Tuesday, February 9, 2021

An Orange Simplex

I've not had much time for modelling lately so the work on completing the 16mm scale Simplex locomotive seems to have taken forever, but as you can see I finally got there.

Now I know most Simplex locos are painted a shade of green, but my four year old son was insistent that it had to be orange. I wasn't convinced by the idea at first but I'm actually really happy with how it looks and it certainly won't ever get lost in the garden! Strangely there is a prototype for painting Simplex locomotives this colour (in fact this exact shade of orange) as Alan Keef Ltd. paint their locos, inlcuding their hire locos, orange and over the years that has included a few Simplex locomotives.

So given the lack of dirt (I've not yet had the heart to weather the model) my back story is that it's just been over hauled and repainted by Alan Keef Ltd. and is now ready for it's first hire contract.

And to finish with here is a short video to show that it does actually work. Sorry about the shaky camera work, but I was controlling the locomotive via an app on my phone while also holding the camera and trying to ensure it didn't run off the end of the track!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Somewhere to Sit

One bit of detailing that you couldn't see in the previous post was the inside of the cab.
Now I know it's not the best of photos but hopefully you get the picture. As you can see I've retained the original brake stand and wheel from the kit, but the rest is all new. The kit originally had a flor cut to look like wooden planks which didn't seem to match any of the real locomotives so I switched this to some chequer plate. I was intending to use the seat that came in the kit as once the driver figure is in place you can't see it. I began to have second thoughts on this when I found it was a little tall and the roof wouldn't fit because the drivers head was too high. I was just going to trim the bottom of the parts to lower it down, but then discovered that I'd manage to loose one part of the seat. At this point I thought it was easier just to make a new one that more closely matched the real thing even if it will be completely hidden.

Oh and before anyone comments that the brake wheel is wonky, I know. I took the photo with the parts just resting together. When I glue it in place I'll make sure it's right.

Monday, November 9, 2020

A Simplex for the Garden

Having shown little bits and pieces related to the 16mm scale Simplex locomotive I'm currently building I thought I should really show some photos of the locomotive itself.


The model is based around a kit, designed by Phil Sharples, that I bought from eBay. I say "based around" as the kit consisted mostly of laser cut MDF parts and as you can see there are quite a few parts on mine which aren't MDF. I'd already shown sandboxes (not fitted in the photos) in a previous post, but you can see I've also printed a replacement radiator as well as coupling blocks, bolt heads and chassis side frames. There are also a few other detailing parts that I've replaced or added which you either can't see in the photo or which haven't been fitted yet. I've also replaced the plastic wheels that came with the kit with some nice steel ones. Still quite a lot of work to do but it's beginning to come together nicely and the 3D printer is proving very useful in helping me quickly producing detailing parts as I go along.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Hi-Vis Makeover

Apologies for not posting recently. To be honest I've not had the time to do much physical modelling and so haven't had anything to post about. One thing I have done though is to sort out a driver figure for the 16mm Simplex model I've been slowly working on.

I'd decided to use Christopher Clueless from I P Engineering as he fits nicely in the cab, but after talking to Toby (who is quite adamant about what the model should look like for when he gets to drive it in the garden) we decided we wanted him to look a little more modern. Specifically Toby has a hi-vis jacket (a Christmas present a couple of years ago) which he wears to and from nursery over winter when it's dark and he thought the driver should wear one as well.

Fortunately the original casting has Christopher wearing a shirt and waistcoat and so it was reasonably easy to change the wasitcoat into a hi-vis jacket; griding off the pockets and adding some detailing for the silver sections. The main problem was figuring out the painting.

I've got into the habbit of painting figures starting from a black undercoat and then thin layers of paint which give a nice depth to the colours. Unfortunately this didn't work well with the yellow. The yellow is a nice fluroesent colour from Vallejo's Game Color range, but it wouldn't cover the black at all. After a couple of tests I settled on painting two layers of white over the black undercoat, and then a couple of layers of the yellow. This gave nice coverage while still giving a little of the depth.

Even though this is much bigger than the things I usually paint, the close up photo is still really quite cruel. In reality I think it looks quite good, and hidden a little inside the cab of a loco I think it will work quite well. If nothing else I'm unlikely to loose it in the garden!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Yet More Details

As at least one person spotted the sandboxes in the previous post are designed to fit on a Simplex locomotive. My original test print was designed mostly to check the shape and to see if the hinge would work. The next step was to finish the lids with the details seen on the real thing.


There appears to be two common types of lid, one showing the Simplex logo and one giving the company name, although I've yet to work out if there was any pattern to which was fitted or if it was pot luck. Looking at photos some have one of each (you can usually only see the front ones as the rear ones are often in shadow inside the cab) and some have two of the Motor Rail Ltd version. I think, now I've done the design work for both, that I'll go with one of each.

I received a few other comments about sandboxes, mostly people saying that they often contain anything but sand. Apparently they are a good place to store spare coupling pins or the starting handle. Also it's not unheard of to open one only to find a mouse nest.


Okay, so I'm insane, but the idea of a mouse inside one of them was too much to resist. Fortunately I didn't have to do much to achieve this as I found a nice model of a mouse on Thingiverse which I scaled down and printed. Because it was so small I printed it sat on a fake floor that would just slot into one of the printed sandboxes.

And with that I think the sandboxes are now complete.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Too Many Details?

I've heard people suggest that the larger modelling scales are easier as the pieces are larger and easier to see. I really don't think this is true. In my experience, and I've talked about this before, what tends to happen is that as the scale goes up you end up modelling smaller details that wouldn't be visible or possible in the smaller scales. I'm fairly certain that there should be a limit to this though, for my sanity if nothing else, but I'm still not sure where the line should be drawn.

Whilst I may not know where the line between sensible and ridiculous should be drawn, I think I've got quite close with the latest bit of detail work. I'm slowly gathering parts together to complement a 16mm scale kit I'm going to build and one of the kit parts I wanted to replace was the sandboxes. They aren't a particularly complex shape and I have prototype drawings so it was easy enough to produce some using my 3D printer.


So far so sane.... except....


Yes, I designed them so that the hinge would work, the lids would open, and they could actually hold sand. Now my problem is that I need to find some finer sand, but have I finally gone insane or is this a perfectly acceptable level of detail?

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

10HP Baguley: Back a Few Steps

I finished the previous post on the 10HP Baguley by saying

In theory the next step should be adding a little filler and cleaning up all the joints before painting. Oh if life were only that simple!
which was because I already knew what happened next...


It turns out that when I originally soldered the cab back on, I'd not done it very well. Having trial fitted the chassis into the model I noticed that the back wall was no longer vertical. While trying to correct this it fell off and for some reason the floor came loose too. I took the photo after cleaning up all the parts ready ro reassemble everything.

Rather than trying, and probably failing, to solder the rear wall on again I instead opted to use some two part expoxy. I started by using the epoxy to fix the floor into the right place as this gave a much bigger contact patch to then make sure the rear wall was fully attached. I also decided to change the approach to couplings and so cut off the Greenwich couplings while the model was in pieces.


Once everything was back together it was time to start applying some filler and that brings us up to date. It's been about a month since I added the filler and I've still not got around to sanding it back as I've been distracted by other things. Hopefully I'll get back to it soon and then I can move on to painting it.