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David's Workbench

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David Holman

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 The latest challenge with the F6 is now the lining. Before starting that, the buffer beams have been painted red, the cab windows glazed, number plates have been properly fixed and the smokebox toned down with a greyer shade than the intense matt black of the rest of the loco.

 As mentioned previously, there seems no easy way of applying red and white GSWR red and white lining. Fox Transfers do a nice sheet for the boiler bands, but everything else has had to be cobbled together. Guess I should have got the bow pens out again, but I really don't feel I have the necessary skills. Yes, I know I should practice, but the process really doesn't inspire me.

 So, as you can hopefully see from the photos, the second sheet contains a range of curves and rounded corners in both red and white. Neither are ideal, as both are too wide, though not by much with the white ones. Hence carefully cut down the red rounded corners and then married these to straight pieces made by cutting off one of the white stripes.  Once dry, a white stripe/curve was added on top, to get the appropriate effect. Fiddly, but reasonably effective as long as you don't look too close. See photos for how it developed.

 Have only done one side so far, but couldn't resist posing No 42 with its short train of six wheel coaches, alongside my 101 in the other platform, about to depart with a freight.






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Posted (edited)

Outstanding David. Absolutely wonderful. Know what you mean about the bow pen! So good to see 2 GSW locos close together. The late Drew Donaldson would have loved this - although upbraided you for not using clockwork !

Edited by Galteemore
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  • 3 weeks later...

Ye gods, but it is hot! Not exactly modelling weather...

 Had a week in Northumberland, which the weather did its best to spoil, but in the end it was ok. Beamish museum is rather splendid and though the trams wren't running, the early double decker buses were, as was their replica Puffing Billy. Meanwhile a boat trip around the Farne Islands added a few ticks to my annual bird watching list. Sort of feathered train spotting I guess!

 Once we got back home, it was a case of trying to finish the F6. Probably went at it too hard with the rest of the transfers as ended up with a migraine, so very much lesson to self to take it easy on these intense bits of work. However, it is done, along with a bit of gentle weathering and coal in the bunker.






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Thanks folks! As well as the obvious prettiness of the prototype,, the fact that the livery is almost BR lined black adds to the attraction. Apparantly, we are most attracted to what we saw in our youth, so (college girls aside😋), that should put me in the green diesel era, but lined passenger black and Brunswick green likewise do it for me. 

 However, the number plate background should be red, so along with both my Sligo Small Tanks, where the letters should be red, some work with a fine paint brush is called for.

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Opening the Pizza box

 Building the MGWR 'Wolf Dog' threw up an unforeseen problem in that, though its wheelbase fits my South Eastern Finecast turntable, the loco's buffers foul the back scene. The short term solution was to fit extension rails to the turntable, but at a scale two feet long, they looked ridiculous and of course were prototypically impossible. The options were:

  • live with it - tried it for a while but it just looks wrong
  • invest in a Metalsmith turntable kit - all brass, but very expensive and would still need adapting to fit the space
  • scratch build - having built and adapted several turntables, I'm still not confident about making them work, not least because whenever I read articles on the subject, it is not long before my eyes glaze over!

 Anyway, salvation duly arrived in a 12" pizza box from Kitwood Hill Models. They produce a range of turntable kits made from laser cut plywood, with lathe turned deck wheels, a powerful, slow running motor easily aligned by eye and a host of very clever features to aid construction - all for £75, about twice the cost of an unmotorised SE Finecast kit, but a third of a Metalsmith one. The only real problem with Kitwood Hill is that they seem to like to accumulate enough orders before embarking on production, so a bit of patience is required when ordering, but after that things become very good indeed.

 Put simply, the kit is a joy to build. Everything fits and I have found myself in constant admiration of the planning and thinking that has gone into it. The well is three separate ply discs, which you assemble with contact adhesive; pretty much everything else is held together with cyano. A very clever jig enables you to solder the bridge track rail to copper clad sleepers: it is two circles of ply, the outer one leaving a small gap, so you can sandwich the rail, gradually moving round to deal with one sleeper at a time.

 Though my 11.5" version is really aimed at the American Sn3 market, the cross beams on the deck scale out at 8'6 in 7mm scale, while the girders themselves are almost exactly 5'3 apart. Cosmetic overlays enable the girders to look like they are metal, once painted, while there is provision for the well walls to be anything you like, from timber to stone or concrete.

 A copper clad disc is used, along with some very robust [6amp rated] plunger pick ups to take power to the track. There is no gap in the copper clad - instructions say to us a DPDT switch instead to change polarity when the deck is reversed, something I am more than happy with. The motor unit comes ready assembled with a nice set of 40:1 gears. It sits below the turntable well [under the baseboard] and the idea is to power it from the loco [track] controller, via another DPDT switch, something I have already done with a Peco N gauge turntable on Fintonagh. The deck itself simply slots on to a housing on the copper clad disc in the well & so is readily removable, unlike my SE Finecast one, which relies on captive bolts. The motor is only rated at 3 volts constant [but will take up to six apparently] and have successfully used two AA, 1.5v batteries to turn my heaviest engine without any problems.

 As I've said, it really is all very clever and beautifully thought out and only took me about six hours to assemble thus far. However, the challenge is now to remove the old turntable and increase the diameter of the hole in the baseboard by about two inches, so wish me luck! After that, a bit of cosmetic work will be needed to make the turntable look more Irish, but the important thing is that, like a loco kit, once you have a working chassis, the rest is just about making it look nice - well that's the plan, anyway.










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Fitting the turntable has turned out to be much more challenging that just making it. First I had to prise the old one out, then remove the hand cranked mechanism, so the hole in the baseboard could be increased by around 2cm in diameter. A test fit then showed what I'd feared all along, that the motor gearbox projects about 5cm below the baseboard frames - hardly ideal on a layout that is intended to travel to exhibitions.

 Spent a fair amount of time pondering on how to manage the electrics too, as controls need to be duplicated to front and rear - and be switchable too. Stuff like this really makes my brain hurt and the number of DPDT switches required was growing exponentially, when I suddenly realised that I could use the hand cranked mechanism instead. This doesn't stick out below the baseboard frames and doesn't required any wiring either, so all that is now needed are a trio of DPDT switches to change the polarity of the deck rails.

 Fortunately the completed turntable sits at exactly the same rail height as the old one, so that makes life easier. Hence most of the work since has been on painting & weathering, though fitting the running rails required a fair bit of trial and error until I was happy. I've gone for 'weathered concrete for the well, blackened iron for the girders and creosoted wood for the decking. The latter is fairly easy to do, but I find weathered concrete a difficult thing to get right, especially when Humbrol 'new concrete' is a highly improbable cream colour! Thus far, have used a couple of washes of diluted 'metal coat gunmetal' to that, adding weathering powders as I've gone along.

 Much blending in still to do, as you can see. One other photo is of the F6, now with the correct red background [for the early 1900s] to its numberplate





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  • 1 month later...


 While nothing much to report of late, have nevertheless been busy trying to get Belmullet ready for its debut at Uckfield in mid October. This has mainly been about presentation, so I've been building what the theatre calls a proscenium arch, or a sort of picture frame in other words. Two side panels, a pelmet, plus three display panels to go along the bottom & all needed priming and painting, along with separate sky boards to go along the back and sides. Hopefully, I've got some LED tape arriving tomorrow, so this can be added and wired up to provide the lighting. Fingers crossed, everything will be ready to be assembled on the layout in a week or so's time.

 Meanwhile, have been attending to the challenge of providing boxes for all my stock. At exhibitions you can see everything from the sublime [custom made wooden boxes holding stock in neat, foam lined spaces] to the faintly ridiculous - usually a hodge lodge of shoes boxes, ice cream tubs and the like. The former very expensive, the latter often free, though far from ideal...

 Over the years, I've standardised on foolscap box files [for rolling stock] and 'Really Useful Box Company' four litre/A4 sized plastic crates for locomotives. Both seem to work quite well and you can get four of each into one of those large, reinforced supermarket shopping bags. 7mm scale stock takes up a lot of space & more than once I find myself envying those who model in 2mm scale, where everything would probably fit into a single box - I currently need 16...

 At various times, I find myself looking around DIY stores for alternatives & recently came across a very nice looking hinged, plywood box in a store called Hobbycraft. After much pondering, decided to try one & have found that, by adding a home made inner tray, I can get all my Fintonagh stock inside in two layers. Anyway, here are a few pictures that should clarify.










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