Sunday, October 31, 2010

Progress Report 33

As you can see from Progress Report 32 and from more recent posts, I have been fairly busy over the summer adding the finishing touches to various projects which had been started through the year. I like to keep more than one project on the go at any one time. Often, something I'm constructing needs to be left for a few days while the glue or paint sets, so having something else to get on with is useful. Also, when working full time, I've have had to seize moments to do a bit more modelling whenever time permits, often (as at this moment) I'll do some modelling (or blogging) while watching TV in the evening. Having a range of projects on the go means I can choose a job which is most appropriate for doing in the living room. For some reason noisy jobs (eg sawing) or smelly jobs (eg gluing or painting) don't seem to be too popular with the other half when she's trying to watch the telly. Anyway, the projects I am currently working on are:
  • Chipping, repainting and detailing the Barclay loco;
  • Finishing off the Hunslet loco kit;
  • Weathering some LGB tippler wagons.

Chipping, repainting and detailing the Barclay loco
As can be seen from Progress Report 26, the Barclay loco was in hand painted brown livery when it was bought secondhand. It therefore needed to be repainted in Brunswick green and lined in gold to bring it into line with the loco liveries for the Peckforton Railway. After rubbing down the loco I decided it wouldn't be necessary to apply undercoat. What I hadn't realised was that the solvent used in Humbrol acrylic aerosol paint acted as an effective paint stripper for the paint used originally on the loco. This meant I had to do some extensive additional rubbing down, priming and undercoating before applying three coats of Brunswick Green, rubbing down between each coat to try and achieve a half decent finish. The finish is not exactly perfect, but it is not bad considering what it was like before.

The black was repainted by hand with (water-based) acrylics. The next job is to apply gold lining with Trimline adhesive tape.

A Massoth L chip has been wired in and the loco has been programmed to DCC No. 2. Nameplates (BEESTON) and number plates have been ordered from Alan Briggs and will be added once the paintwork and lining has been finished and sealed with clear varnish.

Finishing off the Hunslet loco kit

The bodywork has been constructed (See How I constructed a Hunslet from a GRS kit) and it is now at the painting stage. I find painting the most daunting part of the kit-building process and, for me, it is the most time consuming. The Peckett was around 18 months in the paint shop as I kept trying to improve upon previous mistakes. One of the difficulties I've yet to overcome is spray-drift. When painting one side of a model or round the curve of the boiler or chimney, excess spray drifts on to previously sprayed areas and dulls them down. If I find a solution, I will be delighted (and will share this with the world at large!)

Weathering some tippler wagons

With two trains of eight tippler wagons (actually I have nineteen tipplers, but have decided that eight wagons per train plus guards' van is more manaegeable for the passing loops on the line). I have slowly been accumulating these through eBay until I've now reached the optimum number. I've always planned to weather these mainstays of the line as they have very heavy useage. So far, I've managed to weather one set (see How I weathered some LGB tippler wagons) using Scenic Rust.

I've also permanently coupled them in rakes of four wagons. As these trains are unlikely ever to be split and shunted separately it seemed wasteful of couplings to have them loose coupled. It also released loads of LGB couplings to act as spares for other stock. I decided not to permanently couple all eight together. If one wagon falls off the line on the elevated section, it would take the other seven with it - as I found from experience and, of course, sods' law prevailed - it was in the hidden section which is the least accessible. I'm wondering how long I will contine to be able to squirm into the undergrowth on my stomach commando-style.

At this stage I have decided to stick with LGB couplings as standard on the line. Although they are not realistic, they are reliable. I have several R1 points and a few curves equivalent to R1 on the line and so need something which will cope. I've decided also to add hooks to both ends of all stock. Despite my best efforts there are some dips in the trackwork (particularly at the end of the swing bridge) which means that the hooks can drop out of the adjacent loop. In addition, I have a reversing loop which could result in some stock becoming reversed, ending up with two hookless bars being presented for coupling.The release of the couplings from the tipplers has enabled me to have sufficient spare hooks for any future additions to the rolling stock.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

How I weathered some LGB tippler wagons

To handle the copper ore traffic on the railway, I have accumulated two rakes of eight LGB tippler wagons - one train of full wagons and one train of empties. As these tipplers are used frequently in running sessions to justify the existence of the railway, I was keen to give them a more realistic, weathered look. In their original out-of-the-box state, they look far too toy-like:

The first job was to disassemble each wagon. The couplings were removed........

 ..... as were the wheels, which needed to be prised out with a screwdriver.

Each wagon was thus separated into its component parts.

The prominent LGB moulding was filed off the end of each bucket:

The chassis and buckets were then washed in diluted dishwasher detergent (I've heard this is better than ordinary washing-up liquid as it does not contain additives such as lanolin). They were left to dry for a couple of days...........

........ before being given two coats of Halfords rattle-can red primer, in my highly sophisticated spray booth (a large cardboard box with one side and the top removed).

These were left to dry for a couple of days. Then each bucket was given a wash of muddy brown/black acrylic...........

......... which was then dabbed and wiped off with a paper towel, leaving deposits of muck in the corners........

...... and streaks on the larger surfaces:

The same treatment was given to each chassis (note by this time I'd decided to wear disposable plastic gloves after leaving handprints on the doors between the workshop and the kitchen sink!).

The two components of Scenic rust were mixed together in the little pot provided - one component is the binder (basically PVA glue) and the other is fine iron powder:

This was then applied liberally to the buckets and chassis, focusing attention on the places where rust accumulates (ie corners and joints) but also dabbing here and there. Some wagons were more heavily attacked than others, suggesting they were in a more weathered condition.

Once all had been suitably daubed, they were left for a day to dry, before the 'developer' fluid was liberally applied with a brush. As you can see, the rusting process was already beginning.

The following day and most of the wagons had acquired a distinctly rusty look, though I sprayed a few with water to accelerate the rusting process.

I tried increasing the bashed look of one wagon by attacking the bucket with a blow-torch to soften the plastic of the bucket. However, the plastic of is so thick it caught fire before going soft which made the process difficult to control. I decided not to take the risk with the other buckets.

 The next task was to reassemble the wagons. I decided to rewheel them using Bachmann metal wheels, which are by far the cheapest at around £12.50 for four axles.

The wheels were prised into place with a screwdriver.

As the wagons would never be uncoupled from their train, I decided to permanently couple them into rakes of four wagons. I did try a full rake of eight wagons permanently coupled but when one became derailed on the hidden link to the copper mine, it plummeted to the ground taking the other seven with it. The only way I could retrieve them was to squirm into the undergrowth on my stomach.

A series of couplings were fashioned from copper wire and chain:

Holes were drilled in the coupling plates to accommodate the hooks:

Then the couplings were pushed into place. I decided not to Superglue them in case they needed removal later.

Standard LGB hook and loop  couplings were added to the ends of each rake of four wagons

The train was then test-run in the October sunshine:

So far, the train of empties has been completed. The train of eight full wagons is next on the list.

I must say, I am very impressed with the results, which is due mostly to the properties of the Scenic Rust. I probably have sufficient left to do another four wagons, so I'd say each kit will do 12 wagons - which is good value considering the ease with which some impressive results are achieved. I am not sure whether to varnish the wagons or to let them continue weathering naturally. I may try an experiment and varnish one to see what happens.

UPDATE: See How I made a rake of loaded tippler wagons