Saturday, April 11, 2015

Etch v2

The updated etches for the Hudson-Hunslet arrived in the post this morning (thanks Steve) and at first glance they look perfect.

After the problems with the nameplates disintegrating on the first batch I'd gone for half etched plates which you can see bottom left. Steve thought it was worth a second go with a slight adjustment. Basically the idea was to combine the grill and nameplate and to tweak the lettering slightly to give more surrounding metal to help keep things together. You can just see this attempt top right of the full etch but it's obviously clearer on the closeup shot.

As you can see we tried a couple of approaches for a single part, but the top right is just perfect; it's etched through and still keeps the grill forward of the nameplate. In other words, SUCCESS!

The other problem with the first etch was that the folded part didn't fit properly as I'd drawn it wrong. A quick check and that problem seems to have been solved as well, so I can now start building up a second body.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Better Pickups

So as I mentioned in the previous post I'd been having a few issues with the pickups on the Hudson-Hunslet. The main problem was that the material I was using to make the pickups was too thick which means it generated too much friction when pressed against the treads of the wheels. I did experiment with fitting it so that it brushed the backs of the wheels and while this was much better it was unbelievably difficult to setup.

I've now changed the material I'm using to 0.112mm phosphor bronze wire and this is both easy to fit and springy enough to give a good connection without producing excessive amounts of friction. You can see in the photo that the pickups now push gently against the tops of the wheels and this seems to work really well as the following video should demonstrate.

As I said in the previous post this isn't the final body for this loco as I'll need to check the revised etched parts so there will be more posts with another body at some point soonish.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dirty But Well Maintained

I've finally got around to painting up the body of the Hudson-Hunslet; I ran out of the crimson paint half way through hence the pause. While the etched parts didn't fit perfectly they fit well enough to give a good idea of how the final model will look. So here we are.

I went for a dirty but well maintained look, which I think I've pulled off reasonably well. I'm having a few issues with the pickups (replacement parts on order) so I won't subject you to a video this time. The artwork for the etches has been updated and sent off so hopefully I'll be able to build up another body shortly. Any suggestions for how I should paint that one? I've already had one vote for this colour scheme, although I notice that loco is quite the same model as this one.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

White or Black Underwear?

In the comments to yesterdays post, Paul mentioned that he uses a white undercoat when painting figures to avoid overly darkening the topcoat of paint. As I had a few spare figures laying around I thought I'd paint one in exactly the same way as yesterday but with a white undercoat.

On the left is the figure from yesterday while the one on the right started with a white undercoat. I think the difference is most obvious on the faces of the figures with the white undercoat giving a lighter skin tone. One thing I did find was that I had to use more paint for the topcoat as the white showed through a lot more than the black did, and any spots I missed were very obvious.

At the end of the day I don't think there is much to choose between the two approaches but I think I'll probably stick with the black undercoat as I found it ever so slightly easier.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Figure Painting

As I've mentioned before I prefer painting things that are simple block colours, although I am now happy with my approach to painting weathered wood. Painting figures to look realistic is something I'm still not entirely happy with though.

Over the years I've actually painted quite a lot of figures, but these have been the slightly larger Warhammer miniatures from Games Workshop and I focused on painting Orcs and Goblins. While I learnt a number of useful techniques they don't necessarily help with painting human figures. Fortunately there are a myriad of tutorials on the web which I've now read through to come up with an approach that is fairly easy and seems to work reasonably well.

The main point many of the tutorials stress is that you are aiming for something that looks right from a sensible viewing distance, rather than something that looks good in a close up photo. This means that you can often leave out details such as eyes and lips etc. as they would be so small as to be invisible. This is very different from when I painted orcs and goblins where I deliberately painted large eyes to add that slightly demented look I was after. So as you can see the close up photo does make the painting look rather crude but when viewed from even just a foot or so away the effect seems to work. The main idea is to use block colours and then a brown wash (not black interestingly) to add shadows and some dry brushing for highlights.

For this specific model I went with a blue overalls effect and used Model Color acrylics throughout, except for his shoes which were painted with RailMatch weathered black (#2412). I started by painting the whole figure black (#70.950) I then painted the overalls with flat blue (#70.962), the shirt ivory (#70.918) and the exposed skin was painted with dark flesh (#70.927). I then made a thin wash of burnt umber (#70.941) and ran this over the entire model to help add shadows. I then tried lightly dry brushing with dark sand (#70.847), which is a creamy colour, to add some highlights but I felt this looked a bit unnatural so touched some bits back in with their original colours and then applied another wash of burnt umber. Once dry a light wafting of matt varnish sealed everything nicely.

As I said before the close up photo is very unflattering but when viewed from a sensible distance I think he looks quite good. Now I just have to paint a locomotive for him to drive around in.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Chassis MkIII

So after a little bit of teething problems I've managed to assemble the third version of the 3D printed chassis for the 24HP Hudson-Hunslet diesel locomotive I've been building. The first stage was to assemble the mechanical (rather than electrical parts of the chassis) to see if the design changes had made it easier to build. You may remember that the main problem with the second prototype (the first to be printed in brass) was that fixing the worms and gears in place was a bit of a lottery and the more likely outcome was that you would end up gluing the whole thing solid.

Well I can report that the changes to the chassis design have made assembly a lot easier. You can now fit the layshaft and worms without any risk of locking anything solid, and the etched spacers mean that getting clearances right it also nice and easy. The axles are still a little awkward to fit and it is possible to lock everything solid, but as long as you are careful the chassis now goes together fairly easily. Adding the electrical components is still quite tricky though.

The main problem is that because of the lack of space I'm forced into using a surface mount resistor to protect the motor and these are tiny. They need soldering to a piece of copper clad board (with a gap cut in it to separate the two ends) and then pickups soldering to one end and the motor wire to the other. The piece of board that came with the resistor is essentially the same size as the resistor and is very fiddly to use. I did try though, but at some point I managed to form a solder bridge across the resistor, which meant the motor got the full 12v and was damaged. The extra power caused the motor to get so hot I burnt myself and had to wait a few minutes before I could safely handle it. The heat must have melted something internally as the metal case was now live to the positive terminal, and even a small amount of power caused it to get dangerously hot.

Fortunately I had a replacement motor and resistor so could replace the electrical side of things. While doing so I changed how the resistor is mounted and used a 9mm offcut of the copper clad sleepers I used to hand build track recently. This gives me a lot more room to play with, was much easier to fit, and is still hidden once the body is put in place. The final step was to add the etched brake shoes which fold and then glue to the support arms included in the chassis. Anyway the end result of all that is this...

I'm hoping that with a little more running in and maybe a slight tweak to the pressure of the pickups and it will run nice and slowly, but I'm really happy with how this chassis built up (my ham fisted electronics aside). I've updated the artwork for the etched components so hopefully it won't be long until I've completed the design of this locomotive and can think about making it available as a kit.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Some Assembly Required

As I expected I couldn't just leave the etched parts alone and so by the end of yesterday I'd got as far as being able to waft some primer over the first complete test build of the body (I haven't looked at assembling the new chassis yet, but I'm off work for the next week so I should get to it fairly soon).

If you just take an brief glance then I hope you agree this looks pretty good and I'm certainly happy with it, but there are a number of issues I need to sort. I've already mentioned needing to alter the name plates as the current ones basically disintegrated during etching, but I've now discovered two other "mistakes" on the etched parts.

The most obvious mistake in the photos is the curved cutout on the bottom of the front grill. The cutout should line up with the centre line of the locomotive, but I managed to draw it in the centre of the grill so it's out by a millimetre or two. Not quite sure how I missed that but it's easy to fix on the etch artwork.

The second, and slightly less obvious, issue is that the folded part, which if you remember I had issues drawing, is ever so slightly wrong. I seem to have ended up with the fold lines slightly too close together which means that it forces the panel to slope out too sharply on the side in the photo as it drops from the top of the engine cover. I think this has happened as the etched lines allow the metal to fold much better than my scored lines on brass which has slightly shrunk the part. Again it should be fairly easy to update the artwork now I can see how the current version fits against the model.

Even with these issues I think it looks pretty good when viewed from a sensible distance (the photos are very cruel). So next up will be tweaking the etch artwork and testing the MkIII chassis print.