I’m losing Control!

Well my control panel has been fairly grotty for quite some time. The base of the control panel is a Grainge and Hodder box. Laser Cut and very robust. After my aborted O gauge project, I decided I would try to re-use the main part of the control panel but with a new top. The inter-connecting parts from the old top section were removed and I found a piece of hardboard to fit the new control panel for PRINCE’S STREET.

Well as you can see, it was dirty!

While working on the new layout, the white piece of hardboard has got dirtier and worse as the months went on.

I’m Sorry about the above picutre. It was so bad I couldn’t even be bothered to rotate the image. The piece of hardboard, didn’t start off dirty but with so much glue, paint and other materials around, it was bound to get dirt on it so I decided I would clean it up later. Well I thought I would do that today.

I started by wrapping some masking tape around the switches and removing all the little labels I had added while setting up points and isolation switches. There were also some hints for the double switch as I had avoided all the other wiring methods and ended up with a bit of a mess!

I had some white paint in a rattle can so once I had the board ready, I started to spray. Then I stopped. I realised the white paint would not cover the grubby marks on the hardboard, so I decided I would paint the board first with a dusting of grey primer. This really blocked all the dirt and the white then went on really easily over the grey.

I found some self adhesive black PVC so I cut a piece off the roll and cut some strips of the self adhesive vinyl 5mm wide. I then stuck them in place to show the track layout.

Unfortunately, there were some marks in the top left hand corner that I couldn’t quite cover so a name panel seemed like the thing to do. I think it looks OK!

It was then time to re-label everything with the label machine I had bought for situations like this. It’s not high-tech and it’s not perfect but for my simple DC O gauge layout, I think it’s OK and it works!

AND FINALLY…

I found this character while looking for something else and thought I’d pose him on my layout. I was always told to avoid strange looking men who hang around street corners so this was my first idea. Can you spot the drain covering. Would this still be on a cobbled street left over from days past. Let me know what you think about this scene.

Thanks

Shaun

END TO END

Having spent a little time on rolling stock, it was time to focus a bit on the layout once again. While I had done lots of work on the layout, each end of the layout was yet to come together. I had cut a piece of hardboard for the road bridge and showed this in my previous blog but that was about all.

The board had been sprayed a random mix of grey and black primer, however, I know this wasn’t going to be the road’s final colour.

Some more laser cut brick sheet was cut into strips for the bridges walls. I cut these to match the height of the central bridge section which had been made from plasticard several months ago. In this picture I had also installed a couple of street lights. The pavement was cut from a length of balsa wood and also stuck to the bridge.

I sometimes buy things at shows knowing that one day they might be useful. I was waiting for such an opportunity here and knew what I had to use. I had in one of my storage draws a small sheet of etched road iron work such as drains and man hole covers. I sprayed some of these blackand laid them in place to see how they might look.

In the above picture you can see a pavement access cover and on the road, a cover to the drains. You can see I also used some masking tape over the original paint to create some patched up sections of road. I’m not sure about the road and pavement colours yet but the patches effect works well for me!

In the station area there is also lots to do and depsite it receiving my attention, there still is much to do.

The INTENTIO public house was finished and the roof was completed using my own hand cut and placed individual slates. The pub sign was printed onto a gloss inkjet paper.

I was keen to sort out the end of the main platform and knew that it required a small section of platform to be fitted at the end for workmen or drivers etc. This is also why I cut down a flight of stairs to fit the platform. I think they were from another Signal Box kit that I did not use. This requires a little more work yet but for now, I’m please with its progress.

Another one of my speculative purchases was a sheet of embossed cobbles. I decided that this area was still in the same state as it was during the latter days of steam and that the street had not benefited from an upgraded road system. The end of Prince’s Street was also signifiant in that the station did not have its own car park. This was in front of the two sidings and not modelled. in the above picture you can see that the station now has a front wall, steps up to the station building, a road surface and pavements. As with the road, I’m not sure what colour the pavements should be yet, at this time, they are left in a light grey colour. I have also installed another two street lights. The walls are all too clean and there needs to be another building next to the public house. Despite the amount of work remaining. I’m pleased with the recent progress.

Now, where’s that printer…

Yellow things…Green things and more stuff!

This is a real mish-mash of a post. With the lockdown showing no signs of coming to an end, I have continued to work on a number of different projects with all of them making quite a bit of progress. I have a lot of weathering to do now but that’s for another day.

The yellow BG coach, an addition to my breakdown train has had more work done on it. At the end of the last post, the underframe had been painted and it was time toi add some windows.

The glazing pieces (see above), supplied with the kit had a part of the frame molded into the clear plastic and this needed to be painted yellow. I was anxious to have this with a good density of colour. So I carefully masked either side of the raised frame and underpainted the line with white acrylic paint. I then painted 2 coats of the Railmatch yellow which had been airbrushed on the coach body. Unfortunately a little bit of the white paint lifted clean away from the plastic when I removed the masking tapes. I think have managed to resolve the problem but it was a stressful moment!

…the windows before fitting in the coach…

I also painted the wheel tyres white – a feature of the entire breakdown train.

The windows were then installed in the coach. I used Windor and Newton glass varnish rather than a solvent glue or super glue and this avoided frosting of the plastic if the varnish got on the plastic.

At this stage, I knew I had to complete the most stressful part of the project for me – the waterslide transfer stripes down the side of the coach. I compared the stripe levels of the previous coaches I had done, referred to my reference picture and made a start. After a false start – waisting an entire piece, I cut the subsequent pieces in to smaller sections and this made the transfer easier to handle. I’m quite pleased with my final effort!

the final coach awaiting depot details and a TOPS code.

I do need to add the coach details and TOPS number to the coach. When I made the previous coaches, I used some waterslide transfer paper that i had purchased from the internet and made my own transfers. I shall do this again assuming I can find where I put the transfer paper!

I’ve had a box of trees for quite a while and when I’ve looked at my layout, I’ve often thought that a few trees would be a good idea, but I’ve never got around to planting a few specimens. I think I’ve always been a bit anxous about issues of scale. So with a little bit of anxiety I decided to plant a few trees where issues of scale might not be so obvious – away from buildings and other large structures.

The trees are wire armature made and covered with foilage mesh and other familiar material. Over time they had got a bit compressed, so I opened them out gave a few bits a hair cut and painted the wire branches various shades of green and brown where the wire was showing. I planted a few and the day after planting, I added a bit more paint to the hole which was made for each tree. I shall put some more detail around the bases of each tree.

…I will talk about those controllers another day…
a scenic block is always a good scenic technique

And finally…

I maybe on the road to nowhere but I was pleased to get this little piece of roadway in place yesterday…

Made from hardboard, this roadway crossing the layout is the first stage of my road building project. I have already sourced some street lamps and I also have some etched brass drain cover parts which I also hope to use. Please don’t be alwarmed by the colour of the road. This was just to put some colour on it while I work . I was please to make a start on this as it’s beenone of the most underworked parts of the layout and it needed some attention.

I have lots more to share but I’ll keep it for another day.

Keep well and keep safe

Shaun

One night only.,.the BGs!

My previous work to convert two Lima MK 1 coaches into Breakdown Support Coaches were a success for me. I guess you could find faults. They might not be totally accurate but they work on the right type of layout and the reaction from paying people at exhibitions has been really positive. Kelvin also demands that they appear on certain occasions….and that’s good enough praise for me.

A long time ago, I acquired a Just Like the Real Thing BG coach for £50 which was a steal if you know about the prices of their kits. This particular model however, wasn’t worth much more than £5 to be honest. It looked like an inexperienced modeller had decided to assemble the main parts of the coach with impact adhesive, and this had oozed out of all the joints and ‘become one’ with the resin castings.

So it was down to me to take this mess of a coach and try and do something with it. Resolving the dry glue issue took time. Lots and lots of time. However, the patience and hard work was slowly rewarded as I ended up with a coach body which was smooth on all 4 sides. Now it was starting to be worth £50!

I primed the body and then sprayed it Olive green in readiness for use as a departmental coach. Then I changed my mind! I decided that I’d add another coach to my rake of Breakdown Support Coaches.

The coach was a rapidly re-primed and painted with a lovely deep coat of yellow to match the other 2 coaches. It then joined the great pile of unfinished models where it has sat for a number of months….until last week.

The recent Covid-19 events have provided me with the opportunity to occupy myself at home and with this situation showing no signs of moving I decided to address the pile of unfinished kits – some of which have already been mentioned on my blog.

I visited Paul Bartletts amazing collection of pictures and found the picture of a yellow BG I knew was there. It was a great side view of a BG coach in yellow with side stripes, assigned as a Breakdown Support Coach at Old Oak Common. For 50p I was able to download my own copy of this image.

My £50 also provided me with some etches to make MK1 coach bogies but there were no instructions for any other kits parts. Given my fear of all things etched I decided to acquire some more parts, these being Bogies and Frame details from EasyBuild and Heljan frame sprues via Howes Models. Now I was able to build the under frame.

I’m not sure if it was wise to use the Heljan BG as a guide, but this is what I did!

I added brake cylinders and linkage at both ends as well as the underframe supports. This shows the underneath before painting.

My previous work had attended to the door handles and the top handles of the single doors. However, the lower door handles had not been added so these were added too. I also made sure that all of these were painted white as per the prototype.

The axle box covers were also picked out in yellow, but yellow paint would not cover black so these were also painted white at the same time as the door handles. You can also see the footsteps added from plasticard – 4 each side – these were just rounded on the corners to give a worn effect.

At this stage the underframe and footsteps have been painted black. I decided to paint it all by hand. Note the reference pic on my laptop.

And so I’m now at this stage. The axle boxes have also been picked out in yellow and make a real impact. I also need to pick out the wheel rims on white. I have the strips and glazing to add and then that will be another one to put on the ‘done pile’.

Wire! Oh Wire!

It needed to be done. I know that. I just wished that someone would come along and say ‘Oh what a lovely layout, let me wire up that double slip for you’. Alas it was my layout and so I have had to bodge the electrics like all my other layouts. One day, I will get one of my layout’s electrics installed properly. Maybe DCC…NO Not yet!

So folks. It is done, it does work and despite the masses of wires trailing down from the underside, the power does seem to go from A to B and every where else required.

a rather messy layout…

The control box is a product from Grange and Hodder. It was used on my previous layout so the top was unusable. I was able to cut a piece of hardboard to size – result! – one re-used control panel. I purchased some velco strip from my local supermarket and fitted a stip of it to the top underside of the fascia. If there is a problem with the layout’s control panel I can now easily remove the section that holds the switches and replace it when I’m finished.

The above picture doesn’t really give an impression that I was making progress but at this stage, I was nearly finished.

looking a bit grubby!

The control panel will be painted or covered with sticky back plastic soon to make it look presentable but for now, I’m enjoying the opportunity to play trains with my limited set up.

I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to run some of my bigger engines on the layout and check their running through all the track work. At the moment everything is running well and I’m a happy man….

Now, what shall I do next…

That DMU isn’t finished yet…

The wife has a new hot tub…….

Another one for the ‘Done’ pile!

With my my desire to complete some unfinished projects showing no signs of slowing up, my attention turned to some buildings. The signal box and station building have been at the ‘nearly finished’ status for ages. however, the had not been given enough time to call them finished until last week.

Many laser cut buildings supply strips of roof cut tiles but I find them too regular and like cut my own from grey card purchased from an art supplies shop. This is cut into strips and then cut into squares.

the front of the station showing the ros of tiles being added

The station now needs some weathering and station signage. I’m currently working on this in Corel Draw. You may be able to spot from the pictires that th chimney pots were added and some Evergreen half circle moulding was added to the top of the roof and painted to match the colour of the slates.

I then turned my attention to the Signal Box. This had been in an ‘amost finished’ state for quite a long time. It had already been weathered, however, it had not been glazed and the roof had not been fixed on permanently. With the main signal box windows facing the operator and no hint of a view inside from the ‘punters’ side, I decided not to install any of the signal box interior detailing kits available. Here is the signal box with all the final jobs done.

Now, what to do next…

Back to the DMU (III)

Well now that I’ve been joined at home by my other half and son, my rapid modelling through the day time has been curtailed a bit.

There has been some progress to the DMU but some of the recent stages have been a little bit slower.

I had to assemble some more partitions from brass etched sections and wire. I could have soldered these, but I’m a bit rubbish with a soldering iron so I glued them using a drop of cyano glue.

10 of these were made – 5 for each coach.

I then continued to fix white metal castings to both coaches to represent the engines, tanks and other equipement required by the DMU. It was really exciting to see these pieces being added as the model became more and more life-like. I also noted that the models also became quite heavy!

white metal castings for the under frame details
the buffers will be added after the model is painted.

Well there maybe just a few more details to add externally before I start making lots of chairs to go inside the DMU. These will need some seated passengers and a driver which I have given some thought to. I will also start cleaning up the exterior of the model using suoer fine emery paper and/or a fibre glass brush.

And finally…

In other news, my Shark wagon has had its handrails painted white. Having ruined the roof part which was supplied, I still need to finish this by fashioning a roof from plasticard. I’ve also remembered that I do need to paint the blades at each end a more rusty and dirty colour.