Wordless Wednesday – ModelRAIL

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‘Class 47 Detail Photos for the Modeller’

‘Class 47 detail photos for the modeller’

Earlier today, as part of my addiction to browsing railway photos on Flickr, I found this superb album of class 47 detail shots, titled Class 47 detail photos for the modeller. There are some absolutely superb detail shots which will be very useful for anyone modelling the type.

Click here or on the photo to visit it.

The Budget Brush – The Bayer Method

The previous posts on the rebuilding Lima class 47s have brought some very nice comments, both  public and private. One request was for more details on the work on the underframes – this is something which makes a huge difference to the appearance.

The first budget class 47 based on the Lima model complete with the completely rebuilt underframe.

I’ve made reference to Gareth Bayer’s article in DEMU UpDate on rebuilding class 47 underframes a number of times. This article had huge impact upon me – it seemed like a revelation and it encouraged me to look beyond the obvious way of detailing models and take things a step beyond the obvious.

The original article the article in ModelRAIL by Lawrence Dickinson.

Gareth was in turn influenced by the article in an early ModelRAIL supplement by Lawrence Dickinson – Lawrence wrote a couple of articles round this time (the other was a superb piece on a Class 40 with Dyna-Drive) and they still stand up today. The article on modelling class 47s is still a useful read for anyone contemplating this sort of conversion. Gareth, however, took things even further with his underframes. I have shamelessly stolen Gareth’s method! I won’t reproduce just what Gareth’s article said, but these are the main stages which will show the overall process.

Gareth Bayer’s article from the DEMU UPDate, No. 27, Autumn 2001.

The first stage is to remove all the unwanted material, and there’s quite a bit of it too…

The initial stage of the the work involves removing most of the ‘box’ leaving only the battery boxes and ends of the oil tank.

Lima chose a battery only type underframe, the variant without either the original water tanks or the later long range fuel tank. For the battery only variant as for 47294 and 47380 the battery boxes, their brackets, the oil tank ends and the angled pieces near the battery boxes – these latter items are associated with the brackets for securing the water tanks when fitted. I drilled out material where I could joined these up with a sharp blade. A brand new blade makes light work of cutting the plastic Lima used. Care at this stage sets things up nicely ensuring a neat appearance as thing progress, but be careful as the chassis is very fragile now and could easily break.

A new ‘floor’ will begin to reinforce the chassis, 20thou Plastikard works very well – I also braced it on the upper side to make it as solid as I could. This will  provide the base for all subsequent parts so, again, care at this stage is repaid handsomely later on.

The ‘floor’ in place.

Adding the substantial frame which protrudes beneath the loco in the centre is what really starts to bring the loco to life I think. The UpDate article had a useful template for this but using photos as a guide you can easily estimate the size required. It really adds to character to the model and begins to fill up the gaps we’ve already created in the underframe. Although there’s a lot of ‘fresh air’ to be seen around the underframes, there are many places where you can look through the underframes, so to speak.

The underframe is already beginning to take on a more three dimensional appearance, even at this early stage.

This completes the core of the underframe, from here on in, it’s a case of adding details – Gareth’s article is very helpful here. Combine this with prototype photos and it’s quite a nice, steady detailing job – quite relaxing in many ways. Brian Daniels’ album on Flickr is an excellent source of information for this. Arm yourself with various bits of Plastikard and wire you can go as far as want, adding as little or as much as you feel necessary – after all, however much you add will be better than what was originally there, but we’ve made full use of the lovely tooling eveident on the battery boxes and oil tank.

The completed but unpainted underframe for 47380 – in this state the layout of parts can clearly be seen, as can the variety of material too. Very impressionistic, but in the gloom, it looks just like it should.

I don’t pretend that this is a perfect result. It’s very much impressionistic modelling – adding key details, pipe runs and trying to capture the right kind of ‘feel’ for the model, this latter goal is one which can make or break a model. A model can be very dimensional accurate but if it lacks that certain something, they can be stale, sterile and just not feel right and be, ultimately, quite disappointing.

What I like about the approach of Gareth and Lawrence is that they didn’t accept things as they were, not content with just a respray and a renumbering, they set about doing things in their own way. In these days of plentiful and varied ready to run models, it’s something we’d do well to remember.

The Budget Brush – The Next One

The previous Lima conversion feature here was a really good start I felt. However, I did feel it could be refined further. The next conversion introduces a number of new variations and modifications compared with the first of the ‘Budget Brushes‘.

My choice of 47380 was really based on a silly reason… Well, it was an Immingham machine in the early nineties and I really liked, wait for it, the oval buffers it had! Silly I know, but they made it subtly different. These were fitted to a number of Immingham’s class 47s.   There was freight traffic to Barton-upon-Humber to the now-closed Albright and Wilson chemical works until 1988 and a particularly tight curve on the approach to the works necessitated these buffers. Incidentally,  there’s a very good gallery of photographs of this traffic which can be found here.

Brush Type 4 Class 47 No 47380 eases through Barnetby station with a substantial Oil train bound for Lindsay Oil refinery, Lincolnshire, May 29th 1992. Photo courtesy of Lee Wise.

This lovely shot of 47380 at Barnetby in 1992 by Lee Wise shows exactly what I’m aiming for – notice how faded the warning panels are. Despite carrying its home depot’s name, it never seemed to be a particularly loved machine. Immingham had a number of ‘pet’ locos which had been kept in immaculate condition (the last of the original 47/4s for example) but 47380 was never one of them. As such it never looked that well cared for externally – most views around this time back this up too, with loco looking a bit tired and sometimes very grubby! But for us, this is quite appealing.

47380 ‘Immingham’ taking shape. The scratchbuilt underframe details can be scene as well as the cutaway buffer beams. The new window surrounds can be seen plus with work around the cab.

However, the more I looked and the further I got the more I realised how I’d picked one of the least standard of the type! The loco had been the subject of a number of modifications to try and make the cabs more comfortable for the crew. Most of these modifications weren’t noticeable from the outside but from my point of view the cut away buffer beams were the most obvious but the less obvious one was the additional cab roof ventilator. These came from a scrap body, part of a pair which were £3 for the two at a toy fair! The other will become 47206, but more of that another time… It is all the little things which add up on this model.

Since I had finished it, more parts had become available from Shawplan – mainly the window frames – 47294 has received the windscreen surrounds very much at the eleventh hour! Many aspects were very pleasing but as with anything, there’s always room for improvement.

A good comparison of how much of a difference the replacement window frames can make. It’s quite surprising how over scale the Lima windows are.

Concentrating efforts around the cabs helps I think – this is the main area where the Lima model is lacking. Carefully adding the new frames is the perfect start to this – the Lima model does have another issue in this area. The horn cowling leans back, rather than leaning forward. There is a simple way to effect this – I tried it first on  47294 but I felt the effect could be better. So this time with my model of 47380 I cut as close I dare behind the moulded louvres with a piercing saw. The isolated piece was then angled forward, gently, a little at a time and pieces of Plastikard wedged in behind it. Once it was about in the right position, the packing pieces were solvent welded in place – after they’ve set, they can be cut back and everything sanded smooth with a bit of filler to tidy it all up.

Excuse the colour cast from the camera on my phone but it shows the main aspects in transforming the Lima model. The modified horn grille, new handrails all round as well as the Shawplan window frames.

The other major change with this model over the original 47294 is around the buffer beam areas. As part of the modifications to reduce draughts, the buffer beam surrounds were removed which exposed the sides of the frames and locos which received this modification are noticeably different from other members of the class. This required the lower part of the cabs and moulded valances to be removed from the body. I decided that unlike 47294 where I kept the buffer beams as part of the body, that having the buffer beams completely as part of the chassis was preferable. So whilst the changes to the body were quite simple, the chassis frame had to be completely rebuilt at either end to accommodate the new buffer beams and frames.

I have to admit a little ‘cheat’ by using Heljan buffer beams, for the simple reason that the draw gear is nicely moulded and it saved me having to measure and mark the buffer centres!

The basic structure for the cutaway buffer beams can be seen here. Plastikard side pieces reinforce the whole structure and make for a very strong underframe. They just needed shaping at the stage to ensure the correct profile.

Once the work is complete the chassis frame is, I think, stronger than the original moulding, however during the task the whole thing becomes very fragile until it’s set. The side of the moulding have to be cut away to take the new pieces. Older etched conversion kits could retain the chassis as a whole but at the cost of an accurate profile and positioning which didn’t help the overall appearance. I have no doubt this is why the Heljan model made such an impact when it was introduced as it scores so much better in this area than the Lima model.

An view of the buffer beam work and also the beginning of the battery box underframe work.

The underframe as a whole deserves greater attention in its description I think but the photograph above shows the beginning of the work using the ‘Bayer Method’ for detailing the underframe. This is always a really satisfying project in itself and really does transform the model – though by the end of the work, the underframe does seem to be more Plastikard than the original moulding! As you can see below, this is quite different from Lima’s ‘box’ underframe.

‘The Bayer Method’ as described by Gareth Bayer in DEMU UpDate back in Autumn 2001.

With this project, there is still much to do – the unloved and faded appearance of the prototype will be a challenge in itself.

47380 ‘Immingham’ in primer – the undercoat has brought everything together and it’s very satisfying just how much of a difference the Shawplan window frames make to the character of the model.

More another time.

Something to do on the long cold dark nights

With the exhibition circuit well and truly in flow. I have been thinking about some of the magnificent work that I have seen on the circuit and some of the not so great layouts as well.

It is great to locomotives and rolling stock looking fabulous either repainted or weathered to a high standard along with realistic looking back scenes with lots and lots going on.

The plans for West Halton are well advanced and the research is 100% complete. We have a very good Library of information to fall back on. I have built up a collection of Freight and Passenger Working Timetables from 1960 to when the last ones were published in 2007. Along with these I have trip working booklets and notices, these was issued to Drivers, Second men and Guards. These documents can often reveal nothing, but they can be a wealth of information and give instructions for how trains should be marshalled and at what locations traffic will be picked up and dropped off and what traction should be used. They can also just say such information like “Work to yard Supervisors instructions” Or “work as directed by the weekly coal plan”……… Cheers then!

I have also built up a diverse collection of old train plans and quite a few of them are for steel traffic from Scunthorpe! These like the Trip Notices are invaluable as they really are a snap shot of time. They show any extra services that are required or trains that would be cancelled or not ordered that week, they also show trains that require to be re timed owing to engineering works and any specific instructions like:

6J40 SX 12:34 Scunthorpe Ent ‘C’ – Tinsley N.Y. to run with a maximum of 50 SLU of traffic.

20171107_135820 (1)

I know that I am very privileged to have acquired this information and it really is worth its weight in gold at times. This information along with books and magazines from the period that you choose to model are invaluable! The pictures that you find can really help you and make you think…. Yeah ill have a crack at doing a kit of that wagon. I know it has done that to me and those obscure books and odd pictures you find in Rail Magazine when it was a decent read can really help you along. Even more so with the long dark nights in front of us for the next few months!

When I was kid two Authors got me hooked on the “Freight Railway” Dr M Rhodes and Paul Shannon. The “Freight Only” series of books along with the Freight Only Yearbooks and Freightfax books to me was just brilliant and truly inspiring and sadly today show just how much traffic has been lost from the railway.

All this waffling has got me kinda away from the point of the post and that is………….

If you want your layout to look like the real thing, then research the area the subject the locomotives that operated in the area. The traffic flows the consists or make up of the trains, so you get them as you want them to look. Also think of the operation think “How would this train run round move on the real life railway”. If you are happy with just watching the trains run around a loop of track then that’s fine too.

Project 56

So a bit more on the little more on the class 56.

All the grilles are now in place along with many other details beginning to appear. Click on the picture to see the full size version, the best way to see just how fine the etchings are.

The complete set of grilles from Shawplan has now been fitted. The delicacy of the grilles is something which first struck nearly ten years ago when I first experienced Brian Hanson’s work. And I’m still in awe at the finesse of his products. The grilles I’ve fitted here are no exception.

Their delicacy demands great care – you can roughly handle these. This doesn’t mean you have to be worried about working with them, the stainless steel is quite resilient, but bend or crease them and replacement is the only course of action. Surface preparation is key to fitting these grilles. The body side grilles are a good place to start – Hornby’s etched mesh was carefully removed and the moulded frames pared away to leave them flush with the rest of the bodyside. I have small, home made chisels for this task. Now I know ‘home made tools’ sounds like a proper engineering solution, but don’t expect too much from me! These are actually small electrical screwdrivers which have been sharpened on an oil stone – cheap, simple and very effective. They make light work of this kind of work – a curved scalpel blade. dragged along the work piece is how I finish it off before finally using fine emery to smooth things off.

A broadside view of the model in its current state – the body is actually in a white plastic but the paint stripper has discoloured it to a degree.

Applying the grilles is the tricky part – we all have our own preferences and mine is to use a good quality and very thin super glue. Position the grille in place and using a piece of fine wire to place the glue, add minute drops at intervals around the grille. Capillary action draws the glue in but with only small spots, a sharp blade could be run between grille and body to free it if you haven’t got the positioning quite right. However, once you’re happy with the placement, run super glue right round the whole perimeter and leave it to set. Now here’s the clever bit…

Clean the edges with a Garryflex extra fine abrasive block. This gently removes traces of the superglue on the body sides without unduly abrading the body or etchings. This means the final finish will be much, much better.

Another view of the grilles. Note also the small bracket just above the buffer beam where the MU cable will sit.

Where grilles have further etched surrounds, the Garryflex treatment is the perfect preparation for the overlays. Once these are in place a further clean up in the same manner finishes everything off very nicely.

The front ends of the loco have also seen a good deal of work – the horn grilles are very delicate etches which really help capture the look of the prototype. The replacement handrails also help lift the model far beyond its ready to run origins – this is starting to become ‘a model of a class 56’ rather than ‘a model class 56.’

Project 56 – Grilles

New bodyside grilles from Shawplan’s Extreme Etchings range for the class 56 – as always, they look superb!

Having seen 56303 (formerly 56125) at the Knottingley Depot open day the other day, my enthusiasm for my model of 56044 has continued to be quite high. This has also been helped by the beautiful grilles from Shawplan.

The mesh is etched in 2 thou stainless steel – it’s thinner than copier paper! So it feels very flimsy once removed from its fret and you have to take real care not to damage them. Once fixed in place they feel much more secure, but being so thing with no real rigidity themselves, the surface preparation requires a good deal of care. But the results speak for themselves!

Knottingley Charity Open Day

Yesterday the local DB Cargo management for West Yorkshire and Humberside. Held a very small open day at Knottingley Depot the proceeds of witch have been donated to a Cancer charity. It took some moves but the was host to a small number of visiting locomotives. DB Cargo had 60015, 60066, 66082 67029 on display. The Deltic Preservation Society kindly sent 55009 & DC Rail sent 56303. 56303 When it carried a proper TOPS number was no stranger to Knottingley being part of the once 45 strong Aire Valley Coal Pool.

56303 60015 66082 and 67029 Knottingley Depot 2

56303, 60015, 66082 & 67029 Knottingley Depot.

After the crowds had gone a few members staff with far too many lights decided on a private night shoot of the locomotives. Some nifty shunting was done. This is the result! I think you will agree it is very similar to fabulous nights shots that the Roundal Design Group did for British Rail when they launched the Railfreight sectors 30 years ago.