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A Decent 31 - Finishing Off



31 415 is now finished - I've done rather more modelling than blog-posting in recent months.



Much of the finishing seemed to be a question of paint


I made a serious mistake with the noses and used Railmatch pre1984 yellow acrylic for the first coats. Nothing wrong with the shade , but I got a dreadful tar-brush result. Much careful/desperate rubbing down resulted , with fine emery boards and a little nail block someone directed me to , that has 4 different surfaces on a block and retails for about a pound in Superdrug. The file , ridge-remover, and buff surfaces were all used , and a vast improvement has been made . It's still not as good as if I'd used enamels from the start.


After multiple coats of Railmatch yellow enamel well rubbed down between coats, I got a decent result.


There is a very noticeable notch or recess under the nose door area which Airfix did not model - this was carefully chopped out using a narrow chisel blade in the X-Acto between two cut lines. As mentioned in my original posting on the 31 , the locos have a little wing plate on either side of the shoulder of the cab door. They are noticeable but I couldn't think how to represent them neatly and robustly so they've not been added


The Airfix buffer beam is very bare indeed: there isn't even a moulded coupling hook. I use Kadees, and the loco is required to couple at both ends on a terminus to fiddle yard layout, so the scope for buffer beam detailing is limited. But after looking at various photos of 31s in Diesel Retrospective - Class 31, I felt something needed to be done to give the cluttered coloured lumps and pipes effect of the real thing. I made use of some spare whitemetal castings from an old detailing pack for a class 20 , which were not used on that model because they fouled the couplings... The effect is frankly representational but a good deal better than nothing. To avoid them fouling the Kadees, the pipe below buffer beam level was cut off with my Xurons


One detail improvement that has a big effect is to paint the raised rim of the cab front windows black , to represent the rubber seal - this instantly enlarges the window and improves the proportions substantially, though it needs a very careful hand and a 00 or 000 brush (and quite possibly a little "wipe away and try again" in the odd place when you attempt it)


Flush glaze is SE Finecast - Shawplan don't , so far as I'm aware, do Lazerglaze for such an old model


Transfers are a mix of HMRS and Fox (flashes, blue stars etc) . The ETH box came out of the Howes buffer detail pack. Roof weathering is Revell anthracite, because that was a suitable shade I had to hand. Cleaning away any black paint that got where it shouldn't have sufficed as weathering on the nose, main radiator grills got a wash of anthracite, and other grills a mid grey wash. Beyond that I chickened out on bodyside weathering , other than a sealing coat of matt varnish - the reference photo of 31 415 at Skegness shows her quite clean


The whitemetal castings representing internal pipework were fitted with Superglue on one side and UHU on the other (to prevent differential expansion cracking the Superglue) . The bottom parts of several of the castings had to be cut away to avoid fouling the chassis - needless to say I found this on a trial fitting after initially fixing them in place , so off they came. I also found that pure white made the pipe runs all too visible through the side windows, so a weathering wash (Humbrol blue/grey) was applied to those castings not irretrevably fixed . The others got a very dilute weathering wash over the windows themselves


As an interesting contrast , here is the finished body shell next to the unmodified body I removed from the model:




And as a final "as released to traffic" view here are some shots on the layout during a trial running session:






show 31415 side by side with my Hornby 31 174 (thankfully showing no signs of any mazak problems) - an interesting comparision between two models 20 years apart.


And as I now have 2 x 31, an attempt was made for the first time to operate LHS1 (the loco hauled substituted set) in place of one DMU




31 415 ran well and I'm pleased with the results

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To my mind, your reworked Airfix looks more realistic than the Hornby ;) I personally don't like the Hornby lights, they should be a lot fainter in my mind....

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Thanks for the kind remarks. I'm rather pleased with the results , and as there's an important diagram and need on the layout for this loco , at least it should see plenty of service , unlike my previous efforts at loco reworking , which sit in boxes. I agree about the lights - I remember the dim yellow glow of a low wattage bulb - which is why I won't be fitting any of Express Models' products in 31 415. Mind you on a DCC layout , lights are an operational convenience - they show the current direction  set

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