Friday, March 22, 2019

Off to Ally Pally

Lordy lordy Mary Poppins, It's a right two and eight and no mistake.

Yes, it's time to head to the capital for the London Festival of Railway Modelling. I'll be floating around the hall for a couple of days.

We're planning to bag quite a bit of social media stuff, so watch the BRM Facebook and Instagram feeds and RMweb. 

If you spot me wandering around, do stop me and say hello!

London Festival of Railway Modelling website

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Big transfers for a big wagon


For a few months, I've had one of the IP Engineering vans given away as gifts to new subscribers sitting around. You might have seen it in my Butterley video.

My plan had always been to brand it for Garden Rail, but making the giant transfers and applying them without making a mess was daunting - and so I made excuses not to do it.

Last week, I bit the bullet and painted the sides with a few coats of cheap, white acrylic. Then a light spray with some Humbrol acrylic varnish.

The branding was printed on to some Experts-Choice clear decal film.  I didn't have a full sheet, but my printer didn't seem worried. There was just enough. More importantly, the ink from the Epsom Envy 5032 didn't run, something it does on glossy photo paper.

More varnish on the decals and everything was left to dry overnight.

The next day, I cut them out and gave them a bath in water with a drop of washing up liquid in it.

A wash of Micro-Sol on the surface and the transfer, which seemed thicker than expected, was slid into place. More Sol and some gentle patting. Then walk away and leave it to dry.

Results are pretty good. Yes, you can see the edges but the transfers are quite thick. There's no silvering so I'm happier than normal. I hate applying transfers!

Job done, now I just need to finish the painting.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Warehouse Wednesday: Colourfull Northlights

Colourful Northlights

How about this for a modelling challenge?

Spotted on a visit to the Custard Factory in Birmingham, these Northlight ex-factory buildings have been decorated with serious arty graffiti.

Scratchbuilding the building sides wouldn't be difficult, although that chimney would be "interesting", but painting? I think I might have to pass. Maybe I could make transfers from photos? 

Whether you like this sort of art or not, you have to admit, it is colourfull...

Colourful Northlights 2

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Clamping curved things


Clamping curved bits of boats while the glue dries is always a bit of a nightmare. I have wasted many hours trying to persuade a pair of flat-faced and parallel jaws to hold things while they decide to slip off just when I think I've arranged them in a way that works.

My dad is building a ferry and hit the same problem. His solution was simple.

A big blob of Blu-tack on the jaws and then some worn out abrasive paper. This worked a treat, the paper providing enough grip and the Blu-tack helps sort out the angles. I'll remember this in future. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Building a radio control switch


Club membership is very useful sometimes. All these new-fangled 2.4mHz radio sets we now use support 5 or more channels rather than the 2 from the "good old days". Most of the time I only use 2, but it seems a waste. One use for the extras would be switching lights on and off.

This needs a bit of electronic and luckily, Brian from our club has put together a course to show members how to build one.

I arrived expecting a couple of hours soldering but instead, we had the works - slides, handouts and even boards full of components for us to look at and learn how to identify.


By the end of the morning, we'd learnt a lot and then it was time to fire up the soldering irons to build our switches. Brian's design is simple to follow and well laid-out on a custom circuit board.

Being a proficient solderer, I had mine together in just over an hour, but even the beginners managed it in 2. There was a testing procedure and by the end of the day, 5 of the 6 attendees held working devices. The final one was taken away and a faulty resistor diagnosed.


I can't speak highly enough of the efforts put into this course. You'd happily pay good money to attend and not feel ripped off. As it was, we just paid for the components and enjoyed ourselves. I've not bought a couple more packs as I really fancy more light-up boats.

Did I learn anything?

Yes - how to identify resistors (I sort of knew this but now am more confident) and how to use desoldering braid, something that has always defeated me in the past.

So, if you are a "lone wolf" who doesn't like joining clubs, can I suggest it's time to reconsider. There is a benefit from being in the pack.