense of scale – the Microrail Drummond All Third has only been on the stocks for 15 years………..

 

I am not happy with the string course at the moment, it sticks out too abruptly and possibly the same for the copings to the top of the parapet – so more filing and sanding………….

However, it does look like a bridge and I doubt the civils guys will condemn it!

 

The Road Overbridge – Part 1

As a diversion from the lever frame, I have made a start on the first bit of civils required for Glenmutchkin.  To segmentalise the layout and create more room for descrete vistas and cameos, I intend to introduce an overbridge in the throat of the station.  This will mean that you can not see what is happening at the station approaches/loco shed end from the platform end and vice versa.
The bridge is in fact modelled on the one at Killiecrankie, but there were very similar ones at The Mound, Kyle of Lochalsh, Keith amongst others.  Heres a picture of the Kyle one:

Copyright by Ben Brookshank and reproduced under a creative commons licence

Copyright by Ben Brookshank and reproduced under a creative commons licence

The advantage of using the Killiecrankie bridge is that I had previously modelled one for a layout of this station and whilst the abutments are still firmly attached to some mothballed boards, the deck could be reused.  The deck has a nice skew to it to make it a bit more interesting and utilises lattice girders; which few seem to bother modelling.  This is what it looks like:

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In terms of abutments, most Highland (and indeed this is common to most scottish lines) had bridges with curved wingwalls swept back from the face of the abutment.  To give the layout some locational character, this was something I wished to produce.  This is where we are at presently with the abutments:_DSC0268 compressTypically, the random or dressed stone ranges from Wills are my favoured mediums but seeing Andy G making a good go utilising Slaters 7mm coursed stone I thought I would have an experiement with this.  This is because many of the later bridges on the Highland used the same coarsely dressed stone; like this one at Dalwhinnie:

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And these show the bridge deck on the abutments as they stand:

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_________________ Mark Tatlow

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