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Desperately Trying to Finish Things



As I said in my previous post I am now less than a week away from my next Missenden weekend, this time I am down to do painting and lining with Ian Rathbone, so my plan is to try to get as many of my current projects ready to be painted, at least in some state. So I have spent much of the weekend, and last week, doing those last little jobs, you know, all those things you have been putting off because they are fiddly. In my mind at east none of them would take long, but of course I was deluding myself. I have to thank my wife for putting up with me taking over a corner of the kitchen and spending so much time on modelling, especially given it was the weekend of our wedding anniversary.


The Black Hawthorn needed one little job, as it now ready for cleaning and primer, the Neilson needed more work, especially in the cab area, but that is now done, although I did note after taking the picture that I have still to add the makers plates. The under frame still needs work, it only has half of its brake gear for instance!




The Duke I know needed more work, in particular I had been putting off the handrail due to lack of holes for the handrail knobs, but that is now done. The only thing left is the top feed - although to be honest it has been on once, but I detached it (broke it off) when adding the pipe run.




After taking the picture I noticed it was not on the rails correctly, why is it you only see this when you upload the picture! I hope to add th topped, again, on Monday and do the pipe runs from it. I need to think of the best way to do the pipes, my issue was using stiff brass wire that as I bent it around the boiler put to much pressure on the topped and pinging it off. Maybe this time I will use fuse wire. the handrails turned out to be easier than I had thought, thanks to a tip I picked up from Tony Wright about how to mark out the positions.


My next project was my NuCast Steam Railmotor, the main job to doing being the steps. After my last post it was suggested I look at the Dart Casting Autocoach detailing kit to get a set of the folding steps. So pending a decision on that I put off the NuCast for now in favour of a different Railmotor.


Many years ago I picked up a Mallard 57ft Railmotor for £10 at an exhibition. It was part built but missing its bogies and all the white metal fittings. My thought was I could make use of some of the bits on the NuCast version, in particular the bits of valve gear it had. However that never happened and it has sat in a cupboard for nearly 10 years. Over time I have collected all, or most of the bits to complete this, but not actually started. I decided it would not take much to get the body ready for paint, with the thought I could paint it in GWR Lake and use it for lining practice, even if I would need to strip it later so that I could complete it. When I got it out of it's box it looked like this...




First order was to clean of some of the tarnish and then make a start cleaning it up, removing excess solder, before adding body detail, after making sure I have added the captive nuts that would allow me to fix the under frame on after it was painted, and once I had made it! These things have a lot of handrails, so a lot of .45mm brass wire has been cut, bent and soldered on. A few of them still need a little bit of tweaking, but now they are all in place. As are the lamp irons, steps on the front and those that hang off the buffer beam. Also some buffers are now in place. Once thing I did discover was that the original builder had soldered the body together but glued the overlays for the droplights - the glue was not very good and did not stand being drilled into, these are fiddly to put back when the body is soldered together and the internal partitions are in place. Then I was struck with the idea of tinning the body side and using a rubber block to manoeuvre the droplight in place whilst looking from the outside. I could then apply the RSU to the outside of the body, having attached a clip on the body itself and generate enough heat to have the droplight tack solder themselves to the body. Then I simply applied the RSU on the droplight itself to get a permanent bond. This solved the problem of lining the droplight up and getting them soldered in such a cramped spot. By the end of the night it looked more like this




As a footnote, whilst researching handrail positions for this railmotor I looked at lots of pictures and noticed the different door arrangement, some with single doors and some with double doors. So I need to look at a DK1 kit from Dart Castings to see if it is for the same door arrangement as my NuCast has, otherwise I might be back to square one on this one.




I still may look at taking this, since my plan is to paint it in chocolate and cream, much of that work can be done without the steps in place, so maybe it will get some paint after all.


In the few days left I want to at last apply primer to a few models, so I can practice top coating them, and hopefully have at least one I can use to do some lining. If that is to happen I really only have one more day to attach any more bits to these models. I also have a couple of ready to run body shells to play around with and a scratch build loco I picked up secondhand for £10 - that spent a few hours in paint stripper, so will hopefully make a good thing to experiment with. Maybe one day I fix it up and have it running again.


What all this does prove, to me a least, having a deadline really does focus the mind to get things done. But even then I put things aside as "too difficult", like the second go at the top feed and those pipes!

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Well, with less than 24 hours to go things have not exactly worked out to plan. The Neilson, Black Hawthorn and Duke are ready to be painted, or at least have primer applied. I applied primer to the tender of the Duke tonight but stopped short of doing the same to the locomotive as I was having to use a rattle can etch primer and I am a little concerned by how thick the primer coat seems to be. Not so much detail on the tender, so I can get away with it there. But at least I finally got the top feed sorted and cleaned the Duke considerable. So maybe the best I can hope for is to have a primer coat on some of the others.


The Mallard 57 foot steam rail motor had some more details added, a major cleanup and was primed with said etch primer (Precission Paints single pack can) on Tuesday. After leaving for more than the required 24 hours it received a top coat of Coach Lake - not the best finish in the world, but hopefully good enough I can try lining it. I suspect I will strip the paint off and have another go once I have learnt to do a better job.


The NuCast Steam Railmotor (70 foot), had a new set of steps made from the DK1 etch, unfortunately I could not fit them because there was not enough clearance behind due to the long tanks. So I fixed the originals for the time and spent some time cleaning the model up and filling some of the worse surface pitting of the white metal. My plan had been to give it another primer coat with a Halfords spray can. Unfortunately this has to be done in the garden because of the smell, but the weather was against me, it was blowing a gale and really not the sort of day to spray outside. I'm not sure how I will proceed with this one, I was hoping to get the first colour applied over the weekend - we shall see on this one.


I had a couple of cheap loco bodies I picked up secondhand that I wanted to strip and repaint. The stripping has happened, but they are not as clean as I would have liked, and again they have not been primed because of the weather.


I did clean and prime the body of Daniel's tool van, so that at least should be able to get a top coat over the weekend.


So all in all not exactly where I wanted to be at this stage, but I have some things done and will just have to make the most of what I have. I does mean I have moved a number of projects forwards significantly in the last two weeks, so every cloud has a silver lining - it would just have been better not to have the clouds or the high winds - you can never rely on the weather working in your favour!


I have also resolved to be more careful and cleanup more as I go along in future. I thought the models looked ok until I started to really look hard and find all the solder fillets and grunge on them.

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In the end the weekend did not go to plan. So none of the models I prepared received any paint, other than some primer on the Friday morning before I left. The things that did get paint where the two secondhand bodies, lots of lines on some sheets of metal as lining practice and some tins of Humbrol with lids lined in yellow.


Learnt about techniques and the things that I had previously been doing wrong, so hopefully I will be able to put that into practice in the next couple of weeks and move some things forwards. Trying to fit so much into such a short weekend was, in retrospect, over ambitious and also underestimated the enormity of the skills to learn. Lining with a bow pen is something that is not learnt quickly, let along all the complex operations of creating neat corners with a brush or tracing edges.


I think my plan moving forward will be to shelf the lining side of it for now and concentrate on the painting to a good finish before, maybe, going back to the lining topic. However for now a break is in order following the intensive lead-up period and a tiring weekend concentrating on making oil based liquid do things they just didn't want to do.


I very different Missenden experience from the norm, much less in the way of practical results but hopefully some new skills have started to develop as a result. This was always an area in which I struggled, trying to learn from n expert in the field is perhaps a rather drastic way of taking the plunge, it certainly has a way of highlighting ones deficiencies, but maybe also some of the greatness starts to rub off. Although at the moment it doesn't feel too much like that, maybe in the privacy of ones own home without the time pressures all those words of wisdom will play their part.

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