Monday, September 23, 2013

Take that, you cad! You bounder!


Further to my last post, I promised to write some more about the J Class.

The J Class and I have been eyeing each other off from opposite corners of the room for a while now. Just when I think I'm getting somewhere, it flicks me the bird and tells me to "...jam it where it fits, pal..." (Well, that's what it felt like to me, anyway.)

So after many long months of fruitless effort, I finally went back to the start. I spoke with some local modellers, read many posts on, and revised some of Iain Rice's books. To cut a long story short, I took my time, became meticulous, and methodical - no advancing to the next stage until I was absolutely sure that the previous one had worked. I'm embarrassed to say that it sounds pretty obvious, doesn't it...?

I'm happy to say that I have finally cracked it. What a relief. While I will not go into every detail, I will tell you about the application of Markits crank pins and nuts. In particular, I installed the nuts into the connecting rods (from behind) and filed back the protruding section (also from behind). Thus creating a brass sleeve (see below). Now all connecting rods are snug on the crank pins, and the wheels rotate freely when lightly pushed along the track, and when driven by the rear axle.

In hindsight, I should have been taking far more care from the very start; treating the chassis, wheels, and motion gear like a clockmaker would a fine time piece. Also, I have to say that I have learnt far more from what hasn't worked than what has. Not to mention the palpable sense of satisfaction.

We're moving next weekend from Vancouver, Canada down to Bellingham, USA. Within a few days, the modelling room will be up and running in the new basement. So the next photos of the J Class should have it looking a lot more like the finished product.

At long, long last.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Moving Forward


Due to a young family, a busy job, and vacation, I've been very lax about posting in recent times. Nonetheless, things have been happening!

The local Proto87 'Possie' gang moves around to each other's places to help out with layouts and consumption of beer. Although I have to say that my layout, Sutton Grange, has been getting a lot of attention. Rene' Gourly and Andrew Hutchinson have been rolling up their sleeves and getting down to some track laying. Thanks guys! With the help of some rapid-printed switch components (compliments of Rene's drafting skills), we again did battle this week. And by the end of the session, things suddenly started to look like a layout.

Apart from the track laying, the J Class steam loco and I have finally come to an understanding, with the chassis running very nicely. It's been a hard slog to get to this point, but it's very gratifying to look back and see the base camp from where I started. Thomas Edison is now known as the inventor of the incandescent light bulb. However, he suffered a lot of setbacks on the way. Before finally identifying the light bulb that worked, he commented that “...I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” So to misquote Mr Edison, I’ve found a few ways not to make a reliable Proto87 steam loco chassis!

I'll put up another post about the J Class shortly.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rapid Prototyping

While trying to work out an effective way to represent the detail around some track work, fellow Proto87 modeler, Rene' Gourley, suggested rapid prototyping (i.e., 3D printing).

So I provided some VR drawings and Rene' reproduced the heal section of the points in 3D electronic space, shrunk, meshed and had some trial copies printed by Shapeways.

The initial design featured a 'floor' that continues below the sleepers. However, Rene' printed a second version that looks a little closer to RTR track (i.e. with the webbing).

The local Vancouver Proto87 group met at my place last week and we decide to see how it worked and looked. As you can see, the Code 55 rail is laid directly over it. (Note that the final version will use dropper to operate the points - not the copper clad method).

Rene has been undertaking the same for his layout. As can seen, he has had a trial printed for the 'v' section (16mm gauge), which includes the check rails, with the rail slotting in against it. It will be noted that a different material has been used, which results in crisper detail.

Monday, March 25, 2013

VR Track Work - Update


A bit of an update.

Further to a few requests regarding the overall plan, I've added the image below, which shows a plan of Sutton Grange. (Note that this is a heavily 're-worked' version of the official VR Windermere yard and station plan dated 1916).


Monday, March 4, 2013

VR Track Work

Hi All,

In between hammering away on the J Class kits, I regulalry meet up with some other 'proto' modellers that reside in and around Vancouver. We've had quite a few sessions at my place, with Andrew being the most regular attendee (cheers, mate).

We've made some steady progress on my layout, Sutton Grange, which is now in it's third version (previous baseboards construction has just not been up to scratch).

I ordered some sleeper from Kappler Scale Lumber, located just over the boarder in Washington State, USA. Kapler offer a 'bespoke' service, which I took them up on and ordered several thousand standard and longer switch ties/sleepers, all to correct VR scale dimensions. Erik, at Kappler did a great job!

As far as I'm concerned, track work is also a model. So when it comes to matters of weathering and ballasting of track, I can spend hours reviewing prototype photos and modelling approaches to faithfully portray real track - actually, real VR track. Anal? Absolutely.

However, I recently came a cross a blog site by USA-based Proto48 modeller, Jim Lincoln. Jim's blog, The Delaware Lackawanna in Proto48, is well worth a look. Indeed, it was this post and this one that caught my eye.

Following some of Jim's tips and ideas, sleepers/ties were laid, distressed with a Dremal stainless steel brush, and weathered using cheap thinned acrylic paints to achieve a brown, blood-red colour so often observed on VR track from the 1960's and 1970's. Colours include burnt umber, burnt sienna, raw umber etc, while white chinagraph pencils were used to give a hint of grey weathering here and there (followed by more thinned paints to tone it down). After adding some ME code 55 track, it's starting to look the part. (Note that the track hardware is yet to be installed.)

Next, how to portray 'typical' VR branch line ballast...





Monday, February 11, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel


I've been really getting stuck in to the P87 18.37mm gauge J Class project since Christmas. As you can see, it's getting there. (For the record; the tender is in undercoat, as it was completed some time ago.)

My apologies for the dirty state of the engine - it still needs a wash. The engine still needs to be tested on some track under its own 'steam' - particularly through some points. Then the final parts need to be added to complete the model.

I'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.