As coach building continues for New Street, much of it is more of the same and to some extent so is this
Another Bachmann mk1, fitted with replica bogies and the usual details. Like the rest of my Bachmann based NSE liveried stock I repainted the blue to something lighter which I feel better matches the early vehicles so painted. The IC liveried coach behind was completed at the same time.
One of my early class 47s featured a Lima body on an Athearn PA1 chassis as below. This was done before I settled on the windscreen modification for the Lima 47 (I don’t think Shawplan actually had done them at the time) so I wanted to revisit it to make the face match the others on the layout. Along the way I had been collecting cheap ViTrains 47s so while it was in for an overhaul I swapped the chassis too. The results can be seen below.
Long time readers will have seen mention on many occasions of a little company called Unit Models. When I first came across them they did a range of resin bits mostly for US modellers in HO scale but what a range it was. Noting spectacular but they produced no end of useful little bits and pieces for people who scratchbuild buildings and the like. Things like vents, wall fans, lockers etc. The sort of stuff that was a bit of a ball ache to scratch build yourself. The roof vents you see here are from them and as they didn’t do the exact ones I needed Dave was only to happy to do some for me, he didn’t even seem to charge any extra for them either! Well Sadly Dave passed away recently and the business is up for sale. I hope someone picks it up and continues to produce this specific but invaluable range of bits and bobs and its sad to see such a lovely chap taken from us. My thoughts with his friends and family.
My 4 Sherpas are now done. Aside from the Royal Mail one the transfers were all drawn up in Illustrator and printed on crafty computer paper. I decided that the paragon models wheels that I used for the minibus were too big so swapped them for the wheels from and Oxford beaver tail transit. As supplied they were no smaller but by changing the types for some from their mk3 escort they look much better. Its worth doing this even if you are keeping them under the transit to my mind. On the subject of tyres I tend to paint them Humbrol 67 grey rather than black. You only really see black tyres in car showrooms or at car shows.
I originally wrote about this several years ago but since the topic has come up again on a forum I’m going to take a little look back at my thoughts on couplings.
There are 2 schools of thought on the issue of coupling trains together. Something that looks like the real thing, or something that can work automatically. The downsides of these are that the real thing type can be fiddly (and the closer you get to dead scale the more fiddly it gets) and the often bemoaned ‘hand of god’ that seems to be wheeled out as a regular complaint by some forum go-ers. The automatic type doesn’t look like the real thing (unless you are doing some sort of buckeye type prototype) and many of them require fixed magnets and an odd ‘shuffle’ to be performed by the driver to uncouple. How this shuffle looks any better than the hand of god I don’t really know and to my mind its better to credit your viewer with the ability to suspend their disbelief for a moment while you uncouple a vehicle than for said vehicle to look wrong all of the time!
Problem is with New Street I don’t have much choice. Loco’s will need to be changed and all that overhead along with a shopping centre means that a manual hook isn’t going be in any way practical! So automatic it will have to be and as only certain rakes will need to be uncoupled some sort of DCC on board solution seemed the obvious answer
Proof of concept. The coupling of choice being the Dingham coupling which will couple to a Smiths hook (not automatically mind you), By fitting these to coaches that have gangways they can be hidden as much as possible and there’s no requirement for a weird coupling on the loco. As supplied the Dingham has a steel dropper that when passing over a magnet is pulled down to raise the loop. By fitting a magnet instead and using an opposing magnet the loop can be raised from inside the vehicle.
By salvaging an electro-magnet from a cheap relay and wiring it to a DCC decoder this process can be simply automated. with no power the loop sits in its normal position.
But when power is supplied via a decoder function the loop is raised and coupling/uncoupling can be done. It’s all quite simple really!
Long time followers of my efforts might recall a batch of 4 Sherpa vans I did from the kingfisher Miniatures kit. I said at the time that I wanted to do more and after a long wait the kit is back in stock so a second batch has been started.
Sherpa’s were a common sight in my childhood as they were produced locally at Washwood Heath. While my travels didn’t take me over there often I tended to see rows of brand new ones parked up between Tysley and Small Heath waiting for shipment by rail. Public bodies were urged to by British and BR, the Post Office, BT and schools used them extensively over the (better) for Transit. The suggestion was that Ford couldn’t make Transits fast enough to meet demand anyway!
Unlike the last batch which was relatively simple (the conversion of 2 to sliding door variants was about as adventurous as I got) this batch is a bit more involved. On the left a BT version with swappable body/ The body being a simple plasticard box. Second along what will become a minibus in the livery of my secondary school. This is a bit of a best guess as I cant find a picture of one. We definitely had them and I am pretty sure they were long wheelbase ones. The back of the BT one was used to stretch the body but minibuses were wider than vans so the whole model was cut in half (2 cuts down the bonnet on the panel lines and spread with microstrip before gluing back together.The wheels are from Paragon models.
Third along is how the kit was intended, this one is destined for British Gas livery. Lastly another port office one, tis time long wheelbase and high roof. I remember PO vans being slung round the streets of the midlands with the driver’s door wide open. Careful consideration of where you cut the van bodies mean you can get 2 long wheelbase vans from a single spare shell.
This is the basic surgery stage. The detailing stage starts next.
One of the first kit wagons I built was the Cambrian Turbot. Back then it had super fragile bogies but was, and still is, a decent kit. The current version comes with one piece bogies so they don’t tend to disintegrate as soon as you look at them anymore.
A while ago Justin Newett of Rumney models produced an upgrade kit for the Lima bogie bolster E and since that where the Turbots came from it seemed sensible to use one of these to update my ancient and small fleet of Turbots. (Kind of the reverse of what BR did.)Above is a comparison of the new underframe and the old. Because of the good design of he kit its dead easy to build although I did have to cur the baseplate in half as my solebars were close together than the Lima model’s.
The view no one will ever see! These are the newer type of one piece bogie which Cambrian do as a spare.
Back in the latter half of last year when Tim and I did the boards for Brettell Road we also cut the next 2 boards for New Street. While the boards for Brettell Road were experimental both in design and materials we didn’t want to jump that far with New Street so sticking with what we know we opted for ply.
This is the first of the two. A simple rectangle but the awkward part was that the surface isn’t flat as the trackbed drops down as you leave the station. This board will be entirely under the tunnel but I plan to leave a letterbox in the front so you can peek in. The jigsaw shape in the top surface is due to Tim’s cutter not being long enough (he now has one that can do boards this size with ease).
One thing I did forget was although we etched the track plan and cut holes for the point droppers into the top sheet I forgot to include the holes on the bottom one! (note for next time). I also mistakenly glued the back boards the bring way round (hence no jigsaw as Tim kindly re cut it for me on the bigger cutter).
The next board will be similar and will recreate the area I originally did for the plank.
Having stripped off most of the old detail I have now got effectively back to where I started! I have replaced the headcode box sandbox filler covers and TDM sockets with my own etches. The headlight was removed and re-attached straight (Yeah I know) and the jumpers are from a Hornby 50. One thing I didn’t pick up on last time was that class 86/4 had a single body mounted lamp iron like a class 87 and not twin buffer mounted ones like a class 86/2. Not sure why I never noticed this before.
One of my early electric loco projects was this class 86/4 built using the Craftsman conversion kit. There are several areas that I need to look at but I am hoping I can avoid a complete repaint on this.
First up the chassis, It will need converting to a Bachmann warship drive as per the rest of my class 86 fleet. I’ve covered this in other places but never on my own site so I will give a few tips on how this is done. The blanking plates for the bodyside clips are visible so they will need looking at and the sandbox fillers are the early type. The headcode box will need replacing as will the TDM cables and MU boxes (Spare Hornby class 50 ones at the ready). Also the handrails are too chunky and the bufferbeam detail will need redoing. Finally I will need to knock up another reworked Sommerfeldt pantograph which is something I have been meaning to cover too.
You may remember the discussion on improving the Lima 101 turned to the windscreen problem as this is the only area (at least in the body) where the Bachmann model scores over the Lima one. Well a kind-hearted soul sent me some window frames to fix the Lima model and the results are presented below.
I was never that put out by the Lima windscreens but side by side it’s quite a difference.
Been doing a spot of reading, one book not very Birmingham and one not very railway! The first, Life on the Lickey 1943-1986 by Pat Wallace appealed because i’ve always had a bit of a fascination with the place, particularly Blackwell, My great aunt lived there (still does) and many an hour was spent with my dad and brother on the old platform watching all manner of things cresting the top of the incline. Peaks and 50’s were always the favorite and Peaks in particular seemed little troubled by the long climb from Bromsgrove. Funnily I don’t recall seeing any banking as a kid but in later years we were treated to such delights as 3 class 60s on a steel train. The book covers Pat’s time working the Lickey from engine cleaner to driver including accounts on working the unique Big Bertha as well as in later days such shenanigans as starting a failed HST when the guard wasn’t quite ready and dumping the poor chap into the ballast. I was lucky enough to meet Pat last year at the launch of the book where he kindly signed me 2 copies (one for my great aunt). Sadly he passed away a short time after but thankfully his experiences live on in this fascinating insight to working this well known piece of railway
ISBN 978-1-85858-523-9 www.brewinbooks.com
The second book is Birmingham in the 70’s and 80’s by Alton Douglas and while there is some railway interest such as the derelict Snow Hill A Deltic at Bromford Bridge and a picture of 210002 working the Cross City Line, this book is very much about the city. The Street scenes are just pure nostalgia and these are intersected with newspaper adverts from the time. Ive written before that New Street has become less about the trains and more about the place as time goes on and this book fits in with that view perfectly
ISBN 978-1-85858-511-6 www.altondouglas.co.uk
One of the side effects of being reasonably well-known is that you attract the attention of the good old Internet troll or two. I’ve had 3 in my time and the all follow a similar pattern. That being a minor disagreement that most normal people just move on from (and I often have to search to try to track down myself as it was so insignificant at the time) sets them off on their self-imposed moral crusade. They then follow you round the Internet trying to have a pop at everything you do. They also nominate themselves as a voice of the people and take great delight in telling you what everyone thinks (of course this is usually accompanied by a host of messages from ‘the people’ telling you that they don’t think that at all!
My first pet troll told me he “had marked my cards early on as one of those finescale types” that ‘his’ forum didn’t need. And to be fair to him he did a good job of getting me banned from that forum for a single comment deliberately quoted out of context. I must say I had never had any negative feedback from the moderating team at that point and no effort was made to contact me or discuss anything by them. I did contact them and eventually I got some sort of half arsed reason for their decision which they couldn’t really justify!
Troll 2 and 3 decided to work together. Troll 2 made a big fuss about sorting me out but sadly any private correspondence to have an adult discussion were ignored and he continued his attacks on the forum. Troll 2 was quite an unusual one as the supportive feedback I had been mostly from people who had met him an found him to be a bit of a plank in real life too! Troll 2 seemed to delight in trying to get troll 3 to do his work for him and tried to encourage him to post my private messages on the forum for all to see. More of that later
Troll 3 has, I am told via quite a lot of unsolicited messages, a bit of a reputation for his own brand of abusive private messages and seemed to spend a great deal of time on Facebook complaining how everyone in his little village basically hated him!
So since troll 2 thinks it so important that the world sees just what I’m like regarding my private messages il, do him a little favour and post them here for people to make up their own minds. The only edits are to remove names and clues to their identity.
It all started with this post on one of the forums
It depends what you mean by “mega star layouts”? Don’t you feel that by saying this that many of the people who have already exhibited at past exhibitions will feel rather insulted by this remark, as you give the impression that you don’t rate past/current efforts compared to your own unfinished layout?
To which someone with a normal degree of common sense replied
I don’t think this is Jim’s point at all. I think the question he poses is rather, among the general modelling public, which layouts are talked about in ‘must see’ terms? I think he’s claiming to be to close to the problem to see the general public’s view.
The reply came back
I’ll refrain from supporting others here then and posting in general in that case. Jim is known for his dismissive posts about others efforts; the Edited layout thread is a classic example. I’ll also retract my offer to make a free professional promotional film edited as well.
All the best
Not wanting to get into a discussion on the forum I sent the below via private message
Excuse me? What have I done to deserve this?
His response is below
You know full well why. I’ve never read a single comment of yours, either here, facebook or anywhere else that doesn’t attempt to put something or someone down. Your recent spat with Troll 2 on the name removed thread is just one such example. You were always attacking my non railway stuff on facebook; (i cant recall this ever happening by the way bu this might be one of those insignificant comments that normal people just move on from as mentioned before) I was always waiting to read one positive thing from you. Your comment today edited was patronising and insensitive and how name removed (or whatever his name is) could decipher a hidden code in your message that us lesser mortals were oblivious to is completely beyond me. Again, you start posting a cynical view about my track on my layout thread; all of this just because of that catenary incident years ago! It’s rather sad don’t you think and babyish? I’ve often posted nice and genuine comments about your layout, but apparently these count for nowt where you’re concerned. Why can’t you show a little more modesty and spiritual generosity towards others? Why does this concept hurt you so much? I find it very weird and abnormal personally.
You admit you have constantly read me wrong then? It is you that bring bring up the catenary thing consistently so it is clear that it’s you that can’t drop it. Yes I’ve had a few disagreements with people but I’m not even close to the amount of people you have routinely pissed off. I suggest you look closer to home before you point the finger and drop this pathetic point scoring agenda.
His response below
OK name all the people I have constantly pissed off and why; the catenary shit was you mentioning it the other day. Other than that I only mentioned it once on RMweb – so twice (the second time because you brought it up). You’ve always had a problem with me; fuck knows why (although I have several ideas) but my advice to you is, do one. Find somebody else like you; sad; desperate for attention; egocentric with a very lonely pathetic life in a grotty basement in the Midlands, to unleash your miserable troll existence on. We don’t all give a shit about your huge sprawling self important layout like you think we should, and we don’t all spend our every waking moment building railways and trying to prove to an uninterested world how great we are(n’t).
I’m very happily married thank you and I don’t have a basement. You presume to know a lot and consistently get things completely wrong.
As for attention seeking egotists, remind me how many times you repost the exact same pictures you’ve been posting for the last 3 years again. I have said positive things about your layout but not every time you repost the same bloody thing.
Like I said, best not point the finger and prove my point
And that’s it. Not sure what I’ve done to deserve his ranting other than not tell him how great he is often enough! I am very aware that its poor form to post private messages online but since troll 2 is a fan of it and one of his mates did exactly the same to me on a forum I had no access too (even going as far as unlocking a thread just to score points – that’s a fine example of moderation for you!)
I hope I’ve removed enough identifying comments from the above and I must point out that any comments that do identify these people will also be edited. Perhaps trolls stand out because they are so rare and I might even be in a minority of only having 3!
Above is a couple of test shelves I did for a demo at DEMU earlier in the year. A variation on these shelves is now available from Tim Horn. If you missed the demo I will be doing a similar one (also on multiple units at next years Scalefour North. I’ll post details nearer the time.
Those who have been following my efforts for a while now will know I really like class 45’s. However the model ones seem a bit lacking in performance especially when it comes to road-holding. The problem is usually down to the pony trucks which are really just along for the ride in a flopping about kind of way. I wonder if RTR steam loco’s have the same problem? The problem is to my mind two-fold. 1 – staying on the track, they are just too light and while there’s some rudimentary springing its more of a token effort than a real attempt at a solution. 2 – no side control, a pony truck should lead the bogie into curves and without some sort of side control thats just not going to happen.
The solution? These rather natty sprung pony trucks from Rumney Models. They also provide side control and a handy ballast box to get some much-needed weight in there. For more details see www.rumneymodels.co.uk
New technology, there are those who embrace it or those who reject it or seeing it as cheating in some way. It’s not a new phenomena or even restricted to railway modelling, I remember such discussions when digital illustration started to appear. With a hobby of course it’s up to you how you pursue it. Do you want the end result to be the best it can be or do you enjoy the route to the end result more? No one is ‘right’ in such circumstances but if someone choses to embrace new technology is it fair to accuse them of cheating in some way?
The finescale end of the hobby has always had a reputation for valuing the journey over the destination and for a long time detailed or converted RTR was frowned on as not proper modelling by those who scratchbuild stuff when in many cases the RTR looked much more like it was supposed to than the scratchbuilt stuff anyway. In reality though the finescalers have usually been the ones to embrace new technology and ideas first and the current crop of high quality RTR is largely down to people wanting something better. You hear it all the time, we’ve never had it so good and it’s probably true but things don’t get better if people just accept what they are given – they have to ‘want’ better too. It’s probably worth at this point mentioning that we never had it so good 20 years ago and we will probably still be saying it 20 years from now. Does anyone really believe that the current crop of RTR is the best we are ever to see?
So to the point – Laser cut buildings. Already people are saying that its cheating, that you just push a button and a building pops out of a machine but in reality it’s just a very very clever scalpel and while I believe the end result is better is it any easier or quicker?
What you see above is a simple canal bridge drawing for Brettell Road. Its drawn in illustrator and while I have used some time-saving tricks like custom brushes for the arch and a custom fill for the brick pattern it seemed to take a lot longer than just getting a sheet of brick plasticard and cutting it out. The thing is though I could convert the pattern to lines (expand appearance for those interested) and then tweak it. For example I could easily recreate the half width header near the corners in an English Bond wall while doing so with plasticard would have been a massive faff. In fact I wonder if anyone has even bothered, I know I didn’t think it worth the effort!
Above is the actual wall loosely positioned on its canal bed and towpath. The top row are routed and cut by Tim.
However laser cut can be a bit clinical. For the towpath I wanted a cobbled section but also a dirt section to – the finished cut was attacked with files and sandpaper to roughen it up. Going back to the point of New technology and illustration, I always thought, if Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci had Photoshop would they have used it? Id bet that they would!
Perhaps its a bit of OCD but I find if there’s a gap in a stock box I have an urge to fill it with something. In this case I have a gap next to my TTA’s and the easy option would be to buy a Bachmann one, fit springs and a new walkway and bobs your lazy uncle! However things don’t work like that and while browsing Paul Bartletts wagon site I came across these!
Something a bit different and yet not in a stand out “look at me” way. A couple of cheap Hornby TTA’s were found and cut in uneven halves to make the barrel 3mm longer. I know I have gone on about the Lima Mk2′ s being too short and how I’m not all that bothered and yes the difference is about the same but it pays to think of these things in terms of context and percentages. Context , I need a lot of Mk2s and I don’t see a huge gain for the effort in a large fleet, where as I’m only doing one of these. Percentages – 3mm over a coach is a lot smaller percentage error than 3mm over a wagon that’s less than half its length.
The chassis is scratchbuilt (it’s not exactly complicated) from evergreen section with suspension from Wizard models, Buffers are from the Southern modellers group.
Also in progress is another Mk2 transit van. I’ve been meaning to do a LWB high roof bus for a while in BTP livery to park outside the station (that’s where the BTP offices were and there were always police vehicles parked there). However an out of the blue request* has led me to a short version instead . The ingredients are the usual mix of Corgi Mk1 van and ABS fronts with a hefty bit of drilling and filing.
*More about that in a later update.
Been doing a spot of shopping, first up are a couple of new(ish) books by Kevin Derrick and published buy Strathwood. I’ve always liked class 25s and 45s so the these books are right up my street. A4 hardbacks and full colour they are essentially picture books with a very brief intro. That’s fine with me as other books dealing with the technical sides of these locos are already out there and do we really need a repeat? Besides pictures appeal to my, ‘what does it look like, I don’t care how it does what it does’ approach to things.
What I like about these 2 books is that effort has been put in to showing different livery variations and in the case of the Peaks nameplates (including the painted ones). Add in there’s some nice New Street shots in both and I’m more than happy.
£19.99 each website
Sometimes an impulse buy can lead to a whole load of trouble. In this instance I’ve always liked Jintys and indeed I scratchbuilt a body for an n gauge one as a kid. It was a bit rubbish to be honest, ok a lot rubbish and the fact that it was scratchbuilt couldn’t save it from the bin! However the Great British Locomotives collection have just done one and for less than a tenner I couldn’t resist!
This is how it came out of the packet although I did reattach the bufferbeam so that it was straight. The magazine isn’t really one, more of a stand alone article but I was surprised that it’s quite well done with some good images and illustrations.
In the real world steam wasn’t allowed in New Street in my era so the above would never have happened but it’s good for a little flight of fantasy.
The problem is I’ve found myself looking at the Brassmasters detailing kit, as well as the High Level chassis kit. Also thoughts of a small diorama based on some sort of industrial setting and set at night (and in the rain). This is not a good thing!
So far Bachmann have done quite well with their first generation DMUs. OK the mould lines on the 108 cab were not ideal and the oversize metal chassis block is a poor design decision but they fill a much needed gap in the RTR market place. Not so their latest offering offering as the 101 is already available and given its Lima origins isn’t bad at all. Of all their DMUs the 101 is the the one that Bachmann could least afford to drop the ball on but sadly it seems they have. Given that this is the first DMU thats a victim of the new price structure it’s a bit of a double clanger!
I feel I must take some responsibility for some of the online fuss as I may have been the first to point out that the bottom of the main windows and the door windows all line up on the model when they shouldn’t. One online commentator went to great lengths to draw lines on photos of the model and the prototype that show the error very nicely (although in a bizarre piece of manufacturer brown nosing he then try’s to convince us that the model is right)!
On its own the window error isnt much but it’s one of those relative errors that just screams out at you. Lima themselves seemed to have a good understanding of this and while literally everything on thier earlier 117 is wrong it all works together so it looks ok. Correct one thing and suddenly it looks worse than when you started!
A few years ago the obvious thing to do would be to combine the strong points of both models to produce something accurate. Lima body on the bachmann chassis and while that’s fine for something like a class 25 where your outlay can be less than £50 do we really want to be forking out close to 3 times that for a DMU?
So given that fixing the bachmann 101 is going to be quite difficult, the easy route this time is just to fix the Lima under frame. People have remarked for years that it’s bad because it’s just a box with surface detail but lets think about this for a second. What is depicted is about right it’s just that the holes are filled in (you can see where this is going can’t you?)
Option 1 the quick fix
Ok this is a total bodge but all I did was weather the chassis and repaint the ‘holes’ in matt black. It was only ever meant to be a temporary fix but it’s stayed like this for a good few years now. I have also replaced the undernourished Lima bogies with spares from the Hornby 110.
It’s not actually much more effort to just drill out the holes and tidy them up with a scalpel or circular saw in a mini drill. I’ve re-added the tanks from bits of plasticard. With hindsight I was never going to replace my Lima 101s anyway but if I were to buy another I’d definitely be looking at buying a cheap second hand Lima model than feeling the need to have the latest thing.
Regular visitors will remember a while ago I looked at springing a Lima PGA. Since these wagons tend to operate in bulk trains I had no intention of doing another 30 or so. However the covered bulk salt version seemed to crop up in WCML speedlink trains so one of those is ideal. First impression is that they look the same as the Lima one however they are longer so after picking up a cheap one on EBay a start was made using Phil Eames article on PGA’s in DEMU Update as a guide.
The 2 wagons were cut into unequal halves before gluing them back together. Extra details were added to the under frame and the ribbing added to the hopper sides using plastruct strip. The end platforms were made from a combination of wire, some scrap walkways from an old A1 models TTA walkway kit and ladders from Colin Craig. The internal formers were kindly cut for me by Tim.
After paint, the tarpaulin was just baking foil sprayed blue. The transfers are a mix of fox ones I already had and some home brew ones drawn up in Illustrator and printed on Crafty waterslide transfer paper.
Despite not really getting caught up in the rush for the latest thing when it comes to RTR I do find that the new wagon announcements have an effect on what I’m up to. It’s because most of the new stuff actually isn’t. It’s been available before as a kit and if it suits what I’m doing there’s a good chance there’s an example or two in either my unbuilt kit pile or half started in a box somewhere. I’ve had to admit I’ve never really understood the clamour for new stuff we already have especially if the example is something simple like a 4 wheel open wagon. I mean you will see comments on forums that it’s the greatest thing ever, that someone has wanted one of these for years etc etc. I just think they can’t have wanted one that badly or they would have built the kit! Don’t dare suggest it though as such people seem to rejoice in explaining that they are so inept that they can’t stick 2 sides and 2 ends to a floor, or even better puff their chest out with pride when they tell you they have never even tried! And yet after all this time waiting they will absolutely buy 3 dozen of them just on a written specification, yeah right!
Getting back to the point, this time it’s Bachmanns tube wagon which so far does look nice. If starting from scratch I’d probably buy a couple but I’ve had the Parkside kits half done for many years. Having said that I would be surprised if Bachmann manage to match Parkside’s lovely thin sides.
Above is a Bachmann VGA also done with Bill Bedford w-irons. The original axle boxes look nothing like those on a VGA so it’s worth changing them for slightly cut down hooded roller bearings, again from MSE. the break gear is from microstrip and wire but you can’t see the wire when the wagon is the right way up. The end steps are from DEMU member Martyn Normanton. I thought they were a bit too long so moved the top fold along by 1mm to reduce the height. Martyn also does steps for BAA and BBAs.
One little tool I’ve had for years but never really used is this, which is like a temperature controlled hot glue gun designed for sticking etched details to plastic. It’s kind of like a soldering iron for plastic because if you get it wrong you can over heat the part and the glue breaks down and just rubs off. More faff than using superglue but the joint appears to be stronger.
Sometimes I just get an urge to do something new or something that I haven’t done in a while. This week I had a bit of a hankering to do something with brass, not like bunging a few CCU’s together but something more creative, something from scratch.
My intended victim, an isolation mast from the Eastern end of platform 12. I suppose I could have built a standard (ish) mast but ive done those before and fancied something a bit different, something that’s a bit of a crowd pleaser I suppose. So a drawing was made, some section picked up from Modellers Mecca and the soldering iron and mini drill fired up for a couple of sessions at my workbench.
Heres the result of my labours. It went together surprisingly well and despite the use of Colin Craig’s insulators and my own etch for the registration arm it’s all good old-fashioned fabrication work. I have to admit im pretty pleased with how it turned out.Close up of the handles and brackets for the isolation gear.
A typical ‘platform enders’ view of the interesting bit!
The Bachmann/airfix Mk2c is now done. Additional parts coming from Southern Pride (Roof Hatch, extra underframe box, and GM roof vents), Replica for the bogies, MJT for the dropped buckeye and retracted buffers and ABS for the extended ones.
Also complete are my other 2 newspaper GUV conversions. I tend to like to do a one off prototype and then batch build the rest but there in lies a question. What size batch is best? OK a batch of 2 as in this case and the case of my Mk3 pullmans (shown below) isn’t much of a saving but large batches seem like too much of a mountain to climb. Take Mk2 coaches for an example (and probably the most extreme one on the layout) logically it would make sense to do them all together. It would be easier, and the results would be consistent but just working out how many that number is, is a job in itself. I’m sure I can get way past 50 without any effort at all and even 100 is only approximately 10 trains.
Such a number is enough to drive the enthusiasm out of even the most dedicated person but what about doing them train by train? For some trains that might just work. The Brum to Norwich train springs to mind as it’s just 6 early mark 2’s, 4 of which are TSO’s. That seems manageable but most trains are longer – some a lot longer. I have found video of a class 87 hauled motorail train at New Street that’s 15 vehicles long. Not that many of them are the same type either. This is the problem. I’ve identified a need for at least 5 Mk2D BFK’s, 2 of which are in the same train but these are a bit of a faff (not horrendous mind you). Doing them train by train is not efficient at all. So whats the answer? Does anyone else build in batches? If you do how do you approach it?