Thursday, 30 July 2020

Taking Stock

Progress is well underway with building the 7/8ths wagons, which means it is time to start thinking about building a railway to run them on.

This is an evolving process and I don't have a definite plan in mind yet. The mist has cleared a little though.

The first iteration is going to be kept simple so I can try out some ideas, especially around track building. A short continuous run to allow Peter Jones to run, and a long siding leading to a basic yard or quay. It is going to be a mineral line, so no station. Whilst it is going to be a ground-level line the construction will have to take into account how much the ground moves in these parts.

What I'm most worried about at the moment is not copying recognisable aspects of other 7/8ths lines. For instance, there will be no preservation society sharing the line. There is some stock already built that I might dispose of because they seem cliched now.. 

A bit of an accident meant that I had to recover a lot of my olf 16mm stock from a watery grave. As is often the way a coincidental event meant I came across some old photos of it in use.

As well as summing up my less is more thinking they might even make me consider a very simple battery operated line gfor one of the raised vbegetable beds.

Friday, 17 July 2020

A little More Progress

For some reason I've found building the Bole Lasercraft Sand Hutton wagons (spelling changed from waggons for Phil) much more fun than the Trefor wagon. They just feel that little bit more thought out, with some nice touches like the emulation of through timber bolts.. Having said which I made a major mistake by misreading a picture in the instructions. I also built the second body in a completely different order to that suggested by the instructions. I glued the underfloor bearers in first before the L shaped end supports. That made life a lot easier. I had been worrying that as 18" gauge prototypes they would look odd on 2ft gauge, but they don't, in my eyes.

I'm still struggling perceptually knowing that these are small prototypes but feel like big models. On the other hand they look just right in a large garden in a way that I found 16mm didn't after
we moved here.

Time to build a railway, I suppose

Monday, 13 July 2020

Almost There

I started writing this post at the start of June. It was going to be about how I batch built a rake of 7/8ths scale wagons ina  week. So, here we are, weeks later, and it is about how I have nearly finished the first one.

It is the Bole Laser Craft Trefor waggon.  A week ago it looked like this and I was ready to throw it in a bin

It isn't that it is a bad kit, James Hilton had already shown that it could be turned into a very attractive model. So what was the problem?


First of all, after success trialling it out with a 16mm kit from Matt Nunn I decided to use Littelefair wood stains. What I hadn't taken into account is that the frame of this kit is built from laminations of ply, and after staiinng that is just how it looked. I have some Sand Hutton kits from the same manufacturer  under construction as well, and they have black frames that disguise this. So I tried staining them black, but it didn't work on this model. Eventually, I added some heavy-handed woodgrain using a razor saw blade to disguise the construction. It works from normal viewing distances.

I made a major mistake assembling the body as a result of not picking up that the ends are handed. by the time I'd rectified that and clamped everything together, I missed that I'd not checked the fit of an end and a side. As a result, the body doesn't quite fit right on the floor. I'll never be able to unsee it.

I'll be honest I was also struggling with looking at a 7/8ths model with a mind accustomed to 16mm. I couldn't get it into my head that this was a big model of a small prototype.

More than anything else it reminded me of my early attempts at scratchbuilding in 16mm  35 years ago. It was something out about the proportions but also...well I think I've worked out that  it is the gap between the planks.

They are too wide for a newly built waggon but too regular for a well-used one. That has been exaggerated by the use of ply that makes it hard to reduce their impact using colouring because the cut reaches the dark layer. On the Sand Hutton wagons, the cuts seem much shallower, which avoids the problem.

When I build the next few I'll either partially fill the gaps, or distress from with a scrawker. And I will be building a few more, though as I look at photos of the prototype I keep seeing other things I will do differently as well.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Figure it out

For someone who does not believe ghosts exist I've lived in a lot of haunted houses. Visitors to the cottage have often got very little sleep, and we give them the "quieter" of the bedrooms. Things certainly have a habit of disappearing and then reappearing in ridiculous places. it seems the new studio is not immune from this activity. Hence this post is not about batch building wagon kits for there 7/8ths line, because several bits of the kits have gone missing since construction started.

Even without supernatural intervention things were not going smoothly. All the kits involved are very good, in their way. But next time  I would build them in a very different ways than suggested by the instructions. If there is a next time, because once this batch is finished there really isn't much more stock I think I need apart from a workmen's conveyance.

What I have finally managed to make progress on is a Hardy's Hobbies figure. I was originally intending to put him in the cab of a loco, but he is rather tall.

Meanwhile, in The Repair Shop, a quick job for my beloved. Oddly painted in the same basic colours as the 7/8ths figure.