Monday, June 27, 2022

Quickie coach

Green 4-wheel coach
Sorting out the rolling stock for last weekend, I found this little 4-wheel coach from Ash Models. It came to me as a kit for review back in 2019, and since building, has sat in various places awaiting paint. 

Ash Models coach

Quite what possesed me to tackle the paint job when I was already stupid busy with proper work, but put came a pot of Humbrol Grass Green paint. Not a good pot it turns out, the "liquid" needed a squirt of thinners to make it useable on a brush and not a trowel. Handy, as there wasn't that much left anyway. 

It took a couple of coats of thinned paint to produce a slighly careworn look that I've decided I quite like. There's the air of a workman's coach about this and they shouldn't be shiny. Mind you, had I realised the roof was loose, I might have taken the seat out and treated the body to a dose of primer so the first coat of paint didn't soak in as fast. 

Roof view

Once I had remembered the roof wasn't glued on, I set it aside for covering. A coat of PVA hold a sheet of printer paper in place. Once dry, a couple of coats of emulsion paint added the grey. One is a bit thick, but perfect for the job. The roof isn't perfect, but like the body, that seems to suit the model. 

Finishing touches are some nice Cambrian plastic door handles. At some point I'll add hinges too, but need to pick up a fresh pot of paint first. 

OK, so this was 3+ hours I didn't really need to spend, but at least the job is pretty much done, and I really like the results.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Holiday photos: Brussels for the Atomium

Many years ago, I remember a poster on platform 2 of my local railway station. 

It advertised the delights of continental railway travel. To a youth who had been abroad only once, something many of today's kids will find amazing, it all looked very exotic. 

What caught my eye was the amazing silver building on the Belgium poster. In those pre-internet days, I had to do a little digging to find out what it was, but once I did, I decided that one day I would visit The Atomium.  

I've always been fascinated by tall buildings. On that one and only school trip to France, we managed to reach the second level of the Eiffel Tower. It was a highlight of the trip, even though I didn't realise the teachers had bulk bought tickets, and so handed my cash over to the attendant - he took it AND my ticket the theiving b***ard. I've also copped (to use the railway term) the mini Eiffel in Prague and CN Tower plus London Eye. The Shard is on the list for a future trip. 

Anyway, after only about 30 years, I finally got here:

The Atomium

And it was brilliant.

Arriving by tram at Esplandae station, a five-minute stroll soon had me glimpsing the shiny balls between the trees, hightening the excitement of finally getting here. (Note: I know Heysel is closer, but it's a dump and Esplanade has an fascinating tram-turning loop). 

Built for the 1958 World's Fair, there's a lot of history to read, and I drank it all in. Every information board, every film. When it's taken 30 years, and a very reasonable 25 Euros (including the Design Museum and Mini-Europe) to get to, I think it's sensible to wring everything out of the trip. If the art instillations are a bit pretentious, who cares when you are standing in a giant, silver ball?

Even coffee (4.50 Euros, not much more than Costa) at the top floor restaurant, was special. OK, mainly for the view, but also because I'd finally made it.   

What strikes me, is that the Worlds Fair that gave birth to this building was a facinating period of tremendous optimism. People looked to the future and were willing to embrace it. Part of the display shows some of the other pavillions, most of which are long gone, and they were properly radical. A future designed by Gerry Anderson. I wondered what happened the next day as I queued in the Eurostar terminal and realised the only poster advertising the UK was for the ficticious, rose-tinted history of Downton Abbey. Are we a country now retreating into a past that never really existed? 

Anyway, you want photos: Head over to Flickr for the full album

Next Sunday. Mini-Europe. An unexpected gem of a political model village.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Saturday Film Club: The Model Engineers

A high-production value look at the Edinburgh Society of Model engineers. OK, not the most detailed look ever, so one for the general public, but it's beautifully filmed and worth a look for inspiration. And it treats the subjects well too. They come over as hard-working knowledgeable enthusiasts, which is what they are.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Getting ready for the NGRS

16mm scale model locomotives

Today, I should be heading toward the East of England showground for The National Garden Railway Show

As usual, the plan is to build a garden railway in the afternoon, which will run for the duration of the show. To this end, I've been checking over the 32mm gauge loco fleet. All seemed OK apart from some fiddling with Polar Bear to sort out the gear mesh. 

That, and I'd forgotten to wire up the blue Simplex. When I wrote the mag feature, the focus was on whitemetal kitbuilding and painting, not electrics. Rectifying this too about an hour and a half - partly because I melted the end of a AAA battery box soldering things up. Hopefully, my bodge will hold as I don't have a spare and a heavy loco would be ideal for this job. 

Of course, what is missing, is a steam locomotive or two. I don't think I have anything suitable in the kit pile either. I wonder if there will be anything at the show?

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Cooper Craft 16mm station bench seat


Cooper Craft Bench kit
Considering how much I (generally) love Cooper Craft kits, and that I'm moderatly interested in garden railways (!), it's taken a long while for Kit 3021 - Station Seat, to land on my workbench. I think it's because my preference is for cartoony figures and accesories, and this is quite realistic. 

However, some lucky bidding on eBay brought three of these my way, two for 99p, so it's time to have a dable. 

The design looks to be one of the northern railway companies destinctive "rustic" benches. I thought Furness, but the photo I found online is South Tynedale Railway. 

Why something distinctive was chosen is a mystery, but it doesn't matter. The kit contains three uprights and a set of seat/backs. The latter have to be seperated and glued to the uprights. No positive location aids are provided, apart from some slightly raised lines on the back of the "wooden" parts. 

The plastic is odd. It discolours with Mek, and takes a while to set. 

The middle support needs to be trimed to remove the arm rest. Easy to do with some clippers, I left it until the bench was assembled, because I didn't read the instructions properly. 

Station bench
The model is 16cm long - 10ft in real terms. Not unatractive, when I find uses for them, I'll make up the other kits as a set will look nice on the railway. They will need to be fixed down though, as a plastic bench is very light!