Thursday, 6 August 2009

GCR Six wheeled fish van

In the latest GOG Gazette is an advert headed 'Quainton Road Models' - a fondly remembered concern that appears to be in new hands.

Apparently they are working on a kit for a GC six-wheeled fish van. This has to be diagram 49, which looks rather like a 6 wheel coach gone wrong. They were built by Metro Amalgamated C&W at Ashburys in 1900. There were only four on the whole line (No. 28591-28594) so even if you're modelling Grimsby Docks I can't think you'll need more than one kit. Interesting choice of prototype!

I've never seen a photo of one of these, and how they were lettered is anyone's guess. Indeed, I wouldn't even like to swear what colour they would be. Probably brown first, grey later.

Why the GC chose to built 4-off of this non-standard type is a mystery to me, but I suppose it adds variety to a fish train or passenger train tail traffic...

Sunday, 2 August 2009

MMP Wagon detailing etches

In my post of 30 November last I mentioned this product. I have now got around to buying a couple to try, and first of all let me say I was a bit naive about them adding weight. The etches are so thin that the added weight factor is absolutely minimal. (Obviously this means that the sides are kept as near scale thickness as possible.)

Really they are intended to put in new kits not retro fits and it would be easier to use them that way. (Not easy, just easier.) The sides and ends in particular are ultra thin. Thinner than paper. There's a lot of bolts to press out and unless you're careful the brass distorts to hell. A really delicate touch is needed - more delicate than mine, frankly. Same goes for cutting them off the frets, the sides and ends are practically individual planks held together by ironwork and it's very easy to distort them. You have to be really, really gentle. Also on the fret are capping pieces, wagon label holders and oddments. You can even detail the frames beneath the wagon.

As I discovered the best way forward would be to chemically blacken the etches before you start. After much fiddling I got the sides end and bottom inside my wagon (and not looking too hideously wrong), and then sprayed with primer which promptly hid most of the fine detail. Chemical blackening followed by thin coats of paint is the answer to this, I think. Even though my first effort is rather bodged - I haven't finished the painting yet, and some bits of coal dust strategically placed should hide the worst of the errors - the wagon interior looks a whole lot better than as bare plastic.

I hope this summary doesn't sound too negative as it's an excellent product and the instructions, in particular, are of exemplary quality. I hope to buy more, but whether I have the patience to retro fit them to all my Slaters wagons is another matter. They will certainly be used in all future new builds though!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Manvers Main PO Wagons

I have asked Slaters about the current unavailability of these kits. It appears they will come back, but in a slightly revised format, although we might have to wait a little while.

Unless you're absolutely desperate it's probably worth hanging on instead of trying to find second-hand examples.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

GC 3 plank wagon kit (diagram 6)

I understand that Simon Spare's initial batch of 3 plank wagon kits has completely sold out. However, if there is enough demand he will run a second batch.

I have already put my name down for another as they are excellent kits and well worth having. I don't think it's a major task to finish them as the earlier diag 3 if you want to do something different with one. I'd suggest the main difference is a single set of brakes with no lever on the other side.

Anyway if you want one (or preferably several) please contact Simon to confirm your interest. (His contact details are included in my earlier post about the kits.)

Saturday, 25 July 2009

GC Wagon Tarpaulins

I have just noticed that 7mm scale GC Wagon Tarpaulins (or wagon sheets as they are sometimes known) are available from C&L Finescale. Also available are CLC and a number of other companies including even the Cleobury Mortimer and Ditton Priors Light!

Wagon sheets were extremely commonplace in the GC era when many loads we would now think needed a covered van were carried in opens. (Amazingly even loads such as flour were sometimes transported in this way!) The sheets were also used for temporary repairs to leaking vans and also on cattle wagons, especially in cold weather or when in use for carrying horses. You really cannot have too many, though most of us are reluctant to cover up our careful detailing and lettering under an anonymous sheet!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

GCR 4 wheel brake van (from D&S kit)

This photo demonstrates that I do sometimes make models as opposed to just talking about it. It's a GC 4 wheel brake van (diagram 64 to be technical) built from a D&S kit, primed and ready to have the various castings added prior to final painting.

I never work continuously on a model, but I estimate it took me about a day's work to get it to this state. Which means that a competent professional could probably assemble it thus far in a morning.

It's a very easy kit to build - if any brass kit is - the hardest bit being to fix the handrails to my satisfaction. There's also some tricky detailing to do inside the verandah. The parts aren't supplied for this, you have to make it up yourself from plastic or wood, and it's more fiddly than anything. Not sure how I ever used to manage in 4mm, but I suppose my eyes were younger.

If you have never tried to build an etched brass kit, this one could be a good starting point. The GCR had dozens of these brakes. If I needed more than the two I've got, I'd happily build several more as the kit is a delight.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

GCR Wagon Transfers

I have no less that five GC wagons in various stages of construction, plus a few more that need brake gear added. In the excitement I realised that my stock of wagon letter transfers is low so I asked Chris Basten at Dragon Models what his latest prices were.

Available in 7mm are:

GC large size white @£2-00 a pair
GC large size yellow @ £2-00 a pair
GC small size (not sure what these are for as they're a bit big for bolster wagons) @£1-60 a pair
CLC (CL) @ £1-90 a pair
LDEC @ £2-30 a pair
LDEC (hired lettering) @ £2-30 a pair.

Most of these are also available in 4mm by the way. If you're lettering a 7mm bolster wagon you'll probably find the small 4mm GC lettering @ £1-30 will do the job.

Postage is £1-50 per order.
From Dragon Models,
9 Kingsley Close
Penarth CF64 5UW

Friday, 19 June 2009

Kit Review - GP Models Diagram 5 (3 planker)

After a long time without doing any serious modelling I have started this kit during the week. The first thing to note is that it's exceptionally complete. The wheels are in there, and all you need to add is paint, solder, and transfers.

It's a complex kit for so simple a prototype. A different philosophy could have produced a resin body complete with solebars (like the Simon Spare diag. 6 kit) and reduced the number of parts by some degree of magnitude. However, what this kit does give you is a very solid chassis with built in compensation. This wagon would be quite safe even at the head of an 80 wagon coal train - it is incredibly strong.

The etched parts are in nickel silver, and make me wonder why anyone uses brass. The n/s is so much easier to work. I used the bending bars to form the inner solebars, but otherwise the folding could be, and was, done with long-nosed pliers.

There's quite a lot of layered detail to add, and even with a resistance soldering iron, some of this is hard work to position properly. I think this is the one thing a beginner might struggle with. However the parts do fit together beautifully - by no means a quality to be despised in a kit.

Would I build another one? Yes, gladly. Having built this one I'm sure I'd make a better job of the second one. Recommended - and not least as ideal soldering practice for someone who hesitates to try a loco kit!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Diagram 6 3 planker

Having received my kit from Simon Spare, I'd say it's at least as good as anything he's produced in the past, possibly even better. Anyway, it's a quality offering and I look forward to more from this stable.

Only thing not in there that you might expect are the parts for the brake gear. It's a 9' 6" wheelbase and I'm pretty sure Exactoscale can oblige.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

GCR Loco lettering

7mm scale (and indeed other scale) loco lettering is now available from Steam and Things in Australia. They cost £9 plus £4-50 postage for a sheet covering 8 locos. (But with no buffer beam lettering/numbering at this stage.)

If you order 1/43 scale you get the correct size for tender locos, but for the smaller size used on many tank engines order 1/48 scale to get a good approximation. (Some tank engines had really diddy lettering - I'm really not sure how to scale those.)

Hurry Up If You Want One!!!!

I understand that Simon Spare (S&T Wagon Works) 82 Clifton Way, Hinckley, Leics, LE10 0UZ, still has a few kits available for a diagram 6 3 plank wagon in 7mm scale. These are resin kits and if they are anything like Simon's previous productions, well worth having. Price £18 plus £1 post, which is entirely reasonable given that these are quality.

If you want one do not delay as it's a small batch and they're nearly all gone. Simon may be open to ideas for future GCR kits, let us hope so!

By the way, if you are not already a member of the GCRS (and more particularly the GCRS Yahoo Group) it's well worth joing as you are likely to get earlier warning of items like this.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Inside Key Track on the GCR

I first became interested in this matter following a GCRS tour of the former Dukinfield Carriage works, where we were shown a three bolt inside-keyed chair which had been recovered from the site. Dukinfield was not completed until 1910, so this was presumably from old reused rail. I was not previously aware that the GCR had used inside keyed track so I was prompted to look for other examples. Below are some references to clear photographs – there are of course many others, including some where the track is not sufficiently clear to be sure.

Woodhead Part 1, Johnson, p 31 - Gorton old station circa 1900
Shows outside keys in use on main line by 1900.
As above, page 44 - Fairfield old station c1900
Appears to show inside keys on up, outside on down. Transition period?

Woodhead Part 2, Johnson, p 207 - Deepcar Station c1880
Both main lines inside keys. Very deep ballast.
As above, page 214 -Oughty Bridge before 1897
Both main lines inside keys.
As above, page 221 - Wadsley Bridge GC or MSL era
Both main lines inside keys.

Great Central Recalled, Dow, p 47. - unknown location
GC bogie coal wagon. Inside keys, siding.
As above, page 52 - unknown location. Neasden shed?
Loco 169 (4-6-2t). Siding in front of engine inside keys. Turnout and siding on which engine standing OS keys.
As above, page 86 - Ruislip and Ickenham GW&GC joint. Early post grouping.
Inside keyed tracked in foreground. Whose? GC or GW?

This is more a starting point than a comprehensive list, there are a number of other published photos showing inside-keyed track on the GCR, especially in sidings. I have in my possession a print of Ashton in Makerfield showing a train with coaches in pre 1908 livery which probably can be dated to 1900-1910. Both main lines are inside keyed. This line was laid in 1895, although nominally independent but in effect a MSL/GC subsidiary.

On the other hand the London extension was laid with outside keyed track and the GCR had a lot of outside key track, even in sidings, by around 1905. My conclusion is that the MS&L abandoned inside keys round about 1895, and possibly earlier on main lines. However inside keyed tracked survived for many years, especially in sidings, and was re-utilised so it could be found south of Annesley Junction.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

New Link for Meteor Models

I have added a link to Meteor Models. This is the new home for the 9N/(LNER A5) 4-6-2t kit that used to be made by MSC.

Bibliography for Great Central Locomotives

A useful bibliography can be found here.

Monday, 23 February 2009

LDEC/GCR 5 plank wagon kits.

I understand from Marc at the Furness Railway Wagon Company that a new batch of the LDEC/GCR/E&WYUR 5 plank opens is now available. So if you want one, order it before they all get sold. This is the 16ft version, GCR diagram 131, which the LDEC numbered 601-680 and the GCR 31903-31982.

I suppose it would also be fun to finish it as an East and West Yorkshire Union Railway wagon, as kits for this little railway with its grandiose name are unprecedented! However given that I am now modelling the circa 1914 era instead of post WW1 I am actually trying to reduce the proportion of foreign wagons. A pity in some ways, as all those different initials are such fun, but it's the Great Central that interests me most.

Marc tells me that the 15 ft version will also be released at the Kettering Show! Now there are actually two diagrams that fit this, diag 130 and 136, and apart from being different batches from different makers, they look virtually identical as diagrams. There may be subtle differences in the general arrangement drawings that should be available from the NRM, LDEC drawing references 32DR for the diag 136 and 38DR for diag 130. I'm not aware of any photos of these wagons - and very few of LDEC wagons in general.

Numbers? diag 130 LDEC 681-780, GC 31983-32082 (Charles Roberts.)
LDEC 781-880, GC 32083-32182 (Midland Wagon.)
Diag 136 LDEC 881-900, GC 32183-32202 (Brown, Marshalls) Goods Traffic.
LDEC 901-930, GC 32203-32232 (Brown, Marshalls) Coal Traffic

Furness Railway Wagon Co are at 10 Duke Street, Dalton-in Furness, Cumbria LA15 8HH

Transfers for LDEC and GC are available from Dragon Models.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Diag 15 Vans

As I had an occasion to take this photograph for another purpose (posting to RMWeb if you're interested) I thought I'd put it on here to enliven what is pretty much a Blog of words alone. They are two diag. 15 GC vans built by me (yes, I do occasionally make things myself!) some time back from D&S kits. The solebar plates are by Guilplates and the small lettering by my missus. The van on the left was damaged in a high speed crash and I've yet to get around to replacing one of the door runners.

These are surprisingly easy kits to build, although there is a lot of detail to add, for which I personally prefer to use a resistance soldering iron. (Yes, I know that a lot of people don't like them, but they work for me!)

They are stood on what passes for a layout, more accurately a development site that waits for me to decide how to progress it.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Service Suspended

I am suspending this Blog for the time being due to lack of interest. May return to the subject when the weather is sunnier and/or I am less busy with other things.