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Monday 23 August 2010

ACE Plymouth Coach

Most of my recent railway stock is bought on Ebay, being funded from sales of items that I no longer need. It came to pass that having followed a Bulleid Brake coach for a week on Ebay I placed my bid last night and - lost. I usually bid below the shop price less postage and often win but these Bulleid coaches, especially the Brakes, are extremely popular. The Brake+postage went for just a couple of quid less than the recommended retail price. (I have seen them go for £10 more! (2010)) So, having to go to town today I popped in the model shop and picked one up. I paid the full price but at least I had the item instantly and did not have to worry about when and if I would receive an Ebay win.

There is a detailing kit supplied with the coach containing the solebar steps and an end door to close the gangway for a rear most carriage. I decided to make this the end coach, which is the Plymouth carriage on my Atlantic Coast Express. Worth noting that at busy summer periods the ACE comprised two (or more) separate trains, one with coaches for the 'Withered Arm' and one for the 'West Country' resorts. So, mine is destined for the 'Withered Arm' of Cornwall and west Devon. However, I can change the roof boards to run the other train that followed on behind. 

A bit of customisation to the Bulleid coach is shown in the photos. The rear tail light is a Springside Models product with a jewelled red lens, which I nearly lost because it was not fixed and fell out of its pocket. Roof boards are applied (Fabrication of these is described in a previous posting.) and this Bachmann Brake Second is turned into a Brake Composite with the addition of the '1' to the centre doors. With no yellow bar spanning the roof line of the 1st Class compartments we can say that this version of the train predates 1963. Two more coaches needed to finish my ACE.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Southern Region Head Code Discs in 4mm Scale

Head code discs identfy the route of the train. One disc above the other signifies a Waterloo-Exeter mainline train. Sometimes a 3 digit number that identified a specific train service was stuck on. I create the disc from 0.5mm, glossy white, plastic food packaging. Gloss to represent the enamel paint of the prototype. Hitherto the shape was formed using a single hole paper punch that was a christmas cracker novelty. I was always aware that my model was too big, in fact about 2mm (6 inches) too big (The prototype disc is 15 inches diameter) and the carry handle was never depicted. All that is now put to rights. 

A two hole paper punch that I use in the office produces correct 5mm discs. Two 0.6mm holes about 2mm apart are drilled near the edge. The handle is formed from 0.25mm electrical tinned copper wire. The free ends are fed through the holes, looped over the top of the disc and fed back through the holes to form the hinge. It is held firm without the need for gluing. I use double sided sticky tape to fix the disc so that it can be removed without damage to the engine. You might consider a permanent bond as it is easily knocked off. I have seen photos showing the disc as per my model, with the handle stuck up in the air and a reverse arrangement where the handle lays against the rear of the disc. Some have the handle missing and a grab hole placed between the two handle holes instead.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

4mm Scale Coach Gangways

Once I worked out the concertina design I discovered how easy and quick they were to make. I did not want to remove the dummy, short gangways from the Bachmann model and as it happens they serve to hold my gangway extensions in place without the need for adhesive.

The gangway extension was made in five parts from copier paper painted matt black. A piece of 3mm cork tile was cut to push-fit into the doorway aperture. The gangway extension is stuck to the cork. The assembly can be easily removed to preserve the original model.

The gap may be wider than prototypical but I wanted to retain the standard Bachmann hook and bar coupling for easy detachment.

Two gangways are needed, one for each coach. They slide across each other as the coaches move through track curves and crossovers. This picture shows the concertina effect working on a 800mm curve. There is no degradation of coach perfomance because of the sliding and concertina action.

They really do enhance the appearance of the train.

Friday 6 August 2010

Another Go at ACE Coach Roof Boards

The objective is to create ACE coach roof destination boards that are portable, thus enabling the boards to be removed so that the coaches can be re-deployed for other train formations. My previous method looked good but with a small sticky area had the tendency to peel with changes in ambient temperature. I also think the stickiness would wear away with use. 

My latest method uses roof saddles to hold the boards in place without the need for adhesive. The boards are made as previously described except the label covers the entire backing plastic. We need transparent saddles to disguise their presence. Take a 1 litre 'High Juice' drink plastic bottle - mine came from Lydl. The curvature is almost the same as the Backmann 00 Bulleid coach roof. Slice through the bottle to extract a ring. Cut from the ring two strips 34mm long and a few mm wide. Using pliers bend the ends to an angle of about 60 degrees and about 3mm long. These are tabs to which the roof board is glued. This plastic takes bends very well.

Place masking tape across the roof width alongside the boards end brackets. (This is to protect the roof from the glueing process). Place the saddles and hold down with more masking tape. Offer up and hold a roof board against the bent tabs and carefully wipe some liquid plastic glue with a brush into the joins. Repeat for the other side. When set, gently remove the masking tape from the saddles and lift off the assembly. Remove the tape from the coach roof. 

The assembly fits snuggly on the roof with the angle of the board looking correct. The whole assembly is quick to apply and remove indefinitely. The plastic saddles are glossy which tends to reflect light giving their presence away. Might be an idea to paint them the same colour as the roof.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Peter Denny Video

Fans of the famous railway modeller Peter Denny will know that he passed away in December 2009 aged 92. He was a great inspiration for my own modelling activity. I followed his articles in 'Railway Modeller' magazine and bought his 1972 book 'Buckingham Great Central'. 

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