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  1. Thanks for that. It's odd that these kits don't appear on the SE Finecast website. I'll order a chassis from them and put it away for next year.
  2. Yes I could see that as being a problem. I've ordered a pack of 603 from Zoro. I had thrown away the wheels in disgust so last night saw me wading through the bin to find them!
  3. Thanks for that. I'll look out for Loctite 603 as wheels slipping on the axles is a problem I've encountered on other locos. Maybe I won't need new wheels after all.
  4. I've now been able to add the gas pipes to the roof to complete the model. Those who have read my blog will know that I'm quite obsessive about roof detail. It always surprises me that people spend so much time detailing the underframe which is hardly seen whilst ignoring the roof which is always visible. We don't look at models like you look at the prototype. Having said that I'm not sure of the exact layout of the piping. I recollect a photo of what may be a Siphon C on the Highworth branch taken from above but can I find it? As the model represents the later 1920's period, I've added the thinner acetylene pipes. For bedtime reading I've been re-discovering my old BRJ magazines and an article in one of them about gas lighting showed that remarkably few Siphons actually had any form of lighting. The Siphon C certainly did though. The plastic rod came from a model shop discovered whilst visiting my mother in a home in Axminster, Devon. Buffers is in the middle of fields but is an excellent shop with a far wider range of goods than I expected. I'm sure those in the area already know of it but if you are in the vicinity it's worth looking in. Back to the Siphon. as so often with me, things go well until I pick up a paintbrush. I wanted to do some weathering using Humbrol washes but, stupidly, picked up the dark brown which for me dries to a high gloss finish. I consequently had to use "dust"wash to cover the gloss finish which means the model is rather dirtier than I wanted. Photographic evidence shows that like all wagons they were not cleaned and therefore the level of dirt is typical. I like the dust colour as I know when washing the car the "dirt" is light but whether that holds good for a steam railway is questionable. I do like the way that weathering picks out the fine detail. Incidentally, when it comes to weathering in the aforementioned BRJ there was an advert for a book by John Hayes, "The 4mm Coal Wagon." Look at the photos and weep. The Siphon C was one part completed project that I wanted to finish. Another was a kit for a GWR 64xx pannier tank. Those of you of a certain vintage may remember a range of kits by a manufacturer, Stephen Poole. The 64Xxx was one of those and had, as all kits did in those days, a crude brass chassis. I rebuilt this to EM gauge using Romford wheels but it still looked crude. I probably wouldn't have bothered with it but it had been painted by Larry Goddard (brass safety valve cover?) so I thought it deserved a little attention. Below is a photo taken in 2015 before I tried improving it. I wanted a better chassis but the only one I could trace was the one from the Westward Models (I think) kit. This unfortunately was etched in one piece as an inverted "U" for OO gauge of course. In a fit of enthusiasm I split the chassis down the middle and using brass spacers set the sides wider for EM gauge. There was no provision for compensation so it was fixed bearings aligned using lengths of 1/8th inch OD brass tube. I didn't want to spend much (any?) money on this so raided my spares drawers for a Mashima motor, Comet 38:1 gears and a motor mount of indeterminate origin. I had a number of Alan Gibson wheel sets and this was where the problem arose. The wheels I found were a tightish fit on the axles but not tight enough. Trying to quarter the wheels I found they slipped on the axles and even cyano would not cure the problem. If I wanted to make a proper job of this I would get a High Level gearbox and a new set of wheels. The moral of this story is if ever using wheels that are a push fit on the axle don't expect them to be a tight fit if taken on and off more than a couple of times. I had some old Romford wheels of the right size but the oversized flange and fixed balance weights were too much even for me. Incidentally these defects have been cured in the "Romford" wheels marketed by Markits. As any layout I do is likely to be in the "uncoloured" category the 64xx won't find any use which is why I'm reluctant to spend too much cash on it. A Bachmann body too would would be better detailed. As ever though this is the modellers quandry, what to do with those efforts from earlier days when the products; look at those handrail knobs; and your personal skill level were of a lower standard than now. I think though it is worth updating, maybe a job for the next modelling season. The other kit I mentioned in a previous blog was a GWR 2021 kit. This is being re-introduced by SE Finecast (the same range as the 517) so will wait for that to appear as it seems they are doing the chassis separately.
  5. "That sounds fascinating! I have seen various clips from the period on youtube, but not what you mention I think. I'd like to see the colourised version, it really brings things to life as you say. Thanks for the tip, I will see if I can access it somehow." Mikkel, Sorry I couldn't get back to you earlier. There seems to have been issues with the website. The colour film is from Channel 5: https://www.channel5.com/show/edwardian-britain-in-colour/ The early black and white film was, as I recall, by Mitchel and Kenyon. What is so good about these films is that they show everyday life, not a coronation or royal wedding. Off now to complete my Siphon C blog. John
  6. Mikkel, I wish I had the eyes to paint figures like that. The faces on my figures progress no further than a whitish blob. There's no doubt that the extra detailing really does make all the difference and you've inspired me to have another go with a magnifying glass to see if I can add eyes and moustaches. What I like about the age that you are modelling is the elegance of the clothes. Not sure whether you've seen them but a few years ago a large amount of cine film dating back to the early 1900's was found in the cellar of a shop in the NW of England. I think it was by someone named Kenyon and after restoration gave a wonderful evocation of life at that time. More recently there was a TV programme where the film had been "colourised" and that really brought it to life. The subjects suddenly became real people, not some remote figure in the distant past. I noticed the gas lamps which are presumably the Dart Castings ones. I nneded three for Westbrook and they are very well detailed but a pig to glaze. Two of the four supporting bars were cast in with two loose ones provided. I made a rough template to cut the Plastiglaze to the correct size and substituted Microstrip for the two bars that had to be attached. I'm still not happy with the appearance as the cyano clouded the Plastiglaze and I'm sure I can't use the excuse that the lamp glass was dirty, not at least on the GWR in the early 1930's.
  7. There's nothing like a photo to embarrass and that's hom I felt about the photo of the Siphon C in the last entry. It hadn't looked too bad until I applied the Pressfix transfers. It's a good idea to use 3mm transfers, the 16inch GWR would then become 12 inches. as Mikkel pointed out, thye size is given in the Fox Transfers website and I think it was 5.3mm which equates to 16inches in 4mm. I had another look at the Pressfix sheet and noticed that for wagons, i.e. in white, there is a size that would be suitable. I've applied those and overpainted them in yellow. The overpainting worked well on the "W" with all straight lines, less so on the "G" but still acceptable. All Siphons never seemed to be cleaned and consequently became quite mucky so any yellow off the character will be masked. I also took the opportunity to address the wayward "10 Tons," just why do errors that you never notice looking at the model become immediately apparent in a photo? A photo of the revised model below: Dammit, the original large "G" still shows through the paint! Maybe that's realism as that wasn't unknown! Like many others, I like the Siphons but I'm not sure how relevant they are on branch lines post WWI. The railways lost a great deal of milk traffic after that war as large number of surplus Army lorries became available and were promptly snapped up by budding haulage contractors. The ability to pick up milk direct from a farm and deliver to a dairy or railhead meant that that traffic was the first the railways lost. Blagdon was supposed to have a fair amount of milk traffic but a photo exists showing it being manhandled into the guard's compartment of the branch passenger train. I'm sure that was how milk was treated on most branches, the main reason for seeing a Siphon on a branch was, I believe, if required for other traffic, the strawberry specials on the Cheddar Valley line is one example that springs to mind. I mentioned in my earlier entry about downsizing and Mrs. D and I have agreed that having lived in our present house for almost 34 and a half years we will move in 2021 after my daughter's wedding. Thinking ahead an 8ft by 2ft layout won't be accomodated so will have to think about where I go from there. The modular system as suggested by Mikkel has it's appeal, perhaps a couple of stations on the Golden Valley Railway. Downsizing might also mean having to dispose of some of my disparate collection of stock acquired and built over many years, What use do I have, for example, for two, not one but two, detailed Airfix auto coaches and a detailed Siphon H? These would never have appeared at either Blagdon or the Golden Valley Railway. I also have what must be 100 or so railway books, mostly concerned with the GWR as well as a number of official publications including several service timetables. As I said yesterday, lots of decisions and ones that will be painful to make.
  8. JDaniels

    Siphon C

    Many thanks for your comments, interesting to know what you have for breakfast. I'm a muesli man myself but like porridge when it's colder. I have made some progress and will be doing a Siphon C update shortly.
  9. JDaniels

    Siphon C

    This winter has been fairly aimless as far as modelling is concerned. I thought though it might be good to try and finish one old project, the conversion of a K's Siphon F to a Siphon C. (By cutting and shutting.) This has been attempted before and I referred to an old Model Railway Constructor for information. This advocated putting the body on a Ratio 4 wheel coach underframe but as I already had the Mainly Trains running gear kit as well as the Dean Churhward brake fret I thought constructing the chassis might make a better model. It also helped that the Russell book, Great Western Coaches, has several good photos. It's not been an easy task as to enable the body to sit at the correct height (and the top of the springs to sit on the solebar) meant having to cut out part of the Plasticard floor as the W irons protrude into the body. Using the Mainly Trains fret though meant I could use the correct springs, the ones on the Ratio underframe, being designed for a coach, are too long and it does show. The brake detail was taken from the fret. I'm not too concerned whether the layout of the gear is strictly accurate, I believe just having the rodding there and visible from normal viewing angles (no model is designed to be looked at from underneath) is sufficient. The truss rods were brass as was the stepboard, at least that won't break as inevitably happens with the Ratio plastic version. The body didn't require too much work. I added brass handrails, door handles and lamp irons. I also drilled the holes to enable access to the outside door handles if someone was locked inside. Why though did every door have to have a hole, surely one each side would suffice. The roof was an appalling fit, with the Araldite already applied I realised that it wasn't going to fit so frantically looked in my box of spares and found a plastic roof that fitted almost perfectly. No idea where it came from but even the rainstrips were curved for exactly the length of the body. In the photo below I haven't painted the roof as I want to find out how the gas pipes were laid out. It seems clear that there were two gas lamps and there must have been the associated piping. For bedside reading I'm going through my old British Railway Journals, interesting and somewhere there may be a helpful photo. What is painfully obvious is the problems I had with the lettering. As usual I resorted to my years old Pressfix sheets but fear I might end up scraping most of it off. Any film will disappear under a coat of varnish, it's actually not as prominent as in the photo, but I see no answer to the size of the "GW" branding. It's known that the standard size was originally 25 inch and then 16 inch but what isn't so well known is that the size would be further reduced if there wasn't the space. On photographs the lettering fits neatly in the appropriate space so it must have been hand painted to fit. I reckon it's 12 inches high, and is that available? Of course not. I may even advance it earlier in time so I can safely use the 25 inch letters which were on the louvres along with a ridiculously large number, which is on the Pressfix sheet. That may however compromise the either side brake handles which I've fitted. Incidentally the wagon is sitting on the trackwork I made last year. The wooden sleepers need further painting but actually look quite good. What is not so good is the gap between the bottom of the rail and the sleeper, inevitable as the rail is soldered to a protruding rivet. Finally, I understand there is an article in Model Railway Journal detailing a similar conversion. I gave up on that magazine at issue 60 as I felt, no I know, it was way beyond my capabilities and I was quite uncomfortable with the sniping and backbiting in the letters page which has to be seen to be believed. Not sure what I'll do next. I have a Stephen Poole 64xx 0-6-0PT body painted by Larry Goddard along with a modified Cotswold chassis. That requires a decent gearbox to get going although the body is not as detailed as the Bachman offering. There's also the M&L 2021 0-6-0ST which has sat partially completed for years. However as we're looking to downsize in a few years time I'm not sure whether it's worth doing too much as there won't be space for Blagdon Mark II. The points for which are shown in the photo. Decisions, decisions.
  10. Many thanks for your comments. Since I started constructing this model I've looked more closely at stone buildings and it's suprising just what variations in shade there are. I do wonder though whether when the eye takes in a building close up it tends to look at parts, not the whole, and the variations, whilst there, aren't so noticeable. Looking at a model the eye takes in the whole building and whilst the variations in shade are authentic, because the eye sees the whole building it may look a little overdone. The website Mikkel has highlighted has I think every photo ever taken of Westbrook. The one of the station in the snow shows that I haven't got the arrangement of the notice boards quite correct, I had this photo but overlooked it. I've now rectified this adding the small enamel notice at the end of the building. The photo also shows that battens were used as I guessed. The photos show ramshackle sheds tacked on to the end of the building. I've constructed these from Plasticard although the platform facing side does not appear in any photos so have had to make a guess as to the appearance, there must have been a door. I painted the sheds but stupidly used a Humbrol dark brown wash which dries to a gloss finish. The Golden Valley branch was an attractive line, most trains were mixed with a couple of mismatched four wheeled coaches. The 517's worked the line until the Collett 0-4-2T's came along and after a few new examples were used, 5818 settled down to become the Golden Valley loco. It was always kept in immaculate condition. Next job is the platform surface and a visit to Screwfix for aluminium oxide paper.
  11. I've now painted and therefore completed the station building. For the most part I used Humbrol acrylic paints and was pleased with how I got on with them. I've had problems in the past but I like the matt finish (unlike some so called matt enamels), the way in which you can mix the paints and the ease with which they dilute with water. I collected a number of greyish acrylics whilst I was at Gaugemaster at Ford but didn't realise that some are a satin finish, this is not shown on the container. As a result the first coat of paint was with one of these, my puzzlement answered by reference to the Humbrol colour chart. My conclusion is that acrylics are great for painting natural colours, for representing painted surfaces such as locos and coaches, enamels are best. I would have liked the underlying brown to show through a little more though. The results of my efforts: Photographs of the end without the extension seem to show a lighter patch of stone in the middle of the wall with darker patches either side. I had thought about trying to represent this but thought that if I did anyone looking at it would say that I got the weathering wrong! As you can see, I have added a couple of notice boards. Photos of the station show boards in the position I've fixed them although these disappeared in the "goods only" days. In part 3 of his series of books on modelling GWR branches, Stephen Williams suggested putting a raised border round the edge of the board to better represent prototype practice. The flat surface of the Tiny Signs boards are just that, flat. I didn't feel able to cut out a square in paper as he did so used the finest Microstrip instead. I also fixed the boards with two battens each, if I was presented with the job of fixing a flat board to a rough surface that's exactly what I would do.Also, as Stephen Willaims suggested, both boards were given a coat of matt varnish. I really must refer to the Stephen Williams books more,they are full of simple ideas that can make such a difference. The roof has turned out well, if a little irregular, but I didn't do too much weathering. We had Sunday lunch at a local pub yesterday, the service was slow and I found myself looking out at a house opposite with a slate roof. It had been raining and the roof looked new, pristine dark grey with no staining at all. We probably forget the cleansing properties of rain and the Welsh border country has plenty of that. I'm now looking at the edging of the platform. I recently visited an excellent little model shop in Salisbury and found a sheet of moulded Plasticard with a very small diamond pattern. This is perfect for bricks (or slabs) that formed the edge of the platform. If I had felt like it I could have scored the strip to represent the separate bricks but balked at the thought. The separate bricks are hardly noticeable and bearing in mind my complete inability to consistently measure the same distance each time I thought it would probably look worse. If anyone would like to see photos of the prototype Google "Westbrook station" and any number will come up. Take out the photos of Westbrook station in Canada, there's no mistaking them, and you're left with fewer than half a dozen and only some of these show the station building. It's a gloomy looking station overshadowed by trees but did have quite a floral display. With two trains each way a day (three on Thursday, Hay market day) Station Master Knowles had plenty of tinme to ensure the gardens were tidy.
  12. Many thanks Mikkel. I've replied with a PM.
  13. Thanks Mikkel. We'll see what the roof looks like when it's painted. I wasn't sure about the roof but the individual tiles do look better. I forgot to mention in the entry but I took the opportunity to put in a slipped tile, this quite often happened when the securing nails rusted. I've painted the walls using the photo of the bridge as a guide but it's very difficult. Weathered stone seems to take on a different hue every time you look at it. I manged to get Railmatch Light Stone (I was wrong above, it was the dark stone they didn't have) which looks very similar to the Precision Paint version of that colour I had used previously. I'm looking at the colour samples in the HMRS guide which were matched with Swindon samples and IMHO what paint manufacturers purport to be light stone looks very much like dark stone. Light stone on the colour samples is almost a pale khaki colour, quite unlike any of the model paints that I've seen which tend to have a reddish-brown hue. It's not as warm as dark stone, or stone number 3 to give it the official designation. In fact looking at the two colours it's impossible to say what is dark or light, the shade seems the same and it's only be referring to the text that we know number 1 is light and number 3 dark.Stephen Williams in his book expressed similar reservations about the shades used but given the manner in which the paint was prepared I'm not too concerned as there must have been infinite variations throughout the system.
  14. Thank you for your kind comments. I'm quite sure a model of Westbrook would be unique. I did get down to Gaugemaster yesterday and found they only had the dark stone paint. One of the frustrations of modelling! Still I was able to drool over the Dapol 'O' gauge models.
  15. JDaniels

    GWR 0-4-2T's

    Thank you. The Perseverance kit wasn't available for long. I remember getting it after seeing it advertised in an early issue of MRJ. The instruction book, and it is a book, is one of the best I've seen and an example to kit manufacturers everywhere. I think the next 48xx model I'll be getting is the long awaited Dapol 'O' gauge version, particularly so if it's the same price as the Terrier. I saw the Dapol 64xx/74xx in the flesh yesterday and it would make anyone an instant convert to the senior scale.
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