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Its great to see what can be quickly achieved using traditional scratchbuilding methods, I remember articles on scratchbuilding GWR coaches using similar methods in the Modeller in the early 1970s (E H Francis?).

I tried the doilly method for some LSWR coaches around the same time but gave up and used microstrip.

It seems to be a lot easier to scratchbuild in 7mm rather than 4mm scale especially as one starts to feel the effects of age!

I am completing the interior to an SSM GSWR brake 3rd at the moment and may follow you example in forming the seats in plasticard as I mislaid some of the seats and its not exactly ordering replacement parts from the UK these days.

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Nearly there  The J19 is almost finished, with just a few things like cab window glazing and wiring the tender pickups to the motor. It will also need some lead weights in the boiler and some run

The vans have now been through both the paint shop and the weathering process. First step was a spray of Halford's grey primer. Next came the lettering and numbering, using a dipping pen and white acr

The turf vans have progressed through the paint and weathering process and now await final detailing.   Started with a coat of grey primer, then the wheels and under frames were treated to the st

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18 hours ago, Mayner said:

Its great to see what can be quickly achieved using traditional scratchbuilding methods, I remember articles on scratchbuilding GWR coaches using similar methods in the Modeller in the early 1970s (E H Francis?).

I tried the doilly method for some LSWR coaches around the same time but gave up and used microstrip.

It seems to be a lot easier to scratchbuild in 7mm rather than 4mm scale especially as one starts to feel the effects of age!

I am completing the interior to an SSM GSWR brake 3rd at the moment and may follow you example in forming the seats in plasticard as I mislaid some of the seats and its not exactly ordering replacement parts from the UK these days.

 The comment about traditional methods made me smile, especially when I realised that David Jenkinson's book on carriage modelling came out in 1996 - I still thought it was cutting edge! The fact is though, that things really have moved on since then & I occasionally find myself drawn to the idea of learning CAD, especially when I see what Mayner and others are doing now. Gordon Gravett recently sent me pictures of a French, metre gauge Corpet-Louvet 0-6-0T that he's built from his own etchings. Looks fabulous, of course and when the man himself says it runs really well too, then it must be quite something. Not being the biggest fan of using a coping saw and fine blades, am wondering if one of those Proxxon saw tables might be the answer for cutting thin brass or nickel silver?

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3 hours ago, David Holman said:

 ''I occasionally find myself drawn to the idea of learning CAD,''  '' am wondering if one of those Proxxon saw tables might be the answer for cutting thin brass or nickel silver?''

Hi David

Learning CAD is the right step, it opens up huge possibilities in this craft. There is a learning curve to most of the programs out there, but after mastering a few of the basic commands the rest will follow and soon you'll be saying I should have done this before now!

A table saw is not the tool for cutting brass or NS sheet. If your thinking of a saw you need to look at a band-saw- best example for model building is the Proxxon MBS Micro-Bandsaw, which one can add accessories to like- diamond blade, HSS blades for cutting metal, coolant system.

The band-saw can also be used to cut out parts from sheet- like a piercing saw, though takes a bit of practice and constant attention to where your fingers are!

A bench guillotine is the other option for cutting sheet down to manageable size.

Eoin

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3 hours ago, Galteemore said:

I have wondered that too, David. Cutting through 60 thou of NS is not much fun with a piercing saw...I

I use a Cameo Silhouette cutter- its great for thin styrene, thick paper and vinyl. It can almost cut through .5mm styrene with multipal cuts. CAD is a requirement also!

Tin Van parts cut from .5mm styrene on the cameo, after a bit of cleaning up!

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Eoin

 

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Interesting. It was the scroll saw, not the table saw I'd been thinking about. Very different beasts, to say the least. The basic Proxxon scroll saw is only about £110, whereas the band saw is three times that. 

 The sort of work I tend to do is lightweight and intermittent, dependant on where the muse takes me(!)

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CAD and etching/laser cutting certainly take the hard work out of scratchbuilding eliminating the marking out and cutting and finishing the parts stage regardless of the material or method.

These days I would struggle to cut out and finish parts in 4mm with a piercing saw or other traditional techniques because of the effects of age my sight is not as sharp and the hands less steady than when I worked in N not that long ago.

The downside is a considerable investment and time spent getting to grips with the software and the particular engraving process, CAD work for 3D modelling whether for 3D printing or CNC milling is a totally different ball game and I use a freelance designer.

Using the services of a photo engraving firm like PPD in Scotland https://ppdltd.com/that specialise in one off & small volume production would be more cost effective than buying a milling or profile cutting machine for a small number of one off projects. 

The same principal applies to 3D printing there are 3D printing businesses with SLA printing capability in Ireland and the UK that will turn out a model with superior surface finish to Shapeways or a home printer at a reasonable cost.

If you going down this route its best to start with a simple project like  a set of doors or windowframes in order to develop an understanding of the constraints of the material and process before going on to something more ambitious.

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16 hours ago, David Holman said:

Interesting. It was the scroll saw, not the table saw I'd been thinking about.

@David Holman

The Proxxon scroll saws are only for wood or plastic, it's very dangerous to try and cut thin metal on a reciprocating blade machine due to the up lift of the blade- any snag in the work will rip it out of ones fingers and god knows what else it will rip! 

The band saw blade only goes in one direction- down, against the table. The right tool to do this work.

Hanger do a scroll saw for cutting metal but is rather expensive at around £800.00 and it's a scary thing to use!

Eoin

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3 hours ago, David Holman said:

Thanks Eoin, exactly the sort of advice I needed. Hand tools it is then!

@David Holman

But do look at CAD for the future, I use Autocad & TurboCad for 2D drawings in the model building. Here is a link to a few videos introducing the beginner to Autocad;-

 

Eoin

Edited by murrayec
'r' added to TurboCad
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  • 2 weeks later...

Slow progress with the GS&WR brake third. The Markits buffers were decidedly disappointing. Being lost wax brass castings, the shanks had a huge lump of sprue attached which needed a slitting disc in the Dremel to remove. Then the shanks needed drilling out to take the buffer heads, which eventually took five [yes really] different drill bits in four different drills. Finally managed the process by using my pillar drill, when even the Dremel failed.

 After that, it was a case of tidying up the sides and ends, including drilling many holes for door and grab handles. Door ventilators were crafted from lozenges of 40 thou plastic, filed to shape,  then went over all the panelling again, to check for for errors.

 One job I particularly dislike with six wheel coaches is making the footboards and especially their brackets. Am sure there must be a better way than my usual bodging with wire and cyano, but have yet to find one. The last job before the paint shop was to make a false roof for the guard's lookout to sit on.

 I sometimes wonder if it is worth doing too much cleaning up before spraying on a 'witness' coat of primer, as no matter how thorough you think you've been, blemishes still show up. Hence some more rubbing down before what I hope is the final coat you can see below.

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Looking good David - I was flicking through my Coakham today by chance - it’s a lovely vehicle. Sorry to hear about Markits. I’ve used NMRS w/m buffers on most of my stuff but had been considering Markits for my next coach. May rethink that !

I have built 2 Irish 7mm coaches from scratch now (I know, get some time in!) and have tried 2 approaches to footboards.  I have tried soldering them up from brass and making from plasticard/plastic rod - slathered with MekPak. The latter method was easier (relatively speaking). 

Edited by Galteemore
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Interesting re the footboards - your experience is pretty much like mine. The current ones use 0.8mm brass wire in holes drilled in the floor. Initially held the wire in place with solvent, which meant it was adjustable so I could get the levels right. Fixed the boards to these with thick cyano, plus more of the latter to fix the wires in place, so everything is actually quite solid for once!

 As for the buffers, some Markits ones are very nice, though you pay for it - anything up to £20 a set of four, whereas white metal castings are more like a fiver and under a coat of paint not always easy to tell the difference...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Things still going slowly with the Brake Third, but it has been given two coats of dark lake, with the door handles and glazing going in as well, along with the birdcage lookout and some passengers. Just occasionally, I remember to plan ahead, so the sides were built with spaces for 20thou perspex to be slid in.

 While waiting for the paint to dry, I busied myself with the 101 adding tender pickups and wiring these to the loco. Much to my surprise, the loco runs really well. However, another 0-6-0, Richard Chown's Shannon, has been having some attention. 

 The model is approaching 50 years old and while the body work has stood the test of time, the same can't be said for the chassis. The driving wheels are so worn that there is a clear rut in the treads, while the centre drivers had a 2mm wobble. Shannon nevertheless still ran ok, probably helped by the fact the the centre wheels are flangeless. The tender wheels were similarly worn, this time the problems was more about the flanges, which had worn to a razor edge. The latter probably because the tender had considerable extra weight thanks to a speaker and electrics for an old Pacific Fast Mail sound system.

 The lead and middle drivers came off ok - am guessing they are Walsall wheels and have a Romford style centre nut which requires a screwdriver with a slot cut in the blade to undo it. The rear drivers were much more of a problem, being fixed with a slotted bolt/screw, which refused to budge, so I had to resort to brute force in the form of a slitting disc in the Dremel to cut the wheels off. The motor/gearbox is an adapted Portescap RG4 and despite running many actual miles, still seems ok. So an order was sent off to Slaters for new driving and tender wheels, along with six broad gauge axles. Cost me over £150, which is why buying an 0 gauge loco kit is only half what you eventually pay.

 The tender wheels had been fitted inside the body, so the only way to get them out was the Dremel again, cutting the axles in half. The plan is to build a new set of inside frames for the tender, though haven't yet decided how this will be fixed in place.

 Meanwhile, the loco wheels were reasonably simple to replace, the main work being adapting the coupling rods, which had to have their bosses drilled out to accept the Slater's crankpin bearings. Better that the holes needed enlarging than making bushes had they been already too big, methinks. Found that I needed to thin down the rod slightly, to take the nuts and washers which hold them in place. 

 Assembling everything again then showed that the old wheels had thicker centres than the new ones, which meant the rods were fouling the brake gear. In the photos, you can see this in the shiny spots where I've had to file some areas down.

 Thus far, its been a really interesting exercise and [fingers crossed] Shannon still runs as well as her maker intended and should be good for a few more years now. Working on it has felt like a bit of archeology at times & it's certainly been a privilege to see how Richard approached building what is still a lovely model.

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 Nearly there with the brake third. Grab handles and hand rails [0.8mm brass wire] the main task, then it was a case of finishing off the roof. I raided my dwindling parts boxes for fittings, but Sod's Law has meant that I only have five torpedo vents, when I need six, and while I found three lamp tops, they were of two different styles. Got ahead of myself then and painted the roof, but forgot to add the rain strips. Needed a second coat though, so not far off now.

 The photos show the third with its intended train. This comprises an Alphagraphix/Tyrconnel 6w first [brass kit], along with a WL&W horse box and carriage truck - both scratchbuilt. The idea is that this is a private excursion carrying a well to do group [in the first], together with servants and luggage [in the brake third], plus horses and a [yet to be built] carriage. Both the latter can be shunted/unloaded in the cattle/unloading docks.

 Meanwhile, as before while waiting for paint/glue to dry, carried on playing around with rebuilding Shannon. The loco has had pick ups fitted and runs fairly well, though I think the coupling rods still need easing a little. The RG4 gearbox is proving a little noisy, so may yet replace it with a Mashima type unit from Precision - especially as RG4s do not like feedback control anyway.

 As for the tender, having stripped everything out last time, I decided to make a new set of inside frames from plastic sheet, rather than spend ages fretting sides and spacers from brass. Not as radical as you might think, as I've used brass bearings, but certainly a lot quicker. As you can see from the photos, the inside frames are pretty much hidden. It runs well enough, so fingers crossed!

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Trying to tie up some loose ends at the moment, one of which is my Castle Rackrent GSWR brake van. A bit tatty when I acquired it, there was a corner missing from the roof, while the steps on one side had broken off. It's interesting exploring someone else's work, especially a master modeller like Richard Chown. The brake van is mostly made of wood, with white metal W irons, but a plasticard roof. Repairing the broken corner was simple enough, with a small triangle of 20thou, supported by a small strip underneath.  Replaced the steps with new ones, also made from 20 thou & then tidied up the paint work. Not sure Richard was terribly into weathering, though back in the day, a coat of 'dirty thinners' tended to suffice. On the GSWR brake, whatever shade this started as has faded to strange yellow green, so mostly painted that out & then did my usual thing with a light dusting of weathering powders. Richard used Alex Jackson couplings, but I am using a mixture of three links and Dinghams, so for now have added the former.

 Back in September, I built a pair of GSWR vans, but only one of which got painted. The other was intended for my 1900s period, so has been painted in their dark grey, with white lettering [dipping pen] & lightly weathered.

 The loco is my Timoleague and Courtmacsherry Tramway loco, St Mologa [patron saint of beekeepers], now masquerading as Belmullet's harbour branch shunter.  Interestingly, in the latest GOGuild Gazette, someone has rebuilt one of these Alphagraphix kits into one of the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore railway 2-4-2T tram engines.

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Edited by David Holman
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  • 2 weeks later...

Should have known better

 Got a PM last week from our resident livery specialist. Not the first time either, but his advice is always very welcome, even [especially] when I get things wrong. To be honest, was rather expecting it, as the GSWR brake and van were not only too light a grey, but the former had its strapping highlighted in black.  So, out with something darker, which also necessitated doing the lettering again. Shame in a way to over paint Richard's brake van, but even the maestro got it wrong occasionally.

 Anyway, many thanks JHB and hopefully this shade looks a bit better!

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1 hour ago, David Holman said:

Should have known better

 Got a PM last week from our resident livery specialist. Not the first time either, but his advice is always very welcome, even [especially] when I get things wrong. To be honest, was rather expecting it, as the GSWR brake and van were not only too light a grey, but the former had its strapping highlighted in black.  So, out with something darker, which also necessitated doing the lettering again. Shame in a way to over paint Richard's brake van, but even the maestro got it wrong occasionally.

 Anyway, many thanks JHB and hopefully this shade looks a bit better!

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Look superb, David - and I love your attention to detail!

The little Timoleague locomotive is a superb job too!

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  • 2 months later...

Wagon load

 The MGWR mail train, while not exactly stuck, is awaiting the arrival of brass bar, for chimney and dome, plus the motor gearbox, so while waiting for paint to dry on the chassis, turned my attention to a Christmas present from Mrs H - namely an S&D kits model delivery van. Needless to say, I actually ordered it, then gave it to her to wrap for Christmas Day, but, hey it's what I wanted.

 Articles by Richard Chown on his Castle Rackrent system show a carriage truck complete with what looks like a pantechnicon as part of his 'mail goods' train - hence wanted to portray something similar on Belmullet. The S&D kit is a nice set of white metal castings, which go together really well and the only things you need to be careful with are the spring assemblies are a bit fragile, plus actual painting needs a bit of forward planning. As can be seen, the kit comes with a nice set of transfers for the 'Desborough Co-operative Society'. These are too good to ignore, so am assuming the delivery van is a secondhand model which has been picked up cheaply and destined for the local sign writer's workshop before  becoming part of the local Co-op's fleet.

 The other pictures show my latest acquisition, for which thanks are due to Eoin-Murrayec of this parish, who pointed me in the direction of Arceurotrade, who sell an amazing array of engineering products - a fair few of which I have no idea what they do! I can guess what a ' two flute ball nose end mill' might be, likewise a 'wiggler and centre finder set', but as for for a 'blank end arbor, with morse taper' - not a clue. They do a range of books too, from basic to advanced lathe work, through to one just on 'Spindles' to another intriguingly titled 'The Backyard Foundry'. I never knew there was so much stuff I wanted...

 What I did actually buy was a set of 4mm lathe cutting tools. They arrived very promptly and come in a nice little wooden box too, all of which suggests quality.

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That’s lovely David and instantly dates the layout - an ideal signature piece. Beautifully built - I thought it was by Solido or similar! 
 

Know what you mean re Arceurotrade - this arrived for me last week....

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@David Holman and you thought you were done buying the lathe!😀 lathes cant work without the tooling- lots of tooling! more money that one spends on the lathe!

I can recommend a few books;-

The Amateur's Workshop by Ian Bradley ISBN 085242 4825.

It's an old book but still available, it covers all tools in the workshop and how to use them, sharpen them and more, it has a small section on running a lathe, but is a great reference bible for the workshop covering things like 'blank end arbor, with morse taper'

Metal Turning Lathes by ET Westbury ISBN 0852427840

Again an old one but a great introduction to lathes and using them- not sure if still available.

The Amateur's Lathe by LH Sparey ISBN 085242 2881

Another old one but like Bradley's is a workshop lathe bible, again this one is still available.

Eoin

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  • 3 weeks later...

Apart from the Mail train project, work has been proceeding on other fronts, notably another Christmas present in the form of a Slater's Tank Wagon. Thanks to Galteemore and others, turns out that this is a rare beast, being a mainland Britain wagon that is also appropriate for Ireland. Indeed, the only real difference seems to be the buffer spacings needing moving out to a scale 6'4.

 The Slater's kit is really rather splendid. Not exactly easy, but really well thought out. It is a true mixed media model too, involving etched brass, plastic mouldings, lost wax castings and both brass and plastic rod and strip. Unlike say, an open wagon or box van, these tank wagons are completely open, so Slater's have enabled us to model all the under frame detail - hence all the various materials in use. If you want to lean about how wagons are constructed, this is the one to try!

 The instructions are a bit ambiguous in places, but if you take your time, a really rewarding model is the result. I've built several of these in the past, including a couple of six wheel milk tankers too, so compared to recent scratchbuilding projects, this has been like meeting an old friend.

 Pictures show the [almost] completed chassis. The buffers were easy to move out, as there are plastic bases to add to the headstocks, while moving the wheels to the right gauge is a simple case of moving them out on their axles to 33.98mm back to back - ish, anyway!

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The Slater's tank wagon continues to provide a bit of light [ish] relief from the D16. With the chassis largely complete, attention turns to the tank body. This is a finely moulded affair, but far from being user friendly as the tank is split three ways longitudinally, plus the two circular ends. As a result, a lot of care is needed, both when joining the pieces together and filing the surfaces smooth - because there is a lot of rivet detail that you don't want to damage. Work still needed here.

 There is also a lot of exterior strapping, but that will have to wait, as the next step is to paint and letter the tank - 'Irish Shell' - which is going to be easier before it is fitted in place. If anyone knows of suitable 7mm scale transfers, please let me know, as otherwise it is going to be done by hand.

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  • 1 month later...

After an abortive attempt to hand letter the tank wagon as 'Irish Shell' [best not to ask], did an internet trawl and came up with a nice set of self adhesive 12.7mm vinyl letters. Admittedly not exactly the right font, but they look the part and were simple to apply, so can now get on and add the strapping and other detail.

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1 hour ago, David Holman said:

After an abortive attempt to hand letter the tank wagon as 'Irish Shell' [best not to ask], did an internet trawl and came up with a nice set of self adhesive 12.7mm vinyl letters. Admittedly not exactly the right font, but they look the part and were simple to apply, so can now get on and add the strapping and other detail.

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It's pretty close enough to evade criticism by livery-bean-counters!  🙂

Seriously, I think it varied slightly anyway. Looks very convincing to me.

As always, truly excellent work. Your efforts continue to be a great inspiration to us all.

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Not a lot to report on my usual Sunday evening slot, though the Irish Shell tank is now built - if far from finished. Largely enjoyable, though far from simple! I'd forgotten how much of a pain the strapping is to put together. It is one of those kits that a beginner could have a go at, but you certainly need a lot of tools to make it happen - if I could be bothered, I'd make a list. However, next step will be to get out my copy of The Art of Weathering, by Martin Welch. As hinted earlier, still a fair bit to do...

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