Saturday, December 03, 2022

Saturday Film Club: Building the Worlds Smallest Escalator (That WORKS)

An interesting 3D print and laser cutting project that shows there is a lot more to doing things that just owning the tools. 

Most of the parts went through several itterations before a final version appeared. That might be easier if you just have to tweak stuff on a screen and re-print/cut, but it demostrates that there's still a lot of skill involved, just different skills to "traditional" modelling.

Friday, December 02, 2022



Random Friday Photo time - after sticking a chain cover on to the somewhat battered KR Models "Leader" EP sample, I took a quick shot of it on the DHAPR works layout. 

I've always been fascinated by Leader. An ugly and ultimatly unsuccesful experiment, it's one great big "What if" for railway enthusiasts to argue over. What if they had used oil or pulverised coal firing to avoid the fireman's sweatbox? What if a few less innovative bits of enginering had been used? Could this big beast have spawned a class? 

As it was, only the first ever ran, although I once met someone at a Saturday show social who swore that the second loco did take to the rails. It was almost ready to go, so maybe he was right...

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Lights, old locos, action! in the January BRM


It might be November, but our four-weekly publication schedule sees BRM reach 2023. The nights are dark, and so I'm putting some lights into 4mm scale road vehicles. 

The main project involves a Bedford OB bus - an idea that wasn't mine, and initially, I didn't belive it would be possible, but with a bit of fiddling, those light pods either side of the radiator can be illuminated. 

Out with the camera this month, I've bagged two layouts. 

Hayling Island, built by Richard Barton in O gauge is a delight. Firmly nailed to the wall in his garage, the line runs in a U-shape around the walls. Digital subscribers can enjoy a little tour of the line on video too. 

The star is the beautiful pre-grouping rolling stock, and the wooden viaduct on one side. There's plenty of boat action, and I made sure I included some of this within the pictures!

The 009 Cransley Estate Raiwlay follows on from last months' East Derbyshire Minteral Railway, and was the layout I'd origionally looked to go and shoot - the wonderful EM gauge standard line was just a happy find.

We could hav combined both into a single article, but that would have been a waste. Better to let the narrow gauge have the space. After all, the photos came out so well on both, we want to bring them all to the reader.

Finally, I've been to see the Hornby Railway Collectors Association, and interviewed their president. If you fancy getting into model railways on a very tight budget, then this is a world worth exploring. If you prefer your stock without lots of details to knock off, don't need sound and would like to carry out your own servicing, take the price of a reasonable OO loco to one of their events (join to get the details and magazine), and you'll return with enough to build a layout. And an exciting one too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

ARII Ghost box - painted and working


ARII Ghost box
Here we go. Job done. 

Painting the stonework was quite fun. I started with Humbrol 64, pale grey. Once tacky, some 147 was sponged on lightly, followed by talculm powder to blend the colours and add texture. Left to dry overnight, the finishing touch was a thin wash of 67 grey, dried with a hardryer. This last step is partly because I was impatient, but it also allows me to see the effect and add to it if required. 

The soil is earth colour, washed with track colour. This caused the base to lift in a couple of places, I should have given it a longer drying time, so a bit of scruffy static grass held down with hair spray adds a suitably run-down look. 

On the front, you can see a skull and crossbones sticker from the sheet provided, either side of which are the metal contacts that sense a coin is in place. So that this will happen: 

Isn't it brilliant? Best of all, if the claw doesn't grab the coin properly the first time, it has another go, which is properly spooky!

Time taken - probably just over three hours, split 50:50 between building and painting. For £15, that's about the same as being in the pub (I'm not a fast drinker. YMMV) but unlike most plastic kits, there's plenty of play value for the future to be had as well. If you've never built a plastic kit before, it's not ideal, but the mechanism isn't hard to figure out and is very much part of the fascination for me, so I really enjoyed this build. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

ARII Ghost box - mechanical bits


Here's what makes the Ghost Box work. The mechanism clips and screws together easily enough. The builder needs to pay attention to the orientation of the parts, but You can't put the things together wrongly really. 

Theres a lot of pressing gears and cams on to axles, and the kitmakers suggests a small hammer to force them home. I prefered to use a vice as a press. Even the little one on my bench opens wide enough to do this, and I feel that the gentle pressure is better for the plastic parts than shock forces. It's also easier to control things as you can stop th pressue when the vice jaws hit the end of the axle. 

There's some clever work here as obviously they don't want people soldering, so the wires are designed to be twisted around the metal parts that the cam operting the hand woks. I decided I could solder, and so I did. It should make for a more reliable mechanism. 

An AA cell fits in the base, and by touching the ends of the wires, you can test things work OK. Without the lid, that hand flaps about a bit, but as long as things are moving, all should be fine. I hope.