Friday, May 24, 2019

Voltmeter repair

I picked this neat little voltmeter up at the Vintage radio fair. I don't need another voltmeter, but I thought this looked a bit nifty so punted a fiver on it.

Obviously the wire out of the top had had it, but stripping some insulation proved the meter worked. The 12V leg was a bit wobbly too.

Inside, there was some odd, rubbery, fibrous insulation tape on the top wire. I assumed this wasn't the best in the world and cut it away. The old wire could then be unsoldered and replaced with some new silicon cable complete with croc-clip.

The wobbly leg was fixed with lots of superglue run around the inside. Not ideal, but I couldn't take it apart to do anything else. The fix worked, so that's all that matters.


With the back back on, and a quick clean of the glass on the front, the job was finished. OK, I still don't really need another voltmeter, but this one is pretty good looking so I'm glad to add it to the collection.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Buildings in BRM

The Billy Bookcase layout makes progress in the June issue of BRM - I've built the buildings.

My plan was to use as many different manufacturers products as possible, but make them all sit harmoniously together. To this end, we have stuff from Bachmann, Skytrex, Petite Properties and Metcalf models arranged along the back of the layout.

You'll not be surprised to learn that I couldn't leave a nice Scenecraft building alone, it's been modified...


 On the DVD, I'm building and painting a laser-cut weighbridge hut kit - one of the freebies given away to advanced ticket holder at Ally Pally. Well, it seems like an interesting challenge and I'm quite pleased with the results.

Digi issue readers will also find a few interviews I carried out at the RMweb members weekend.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Warehouse Wednesday: Overgrown building

Overgrown barn front

Spotted in Margate, this was obviously a very well-built store of some sort, but it's fallen on hard times, and now nature is reclaiming it big time. 

The back would be easy enough to model, but the front would be more of a challenge. All those exposed beams and the remains of the featherboard covering make this well worth a look as a potential prototype. 

Overgrown barn back

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Painting the chrome trim


Trickiest job on the Beetle build? Painting the chrome trim on the sides and bonnet.

It's thin, and not raised enough to dry-brush.

I agonised a bit about this and then came up with the solution - use a bow-pen.

Loaded with Humbrol silver paint, I managed to place the blades either side of the trim and draw an OK line. OK, but not good enough all the way along.

Dampening a pointy brush with turps, I managed to draw this along the trim and pick up excess paint which was wiped off on a paper towel. Eventually, I did enough "paint lifting" as watercolour painters call the technique.

The results look pretty good so I'll remember this for the future. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

National Vintage Communications Fair 2019


Ten pounds to go into the antique fair? Makes toy train show look like a bargain...

Still, I like to go to non-train events and I was sure I could extract a tenners worth of entertainment from the day. It's not that much dearer then seeing a bad film at the cinema, for example, quite a lot cheaper if you buy popcorn.


Don't get me wrong, this is a proper nerdy event. The place is full of people fascinated and knowledgable about vintage radios and telephones. If you want valves or the bits to restore a bakelite handset, this is the place.


I've no desire to collect wooden cabinet radiograms and didn't find it hard to resist interesting plastic novelty radios. OK, the original, boxed Sinclair X-10 radio was a bit tempting, but not at 60 quid. I was a Sinclair child at school, knowing full well that my home computer was superior to a Commodore 64.


Serious enthusiasts or traders can get in early for £25 and when I arrived, they were carrying out bits of stack stereo system, some of which look a lot like my venerable stereo, bought from Richer Sounds many years ago. Have I bought a classic?


One thing this show is really good for is collecting parts for steampunk projects. I've got one in mind and some knobs and screw terminals were acquired for no money. There's also a voltmeter, but I'll come back to that in a later post.