Monday, April 24, 2017

Brass roof soldered to whitemetal sides


Finally, some free time to carry on with the Wickham trolley.  

The obvious next job was to fit the roof. This involves soldering brass to whitmetal. When I fitted the handrails, I had to tin them with normal solder before attaching with low-melt. This time I've bought some more 100 degree, to replace the pack I've mislaid, from C&L. 

For a while, the roof has been kicking around but when I come to fit it, it's disappeared. Probably to the same place as the old solder. 

Not to worry, a new rectangle of thin brass was carefully cut out and then curved in the rollers. 

Then a few blobs of Powerflow flux and a bit of soldering iron work and it's in place. I use the normal iron for this although the low temp one will work. If you are quick, the brass acts as enough of a heat sink to avoid damaging the whitemetal bits, and these are big enough to survie a bit of heat. 

While I was at it, the front bumper bar (if this was a Volkswagem we'd call it a "nerf" bar) was made from some nickel silver strip and brass rod. It's done by eye but looks OK to me and is an essential feature of a Wickham.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

York 2017

Exhibitions always evolve and York more than most. Now in it's 55th year, there are certain stands that should be where you expect them to be, and when things change, it can be a bit of a shock.

This ought not to be a problem. After all, people, even model railway traders, get older and want to retire. Others come along and add freshness to an event. The hobby itself has changed a lot since I first visited the show back in the days it was in the centre of the city.

Needless to say, one constant is that York is always worth the trip.

Most of my time during the day seemed to be taken up with chatting. It's my job and an excellent chance to catch up with old friends.


One target for the day was to meet up with Bill Schneider from Rapido and examine the latest sample of their forthcoming Sterling Single locomotive along with the newly announced Dynamometer Car. 

Both look excellent as they progress toward the manufacturing stage. Bill is always great fun and didn't mind at all when I asked it he had just sprayed an old Kitmaster model and stuffed a tender drive in it. More to the point, he didn't mind when I moved everything around on the stand so I could take some nice photos with plain backgrounds. At least he said he didn't...

Before this, Paul Martin at EDM showed me a rather special Korean brass large scale diesel shunter. Powered by a battery and fitted with radio control, it would make a rather nice basis for finescale layout in the larger scales. 


The idea of building something large and detailed has been taken up by Tony Hill with his lovely chunk of Wales in 16mm scale. 

Melin Llechi

It's rare to see this level of treatment given to a large scale model but of course Tony is a scenic expert so the Melin Llechi looks fantastic.

Moving down to O gauge (how often can you say that?) Thorne Hill Colliery is a fairly simple and compact (for 7mm scale) 10ft long shunting model.




Thorne Hill hoppers

Displayed at a reasonably high level, the greenery provides some useful view blockers that mimic watching a real life railway. Rolling stock is large with a Class 37 shunting while I watched and several bogie wagons moving around.

I've never been able to get into the Tewrry Pratchet Discworld novels, but those who have will enjoy Angst-Lesspork which is based on his novels.

Angst-Lesspork

There was a wealth of detail for keen spotters but I liked the overall impression and most importantly, it was different. Mind you, York isn't generally home to dozens of RTR stuff tail chasers, so it's a very suitable place to see such a model.

What it isn't, is somewhere you expect to find amazing quality model boat building.

Bismark superstructure

But on the ground floor, there was Mike Williams doing just that. He is constructing a 1:200 scale model of Bismark entirely in etched metal. The level of detail is incredible and it's a real testament to someone who really knows and understands his materials. And yes, it will float, that's why he's building it so large. And smaller and the displacement would be too small to allow this. 

You'll be pleased to know the catering was as good as ever. Reasonably prices and the queues weren't too long. On a damp day, having somewhere to sit and eat with a knife and fork is preferable to squatting in a corner with sandwiches. 

Sorry the layout report is a bit short. There were loads of superb models. Too many for me even to photograph, but what I did can be found on Flickr


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Film Club: Origami genius



Like most people, I've folded a bit of paper. Mainly for aeroplanes but proper origami is fascinating.

Some of the work in this film is just beautiful. Sheets of paper expanding from tiny boxes. Not sure how useful this if for modellers, but I watched it twice when I should have been doing something useful. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Removing a Heljan Park Royal railbus body

Alan asks:

For several weeks I have be trying to find out how to remove the body shell from my new 00 Gauge Park Royal Railbus to insert a 21 Pin decoder and to plant a driver and some passengers.

Sadly, their website is in Danish and I only speak English and German.

It mentions 21pin DCC in a round circle but they forgot to say whether it is 21 pin DCC ready, or 21 pin DCC fitted; so I bought a 21 pin decoder just in case. I have located four body clips, two on each side, and inserted strips of an old bank card across them to enable me to slide the body off. That does not release the body. It seems to be very tight at the front and rear ends and I am loathe to use force.

I have visited YouTube Videos but the one they detail for body removal, has screws in the roof, accessed by removing plugs at the front and rear of the roof and, removing the side door handles. Mine is definitely not one of those.

I would appreciate your assistance to track down information leading to the removal the body shell.

Interesting problem. When looking at my 4mm scale Railbus, I realised that I've never actually removed the lid. 

There's certainly no screws in the roof, but looking underneath I could see some indentations which I guessed must hold clips. Sliding a blade down each eased the body away from the chassis but you need at least 2 pairs of hands to do all of them at the same time.


Cutting some 0.5mm thick plastic sheet with scissors, I made 4 strips that could be slid down behind each indentation. Then I carefully grabbed a diecast bit of the chassis and pulled gently. It took a little more force than expected but suddenly the body slid free. 


You can now see the little clips moulded inside the sides. Obviously the trick is to push these away from the chassis block - the job my plastic spacers do - and it slides clear. 

Once free, you can get at the DCC sockets and stuff which are up in the roof.


If you don't want to make plastic spacers, although they are a handy tool, Andy York did the same job with business cards

A word of warning, the railcar body is flexible but won't take levering with screwdrivers. You only need to move it a couple of millimetres or less. Be careful or you could break your model. Having said this, these are designed to come apart so hopefully these notes help.