Entries in July 2012
Entries on 10-July 12
I read an article recently on a U.S. online magazine about weathering a scrap metal gondola (Gooogle is your friend...). In the article it showed a technique for aging a steel bodied wagon using the heat from a soldering iron. I quite liked the sound of this and decided to give it a go. I didn't want a large gondola style wagon, prefering to have something smaller that would be easier to lay up in a corner some where and chose a Parkside Dundas 13t open steel goods wagon for the project. This is a nice little kit and comes with steel wheels running in brass bushes and also includes mounting plates for both Hornby & Bachmann couplings.
After assembling the body it was on with the soldering iron. I had a little practice first on some scrap plastic and found that the surface in contact with the iron was damaged really roughly and the opposite surface bulged and blistered smoothly. So from this test, I decided to use the tip of the iron on the outside of the wagon, in quick stabbing actions to create small 'puncture' effects and the side of the iron tip on the inside of the wagon to produce a larger 'buckled' effect. Don't pause too long with the iron in contact with the plastic, as it is very thin and you'll easily push the tip right through the body if your not careful.
With the damage complete, the rest of the parts were assembled and some basic colour was applied. As the wagon was going to be loaded, I wasn't too worried about the roughness inside of the wagon. I folded up a card packer to build the scrap load on and also hide some lead weight on the wagon floor. The card packer is a friction fit and doesn't need gluing in place. Plastic sprues cut up and painted make great scrap loads.
You can see the rough surface finish on the inside of the wagon in the next picture.
95% there now, with the brake levers & buffers on, Kadee couplings fitted and some more detail to the paint work. The bike frame is scrap, because there was a slight problem when it came to fitting the back wheel
I'll finish filling the scrap load as more off cuts become available and I still have a bit more weathering to do, to tone down the red panels and ribs.
Entries on 8-July 12
Next on the loose end to tidy list is this kit that I bought from an online auction and whilst it had very obviously been well travelled, it was all complete in it's box with instructions & transfers etc. Some people like the pictures on the old Airfix boxes, I think they're great too.
The first thing to attack was the Lowmac wagon and the thing that screamed out imediately to me were the wheels. They are a two piece plastic wheel that require gluing together at the axle and I wanted to go for metal wheels/axles for smoother running. I had some Hornby 3 hole ones that were slightly larger in diameter at 12.8mm, the original Airfix ones being 10.0mm. After a quick measure up of the parts, my solution was to insert a 1mm thick strip of plasticard the length of the wagon between the frame and the deck of the wagon. This gives the clearance needed to accomodate the larger wheels without fouling the underside of the deck and once painted doesn't stand out too much. I have marked the added strips with a yellow arrow in this picture.
I am slowly converting the rest of my stock to Kadee couplers, so this wagon was getting Kadees from the start. A rectangular hole was cut in the buffer beam and a plasticard plate was glued at the correct height on the underside of the wagon to take a No.5 coupler. The Kadee Height setting gauge is invaluable for doing this job quickly and easily.
With the Lowmac completed I moved onto the JCB. I really enjoyed this little model and I like the fact that you can assemble it so that the front & rear arms of the buckets can be manipulated. The rear arm can also be slide from either side on it's mounting and the seat rotates too depending on what your operator is doing. These nice touch's allows you to place the model around your layout doing different jobs and not have it stuck in one place doing the same old task. I deviated from the painting instructions a little and I didn't use the transfers as supplied, as looking at the age of them I didn't think the finished results would complement the model, but I may sort something else out in the future. I still need to get an opperator sorted and a bit more weathering, but here are a couple of pictures of progress to date.
Entries on 7-July 12
I seem to have been doing bits all over the place lately (walls, trees, plastic kits), so I am trying to tidy up the loose ends up and clear the bench a little. So first up is some retaining wall panels. Where my track leaves the mainline and heads down into the fiddle yard I wanted to have a scenic incline rather than have the track disappear into a tunnel and then start to decend. I have opted to have a retained wall, rather than a sloped bank cutting to save space and wanted to build the wall in brick. As there is quite a bit to do I have decided to make it from plaster rather than expensive plasitcard. So firstly I made a master mould from some brick embossed plasticard and scraps of mdf. It didn't need to be anything fancy, as long as the brick panel was square and flat. Once the glue was dried I sealed the mdf with some diluted PVA.
Then a two part silicone mould compound was mixed and poured into the master mould and left overnight to cure. As some of the retaining wall is alongside a curved track, it is nice to curve the wall panel slightly to match. This is easily done by packing out the centre of the mould to get a concave wall face or packing out the ends to get a convex wall face, as in the next picture.
Here are two curved panels. I have made the mould the height of the highest wall that I need, but if I only need a low wall panel I don't worry about completely filling the mould, as in the wall panel on the right. Once completely dry (usually takes a couple of days) the plaster panels are easily cut to size by scoring the back face and then snapping. The flat panels can be snapped over a steel rule flat on the bench, but a little more care is needed to do the curved ones. Expect to break your first attempt
Here's a flat panel. Banging the mould on the bench will help fill the mould and expell the bulk of the air bubbles. But I don't mind the odd random air bubble as it helps to make each panel unique and once painted will give the look of a chipped brick.
Here's a quick picture of the first few panels in place and given a quick coat of paint to add some colour. Once I have completed the entire length I will go back and add details and pick out individual bricks etc.