N Gauge


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10 January 2014

Calling it a workbench sounds rather grandiose, but I can at least aspire to one. This is where all of the modelling work will be handled.

Having returned to N Gauge modelling late in March 2013, I collected together some rolling stock, and was able to put together a test track in late November.

Since then I've been cleaning wheels and track, oiling and running-in locos, and collecting together the beginnings of a paint collection and the tools to make use of it.

To start with, my work will mostly cover wagons, as I get used to painting and weathering in N Gauge, so don't expect anything grand just yet!

Not exactly a rolling stock kit or scratch build, perhaps, but one of my first tasks now that I have some paints and supplies has been to add the first batch of removable coal loads to some of my wagons. Removable? Yes, and hopefully I'll actually make use of that on the layout, although time will tell, of course.

Workbench productions

The base of each load is thick card, folded at either end to hold the base close to the top of the wagon, and then painted black. Next I added a mix from two different model coal, one a fine-scale 'real coal' and the other the chunkier bits. Allow to dry and add a little white drybrushing.

This is actually the result of two weeks of occasional trial-and-error attempts, with the 'real coal' being added in the first attempts and the lumpy stuff being added later. Only the Millom and the weathered LMS LOCO wagon have brand new loads, with both types of coal mixed and added together. Both of these have a second layer of card added on top of the main strip to bulk out the centre. The LOCO wagon had its strip gently folded in the middle to create a peak, and I think this one has turned out to be the best of the lot.

That's the way I'll be doing in in future.

Here's more from the second batch, with these SR wagons using the card base again, with a second, shaped layer of card glued to the top to help with the 'peak' effect and then adding two types of coal mixed together on top of it:

Workbench productions

This time, along with the white drybrushing, I also used a bit of gloss varnish to give some sides of the chunky coal a typically shiny surface. It seems to work pretty well, although I still think I need to find a better coal effect when it comes to adding coal to locos.

Just finished - my very first attempts at weathering:

The previous owner of this SR Ferry Wagon had largely scratched off the SR decals, so I decided to go to town with this one, and show replaced boards, and a distinctly uncared-for look. A bit extreme for 1930 but this one's a bit of a one-off to see what I could do:

Workbench productions

Workbench productions

The next wagon is much more realistic for the period I'm modelling - fairly respectable with a little wear-and-tear, all achieved with Citadel black wash, diluted Humbrol wood brown (50/50 with acrylic thinner), and some wood-colour drybrushing. Not sure if it's visible here, but I also dabbed on a little gun metal to the buffers so that some metal shows in the middle of the dirt where the buffers have been bumping other wagons:

Workbench productions

My very first tarpaulin cover on a lightly-weathered Farish 5-Plank wagon. The plastic on these seems to be more rubber-based than with the Peco wagons, with the result that it doesn't like to take the paint quite so well, especially on the chassis. The rope ties were a bugger to get on and tie together. Superglue wouldn't 'take' to the chassis at all (later advice was to wash the chassis in soapy water before painting, and I'll report on this next time):

Workbench productions

And my first wagon loads that aren't coal. I need to strap these down with something other than thread for the ropes. I'd like to attach the ropes to the barrels but not to the wagon, so that the whole load is removable. But the ropes have to look like they're secured to the buffers when the loads are being carried:

Workbench productions

The tarpaulin was a very quick job - two passes with a brush and some drying time in between. In fact, I think folding it and getting that bundled effect on the sides took longer! Now another shot of weathered wagons - this being my second batch. I think the mud splashes were a little strong with these, but I'll leave them to stand out because of it:

Workbench productions

Again the Farish plastic chassis (and also the Dapol) didn't take a wash very well so I think I'll definitely provide a solid undercoat in future. Colours used: Humbrol black 33 (50/50 thinner mix), Humbrol brown 110, Tamiya dark iron & gun metal, plus a matt varnish, with a touch of gloss varnish on some of the less dirtied metalwork at the corners.

11 January 2014

Something new for today.

I tried strands of wire as rope, but they would have needed painting and didn't seem particularly well-disposed to stay where I wanted them to stay, so I switched back to cotton thread and, thanks to a bit of outside advice, devised a way of securing the barrel load inside the wagon instead of outside.

This is what the finished article looks like. It's not ideal as the thread isn't as tightly secured as I would have liked, but it conveys a general feeling of strapping.

Workbench productions

To add a bit more realism to the 'rope' strapping, I had to come up with a way of making it look secured inside the wagon. The answer was wooden bars fixed to the wagon base around which the rope could be tied. Entirely invented, of course. To my knowledge this approach was never used in real life (although I'm happy to be proved wrong).

The whole thing is a removable load; barrels, rope, bars and all, and they stay pretty secure while in transit, so I think I've achieved my main aim - an interesting cargo.

Workbench productions

14 January 2014

The latest batch of weathered wagons was completed last night. This still involved a degree of experimentation, but I think I've worked out how to get it exactly right next time. Each phase is done on a different night to allow each layer of paint to dry fully. It means that you only need to spend up to an hour a night on these, so plenty of time to get on with other things (or work on a bigger batch of wagons).

Workbench productions

The wagons were washed in soapy water to remove the greasiness from the plastic chassis. This didn't entirely work so perhaps a longer soak is needed. I left them in for a minute or so this time. All paints used were acrylics.

Each chassis received an undercoat of Humbrol 33 black. The wagon interiors had a wash of Humbrol 110 natural wood mixed five parts paint to ten parts thinner. This could probably be reduced to seven parts thinner next time.

The next night, the wagon body exteriors were given a wash of Humbrol RC401 dirty black mixed 50/50 with thinner. I didn't think the first coat darkened them enough so I immediately gave them a second coat, but my advice would be to leave that for another night so that you can really see how the first coat dries. I probably won't wash all wagons this heavily, although this does look pretty good. As these are coal-carrying wagons, the interiors were given a watered 50/50 black wash too, with elements of the brown still showing in places while the black provides a 'dirty layer' of grime.

The chassis were given a 60/40 wash of Railmatch 2402 Frame Dirt and thinner, followed by a light drybrushing of frame dirt on chassis and lower body, followed by a light drybrushing of dirty black on the body to blend in the wash and frame dirt and provide 'cleaner' spots (where you don't drybrush). If you only give the body a single wash of black, then you can drybrush a little more heavily and really control the grime that's added.

Then provide a touch of Humbrol RC 402 rust to the metalwork and a touch of Tamiya X-10 gun metal to the buffers to reduce the plastic look of these.

Workbench productions

Now I just need to give them a coat of matt varnish tonight.

16 January 2014

The wagon weathering is pretty straightforward. I think I got it right for coal wagons on the third attempt, and right on the first attempt for general goods wagons. If in any doubt, just apply thinner washes of paint in layers until you're happy. Or use a couple of old Farish wagons that were cheap to buy and really go for it.

28 February 2014

Having finished a major project, I'm catching up on wagon work. First job to repaint a Farish SR cattle wagon into LMS colours (the wagon isn't accurate for the SR, but it is accurate for the LMS in 1923-36). The repaint's done and now I'm going through the excruciating torture of lettering it. No photos until the lettering has been blended into the wagon and I've finished weathering it.

Also done - replacement buffers for broken wagons:

Workbench productions

The LOCO wagon on the left is also having its lettering finished off. More pain!

18 March 2014

Not much to show recently, as I've been concentrating on decorating the house. But a few things are finally falling off the production conveyor belt.

Ready for undercoating is NGS kit NGK21, the earlier, even-planked twin vent van. It's been a bit of a slow process to put together as I don't have the right drill bit for opening out the buffers and the rest was a first-time process, so I've been finding my way a bit:

Workbench productions

I've also been fine-tuning my wagon weathering.

I was being too heavy with the black wash for the average 1930 wagon, so after providing these two with running numbers I gave them a single thinned black wash, making sure that I dabbed and blotched the wash to simulate the uneven collection of dirt. I gave them an hour or so to dry and dabbed again in some places to thicken it in a very controlled fashion (this time). It doesn't show up too well in these photos, but I overlaid that with a wash of frame dirt, a light drybrushing in 'wood' brown, and a dab of rust over the bolts:

Workbench productions

The wagon interiors have also been painted this time, a thinned wash of brown in two coats. This doesn't entirely overlay the original colour but instead gives it a nicely used quality. I'll be washing all open wagons like this in future:

Workbench productions

Then I made up two removable coal loads using real Welsh coal that was kindly supplied to me:

Workbench productions

This is a new approach (Coal Loads Version 2), with a flat base mounted on off-cuts of Magnum lolly sticks (a perfect excuse for getting more Magnums!). The real coal is mixed with a finer version that I bought some tome ago. Mixing them together will make the big stuff go further and provides a realistic mixture of sizes. The finished load is sealed with a coat of Pledge multi-surface wax:

Workbench productions

As you can see, they look pretty perfect when loaded up:

Workbench productions

And apart from being able to remove them very easily by tipping them at one end, you can also use a magnet, as the layer between card and coal is make of tin can offcuts:

Workbench productions

The magnet needs a bit of padding, though. Maybe a foam wrap. The attraction is so strong that the loads snap up, and sometimes some of the coal snaps off.

That's all for now, folks.


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