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David's Workbench

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David Holman

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  • 3 weeks later...
Probably not this time, Harry. Am working up a design for a simple passing station, not dissimilar to Brookeborough, so no passing loop and just two short sidings. Having said that, both fiddle yards will be of the turntable variety, though doubt if they will have CDR loco frames!


Far enough David, I won't complain, as the finished product of the layout will be a brilliant one!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thought it was time I got on with the Ragstone Models kit I bought at the Reading Trade Show in December. Before that I had to order wheels from Slaters, including an extra 21mm axle for the trailing pair, as noted earlier, this project will be to correct 3' gauge.

Opening the box, one is faced with some very nice etchings, some labelled 'Alphagraphix 2001', so it seems the drawings had been around for sometime before Ragstone got hold of them. There are also nice sets of white metal and lost wax casting, the former for boiler fittings, the latter in the cab. The instructions seem reasonably clear, though can't help feeling it would help if there were one or two diagrams as it is not always obvious which way round some things go.

Starting [as per instructions] with the chassis, one soon realises that this part is nice and easy. The side skirts mean much of the motion is hidden - indeed, there is more going on with a Dalek! The accuracy of the etching is very good indeed, with the coupling rods and axle holes matching exactly. So, two frame sides and three spacers later I was laminating the coupling rods so that within a couple of hours I had a smoothly rolling chassis. Very satisfying, so I can from here on concentrate on making the model look right, with no need to worry it might not run well. So far have resisted the temptation to fit sprung horn blocks, but have not ruled it out in the future.

The kit partly caters for working cylinders, as it has slide bars and connecting rods, but no crosshead. The Joy valve gear is only represented by a fold up dummy etch on the footplate, which is also a bit of a shame, as this is the only visible working part of the finished model. Patterson's book has a nice picture of one loco in a state of undress, so am pondering how I can represent this. Am thinking it could be done without building the crosshead/cylinder/con rod bits.

The completed chassis shows the loco is about the same length as St Mologa on the T&C tramway, though pretty chunky for a narrow gauge engine. Next step will be to get out the GW rivet press, as like the SLNCR locos, CVR ones were also well adorned and the etch dimples: should make the job a doddle.





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Shows how small "St Molaga" actually was - if anything, David, would I be right in thinking it's actually slightly shorter than the narrow gauge one? (Mind you, many a 5'3" loco wouldn't approach the Lough Swilly tender engines in size!).


I always thought that if only "St M" and "Argadeen" had survived, they'd have been ideal for Downpatrick along with 90......


Another question, David - from where did you get the drawings for "St M"?

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Argadeen and St Mologa are two of the prettiest engines ever in my book JB. One day I'll get round to the former. Both are in the Alphagraphix/Tyrconnel catalogue (which is where St M came from) along with 90 too. Have long thought this makes the T&C an absolute banker for 7mm scale, especially as the coaches are available too. Why then has nobody taken up the challenge?

The Swilly is also on my wish list (of course), though what many folk do not realise is that the Donegal 2-6-4Ts were almost as large as the former's 4-8-4Ts, only a couple of tons lighter in fact.

Might still have the line drawing of StM. Will post it if I can find it, though hopefully Roger can supply too.

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Nice to see a build of a Clogher Valley loco, I had a read though E M Paterson's book over the weekend very interesting and smartly turned out little railway right to the end, with the Atkinson-Walker railcar, "The Unit", re-built Castlederg engine with the remaining Sharpie engines in a mixture of red and green.


I am thinking of building a CVR 0-4-2T mainly to find use for a Bemo -0-4-0 diesel chassis. One of oddities was that while the CVR coaches were Branchlines best selling kits in 4mm, the Backwoods Miniatures CVR loco literally failed to sell.

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Seems Worsley Works do etches for the railcar and unit in 4mm, so might be they can do me ones in 7mm, which would save some work.

As for the lettering, it is white gel pen. Got mine from the local art shop. Always think it is a shame that Rotring and others do not do white, fine tipped marker pens as the gel pen is not as controllable as I would like. Similarly, would do my own transfers on the laptop, but no white printer ink either. Thank goodness the lettering is fairly simple. What I will have to sort out is transfers for the CVR logo and loco names.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Decent progress on the Sharpie thus far, though I wasted a lot of time trying to make the top section of the Joy valve gear work. At the moment, have given up on that - partly because all efforts have failed thus far & also because I am increasingly unsure if the movement will be seen anyway! What you might just see is a small piece of half round brass rod soldered to the front of the etched dummy motion, to make that bit look less flat. Maybe I'll have a go at making it work in the future. Inside motion on Sir Henry seemed much easier by comparison...

However, this is certainly not the fault of the kit, for apart from a few exploded diagrams which would help make the instructions clearer, there is little to fault. The etchings are nicely done and join up extremely well so far. Like the Sligo tanks, there are a lot of rivets to press out [several hundred at least], but easy to do with the GW press.

Am hoping to built two of the tanks, so this one will be either Errigal or Blackwater, the last two to work the line - though Erne also survived to the end, if very worn out. Interestingly, Errigal was painted green & Blackwater red [ish], which will make for a bit of variety.DSCN1837.jpg


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Oooooohh! very nice there David


Rotring do white ink for their isograph or technical drawing pens, they also do red, blue, yellow and of course BLACK, again rotring did stencils, not sure if they still do, if you can get your hands on small ones there great for this work....



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I'll check but I think the lettering was yellow edged with black and gold, or something like that. Pretty sure it wasn't white.


No. 3 was the only maroon "Sharpie"; the rest were green. Carriages were maroon, the railcar was brown with a white roof, and the spare power bogie (known as the "Unit" with a wagon body) was all grey with a white roof.


Wagons were grey with cream lettering. No black British Rail style chassis! ;-)


David - as always, absolutely amazing work on the loco above! Keep 'er lit.....!

Edited by jhb171achill
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Thanks chaps, interesting, especially the stencils which I have not seen before. Hand lettering with a gel pen has worked OK so far. I did have a Rotting pen but must confess I could not get on with it. If anything found it rather scratchy and had difficulty getting the ink to flow.

Same with those pens which rely on pressing down the tip to get the ink flowing. All that happens to me with these is lots of blobs!

So, I persevere with the gel pen...

While I am here. Thanks for the PM, JB. Re the CVR letter crest am hoping I can do a large scale version and then shrink it on the photocopier, then create my own transfers. Alternatively, might approach Fox Transfers. Maybe the Ragstone kit and Branchlines coaches may yet lead to somebody producing transfers anyway?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Construction of the Clogher Valley loco is nearing completion. Indeed, did a bit of a clean up this morning & thought it worthwhile to share a few photos.

By and large, construction has continued to be straightforward, though as before, some of the instructions are a little wanting - especially detailing the cab and adding some of the minor castings. The words 'now add details, castings etc as per your chosen loco' leave a lot to be desired, especially when photos of the cab interior are few and far between. Goodness knows how the firebox door handles and hinges are meant to fit & given the manufacturer supplies both white metal and lost wax brass versions, he seems to think they are important! However, the crew will hide my omitting them.

Overall though, this is a very nice kit & everything fits together pretty well. To my eye, the final result is of a chunky little engine which captures the look of the prototype really well. At the moment, the cab roof is still loose [pending painting the interior], while the chimney end vacuum pipe and coupling are yet to be added. Probably Kaydee for the latter. It is as yet without motor/gearbox too, but Branchlines are coming to the Chatham Show, so should be able to get something suitable in JuneDSCN1843.jpg




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Thanks JB, but don't hold your breath, am thinking it will be at least a couple of years before even the small layout I have in mind is ready. Only in drawing form so far!


You could always just regauge Arigna....

Looks great David, a lovely little engine



Don't even THINK about regauging Arigna!

Edited by GSR 800
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  • 2 weeks later...

Decision time on which livery to use taken over by simple availability. Halford did not have anything approaching bronze green, but did have Rover Damask Red, which is a pretty good crimson lake. So, Blackwater it had to be.

Final livery for CVR locos was a real paint palette, for the two types were augmented by black skirts, footplate & smokebox, plus vermillion on the cowcatcher. In my transfers box found a sheet of press fix covering all the alphabet in suitably sized shaded sans serif, plus numbers and underscored 'No' too. Only problem is it has no indication of who made it...

So, red primer as sprayed on as the first coat & with a coat of varnish will probably do for the cow catcher. The skirts were masked off & the rest of the body sprayed Damask. A couple of days to dry & then matt black [with a little gun metal] was brush painted on the skirts and smokebox, plus the firebox area in the cab. Brass, steel and copper paint was also brush painted on various pipes and fittings as appropriate.

The loco is still some way from being finished. The cab roof is not fixed, as crew and glazing are needed, plus coal while a mist of light weathering will be given too, the latter will tone down the gloss finish, which is nowhere near as bright as it appears in the photos anyway - these were done in bright sunshine. Before the latter, need to create the interlaced CVR logo. Currently intending to draw it out large size, then reduce on the copier/printer & print out onto clear transfer sheet.

While waiting for the paint to dry, made a start on the Branchlines coach kit. Am building it as an all 3rd. Considering the kit must be getting on for 30 years old, it stands up well, with the end balcony wire mesh etches particularly nice. Built as per instructions, the roof will be soldered to the body and the latter has been set up to bolt to the base. Photos show progress so far & with neither body not roof yet fixed shows how well things fit together.






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  • 1 month later...

Being heavily involved in the Chatham Show has limited modelling of late, though with Branchlines attending, there was the opportunity to lay down a few stores. I am the show Trade Officer, so this might have influenced my desire to have the stand present!

So, the bogie first class CVR coach has been added, along with a stack of wagon chassis. Despite being dated 1989, the etches still stand up very well. Not cheap, but they do give a fair bit of work/entertainment, especially as I am choosing 21mm gauge. I am using 2mm tube in lieu of axle bearings, while also having to make my own axles too. Was going to use steel, then realised that this could cause problems with any coupling magnets, so have used 2mm brass rod instead. Sounds a bit of a faff, but it does not take long to cut a suitable length and then mount in a drill chuck to file the ends to a point. Also cut out the bracing strips between axle boxes/frames, replacing them with .8mm nickel silver wire to represent the round bar used on the prototypes.

Couplings are still missing, indeed not finally decided, though am still leaning towards Kadees, as alternatives seem to be 'handed' and like Arigna, the new layout will have loco and fiddle yard turntables. Note too that that wagon is just 10cm long, so the photo is a somewhat cruel enlargement. It is not fixed to the chassis yet either.

Added wheels to the coach bogie and a motor gearbox to the loco too. Fingers crossed, after some running in on the workbench, it will be a smooth runner - though with no track yet, it is still a case of wait & see.






Edited by David Holman
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hay fever season [which also co-incides with the rainy season here] has meant a bit of very unseasonal modelling time in the workshop. An opportunity therefore to try and complete the three CVR vehicles I'd started.

The Sharpie tank didn't need too much work - just coal in the top bunker and glazing to the cab, plus a bit of painting. Likewise the open wagon just needed a load & having plenty of spare crushed coal from the loco, this went in the wagon. Other work needed was painting and weathering of the chassis. It seems CVR wagons were overall grey, but am assuming that the under frames got pretty grubby, while the bodywork would inevitably have got rather blackened by carrying coal.

The coach needed most of the work. Much of this was interior detail. The longitudinal seats are fairly basic & made from plastic sheet, though I did make an effort to install interior panelling. This sandwiches the glazing against the etched brass sides - and wasn't added until after the body had been sprayed with Halford's crimson lake, actually Rover Damask Red & the same colour as the loco. Information on CVR livery is fairly limited, the Branchlines instructions seem to be taken from Patterson's book & make no mention of what colour underframes, bogies etc were. Am assuming they would have been black or dark grey, covered with a layer of dust & grime, hence my usual weathering mix covers everything below sole bar level. Other detailing involved making the acetylene gas container on one buffer beam [plasticard] and capping the end handrails with small rivets to simulate the turned tops on the prototype. As yet, the prominent steam heating pipe along one sole bar is missing & will only be added once I know how much the bogies will swing once track is laid. The are a good number of Peco passengers on board though.

The other work has been to install couplings on all vehicles & to this end I bought some Kadee 5s, along with a delayed action uncoupler and a mounting gauge. Unfortunately Kadee 5s need to sit below the buffer beam, whereas the actual chopper couplings are mounted inside. Being small, the Kadees are fairly discreet & an 0 gauge version I have was certainly too big. Maybe S gauge [very much alive and well commercially over the Pond] might be a good compromise, but for now, I will stick with the 5s.

To check their working, I made up a short piece of plain track using copper clad sleepers and Code 124 bull head rail. The layout will have much finer Code 75 or 83 rail, but early signs indicate hands free uncoupling should be effective.

As usual, photos show progress thus far, while next I am aiming to make masters of the sides and ends of the brake, cattle and covered vans, so I can cast them in resin, as per Arigna's wagons.


DSCN1890 (1).jpg





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