Sunday, April 05, 2020

I might as well build the b****y thing then!

I've been trying to thin down my stash of unstarted projects. Like most of us, I've accumulated kits that no longer fit into my future plans. Kits like this Airfix Peugeot 206.

I bought it because I had a Peugeot 206 and thought it would be nice to build a model of it. The 206 is a surprisingly unloved car and miniatures are thin on the ground. The Airfix kit appeared like it might offer an option but looking at it, mine was quite a long way from the rally version and I'm not convinced any conversion would look right - so the kit went into the stash.

A few weeks ago, I decided to clear space and put it up on eBay. This week it sold so I packed it and headed down to the Post Office. I'd arranged a pre-paid slip so minimal handling would be required, important in these unusual times.

But the Post Office was closed. For the foreseeable future. Staff shortages apparently.

Now you might think I could just take it to a different Post Office, but we've not enjoyed one of those on Leamington for well over 6 months. When the PO was given away to the governments mates, ours shifted from the purpose build building to the back of a supermarket. Which then closed down.

The PO re-opened for a week and then a leaky roof caused it to close again. And that was that.

Now I could wait for the local office to re-open maybe, but I'm not convinced this is going to happen. Therefore I've refunded the buyer and called it all off.



So, with the eBay fees and postage I can't seem to get back, had I thrown this kit in the bin, I'd be around 4 quid worse off. So, I'm now thinking I might as well just glue it together for fun, and then chuck it in the bin.

So much for clearing out old projects...


Saturday, April 04, 2020

Lego Wuppertal



Yes, I know it's another Lego post, but how amazing is this Wuppertal monorail? ]

OK, it's a bit slow, but fascinating. Well, I liked it anyway.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Beware geeks bearing gifts


Some time ago, I was on the receiving and of a load of chunky plugs and sockets. I love these things as they are far easier to wire up than micro versions from the IT world, and there is something very satisfying about using connections as old as a H&M Duette.

Anyway, as they are getting hard to find, and despite the fact I've not used the last lot, when offered more I said yes.

The box was collected at our show and dropped in the back of the car.

It's only when I got home I realised, THERE ARE NO SOCKETS!

Yes, I have some very nicely assembled wires fitted to some lovely chunky plugs. But nothing to plug them in to.

I suppose the wire will be useful...

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Cleaning the airbrush

One thing I am rubbish at is keeping my airbrush properly clean. I blast cellulose thinner through followed by airbrush cleaner. I even leave some of the later in the system (some in the cup) when it's out of use, but the thing still isn't as clean as it should be.

I read on t'internet that popping the important bits in an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner was the solution. I have one in a cupboard so dug it out and stuck in some batteries.

According to Eileen's Emporium, water is perfectly good as a cleaner (they could easily have sold me something "right") so I toped it up and left the bit in for a soak as the ultrasonics did their thing.

The results were unimpressive.

Assuming the paint was too well attached, I gave them a bath in Supastrip paint stripper then back into the ultrasonic water.

Results were a little better. I then tried the stuff that came in a packet with the cleaner. It looked suspiciously like washing up liquid, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Even after a good working over with paper towels, the results still aren't as sparkling as I'd hoped.

Someone tell me what I'm missing, please.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Waterbourne Wednesday: AB160

AB160

I like this boat because it's so normal. You'll find dozens of similar vessels on any quayside. 

According to the registry, she was built in 1984 and is called Lillian. 

Her actual use is a bit of a mystery to me - looking at the lifting gear I'm thinking tending to lobster pots would be a good guess. You aren't going to want to go very far offshore in her when the weather is poor. At least I wouldn't.



AB160

There's some nice detail on the side with wooden fenders to protect the fibreglass hull from bashing against the quay wall. Blue anti-fouling paint too, not the red I normally expect.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Hand clamps


Stupid curved locomotive body. Those panels need to be held very firmly in place, even after many hours bathing in water to make them a little flexible.

Holding the things is a nightmare. In the end, I put the PVA glue (after trying Super 'phatic and even superglue) on and just sat holding the panel in place for half an hour while watching the TV. Eventually,
the glue did its thing and the panel stayed put. I still put a fillet in the back of the joint afterwards though.


One panel incorporated the windscreen and curve, but that didn't make it much easier. Another long bath (overnight) followed by bending around a pen while drying followed by lots of clamps sort of did the job. I'll admit I seriously considered swapping wood for plastic.

Are there any special clamps out there I'm not aware of?

Monday, March 30, 2020

Wiring looms


Time to add some wires to Polar Bear. The basic circuit is pretty simple - batteries wired to the motor via a DPDT switch which will handle direction and on/off duties.

There is an added complication that a pair of giant LEDs will be fitted in the ends. These will light up in the direction of travel. Looking at the diagram which is partly neatly drawn but has hand draw extras for this lighting, I can see a few people being confused.

It IS correct, but you need to realise that the long and short legs of the LED aren't the same. They show up on the drawing if you know what you are looking for. There's an extra wire to the switch too.

Once set up, all worked well. Until I put the switch support box back in. Then the loco ran properly in one direction and very slowly in the other. Take the box out and all was well. After a bit of head-scratching, I realised that the box was pushing the LED legs together so when the model worked in one direction, there was a weird short circuit. Pulling the legs around so they no longer touched and all was well.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Virtual Model Railway show


A few weeks ago, I pondered what the model railway world would be like without exhibitions. Well, we are now in that world so we'll see what happens.

One event that appeared very quickly was the Virtual Model Railway Show on Facebook. For 48 hours, people posted photos of their layouts to the group and others wandered around liking and commenting. It was certainly busy and there were some fantastic models to be seen. I like the idea that it all disappeared after 2 days too - just like a real-world show.

The downside was a lack of cake, but then we were spared smelly people wearing rucksacks in confined spaces.

I expect this will spawn a rush of imitators that will be less well "attended" but perhaps we are seeing something new develop. The world will be very different in a years time after all.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday Film Club: A history of Lego trains



After yesterday's collectables, let's have some more bricks from Denmark. 

This film is mesmerising if you were a Lego building child. I remember some of the sets shown in the middle of this. Mostly remembering that I wished my parents could afford to buy me some of them. I did have the blue rails, but no points, so my trains had to circle rather than shunt. As ever, it was the building that interested me more than operating anyway...

Friday, March 27, 2020

Heritage Lego VeeDubs

HO scale Lego vans

I've always loved Lego and always loved VWs, so combine the two and I'm a happy man. 

These two VW panel vans date from the 1961-67 period when Lego made a range of HO scale vehicles. There were pickups and minibus versions of this model in a variety of colours. 

Made from acetate with metal wheels, neither model is perfect, but as I paid a pittance for them, I'm not going to complain. Sometimes you just get lucky on a second-hand stall and for once I did. Maybe a sensible person would ship them straight off to eBay for a decent profit, but not me. I really like these little models, which is surely what collecting is all about.


These weren't the only Lego models picked up at the time, I'm now the proud owner of some of a few Bedford lorries. 



These have suffered badly from the plastic warping over time. With nothing to lose, I'm wondering about a hot bath for the worst affected. Again, I can't complain as the oldest could be over 60 years old, and plastic technology wasn't as advanced back then, as anyone who owns any Tri-ang short coaches will know!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Shops and brickpaper in the April BRM


It's all the fault of Wycrail. During my visit to the show last year, I spotted the fascinating tramway layout, Upper Oreful Street. You might remember that we'd recently produced a London themed issue and I thought an LT tramway would be a perfect fit. Sadly, space constraints precluded it's appearance there, but now we are back with me behind the camera.

It was an interesting shoot as the layout not only looks great in daylight, it's wired for lights, so well worth seeing at night. Grab a digital issue and you get a bonus film showing all this. As it is, half of my photos were taken in the dark.

Inspired by the superb shop windows, I was told to go away and have a go myself.

My version uses a couple of Petite Properties kits and a Bachmann resin building. The model shop even has a working train set in the window!

Finally, I'm working with brickpaper on the DVD.


I know this is a very "traditional" (read: old-fashioned) material, but it still does the job perfectly well. A little care when applying it to a model and the results are excellent. No painty fingers either.

April 2020 issue of BRM on RMweb.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday: Not the galleon

Polaris

Sensible people would take photos of the pretty, wooden galleon moored in the Sydney harbour. 

Not me, the working boat next to it is far more appealing. I've not desire to build a many-masted sailing ship, but I could see myself recreating the workboat. 

For anyone who fancies a go, all the details can be found on the company website (PDF). The dangers is, they have several other vessels on there that would also make nice models!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Clever wobbly axle joy

Before I put the motor in the chassis, but after I'd extracted the switch box, it was time to fit the wheels. These are supplied but on the wrong axles. The builder has to remove the over-long versions and replace them with supplied shorter ones, this is a 32mm gauge model.

Supporting the wheels in a vice and tapping the axle with a hammer and then a hammer and the new axle, released the wheels easily enough. Assembly is very similar, although you need to make sure to thread the first wheel and axle through the chassis before putting on its companion.

Juggling the gear on as well is a little fiddly, but I've done worse in smaller scales.

The unpowered axle is unexpectedly compensated. The bearings in the frames are lozenge-shaped and there is an extra one in a central support. All this provides the axle with some vertical movement to ensure the model stays on the rails on less than perfect trackwork. This is possibly overkill for such a short wheelbase model, but I'm not complaining.

After this, the motor is fitted in its cradle, which slides (it's a very tight fit) into position in the chassis. The final step was to feed it 3v and have the model whizzing up and down on the modelling board. Very satisfying.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Switch box

Time for a bit of head-scratching. There is a box fitted in the loco to hold the DPDT switch, but it's not really that clear exactly how it's supposed to work. To be honest, the interior of this model is a bit of a mystery, but I'm sure I can figure it out.

I decided that the unit was intended to be removable. The legs at the front are (I think) to keep it in position, stopping it sliding forward while it can't go back because of the driver seat will hold it. The seat isn't attached to the wall of the switch box so this makes sense.


Trouble was, it didn't seem to slip in and out very easily. I chamfered the front of the legs a bit and eventually mounted the window a little higher up so the curved panel didn't catch. It's not perfect, but I don't anticipate taking the thing in and out very often. 

Not after I've fitted the motor anyway, something I really should have done first!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Midlands Garden Rail Show 2020

Mendip Vale station

The Midlands show was affected by the Coronavirus panic, so numbers were down despite the best efforts of the organisers with hand sanitizers and regular cleaning of the barriers. 

It's a great shame because this was one of the best shows for a long while. The layouts were varied and interesting. The trade was pretty comprehensive. 

Several of the layouts - Severn Mendip, Hambleton Valley Railway and the 16mm Association modular layout - were pretty well sceniced. The former being pretty much a normal exhibition layout but with larger locos that chuffed. 

I did no hand-shaking (a few elbow bumps) and a lot of chatting to the trade and potential authors for Garden Rail. Cards were handed out and hopefully, we'll see some new names in the magazine in the future. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

I'm walking backwards to the Rhomney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway



An interesting find. Take a trip along the RH&DR in the company of Harry Seacombe, driven by Spike Milligan, all to meet Michael Bentine. It's a Goons re-union with small steam trains!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Keep Calm and Build Models


We live in "interesting times". In the same way that a flight where you think you might die is "interesting".

Like many people, I'm alternating between being scared and depressed. Sometimes I just want to curl up into a ball, shut my eyes and hope it all goes away. And occasionally I do just that.

Sadly, all the wishing in the world isn't going to fix this and we're just going to have to hide ourselves away and wait. All the shows and events for the foreseeable future have been postponed or cancelled. Even a trip to the pub is verboten according to the government.

Oddly, I ought to be really good at this. It's not like I'm short of things to amuse myself with, as you can see from the photo above. It's only a selection of the stash too, although in my defence, not all those kits are mine, and those that are were bought at a bargain price...

I'm not alone in planning to get some modelling done in between scavenging trips to see if I can buy any sort of food at all. Well, that and proper work. At least I can do that from home!

Anyway, I've heard from model shops who have enjoyed better sales than normal thanks to people stocking up for their incarceration. Not just model shops either, I know a wool shop that suddenly found customers queuing out of the door.

Show cancellations have blown a huge hole in many traders cash-flow. If we want them to survive, it's time to dips hands in pockets and buy those things you've been meaning to get for a while. Spend the money you can't take to the pub (and yes, I am concerned about pubs too) on modelling products.

Don't worry that delivery won't happen. I've received a couple of honking great orders for work this week, one in under 48 hours. Those in the trade who sell over a distance are set up to keep doing their thing. Give them the chance. Then spend time building - and then send me photos, I'd be really happy to put them up on this blog.

I'll do my best to keep you entertained, and myself distracted, with plenty of waffle. Keep yourselves safe in the meantime.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I need a filing system for rubbish


How do you deal with "useful" styrene offcuts?

I've a tin containing some of those that I think are big enough to be worth keeping but too small to file with the full sheets.

Working with the silhouette cutter recently, I generated a small mountain of really nice, but small, rectangles. They are perfectly square and would, I am sure, come in handy when making plastic models to bracing corners. I say "would" because I've reluctantly thrown them all away.

What I need is some sort of filing system. A way to store the useful and ensure I don't just keep all the junk. I don't like throwing this sort of stuff away, but can't keep everything. Has anyone got such a system?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday: Bournemouth Belle

Bournemouth Belle

Built in 1975, the Bournemouth Belle is 86 feet long and can carry 228 passengers. 


 My photo dates from 2008, a few years later, the company lost the contract to run the boats. She has now become the Sark Belle. You can track her here. 

I think she's a nice looking boat and would make a fine model. Not too complicated a superstructure, some plans would be nice, but the only problem I can see with a scratchbuild is arranging the body/hull separation and keeping it tidy enough to be invisible.  


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

More fake metal and some detail

The end of the chassis is a pretty complicated bit of construction with several layers of wood to be laminated together to represent the hefty casting on the real loco.

Line them up perfectly and they will look the part. Get things slightly wrong and there are gaps. Nothing that some Deluxe Perfect Plastic filler can't cure. That, and a really good sanding plus some sealer.

For good measure, I've added Meng bolt heads. I suspect there should be some nuts and threads on the inside but I've decided no-one will notice if they aren't there.

All this has been brush painted with a couple of coats of Humbrol matt black and now really looks the part. Sometimes you need to brush, spraying doesn't fill as well.

Monday, March 16, 2020

A whiff of sanding sealer makes the world seem alright

This kit is made of wood. The prototype is made of metal.

I'm not going to kid myself that I can make the wood as smooth as metal. That's a huge amount of work and arguably more effort than scratchbuilding in a more suitable material. I'd like to get rid of most of the grain though, and that means a coat of sanding sealer.

For those not familiar with this magic product, it's basically a big can of cellulose dope with talcum powder mixed in. Paint it on the wood, it soaks in, raises the grain a little, fills gaps and can be sanded smooth within a few minutes. Apply enough coats and do enough sanding, the results are smooth as glass.

It also smells lovely.

Anyway, I treated the outside of the frames, but not the inside. Once smoothed, I sprayed both with matt black paint. For once I remembered not to overdo it with the hairdryer as this can activate the cellulose which bubbles up in the paint. Much swearing then ensues and I'm never patient enough to leave it alone and come back later.


It's not obvious in the photo, but the untreated sides aren't nearly as smooth as the sanding sealed one. They will do the job and after a light sand aren't terrible at all. I will be sealing all the other bit of wood though.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Leamington & Warwick Exhibition 2020

Selfie

This was me last weekend - standing outside in the fresh air, helping people find parking spaces. I have a nice, thick Day-Glo jacket and it's a job someone has to do, so I volunteered to be on the team.

On a weekend already under a cloud thanks to Coronavirus, Saturday didn't start well thanks to someone breaking into the hall and ransacking one of the traders stands. I'm not going to say much about this, but you can read a brief report on RMweb if you want to know more. Suffice to say, the scum were professional. They knew what they wanted and got it. Fortunately, nothing irreplaceable was damaged or stolen.

Anyway, my car park duties kept me busy most of the weekend so I didn't see much of the show. This didn't stop me spending money. The second-hand stall had a box with my name on it. Well, it had all the bits (chassis, wheels, motor etc) to build a GT3 - all except the body, but guess who bought one of those a few years ago and had never got around to buying the parts to get it running?

Shooting

When I did get a look around, there seemed to be a lot of N gauge. I know this is just what I spotted, but it didn't matter as there was a lot of really good N gauge. They much be good, we've had them in the magazine...

Anyway, I enjoyed my weekend. It might sound daft, but it's nice to be useful. There were loads of happy people who said nice things about the event when they left too, so if you smiled and didn't run me over, thank you for coming. 



Saturday, March 14, 2020

Saturday Fim Club: Coalfinger



I'm not one for long videos normally, but this half-hour with a fuel delivery narrowboat is very enjoyable. OK, there are a few modelling ideas here (the barge would be a great project) it's more that there is commerce on the canals today, we landlubbers just don't see it very often.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Midlands Garden Rail Show tomorrow


This weekend it's the Midlands Garden Rail Show and I'll be doning the Garden Rail tweed jacket with some precious hand sanitiser in the pocket and visiting on both days. Plenty of chat but no shaking hands this time!

Midlands Garden Rail Show website.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Railway revival in Garden Rail


We're off to the top right of Wales this month to visit the Anglesey Model Village and Railway. A few years ago, the village was derelict and could so easily have vanished like so many others. Instead, the new owners are bringing it, and the unique 1:12th railway back to life. 

There's also a trip to Barrett Steam Models to see how they produce some very desirable G1 kits. 

You'll also find all the usual construction and product news we usually have in this issue.Full contents listing over on RMweb.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday - Water taxis

Water Taxis

We've had a couple of industrial boats recently for those who like a bit of rust and grime, time for something completely different. 

These yellow water taxis were moored up in Sydney harbour in 2014. They look like fun, nippy boats if you like that sort of thing. I prefer big boats that move slowly without providing thrills, but then I'm a wuss.

In model form, they would be great fun. You'd need to injection mould, or more likely vac-form, many of the curved body parts. The rubber outers (I assume these are RIBs) would be pretty much impossible to make in the real material without serious investment, but more vac-forming might look OK. 

The biggest problem might be passengers. You'd want to build these quite large and unless you use 3D printed, hollow people, then they would be quite a weight. Heavy loads in small boarts aren't a recipe for success, unless your aim is to win our club trophy for the most exciting sinking...

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

My new favourite PVA


With some kits from Petite Properties on the bench, I asked them which glue they recommended. A bottle of 502 adhesive was waved at me - apparently, it's the only PVA in the workshop. 

I knew I'd seen the stuff somewhere and a quick web search took me to Tool Station where it's a fiver for a litre. Fair enough, when I was passing I picked some up. 

The dolls house makers are right. To date, I've been a Resin W man, or a big tub from Homebase depending on the job in hand. This stuff flows a bit better than Resin W but not as a freely as the cheap stuff. It grabs quickly and dries as fast as any. 

Decanted into a Metcalfe Models Ultra Fine Tip applicator, it's very easy to use too. Even from the big bottle, it's controllable and the nozzle of this doesn't seem to gum up as fast as the resin W version. 

The frames of Polar Bear were laminated up and seem to have stuck. I'm sure someone will say all PVA's are the same, or that they have used this stuff for 100 years, but I'm impressed, which is why I put it on here.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Project fatigue

Polar Bear on the Groudle Glen Railway

It probably sounds daft, but sometimes I get tired of modeling. 

At the moment, I'm hopefully entering a quieter period at work, but just recently there has been an awful lot of building. Interesting work, but now I find myself drained of interest in making things. Slumping in front of the TV appeals in the evening. Going to sleep even more. 

I know that it's not actual tiredness - I'm hardly working down a coal mine - but mental exhaustion. The cure for that is to stimulate my brain with something interesting. Besides, I need a project to blog about. Much as I enjoy conjuring posts up out of nowhere, writing about something I'm making is a lot easier and almost certainly more entertaining. 

That's the point about this blog. It does what I started it for - giving me a focus and some drive to get things done. We all know how long a project with no deadline takes - forever. Slap some "milestones", as project managers like to call them, into your life and things get done. 

Anyway, I'm not exactly short of projects. All I need is one that excites me as much as it did when I bought the bits. Trouble is, that thrill dissipates over time which is why I can look at all the potential candidates for my workbench and just decide checking Instagram is more rewarding. 

In the hope of finding something, I had a root through the cupboard in my office. My memory must be failing as there were a number of discoveries in there I'd completely forgotten about. 

Tucked away was this IP Engineering laser-cut kit for Groudle Glen electric locomotive Polar Bear.

This shouldn't be too taxing, but ought to provide a bit of entertainment. I'm not in the right frame of mind for a serious project right now. Whatever I do need to go together with the minimum of fettling. 

As an added bonus, I need another 32mm gauge locomotive for the Garden Railway in a Day I'm building next month at the National Garden Railway Show. Why not one of my favourite locos?

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Model railways without exhibitions?



Imagine our hobby, but without any of the 500 or more public exhibitions that take place around the country every year.

This isn't so far fetched in these coronavirus ravaged days. Were the government to block all large gatherings then we could see shows cancelled. Not just those for toy trains, but all trade shows and other events.

If this happens, then there would be a lot of exhibition centres standing empty and idle that would be very tempting brownfield sites for housing development, removing the venues we make use of.

What would all this mean for the hobby?

I'm going to suggest that there are already models we can look to in Australia and America.

The UK is compact enough that living in the Midlands, I'm able to travel to a large percentage of the country in a couple of hours. OK, Glasgow is out, but York (proper north) is only 3 hours away.

Compare this with Australia where drives of 500 miles aren't uncommon. Adelaide to Melbourne is 451, but how many sizable towns are there on the way? Not many, and kangaroos don't play trains.



Instead, the hobby involves visiting people's home layouts. People attending conventions are loaded into cars or buses and moved to the models as opposed to our loading models into cars and vans to bring them to the people.

I understand a similar sort of thing happens in the USA, for the same reasons of mahoosive geography.

Now the aforementioned geography ensures that many homes in these places are larger than your typical UK abode so maybe this sort of thing isn't so practical here, but could people visit clubs on regular open days instead of an annual show? Would this force clubs into upgrading their facilities since you'd want to impress visitors, or at least not appal them with the state of the toilets!

In the large scale world, visits to people's gardens are already the normal way to see a line. You can't dig up a garden railway and put it in a van after all. 

With no shows, magazines and the Internet would become more important as ways of showing off your modelling. This is important as I know I'd not have stayed in the hobby years ago without the pleasure of showing off to the public. There's a bit of ego, but also a huge amount of pleasure in being part of a show, one of the people inside the barrier. Let's face it, if there wasn't, no-one would get up stupidly early, drive to a venue and spend all day on their feet paying trains!

One problem for the press would be finding layouts. You can watch social media for some (I do for GR) but visiting a show is far more efficient, even if you don't shoot the model there. While shooting at shows isn't common (ideally, you need a public-free zone) I've snapped layouts so small that it's not cost-effective to make a special trip at quiet times during events. There have been several favourites of mine captured this way. 

We might even see a resurgence of the local model shop as getting your paws on products will be much harder. Yes, traders will have to move on-line, most are there anyway so that's no great change, but they can't be everywhere and people do like to see items in real life. Impulse buying on-line is harder than when standing in a shop with temptation in front of you

So, while it would be different, I'm sure that the hobby could evolve. The biggest loss would be the chance to expose the general public to what we do. While most shows like plenty of enthusiasts, it's the "normal" people who make the difference between profit and loss. Maybe not many go through a damascon conversion to share our interests, but we are planting seeds of interest that may well bloom in the future.

For this, we'd need to get out and about more. Assuming shopping centres still exist then taking stands in these (I've done this in the past) would be effective, but not able to offer the same variety as the annual show, nor bring in any income to cover the costs.

This is all pondering out loud, but worth considering in my opinion. Hopefully, it's all theoretical, I'm optimistic to believe it is, but you never know.

What do you think?

Would US and Assie readers care to comment on how it works in their countries?

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Saturday Film Club: Out of Scale



For his recent birthday, I bought my dad a book:


He loves classic Disney and this gave him a real laugh. 

The story concerns Donald Duck and his model railroad. Finding a real tree, he replaces it with a scale version, ignoring that chipmunks Chip'n'Dale live there. There are some shenanigans and they all live happily ever after once he realises his new friends are to scale with the model.

The book is loosely based on the short film Out of Scale which I've linked above. Should the fill 7 1/2 minute version be too much for you, there's a short version too with 4 fewer minutes.



Friday, March 06, 2020

Leamington Show this weekend


This weekend is the L&WMRS exhibition - more details on the website

I shall mostly be found in the car park wearing a big flourescent jacket and helping people find somewhere to leave their horseless carriage. 

See you there!

Thursday, March 05, 2020

We knew you'd buy that...


Last Thursday, there was a bit of a clear-out of stuff from Pete Blakeman's estate. Many O gauge locos, some rolling stock and loads of boxes of bits were brought out and sold to his friends. 

Among the collection was this card kit from Purple Bob's Hobbies. I'd never heard of them, and since it's for an undertaker, I was interested enough to lay out a fiver. 

This caused great hilarity - "I know you'd buy that." someone chortled. 

It seems my interest in oddball models from obscure manufacturers is well known, and I'd fallen into their devious trap. 

Not to worry. This is an interesting looking kit. The photographic quality walls will look really good in photos, and if I scribe the courses between the stones, pretty good in real life too. 

I'd never heard of Purple Bob's Hobbies - but there is a website which is rather fun. Products as a mix of card kits and engineering castings, a bit odd but there you go. The more time I spend on the site, the more I like Bob and his "Quintisentially British Models". I see there is a list of shows, must see if I'm free to take a proper look one day...

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday: Steel day boat

Lighter

Shall I take photos of the pretty boats at the Black Country Museum? No, I'll concentrate on the rusty steel hull. 

I'd assumed this is a lighter, or perhaps "butty" boat that would work with a powered narrowboat through the canal system but James Finister tells me it's a day boat and I'm not going to argue. At the very least there is something to learn about the construction of these vessels, and how the steel plate weathers. 

You can also see how much can be seen of the sunken boat next to it - another handy modelling hint. 

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Attack of the silhouette cutter


In the stash of projects for the last couple of years has been a silhouette cutting machine. It's a clever device a bit like a low-rent laser cutter. Instead of light, the tool uses a small computer-controlled blade to cut things out of sheet materials. 

Aimed at the crafting and card making markets, it's a tool that has been enthusiastically embraced by many railway modellers as it's a great way to make all sorts of things. 

Needless to say, it's not expensive, I bought one and then waited for a project. OK, I had a look and then became distracted for rather longer than I'm proud of. 

However, the need to make some windows for a building on the BRM Runcord Salt Union project layout presented me with an ideal job. I needed lots of accurate windows and chopping then out by hand wasn't going to cut it. 

So, out with the cutter. Attached to the laptop I gave it a go with some test files. It's really easy to use except for one issue. You have to put your card, plastic, paper on a stick backing sheet before it goes into the machine. I did this, but when peeling the results off, they stuck so well they tore. 

Looking this up on the web, the solution is to pat the glue surface with a towel. Do this often enough and you remove enough glue so the cut material can be removed intact. Obviously how much sticky needs to be removed depends on the material. Paper is fragile, Plastikard less so. 

Anyway, I completed my project, and then made a video about it. 


Monday, March 02, 2020

Answering Questions

Time for a bit of admin answering questions posed in the comments on recent posts.

Paul B asks on the post "A Hen's Tooth": I now have one, with the plastic spike and the original box. Works as well. Now, I have a request which I hope you won't mind as I know you're a bit of a fan of these (pun intended!), can you please post some photos of the inside of the body, of the plastic spacer that sits across the middle of the chassis, and of the body fixing screw? Mine has neither screw nor spacer, and I'd like to see what should be there so that I can fabricate new parts if possible. 



Hopefully, this will help (click on the image for a bigger picture). The bar is a simple plastic item that fits in the recesses in the chassis. The bolt is a long bolt. Something with the thread running all the way up would be just as good.

Hum asks on the post "E-R Models Monorail":  Just out of curiosity, what's the space between the conductor "rails" on that track?


I think this should answer the question. 

Hope this helps everyone. Don't forget you can always use the Ask Phil link on the top right of this page.


Sunday, March 01, 2020

Now wash your hands...

Zest Soap

With the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus, I wonder if we will see a change in behaviour at model railway exhibitions?

A quick look at the NHS website, suggests a very simple way to avoid the spread:


Hardly rocket science, but my experience at shows is that only half of those using the gents bother to wash, and at swapmeets the number is even lower.

Do we need to station people at the exits to turn people around and point them back at the sinks? Would those same people then mutter about "health and safety gone mad"?

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday Film Club: The Dinky Toys Story


We all played with toy cars as kids and there is no more iconic brand for your British child of a certain age than Dinky. 

This documentary is interesting as it shows part way through some typical British industry failings - Dinkly toys look very dated compared to that new upstart Corgi, because they didn't see the need to invest at the time. Something that, as I recall, afflicted the motor industry too...


Friday, February 28, 2020

Tri-ang Transcontinental shunter refurbishment

A fiver? Of course I need a yellow Tri-ang shunter to add to my collection.

OK, there is a black dock shunter already in there but I didn't have the yellow version for shunting Giraffe Cars.

It's a clever model. The freelance body fits on a motor bogie used elsewhere in the range. The only addition is a light. Even the rear coupling fits on the body so the moulds for the motor bogie didn't need to be altered.

My model worked perfectly on Code 100 track but the knurled wheels aren't Code 75 friendly. I've oiled the bearings and cleaned the commutator with an evil fibre pen, but these things are bomb-proof so it's no surprise there.

After a bit of pondering, the body responded well to a scrub in the sink with warm soapy water. It looked quite nicely weathered and once you've cleaned it you can't go back. In the end though, this a toy and I felt it would prefer to be shiny as a new button.

The roof was looking a bit tired. I masked it with tape and kitchen foil before spraying with Halfords matt black. I tried satin, but the result was too shiny to my eyes.

Job done, a nice little shunter for the collection. It's probably worth a lot more than I paid for it now, but that's not the point. I have an attractive model for a bargain price.