Saturday, September 11, 2010

Progress Report 32

Quite a few time consuming jobs have been completed over the summer holiday period and so it might appear that very little tangible progress has been made. However, these jobs have moved the railway on quite considerably, it's now beginning to feel a lot more like a British narrow gauge railway.

Peckett Loco - No1 - Peckforton
At long last I have completed the Peckett loco (see How I made a Peckett loco from a GRS kit). I was unhappy with its paint finish and so decided to apply another coat of paint and line it out with Trimline self adhesive lining tape. Although this approach to lining cannot mirror that of carefully applied lining with a bow-pen, it has the advantage of ease and can also be removed and reapplied. I've not yet figured a way of making radiused corners but the result is quite pleasing, if viewed from a distance:


A couple of things I learned from painting and finishing off this loco:
  1. Don't spray paint or varnish when it's raining outside. The dampness in the air dulls the finish. I also discovered that spraying near a door which was open to allow the fumes to escape is risky when it's raining outside: a few stray drops of rain landed on the final coat of varnish and ruined it completely! Let's just say the air was not only damp but somewhat blue!
  2. Test varnish on the paint to which it is going to be applied (as it often says on the can). I found, for example, that one brand of varnish actually disolved Humbrol acrylic paint. Fortunately, I discovered this on a test piece before I applied it to the loco. My suggestion is either to stick to one brand of paint and varnish to ensure compatability, or spray a test piece (eg plasticard) with the base coat and then apply some varnish to see what happens before potentially ruining your handiwork.
As a consequence of the above, I think the Peckett loco must have at least ten combined coats of primer/paint/varnish and must have been rubbed down at least four times.

To finish off the loco, nameplates and number plates were ordered from A P Briggs Nameplates and applied with superglue. Another tip - I've found it's more advisable to apply the glue to the body rather than to the plate. One of the number plates deposited itself in totally the wrong place leaving a deposit of glue on my pristine paintwork when it became temporarily glued to my fingers! I may have to invest in some manufacturers nameplates to cover the damage.

Once I have mastered the lining process with Trimline tape I will produce an article on that (see How I line my locos with Trimline Tape).

Maddison coach kits
The remaining two coach kits were completed, leading to the production of a rake of three UK style coaches to replace the temporary US style balcony coaches and the two Accucraft Welshpool and Llanfair coaches which were were too wide for some parts of the line. (See Progress Report 29)

The most time-consuming part of the construction process was for me the painting and application of transfers and varnish. My painting techniques have improved considerably, but I still find painting the most challenging part of the modelling process.

For more information, see How I constructed three Maddison Coaches

Painting and detailing the interior of a station building

Having purchased a secondhand finished model of Chelfham Station building made from a GRS resin kit, I decided I would not use it on the line as it did not match the pattern of timber buildings which I had already adopted. I therefore decided to sell it through eBay. I gave it a comprehensive paint job to improve its outer appearance, then decided it might sell better if I detailed the interior. I added panelling, bench seats, a chair desk and table and lighting powered by the circuit from a redundant solar powered rock light.

For more information see How I detailed a station building

Running sessions
The weather in the North West of England has been almost continuously wet through the summer holiday period. At best it has been showery, which is extremely frustrating for garden railway running. Once the track has been cleaned and the stock deployed one has to decide if the shower will be short and sharp and can thus be ignored, or whether it's going to turn into a downpour. I do continue running though light showers but and always somewhat wary about the impact of dampness on DCC electronics.

Most of my running sessions this season have tended to be running tail-chasing trains around the main circuit for the benefit of visitors. However, I have managed a couple of more prototypical sessions. For more information see: A typical operating session

Future plans
As with all railway modellers, I have a long and comprehensive todo list. The most pressing jobs are:

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