N Gauge

GROUPING WORKBENCH: General Items


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26 May 2016

Although the layout work has virtually ground to a halt during May, there's still time for an hour or so of modelling work each evening.

Several long-term projects have been rumbling along at slow speed, and one or two of those may be nearing completion pretty soon, fingers crossed. At the same time, I can rush through the odd quickie project too, and one of those included a bit of a repaint for the GWR Siphon G.

I'd recently managed to get this in the BR maroon livery for too good a price to ignore. All it needed was a bit of a dusting, the old decals removed with the use of a fibreglass pen, and a repaint into a chocolate brown. Actually this is SR brown, but its close enough to GWR chocolate that only an irritating rivet counter will be able to spot the difference.

Then I needed to add a few spots of gloss varnish for the new decals, firmly fixed in GWR style for 1930.

Here's the siphon, removed from its bogie undercarriage and repainted:

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The decals turned out not to be very good. Getting them to 'stick' even on a gloss background was really hard work. Some of the film still showed up even after the decals had dried.

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Even so, I persevered, and got the rest on. Then the body was reattached to the chassis.

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A bit of a matt varnish, followed by a light weathering - plenty of frame dirt on the chassis and lower body - and the decals didn't look quite so bad.

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Another job was to dirty up the Graham Farish First World War army train loco. All I needed to do was to remove the Midland Railway emblems from the cab and middle splasher, and the MR from the front buffer beam, and then add pre-1927 LMS plates to the cab sides. The fibreglass pen takes off these Farish decals very easily with minimal damage to the underlying paintwork.

There were still some of these pre-1927-liveried locos around in 1930, although they were getting close to a repaint.

Locomotive detailing

After sealing in the decals, I added four or five layers of muck and filth, Plus lamps on the front, in goods mode for the S&DJR.

Locomotive detailing

Real coal, shovels and picks, etc, were added to the tender, and a hand-painted crew. Job done, hopefully.

Locomotive detailing

Now to add something to the S&DJR Permanent Way train - a nice big rail load that will sit across two four-wheeled bolster wagons.

Locomotive detailing

Here it is with a coat of frame dirt and a couple of washes of black. Plus a coat of 'iron' from Tamiya for the chains.

Locomotive detailing

12 June 2016

Several projects on the workbench are quite complicated. They're trundling along slowly, and a couple are nearing some kind of completion.

These include another Graham Farish suburban coach upgrade/detailing job, converting a Del Prado model into a working locomotive, complete with N Brass Loco four-wheel front and rear bogies, preparing a Langley King Arthur class white metal kit for painting (well, a re-spray from BR Brunswick Green to SR Maunsell Green), finishing off an SR water tender conversion from a Union Mills tender, and building a couple of Etched Pixels etched brass kits to form a doubled-up ex-LB&SCR guards van combination. Quite a bit of work, all told!

So for now, all I can show here is a batch of ordinary RTR wagons before and after a quick spot of weathering:

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24 August 2016

It's been a while since the last update, but that's because several tricky projects have been rumbling along at a snail's pace. I was going to wait until at least one of them was finished before posting, but Christmas might get here first, so here's the first of a few catch-up posts instead.

First up is a second-hand loco purchase. It's a pretty good-looking white metal kit from B H Enterprises, a Southern Railway 4-6-0 Class N15, No 802 Sir Dunmore. The original was built at Eastleigh in 1926. But it's in a not-quite-so-lovely BR Brunswick Green livery that will have to go.

Come the first test around the track, though, it committed the sin of bumping into a horizontal support post for the upper level. That means the nose is too high, because that's certainly never happened before. The result was a lot of filing and chipping away at the support post to increase the clearance, but even that wasn't enough. So the loco's metal bodywork had to be filed down as much as possible, and the Farish chassis too, to reduce that pointing-at-the-sky effect.

Believe it or not, this is the 'after' shot, with as much filing done as possible.

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So that's ready for a repaint, but repainting needs an airbrush, so it sits to one side and waits for now.

The next project is an engineer's water tank. The SR used several old tenders for this job, transporting water around the network, to various loco sheds for instance. This one will also have a track cleaning brush underneath, so running it around the layout will be a fairly regular affair.

I had a spare Union Mills tender that would do for the job, but it would need quite a bit of conversion work, and UM tenders are heavy duty white metal. It was going to be hard work.

The tender, an LNER type:

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It was just a shell, so wheels had to be added.

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Next is to remove the coal load.

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After that, filing down the remaining coal load area and the sides so that they were flat was going to take a lot of work.

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Having finally finished the filing, hacking, slicing, and gouging to remove as much white metal as possible, the water container needed a lid. The two drilled holes are for the handle.

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Next is a front panel, modelled on one in a photo from 'Service Stock of the Southern Railway' by R W Kidner.

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One coupler fitted, fixed in place, although perhaps it would have been better to fit a pin through it to give it some basic mobility.

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Now the tender needs the flared sides of an old (for 1930) tender. As always, card soaked in superglue is my favoured material. The 'fluffy' areas of the card can be filed once the glue has dried and the card has solidified.

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And now to add the coal rails (far too soon, of course, because they'll get bent and battered while I finish off). These are a brand new offering from N Brass Loco.

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Lettering and numbering added and faded with a few washes of grey.

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Front footsteps and a connector (?) hatch fitted, along with a coupling hook. The buffer beam was repainted, along with the buffers.

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That's where it is for now. It still needs a rear coupler and perhaps a coupling chain too.

10 November 2015

It's high time there was an autumn catch-up after a busy few months on the workbench. Rather than save up all the reports for each project into a single release, they're just going to be peppered at you as they happen, so prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride.

Something I bought recently was a Del Prado static model of a Southern Railway Class L Baltic Tank. One of the 'experts' of N Gauge loco building has turned one of these into a working loco by emptying out the plastic and metal innards and plonking the body on a 4-6-0 chassis with an extra four-wheel bogie at the back.

Well, after clearing out the body - and not without some difficulty - the next stage was to replace the original Graham Farish front bogie with an N Brass Loco etched bogie.

One LNWR-pattern four wheel front bogie (also suitable for SR locos of the Maunsell
era).

Loco work

Assembling it is only half the story. Getting the wheels to move freely (lots of filing of the arches) and getting them to sit firmly on the track when the bogie is connected to the loco is a saga in itself. A lot of testing and minor tweaking is involved...

Loco work

Another job that needs doing is detailing my Union Mills T9. As supplied it comes in a base colour of Maunsell Green, but without any detailing or lining. The great Ozymandius of the NGF will be handling the lining work, but some preparation work is needed first.

The tender frames had to be painted green, along with the steps below the loco cab and in front of the driving wheels. The tops of the splashers were painted black, along with the tender springs and axle boxes.

Loco work

At the same time, work started on a bit of a novelty - a break van with a difference. Take two Peco wooden-framed wagon chassis and prepare them for being joined together.

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Then get two Ultima etched kits of an LB&SCR 10T brake van of the 1880s. These brake vans just about lasted to the Grouping, when the few survivors were doubled to increase their braking efficiency.

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Back to the Class L Baltic Tank, the first bogie has been fitted, filed, tweaked, and cursed. Part of the loco chassis plastic had to be cut away to allow the bogie to sit properly, and also to try and prevent the bogie from causing a short circuit (which it did a lot).

Loco work

The LB&SCR brake van kits were assembled using Bostik and superglue along the inner seams.

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Another recent purchase was from Gramodels when I found Graham's stand at the Chatham show in Kent. I bought one of each of all of his N Gauge resin wagon bodies and spent some time soon afterwards cleaning them up. The open wagons were all pretty good but the covered wagons had quite a bit of flash to clean up. They should be quite decent when they're painted up though.

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Meanwhile, the Ultima brake vans have been undercoated. The roofs won't be secured until later.

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The Baltic Tank's working rear bogie could now be painted and varnished. The paint will help to insulate it and avoid those short circuit problems.

Loco work

Here's the full set of Gramodels wagon bodies:

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And here are the two Peco chassis for the Ultima brake vans, joined together as a test. Note that the buffers on the inside have all been removed.

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Finally for now, an eBay purchase had a coupler and coupling box both missing at one end and the coupler only missing from the other. These Mathieson wagons usually come with clear couplers that look very distinctive, but for now all I have are black replacements, including one (on the right) that was left spare from the Ultima doubled brake van kit. So that's one wagon fixed up and ready to run.

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