Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Italian Job - in Scalextric form



"You're only supposed to blow the..."

A trip back to June where I saw this model at the UK Slot car show. When I was watching they seemed to be having all sorts of technical problems, so it's good to see that these were resolved and the "stunt show" as it was described went off properly.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Debonder to the rescue


Amazing result. My Dad needed a coupling for a boat project. Finding one in the stash of bits, the only problem was that the brass connector on one end was the wrong size. We had the correct version, but the old one was stuck in using superglue. 

I do this because these things slide in and out when you don't want them too. A drop of superglue solves the problem, but in this case, caused another one. 

More in hope than expectation, I tried a few drops of Zap Debonder around the joint, but remarkably, a couple of hours later, the brass piece came out easily. 

I'll definitely be keeping this stuff to hand in future. Well, I will when I remember where I put the bottle...

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Making holes in the side


Making some holes in the upper levels of Mohan's hull adds character and, depending on their purpose, lets the water run off the deck.

At the front, the holes are to let ropes through to the bollard at the front of the boat. Making these is simple, just drill a hole and then open it out with the largest tapered reamer in my possession. This limits the size of the opening, but as this is a freelance model, if it looks right, it is right.

A thin sliver of plastic is fitted around the inside of the hole and generously washed with solvent. Once hard, I sand it back with an abrasive stick giving a nice, neat finish.


The freeing ports at the back are a little tricker. After drawing the desired lines on the bulwarks,  I drill out the corners, then open them with the reamer. Then the straight lines are cut with an Olfa cutter. A little bit of filing and fiddling, then some strip around the edge followed by some filler and the job is done.

The general wonkiness of the hull hasn't made this job easy, but I'm happy with the results. To be honest, the freeing ports aren't going to let much water out as they finish 3mm above the deck, but I decided against cutting through the quarter-round strip bracing the side/deck corner. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Warehouse Wednesday: Highland signal box

Highland signal box

Sadly, I've no idea where this photo was taken, other than Scotland obviously, but it's an interesting shot of a fairly typical Highland Railway signal box. 

Presumably because of the "challenging" weather to be found in the area, the gaps between the wooden planking on all the buildings, even platelayers huts, were covered with rounded batoning.  I think the wiggly tin roof is a common sight too.

Like all the other boxes on the Highland line, this one was no longer in use in 2008. Radio signalling has replaced semaphores as the traffic levels are low enough for it to work, and you really don't want to be employing vast numbers of people to look after signal wires that can freeze up or break in the most remote locations. 

I'm surprised the box still exists, but wonder if it is a listed building by now. It would be nice to think that someone has found an alternative use for it. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Hatch cover


Moving on with the tugboat, I need to cover the big hole in the back, ideally with something reasonably flush to the deck, but as waterproof as possible. This rules out any combing around the edge. 

In the end, I've used a couple of layers of plastic to form a sort of seal. It's not going to be very waterproof, even if I run some Vassalene around the edges, but hopefully, most of the water will stay the right side of the hull. 

Along the back edge, a tongue locates under the deck. The other end is held down with high strength magnets. I can pull it up with finger pressure, especially once the towing post is fitted, but it seems to stay put pretty well, and may even be fine when hauling a light barge in the future. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Changing sticks

One of the more useful things in my bag after the IPMS show was a new pack of abrasive sticks. I'm terrible at changing these things when they are badly worn as you can see from the state of the old ones. In my defence, they still worked quite well when handled properly, but you couldn't sand up to the edges of the stick. 

I'm like this with knife blades too. I know a sharp blade is a joy to use, but the parsimonious bit of me (I have both Polish and Scottish blood, neither nation is known for throwing money around) wants to make it last just a little bit longer. 

Anyone else do this?

Sunday, December 09, 2018

IPMS 2018

Bathtime fun

Travelling to Telford can be interesting. Or more accurately, frustrating. A couple of years ago, I arrived at Birmingham New Street to find all the trains to the town cancelled. On that occasion, I turned around and went to the NEC classic car show instead. 

This might have been my plan this year as well, but I'd visited the cars the day before, and enjoyable as it was, didn't want a second dose. 

So, after consulting the staff, I pressed on with a change at Wolverhampton. This would add over half an hour to the trip, time I knew I'd miss trying to get around a big show. Still, I carried on and an hour later than I had planned to be at the event, thanks to more train pain at Wolverhampton, I arrived somewhat grumpy. 

Grumpiness was dispelled almost immediately when I saw the fantastic boat in the bath model above. It made me smile and the rest of the show was brilliant. I still haven't seen the modelling competition, but then I did leave about 10 minutes before the end, tired and with a bag full of kits I don't really need...


Note: If you are wondering why I don't drive instead, it's:
A) A rubbish long jouney
B) You need to be there well over an hour before opening to get a space in the car park. Either that or park somewhere in Wales. 

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Saturday Film Club: A tram ride in 1900



A remarkable bit of film showing a tram ride through Rochdale in the year 1900. Amazing film (with slightly dodgy added sound, turn your speakers down if it bothers you), very clear and showing a world that is long gone. 

I'm thinking this was shot on a Sunday as everyone is smartly dressed in what I assume is their "Sunday Best". 

I also wondered about the man learning to ride a bike part way through. Is his friend really pushing him in front of the tram?

Friday, December 07, 2018

Peterborough bound


I'm on my travels again - this time to the East Of England Showground for The National Festival of Railway Modelling

You'll find me on the BRM stand most of the time looking after a festive train set and chatting about some of the modelling projects I've carried out this year. Examples of these will be on a table in front of me.

We are also arranging a display of Cake Box models. I'm looking forward to seeing some of these for real.

And, I'll be taking part in the Strictly Come Digging challenge!

So, drop in and say hello. Always happy to chat. 

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Painting stuff in BRM


It's painty fingers time in the January issue of BRM.  I pick up a couple of old projects that we last saw in the raw plastic and metal and give them a coat of many colours.

My subjects are the Slater's Conflat and Roxey etched shed, both of which I've shown the construction of in 2018. Painting often gets tagged on the end of a build, but it's a topic in itself, so it is nice to be given space to do the job properly.



Digital readers get a bonus video, where I look at options for holding models that are being painted. There are a couple of handy holding tools and some figures glued to a piece of wood. Bonus points for spotting who these figures represent.


On the main DVD, I look at preparing for paint. Another topic glossed over normally, but it can be a mystery for many modellers. If you want to produce a quality finish though, preparation is the key, so hopefully, this is one of those basic skills areas that will be useful.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Warehouse Wednesday: Bressingham hut

Concrete hut

When shooting photos from a train at Bressingham, most people don't aim the camera at a grotty hut with a huge water tank on the side. 

It looks like a building cobbled together from stuff lying around. That window isn't in its first location, is it? 

I suspect this has something to do with water treatment but can't be sure. It would certainly make an interesting model for a scruffy corner of a layout.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Adding weight, losing sound


I think this is a nifty idea. While at a classic car show, I picked up a square of self-adhesive soundproofing material for a couple of quid, and am using it to add weight to the tugboat. 

What I'm hoping is that the dense, bitumin-like material will stop any resonance from the plastic hull and deck. It's flexible so not difficult to form around the curves of the hull. I don't really need the shiny, heat resistant side other than to stop things sticking to the black layer, but it looks pretty. 

Covering the bottom of the hull and underside of the deck near the motor added valuable weight, but I still need lead to bring the waterline up the hull a bit. 

I'm pretty sure the noise killing has worked a bit. The drive system gives a nice, deep "thrum" sound now which is pretty realistic. There's not squealing or odd vibration. I'll be doing this again. 

Monday, December 03, 2018

Thinning acrylic paint

Martin asks:

I am trying to be ‘green’ in my modelling. I plan to use acrylics with my airbrush but Ideally do not want to use any chemical thinners. This might sound odd, but can I use good old fashioned water?

Some paint can be thinned with water - Games workshop stuff and I think Humbrol are fine.

Tamya need their own thinners and Lifecolor are better with theirs too, but again, I have used water.

Cheap bottles from The Works etc. are good with water.


I'd suggest experimenting. Hard or soft water is going to make a difference too. If you don't mind trying chemicals, then cheap car screenwash is apparently very good. The military modellers use it and I have tried it with some success, but I didn't check if it was better than water!

However, I'm no expert on this, so throw the question out to readers for further wisdom in the comments section please.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Warley 2018

Emmett Layout

Warley was big and tiring. When I posted "The post-Warley fatigue is really kicking in today..." on Wednesday evening, 13 people replied with similar feelings!

Friday to Sunday was spent running around filming and chatting, with a little bit of layout looking at thrown in. The floor is hard and lack of food and drink and toilet breaks makes it a bit of a struggle. An interesting struggle, but Sunday lunchtime, I wanted to get off the BRM stand for food and a pee, but this took an hour...

Pyn Valley Railway

Anyway, as I say in my BRM Blog (sign up for the free BRM Express newsletter if you want this in your in-box) that my favourite layouts were the oddball narrow gauge ones found in the middle of the hall. You'll know this though as I've always liked the weirds ones!

Talking of weird, the winner of the Great Model Railway Challenge was something I've never seen at a model railway show before. 

A Battlespace Turbo car floats above the clouds on the Aberdeen MRC GMRC winning layout.

Whether you like the show or not, you have to admit that the imaginative shackles were really taken off with this one, and that can't be a bad thing. You'll also have to admit that it really needed a Battlespace Turbo Car running on it. Pity the power is evil DCC, or we'd have run it properly. 


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Saturday Film Club: BRatt tugboat in action




Posting on Facebook that my tugboat Mohan is very loosely based on the BRatttug, I was surprised my comment was followed Ron Burchatt who designed the prototype!

This was then followed by a post with a link to this video showing the vessel in action at the Vancouver boat show. 

OK, it's not very exciting after a while, but we can see just how manoeuvrable this boat is. We can also see it's shorter and wider than my model, but that's OK. However, if Ron produces an accurate kit, I could see it being very popular in model form.