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New Ffestiniog stock on test

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My latest rake of FR carriages is far from finished, but I took the opportunity at the weekend to give them a lengthy test run (so lengthy in fact that they covered 2 real miles, or the distance from Porthmadog to Minffordd, in the course of the afternoon).  They are still lacking glazing, interiors, handrails/door handles, stepboards, pass-com equipment, underfloor equipment, lettering/numbering, and various other details, which will follow over the next few months.  The paintwork also needs touching up in places, but after a long winter in the works, I wanted to see how they were starting to shape up out on the line.  The bodies are plasticard in varying thicknesses, with plywood roofs.  At well over 2 feet long, the Superbarns in particular are large vehicles.  Here are some photos: 


The full rake, aside from toast-rack car 37:




Service Car 124 - this lacks the latest 2016 paint scheme (gloss black panels to simulate windows, plus reflective coatings for some of the glass) - I will be looking to replicate these features.




Bringing up the rear is Observation Car 100




Here is a cruel close-up of the sprung-loaded corridor connections - the minimum radius on my line is 5 feet, which gives some pretty long overhangs on the curves, so the corridor connections have to be flexible enough to cope with this




Out on the line behind Criccieth Castle




Criccieth Castle was a bit on the slow side, so the loco department provided this beast for the main testing




Running up through the woods




And into the loop




Finally a shot of car 37 in primer, being inspected closely by some particularly picky (pecky?) local narrow-gauge enthusiasts




Lots more work to do before the rake is complete, but it's good to see them taking shape.





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A wonderful rake of carriages there. What material did you use to make them? I'm currently starting (and stalled already) a W&LLR Zillertabahn 4-wheeler out of plasticard, but I'm curious to see what other modelers have done.

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That's very kind of you Mr Dragon.  The bodies are made from plasticard that I buy in large sheets from the 4D Modelshop.  The floors are 2 layers of 2mm/80thou thickness laminated together, with solebars and bufferbeams of 2mm/80 to create a basic box structure for the chassis.  The sides have a base layer of 1.5mm/60thou, with overlays of varying thicknesses and widths of Evergreen strip. I use PlasticWeld solvent for the main body construction, but I find that I need to apply it sparingly or it causes joints to contract when it has fully dried out (ie a 90 degree join between side and end can tighten and cause the side and end to bow in slightly).  I use the much gentler and slower D-Limonene for adding the beading and panelling. 


The roofs are removable - I make them so that they clip onto the tops of the bodies to provide the necessary overall structural strength for the coaches.  I used to use plasticard for the roofs too, but they always bowed upwards in the centre like a banana when exposed to strong sunlight, creating a 2 or 3mm gap between the roof and the body.  Not a good look!  They always straightened again when they were out of the sun, but I couldn't find a way to brace them in a way that would keep them straight.  So I gave up and now use 1mm plywood (also from the 4D Modelshop) that I bend over shaped wooden formers using an IP Engineering roof jig.  I use CA slow acting glue and a Zip-kicker accelerator to glue the roofs together.  After a covering of sanding sealer, it's then just a question of lots of painting and sanding to get a smooth finish - tedious but ultimately worth it. 


The bogies are L&B plastic kits from Garden Railway Specialists, running on their standard SM32 coach wheels.  The bogies have nylon bearings, which helps them to run very freely and smoothly.  The underframe trussbars are from piano wire (to withstand the knocks and bashes that always seem to happen from time to time out in the garden), while the couplings are the usual round-headed Accucraft choppers, but removed from their coupling mounts and fixed to brass bar that is pivoted about 3cm inboard of the bufferbeam, which is slotted to allow the couplings to flex enough for the carriages to make it round my flange-squealing 5 foot radius curves.  The corridor connections are again plasticard, with soft springs to keep them pressed together.  The characteristic curved raincovers at the top of the connections are 20thou plasticard bent in a jig and persuaded to stay in place with careful use of a wallpaper stripper hot air gun (and yes, the loss rate was pretty high, as it's hard to catch them at just the right moment before the plastic starts to shrink as it melts).


Interiors will be made from more plasticard, with sundry passengers added from multiple sources (like my WHR coaches on the other thread).


I hope that all makes sense - I find building coaches very therapeutic, although it can get a bit daunting at times when I have to make multiple duplicate parts.  I've been tempted to use some of the laser-cutting services provided by architectural modelling suppliers, but I'm too tight-fisted, so my faithful Stanley knife and NW Short-Line chopper don't need to worry that they will be made redundant any time soon!  I'd be very interested to see how your 4-wheeler is coming along (and I love your railway).



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Thank you David, a very very interesting and informative post! I'm glad to see that we are using similar materials. I'm currently building the body work out of 1.5mm plasticard from Slaters. I was intending to put two layers together (an inside and outside) to make the body and ends. I was also planning to use it for the floor as I have some brass angle intended for the chassis. I cut mine out using a modelling jigsaw, tidied up with knife and sanding. I originally intended to mill the individual planks using my minidrill, however getting them straight and vertical has been an abject failure, so I'm going to try another approach. I will post a new topic and some pictures when I get a chance.


Oh, and please call me Idris. Thank you for the kind comments regarding the railway. 

Edited by vjoneslong
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Some serious production modelling there David, wonderful stuff!

Thanks for sharing,


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