Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Chimney Turnig

Ever since I first held the model of Skarloey in my hands the chimney has looked wrong. Mostly I think it's that the band around the upper part stands to proud and is too far down. After my success turning buffers and spectacle plates I thought I'd see if I could produce a replacement. Unfortunately thinks didn't go quite to plan this time.

From a drawing of the prototype I worked out all the main measurements and set to work reducing a piece of 6mm diameter brass rod. The first stage was to reduce it down to 4.6mm which is the diameter of the cap, I then reduced most of it down to 3.25mm which is the diameter of the band around the chimney.


I then fitted the top slide to allow me to turn the taper for the cap; I went for a taper of 45 degrees which seemed to match up with the drawing. With the two parts now joined by the taper I cut into the body of the chimney slightly (0.2mm) to produce the top edge of the band, and then turned the rest down by 0.2mm leaving a 1mm wide band. I then worked out where the base of the chimney should be, made a witness mark, and then turned the rest down to 2mm to act as a locating pin.


Next I parted the chimney off from the rest of the bar leaving a few millimetres above the chimney cap, before turning the part around and remounting it with the locating pin in the 3 jaw chuck. I then faced off the top of the cap until I almost met the edge of the taper, I then faced off just the edge leaving a raised section in the middle. The final step was to then drill out the centre of the chimney. I started with a 1.5mm hole but it didn't look big enough so I changed to a 1.8mm drill which is where things started to go wrong.

One of my pet hates on models is chimneys where the central hole is only a millimetre or so deep so I made sure the hole was nice and deep. Unfortunately I forgot that the mounting pin was 2mm wide and my drill was 1.8mm and when it got deep enough the chimney snapped leaving me with the locating pin in the chuck. Worse was to come though when I went to open the chunk only to snap one of the tommy bars.


Fortunately the tommy bar is still useable, if a little short, and in retrospect a number of things were wrong with the chimney. Not only was it too short (I wrongly measured the drawing) but the 45 degree cap looked silly. So I set to turning a second chimney following the same stages which produced something that looks a lot better.


Initially I was happy with this one, but on reflection, and after looking at some photos not just the drawing, it's still not right. I'm happier with the height and the angle of the taper for the cap, but the band is too high up the chimney (there should be more straight section above it before the taper), so I'll have to have another go at some point. I'm still calling it a success though, as it's by far the most complex thing I've turned yet and it's all good practice.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Balance

My work-life balance seems to be all over the place at the moment, and even when I'm at home modelling has ended up fairly low down the list of priorities, but I did find some time this weekend for a little bit of modelling, including a balance pipe!


Due to the chassis block the pipe had to be made in two pieces that put up against the chassis but once it's all painted I think it will do the job. I also added the small pipe from the saddle tank into the drivers side of the cab. This isn't on the prototype now, but is clear on old, pre-preservation photos. No idea what it does but I thought it was worth adding.

Not sure what detail will be next, although I'm still trying to figure out if there is any pipework across the boiler in front of the dome during the early years of the loco. None of the photos I've found are particularly helpful.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

More Brass Bits

Yesterday I finally managed to clear enough space (by temporarily dumping things elsewhere) to setup the lathe to turn a full set of spectacle plates. If you remember I ran out of brass after making one last time.

Armed with some new brass rod I set everything up and made a start on turning the 6mm rod down to 4.25mm for the outer diameter. My plan was to turn down quite a length of rod so that I could make four or more in sequence ensuring the outer diameter stayed the same. Initially I must have got the tool height wrong because as soon as I tried to take a small cut the tool dug in which tried to lift the front of the crossslide. While a little bit of pressure on the front of the crossslide stopped that happening the surface finish was terrible. So I stopped, made coffee, and then set everything up again. This time it was fine so I carried on.

The sequence was essentially to turn down the rod for the outer diameter, drill the central hole to 3.5mm (I would possibly have preferred this to be a little bigger but I was limited by drill sizes), face off and then turn down the end to 0.75mm to 4mm in diameter. This leaves me with a frame on the end of the bar which I then parted off. At that point I could just repeat the process from the facing off step to cut more frames.

I decided a photo of just four rings wouldn't be very interesting so instead we have a group shot of the main brass bits I've made for this model.


I actually made six parts, even though I only needed four. The first one I parted off badly which distorted it, and one pinged off never to be seen again during parting off leaving me the four I needed. This does mean that my success rate is climbing since I turned the buffers as two thirds of the parts were usable; it might even have been as high as 80% if I'd been able to find the one that got lost.

There will likely be a bit of a pause again as I'm getting ready for a work meeting next week that won't leave me much, if any, free time but then I have some annual leave so hopefully I'll be able to crack on with the final detailing and some painting...... although that would mean I need to settle on a colour scheme. I'm also not sure yet if I'll fit the window frames before painting, and then paint them brass coloured, or polish them up and fit them after painting. Anyone have any thoughts on which would look best? I'm thinking painting them might help me make them look worn and dirty as I don't want an ex-works condition loco.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Footplate

So far most of the work on making Skarloey look less like a cartoon character and more like the prototype it is based on, has revolved around detailing above and below the footplate. I have, however, been working for some time on the footplate itself. Specifically I've cut it into two pieces!

As you may remember, I've been working towards a model showing Talyllyn not as it is today but as it was in it's earlier pre-preservation life. So far that had meant moving the blower pipe to the drivers side, but I've now made a more drastic change by altering the footplate. Currently the locomotive has a footplate that runs along both sides of the boiler and encloses the tops of the wheels. Originally though there was no such footplate, with just a thin strip on the fireman’s side to give him somewhere to stand when topping up the water tank. To model this I've cut away the plastic footplate and added a thin metal strip which results in this.


It still needs some tidying up and a little filler in places but I think that looks fairly promising. You also notice that I've remove the box (I assume toolboxes although could be a sandbox I suppose) from the front right as again originally there was only one on the front left.

I think the main things left now are the remaining window frames and possibly a replacement chimney, but both require me fully reclaiming my desk again so I can get the lathe out. Hopefully that won't take too much longer.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Little Less Like a Cartoon Character

I hate having to pack away my modelling stuff when people come to stay as I never end up getting the space back quickly. This time it's been over a month since I last had anything to report, and in fact I've still not cleared my workbench. Mostly this is because work has been hectic, but we've also been trying to tidy the house a bit so keeping stuff on my desk has given us more room to work. Anyway, this morning I managed to grab a little time and space to do some more work on turning the model of Skarloey into less of a cartoon character.

As well as the face, the main problem with the model, as it comes, is that the cylinders are seriously over sized compared with the loco on which Skarloey is based. Also, probably as it's marketed as a toy, the crossheads are seriously chunky looking. Fortunately all these problems can be solved with Narrow Planet's new detailing kit. This kit is truly a joint effort containing parts from four different people, which improve the look of different aspects of the model. I won't necessarily be using all the bits in the kit but I've now fitted the new cylinders, slidebars, connecting rods, coupling rods, and crossheads.


It's once you get the original cylinders off the model when it becomes obvious just how big they are, or how small the replacements are in comparison. The new cylinders just slide onto the chassis, but the slidebar brackets and crossheads need soldering together before they can be fitted. Fortunately the etch design makes this really easy as you just align the outer frames using some cocktail sticks and then let solder wick between the layers. One thing you have to be careful with is that originally the brackets for the slidebars were plastic so it's important to make sure the metal replacements don't cause a short; hence why I've painted them and nothing else.


Fitting all the parts is very straight forward and the model is soon back running again. I made slightly more work for myself as in stripping the model right down (something you don't need to do if you are just fitting the detailing kit), I managed to have almost all the motor wires come loose -- the original soldering to the small board was shockingly bad. Anyway now I have the new cylinders and slidebar brackets in place I can start to build the rest of the bodywork back up.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Monocle

When working on the cab yesterday I realised that the rear windows didn't have any moulded surrounds. The front windows do have surrounds and I'd been intending to leave them as they didn't look too bad. As even old photos show rims around the rear windows I'm going to need to do something about them, so I think I'll now be replacing the ones on the front as well. On every model I've fitted window rims to they have been etched and while I could easily go that route I thought I'd see if I could turn them instead. Unfortunately after making the buffers I had just a tiny piece of rod that was roughly the right size left so as a test I made a monocle instead of a spectacle.


The hole in the cab is approximately 3.5mm so I opened this out to 4mm and then turned a rim with an outer diameter of 4.25mm and a central hole 3.5mm across that was a push fit in the enlarged hole. It probably needs for the rim to be slightly less proud of the cab and the edge rounded if possible, but as a first test this shows that the approach should work (a good job after I'd opened out one window hole already) so when the 6mm brass rod I have on order arrives I'll turn four rims rather than drawing up etch artwork.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Replacing Moulded Details

One of the things that now often puts me off buying ready to run models is the inclusion of moulded details. While I understand that fitting details by hand to a model would raise the price above what was economically viable, I think they nearly always ruin the look of what may otherwise be a fine model. On Skarloey there are lots of moulded details; in fact I don't think there is a single detail which isn't moulded. Given I don't have to worry about damaging the paint finish etc. I've decided to really go to town and replace many if not all of the moulded details.

So far I've removed the following details from the model; rear lamp, rear lamp brackets, blower pipe, cab handrails, drivers side boiler handrail, the number plate on the cab rear, and a small disc like feature from the cab rear the function of which I'm at a loss to explain.


Of those details so far I've only replaced the blower pipe and cab handrails but already I think that dramatically improves the model. Interestingly I didn't just have to replace the blower pipe but I've moved it from the firemans side (where it is currently on the prototype) to the drivers side where it was pre-preservation. This also raises the issue of which of the other details I need to add back. For example, the only old photo I've found showing the rear of the cab doesn't show any lamp brackets or a number plate, although a drawing I have shows one lamp bracket rather than the three currently fitted. I'll keep looking for more photos before I make any decisions but if anyone knows when the extra brackets etc. were added or any other info about such small details it would be great if you could leave a comment.