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Railway Modelling Ramblings

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Another old friend and more Irish diversions

The welcome return of High Level Kits caused me to order, amongst other things, one of Chris' 'Rustlers'. I've had an 4mm Impetus Ruston 48DS in various states of rebuild for the 35 years I've had it. My attempts to motorise it have been many and varied but I'd always been stuck driving only one axle. The advantage of the Rustler was that it drives both axles using High Level's usual high quality gears. I had to make my own 4-wheel chassis to fit the gearbox in but this wasn't too difficult usin

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in 3D print projects

Return of an old friend and some experimentation with walls

Over the past month I decided to try and resurrect an ancient locomotive from my collection. It's not that we've discovered a source of high pressure Geo-thermal steam in Clare, it is just that I fancied trying to get the old Impetus Andrew Barclay fireless to work again. I first built this loco about 20 years ago and I can remember my son, who was about 5 at the time, drawing steam locomotives with their cylinders at the wrong end for months afterwards! The loco was built with a split axle desi

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Quay side

More 3D printed Irish wagons (and a J17 back-head)

I had the opportunity over the last few weeks to model up a batch of Cavan and Leitrim four wheel vans. These started out as rather odd wagons, with an external wooden frame and a central section of roof left open to be covered with a tarpaulin. Apparently they  doubled up as both general goods vans and cattle wagons depending on weather it was cattle market day! As with all things C&L they were rebuilt over the years and the appearance in later years depended very strongly on who was in the

Shiney Shiney etchy things

Over the last month PPD have been kept busy with a couple of projects. I've been helping my friends at Brassmasters with a potential EasiChas project.   As I mentioned a couple of months back the cab windows provided for the J17 in the PDK kit I'm building didn't seem to match the GERS drawing very well. I received the replacement etches from PPD and will see how they go together over the next week or so.     The second project has been considerably more complex.

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Ivatt 2MT

16mm photo-plank - Started on the building

I've been doing a number of projects over the last month. More on the etches for the 4mm J17 and also playing with the electronics for my level crossing.   Meanwhile as a more practical modeling activity I've made a start on the shed which is my 16mm photo plank project. The sides of the shed were laser cut in 6mm and 3mm ply. I've deliberately made the back wall in two parts to give me some reasonable thickness for the wall. I have just sanded the outside and have the option to produc

Stour Valley Dream - One step forward - Two steps backward

Over the last week I been able to build up the road surface around the level crossing and but in the Sculptamold between the road and river. I also 3D printed some picket fencing and the wicket gates for the crossing and fastened these in place. The overall effect doesn't look too bad.     But then I looked back the the river and saw that what had initially looked like a perfect pour of Woodland scenics 'deep water' now looked horrible! I think the issue was that I poured one

J17 - Attempting a 3D printed boiler

I'd spent a fair amount of time trying to solder up a belpaire firebox and despite many attempts I really wasn't that happy with the results. So, as much as an intellectual exercise as with any practical expectation of success, I thought I'd try and model the firebox, boiler and smokebox up in CAD and try to print it. This is very much a 'work in progress' but the results are rather encouraging. The layer lines at a .03mm layer height are virtually invisible to my eye and will disappear even fur

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J17 Build

Level crossing - now in situ.

I've been working on and off on making a level crossing for some years now. I've bounced between the electronic and purely mechanical option but finally come back to the electronics using an Ardiuno to drive a pair of stepper motors with simple micro-switches to detect the limit of travel. There is a 3D printed unit under each gate which can actually drive the gate nearly 100 degrees, this allows some over-travel in each direction to take account of the back-lash on the gates caused by there bei

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

British Electric Vehicle - Alternative battery box

I modeled up the alternative battery box which had the peaked roof rather than just a flat top. I also completed the second chassis, which had a couple of little modifications over the first version. This time I added the spring tags onto the High Level hornblocks and added supports for a length of sprung steel wire. The result is that the axles are now properly  sprung. As the sprung wire connects electrically to the hornblocks and the wheels I used it to feed power up to the motor. I've also m

British Electric Vehicle moves under own power

I know I said I wasn't going to make much more progress until a boat from China delivered some tiny bevel gears but I got a bit bored waiting. I decided to see if I could actually print some. Turns out you can, I'm not sure how hard wearing they will be but it is at least a prove of concept. Given that current issues with the Suez Canal (blocked by container ship which has run aground - probably the weigh of all those tiny bevel gears it was carrying!) it was probably a good idea not to wait.

Creating a 16mm scale posed engine driver

Commercial 16mm scale figures tend to be a bit cartoonish and rather limited in terms of style and pose. My tiny new locomotive requires the driver to tuck his knees in to be able to fit in the tiny foot plate, in a mine he'd probably also be fairly hunched to avoid bang his head. I found myself following the same route as Mike Trice in the 3D Printed Passengers thread.   Makehuman is an impressive bit of free software and is not too difficult to use. It is obviously intended mostly f

Fen End Pit goes green - Building a British Electric Vehicle locomotive

Having worked on repairing my Lister thoughts have  turned to building a new locomotive for Fen End Pit. I'd rather taken a fancy to the tiny battery electric locomotives built by the likes of Wingrove and Rogers and I thought that one of these engines might be worth trying to 3D print. A recent video in the 'Lawrie goes Loco'  series on Youtube also rather drove my project along.     There are some superb plans available on Flickr from J. Tilston. I purchased a number o

16mm - Return of the Lister

Some time ago my Lister stopped working during an exhibition, it was returned to its stock box in disgrace and, in the absence of any exhibition outings to provide the impetus to repair it, there it had stayed. However a  birthday present of a copy of 'Picking, Packing and Processing of Peat' by Paul Webb published by the Moseley Railway Trust spurred me into action. It contained too many nice photographs and drawings of Lister locomotives  for me to ignore the overdue repair. Dismantling the lo

Stour Valley Dream - Water, water and fortunately not everywhere

Some more progress on the larger of the two bridges at the Haverhill end of the layout, Ironically I'm building a model of the Stour valley but neither river is actually the River Stour. This is actually a mill race rather than the main river.     I had to purchase another set of Woodland Scenics deep pour water to finish the job. Excellent service from Hattons, ordered on Sunday night, delivered Tuesday morning. Mind you, the price of the stuff probably implies that is it ma

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

Stour Valley Dream - End of the pier show

I've been working on the second of the two river bridges on my model of Clare. For most of the building I've been using the laser cutter to make the brick work but the centre pier of the bridge has two different shapes at the ends. The upstream end is rounded and the downstream end is shaped to a point. The curve is impossible to cut flat and then bend and the multiple corners on the pointed end would have a some nasty joints to hide. I thought I'd give it a go on the 3D printer.  

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

J17 - Cutting problems down to size

As I mentioned in my previous blog posting, the splashers on the J17 kit were designed to accommodate the most steam-rollerish of flanges, being almost 4mm in diameter larger than scale. Well I've managed to take them back off the foot-plate. file them down to size and refit them. They look to be about .5mm too large now but I'm ok with a little extra clearance for the springing.     Missing from the kit, but visible on the plans and photographs were the beading around the ba

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J17 Build

J17 - It's deja vu all over again

So there I was feeling quite chuffed that I'd managed to get the wheels on the J17 chassis. There is a video which includes it running on youtube.   Then I started work on the footplate, I got the buffer beam and valancing on quite nicely and then turned to the splashers. I felt quite good about the job I'd done until I put the footplate onto the chassis and realised that the kit had exactly the same issues as the previously built J20.     Now I don't exac

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J17 Build

J17 - Progress of a PDK kit

For those who don't know what a J17 is, here is a picture.   They were a James Holden designed locomotive built for the GER between 1900 and 1903, a sort of half-way house between the lighter J15 and heavier J20.   As I hinted the J17 kit from PDK is also quite 'old school' by today's standards. The frames just had simple holes for the bearings, not even a half etched line as a nod that some people might spring or compensate their locomotives.   Progress today

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J17 Build

J20 - Some missing bits

Having put the J20 together and painted it I spotted that I'd missed a couple of important bits off. The first were the front guard irons which were easily soldered onto the front of the chassis. The others were, it appears, completely missing from the kit, these were the two large lockers in the cab, one of which has the reverser mounted on it. The kit appears to not have parts for these at all and they are not mentioned in the instructions. Photographs of cab interiors are notoriously hard to

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J20 build

Irish Interlude 2 - more Cavan and Leitrim coal wagons

I have been making some more coal wagons for a friend's Irish project. The first attempt were slightly too narrow because some idiot (me) got the dimension wrong on the 3D model. Having fixed that we now have a models of 3 different types of wagon and the beginnings of a coal train. The wagon chassis department is apparently working at peak capacity assembling etched underframes.   The 3 wagons are subtly different, one design has two doors in the middle while the other two have a pair

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in 3D print projects

J20 - now in black

Over the last couple of days I managed to get a coat of primer followed by a coat a Stratford's finest black. This was a heavy freight locomotive and getting towards the end of its life so I've got a fair bit of weathering to apply. On most of the prototype photographs it is almost impossible to see the BR insignia on the tender!  I've noticed I also need to paint the bolt ends on the brake-gear.     I'm very pleased with the way the different components came together. T

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J20 build

Long time coming - J20

This one really has been a long time coming! The Crownline kit has a 'checked' date on the box of 1997. I've had it 'in progress' for almost five years and most of the last two it has been in the naughty box threatening to be drop kicked out of the window. I'd left it socially isolating in south Cambridgeshire with one of my friends so long he was probably going to start charging rent. It looks like it I last mentioned it on this blog almost two years ago. The kit came back home in a socially di

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in J20 build

Irish Interlude - a 3d printer Cavan and Leitrim coal wagon

So Phil asked 'Could your gadgetry print wagon bodies' and attached a photograph of a Cavan and Leitrim 3' gauge 4-plank coal wagon and a 2D drawing he'd made. Well I couldn't let that challenge go could I? Over the course of the festive season we have bounce various images and drawing back and forth as I hopefully got closer to the prototype. Photographs are somewhat elusive, I don't think many people who got to travel on the C&L bothered taking pictures of mundane old coal wagons. This one

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in 3D print projects

Stour Valley Dream - Progress in the goods yard

There has been a bit of progress on my model of Clare in Suffolk over the last few weeks. The goods yard area around the cattle dock is coming on and I've planted the shunting signal which protects the exit from the yard (just in front on the J15)     Looking the other way and the castle mount is coming on with the start of some walls on in. These have been molded in sculptamold and I've had a go at painting lots of 'dots' to represent the stonework which seems to be lots of

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit in Stour Valley

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