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John Brenchley

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  • Location
    Perth , Western Australia
  • Interests
    2mm finescale
    GWR, Tavistock station, Devon, UK

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  1. A useful recommendation thanks Becasse. It's something I must try to remember next time I can't find the right size strip of scrap metal. Best wishes John
  2. The Yard Crane (3) An aspect of the crane body that I thought quite prominent was the covers that existed on the inside of the body, presumably to protect the internal gears and wheels. Two of Julia’s pictures below show that they existed on both sides of the body. They are quite noticeable on the pictures of Julia’s model, but the etched kit did not include any way of representing them and without them, I thought the inside of the body would look a bit too open. Not really knowing the dimensions, it was all a bit of a guess, but I found the edges from left over wagon chassis etches were a bit over 1mm wide, so I used these to bend up suitable shapes as below. Where the gaps were too wide to fill in with solder, I pushed in bits of brass rod and soldered round them as well. The above pictures show one of the covers soldered up for the first crane. As I had already soldered together the body sides, base and cross members for this crane, it was a bit tricky to install the covers and be sure they were in the correct places but its all a bit out of sight once the crane is finished so didn’t seem too important. With the benefit of hindsight, the covers have been fitted to the sides of the second crane before they are soldered into the box shape as this makes them much easier to locate in place. I did try including a spare etched wheel in one of them, not very successfully so decided it wasn’t worth doing on the others, being almost invisible from most viewing angles. The shape of one of the covers on the right hand side isn't quite right as the hole isn't in the centre of the cover but it will be impossible to tell once all the other bits and pieces are added to the crane. And yes, one of the covers did overlap the sides slightly in real life – its not a soldering error! Best wishes John
  3. I suspect you may be right Jim It's a shame as this mars what is on the whole a very good etch Best wishes John
  4. The Yard Crane (2) Before commencing on construction of the crane body, I had one main concern that had arisen from reading two reviews that had been written up in N Scale Society magazines by modellers who had built the kit. In both reviews, the comment was made that they could not get the ends of the jib to fit outside the body of the crane. If one modeller had had this problem, I might have put it down to an error in construction but for two people to have the same issue, was cause for concern. I went back to the drawings in GWRJ and found an inside dimension for the crane body of 2’ 10 ¾”. Allowing for the thickness of the metal sides, an approximate dimension of 3’ seemed likely i.e. 6mm in our scale. Measuring between the end of the jib that I had already put together came out at about 6.15mm so I was happy enough that this had been built correctly. The etch is designed for the floor and sides to fold up into a U shape from a single piece but when I did this, I found that the external width measured about 8.2mm, clearly 2mm too wide. Looking at the pictures on Julia’s website, her crane body looked to have the correct proportions, but it could also be seen that her sides were soldered to a separate floor piece, not folded from a single etch. I haven’t asked her, but my suspicion is that she did not etch these parts but cut them separately from sheet metal so when N Brass Locos wanted to market a complete kit, they had to add a crane body to the etch but somehow drew it 2mm too wide. The left-hand picture below shows the relative width of the body compared with the jib ends I definitely wanted the jib ends to fit outside the crane body, so my only option was to break the U shape apart, narrow the floor by 2mm and then solder the separate parts together. On the right is a picture I took at this stage in construction of the first crane. All the other etched cross members also had to be reduced by 2mm – it was much harder to hold it all together and solder squarely but worth it in the end. I’m now about to repeat this process with the second crane so will post further pictures in due course. Best wishes John
  5. The Yard Crane As mentioned in my recent post on the finished water tank, I have now built one of the two GWR 6-ton yard cranes that existed at one time in the Tavistock goods yard, just needing to sort out a suitable size chain before painting it. The evidence for there being two cranes is very clear from the aerial photograph from the Britain From Above website which is dated 1928. Later photographs perhaps only show one crane, but as the model is set sometime in the mid to late 1930’s, I decided that two cranes were still appropriate. The kits are sold by N Brass Locos and include a beautifully delicate piece of etch, various thicknesses of wire plus two brass castings for the main support column and for the cable winding drum. My understanding is that the etch is based on one originally designed by Julia Adams for her model Highcleres. A couple of pictures of her crane can be seen via this link. https://modelopolis.blogspot.com/2013/01 I suspect that some changes were made to Julia’s design as the N Brass Locos etch includes one or two extra elements not apparent on her model but also excludes some parts and at the same time it appears to have introduced some errors, mostly minor but some more significant. Julia also sent me several pictures she had taken of the crane at Fawley, and they have been invaluable in helping me understand what the completed model should look like. Hopefully she won’t mind if I include on or two of them to help illustrate this post. Detailed drawings of the crane were published in the preview issue of Great Western Railway Journal, and these have also been really helpful. I decided to start with the jib and was delighted to find that holding the parts against a photocopy of the drawing reduced to 2mm scale gave a perfect match for size and angle. As can be seen from the picture of the etch above, the sides and top of the jib come attached by a couple of tiny tabs, with the base being a separate piece. The instructions suggest that the sides can be bent up and then soldered to the top but in practice, I found the tabs were so flimsy that even one bend caused the parts to separate. In practice, this was a good thing as it enabled me to solder the sides slightly inset on the top, allowing creation of the outward facing L shaped framework which would not otherwise have been possible. The light is reflecting rather strongly in the above picture, but I think it should still be possible to see the L shape in places. One error in the instructions is that they say to cut off the lower ends of both the top and bottom pieces where they extend past the lowest cross bar. This would have the effect of removing the webbing from the L where it is fixed to the outside of the crane base but from Julia’s pictures below it is clear that it should only be removed from the top layer of the jib, not the bottom. In the picture above, I forgot to remove the ends from the top but have done so later on. Another error that is apparent from the above pictures is that the lowest cross pieces are etched too near the base of the jib and prevent it fitting sufficiently far overlapped over the base of the crane. Also missing is the lowest crisscross framing on the base piece of the jib. I therefore removed both the top and bottom cross bars, replacing the lower one with a thin strip of 5 thou nickel silver fitted higher up and also adding two more strips to form the crisscross. They are a little thicker than those of the etch but will be so low down on the jib that this shouldn’t be too apparent. The finished version of the jib for the second crane is below. I still need to add the pully wheels and the chain protection bracket. I’ll take picture as progress continues with the base of the second crane and post later on. Best wishes John
  6. Thanks Jim I might try that and see how I get on, but the length I need might be too long if its likely to break. I also thought of twisting rather than knotting the wire between each loop so can try that as well. Best wishes John
  7. Thanks Jim This time difference is a nuisance - I'd gone to bed without seeing your reply - no chance of a sensible question and answer conversation. Can you clarify what you mean by a "thumb knot" please ( is it like the first of the two knots in a reef knot?) and how you used the drill - was it a case of twisting/knotting the wire round the drill, then moving the drill along and twisting again, ie making one loop at a time? Thanks John
  8. Thanks for the helpful comments Izzy, Jim and Jan That small bit of chain looks very good Jim. Jan - I also Google the Sinnet style but it looks a bit complicated and I wonder how easy it would be particularly if the wire was a bit stiff like phosphor bronze. Was the wire you used softer Jim and what thickness was it? Best wishes John
  9. Thanks Izzy Is that the Ship Model Forum? I found that and a modeler there (David Griffith) refers to the braided wire technique as described in his book - unfortunately not much help without the book and he doesn't expand on the method in the forum posts. Best wishes John
  10. Thanks Kit PW I've had a look at the site you mention, but suspect the chain may be very similar in size to that which I already have - the finest they list has a link length of 1.1mm which seems to be about the same - still likely to look overscale. I think I model in too small a scale to get suitable chain for this type of crane. Best wishes John
  11. Thanks Richard I actually bought the N Brass chain at the same time as I bought the crane kits from them. I also bought some chain that I found advertised on the internet as 1:700 anchor chain. This came from China and seems marginally thinner than the N Brass chain but has the same number of links per inch. I think I mistyped 40 per inch in an earlier post - either way, the chain is still over scale. Best wishes John
  12. An interesting idea Tim In the meantime, do you have any thoughts on whether I should stick with the overscale chain or replace it? John
  13. I seem to have had several projects on the go at the same time recently including finishing off the water tank, continuing with the vegetation at the front of the layout and starting one of the two etched kits I have bought for the 6 ton yard cranes. The first project to be completed was the water tank with a close up picture below. The main change since I last posted has been painting the model in GWR light and dark stone colours (using the RailMatch range of paints), followed by weathering with washes of "roof dirt" and dry brushing with a variety of paints mixed to rust colours. Thread has been used to represent the chains and the etched ladder is now fixed in place. The fire devil has also been scratch built from bits of scrap brass - I initially tried plastic but it wasn't strong enough nor delicate enough in appearance. The legs have ended up slightly shorter than they should be but I had so much difficulty soldering them all on that I'm not going to try changing them now and once painted and located on the layout, its not really going to be noticed. Finally, a view from the other side. In both pictures, the unpainted crane can be seen (I'll post some construction notes as I build the second one). This one is complete apart from deciding on the chain which is just placed loosely in position at the moment. The finest chain I could find was 40 links per inch whereas from counting links on pictures, I think 70 per inch would be more correct. In effect, is is almost twice as large as it should be. So I have to make a decision. 1. I could take the view that the eye expects to see a chain so it is better to have a proper one even if it is overscale. 2. The alternative approach would be to say that scale size is the most important factor and some other representation of the correct thickness would be preferable, even if links can't be seen. i.e. something similar to the thread used to represent the even finer chain on the water tank. What do others think? (I have tried twisting wire together to try to create a chain appearance, but so far, haven't managed to achieve an acceptable result.) Best wishes John
  14. Thanks Mikkel Although there are extensive comments on the various merchants that operated at both Tavistock stations in the excellent article in GWRJ Issue 17, it is not clear who owned what. My gut feeling is that non railway sheds such as those used for the wool storage might have been owned and maintained by the merchants with maybe a rent paid to the railway for use of the land. However the article also refers to Levers who handled agricultural supplies and says "Levers were accommodated in a corrugated iron pagoda shed at the south end of the goods shed, and later in the former stables". Since I think both these buildings would be of GWR origin, maybe they were just rented to Levers, rather than owned by them. Best wishes John
  15. I haven't made any progress with the water tank this week (must get the paints out), but thought I would continue with posting some notes and pictures of structures that have already been finished and installed on the layout. Sundry Goods Yard Buildings The goods yard at Tavistock included many buildings used mostly by independent merchants ie wool merchants, timber stores, agricultural suppliers and coal merchants as well as the small GWR built stables. To quote Anthony Kingdom who wrote many books on the line:- "Of the remaining buildings within the station complex, some, such as the old workshops, remained as original but by the time of our journey many ugly prefabricated buildings had sprung up. These were often in a poorer state of repair than many of the older counterparts." I suspect his visits were in the 1960's so luckily, the "ugly prefabricated buildings" did not exist during the earlier period that I am modelling. On the main baseboard that I have been working on, I needed to include the woolsheds and stables that were sited at the back of the yard. Below is a collection of pictures showing them at various time between 1911 and the 1960's The top two pictures are the earliest and show that the wool stores initially comprised two corrugated iron sheds but it was only later that a third was added. They also show a lack of skylights so I am assuming these were later additions. The top right was also the only picture I found that could confirm the existence of a window on the left side wall of the stables. The middle right photo was most useful in giving a view of the stables and confirming that it was similar to many other stables that the GWR built. The bottom left picture helped to show the internal framework of the doors which encouraged me to model two of them open. Lastly, the bottom right picture from GWRJ was useful in giving a colour for the wool sheds. Of course this was in late BR times but I liked the faded green look so chose to keep it for my own version of the sheds. I chose to tackle the stables first and found useful pictures in the books by Steven Williams and also in the much older publication " A pictorial History of Great Western Architecture" which also had scale drawings. This was my first model where I departed from the use of embossed plastic as I chose to try out the printed bricks that are available to download from Scalescenes. Its a while ago that I built the model but I suspect I used either Red Brick or Dark Red Brick but I do remember that I used washes of water colour over the top to tone down the colour delivered by my printer. For the windows I used the Cobol sheet sold at one time by the Association shops. For the glazing bars I used the method of scribing them on the sheet and then filling the scribe marks with paint. Care has to be taken in removing excess paint as the clear plastic scratches very easily. Roof slates are again from the range supplied on a printed label sheet under the name ClearSolutions (marketed by Ian Barefoot). The wool sheds were built from thick card with an overlay of corrugated iron. This was made from aluminium BBQ trays. To create the corrugations, deep parallel lines were first scribed in a thick sheet of plastic, then a roller ball pen was used to press the aluminium into the scribed indents. The doors were made from plastic sheet and strip. Best wishes John
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