Tuesday, September 21, 2021

New spacers


After a little head scratching, I decided that there wasn't any way I could accurately reduce the width of the frame spacers fitted to the chassis, it would be a lot easier to make some new ones up from sheet nickel silver. 

First job, remove the old ones - I could have attacked them with heat, but wary of disturbing the bearings, I opted to cut them in half with a piercing saw. This gave me much better access to the soldered joints, which were heated and the errant metal removed, followed by a good clean up with a file. 

Then I cut some strips of nickel 10.5mm wide using an Olfa cutter and ruler. Even I can get things reasonably accurate with those tools.

Using the Hobby Holidays jig, the sides were lined up and the spacers fitted between them. I know the axles are in the right place relative to each other so the spacers don't need to slot into the chassis sides, I can pretty much fit them where I see fit. 

This time the axles stick out both sides of the chassis. It even sits flat on a mirror when fitted with wheels. Success? Well they look like they are a bit proud of the sides. But I can shim this with some washers to reduce the side-play. 

Except that the motor won't fit between the frames, and these are deep enough that this is precisely what it has to do. I did contemplate putting cut-outs in the frame sides to accommodate the motor, but there was really only one thing to do...

Monday, September 20, 2021

That's not so good then


With the chassis assembled for the Hudswell Clarke, and the motor and gearbox running, all I have to do is slip the later into the former and the loco will work. Simple. 

Except that the axles aren't long enough. They can stick out of one side, or the other, but not both. 

The frames are too far apart. Arghh

I don't know how this happened. There is only one set of frame spacers in the box, and I suspect they are the P4 ones. My guess is that I've nicked the OO and EM fret for another kit in the past, and forgotten about it. 

Still, I enjoy soldering things together, so it will be fun to do it all again (grits teeth).

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Model lifeboat day 2021


 A nice sunny day and lots of orange boats, what more could you want on a Saturday morning? 

Cake? Yes, there was some of that, but I can't find my photo. 

The chance to buy some stuff from a second-hand stall? Yes, I managed a few bits of wood, a random bag of plastic propellers and a couple of tools that I'll bring to you later, once I've had a proper play. 

And, of course, and RNLI stall, who took some money off me too.

Prize of the day though, is a lifeboat I've always wanted. And by chance, a friend who does a lot of work for the RNLI had acquired one. On his book stand, there was a 1930s tinplate collecting tin, and I happened to mention that I coveted the plastic lifeboat launch version - and for a small donation, it was mine. 

I remember these as a kid, and am chuffed to get my paws on one. There will be more on it once I've figure out how it works. And then the chance to donate yourself when I do a show in the future. 

Sadly, it was a bit of a flying visit for me as I had some work to do in the afternoon, but at least I was able to see the magnificent Clyde lifeboat launched. 

There are more photos on Flickr.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Saturday Film Club: Dune - Models & Miniatures

Apparently, there is a new film of the book Dune on its way. I remember trying to read the book as a teenager and getting bogged down before abandoning it. The David Lynch directed film might be cult, but that's code for about 5 people liking it and a few others pretending they did. 

But, the techniques behind the miniature and model work are fascinating. I particularly like the idea of shooting a model with a hole in it so you can see background live action stuff - a bit like a matte painting.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Tiger - my first home-built garden railway locomotive

Tiger wasn't my first scratchbuilt locomotive, that was a OO gauge Hunslet, but he is the first garden railway locomotive I built from scratch. At the time we had a Mamod steamer, but it was pretty uncontrollable, and I felt a battery electric loco would be a better idea. Of course, in the 1980s, my funds for this sort of thing were incredibly limited. 

What emerged from my workbench, isn't the most realistic in the world. The design is pragmatic. Square edges because that's what's easiest to cut in 2mm Plastikard. Side skirts because I needed to hide the wheels. Even I knew they weren't realistic. 

Underneath, the chassis is a rectangle of square brass tube soldered up, from which dangle running gear made from Coopercraft 16mm parts. Handily, these were available as a reasonably priced pack, but no loco ever ran on curly-spoked wheels. 

Power is a cheap motor driving a single axle through some Proops (remember them?) pound pack gears. 3 AA batteries provide the go, and a DPDT switch the control. To say the model runs slowly would be to underestimate it's lack of forward progress. Plenty of power though, you just better be not in a hurry. 

The body detail owes a lot to old plastic kit cars. While the model might not be fast, it's powered (apparently) by a honking great V8 engine. I have no idea why its mounted back to font, and I didn't really understand which bits were engine and which gearbox. 

Crew is an Action Jack figure with a paper overall to hide the joints in his lets, and some Milliput hair. The headlight is a Playmobil cup with the handle cut off and wires added. I suspect the lens comes from the spares box - I never threw bits away. 

Tiger hasn't run for a while, although he still works. I suppose Marjorie Kondo would declutter him to the bin, but I prefer he sits on the bookshelves behind me when I'm on Zoom calls. We all have to start somewhere, and shouldn't forget that modellers develop, they aren't born.