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Midland Railway Company

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As threatened earlier, there now follow some notes on the other build I have been working on recently, namely the Cowans Sheldon 15 ton steam crane and match wagon. The crane started out as a D&S kit that Jill bought for me 24 years ago (!) but due to a number of factors didn't get started until earlier this year. When I did start it I found a lot of errors, omissions and other problems so eventually about half of it one way or another has been scratch built. The kit comtained several instances of confusion between the Mk.1 and Mk.2 cranes such as flat section jib stays for a Mk. 1 (which is the version I supposedly had) rather than round bar, lots of missing bolt heads, rivets etc., lack of quite a bit of detail in the operating area, one of the scrolls for elevating the jib being threaded the wrong way, no cylinder drains etc., as well as being designed without working suspension, which I needed for S7 (but for OF would probably be OK). However, eventually it got finished, except for the builders' plates that were not acceptable in the kit but are being custom made for me by Guilplates, and here is the result.




The extra bolt heads and rivets are resin castings from Masterclub, sold by Historex Agents, and are superb, if a little fiddly to use. The chain is gunmetal, bought on Ebay. The underframe is largely scratchbuilt to include suspension via guitar wire impinging on the axleboxes, the wheelsets being Slaters sold by the S7 Group.




The match wagon is scratchbuilt mainly in Plastikard with hundreds (literally) of Masterclub bolts and rivets. The worst job was cutting the plastic sections (Greenscene) of the jib support so that all the angles fitted together and making the unit used up quite a stock of my rude word store. Wheelsets are Slaters with guitar wire suspension again and brakegear is a mixture of Slaters, Bill Bedford and my components. Buffers and couplings are Slaters. The metalwork on the jib support is from nickel silver strip bent to the appropriate shapes and bolted.


The match wagon has no lettering on it as after a lot of searching I came to the conclusion that there is no evidence prior to 1907 for the Midland Loco. Dept. Wellingborough legend on the sides that as far as I can make out first appeared when No. 28 was photographed at the Silkstream Junction smash in 1907. Photographs taken at that time indicate that crane and match wagon were freshly painted, which would follow for a vehicle taken into stock in 1893, so since I am trying to depict the combination as in 1905/6 I have left the lettering off. I have also weathered the crane and the match wagon to try to simulate the appearance of them as I suspect would have been the case at that time, i.e., getting a bit grubby but still well looked after, as I am pretty sure they were.




The transfers are from Fox and were made to an order by Jamie Guest. They actually depict the arrangement post-1907 so I had to cut and paste quite a bit, which is an interesting thing to do with waterslide transfers of very small lettering. Paint is enamel made many years ago by Joseph Masons of Derby that they say was the same colour that they used to supply to Derby Works in Midland days and was discovered by David White. The boiler was different from the one fitted when the crane was new and appears to have been a replacement in about 1898. Hence it differed from the one in the kit and was scratch built.




Some of the innards. the scroll at the top for winding the chain that raised the jib was the one that was cast with the wrong thread so this one is scratchbuilt. The handrails on the crab sides outside the cylinders were an addition made in about 1900.




Some of the match wagon details. As built, there were no lockers in the match wagons of the first five Mk. 1cranes but the 1899 ones had them and I have supposed that they were retrofitted to the earlier wagons. The later ones had the propping girders stowed underneath but as far as I can ascertain that was never done to the earlier examples.




Another view of some of the wiggly bits.


So that's about all my modelling activity of the last seven or eight months accounted for. Sorry that the photographs aren't of the best (Photography is notably lacking from my skill set) and again the editor has shrunk them from the way I put them in. Ah, well, I suppose you can't have everything. 



Edited by Dave Hunt
correcting poor typing
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2 hours ago, Dave Hunt said:

Another small step for man but a giant leap for a modeller: I have finished the water tank and tank house for my layout.





My usual construction using a plywood shell with various balsa and ply overlays all clad in Slaters English bond Plastikard. The roof sections are 1mm MDF with roof slates and tall windows by Tricky, AKA Monksgate Models, whilst the other windows, doors, drain pipes, gutters etc. are by me using an assortment of plastic, MDF and whatever else came to hand. The ladder isn't yet cut to length and fixed in place as that will have to wait until the groundwork around the base of the building, which will be about 5mm deep, is completed. As with the other layout buildings, this one is not fixed down as it hides a couple of surface mounted Tortoise point motors.



The cast-iron water tank panels are also by Tricky and are, I think, the first examples of his 3D prints of these items in captivity. He won't mind me saying that he had a lot of trouble getting them right but he persevered at no small cost to himself and the finished articles are very good. All the time I was building the tank house I was dreading getting to the tank itself as I really had no idea how I could make the panels with all the bolts and flanges, not to mention the raised decorative mouldings, whilst retaining my sanity; then, at the eleventh hour along came Richard and although it took some time for the project to reach fruition the wait was worth it. The worst job was painting them but I had a batch of reject panels that Richard sent to me that I could practice on and in the end I hit on the idea of spraying the whole thing in Denby Pottery cream then outlining the raised mouldings using a permanent felt tip pen before carefully painting up to the outline with Tamiya red brown acrylic and finally spraying the whole lot with Dullcote. It's not perfect but it looks OK, especially after muckying it up a bit. Thanks Richard! The handrail stanchions are from a model boat shop and scale at about 3ft 6in, which seems like a reasonable height in the absence of any evidence of the actual size that I have been able to find.




So, it's now on with making buffer stops and starting the task of painting and ballasting all the track before taking care of all the other groundwork. The idea is to complete the layout all except for the last board which will contain the shed as that itself will probably take me twelve months and I don't want the acres of bare plywood and unballasted track that presently greet the eye to last any longer than necessary. However, I am also making some rolling stock at the same time as working on the layout itself just to avoid boredom with any one project creeping in. Therefore, whilst I've been making this water tank I've also finished off my breakdown crane and match wagon, which I'll feature in my next post.




PS Although when I composed this post the photographs were full width, for some reason that escaped me when it was completed they came out smaller. Why? I don't know.


Superb Dave, and well worth the wait. I’m building a tank myself for Tewkesbury shed. In real life you couldn’t see the tank sides but I’m making mine visible - because I can! Question: where some planked over and others not? The photo on the front cover of your book shows water. 

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Two great post Dave.  Far above my skill set.  I really must get my crane finished off.


I have also been indulging in a bit of modelling but for me of the virtual kind.  On Green Ayre I want to run the Heysham boat train.  Due to space contraints in the siding it will be the down train from St Pancras that picked up through coaches at Seffield according to the Carriage Marshalling book.  Discovering the info in that meant that I had to cancel plans to sell my pair of 12 wheel diners.  I discovered that I had every vehicle for the train apart from an open carriage truck that carried 4 luggage containers.  I have made a start on a drawing for the carriage truck to D409, courtesy of Dave Harris.  However there is no drawing for the containers. So far they don't appear to have been photographed  either.


By chance a photo appeared on a facebook thread of an this item in a garden in Scotland.




It looks to have all the right Characteristics for what I need. A good friend from the Wakefield club, Chris Mead, who has the Overlord layout, has just started 3D printing.  I got in touch and he has done these for me.


4 of them will just fit snugly onto my D409 when it progresses from the drawing board. I will probably paint them dark red.  The law of S0d states that someone will now produce a photo.







Edited by jamie92208
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2 hours ago, Tricky said:

Superb Dave, and well worth the wait. I’m building a tank myself for Tewkesbury shed. In real life you couldn’t see the tank sides but I’m making mine visible - because I can! Question: where some planked over and others not? The photo on the front cover of your book shows water. 




Some were fully planked, some partially so and some without any planking. I haven't found any obvious reason for the difference, even the size of the tanks doesn't seem to have had any bearing on the situation.



Edited by Dave Hunt
Missed out a bit
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