Saturday, 21 April 2018

Black and White Daze

As my (whisper it) 009 project 'The Old Quarry Line' draws to a conclusion I thought I would add a couple of picture here to mark the occasion. The project started with the Peco V-skips received as a gift and ironically they are one of the last things to be worked upon.

Using RTR wagons was part of the ethos adopted for this scheme, to use readily available bits and pieces to create the scene, something that is not always possible on O9 (or other 7mm scale combinations) as model shops and trade stands don't always have anything to offer.

I was also able to try 3D printed models for the first time in the shape of the 2A-Rail Ruston Hornsby, which has come out rather well.

I have covered the scenic aspects of the project on this blog as many scenic ideas translate between scales. I do rather like this view down the cutting at the back of the layout.

If you are wondering why these pictures are in black and white it is just because I liked the look of it, rather like an old model railway magazine!

Thought is now being given to what comes next. My dabble with 3D printing has rubbed off on my 7mm scale ideas with a few parts in stock for future projects...


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Only the Slim

What better way to spend an hour or so on a cold snowy day (in March) than slaving over a hot soldering iron? This is the second A1 Models kit which was received at the same time as 'Not DA1'. This uses a different version of the chassis frame with the wheelbase offset in the overall length. The consequence of this is that the cab is rather narrow and only for the slim.

It is worth saying that I have only tack-soldered the bonnet to the cab at this stage, it isn't quite on correctly...

Based on experience with the first kit I initially altered the chassis frame prior to building it. Rather than rely on the over-wide fold lines I cut the footplate and side frames into separate pieces and discarded the end sections completely. The frames were soldered to the foot plate about 1.5mm in from the edge, in my view this improves the look considerably. This will require the Tomytec chassis to be modified and mounted in a similar manner to the Meridian Models chassis adaptor.

The cab has a tiny bench seat, the part for this is too long on the etch but this was soon rectified:

The bufferbeams on the initial version of the chassis were made from 20 thou styrene with holes cut for MicroTrains couplers. These were reinforced behind with 60 x 125 thou styrene section. Further strips of this section can be seen superglued to the chassis inside the bonnet. These are mounted on either side of the opening in the chassis to both hold the upper part of the chassis in place and also help locate the bonnet on the chassis frame.

At this stage I nicknamed the loco 'Tiny' as it just seems so small for O9. However, it isn't really that small, at approx 6 x 3 ish scale feet is is very much Lister sized and I can think of at least a couple of small 15" gauge locos around this size that have been kept well out of the limelight!

I later found that my altered A1 Models underframe was actually a little warped when I tried to sit the bonnet and cab assembly on it (no doubt too much heat during assembly). After some thought I opted to rebuild it in 30 thou styrene with the brass sideframes added cosmetically. A few details were added to the brass body from the oddments box, Dapol Drewery shunter crankpins cut down as filler caps, a Chivers brake lever used as both handbrake and throttle in the cab and a switch from a Dapol railbus oddment. The exhaust is a length of brass tube.

Finally here is a comparison of the two locomotives in primer, the grille on the second loco is from an old A1 etch. Just visible are two holes on the bonnet top in which a plastic air horn locates, to be fitted after final painting.


Friday, 16 March 2018

DA1 Another Day

It was October that I last posted about this A1 Models etch to build something based on the ex-Bush Mill diesel 'DA1'. After that post there was a little adjustment work to my cab interior set-up to allow a small 1/48th figure to sit in there (I hesitate to say comfortably!)

As can be seen I raised the floor level and reducing the height of the checker plate. A piece cut from the cab interior of a Dapol Drewery shunter forms the control desk. Rather than create a seat over the gear tower as previously, I created it around it, once the driver is in place the deception isn't noticed.

Work on the 009 project then took over and the Tomytec chassis unit went on a diet to fit into an 009 Ruston Hornsby 3D print. After much thought about this project I was left wondering whether I could overcome what is the main issue to me, the underframe area. Having put this off for months, seeing the kit on sale at Narrow Gauge North and conversations about future O9 projects gave me a nudge to do something about it.

The idea is that this will be a locomotive under repair with no wheels and engine, so I have been able to put together a simple frame of 20thou styrene with a little re-enforcement from 40thou strip around the top of the frame. Making the whole underframe 2mm lower in height, the frames a lot narrower (15mm opposed to 20mm) and some shape to the buffer beams, has a dramatic effect.

Some further work added a 30 thou strip under the running plate, created a simple cab interior and added details on the bufferbeams, note the usual assortment of Dapol Drewery shunter and railbus parts!

I feel that in this form the model is much better balanced visually and I did wonder if I ought to make yet another version of the chassis to make it run again by getting a slimmed down Tomytec chassis underneath. This is possible without modifying the cut-out in the cab front, indeed there is allowance for the running plate to be another millimetre lower, the real loco is very low slung with the footplate about a foot from rail height.

The next job will be to apply a suitable paint job...


Sunday, 11 March 2018

In Search of Tiny Flowers

The scenic test piece I displayed last week has progressed a little, with the Silfor tufts dry-brushed to loose their sheen and some weathering powders added to the ground colouring.

At a recent exhibition I made a purchase of what on first inspection was a very random bag of coloured scatter. However, it has proved possible to make a newspaper mask to fit over a Silfor tuft, spray on hairspray and gently scatter on this mix to give a little bit of colour to represent flowers. This ought to work in 4mm scale but maybe not in 7mm...

Of course this little test piece is currently a little ambiguous in scale but I am really pleased with how it looks, so much so that I have started work on another to test the greener version of the Javis grass mat and some other ideas. This uses more recycled pieces including the very bit of MDF this scene started life attached to. At least they will be matching sizes...


Friday, 2 March 2018

Scenic Experimentation

Whilst packing the 009 layout into it's box the other day I reflected on the production of grass areas and wondered if some of the learning from the project could be used towards a technique that did not use hanging basket liner (shock horror!). 

I decided to carry out an experiment using a diorama base that I had started some time ago with the intention of displaying a Black Dog mine tub on it. A change of heart saw it abandoned and I removed the polystyrene layer (itself an experiment) from the MDF base, although I did then use it in experimentation for the layout. 

Cleaned up and with the carved polystyrene stuck to mounting card I re-purposed it as a test piece.

The layers of scenery added are:
  • Paint/plaster/PVA mix with a mix of brown scatters over the top.
  • Patches of the Javis autumn grass mat
  • Green Scene meadow grass, torn into patches, trimmed and sprayed with hairspray then ground foam sprinkled over - then glued into place
  • Silfor grass tufts in two shades
  • Mossy areas made using ground foam
The next step will be to dry brush the Silfor tufts and use weathering powders to add extra tones to the ground colour, rail sides and trackbed.


Monday, 26 February 2018


It's a "big" birthday today, one of those with a zero at the end.... the one where tradition has it life begins!

It also marks a year since my 009 project started in earnest, with the "well directed" gift of the Peco V-skips, and the purchase the previous day of a Wills 'Station Garage' kit at the Newark exhibition. I gave myself a year to get the project to a satisfactory point and that point has now been reached.

Ironically, those Peco V-skips are still box fresh whilst the Wills garage kit was transformed into the buildings seen above. The focus is now on getting the motive power and rolling stock up the scratch to match the scenic work, and hereby hangs my current dilemma...

In a fit of temptation I bought a MiniTrains Bagnall wing tank at a favourable price and whilst a beautiful runner it didn't really fit my intention of the skips being pulled by an authentic looking internal combustion locomotive! That need may well be met a 3D printed Ruston destined for a Tomytec drive unit. Experimentation shows it is (just) possible to cram enough weight in there to make it run well and a degree of subterfuge employed to hide the lack of cab interior detail and motor occupying part of the space.

This is a milestone model in itself as it is my first 3D printed item as I have always been very cautious about this technique until now. So far I'm impressed and there was something for a future O9 model in the package too...


Saturday, 23 December 2017

Weathered Wood

What follows uses a 4mm scale building for my 009 project but as with many things, the technique is transferable to larger scales so I have shared it here. Indeed, I actually first experimented with colour washes on some 7mm scale 'Ratty' fencing earlier in the year to get an idea of how the technique might work.

The base layer is Halfords grey primer, applied earlier in the year, progress being delayed by scenic work taking priority. The first stage was to apply an overall wash of Vallejo 'Black Grey' over all of the structure, woodwork, corrugated iron and the board and batten roofing. The paint was mixed about 50/50 with Vallejo matt medium before thinning with water. Once dry this was followed with a wash in a mid-brown colour (a hoarded pre-made product from the defunct Penhaven range) over the wooded walls and corrugated iron. A third wash was made using Citadel 'Baneblade Brown' (a bare wood sort of shade) and a spot of Vallejo 'Green Brown', again with matt medium before dilution, was applied over the walls. Lastly a diluted mix of rusty red acrylic was applied over the corrugated iron areas.

You may wonder why I chose to use washes to build up the colour rather than just paint a solid green/grey over the woodwork. My feeling is that this method actually gives more control over the colour and seems to give more colour depth without clogging the detail.

The next step (two days later) was another wash of Vallejo black grey concentrated into the joins in the timber and dabbed off in other areas. This was followed by the beginning of dry-brushing, using a mix of Vallejo 'Green Grey' and 'Light Grey' over the woodwork. I then added some suitable rusty dry-brushing to the corrugated iron areas.

The next day another wash was created, a blend of Citadel 'Baneblade Brown' and Vallejo 'Green Grey', plus matt medium, used to add some damper looking patches along the bottom of the wooden walls. Next a slightly thicker mix of 'Baneblade Brown' and Vellejo 'London Grey' was washed over the board and batten roof of the office building. The remnants of both washes were then combined and the inside of the workshop given a coat to hide the primer grey.

Work then concentrated on the corrugated iron. I added a darker rust colour to the corrugated areas but not as a consistent coat. Once this was dried I added various rust tones using weathering powders, plus some colouring towards the back of the roof to represent the fact that is sits under the trees.

As I suspect this is the last post before the big day - a very Merry Christmas to all O9 Modeller readers.