A Highland Miscellany

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iak
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby iak » Mon May 16, 2016 10:37 am

Coach porn overload :thumb
I do like the look of that bogie - delightful.
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Mark Tatlow
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sun May 22, 2016 8:49 pm

Going Long.............or, more coach porn for Ian!!

In comparison to the coaches that I use on Portchullin, most coaches from the 1920s (my chosen period for Glenmutchkin) are shorter and in many cases, even without considering the six wheeled vehicles, a lot shorter. This was driven by the technology and in particular the materials available to the railways of the time. There were exceptions though, and my present build is dealing with one of these – an East Coast Joint Stock 12 wheeler.

In the early 1890’s, the journey north was all about speed and culminated in the Railway Races to the North where the rival east and west coast companies competed to get their services to Aberdeen first. This came to an abrupt end in July 1896 when a west coast train took curves too fast at Preston and left the rails. Although the loss of life was relatively limited (for the time), excessive speed as a result of the desire to “speed to the north” was firmly blamed. As a result, the competing companies agreed no longer to race each other and instead sought to compete on the basis of the quality of their service and the luxury of their trains.

GNR-Zug_um1910 from German Wiki site.jpg
A GNR small altlantic hauling an ECJS express at the turn of the 19th Century made up predominantly of 12 wheeled stock

One product of this competition were some really fine 12 wheel coaches built for the East Cost Joint Stock Company (which was a joint company with the GNR, NER & NB contributing to the cost for trans-company trains). Built from 1896 onwards, these were 63’5″ long, seeking to use length and mass to iron out any track irregularity. To support this length of coach, six wheeled bogies were used, although these were rather infant in thier design and used big transverse leaf springs as bolsters. In addition to being really characteristic and obvious – so they need to be modelled – I suspect they gave a somewhat bouncy ride!

IMG_0849 compress.JPG
Barry Fleming’s scratchbuilt body and part completed roof

I have been given a big headstart on this build by virtue of being given a nearly complete body/roof for a luggage composite (diagram 6 for those in the know). This was scratchbuilt by the late Barry Fleming in the 1980s and is a class bit of modelling! Barry gave it to my father, along with a couple of other coaches, to complete but as he has not managed to get this particular one, he has passed it to me to have a bash!

IMG_0792.JPG
My etchings back from PPD

One of the reasons that this model was put to the back of the queue previously was that almost none of the parts required to complete it – in particular the bogies – were available, so it was all going to be a scratchbuild. As I was pouring over the drawings and pictures in the bible on things ECJS it dawned on me that the missing parts would be best dealt with as an etch and given my developing skills in etch designing, I might was well have a go. This is the product, an underframe, some cosmetic bogie sidesand some underframe details fresh back from the etchers.

IMG_0809.JPG

The basic underframe has fold up solebars and buffer beams. Each of these also has integral fold over layers to laminate on the cosmetic exterior. This just about worked for the solbars but definitely did not for the buffer beams which distorted due to their thinness. I will make these seperate pieces next time, but might use folding jigs.

IMG_0856 compress.JPG

Coaches of this era tended to have four truss rods, each with a pair of queen posts. Stealing an idea from Alistair Wright’s designs, I made the queen posts up by a long etch that has a half etch length to wrap around the wire used for the tie rod. By folding this over the wire and then laminating the two parts together, a robust and simple post can be created. As it is two layers soldered together, it has the strength to allow it to be filed to a round shape to create the appearance of the original.

IMG_0915 close up.JPG
Underframe almost complete

Although originally gas lit, by the time I will be modelling this vehicle it was electrically lit. Whilst I probably could have bought cast batter boxes, I decided to include them in the etch and very pleased I am too – they have come out much more crisp than any of the castings I have seen and were really easy to both draw and make. The remainder of the fittings seen here were bought in castings though, typically from Comet Models (now distributed by Wizard Models).

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IMG_0939.JPG

And this is where the underframe has presently progressed to.

I will describe the building of the bogies in the next installment, they are not for the faint-hearted!
Mark Tatlow

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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sun May 22, 2016 9:04 pm

And, by the way........does anyone have any bright ideas for buffers that look like this:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/127699427 ... otostream/

Ken Hoole's book typically shows buffers as those in the above picture, but one shows simple taper buffers which is why I went for them on the model so far. But, if I could source something like those in the picture, I would swap them.

Any thoughts?
Mark Tatlow

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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby billbedford » Mon May 23, 2016 5:23 am

Mark Tatlow wrote:Built from 1896 onwards, these were 63’5″ long, seeking to use length and mass to iron out any track irregularity.


... and 59'6", 60' 6.5", 62' 11.25", 63' 11.25" to name but a few. Each diagram seems to be different length. This and the three different bogies makes than a pain in the fundament to make kits of.

Mark Tatlow wrote:And, by the way........does anyone have any bright ideas for buffers that look like this:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/127699427 ... otostream/

Ken Hoole's book typically shows buffers as those in the above picture, but one shows simple taper buffers which is why I went for them on the model so far. But, if I could source something like those in the picture, I would swap them.

Any thoughts?


These coaches had knuckle couplings (Gould's when built or Buckeye from about 1905). The buffers would have be retracted so the Dart LNER buffers (2807) are as close as you are likely to get. The tapered buffers were fitted to brake ends which didn't have gangways installed. These coaches were all given gangways fairly early in there lives. Incidentally the photo shows the buffer heads pull out much further than they would have been in service.
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iak
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby iak » Mon May 23, 2016 7:55 am

Oh what have I done.... :?
Mind that is a smashing etch/chassis Mark.
Sprung bogies I assume? 8-)
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Will L » Mon May 23, 2016 10:01 am

iak wrote:Oh what have I done.... :?
Mind that is a smashing etch/chassis Mark.
Sprung bogies I assume? 8-)


While 4 wheelers are probably best done on separate springs big 6 wheeler are just asking for CSBs

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Mon May 23, 2016 4:53 pm

... and 59'6", 60' 6.5", 62' 11.25", 63' 11.25" to name but a few. Each diagram seems to be different length. This and the three different bogies makes than a pain in the fundament to make kits of.


Yes, I can see that this might well be true! It would affect the fundementals of the economics for someone like you with so many varients, although the chassis can be shortened fairly easily as a drawing exercise. This chassis was conceived for the 66'11" length varients with what I would describe as rivetted plate bogies - this appears correct for one of the dining car diagrams and two compartment stock diagrams. There would be a couple of other compartment stock varients that are fractions out (4" on the prototype) and people might want to turn a blind eye to this!

If it is of interest, I am happy to make what I have done available to others, essentially at the cost of the etcher's bill to me. However, this is on the "what you see is what you get" basis as all I have done is what you see on this etch, some cosmetic side frames for bogies, the underframe including battery boxes/queen posts and a device for securing the body to such that it is detachable from the underframe (this is "extra bit" not included in the main etch on the picture). If there are people that are interested in this, feel free to contact me offline or if they are not S4 Society members, via my contact form page on www/highlandmiscellany.com. I would wish to finish the test build and complete an amendment of the etches (debug a few points and also amend it to allow for the gas lit version) before making them available but happy to do so after that. What about a whole train of them behind an Atlantic?

The buffers would have be retracted so the Dart LNER buffers (2807) are as close as you are likely to get. The tapered buffers were fitted to brake ends which didn't have gangways installed.


Thanks for that, I had not spotted that there was a logic to the use of the tapered buffers!

I have some Gresley LNER buffers and will take a longer look at them this evening. I do feel a swap coming on though!

While 4 wheelers are probably best done on separate springs big 6 wheeler are just asking for CSBs


The intention (and reality, because the build is a bit further progressed than I have presently shown...........ie watch this space!........is that the sodes go on as a laminate on top of Bill Bedford's sprung bogies. These are really CSBs in the way that they work.
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:46 pm

A Dirty Skinhead............... The SLW Class 24 and a bit of dirt!

A skinhead; what’s he on? Well for the steam age people out there, a skinhead is the nickname for those BR built sulzer class 24s that did not have headcode boxes – as you can see below in Paul Winter’s photograph they did have a rather bald headed appearance and it is not difficult to see where the nickname came from.

240xx-L wobble winter wanderings.jpg
240xx-L wobble winter wanderings.jpg (181.24 KiB) Viewed 4113 times

Whilst the bulk of the class that ran on the ex Highland lines had the headcode box, for a long time one or two skinheads were allocated at Inverness and visited both the far north and Kyle lines. Given that they do look quite different I could hardly resist getting one to offer a bit of variety on the layout. I had been plotting getting one for a time, having bought the Bachmann version and even converted it to P4 but I had not quite got to enhancing or weathering it so it did not ever make it out onto the layout.

There are failings in the Bachmann model that have annimated many; the worse being the slope of the cab front which is too steep. Whilst I feel it is close to invisible when the Bachmann model is used as a doner for conversion to a headcode fitted version (see my article in the Highland Railway Journal, issues 96 & 97) it is more apparent without the headcodes, simply because they act as a bit of a counterpose to the slope. This was one of the reasons that my skinhead was languishing in its box (although, doing other things was the real reason!). Although I am aware that a recast of the model has been in the offing for a while I did not know that a new manufacturer, Sutton Locomotive Works, was in the process of producing one until it simply appeared at the turn of the year.

Green.jpg

It is fair to say I was a little sceptical initially, partly due to the pretty punchy cost of the model but also due to the amount of airwaves noise it was eliciting. However, they were at one of the shows that Portchullin was at and of course I went over to have a gander………. What I found was that it was really a cut above the Bachmann version, both in terms of correcting the cab and also with the quality of detailing but more than that, it had an onboard sound system that was significantly better too (and tellingly, more controllable). An added bonus is that the model can be supplied, at a small additional cost, with your choice of EM and P4 wheels, thus making it the first true ready to run P4 loco.

Initially the model was available as one of the first batch in a “just built” form in green and as 24 081 in blue, as it now is in preservation. A bit of hunting about prototype information – notably Derby Sulzers – showed me that no’s 5113 & 5114 were transferred to Inverness for the last couple of years of their life (which coincide’s with Portchullin’s era) and that these were pretty close in form to the 24 081 form of the model. That decided it; off went a cheque and back came the model – in a spectacularly substantial amount of box and glinting clean like a museum piece!

blue.jpg

A look over the model proved to me that it was really very good, but not perfect. The worst problem, by far, is the glazing that suffers from the moulding lines no less severely than Bachmann/Hornby models – apparently, short of putting in individual pieces of glazing, this problem is insurmountable. Good news for Shawplan and their glass replacement kits – if Brian is not going to do a set for this model (are you Brian?). It will repay doing them by hand no matter how hard this is if Shawplan don’t do them. The other problem was a lot less than crisp junction between the yellow ends and the blue sides – most visible in the fianl photograph. I did make this a little better with some 1200 grade wet & dry, but it is still not all that I would wish it to be.

It is fair to say that the good bits are very good indeed. It runs perfectly (although some others have muttered about theirs) and all of the detail is very delicate – compare the door grabrails with the other models or prototype for example. I understand that the number of seperately applied parts is exceptionally high and I can beleive that, it really does look quite a lot better than the alternatives even after the “supe-ing up” that I gave the two headcode box fitted versions I have. There are a lot of detail variations between the vehicles and care is needed to chose wisely if you have a specific example in mind – time for a good book!

Book.jpg

Sutton Locomotive Works approach is to release relatively short runs of differing varients, their second and third batch has already been released (see their website). They are not saying, but I suspect some Highland Sulzers will be inevitable before too long – I am saving up anyway!

But the model is way too clean; although Inverness did not allow their locos to get too decrepit looking and they clearly saw the inside of the washer plant pretty regularly, they did take on a careworn appearance especially given that they were knocling on 20 years old by the time I am modeling them. So, some subtle weathering was required – do I have the subtly of skill to do this – not really was my conclusion, not on my own anyway! So some help was enlisted from OTMC who I share occassional modelling days with and yesterday we had a weathering day instead.

IMG_1079.JPG

Prior to starting the weathering, the number was removed with 1200 grade wet and dry and replaced with Fox transfers, protected by some brushed on matt varnish. The dirty-ing of the model then started with the creation of some “gunk” – a mix darkish grey with a tad of brown mix – Tamiya acrylics. Whilst this was a relatively thick mix, it was brush painted over the more extreme coloured sections of the model – the lifting points, axle boxes and coloured pipework to the bogie and drawbar. Then the gunk was diluted to a wash and sprayed onto the model; heavily on the underframe/bogies and more lightly on the body side. An acrylic solvent was used and this evaporated almost immediately and once the paint was on, efforts were taken to remove it from the sides. Cotten buds and make up buds (similar but with a flat head) dipped in acrylic thinners were dragged downwards on the sides and ends. This removes the majority of the paint, leaving only that which gets into the nocks and crannies and can not readily be reached by the buds. If the paint gets a bit stubborn (which it did, especially on the ends) then the process is repeated using enamel thinners which is much more vigerous and takes the acrylic off almost immediately but acheives the same effect.

IMG_1087.JPG

I did encounter a couple of problems. The first was not of my making in that it proved very difficult getting the wash out from behind the grab handles to the front of the cab – eventually this was fixed with the use of cocktail sticks. The second was firmly of my making in that I used some meths to clean of some grease stains from my fingers right at the end. It would appear that meths is pretty effecitive at removing both the wash and also lightening significantly the original blue paint on the model – aghhhhh! Ultimately, I have had to repeat the wash effect a couple of times on the side that I did this on and it does not look nearly as subtle as it did before – so do as I say, not as I do!!!

IMG_1084.JPG

The wash was then darkened a bit and used on the roof. Initially this applied without masking to the centre and then subsequently with some masking. The masking was applied such that the edge of the tape was at the line of the roof with the cab front yellow and pressed home. However, along the sides the tape projected 5mm above the cant rail but not pressed home (so it sort of flaps above the edge of the roof). This gives a soft boundary between where the spray goes and the protected surface below and neatly mimics the effect of the washing brushes failing to reach the roof as it slopes away.

The grilles were picked out with a black wash effect that has a touch of gloss in it. The same was then used at the axleboxes and around the fuel filler points to mimic spilt fuel oil. The while of the underframe and boigie then had stone colour mig powders dabbed on them. As with the wash, once it is on, take it off with a brush – in this case it tends to attach itself to those parts that the brush presses it home on. So it tends to catch more the projections than the recesses and neatly highlights the detail on the underframe/bogies. Not done yet, but I will apply some break dust powders around the brake blocks and wheels to finish the full effect.

Portchullin’s next outing will be down in the west country – 30 July 2016 in Barnstaple. Come and see the new engine – hopefully it looks a bit like this?

5113garve73.jpg
Chris Longley's flairs..........

In the light of all the excitement that tresspassing to see the Flying Scotsman is presently giving Network Rail, I wonder what they might have made of this – and then there are the flairs to consider…………. Chris Longley, is that you – I know you were on this particular tour!

IMG_1059.JPG
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby iak » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:45 am

Tastefully done Mark, bravo...
This ready to run P4 malarkey is catching on... :o :shock: :thumb
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chris longley

Postby stevecarr » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:34 am

No Mark, they are not my flairs. I was on the preceeding train which was a BR sponsored weekend exc.fromBrìstol complete with Sleeping and Dining cars. I have an image of the WRC specialarriving at Kyle in the early afternoon.

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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby crossborder » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:54 pm

Now, Crossborder's extensive library has more views of that WRC special at Kyle and also the special from Bristol. Both are shown on pp 89 & 93 of BR Diesels in the Highlands, (Bradford Barton 1976).

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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Jonathan Hughes » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:17 pm

I'll look forward to see that running next time on Portcullin... looks very nice, and looks like it'll blend in nicely with its surroundings :thumb
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:01 pm

The class 24 skinhead was not the only output from the weathering day last weekend – indeed, it was a very busy day!

20160611_180408 cut.jpg

First up were some of my 1920’s rilling stock – both Highland, a timber truck from a Model Wagon Co whitemetal kit and a horsebox from a Lochgorm etched kit. Both are now close to finished – a load is requird for the former and some glass for the latter (and probably a light colour inside the groom’s compartment.

Neat vehicles though and I am pleased with them – less so than the brakevans that I managed to dislodge the lettering upon and may well need to be stripped – as you would imagine, no photos of these and nor any photo’s from today’s efforts with paintstripper!

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But the main additional output was some more coaches for Portchullin. I managed three and Peter Bond looked close to finishing his third as I left, so we had a proper little production line going!

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The technique was essentially the same as I described for the class 24, although as you can see the model was broken down rather more (in part to populate the interior of the carriages – I do hate seeing trainloads of empty coaches on model railways!). However, for the maroon coach, rather than using thinners to take back off the paint, T-Cut was used. This is an abrasive so does not work in quite the same manner but acheives broadly the same effect except that it also polishes the paint. I did not think this was right for the blue/grey coaches (they were finished in satin in reality) but the maroon coaches were in a gloss finish and the T-cut gives a slight sheen without actually getting to gloss. I did eventually think it was a bit too shiny, so did waft over with the finest of sprays of the “gunk” again just to take it back a touch.

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The Bachmann Mk 1s are very good models that have stood the test of time well. They are a doddle to convert to P4; taking maybe 60-80 minutes a go. There are a couple of things to look out for – firstly is that the side frames are a touch to tight for true guage wheels and need to be filed back. The plastic is quite flexible and does create burrs fairly easily, so once the filing has been done some work with a sharp scalpel is required to clean this up.

Mk 1 Bogie 2.jpg

Mk 1 Bogie.jpg

The next caution is that the bogie mounts are not always parallel with the rail head, meaning that the bogie can lean forward or backward. This is caused by the chassis being screwd a little over-hard onto the body, causing it to flex slightly. You are just as likely to have done this as the manufacturers and I get around it by making it rock slightly with some thin (20 thou) strip like this.

Mk 1 Bogie 3.jpg

Arguably one of their weaknesses is the corridor connection which is a tad toy-train (well it is a toy train!). A dodge that I have started to do is fit a few of my vehicles with some black foam in the door jambs. Make this so that it sticks out 3-4mm and engages in the equivilent of the adjacent vehicle to block out the light. A simple dodge that makes a big difference. It does mean that the vehicles that are fitted thus have to be in the centre of the train (as the foam looks crude where it is exposed) but this can be done with care – for example a buffet would nearly always be in the centre of a train, so this is the vehicle of the two I fitted with this.

IMG_1051.JPG
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby TonyMont » Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:55 am

Hi Mark,
I completely agree about empty coaches, but like you I am building terminus stations, with coach sidings. So are we to have passengers sitting in empty coaching stock? I know there is no solution to this situation, but wonder what you are planning.
Tony.

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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:49 pm

Hi Tony,

Fundamentally I am ignoring the problem of passengers sitting in carriages when they are not in use.

I only see it as a problem when the carriage is sitting in a siding (although I sure some of us have had the odd drunken night .......... certainly if anyone were modelling Clacton on Sea, I can come up with a story!). When they are sitting in a platform, I think carriages accumulating passengers is acceptable.

It is a compromise I guess and I am prepared to pay the price such that I have them in the windows when the train is on the go. In this regard, I think the eye will see them a little more with the carriages centre stage, either because they are sitting in a platform or moving on the layout,
Mark Tatlow

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Colin Parks
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Colin Parks » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:37 pm

Hi Mark,

The Mk 1 coaches look rather nice with the gap between the gangways closed. How do these coaches perform on reverse curves?

Re. passengers in coaches, I was told an amusing story by a trainee motorman on the Southern Region who reversed a train into a siding only to find there were still some passengers on board!

All the best,

Colin

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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:48 pm

Seeing that Mr Litchfield seems to rather like the first part of this, here is the second.................

As originally conceived by Barry Fleming, the floor was to be permanently attached to the body sides and so too were the lower roof sections. The only access internally, therefore, was to be the clerestory roof/sides to the centre of the roof. In addition to being very restricted, over time there was a little distortion of this section relative to the more chunky body, such that it has developed a bit of a bow – see the final picture of this post. I have been building a few coaches of late and have arrived at the view that it is desirable to have the underframe detachable from the body and if at all possible the roof too. In this case, I am going to give up making the roof detachable but will keep the underframe as a separate piece and arrange for the floor and interior to slide out of the body. In order to provide a mount onto which I can secure the securing bolts to retain the two parts together, I came up with a metal bracket that has been glued into the coach vestibule where it is hidden as below.

IMG_0947a.JPG
Body/underframe fastener
IMG_0947a.JPG (79.07 KiB) Viewed 3313 times

With this completed, I turned my attention to the bogies. These are based around the Bill Bedford sprung bogies, now supplied by Eileen’s Emporium – there is one with the right dimensions for the ECJS bogie. These are only the sprung assembly and offer no detail of the real bogie at all and these were quite characteristic riveted plates. I am not aware of any offerings from the trade for these, so I have had to create my own – out comes the CAD machine again! Actually, they are quite easy to draft and there was a fairly good drawing available. As with some of my other etch designs, I have used folding jigs to ensure that the layers come together correctly without bother. In the photo below you can see the basic Bill Bedford sprung frame on the left upper, the basic etch to the bottom right and the finished side with the layers laminated to the bottom left.

IMG_0818 compress.JPG
Bogie sides in preparation

And this is a close up of the bogie sides fitted and some of the brake hangers fitted.

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Basic bogie assembly, my etched sides on Bill Bedford sprung internals
IMG_0839.JPG (100.81 KiB) Viewed 3313 times

After searching around, I decided that the best means of making the axleboxes and springs was to use the Drummond pattern axlebox/spring assembly from Lochgorm Models. These are really nice but the springs are too long such that the hangers are a bit far out for the six wheeled bogie – hence I formed a hanger point as part of the etching, which you can see yet to be folded down on the above picture. The intention will be to insert a brass rod through the hole in this and to then mount small washers on it to give the impression of the springs. A similar rechnique is used on some of the 5522 models bogies and is quite effective. With this representing the hangers, those to the casting could be cut away.

The axleboxes are rather nice, as you will see, and are of cast brass. The bad news about this is that they are really hard and quite a lot of work is required with a dental burr to open out the rear to be free of the bearing.

IMG_0922.JPG
Axleboxes in place, but presently withouyt the spring hangers
IMG_0922.JPG (128.36 KiB) Viewed 3313 times

And a look at both bogies together, now with the bearing spring hangers in place along with the brake hangers and rods.

IMG_0917.JPG
The bogie now up and running, but still with some detail to do

A key feature of these bogies was the transverse bolster springs, which are apparent between the axle spacings. I did come up with a scheme to form these but they have not proved to work. I think I can cut and paste a pair of the bolsters from what I have produced (ie half the number I need) so I am going to have another bash and if not, it is back to the drawing board! So whilst I work out how I am going to wrestle with this (I do have some ideas, I just need a bit of time to implement them!), lets at least admire what the coach looks like in its semi-complete state:

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The coach as it stands, side on

There are other things to do with the coach; the centre part of the roof has a bow, there is various detail missing from the underframe, roof and ends yet to go – but it does look the part doesn’t it?

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And as a three quarter view

In response to the first part of this blog, Bill Bedford did contact me to help with some prototype details. He was able to tell me that the buffers that I used would only be correct for the brakes and that the udnerframe only had two trusses, not the four that I have modelled. So some corrections will be required……………but first those transverse bolster springs and maybe give the carriage a bit of an outing (I will bring it to Scaleforum for that).
Mark Tatlow

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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:25 pm

One of the most characteristic features of the Highland Railway’s locomotives for many years was the louvered chimney.  This was fitted to almost all of David Jones’ locomotives and although some lost them over their lives, most retained them until withdrawal.  Indeed this style of chimney can still be seen on the preserved Jones Goods which is presently in the Riverside Museum of Transport in Glasgow.

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There is debate as to the reason that these chimneys were fitted but it is generally considered that they sought to assist in the drafting of the fire on the downhill sections of the line.  There were many long descents on the line and regulator would be closed for such descents and thus the fire was not drafted by the exhaust from the cylinders.  The louvres would have allowed the passing air to pull on the fire to keep.

Clearly for such a characteristic feature of the line, it is important to model it well on my locos but I am not totally happy with the renditions that are available.  The whitemetal chimneys look too chunky and neither the cast brass (Lochgorm) or turned brass (Jidenco/Falcon Brass) have very distinct louvres.  I feel that they can be improved and this is how I go about doing so; in this case starting with the Lochgorm Models cast brass chimney.  Similarly, if you are turning your own chimney, the same situation arises.

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I started by some basic improvements to the chimney.  I found that my casting was not parallel down the shaft of the chimney, being fatter at the top, and also not particularly smooth.  I therefore turned it down a little on a drill with some needle files.  The casting sprue was not particularly central so to be able to turn the chimney it was first necessary to file this to get it more central.  Thereafter, I drilled out the chimney to 4.5mm diameter to its full depth on a pillar drill.  I am doing this partly for appearance but really because I intend to put sound speakers in the smokebox and it is necessary to leave routes for the sound to escape – the most authentic being to chimney!  Casting brass is very hard and this is no little task – it takes some time, lubricant and anyone in the house needs to be able to tolerate a good amount of noise!

The Lochgorm Models cast chimney has a series of depressions to represent the louvres and these are what I felt needed improving.  I started this with a piercing saw with a fine (OOOO) slot at the top of the cast depressions.  This is cut across the whole width of the depressions and a little further beyond, ignoring where the pillars between the slots are.

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These are then given a chamfer slope with a needle file that has a blank face (to make sure it does not cut above the slot).  This also needs to be taken beyond either end of the intended louvres to avoid the impact of any taper.  The top three have been formed in the picture below, with the lowest still just the piercing saw cut.

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Once all have been formed, the next task is to undo all of the work by filling them in again!  All of the gaps are flooded with solder.  I used 145 solder as it would survive the reasonable temperatures that would be incurred in soldering it to the boiler but also be soft enough to carve out again.

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The louvres were then marked out, starting with the two vertical rows either side of the central pillar that must match the highest point of the flare.  Then with a knife, the solder infill between these is cut back out.  The knife can cut through the solder to cut it out but does it will not affect the brass, so the louvre is reformed.  I found that the technique was to initially cut it away and once a basic amount was removed the blade can be scraped side to side within the louvre to get a smooth surface.  This brings up burrs of solder at either side of the louvre which are then cut out.  This is what it looks like with the first two columns of louvres done – I found it best to do it like this as it was easier to get them vertical than by doing them in rows.

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You will find that you get through a fair few blades doing this as the most challenging part is getting the corners crisp (and the photography is very cruel in this regard!).  It is also easy to be a bit enthusiastic and accidentally cut pillar – if this happens, it can be reformed with a dab of solder and the process repeated until there is a neat row of four slots in four columns.

Once you are near to finished, a dusting of grey primer shows up any remaining inconsistencies and hopefully it looks something like this:

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This process creates not only the slope of the louvre opening but also the dark shadow of the cavity.  In my view these features are necessary to capture the feel of the distinctive feature of the Highland Railway.  It takes around 2-3 hours to make each chimney and in I reckon it is worth the time and effort.
Mark Tatlow

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RobM
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby RobM » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:26 pm

Very convincing Mark despite the cruelty of the photos. An excellent bit of 'engineering'..... :thumb
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Mark Tatlow
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:20 pm

My apologies for not posting on this for some time; despite not only not having given up modelling but also not having given up blogging. So if you want to see what I have been upto, by all means to my external blog at http://www.highlandmiscellany.com.

It is a fair time since I built my last building, so feeling that it was time that I rediscovered my mojo for architectural things I have made a crack at a building that will be a fairly key feature on Glenmutchkin – it's pharmacy.

This is inspired, and largely a facsimile of, The Kyle Pharmacy that could be found on the approach to the ferry pier. Or at least it could until the 1970s when it was swept away to make a larger car holding pool for the ferry. In addition to being a characterful building, as you can see below, the real pharmacy at Kyle was a key part of the local community and I wanted to capture this feature in Glenmutchkin.

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The pharmacy building is going to be located on the most prominent position at the front of the layout, so it definitely deserved some time being spent on it. Taking Peter Bond’s advice (https://highlandmiscellany.com/tag/aultbea/), it is going to be assembled in components which will make painting a great deal easier but rather than using plasticard throughout as he would have done, I have arranged to have the shop front and bay etched. I did so as I concluded that getting the slenderness and crispness of these was going to be key to get the feel of the model convincing. Peter is a professional architectural modeller and bending plasticard to his will is therefore his stock in trade – not quite so me!

So these are the basic etches back from PPD:

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Some of the bay assemblies and the bay largely completed:

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The real value of etching the components can be seen in the shopfront – I at least can’t get plasticard to look like this!

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Mark Tatlow

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iak
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby iak » Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:20 pm

Now that is impressive...
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Mark Tatlow
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:28 pm

Progress with the Pharmacy building has continued and the roof is now nearing completion. I preferred using sheet metal (in this case nickle silver) for roofs as I find it is the easiest was to then include gutters. In this case, I designed the roof as a simple fold up etch and subsequently the gutters were formed by half round section from Eileen’s Emporium.

One of the pieces of artistic licence I went for relative to the real Kyle Pharmacy was to elongate the building slightly. This was partly because the prototype was a bit square and squat but also because I fancied including a decorative ridge piece. The Victorians and Edwardians did love a bit of decoration and this included the details to their buildings. There were numerous contemporary catalogues of architectural bits and pieces from which to choose from and I liked the idea of something pretty – especially given that this model will be right at the front of the layout. So I created a design of my own and etched it; along also with the characteristic sign that is so prominent in the photo in my last post.

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Those that looked carefully at the prototype photograph in the last post will have noted that the roof slates were diamond shaped. These were, in fact, asbestos slates and were quite a common material for pre-fabricated and simple buildings such as the Kyle Pharmacy. Clearly they needed to be modelled but I did no fancy my chances of cutting the odd couple of thousand slates consistently. I toyed with getting some laser cut or cut on a silhouette machine but then had a brainwave – pinking shears.

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For reasons I don’t quite know, dressmakers use these to create zigzag cuts and even better, my wife had a set. However, she spotted me taking a look at them which meant I had a very firm talking too and was immediately banned from using them!! Researching them on the internet showed that they come in a variety of pitches but be warned not all of them have 90º serrations. I did find a set with a 4mm pitch which was a bit less than the 5mm that I thought was scale for the Kyle Pharmacy but as this equates to a 12 inch slate, I thought it was plausible and not a bodge too far. As you can see below, they produce a neat and consistent serration.

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I cut the slates from plain paper in strips which I then sprayed a mid-grey colour because I felt that asbestos tiles might be a bit lighter than normal welsh slates. I deliberately allowed a tiny bit of inconsistency of colour to creep in, to provide a little texture to the roof. However, painting them was not easy as the air of the airbrush sent them flying – so I had to create a cradle to mount them in for spraying.

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Once painted, I secured them with spraymount and carefully set them out, with the point of the diamond to the row above meeting the apex of the one below.

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It takes some time (around 2 hours for a fairly small roof!) but I think the effect is quite convincing. I find the the best effect to make it look natural is to lay the slates as consistently as possible – you don’t achieve perfect consistency and these small imperfections end up making it that little bit more. Deliberately introducing inconsistencies tends to look a little contrived; including in this case my slightly differing shades, however, this was expected and can be overcome.

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The blend the colours together, I washed the slates with artist’s acrylic always ensuring that the brush stroke was down the roof to mimic the flow of the weather.

I also formed the ridge and hip flashings with cigarette paper which I had first sprayed with grey primer and then secured with more spraymount. This was laid over 0.6mm brass rod to give the central lead roll effect – this was secured in place with superglue. I initially tried to make the lead flashings in sections so that the correct laps between one piece and the other was achieved but I never got close to a neat or believable finish. Thus I ended up doing this in one piece per run.

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The front signboard will need some more work yet (partly because I have damaged it!), which will feature in a future post as I am going to have a bash at producing transfers.
Mark Tatlow

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Colin Parks
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Colin Parks » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:00 am

That roof looks absolutely superb Mark!

It reminds me of my Grandad's old bungalow, dating from 1923, which had asbestos roof slates.

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Noel
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Noel » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:28 am

The roof colour in the photographs has come out with a definite blue cast. Is this just the lighting, or does it accurately show the colour used?
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Mark Tatlow
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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Postby Mark Tatlow » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:37 pm

Noel, I did them in a relatively welsh slate colour so whilst there is a bit of blue in them, it is not as blue as the picture suggests.

The asbestos slates that we see are extensively faded, so I did not think the creamy grey we now see them to be a fair reflection of the colour (because I am modelling them only a few years old).

Willing to be proved wrong mind! Do you know what colour they were? They are fairly dark in the pictures I have.
Mark Tatlow


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