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I have been blogging intermittently (more spasmodically) about building a small 7mm scale layout set in the early 1890's

 

Details to date can be found on the blog (linked in my signature below).

 

The intent of the layout was to trial and develop different skills and techniques ahead of a more ambitious layout build.

 

I've decided to start a thread as this format seems more interactive and is less intensive to update.

 

I'm currently working my way through the unfinished projects pile, painting wagons and figures, detailing a 0-4-0t build and coaxing the chassis into working smoothly.

 

I'll post piccies and details as I progress.

 

The layout is currently operational :senile: barring a small electrical fault so I am hoping to develop the scenery over the next few months also.

 

As can be seen from the photo below the track work has been adjusted slightly as the original point at the quarry line exit could not be made to run smoothly.

I also had to "persuade" some of the sharper curves into a widened gauge (hammer and chisel :O - as recommended by various finescale associations :no:).

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Argos
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First I've seen of this, as I find the blogs area really irritating, so don't go there. That's why mine only has a few entries! Post lots of stuff here, so I don't miss it.

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Today's modelling consisted of adding some detail to my Ramsbottom 4' shunter build.

 

The build started over 5 years ago when my soldering skills were very rudimentary. I have contemplated re-doing the main bits but the resin boiler and saddle tank are well and truly epoxied in and I don't fancy waving a hot iron around the detailed cast resin.

 

I've been putting off adding the reversing rod as these were not provided with the kit and required scratch building.

In actuality it didn't take long, a few minutes with some brass strip and file to shape and overlay on Mike Sharmen's 7mm scale drawing.

These were then soldered onto a 0.7mm rod with two 16BA washers. The result looks pretty good.

 

The other element tackled was the brake actuator.

The white metal casting provided with the kit is too short and doesn't reach above the back sheet as per the prototype.

This meant it would have to be mounted in the centre of the coal hole. :nono:

 

Playing around with a couple of brass tubes, some BA washers, brass wire and the soldering iron soon had something the correct length, and more like the prototype :boast:

Until I left the soldering iron in position too long for the last joint and disassembled the whole build. :scared:

 

The re-build was less enjoyable! :angry:

 

Some photos below:-

 

 

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I've never been particularly happy with my build of the Nathanial Atrill P.O wagon rolling around Three Shire Heads.

It was an early build when I had limited tools and what skills I had were quite rusty.

 

Whilst playing trains :senile: At the last operating session, I noticed one of the corners had split, I obviously hadn't sanded the wooden inserts enough and the joint, never particularly well made, had called time. As I had a number of other wagons on the workbench for painting it seemed and ideal time for a make over.

 

The offending corner was remade, the remaining ones filled and sanded and horse staples added. Whilst looking at the details of a similar wagon in one of Bill Hudson's P.O Wagon books I noticed that the door over the brakes had a circular disc to prevent damage so this was added by gluing a small washer in the appropriate position and filling the centre. I also took the opportunity to drill out the brake (pinion?). I replace the plastic effort with and etched version in all my builds now but the plastic one was well and truly glued in.

 

The final result looks ok.

 

The nearest Humbrol colour match is gloss which makes some of the repairs look a little odd, but a few minutes with a fibre brush will dull the surface. The wagon still needs to be weathered and a coat of matt vanish will finish off any remaining shine.

 

The photos below show the various stages along with the wagons in the paint shop (kitchen table).

 

 

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A slight backward step... :resent:

I have been trying to create the internal woodwork of the wagons in the paint shop using enamel washes. The methodology is well documented, starting with a medium wood brown, wash over with a sandy yellow, wash again with a pale grey and finish off with very weak black wash.

The first two steps went well (the results at that stage can be seen in post 3 above), however I applied the grey was too thick. I diluted the grey paint in a similar manner to the sandy yellow, but this was obviously far too thick for a wash, so I added about 4x the thinners, this, in hindsight, was still too thick and after application was brushed off with more thinners.

Now dry the wagon interiors are still too grey for my liking. I could probably get away with them, untreated wood does silver over time but the results would always bug me.
I think another sandy yellow wash followed by the black should sort it.
 
So the lesson learnt is that not all paint pigments dilute the same (all the paints were relatively fresh Humbrol enamels). Grey in particular offers far better coverage.
 
This is presumably why a lot of Railway companies painted their wagons grey an none yellow (cue a hundred posts to inform that the Grimthwaite & Lower Witham Railway painted all its wagons yellow in 1872.......). This wagon is on the to do list though..... http://www.powsides.co.uk/www.powsides.co.uk/info.php?p=0&search=leek.

 

 

 

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The posts to date have been about the rolling stock so I thought I'd add a few words about the layout itself.

 

The scenic section is a vast 4' 8" long so is very easy to overwhelm. I find with small layouts less is definitely more.

The picture below suitably doctored shows the intention. A road bridge separates the fiddle yard and scenic section (bare in mind in the fictitious history this was going to be a through line to Macclesfield thus justifying the building of a bridge a few yard short of the terminal point of the rails). I am hoping the 2 storey good warehouse will balance the layout, effectively bookending the visible section with structures. I haven't found a prototype for this warehouse so I'm making it up. It looks right (at least in my head...... :crazy:).

 

My original plan was to have both main sidings inlaid with cobbles, but decide this would take over a bit, so have kept the first siding ballasted. The area boarded out to raise the level will be covered with DAS to scribe the cobbles into. At a later date I added a Dyserthesque station platform, but now think this again crams too much in. I haven't decided what to replace the station with. I've always fancied modelling the Cromford & High Peak Goods shed at Longcliffe, a nice small structure that is still existent. I may take a pootle along to measure up and photograph the next clear weekend. I want to create a milk dock for loading churns. Milk being an important commodity along these rural lines.

 

I am also unsure about the crane located in between the two main siding as this again adds too much clutter.

 

In coming up with the design I tried to follow American principles (I occasionally dabble in railways across the Atlantic) of create wagon spots. Hopefully this will add purpose and interest to shunting beyond simply pushing wagons around.

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Edited by Argos
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I find the Lifecolor 'Weathered Wood' set of paints pretty good for wagon interiors. Mind you, the technique takes a while to master. In fact I'm not sure I've mastered it myself yet. But I do get various shades of finish and some are quite pleasing, to me anyway.

 

It looks a very interesting project, and coming on well. The LNWR in the Peak had its charms. A 'Chopper' tank might be a good idea for the next engine.

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Hi Poggy,

 

I've tried the life colour flesh tones for painting figures and can't get to grips with them, I just don't seem to get the coverage with acrylics. That said it might make them ideal for washes!

I'll preserver with enamels for the minute, purely on the basis I already have a large range. I've more wagons to paint so might give acrylics another chance.

 

Funnily enough a chopper is on the build list. I actually intended to scratch build one as part of the rmweb challenge this year and started a thread. I quickly realised that I had far too many projects on the go and had reached saturation point! None the less I have the wheels, motor & gears, some components and a stockpile of brass sheet ready to go.

 

The plan is to model no 2278 which was based in Buxton (although I've yet to confirm her presence in the period modelled) and went on to become the last of the class scrapped under BR ownership in 1952.

 

Once I've complete the 4' Shunter and my 5'6" tank that is about half built I'm intending to start the chopper.

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The interior of the wagons has been re-worked. I washed with a sandy yellow and then with black and I am happy with the end result.

The actual colour is darker and more varied than the photo would indicated

Just decals and exterior weathering to sort!

 

I've also got a wagon load of people to finish painting.....

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I've now completed a couple of jobs I have been putting off for a while on the 4' shunter. :sungum:
 
The first was the balance pipe that runs from the underside of the saddle following the curve of the boiler just in front of the firebox. The pipe was not the issue just requiring some brass rod of the right diameter to be bent to the curve of the boiler. The nut is just a 16BA nut secured in position. The thickening at the tank entry caused some head scratching. :scratchhead: Inspiration came when I noticed my stalled build of a Caley 171 tank in 2mm scale. The rolling chassis has its coupling rods held onto the crank pins with some insulation stripped off a piece of wire. At first the insulation just split as the brass rod was to thick, stretching the insulation over a tapered broach and the insulation slipped on no problem. It could then be positioned as required once the rod was inserted into holes drilled in the underside of the tank side.
 
The second job was the sanding actuators. These are controlled by slim bars with a lengthened S shape where they enter the cab. The actuators themselves were knocked up from cheesehead BA screws and nuts. These were then held in a mini drill and spun against a file to remove the thread, a small section of tube was then soldered in place and drilled to accept a length of 0.5mm rod to form the link back to the actuator bar. All fairly simple.
 
The element that has caused a couple of month's of procrastination were those slim S shaped bars. I puzzled how to hold the brass bar whilst I formed the curves. After a lot of thought I tried holding the bar to be shaped in some parallel pliers forming the bend around some brass tube. Unfortunately I only have two hands so this proved impossible. :no: in the end I simply formed the curves with my thumbs, straightening out the vertical profile as I went. All in work of a couple of minutes!
 
Just goes to show what happens when you over think! I should have just got stuck in!
 
Some new front vac pipes have also been formed as the ones provided with the kit are handed the wrong way. These would be suitable for virtually all other LNWR engines but for some reason when Crewe added the vacuum equipment to these engines they routed the pipe work down the left hand side rather than the usual right hand side. So much for standardisation!  
 
I would also like to thank Oldrog73. His (her?) detailed photos of the original engine in the Rmweb galleries have proved invaluable in constructing the detail on this loco.

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/album/1406-lnwr-ramsbottom-tank-details/
http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/album/1407-lnwr-ramsbottom-tank-details-2/

 

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For me one of the joys of modelling the pre-grouping scene is the mixture of different companies.

The names carry you to destinations beyond the scenic break and create traffic flows of their own accord.

Add to this is the melting pot of liveries, logos, lettering and designs, no uniform block trains here! :no:

 

The photos below show the first four wagons off the work bench. I'm just waiting for a delivery of Dulcote to seal the decals prior to weathering the exterior. Most of these wagons would be relatively new in the year modelled so nothing too heavy.

 

This is the first time I've got as far as applying decals to a model (apart form Airfix kits in my teens). I found it a trial needing a lot of concentration at first but got the hang of it in the end. I am pleased with the results. :boast:

 

 

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I suggest you try Dullcote on a test piece first. I had a very strange experience with it. One side of a wagon was perfect, the other 'bloomed'. As the paint and the conditions were obviously identical for both, I have never been able to explain this satisfactorily. The blooming would however be ideal weathering for a salt or a lime wagon. 

 

Advice I was given (on this forum) was to try to spray on a nice, warm, dry day.

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Thanks for the warning Poggy, given the weather at the moment and the fact the spray booth is in an (un)heated garage I may have to put off spraying for a while!

 

I choose Dullcote because it seems to have a good reputation.

 

I do spray through winter, although I heat (gently on a radiator) both the model to be sprayed and the paint first.

 

I might trial this approach on some scrap with the dulcote.

 

Edited in brackets after ChrisN's post below

Edited by Argos
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Hi, 

Not wishing to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, but I would sooner say than you have more problems.

 

I sprayed some figures using Humbrol Matt Varnish, towards the end of an autumn day.  The first side was fine, the second was horrible.  I asked on here and checked other sites, in the end wargamming sites.  Those who continued to use spray cans suggested that you shook the can until your arm dropped off, well not quite, 5 minutes at least.  The overall opinion was to keep everything warm.  One person like you has a heated garage, which they found fine.  Even so, doing a test piece cannot be bad.

 

My problem?  Well I sprayed it again a few days later when it was warm in the middle of the day and to my surprise they all looked fine.

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This time of year the Rayburns lit, so if I'm in a spraying mood, I put the can in the bottom (new born lamb warming) oven until the can is warm. I tend to spray in the kitchen, so I don't heat the model. Seems to work well...

 

Andy G

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Like Poggy I too had a blooming experience with Dullcote, and my workshop is set up for year-round spraying (nice & warm + a dehumidifier). I've now moved away from railway modelling based varnishes and get excellent, consistent results from Windsor & Newton Galeria varnishes. These are acrylic and come in matt, satin and gloss. They work well over enamels, and weathering with enamels over the top is also fine, as long as you've allowed plenty of time for each medium to not just dry, but to cure properly. Other advantages of the W&N is that they're touch-dry quickly, so there's less chance of wayward motes sticking to your finish, and the matt when sprayed is the flattest matt I've ever seen.

Edited by Buckjumper

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Hi Chris,

 

I've just noticed a typo in my response in post 13 above.

My garage is unheated and very damp.

 

You are certainly not teaching granny to suck eggs as I am still learning this painting game.

My spraying thus far has been mostly limited to primer. I use Halfords grey rattle tins. These seem to give good, even coverage over all materials, the wagons in post 11 are a mixture of etched brass, white metal, resin and plastic.

I have also used colour, again Halfords rattle tins, for a couple of vans (still to be completed).

 

I normally turn a halogen heater on about an hour before I spray, this does raise the temperature a smidge (the garage has a unsealed wooden door with large gaps around it so it is a fairly futile attempt at heating). I leave the model and the spray can on a radiator at the same time. after about an hour I take the paint and the model down to the garage and spray. As yet I've yet to have a problem (fingers crossed).

 

Of course I still have to try varnish.....

 

I have had an airbrush in the cupboard for a few years now but haven't tried it as yet, the spray cans and a quality paint brush seem to give a satisfactory finish so why bother?

I may do some trials as the loco builds near completion.

 

I'll post how I get on, success or otherwise!

Edited by Argos
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I like your layout, the name is familiar as I grew up in Macclesfield. You wouldn't expect a rail line at Three Shires Head, its very rugged but there were lead mines further up the valley (spoil tailings still there) so a plausible source of traffic?

 

I was also modelling in a (double) garage until 2 years ago, sealing the door & converting half into a insulated workshop was the best thing I did!

 

Look forward to seeing what you do.

 

Dava

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Hi Dava,

 

I posted a fictional history of the line in my blog prior to starting this thread (link in my signature).

 

I think the history is plausible, and there were several real proposals crossed the moors, none ever built of course.

I have twisted geology a bit as I've assumed a limestone quarry off scene complete with lime kilns and a fluorspar loading dock (based loosely around the facility and mine in Monsal Dale on the Midland's main line through the Peaks). Fluorspar is found in several of the limestone areas of the Peaks and is still extracted on a commercial basis today.

 

This quarry generates more traffic, coal, coke and gunpowder in, cut stone, crushed stone and slaked lime out.

Having mountain biked past Three Shire Heads from Cat & Fiddle on more than a few occasions I am well aware of the lack of limestone!

 

Still why spoil a good plan with facts........ :no:

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There is plenty of scope for railway might-have-beens in that area as you say. Back in the '70s there was a 009 layout named Wincle & Wildboarclough by two members of the Macclesfield group.

 

I like the effect of the 3 way point, did you build it (clever if you did)?

 

Dava

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I like the effect of the 3 way point, did you build it (clever if you did)?

 

Dava

Technically it's a tandem turnout, a 3 way has both sets of switches at the same place.  Not so dificult if you keep your wits about you, unless you do it on interlaced sleepers in 2FS!  Kirkallanmuir has 4 of them.  :-)

 

Jim

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Hi Dava,

The three way point (or more correctly tandem point as pointed out by Jim) is from a Marcway kit.

They provide a template, copperclad strip and rails roughly milled to profile along with cast crossing frogs. You provide the solder and the singed fingers......

 

The trackwork is a real mishmash as I am using the whole layout as a skills developer.

 

I started out with the Marcway kit, then built a further point just using the template (i.e. profiling my own rails and making my own crossing frog).

The plain track started out as soldered on copperclad sleepers but this was developed into chairs glued to wooden sleepers for most of the mainline track.

I also built a couple of points from exactoscale chairs and timbers for an extension board before a garage roof leak ruined the work.

 

Whilst all the different techniques have produced working trackwork linking them together has been a pain due to differing levels.

I've still got a bit of remedial work to do to sort complete but most of the trackwork now operates adequately.

 

Having now built some 2mm FS trackwork, perversely starting with chaired points glued to sleepers and reverting back to soldered copperclad construction, I am glad I haven't had to construct 4 tandems like Jim!

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Next up on the paint bench are another couple of wagons.

I've decide to limit the number as trying to sort five in the last batch became a bit of a juggling act.

 

The van is a D46 LNWR refrigerator van from an etched brass Gladiator kit, it has been sprayed with primer then the body covered with an off white from Halfords car range (I think it was a Volkswagen colour).

 

These wagons seem to have quite a variety of liveries just before the turn of the century:-

 

White body, black solebars and running gear

White body, grey solebars, back running gear

White body with black framing and black running gear. (probably from 1900 on so a bit late for Three Shire Heads)

added to this, sometimes the ladders were painted black, sometimes white.

There is also about 5 different versions of the brakes, so much for standardisation!

 

I am finishing the van in the second option with a black ladder.

 

The other is a D342 Midland coke wagon from a Slaters kit.

It was a mistake in the fact I ordered a MR 8t 5plk wagon and this arrived. Slaters offered to exchange but I've always like these unique looking wagons so built it anyway.

The quarry at Three Shire Heads now imports coke to assist with the lime burning.......

 

I noticed after I had sprayed the primer that I had missed the mid height bar and horse staple on the solebar.

I also took the opportunity to replace the plastic brake lever and pinion with an etched brass version.

The primer highlighted the poor joints at the corners so these have received a smidge of filler.

 

 

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The D.46 refrigerator vans are a lovely little kit - I've got a small batch to build at some point, and will probably ring the changes with different liveries, but not the block LNWR letters - 1908 is a little too late for me. Of course the other challenge is trying to interpret the colour of the lettering - black, grey or red, some photos even suggest a possible mix :dontknow: . At this length of time, unless someone comes up with official records, it's difficult to be certain - or for anyone to challenge your decision! The Midland coke wagons are a nice little kit too.

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Hi backjumper,

 

the D46 vans are very satisfying to build, they do take time though, I think I'd stagger the builds if I had more than one (which if the kit reappears under the new owner I am sure I will have).

 

Looking at the photos I think the theory of the red lettering stands up, unfortunately the HMRS decal sheet has grey lettering so I am going with the easy life option. :whistle:

 

I am also intrigued by the note (in LNWR Wagons Vol 2) that two vans were built on the WCJS account and labelled "Ladmanlow Branch" in 1893.

All the photos I've see are "Return to Liverpool".

Three Shire Heads is only about 5 miles from Ladmanlow and forms a junction there so I really should try altering the lettering.

I would also make the assumption that is these vans were made on the WCJS account they would retain their oval build plate (the LNWR plates were rectangular) and WCJS number?

Presumably accounting practise would dictate this?

 

Decisions decisions....... :scratchhead:

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