Since my last blog post, I've been spending a lot of time familiarising myself with the Silhouette cutter. I think one of its best features is the 'print and cut' facility, which means that you can print an image, with filled colour and details, to your regular home printer and then feed the printed sheet into the Silhouette, to cut out around the printed image.
I have been experimenting with different materials, including card, HP Photo Paper, and styrene sheet. As described in posts in the Silhouette Forum, I've had some success with printing onto styrene, by using hairspray to create a surface that will accept the ink. See http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/79025-a-guide-to-using-the-silhouette-cameo-cutter/?p=1303230 for more info.
Later, I also tried using white aerosol car primer as a foundation for printing, which gave brighter colours but the sharpness of the printed details did not match what I could achieve on HP Photo Paper. In addition to the difficulty of printing on styrene, I read several posts, in the same thread, which described difficulties in laminating several layers of styrene without distortion.
As a result, I've decided to make my first coaches from Card and HP Photo Paper, over an inner layer of transparent acetate, rather like the N-gauge models shown in the article by Andrew Duxson, in 'Railway Modeller', Feb 2014. The use of laminated layers provides the surface relief that is necessary at 00-gauge. Each layer is pre-printed, so there is no difficult painting needed, in order to outline the multitude of panels characteristic of 19th-century coaches.
At first, I spent a lot of time carefully removing the chads from each panel, using the tip of a scalpel, then I discovered that I could simply peel off the main 'structure', while all the chads were left behind on the tacky surface of the mat! I could hardly believe how simple it was and, afterwards, I simply scythed off the chads into my waste bin, using a scalpel.
The photo above shows side strips for the clerestory roofs of two coaches that I am currently building. One is the U29 composite, described in earlier posts, while the other is a family saloon, shown in Fig.23 of Russell's GW Coaches Part 1. I know very little about this coach but the photo seems to be taken in exactly the same location as Fig.18, which shows the U29 composite. Apparently, this family saloon was a re-build of one of the first broad-gauge sleeping cars but I do not know the diagram number [EDIT - see footnote]. I could have built a G20 saloon but these are relatively 'commonplace', with preserved examples at Didcot and South Devon and, of course, the example at Farthing, complete with entombed Weasel. My Family Saloon will be used by the Lord of the Manor for his annual trip to London, for the Season, in a special train, to include my N6 Horsebox and to-be-built Open Carriage Truck (with carriage).
Since I only had a photo, plus the information that the overall length was 29 feet, I made a copy and scaled it as a background image in AutoSketch. I then drew over the framing, windows, and droplights, using the various drawing tools, and saved the result to both a PDF file and a DXF file. I coloured the PDF image using Photoshop and saved the result as a TIFF image. I then opened the TIFF image in the Silhouette 'Studio' software and copied it to the clipboard. Finally, I opened the DXF file in 'Studio' and pasted in the image from the clipboard, as a background.
After carefully aligning the photo image with the cutting diagram and adding the alignment marks, I printed the image on my HP inkjet printer and placed the sheet into my Silhouette Portrait for cutting.
I have ordered Cleminson chassis for both coaches from 'Brassmasters', so that they will be able to negotiate my small-radius curves. On scaling the Russell photo of the U29, it is clear that the wheelbase is longer than the usual 19 feet - more like 22' - so the adjustable nature of the Brassmaster chassis will be needed.
EDIT: Thanks to information provided by Mikkel, I now know that this coach was diagram G13, converted from BG to standard gauge in 1891 and re-numbered 76.