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.

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