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Railway Modelling Ramblings

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Brassmasters J15 Easichas

Brassmasters J15 Easichas

Several years ago there was a conversation at Scaleforum (you know the one, I suggested to Brassmasters that they should produce an Easichas kit for a Hornby J15, they said great, go on and do the artwork then), now there is a kit available for purchase.   The kit follows the usual Easichas principles utilising the existing Hornby motor and drive and providing new fold-up side frames and hornblocks to give springing on all axles. The kit can be built to either EM or P4 gauge. Replaceme

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream -  lots of uncoupling

Stour Valley Dream - lots of uncoupling

In case my 16mm musings made folks fear I'd been loosing interest in the P4 I wanted to show you that I used the last few days to make some more uncouplers for Alex Jackson couplings. I thought I'd put some pictures on here to show what I'd been up to.   The uncoupling magnets are made from two  3D printed parts with a plastruct tube insert, that gives a freer sliding movement that just making the 3D printed 'plunger' fit directly in the hole. The printer is not particularly well tuned

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

16mm photo-plank - plans progress and tools get made

16mm photo-plank - plans progress and tools get made

Thanks for all the comments and ideas on this project both on and off this forum. I'm getting the ideas to jell now, trying to balance all the features I want with practical considerations such as size and construction effort.   I was originally considering something which would give me a couple of options, on the left we had the inside of the shed/workshop and then on the right we had the outside of the building with the gable end. This idea would be about 3' x ~1'6". The Thelkeld she

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

16mm project plans - need advice and inspiration

16mm project plans - need advice and inspiration

So I've been thinking about a little 16mm project to keep up my narrow gauge interest while I can't take Fen End Pit out. I don't mean to distract too much from the construction of Clare but just have something extra to work on when I fancy a change.   One of my favourite places to visit is the Thelkeld Quarry Museum and I have long thought that the engine shed is full of modelling potential but I've not been sure how I could use its inspiration.     What I have be

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

16mm Simplex - finally got the fan working!

16mm Simplex - finally got the fan working!

I recently purchased a copy of Roy Link's new Crowsnest Chronicles book. An very good read full of inspirational modeling. This finally inspired me to get my, not quite completed, Slater's 16mm Simplex kit out of the cupboard where it has been languishing for a year or more. I'd been frustrated by not managing to get the cooling fan to work with the DCC decoder. The loco also had rather a lot of emotional baggage attached as I'd bought it as a present to me shortly after receiving a nasty shock

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream -  Strange grain loader

Stour Valley Dream - Strange grain loader

During the 1950's a grain loader was built on loading dock. Lorries (or tractors and trailers) were reversed down the dock and the grain tipped into the shed through the large doors. A vertical auger lifted the grain up to slide down the chute into the waiting wagon.     It looks to me that the construction was of corrugated asbestos with a box section rather than corrugated iron, the section looks too big for that. I tried drawing up a template to try and judge the size.

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

I really didn't expect this to work

I really didn't expect this to work

This little pair of gates for my cattle dock was pushing the Anycubic photon but I thought it was worth a punt even though I thought it unlikely that it would come out. I'm rather happy with the result, particularly as I needed 3 pairs which were identical. I wasn't exactly looking forward to having to make 3 out of scrap etch and wire and that would definitely have taken more than the hour these took to print.     In place they look like they would have kept the cows in.
Stour Valley Dream -  Cattle pen progress

Stour Valley Dream - Cattle pen progress

I've been musing over the cattle pens for a few weeks now. The pen was at the end of the loading dock and, by the late 1950's was out of use and blocked by the construction of a grain loading facility. The posts of the pen appeared to be disused rail so I opted the 3D print the posts. This was a lot easier than the prospect of breaking multiple drill bits trying to drill eight holes in 20 posts. Each of the posts is 19mm tall.     Cutting, bending and threading th
Building a B1 - valve gear complete

Building a B1 - valve gear complete

Over the last couple of weeks I have managed to get the valve gear completed and also add some cosmetic pieces like the drain cocks and drain cock linkage and the balance weights on the wheels. I also managed to complete the tender chassis thanks to an order for the wheels from Alan Gibson (thanks Colin for the excellent service).     The loco has done a few miles on my DCC Concepts rolling road (to which I added a 3D printed block to support the bogie, looks better than a p
Building a B1 - eccentric behavior

Building a B1 - eccentric behavior

Over the last week I managed to make up a number of tiny pieces of nickel silver into lots of rods with complicated names.   The radius rods and expansion links comprised of about 24 little bits of metal.     These fitted into the motion brackets ok and didn't foul any of the other parts I'd made up already.     Next up were the return crank and the eccentric rod.  The return crank needed to be tapped to fit over the crank pin on the centre axl
Building a B1 - more progress on cylinders

Building a B1 - more progress on cylinders

I've made a fair amount of progress on the B1 chassis since getting a replacement soldering iron from Eileen. Getting the Antex with the slightly more flexible cable option is definitely worth the extra £3. I was finally able to fasten all the bits of the slide bars together and get them fixed into the cylinders. This finally locks the clearance between the back of the cross-head and the coupling rods which is tight given the accurate track gauge. I had to thin down the crank pin nut on the lead
Stour Valley Dream -  Mortar and washes for Goods shed

Stour Valley Dream - Mortar and washes for Goods shed

Over the weekend I managed to get some filler wiped into the mortar courses and a couple of coats of Vallejo grey wash wiped in and wiped off. I was trying to achieve the look of worn old work-a-day goods shed and not the sand-blasted cleanliness of the preserved building in the country park. I still need to weather the roof, obviously make the windows and fasten on the stone capping stones.     The office isn't actually stuck on at the moment, hence the slight difference in
Stour Valley Dream -  Basic painting on Goods shed

Stour Valley Dream - Basic painting on Goods shed

While waiting for Eileen's to delivery a replacement soldering so  I could continue on the Dave Bradwell B1 I made some more progress on the goods shed. This morning I cut a load of post labels for slates and then this afternoon I painted the basic brick and slate colours on the building.       I need to wait for this paint to really dry and harden before going to the next stage with Wilco fine filler. I also need to paint the various engineering bricks and s
Stour Valley Dream -  more work on the goods shed

Stour Valley Dream - more work on the goods shed

The failure of my old soldering iron means a brief hiatus on the B1 until I get a replacement. As a result I headed back to do some more work on the goods shed which I've been doing the artwork for and laser cutting. Having sorted out the issues I was having with consistent cutting on the side walls I had got to the point of having a set of parts I was happy to assemble. The assembly went fairly well and I was pleased with way the buttresses on the corners ended up. Having a test run prior to th
Building a B1 - fun with slide bars

Building a B1 - fun with slide bars

I've made some good progress on the Dave Bradwell B1 chassis. I fitted some pickups, made up the brakes and then refitted the pickups as they conflicted with the brakes! This got me a chassis which could move under its own power from the track. I then spent a good few hours fettling the slide bars to get the crosshead casting running smoothly.     This was quite entertaining and the result was pretty good, the lower part of the slidebar is just pinned together by the 4 lengt
Blast from the past - Video of 'The Works'

Blast from the past - Video of 'The Works'

I was contacted last week by Keith Barker of the Ely MRC, he had been occupying himself during lock-down sorting out old media files on his PC. He had located some video of a model narrow gauge cement works railway taken at the Stowmarket in 2001 and thought it might be my layout. He was happy for me to post it up on Youtube, so I added a bit of a commentary and it is now there for all to see.   I built 'The Works' in the 1990's and exhibited it for a few years prior to selling it some
Love my lasercutter - Hate the software

Love my lasercutter - Hate the software

Anyone who has worked with a laser-cutter will probably have story about just how dire the software for them tends to be. HPC Laser cutters are very nice machines but they still come with LaserCut 5.3 which has had no updates to my knowledge in 4-5 years. It is the only piece of dongle protected software I have and it is frankly awful. The interface looks like something produced in the mid-90s and the English language options look like Google translate was used. I have learnt my way around the i

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Building a B1 - moving chassis

Building a B1 - moving chassis

More progress with the Dave Bradwell B1 chassis kit over the weekend. The cosmetic and functional springs were fitted. The cosmetic springs hold the driving wheels from falling out and also hold the functional sprung steel wire spring. These springs are held at one end by a hole in the etch and at the other end in a 10 BA grub screw. These grub screws can then be used to adjust the individual amount of springing on each drive wheel. This picture shows off the P4 wheel profile rather nicely,

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Building a B1

Building a B1

I found a lovely photograph of a B1 shunting at Clare on the Transport Treasury website.   https://www.transporttreasury.com/p968962872/h9A4C364E#h9fccc231   This got me thinking that I really needed to have one for my model. I started investigating the options and found that Hattons had a second hand one available with a slightly damaged box and a wobbly drive wheel for an attractive price. I'd spotted that Dave Bradwell produces a chassis kit which, having built his J39 cha

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream -  progress on goods shed and cattle dock

Stour Valley Dream - progress on goods shed and cattle dock

Over the last week I've been doing some work drawing up the cattle dock and the goods shed. The good shed was sparked off by wanting a project for the Scalefour societies 'Socially-distanced Challenge' and by the fact it  was the next building I needed to work on.   The process of studying photographs, counting bricks, comparing with drawings from the GERS has been a fascinating one. The goods shed particularly is interesting because it was substantially rebuilt during its lifetime. No

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Finally no blu-tac! J39 no longer comes apart

Finally no blu-tac! J39 no longer comes apart

I made a small purchase from Hattons this week which then pushed me forward to finish one quite old project. I'd found a picture which shows a B1 shunting at Clare so started looking online for the options to produce a model. Hattons had a secondhand one which was advertised as 'warped drive wheel and imperfect box' for a very reasonable price. Given that I can't get hung up about the state of the box and would rewheel to P4 anyway I decided I couldn't pass it up. I have also written off for the

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream -  defenestration

Stour Valley Dream - defenestration

As I hinted in one of my previous blog postings I wasn't entirely happy with the windows in the station building. Some were ok (usually the ones I'd shot in photographs) but others were a bit iffy. I'd been slowly developing the process and the cut files for the laser cutter. This picture shows versions 1, 2 and 3 from left to right.     Version 1 was a single 1mm cut with the detail engraved on the top. The single thickness made for a lack of relief that I didn't think gave
Stour Valley Dream -  Let it rain

Stour Valley Dream - Let it rain

I did a bit of 3d modelling in CAD this weekend and produced some rainwater goods. This included some of the castings that hold the pipes onto the walls, some spouts for the bottom of downpipes and some hoppers for where one pipe goes into another. I also drew up some chimney pots and some suitcases, just for the laughs.   They came out pretty well on the Anycubic photon.   The holes in the drain components were drawn at 1.3mm and drilled out easily to fit some plastruc

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

Stour Valley Dream -  entrance awning

Stour Valley Dream - entrance awning

The road side of the station building at Clare has a glass awning over the entrance door. Looking at the pictures this had a timber frame under the glass and a thin leaded layer on 3 sides of each pane only on the top. The main glazing bars were cut in 1mm MDF and drawn at 1mm wide but probably cut down to about .8mm. The top layer was in thin card and was extremely fragile when it came off the laser cutter.   In this picture I have just positioned the awning, the brackets, which were

Fen End Pit

Fen End Pit

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