Saturday, April 26, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: It's All In The Details

So having touched up the few areas that needed work after spraying the body colour I set about touching in the remaining details.

First up were the buffer beams. Now as I mentioned in the previous post I'd bought a pot of Buffer Beam Red acrylic paint from Humbrol's rail colour series, and I had intended to use this to (funnily enough) paint the buffer beams. I was rather shocked when I opened the tin to find that the paint colour really doesn't match the sticker and probably falls foul of the trade description act for not really being red. Having said that it does appear pretty close to the buffer beam on the N gauge Graham Farish loco I own so maybe it is accurate. Either way I thought I'd give it the benefit of the doubt and duly painted both the front and back buffer beams. Well it's definitely not right, or at least it didn't look right, so it was painted over with a thin layer of Model Color red (70.947) which I think you will agree looks the part.

Next I dealt with the window frames, which were more than a little taxing. I wanted the frames to be brass so this required painting them black and then using the same lacquer I used for the cab controls while ensuring I didn't get any on the red body paint. Of course I managed to slip in a few places and so I've had to touch up the paint slightly, but it really isn't noticeable. The windows still need glazing but I can't do that until I've varnished everything so as not to frost the "glass".

After the windows I moved on to fitting the handrails. Annoyingly the left one looks on even more of an angle than it did before, goodness knows why. Anyway the knobs were painted black before fixing to the body so that I didn't run the risk of getting black paint on the saddle tank. The rails were then painted in-situ and everything glued into place. The final step was to slip the whistle through the hole in the mounting bracket, dot a spot of gel superglue on the end of the pipe and then rotate into position.

I'm really pleased with how the details have pulled together, and it certainly looks a lot better than it did a few days ago!

Quarry Hunslet: Inside The Cab

Before I had all the problems painting the outside of the locomotive I'd painted the inside of the cab while I could still easily get a paintbrush in there. There are two parts to this, painting the backhead controls and painting the inside of the cab walls.

The first job was to touch in the details on the backhead and for this I used three paints. I gave the main backhead surface a light dry brushing with RailMatch oily steel to help bring out some of the details and I used Humbrol acrylic buffer beam red (number 406 from their Rail Colour range) for the regulator handle. For the brass I used Alclad 2 polished brass lacquer. This isn't something I'd used before but it gave just the effect I was looking for. You are supposed to airbrush the lacquer over a gloss surface to give a high shine finish, but I brush painted it over a satin surface which gives a more aged look. I used this lacquer rather than a paint for two reasons. Firstly I couldn't seem to find a brass paint in any of the ranges my local model shop stocks, but more importantly I'm not really a fan of using metallic paints at this scale, unless they are being sparingly dry brushed. I find that the shiny flecks in the metallic paints (that give them the metallic look) are always fairly large and just look really wrong at the small scale we are working with. This lacquer doesn't suffer from this problem at all and I'm betting it would look fantastic airbrushed onto a larger area.

The second job was to paint the inside of the cab walls. From photos, and from having visited the odd cab over the years, I've noticed that generally the bottom half of the walls are painted black, while the top half is usually a buff or cream colour. I'm guessing the use of the lighter colour is to make the cab feel bigger and less claustrophobic. Given the paints I had to hand I used ivory and black from the Model Color range; painting the ivory on first and then masking to get a straight edge to paint the black against.

Personally I think both parts have worked really well, and now that they are assembled together it really does look good.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: The Crimson Horror

So, as you may have seen from my rather brief previous post, painting the main body colour of the locomotive did not at all go to plan. Fortunately it was possible to rescue the situation as you can see from todays photo.

Here in Yorkshire we haven't had much sun today which explains why the colour looks way brighter than it really is (the camera over compensating for the terrible light). In reality I've painted it using Humbrol acrylic #20 "crimson", which is quite a dark red. There are a number of areas that need touching up but in general the main areas are perfect.

Now you've seen that the situation was recoverable, let's back up and see how I ended up in quite such a mess. After painting the cab controls (which I'll come back to in a later post) I carefully masked up the inside of the cab while it was still separate from the body and then glued it into place. I then masked up the rest of the model (using the excellent Tamiya masking tape). I also used some Humbrol maskol at the edges of the tape, or where it was difficult to line up the tape properly, including around the cab windows. I then sprayed on the Humbrol crimson paint.

My first mistake was to use too much paint. Paul had warned me that red in particular is quite translucent and so benefits from a white primer. In fact this red paint was so translucent that I could see the white primer through it in places. To stop the white showing through I had to add more paint. Once the paint was dry (or at least I thought it was) I noticed that it appeared to have run on one of the cab side panels. It was annoying but I could probably have lived with that. What I couldn't live with was what happened next.

Now I don't know quite what the problem was but as I removed the maskol I'd used around the windows it pulled off the top layer of paint leaving just the primer behind. If this wasn't bad enough as I tried to remove the masking tape from inside the cab I popped one of the side panels loose. Finally when trying to remove the masking tape from the chimney it simply fell off. At this point I was not a happy bunny and certainly not relishing the thought of repainting. One of the main problems was that I wouldn't be able to mask things up in the same way now the cab was (mostly) attached to the footplate, so I decided to brush paint instead of spraying.

Before I could repaint I had to finish removing the old paint which given it was all on a metal surface came off quite easily with the aid of cotton wool buds, nail polish remover and blunted cocktail sticks. I did have to replace the rivet transfers though as they came off with the paint. So once everything was nicely cleaned up I brushed on Humbrol acrylic grey primer and left it to dry. To say it was streaky was a bit of an understatement but I decided I'd continue on and brush on the top coat; still Humbrol acrylic crimson, but from a small pot. This was definitely not a wise move. It turns out that none of the Humbrol acrylic paints brush on well; I suppose they might if diluted, but then I'd probably have the same translucent problem. By this stage it was looking pretty horrible, so I started to strip the paint off for a second time.

Once the paint was cleaned off for a second time, I again masked the black areas and the inside of the cab as well as I could and sprayed on the primer. This time I went for a red oxide primer in the hope that even if the crimson was slightly translucent it wouldn't show up. The primer went on well, so I then sprayed the crimson again, being careful to use as little paint as possible. After leaving it to dry over night I carefully removed the masking tape and this time everything went to plan. Not only did the paint stay attached but I hadn't ruined the cab interior either.

So I now have some tidying up to do (the edge of the cab roof for instance), and then I can finish painting in the details.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In Need Of A Little Restoration

Let's just say that painting the body colour didn't exactly go to plan and leave it at that. I'll recount the whole nightmarish tale when I have some slightly more heartening progress to report.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: Primed and Ready

While I was a little worried about actually having the skills to build this locomotive, I'm also worried about my painting skills after the disaster that was the Baguley-Drewry. I have just invested in an airbrush (more on that in a later post), but for this loco I'm going to stick with what I know and use aerosol cans of Humbrol paint. There are two main changes to my approach from last time. One I'm going to take more time to ensure each colour is fully dry before masking, and two I'm using more expensive masking tape (Tamiya).

The first step to painting was to dismantle the locomotive to remove the motor and the cylinders etc. I then primed it with a white primer meant for painting cars to provide a good base colour for the later colours.

I'm still treating the cab and body separately until I've painted the cab controls which is my it is missing in the middle photo. I decided the next colour would be the black which makes up the majority of the body, so I masked off the tank, buffers and cylinder covers (the purple stuff is Humbrol Maskol, which I really should remember to only use with the window open) and sprayed on a couple of layers of satin black. After leaving the paint to dry for an hour or so I gently eased off the tape and maskol and was pretty impressed with how it has turned out; there are a few spots that need touching up but I can live with that. Buying decent masking tape was certainly worth every penny.

Next up will be painting the inside of the cab so I can finally attach the cab to the footplate before spraying the main body colour.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: Now With Brass Knobs On!

So today's job was to fit the final detailing pieces to the locomotive; the handrails. I'd put this off as I had a feeling it might not be particularly easy to get all four handrail knobs in the right place so that the rails are both horizontal and at the same height on both sides of the saddle tank. I wasn't wrong as it's taken me a number of attempts to get it right.

I started by looking at a number of photographs and eventually spotted that the knobs were at the same height on the saddle tank as the rivets on the cab front. This made positioning the rear two knobs fairly easy. It also turned out that the 6mm masking tape I had to hand was a perfect fit between the bottom of the tank casting and the rivets. This meant, in theory, that I could lay a piece of tape along the length of the tank to get the right height for the front two knobs. After aligning the tape, I drilled the four holes and test fitted the knobs (these are the short handrail knobs from Eileen's Emporium) and brass wire for the rails themselves. The right hand side (as seen from the front) was pretty much spot on but the left side was terrible; somehow I'd ended up with the hole too far forward and too far down. I filled the hole with some Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty, waited for it to dry and then drilled a new hole in what I thought was a better spot. I'm not sure how, given how close the two holes were, but this time I was too far back and too far up. So the hole was filled again and then a third hole drilled. This one is much better, although not perfect, but by this point I was running out of casting to drill into so it will do.

I haven't glued the handrail knobs into place as it makes sense to do that after I've painted the tank, which also means I haven't finally trimmed the rails to the right length either, but the video should give you a pretty good sense of how it now looks.

As well as getting it to run further in each direction along the track (just for GB) the eagle eyed amongst you may notice that I've been at the Archer rivet transfers again. the whistle mounting bracket is now riveted to the cab front, if that isn't attention to detail then I don't know what is!

The only things now missing are the things I can't fit until it is painted; the reversing lever (which I can't fit until the cab is fixed in place), the whistle, and name and maker plates, which haven't yet arrived from Narrow Planet. This means the next step is to find a can of primer

Quarry Hunslet: The Best Job In The World!

I'm sure that most of you wanted to be a steam engine driver at some point in your life. I know I did as a small child and my afternoon on the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway back in 2011 certainly reinforced how much fun it is. This of course means that we need a driver to enjoy the Quarry Hunslet once it's completed. Fortunately the kit comes with a suitably posed figure.

As with the other whitemetal castings in this kit the driver didn't need much cleanup and a quick blast of grey primer gave a suitable base colour. Painting was done using Model Color acrylics (dark flesh, black, burnt umber, white, flat blue, and scarlet) and then the whole thing was dusted with Humbrol smoke weathering powder before a final blast of matt varnish toned things down even further. Not the best painted miniature I've ever done (I used to paint Warhammer figures, Night Goblins were my favourites) but certainly not the worst. Hopefully he'll enjoy the ride!

Quarry Hunslet: Whistle While We Work

As I mentioned in a previous post the loco is essentially built apart from adding a few detailing parts. Last time I said this there were three parts left from the kit as well as some extras I wanted to add. There is now only the reversing lever left to add from the kit which I can't add until the cab is fixed in place. I've added the steps but they weren't really interesting enough to warrant a post of their own.

Just as no steam locomotive would be complete without a proper smoke box door it also wouldn't be complete without a steam whistle, yet the kit doesn't include one. This might be because on all but one photo of Dorothea I can find I can't see a whistle. The only hint of a whistle is in a photo on page 126 of Quarry Hunslets of North Wales by Cliff Thomas (Thanks to Paul for recommending this book). This seems to suggest that the whistle is somewhere towards the rear of the left side cab wall, or possibly sticking through the roof. As I've mentioned before I'm not intending to have an exact replica of Dorothea so not knowing where her whistle was isn't the end of the world. What I've done is look at photos of a number of similar locomotives and here we can see that usually the whistle is mounted on the front of the cab between the two windows, with the steam pipe feeding through the wall into the cab. The main problem I had was working out where to find a suitably sized whistle.

If you remember I discovered, after almost ruining the smokebox door, that detailing parts designed for 4mm scale are usually meant for use on full sized locomotives and not the smaller narrow gauge ones. Fortunately in the comments to that post Paul made a genius suggestion; use parts designed for 3mm scale modelling instead. I thought this ideas was brilliant as all the parts will be essentially 3/4 of the size of the equivalent 4mm scale part and much closer to the size needed for narrow gauge modelling.

A quick internet search led me to the website of 3mm Scale Model Railways who appear to sell almost anything the discerning 3mm scale modeller would need including a varied selection of locomotive detailing parts. Looking down the list we quickly come to part L159 "Loco Whistles, Turned Brass x 2". When the parts arrived yesterday quickly holding one up against the loco and they seemed the perfect size so I set about attaching one to the cab.

As you can see I fabricated a small right angled bracket to hold the whistle in place, which seems to be fairly prototypical. This was made using a piece of the waste from the sheet of etched brass parts. There wasn't much in the way of fancy measuring, and in fact it was filed down a little after folding to better fit. I bent the stem of the whistle by clamping the very end in the hold and fold to get a nice 90 degree bend. I then glued the bracket in place on the cab wall and left the glue to full set. The whistle can then be easily slid into the hole. Currently the whistle isn't glued in place (it's actually being stored in the box with the rest of the kit parts) as I'm only going to finally fit it after painting; given it should be brass it seems silly to paint it rather than leave it as it is.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

British Pathé

Last Thursday British Pathé released their entire archive of 85,000 newsreel films spanning the period 1896 to 1976, and uploaded them to YouTube. I'm sure this will be an interesting historical resource for many reasons, but from a quick look lere is plenty of interesting railway related footage.

For example, a quick search led me to two interesting films from 1926 and 1927 about the construction of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, a 1930 film showing the LNER Hush-Hush loco, and a 1962 film from Dinorwic Quarry.

Given where I grew up though, one of my favourites so far shows the early days of preservation on the Middleton Railway:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: Even More Riveting

Having added rivets to the door runners on the rear of the cab I decided I'd do something about the lack of rivets on the front buffer beam using the same approach; resin transfers from Archer.

Having looked at a few photos of both Dorothea (the prototype the kit is based on) and other locos in the same class there doesn't seem to be a common pattern to the rivet placement on the front buffer beam. Not only do the placements of the rivets vary between locos but they also appear to vary slightly over time on the same loco. Having said that in most cases there are rivets across the top of the buffer and at least one line of vertical rivets where the side frame attaches to the buffer, so I've used that as the basis for detailing the model.

Adding these rivets was a little more challenging than doing the door runners. The two sets of vertical rivets were easy as the parallel lines are part of the transfer sheet. The line across the top was a bit more tricky though as essentially I've used one rivet from eleven separate lines on the sheet. This means that there is no real gap between the rivets and the next in line so the piece I had to cut out was very very thin and fragile. In fact it took me three goes to get it right, which is a pity given how expensive the transfers are! I think it was well worth it though as it certainly adds more character to the front of the loco.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: Cab Controls

The next, and almost last, step is to add the detail items to the inside of the cab. There are three nice whitemetal castings for the safety valves, brake, and reversing lever and then some tiny etched parts for the regulator and a couple of valve wheels. I've used a combination of the kit instructions, prototype photos and common sense to fit these.

The vale wheels were very fiddly as they involve first folding a tiny etch in half as the backing and then attaching the wheel; thank goodness for the hold and fold! At least there is no question as to exactly where they fit. The regulator is again quit difficult to make up as it needs short pieces of wire attaching to act as the handle and to attach to the backhead. I've fitted it at an angle which will suit the driver figure that came with the kit (more on him in a later post).

The three whitemetal parts took a bit more thinking and cleaning up before they could be fitted. I intended to fit the safety valves in the same way as the chimney, with a piece of brass wire connecting it to the top of the backhead unfortunately I decided that would be tricky if not impossible. The problem is that the top of the valves have to just poke out of a hole in the roof (so on the real thing the cab didn't fill with steam) and trying to figure out where to drill was impossible. So I checked that it looked as if it would fit and then added a drop of glue to the bottom of the part and nudged it into place with a cocktail stick through the cab door. Amazingly it went on first time.

The brake had a pin on the bottom of the casting that would allow it to go through a hole in the footplate for a secure fit. Unfortunately, as we know from before, the footplate is very difficult to drill through and given how close I needed to get the hole to the side of the firebox I couldn't get the drill upright and to bite. After trying for about five minutes and making no progress I decided to remove the pin and just glue it in place. Given that it glues to the firebox side as well as the footplate it seems secure.

The reversing lever was the most awkward to fit. Looking at photos it should be slightly further forward and to the right. Unfortunately this is about as far forward and right as it will go and still allow the cab to fit, and to achieve this I still had to file down the width of the casting. Anyway they are on and look good enough considering that they will be difficult to see once the cab is on.

With these parts in place I have just three more parts from the kit left to fit (I'm not including the driver as part of the loco); two steps and the reversing rod. There are a few other detailing parts I want to add that weren't part of the kit, but this means I'm getting very close to being able to start painting things, although I'm already beginning to see that deciding on the order to apply the different colours could be an interesting challenge.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: Riveting

As I pointed out in a recent post there was a slightly problem with fitting the rear cab doors. Essentially the cab wall had nice etched rivet detail that would be completely hidden by the door runners. I did contemplate fitting the doors to the inside of the cab instead, but not only would this not be prototypical I don't think it wuold have looked great either. The only solution then was to file off the etched rivets and add new rivets to the runners.

Given that the runners were made from etched brass it would have been possible to punch new rivet marks into the soft metal, but I decided that doing it well and getting the spacing right might be difficult. Fortunately in the comments on another post the possibility of using resin transfers to add rivets had been raised, and Paul had even recommended a particular transfer sheet. So I ordered Archer's resin transfer sheet number A88025 from their main UK stockist, DCC Supplies, and set about adding the doors.

As you can see this was a three step process. First I had to file off the original rivets to enable the door runner to fit flush against the wall. In the photo you can still see the rivets, but I couldn't feel them and took the decision that was good enough as I didn't want to risk filing away too much material. The next step was to glue the doors and runners in place. In the end one of the doors is on a bit of an angle, but they were fiddly enough to fit as it was so I decided to leave it as it adds character. The final step was to add the new rivets.

The rivets are resin on a transfer film and are applied in the same way as any other transfer; get it wet and slide it off the backing paper and in to place. The only difference to normal transfers is that you apply them before painting rather than after. While it's a shame I had to file off the etched rivets I think the result looks pretty good.

Tools: Hold and Fold

When I started to get back into railway modelling the only tools I had were some rather worn paint brushes and a set of small screwdrivers (useful for fixing my glasses), and so far I've added small tools to the collection as the need has arisen. So I've now got a modelling knife, a set of small drill bits and a pin vice for using them, a set of small files, a set of tweezers, and a razor saw. None of these have been expensive and none of them are particularly interesting. My new tool is, however, both more expensive and interesting and so warrants a post of its own.

As I mentioned recently I don't have a tool for rolling pieces of metal to shape but having now tried to do so I can see me buying a tool to help. The same thing happened when I had to fold some of the etched brass parts for the Baguley-Drewry kit (specifically folding the wiper blades was a bit of a nightmare) and so I invested in a new tool before building the Quarry Hunslet; a Hold and Fold from Avonside Works.

Given that it's called a Hold and Fold, you probably don't me to explain what it does or even how it works but... it lets you easily hold and fold metal parts. A number of different sized tools are available ranging from 2 inches in length all the way up to 14 inches. While I could easily shape any of the parts from the kit I'm currently building on the 2" model, I opted to buy the 4" version as I think that will be big enough for almost any model I ever want to build. If you want to have a look at the others then the best photos are probably on the product page at Eileen's Emporium.

So far I've only needed to bend one piece of the kit, the lip on the edge of the cab roof, but it was very easy to do accurately and I'm impressed with the feel and quality of the tool. Certainly something I'd recommend.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: The Italian Job

So having put the main body of the cab together there are just a few detail parts to add it which revolve around the sliding doors in the rear wall. I'm going to model these doors closed as I'm not intending to have the loco permanently coupled to a coal truck.

According to both the instructions and photos of a number of Quarry Hunslet locomotives, the runners should be attached to the outside wall of the cab. The problem is that if I do that they will completely obscure the rivet detail you can see above the hole. Not only does it seem silly to hide the rivets, but I'm a little worried that the glue won't hold well as the rivets will keep the two pieces slightly apart. I could glue the runners to the inside of the rear wall so that the doors still fill the hole, but this wouldn't be at all prototypical.

I'm guessing the only real solution would be to file off the rivets fit the doors and then use rivet transfers on the runner, but this seems like an awful lot of work so I'm wondering if I've missed something obvious. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Quarry Hunslet: The Cab

So having a bit of time for modelling today, I've turned my attention to the last major piece of the superstructure; the cab. This is made of 9 pieces of etched brass, and there are two different ways of assembling it. Essentially each wall is made up of two layers. The inner layer is the full thickness of the brass sheet and doesn't have any detailing. The outer layer is half-etched to give rivet detail etc. You can either assemble the four inner layers first or you can assemble the four sides first. I choose to assemble the inner layers and roof first.

In the left hand photo you can see the main walls and roof assembled, the second photo shows the half-etched detail outer layers, and finally you can see the cab resting in place on the footplate. The hardest part was shaping the roof as I don't currently own anything to help me roll the brass. In the end I used the shaft of a screw driver with the brass on my leg to shape it, which worked reasonably well, but I'm going to look into a tool for doing this easier before I build another kit.

There is a little bit of detailing to do before the cab is complete, but that will come in the next post, mostly as I have an excellent title for the post!

Quarry Hunslet: Covering Up

It's been another busy week for work, including three days of being away from home (teaching a course at the Financial Times in London) so there hasn't been much time for modelling. I did manage almost an hour of modelling yesterday though, so I've moved the Quarry Hunslet on a little further.

When I fitted the cylinders I managed to do so without remembering to fit the etched covers so I had to dismantle the motion again to fit them. In theory the end of the cover should peek through the footplate and appear as a slopping surface either side of the smokebox.

My worry is that, if I did use the etched covers as intended, it would be difficult to remove the motion in the future (the instructions reckon you can slide the crossheads out of the slide bars but on mine there isn't enough clearance) so instead I've added the covers around the cylinders than used a small piece of plastruct (cut from a 0.3mm x 4.8mm strip and filed down slightly) to provide the part of the cover above the footplate, and I think this looks pretty effective from just about every angle. The gap you can see in the photo isn't as bad in real life as it looks, and is also filled with glue, so hopefully when painted will vanish completely.

While I had the motor out I made use of the access to the inside of the large whitemetal casting to add some more plastruct (again cut from a 0.3mm x 4.8mm strip) to act as the bottom of the boiler and to hide the inner workings. On the real thing this would be a curved surface, but I've gone for just angling the flat strip as a) that's easier and b) it leaves room for the motor etc. It's not perfect but there needed to be something there to fill the gap. Hopefully once everything is painted it should look better as the eye won't be drawn to the white surface but to the coloured saddle tank.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: Completed Motion

Getting one of the crosshead pieces the wrong way around, and the slightly misshapen cylinder bracket where only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the problems I've had trying to finish the assembly of the moving parts in this kit. I've lost track of the number of times I've fully assembled and then fully stripped down and cleaned up the parts for both cylinder assemblies, but it definitely requires two digits to write down. This isn't to say there were any specific problems with the kit, more that as the first locomotive I've assembled there were probably a few things I simply overlooked or didn't think through fully. One thing I did learn though was a simple way of attaching the cylinders to the frames.

I'd already followed Paul's suggestion and filed down the ends of the mounting screws to give a thin point onto which the bolt could be slid with ease, but with the small amounts of clearance, and podgy fingers it was still difficult to get the bolt onto the screw. I tried placing the bolt with tweezers, but the slightest change in pressure and the bolt would be pinging off in a random direction; hopefully somewhere inside the frames so I could find it without spending an hour searching the carpet. In the end the solution was simple; blutack. Simply use a long piece of blutack to gently touch the bolt and then deposit it onto the pointed screw. Simple but it works every time!

I'm not sure I have many tips for anyone else who assembles this kit, other than to take it slowly, do one step at a time and check for smooth running at every stage. The one suggestion I would make concerns glueing the cylinder connecting rod to the crosshead. The instructions suggest doing this before attaching the cylinder to the locomotive by "clamp[ing] the assembly vertically, apply a small amount of [gel super]glue to the pin head only and allow the cross head to fall onto the pin head. Set aside for at least 1 Hr before handling". This sounds like sensible advise but I found that it could lead to the pin and crosshead not being perfectly aligned which would impact on the smooth movement. In the end I left glueing the pin until the cylinder was attached to the frames and the crossheads were running smoothly. At that point I applied a small blob of gel superglue to the pin and then slid it to meet the crosshead. After a few seconds, to allow the glue to start to grab, I then ran the locomotive for about 20 seconds to ensure that the pin and crosshead were perfectly aligned for smooth running and then left the glue to dry fully.

Anyway, enough words, here is what all this has been leading up to, the wonderful little locomotive shuttling backwards and forwards (a bit too fast but I do like to see the motion at speed) with all it's motion in place and moving.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: Genuine People Personalities

When it comes to trains there is a long history of anthropomorphism. Everyone knows of Thomas the Tank Engine, where the trains are the main characters and definitely have human personalities, but there are plenty of similar books and TV programmes. My favourite is probably Ivor the Engine, who has a distinct personality without being given a human face. On occasions this even happens to preserved steam engines; some attempts being more successful than others! A couple of examples, from my childhood, were Stepney, seen at Sheffield Park station on the Bluebell Railway in 1984, and Percy and Thomas at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway in 1986.

The idea of a locomotive having a face doesn't just imply that they have a human personality though. The worst criticism you'll find in a review of a new model locomotive will always be reserved for those cases where the face (i.e. the front) of the engine is wrongly modelled. If you get the face wrong, it doesn't matter how good the rest of the model is, you can almost guarantee it will attract a terrible review. So when building the Quarry Hunslet I wanted to ensure I got the face right.

The kit contains a nice whitemetal casting for the smokebox door, but this casting doesn't include the handles (usually referred to as a dart -- don't ask me why) which is actually a good thing as moulded handles usually look pretty terrible.

Fortunately I've played with fitting smokebox door handles in the past so I ordered a set from Eileen's Emporium. The main locating pin requires a 1mm hole so I went and drilled out the centre of the casting. Unfortunately I hadn't really thought through the fact that these handles are meant for standard gauge locmotives not narrow gauge.

I knew that the handles would be too long, but trimming them to length is easy, what I hadn't thought about was that the central boss would be way too large for the Quarry Hunslet. Once I'd drilled the hole and test fitted the main part the problem was obvious though. The central boss was unbelievably huge in comparison to the door. Fortunately all was not lost. I simply filled the hole I'd drilled, and then drilled a 0.45mm hole through the centre to take a small piece of brass wire onto which the handles threaded nicely. I also filed down the loops on the handles so that they sit closer to each other and the door.

The final step was to then glue the door to the front of the main casting. This took a couple of attempts as I found it difficult to position in easily as the hinge on the right makes it difficult to accurately judge if it is centred or not, although it does help with making sure it is the right way up! While it looks as if the door is very low to the footplate, this appears to be prototypically accurate and it does lead to a pleasing gap of roughly the same width around the sides and top of the door.

I would have taken a more recent photo of the door after removing the stray bit if blutack, but that would spoil the next post in the sequence as it would show you what I did next.

The issue of 4mm detailing parts, such as the smokebox handles, being mainly designed for standard gauge rather than narrow gauge models, does lead me to a question. Do any of you know of a supplier who offers narrow gauge detailing parts? I'm specifically thinking of steam whistles and the myriad of other brass fittings you usually find on the outside of a Quarry Hunslet, none of which are catered for in the kit I'm building. While I can cut down some parts, such as the door handles, to better suit the smaller size of narrow gauge locomotives, I don't think the same approach would work for the majority of fittings so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Quarry Hunslet: The Crossheads Are Not Symmetrical

After a nice chunk of annual leave I'm now back at work and so consequently modelling progress has slowed somewhat. It didn't help of course that I made a small mistake in assembling the crossheads which meant I had to dismantle them and start over.

The instructions for assembling the crossheads to the slide bars and connecting rod are fairly straightforward, but they make no mention of the fact that the crossheads are not symmetrical and that the orientation they are assembled in matters. Basically each crosshead consists of a back and front which are fixed together with a screw and nut capturing the slidebars and coupling rod. Fortunately I had noticed that the insides of the crossheads were not symmetrical; in the photo you can see that on the right of the hole the piece is inset. This is so that when the two halves are held together the coupling rod isn't locked tight and can rotate slightly around the screw. Putting all the parts together is, however, a fiddly business (you really need three hands, but blutack helps), and on one side I had managed to rotate one half of the crosshead through 180 degrees, so the cutout areas no longer aligned. Unfortunately I didn't notice, as there was still some movement in the coupling rod. I finished assembling the motion and connected it to the frame and wheels of the locomotive only for it to lock solid. The problem is that the misalignment caused the crosshead to run slightly out of line along the slidebars, and when the other end of the coupling rod was fixed to the wheel this misalignment was enough for it to lock. Fortunately this was only a test fitting so I hadn't trimmed down any of the screws, although disassembling to correct the problem still involved removing super glue and cleaning the parts.

I still don't have a fully assembled set of motion to show you, as while one side is now properly assembled and running the other side is still in pieces; it turned out that the slidebar brackets was slightly out of shape, which again led to the motion locking. I've now stripped this one back and filed and reshaped the bracket so it should run smoothly once re-assembled, but that will probably have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Local Wildlife

As I mentioned in the last post, with family visiting for the weekend there was no chance of any modelling, but I did manage a sneaky railway visit. We'd originally intended a bit of a walk, but the weather on Saturday wasn't great, so we switched to going to our local garden centre for brunch as well as plant shopping, and then a short walk, weather permitting. The weather permitted, so we drove five minutes down the road from the garden centre and parked at the side of the road. Literally 30 seconds after getting out of the car we heard the unmistakable sound of a steam whistle.

The railway, which at this point we could hear but not see, was the Kirkless Light Railway. This is a 15" gauge railway which was built along the track bed of the old Clayton West branch of the Penistone Line. The original branch line closed in 1983 and the first section of the narrow gauge railway opened in 1991. Now it runs for almost the entire length of the old branch line, around 3.5 miles and includes a 500 yard tunnel. Interestingly for a steam railway, every locomotive permanently at the railway was built specifically for it and so there is an rather odd mix.

We headed south-west from where we had parked and picked up the railway as it appears out of the tunnel heading towards the terminus at Shelley. We'd been walking by the railway for only 10 minutes or so before we again heard the distinctive sound of a steam engine. Unfortunately we weren't in the best place for taking photographs.

Fortunately all the engines are different colours so I can tell you that the train was being pulled by Badger an 0-6-4ST built at the railway in 1991. On the way back to the car we were treated to another train passing us, this time being pulled by the diesel engine Jay.

Given how close the line is to where we live I need to go back and have a proper look around, maybe on their gala weekend when there will be lots of trains running.