Saturday, September 08, 2012

Chucky handrail construction with confidence

BackhandrailsOne of the benefits of my boat and railway modelling is the chance to "cross pollinate" the skills from one branch of the hobby to the other.

The latest example of this arrived when I had to build the handrails for the Pilot Boat. Brought up in a world of wood, plastic and fibreglass, many boat modellers are scared of soldering metal. It's not something that many of them have need to do anything like as often as we railway modellers, especially those of us who love an etched kit.

The handrails required weren't that difficult but they did need to be chunky, at least compared to the sort of thing I usually get involved with. On a model loco I don't use wire fatter than 0.7mm diameter and even that's for 7mm models. Perhaps on G1 then going to the full 1mm is acceptable but on a 1:20 scale boat, 2.5mm was more like it. At least that was the thickness of wire I found in the material stash, and it looked about right, so that's what I used.

Most of the job just involved a bit of bending and cutting. The soldering posed an interesting challenge - in an ideal world I'd perform this off the model but I couldn't get the positions of the various bits right this way. Instead, the wire was cleaned and tinned then fitted to the hull with superglue. Finally, with plenty of flux and a hit 45w iron, I dodged in and out to make the joins.

Where possible, I gripped the wire nearest the plastic with some pliers to act as a heat sink but mostly it came down to speed and confidence. The confidence that you get soldering near metal held in your fingers. Fingers that you wish to remain un-singed.

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