Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Rails Were For...

All the way back in May of 2013, I blogged about the odd set of narrow rails you could see if you visited my local DIY shop. Unfortunately the road has since been resurfaced and the rails can no longer be seen.

The DIY shop is housed in what was, according to old maps, a wagon and wheel works and in the previous post I speculated that, for want of any other information, that the rails might relate to some form of travelling crane. Well I was wrong.

I've now, thanks to issue 190 of the Industrial Railway Record, that the works were the premises of William Gittus & Son Ltd. It appears that in general most of the work involved repairing wagons rather than building new ones, but they had a very distinctive builders plate featuring a dog which they attached to the wagons they worked on.

While it is nice to be able to put a name to the company that ran the works, the article also clears up the issue of the rails...

by 1905 several developments had taken place ... a large wooden building (which could accommodate six wagons and was known to the workmen as the "big shed") was constructed on the west side of the dike. The big shed had a full length traverser at it's west end and was served by four sidings. ... Further expansion took place in the 1920s when extensions were made to the Big Shed and a second similar sized building was erected on its west side. The traverser was then situated between the two shops and two horses were employed to shunt in this area.
So we now have a definitive answer, the rails were the remains of the wagon traverser.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

To The Printers!

While the only difference from the previous post is the addition of a few bolts around the coupling hook I thought it was worth sharing a nice large rendering of the final model of the Sand Hutton wagon.
I've now broken the model down into a few separate parts (body, underframe, coupling hook, etc.) and have ordered a couple of prints. It usually takes just over a week for the prints to arrive so I'll just have to find some other modelling to fill the time until then. Maybe I'll finally get around to finishing the coupling rods on Canopus, or maybe I'll get distracted by something else. You'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dumb and Dumber

I've still not quite finished the Sand Hutton wagon but I think there are just a few bolts left before it will be ready for printing. The main new items today are the rounded dumb buffers and the coupling hook. Both of these were produced by tracing the part from the original works drawing.

Whilst we now know that the drawing isn't particularly accurate the depiction of the buffers and coupling hooks seem to match the photos quite well so this seemed the best way to model them and I think they've turned out nicely. The coupling hook is interesting as I've actually modelled it as a separate part.

On the printed model there will be a slot in the buffer beam to take a Greenwich coupling (the slot will actually be about 0.5mm too low due to the low slung nature of the wagon so the coupling shank will need bending a little to compensate), there will also be a sprue containing coupling hooks attached to a plate, which should fit the slot perfectly, for those people who would prefer a prototypical looking hook rather than a working coupling. These are going to be tiny parts so I've no idea how well they'll turn out until I get a print in my hands.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Axle Boxes

Progress on the wagon from the Sand Hutton Light Railway is slow but steady. As with physical modelling, building the rough structure is relatively quick but adding the details, especially odd shaped ones, takes a disproportionate amount of time and effort.

I've had a bit of a rethink about which bits are printable and which aren't and so a few more details have been added to the body of the wagon. I'm probably going to print a couple of different versions of the wagon with different levels of detail parts to see what works and what needs to be modelled in some other way than printing. The main obvious difference to the body are the lifting straps which, after ignoring the works drawings, and looking at photos I've decided may be printable after all. These were easy to add so it makes sense to experiment with them.

Having finished detailing the body I've also started on the underframe, specifically the axle boxes. The axles boxes on these wagons are unusual in that they are cast in pairs. It's difficult to tell exactly what shape they are from the drawings or from the photos (they tend to be in shadow under the underframe) so I've made a number of guesses. Hopefully given their small size they will at least "look right". Now I just have to finish adding all the bolts to the underframe and to round the dumb buffers and then I should be ready to order a prototype print or two.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One for the Rivet Counters

Given that I now know that both the original works drawings and the modern scale drawings don't accurately reflect the wagons that were actually used on the Sand Hutton light Railway, I've had to take a few liberties with some aspects of construction. Specifically I've been unable to locate any photos showing the inside of the wagons in any detail. This means that the placement of some of the bolts, especially those in the floor have had to be estimated. It's also unclear if the end walls had metal strapping on the inside. Photos of the wagons at Deptford supply depot, clearly show strapping, but on other photos it is less clear. I've decided to add the strapping (inset into the planks as on the side doors) given that the clearest photos show it to be present even if it isn't on the works drawings. Anyway the following render shows the progress I've made today.

Each of those bolts has to be accurately positioned, and each has a matching nut on the other side of whatever it passes through, so you can see where a lot of the time goes when building these 3D models. With these in place though I think the upper body is now complete. There are some missing pieces but these will be added to the printed model as they will be two fragile if printed. Now I just have to finish the underframe before I can order a prototype print to see how everything fits together.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Never Trust a Drawing

Usually I don't tip my hand and show the 3D models I'm designing until I've got at least the first prototype print in front of me. This time though I gave the game away in my previous post so you already know that I'm working on a model of the open wagons used on the Sand Hutton Light Railway so I may as well give you the odd progress update.

As I mentioned before I'm basing the model on the drawings in the RCL Publications book on the railway. The book actually contains two sets of drawings as well as a description of the major components. The first drawing is a copy of the original P & W Maclellan Limited works drawing. While works drawings are nice they tend not to reproduce well in books, especially not when scaled down to fit a single page (all the measurements become difficult to read and obscure the details). Fortunately the second drawing is a modern set produced (I assume) for the book by Roy C Link.

What you can see here is a rendering of the model as it currently stands. There are lots of bits missing, the axle boxes being the most obvious, but it does at least allow you to get a rough idea of the shape of the wagon. If you have seen photos or drawings of these wagons before then the first thing you'll probably notice is that I've had to move the frames outwards to incorporate the larger gauge; the railway used a track gauge of just 18 inches whereas this model is designed to run on 9mm track which is a scale 2 foot 3 inches. From the side this change isn't that obvious although it clearly alters the end on view. The main body is, however, accurately sized, although it doesn't match the modern scale drawings in the book.

Given that the drawings have big copyright statements all over them I'm not going to risk reproducing them here so, unless you have a copy of the book to hand, you'll just have to take my word for what follows. The modern drawings take up the top half of one page and show three views; a side on view, an end on view, and a view from above. Together these give most of the details and those that are missing can easily be gleaned from the copy of the original works drawings. The bottom half of the page is an old photo of a single wagon. The strange thing is that the photo and the drawings don't match! Now I'm not talking about a minor detail like the placement of a bolt or something. No, the main problem is that the planks making up the end walls of the wagons are in the wrong place on the drawing. Now I must admit that it is a fairly easy mistake to make, as I misinterpreted the works drawing initially as well, but when the drawing is placed next to the photo it is obvious. There are other problems, but I think they mostly stem from the fact that all the wagons I've seen in photos so far don't fully match the works drawing.

When I design a model based on a real prototype I strive to make it as accurate as I can although clearly issues of gauge and the available materials force some changes to be made. The point to remember is that while scale drawings are really very useful there is no replacement for looking at the thing you are trying to copy. In this case no wagons remain, but there are plenty of photos that show many of the important details and it is always worth taking a long look at these to see what you might have missed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Sand Hutton Light Railway

So my Trevor Quarry breaker wagons seems to go down well if the comments to the previous post are any indication. I've been really enjoying modelling the small wagons and based on a comment to that post I've been side tracked from Canopus yet again. The comment in questions was from James who suggested that maybe I'd be interested in having a look at the wagons from the Sand Hutton Light Railway. No sooner was the suggestion made and I was on the hunt for scale drawings.

Actually that's not entirely true, I knew where the scale drawings were, they were in a book that I'd been tempted to buy ever since I picked up a copy of the Slate Quarry Album to get scale drawings for a bunch of Welsh slate quarry wagons (like the ones for the Aberllefenni box wagon). The publisher of that book, RCL Publications, also have a book on the Sand Hutton Light Railway and James' comment was a good excuse to buy a copy.

The book only arrived today so I haven't had a lot of time to read through it but it looks like an excellent book with lots of photographs, maps, and scale drawings. In fact while I haven't read much of the book yet, I've already started on a model of the open goods wagon! I'd certainly recommend the book to anyone with an interest in narrow gauge railways.

From the small amount of text I have read so far I've learnt a number of things including that there is a link between the railway and my home town, but more on that in a later post when I've done a little more research as I'm going to finish this post so I can get back to the 3D model I'm building!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's All Iain's Fault!

Yes this post is definitely all Iain's fault, but I don't mean that in a bad way.

As you all know I've recently been 3D printing lots of small narrow gauge wagons. In fact I'm now up to five different wagons: an 8ft freelance flat wagon, 3 bar slab wagon, an Aberllefenni Box Wagon, a 4 bar slab wagon, and most recently a Rhosydd rubbish wagon. These models have all been fun to design, print and assemble and Iain has kindly provided lots of useful prototype information for a number of them. I also have a couple of other wagons under development that are proving a little tricky to get right (mostly due to weird issues with the 3D printing process) but I thought I was slowly running out of scale drawings that would cause a distraction from building Canopus (I still haven't bitten the bullet and permanently attached the coupling rods). It was at this point Iain pointed me in the direction of Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review (which I mentioned in the previous post). More importantly he pointed out that there were some very interesting scale drawings in the free sample magazine available from the website. A quick glance and not only had I subscribed to the magazine but I'd started work on yet another wagon model. So you see this model is definitely Iain's fault; thanks Iain!

Pages 33 to 41 of the magazine cover a multitude of wagons that were all used at Trevor Quarry on the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales. Interestingly this was a granite quarry rather than the more common slate quarries found in North Wales. The specific wagon that caught me eye in the magazine was the rather odd, 3 sided, breaker wagon; the magazine has a photo and scale drawings on pages 35 to 37. While a 3 sided wagon might not have wide spread use it intrigued me enough that I set about designing a 3D print. I'll start by showing you the finished model and then explain how I got there.

The photo is of course a little misleading as this model is actually just 3.2cm long by 1.85cm wide and 1.35cm tall; in other words not very big at all. The relatively small size of the model also causes a few issues when designing it as some parts were too thin to be printed and some parts I decided might cause a problem when printed. This means that the model is actually a mix of 3D printed resin, brass sheet, and some standard copier paper.

The two problem areas that I identified when designing the model were the metal supports at the open side of the wagon, and the protective strip along the top edge of the side wall. These were problematic for different reasons and due to their shape required different solutions.

The two upright supports were a problem as I can't print parts that thin. The minimum wall thickness is 0.3mm but if I'd printed the parts I would have had to widen the wagon to make them fit and to keep the correct proportions. And of course the parts would have been very fragile and liable to break if knocked about. Fortunately the part isn't a particularly complex shape and so it was easy to cut and fold two small pieces of 0.12mm brass sheet to the required shape which could then be glued to the resin print.

The protective strip along the top of the side wall was a problem for a different reason. While I could have easily included this in the model, I've found that overhanging horizontal features, no matter how small, tend to cause other details to be obscured. This is due to the support material reacting with the printed resin. In this case it could easily have led to the side planks ending up with strange markings and would probably have completely obscured the gaps between the planks. My original intention had been to use brass sheet to add this part as well. Unfortunately, even with the hold-and-fold, I found it impossible to make the U shaped part. In the end I just made the part from 100gms copier paper which was then glued in place.

The final touch, before painting, was to add some rivet detail to the new parts which are simply Archer rivet transfers from sheet AR88025.

Painting was my now standard approach for aged wagons. The whole wagon is given a matt black undercoat. The wooden parts are then roughly painted with khaki (Model Color #988) and then a black wash. Drybrushing of khaki, brown sand (Model Color #876) and dark sand (Model Color #847) then follows, before another thin black wash and final drybrushing with dark sand. The metal parts were then painted black (to cover over paint from the wooden parts) and then dry brushed with London grey (Model Color #836) and dark rust (RailMatch #2405). A few wafts of matt varnish then tone down and seal the paints.

As with the other wagons I've printed recently I'll happily sell you one via Penistone Railway Works. I'm not sure there will be much interest given the rather odd nature of the wagon, but it's available if you want one, along with full instructions for adding the extra details.

Having built the breaker wagon I'm tempted to have a go at the mill wagon on page 38 of the sample issue as it appears to be pretty much the same wagon with some additional parts. Watch this apace!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Reading Material

Okay so it is a terrible photo, but it shows the latest issues of each of the railway modelling magazines I now read. What you'll notice is that this pile doesn't include any of the four main high street magazines. Until a few weeks ago I was a subscriber to British Railway Modelling (you might remember that this is how I ended up with a bunch of weathering powders) and would often pick up one or more of the other mainstream magazines. I have now cancelled my subscription and won't be buying the others on a whim either.

In 2012 when I returned to the hobby after a break of over fifteen years I found the mainstream magazines really useful. A lot of ideas and techniques had changed over the years with new concepts like DCC and static grass which I'd never heard of before. Also the layout features were often really inspirational with useful ideas on construction and track plans. The problem is that will I now have more experience than I did two years ago the magazines are printing the same things. And by that I really do mean the same things. In two years I've seen multiple layout articles appear more than one, and the hands on articles cover the same topics over and over again. Added to this the magazines seem to focus on very basic modelling; building a kit or modifying a ready-to-run locomotive. There are almost no articles covering scratch building structures or roiling stock.Put simply there is no longer enough in each magazine that is of interest to me to justify the cost. So given I'm not reading the high street magazines what am I reading?

Mostly I'm finding that the interesting and inspiring articles are now appearing on blogs instead of magazines and I could probably survive with just the blogs if I wanted to. There is though, something soothing about sitting down in a comfy chair with a good magazine. I'm now reading five different publications. Three are society journals and two are quarterly magazines. The society journals cover are from MERG (which covers the electronics side of the hobby in detail) and the N Gauge and OO9 societies which tie in nicely with the two gauges/scales I'm currently modelling. The quarterly magazines are something I've only just started to subscribe to but here we have Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review and Finescale Railway Modelling Review.

Now I'm sure that people could find fault with all these magazines in one way or another but I'm very happy with the selection. There is a lot more actual modelling in these compared to the box opening articles of the main magazines and they are more directed at my own interests (less blue diesel layouts) so I think they all make a good read.