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David's Workbench

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David Holman

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A superb piece of modelling that will add to an already atmospheric and excellent layout. As regards the loco (I think from memory) that the nameplates are wrong. The UTA when they purchased Lough Erne (27) painted the nameplates that way i.e. red background with polished letters. In SLNCR days the nameplate and presumably makers plate would have had a black background with the letters and edge picked out in red - not polished brass.

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Not sure about the colour of the nameplates & happy to stand corrected there, but the loco is definitely not Lough Erne, as that was one of the two Large Tanks, got on the never never from Beyer Peacock in 1950. Fermanagh was one of the original small tanks from 1882...

The nameplates came with the kit, so let me know if the colour needs changing folks, as that was how they were in the packet.

So, thought the model was complete, but maybe not!

Latest pictures show the results of weathering, plus glazing and final fixing of cab roof. got the air brush out for the weathering. It is a Badger 150 and a mix of 2 parts Humbrol Metalcote Gunmetal and one part Precision Tarmac, thinned 50% were sprayed on, followed by a lighter dusting of Humbrol leather. After that, out came the weathering powders for some final detailing. Last pictures show the model on one of its two duties that are shared with Hazlewood, namely the daily mixed train. The other is the general goods.

That is that for motive power for now - at least until after the Chatham Show in June. Still fancy doing Sir Henry...











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Your comments are very much appreciated folks!

Mayners note about speed of construction set me thinking and he is right, the loco took just five weeks from start to finish and in one of those I was away on holiday. So, less than 30 days. However, I am currently increasingly retired from work, so estimate I was doing around 3-4 hours most days. That means about 100 hours overall, which seems to be about par for a 7mm kit. Perhaps I need to get out more(!), though with the winter modelling season coming to an end (and work on the layout moving to presentation fot it's first show), then it might be a while before a new project starts on the workbench.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is perhaps more to do with my exhibition blog, but as it involved a bit of practical work, it fits as well here as any.

Those of you with home based layouts may well be able to keep much of your stock on the tracks, but going out and about requires a different approach. Ready to run stock may well come in a conveniently sized box, though sometimes, manufacturers seem to take the Easter egg route and the loco or wagon comes in a package about 4x the size really needed. Likewise, though some kit makers [eg [slaters and Parkside] will supply a box big enough for the finished model, it is not always thus and in 7mm scale or bigger, models take up an increasingly disproportionate amount of space, which creates issues re transportation to shows. For example, my Eatonswell BR layout needs the equivalent of 4 large storage crates.

For Arigna Town, with nearly all the stock being scratchbuilt, suitable storage boxes were part of the planning from the start & after much thought, found that Foolscap box files [just a bit bigger than A4] were ideal. Office Supply chain Staples [do you have them outside the UK?], do a suitable example for around 5 euros, so worked out that half a dozen were needed & therefore bought. The pictures show how I've used mounting board to make dividers to keep the models from moving around during transport & how nearly all my locos, coaches and wagons will fit.

The only model that is too big is Railcar B, so like many of my BR locos and coaches, I've made a specific box for it. 3mm MDF is the material, which is easily cut with a craft knife & the parts fixed together with a hot glue gun. The lid is held on with gaffer tape, which acts as a basic hinge. Given that a custom made storage box can cost 30 euros or more [depending on size], I think these represent good value. You will also see that I carry both types of box around in jumbo Sainsbury carrier bags, which are strong and have good carrying handles. In fact, one bag will hold up to 4 foolscap box files, while the same bag can also carry up to 30 Parkside or Slaters wagon boxes.

The last two pictures show the new cassette I've made for the fiddle yard. The railbus needs turning at each end of its run and this seems an easier approach that trying to shuffle it round with Railcar B on the layout. Have used cassettes on several previous layouts & they are a very effective space saver. This one follows my usual practice of 25mm aluminium angle forming the 'track'. It is expoxied to 3mm MDF and then just butts up against the incoming rails on the fiddle yard. Power is transferred by two crocodile clips. Simples, as Alexander would say. Apologies that the photos do not appear in the right order...












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Hi David


Those locos are stunning, everything is.


I like the boxes, storage boxing is very important especially if all the fiddly bits are attached- the model will not go back into the manufactures boxes. I use 'Really Useful Boxes' with a home made aero board tray stuck with PVA and 4mm cardboard base, that lifts out, the locos n stock sit on their wheels in pockets, and I wrap them in a square visgueen sheet that aids lifting them out


RUB's come in all sizes, they stack and are very strong


Train Box-01 IMAG1205.jpg


Train Box-02 IMAG1204.jpg



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Hi David


Those locos are stunning, everything is.


I like the boxes, storage boxing is very important especially if all the fiddly bits are attached- the model will not go back into the manufactures boxes. I use 'Really Useful Boxes' with a home made aero board tray stuck with PVA and 4mm cardboard base, that lifts out, the locos n stock sit on their wheels in pockets, and I wrap them in a square visgueen sheet that aids lifting them out


RUB's come in all sizes, they stack and are very strong








Like the look of those boxes Murrayec, though the minimum for 7mm scale is at least 70mm deep and 350mm long [for locos anyway], which may make things expensive. Then again, what price does one put on protecting one's pride and joy?

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  • 4 months later...

After a summer break, life returns to the workshop with the arrival of a new loco kit - namely Tyrconnel Models St Molaga. This tiny loco ran on the Timoleague & Courtmacsherry Tramway until withdrawal in 1949. My Arigna Town history assumes that the Arigna Mining Co then bought it to run on the branch. Alternatively, maybe Hunslet built another one and supplied it new? Either way, the light axle load [less than 8 tons], would be ideal.

The model will be no bigger than a standard box van when complete, but with a Slaters Manning Wardle 0-4-0T, Springside GER 'Coffee Pot', plus the MRJ scratchbuild project for Wantage Tramway's 'Jane' under my belt, I'm no stranger to small locos.

The Tyrconnel kit costs £80, though by the time wheels/motor/gears are added, this can easily double. It comprises several sheets of brass etches and a bag of whitemetal castings, plus a decent set of instructions which includes a scale drawing and several photos of a kit during construction.

To begin with, I thought it was going to be a breeze. I spent a couple of hours cutting out the main etches [helpfully numbered], then next day got the footplate/cab/tank unit soldered up. The basic chassis soon followed, so after about 8 hours work, things were looking promising.

Then things ground to a halt. This is not the fault of the kit, but my preference for 36.75mm gauge and adding more detail. You'd think with the wider gauge, there would be more room to play with, but the fold up chassis is designed for 32mm gauge. The instruction suggest using the crosshead/piston rod unit from a Hornby Princess & though I'm sure this will work well and save a lot of time, examination of the drawing & photos showed that there is some sort of pump driven from the R/H crosshead. This together with the inevitable tight clearances between the crosshead and the leading driver's crankpin resulted in a lot of head scratching and experimentation before I could get things right. Ended up making new cylinders from top hat bearings and brass tube. If anyone can shed any light on the pump [or whatever it is], please let me know.

Am sure that if I had just followed the instructions and built the kit out of the box, it would be in the paintshop by now. This is a very well thought out kit, but once I'd identified some extra detail, the challenge of taking things further was too much to resist!





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  • 2 weeks later...

DSCN1210.jpgMy latest Tyrconnel kit is now complete. The little loco has taken around three weeks to finish, but overall probably about 50-60 hours work. Of this about a third was basic construction, another third faffing about adding detail and fine tuning the mechanism, with the rest on cleaning up, painting & weathering.

Though mainly built 'out of the box', I've added a few extra details, not least an attempt to replicate the cross head driven 'pump thing' on the right hand side. Other bits included extra piping/taps on the footplate above the 'pump thing' and detailing the cab, where the backhead had just etched on impressions of water gauges, piping etc. With its big windows and side openings, there is a fairly clear view inside, so I thought it merited a bit more.

My only other departure from the instructions was to use a Branchlines 40-1 gearbox and Mashima 18/30 motor. This drives the rear axle, rather than the front and is [mostly] hidden behind the tanks. With only 4 wheel pickup and no compensation, I'm a bit concerned about keeping the wheels clean, but the chassis folded up absolutely square and [fingers crossed] the little loco runs well and is more than up to the five coal wagons, plus brake that it is required to pull.

I've stuck to black for the livery, as per T&L's St Molaga, but have graced my loco with polished boiler bands and smokebox door furniture. It also has a different name - 'Lark'. Those in the know will realise this is one of the names given to the E Class/J26 0-6-0Ts and my previous Tyrconnel kit had spare sets for all of them [including Gnat & Wasp]. The reason for Lark is that I fancy that when the Arigna Mines Co were connected to the branch from the SLNCRT at the start of the 20th century, the looked around for a suitable small engine and the T7L's Hunslet fitted the bill admirably. With [i imagine] skylarks being a feature of the moor and mountain above Arigna, it is but a small step to the loco's name. However, the plates are only held on with blutack, so it could easily morph back to Molaga if ever the desire to built a model of Courtmacsherry gets the better of me!

The photos show the model pre and post weathering & I think it is interesting to compare the two. Black engines are, well, very dark and can be somewhat featureless without a bit of titivation. The name plates, red bufferbeams and polished pipework help, but extensive dry brushing with a mix of Humbrol grey [64] and Metalcote gunmetal has toned things down a bit and highlighted some of the details.

Will also post some pictures of it on the layout in that section.





Edited by David Holman
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So far, so good HF. A little hesitant on first run post completion which was disappointing as had been fine unpainted. However, one wheel was covered in paint and one pickup wasn't touching, so not bad for two wheel pickup! A clean and a bit of adjustment and it now runs pretty well. Should improve with use. Interestingly, needs 50% on the controller to achieve same speed as the Small Tanks on just 25%. Only three foot drivers though! Happy with five opens and a brake which is the coal train.

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  • 1 month later...

Things have been quite on the model building front recently, because my workshop has been getting a long overdue makeover. Formerly it was the integral garage to our house, but around the millennium, it was converted into the present workshop, with an internal door to the house and linked to the central heating system. It wasn't the biggest garage [less than 16x8], so has been much more useful in its present form, while also making loading layouts into the car far easier than when my modelling was done in the spare bedroom upstairs.

14+ years later and it was looking pretty scruffy. In addition, have not one, but two layouts stored/displayed in there was putting space at a real premium and it was a complete Chinese puzzle every time anything needed moving. So, bit the bullet and sold my 0 gauge layout, Eatonswell last month and was able to use the proceeds on a complete make over. This included new flooring, a repaint and the installation of new [cheap] kitchen base units to increase and tidy up storage. Around 4.3m worth of cupboards and 2m or drawers has cleared a lot of stuff from the higher shelves, so these are now mainly books and magazines. Spent a fortune on smaller storage from the 'Really Useful Box Co' which has enabled proper organisation of the myriad of bits & pieces we modellers crave and acquire, while tools are also better stored and more easily accessible. A further bonus is that I've been able to build a display cabinet to house some of my models.

The pictures give an idea of what has been done and include a couple of areas given over to exhibition plaques. The ones over my workbench are the early Chatham Show ones - beautiful cast bronze affairs, made in the Dockyard foundry. Hopefully, can now get back to modelling - have a set of open wagons on the go, plus a parcels van and brake van. Will be nice to work in 7mm/ft for a change!





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I looked at your pictures and then looked at my workbench -nightmare! I spend half my time looking for things, if only I could be as organised as you. That is a fantastic work space with great lighting.

But then if I had things tidied away would I know where they are?

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Probably won't be long before the work top is looking untidy, as I am not the neatest when working! The hardboard and MDF sheet is on there for a reason...

The Pringles tubes are very useful for storing wire and microstrip, while the lids make very good mixing pots for glue. However, there is one very well known modeller who uses the tubes from single malt whiskey for his wire and strip. Real class!

No kick plates (told you the units were cheap), but hear what you say and may have to fit some. However, there is useful storage space below. The light posts, longitudinal support beams and other longer bits of timber are kept there, while the trestles, for exhibitions, fit nicely behind the units. Cunning plans, as Baldrick would say.

Sadly tis a freezer not a fridge. Have to go to the kitchen for that.

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