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Back in gauge 1 for a while


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I know I keep going on about the complete lack of model railway shows in the U.K due to the Covid 19 pandemic but it is really starting to bite now. I should have been out last weekend and this coming on with Hakuho and i've got no excuse not to do the chores around the house (Spent all day Sunday replacing fence panels and spraying them with stain, Yawn!)


Anyway, as you've seen in the 'what you up to thread' I've ben reporting on my attempts to complete some long term Gauge 1 pieces. Two very rare Peter Prydderch etches for LMS Coke hoppers and the LNER 21t loco coal wagon given to me  by Martin King




painted and lettered with extensive weathering to follow


In the old days before I went over to the dark side and started to do gauge 3 my next project was to be a highly innovative new gauge 1 layout based on the coal loading tippler at the Denaby and Cadeby colliery in South Yorkshire. This was to be 1F i.e gauge 1 finescale and was to feature a working wagon tippler




Photo courtesy of the Adrian Boothe collection


The picture is self evident . the companies distinctive private owner wagons are lifted and discharged through the end door into a chute and into waiting barges on the canal..


The 1/32 model was fully operational. using a geared Buehler motor to drive a winding drum and micro switches as limit switches




The wagon was propelled onto the tippler with the end door locked. a hinged  retaining hook was put over the drawhook and the lift sequence started



End door latch opened and the real coal discharged




The cardboard box underneath was an afterthought after the first load went all over the workshop floor!

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Why I'm describing this is because I'll run a bit of a thread on gauge 1 rolling stock and some of the techniques I've used over the years.


More than any other scale the benefit of using wood for wood and metal for metal pays dividends. In that first picture the texture difference between the steel hoppers and the wooden loco coal wagon is very evident


so back in the days of my Mardy Colliery exhibition layout all the wood wagons were made of 3mm Plywood




Scribing mistakes looked like split planks and there was a satisfying 'rough' look to the wagon


The end door wagon seen on the tippler in living colour. Body is Ply, Strapping is 20thou plasticard embossed to represent the rivets and the steel undeframe is Plastruct ABS section (not polystyrene). The hinged door uses brass rod and 1/16th split pins. Wheels, brakegear and sprung buffers were from Tenmille products and the axleguards were from the Gauge 1 association  better known as G1MRA




more soon



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Martijn Meerts

That coal tower is great. I really do like the larger scales for the detail you can get into them, especially if you scratch build and/or super detail existing cars.

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The beauty of using wood with polystyrene details is how easy it is to bond them together. This is a Midland railway Coke wagon kit that Tony Riley used to produce many years ago. Construction was ply and strip wood with the strapping and details injection moulded in plastic. Using MEK liquid cement applied with a brush to the side of the moulding and applying pressure the dissolved plastic is forced into the grain of the wood and once set is absolutely solid




painted. Note it has brake gear on one side only and the running  number is only shown on the small plate on the solebar




These kits were enjoyable to construct. You had to wait for the PVA glue to dry on each joint so no rushing


The brass coke hoppers seen above look very nice but if you are planning to construct a lot of wagons for a layout using metal gets a bit expensive these days. Mardy Colliery had a lot of the classic British railways 16 ton mineral wagons and to streamline production I cam up with the idea of using Acrylic sheet for the main body construction. This was sold in a local D.I.Y superstore in sheet form as a sort of secondary double glazing for house windows. Cheap as chips even in gauge 1 you could make a lot of wagons out of one sheet.


One unpainted and one heavily weathered one. One thing I did discover was that when I came to paint them after priming  I had to apply a couple of coats of black before the top coat was applied. If I didn't and the sun was shining behind them they went transparent! In service on Mardy they proved to be as tough as old boots, two surviving a four foot fall off the layout onto the floor




The same technique worked for ply sided vans. The classic 'Blue Sot' fish vans were built the same way




Under construction they showed every fingerprint until they were cleaned prior to painting


After the frsh fish traffic died out on British Rail these vans were converted to SPV parcel vans but they never lost the lingering smell of the previous cargo!




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Edited by kevsmiththai
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that’s a cool trick of using mek to soften the polystryene and then mush the wood bit onto it! Have to give that a whirl.



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On this picture you can see how the black polystyrene has leached into the wood. The strapping on the corners is 'old school' foil (Like old fashioned toothpaste tubes) 


This is an old North British Railway 'Jubilee' Mineral wagon. Note that the one on the left still just has dumb buffers




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So I've been rooting through the loft to see what else is lurking from my gauge 1 heyday  and found two Aristocraft motor gearboxes from way back. A friend had bought these with madcap idea for me to build something for him, Cannot remember what it was but they have been out of sight and mind ever since.


originally they were designed to go under Aristocrafts Rogers 2-4-2 but the moulded in spring and splasher meant that I overlooked them as a source of motive power.




They are very heavy and have an axle end with flats to suit the Aristocraft wheeels.


Taking one apart showed the reason they are so heavy!




Two big weights


So I set too and removed the splasher and spring from each side




Axle will need replacing. It is just under 6mm diameter so I'll have to turn some 1/4" silver steel down and press the worm gear off.


Just need to decide what loco to build to use them. It will have to be a fairly big boiler/firebox one as the motor will sit quite high


More soon





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Also found in the loft were a quantity of Playmobile motor bogies. Our local model shop had a way of getting these on their own rather than buying a full playmobile set. I think we used to pay about £22 for them and they were ideal for putting under Sentinel shunters and Great Eastern tram engine




they are fetching £99 on ebay now!


So I'm tempted to do another couple of Sentinels. These were vertical boilered shunting engines with a gear drive off the vertical steam engine and a chain drive to the wheels


this is the one I made for Mark Packham with the Playmobile chassis fitted with scale wheels. You can see the vertical boiler in the cab




my dad only ever managed to photograph one




more soon

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Amongst the stuff Martin brought me was four pairs of archbar bogies complete with 3 hole disc wheels. Obviously used and quite mucky with what looked very much like steam oil. Now on british railways there are none of these bogies left. The last ones I saw were under Southern 'Walrus' ballast wagons but they were still some around under War department 'Warflat' tank carrying wagons. The first batches were built in the First world war with more being constructed in the Second world war.


I know of at least two that survive, one is in the hands of the 'Deltic presevation society' at Barrow Hill roundhouse and is used to keep Napier deltic engines on




It should be a fairly simple wagon to construct if it wasn't for the ends with the supporting jacks used to stabilise the wagon when tanks are loaded




tapered in two planes, handed and surrounding the buffers


I started with a decent drawing and blew it up to gauge 1




The main structure is made from a sheet of 28 thou brass which has been lurking behind the lathe for years.




Obviously it is going to need a big soldering iron to get it together. I've got a Facom 200W one that takes a long time to warm up because the tip is massive but once it is up to temperature it soon sorts out metal this thick.


One buffer beam and the frame stretchers went on first followd by the two sides and finally the buffer beam at the other end


Back in the house I've packed it up off the bogies to get the ride height worked out before I make the stretcher that takes the bogie screws




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I've decided to do three. This justifies making the patterns  to cut the jack frames out on the pantograph engraver ( it is a long time since  that was fired up!) I've told the kids to collect as many wooden stirring sticks as they can from MaCcrappos to do the planked floors. They worked a treat on the C56 cab roof once stained.


As i said the archbars were very second hand but nothing is unsaveable. I think, but don't quote me, that they are Tenmille ones. Picture shows four quite poorly ones with a restored pair behind. the refurbished ones were soaked in 'Red Magic' degreaser ( we use it on full size locomoives at work). once rinsed they were buffed up with a fibre glass pencil. The wheelsets were another issue, Some of the steel tyres had come loose and the axles were rusty. once degreased the tyres were rebonded with Loctite bearing fit and the whole assembly was spun in the lathe and everything polished up. Bizarrely, as designed, the sideframes are upside down. the straight beam should be at the bottom. Assembled this way the locating lugs invert them




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Those wooden stirrers are quite nice lumber! I scored a box somewhere a long time back. They carve and cut nicely.


takeaway chopsticks as well are uber useful in the shop. Forever we have asked not to throw them in but they aways do and we had a pile then I realized they made great paint and glue stirrers, epoxy mixers and great when you need to carve up a stick for a memory stick or to hold something in place temporarily. I poke em in foam board to hold larger parts while I spray paint them.





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Good point Jeff


Other household products that are really useful are cocktail sticks. if you are soldering a captive nut onto a component like a footplate you push the cocktail stick from the other side and screw the nut on cutting its own thread until reasonably tight up againt the metal. Solder all the way round and after the solder has set unscrew the cocktail stick and the internal thread won't be full of solder and the nut will be aligned to the hole. 


I've been soldering 6BA nuts onto the Warflat to hold the bogies and used wooden kebab skewers, which are larger, for the same job.


I often make the mistake of assuming people know a lot of the old dodges and sometimes suprise them at shows when I explain things or they see me using something when I'm doing a modelling display


Here is tonight's pic of the Warflat with the bottom angles soldered on and the bogie support stretchers in. You will see that I've cleaned up the other archbars and straightened them out. The white metal castings, once I'd got the steam oil off, were buffed up with the white metal users best friend. A Hush Puppy shoe brush!  The brass bristled brushes are perfect for giving the casting a real polish and get into all the nooks and crannies. If you don't have a Hush Puppy Shoe stockist ( assuming they are still made. I haven't worn them since about 1979) locally look for suede brushes




Cut out the top and the blanks for the sides for No. 2 as the last job before I came back in to find the Prime Minister has announced a full four week local lockdown.. I'm officially classed as a a critical worker but can do a lot of stuff from home so expect some more progress on these.



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it has to be said the archbars arn't great castings' The centres are all slightly different heights so each vehicle might need shimming to get the right ride height.


Number 2 is catching number 1 up. The first tie down brackets have been added to one side and I've started cutting out the jack brackets on the pantograph engraver




I will cut out the buffer bases from the same sheet so the buffer bodies can just be turned out of round bar


This one is preserved at the National Railways museum's 'Locomotion' museum at Shildon. Note it does not have the end jacks fitted. The plan will be to paint the wagons before adding the wood floors which will just be stained. These vehicles can be painted black, olive green of BR unfitted grey but I think I'll go with green on them




more soon



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Well we are now in four weeks of lockdown. Non essential shops are not allowed to open although how you can describe model shops as non essential is beyond me? How else are we going to keep sane?

Anyway, Slightly frustrating

1 the folded truck bolsters were not level and not strong enough so number 2 has had them chopped away and replaced with some half inch brass bar bored through and threaded 6BA. These are bolted through the floor at the top side and the archbar screws go in the other end. The ones for no 1 are turned ready to fit.

2 Could not find any of the 8BA taps. I've added the side webs to the jack brackets and the jacks themselves are threaded 8BA so they can screw up and down like the real things bit without the taps I cannot clean the threads up in the captive nuts

3 ran out of 8BA brass nuts! Got plenty of steel ones but want to stick with brass so ordered some tonight

4 Lockdown is going to make aquiring lots of stirrring sticks tricky so I'm going to have to slice them out of a sheet of modelling plywood. Scribing the planks isn't going to work as there is a swirly grain right across the sheet


So tonights pic shows No 2 in the foreground with the jacks fitted. These still need the pads at the bottom adding. Buffers in but no springs added as yet. I've done the buffers in brass as they are going to be painted the same colour as the wagon. The lamp irons and the eyes for holding the safety chains ahave ben added at each end




The nice thing is they are not going to need the huge amount of cleaning up the hoppers did as they don't have loads of excess solder to get off


Beer O'Clock now, so time for a Klute IPA I think


More soon










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The definition of tedium. Cutting the planks for the deck


The tie down rings are all on. End safety chains still need hooks on the end. All the support jacks fitted and working. train pipes added. Buffers are now sprung. the handbrake shafts are now on but I won't put the handwheels on until the models are painted




Once all the planks are cut I'll stain them in different batches to get some variation in tone


The support jacks wound down onto the timber baulk as per the loading practice. On the deck are the start of four chains and shackles to hold the tank down. Both models have been cleaned with white spirit to get all the soldering flux and swarf off so are ready for grit blasting and etching tomorrow. Need to order some screw couplings and find the hose and end fittings for the vacuum brakes




I wasn't going to paint the top but noticed tonight that the brass shows through the gaps in the planks so it will proably be best painted the same green as the sides


More soon



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Nearly, but not quite finished




still needs UIC couplings, handbrake wheels, hooks etc


Loaded with the Mk IV male and female tanks




and here starts the great scale debate. the wagons are built to British gauge 1 scale i.e 10mm to the foot (1/30.5). Most continental gauge 1 is 3/8" to the foot (1/32nd) and  in the old days kit maufacturers like Airfx  and some American companies made armoured vehicles in 1/32 until Tamiya and their followers made 1/35th the universal scale for AFVs


so, 1/35 tanks are underscale for the wagon but I can live with it . I've photoshopped the background out as the workshop looks like a bomb's hit it!


I've been building a collection of WW1 vehicles for years now and in this shot back in the office you can see the Emhar  1/35th tanks on the wagons. In the background on the shelves are two Ford model T conversions based on articles in old Airfix magazines (1/32nd), An Emhar Whippet (1/35th). An Airfix 'Prince Henry' Vauxhall staff car and on the left a GS 3 ton truck converted from a Lodon 'B' type bus both 1/32nd




more soon



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Now the only time I saw these carrying anything was at the Warcop firing ranges many years ago when the were loaded with FV432 APCs. Suprisingly we have a preserved one still running around the vilage. Seen here in the Askam parade a couple of years ago




Introduced in the 1960s they look a lot like an American M113 which I just happen to have a few of. These are 1/35th and comprise of 2 x M113 A1s, a M113-A2, A M113 ACAV, a 113 Fitter recovery vehicle and a M163 Anti aircraft unit. I've been picking these up for a while to do a Royal Thai army unit having seen them out there






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I'm starting to think that if i am going to do a bit more gauge 1 perhaps I ought to decide on a era and World War one is starting to make a bit of sense. In the back of mind was that somewhere buried in the loft were some more 1/32 Airfix kits from way back. I knew there was at leat one 1914 Dennis fire engine. So I went rooting




in the two boxes were no less than three fire engines. One complete but had disintegrated and two unstarted, Three 1904 Mercedes and a Model T Ford. Also there but out of period was a 1930 Blower Bentley and a 1930s Cadillac. Some of the prices on the packets seem unbelievable now. Some of the prices being asked on E-Pain are even weirder. £495 for an unmade Airfix Vauxhall Victor Estate kit?


Back when I was sixteen I was an avid reader of Airfix  magazine and there used to be lots of conversion articles. In this pic taken on a not very good Lubitel twin lens reflex camera back in 1971 are my Rolls Royce armoured car converted from the Airfix Rolls Royce Silver Ghost and an Austin Armoured car with its twin turrets converted from the fire engine. Just peeking into the shot is the B type bus as used on the Western front




Amazingly I have a scan of the original Austin armoured car article so for nostalgia's sake I'm going to do the same conversion again 49 years later, Things I rather ignored back then like rivets will be done properly this time.


In this much reproduced picture (it is in the public domain) is a shot at Spree farm railhead before the battle of Cambrai, the first battle to see the mass use of tanks. The Mk IV tanks have the fascine on top to help cross the trenches and the locos are Great Western railway Dean and Armstrong 0-6-0s requistioned by the War Department and sent to France




I'm not planning on building this many wagons and tanks though!



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Martijn Meerts

It's definitely not a very common era to model, but should be really interesting. Gotta love all the old cars and tanks and everything.

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Thanks Martijn.


Our Brooklyn (eight) had a sleep over on Saturday night. As young as he is his brain is like a sponge soaking everything up at the moment so he was allowed to play, very carefully, with the world war 1 vehicles and a load of figures I have. We watched a documentary about the first world war tanks and later on when his Granma' was watching some reality TV Sh**e I started to show him how these models come about


The Airfix Ford model T tooling dates from 1956 and was one of the earliest, and crudest, kits they produced but can scrub up into a decent conversion. I showed him how the rear body, stowage boxes etc can be fabricated from plasticard. he hasn't seen it get this far as I've done a lot more work over the last couple of days 




three variants of the model T. I'm going to have to explain to the guys on trainboard.com that the Model Ts made in the U.K were right hand drive




I'm encouraging the grandkids to get out, leave their mobiles and tablets behind and explore the fantastic scenery in out part of the country. Brooklyn and I went to explore the Sandscale Haws nature reserve a couple of miles from my house on Sunday morning. I'd never been there before so when we found the WW2 pillbox guarding the Walney channel you can imagine his excitement




So next time he stops over I'm letting him loose on an Airfix 1/32 E type jag kit. using proper Mek cement , trimming the bits properly and most importantly being patient!



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I'm starting to think about doing another gauge 1 garden layout many years after I tore up the old one when we moved to the Lakes District. The gardens are not the ideal shape but it is just about feasible. The stock will be set in the era of the 'Great War' WW1. Not abandoning z scale just have no shows on the horizon at all.


Continuing with the Austin armoured car as a 'stay indoors in the warm' plastic modelling project I've certainly got more of a clue than when I was 16


The donor vehicle kit




when I went onto a well known auction site these still crop up regularly for not much money so I was never going to make a fortune hoarding them!


The modified chassis has some components recovered from the one one that had fell apart and bits from an unstarted one




the middle gearbox that powered the pump has been removed. the chassis lengthed with bits cut from one of the other components and the rear axle moved back to increase the wheelbase.


Bodywork is mainly 20, 30 and 40 thou plasticard and I have already discovered that there was significant differences between the different batches of these cars so I've scoured every picture to make sure I don't stray


This picture of a 17th battalion (tank regiment) Austin with Lieutenant Colonel E F Carter posing beside his chariot shows the rudimentary camoflage of painting the upper hull sky blue




So I needed to do the turrets and the common practice back in the seventies to form cylinders was to wrap 10 thou plasticard around a suitable former, tape it up, plunge it in boiling water to heatform it and let it cool. never got the hang of it and you are still left with a fairly in-substantial structure at the end of it. Looked in the brass tube collection and found some 32mm thickwall but didn't really want to go down the route of mixing metal and plastic but then noticed the 'Plastics' box. Hmmm wonder what I've got in there?


Some 33mm Perspex rod. result!


More tomorrow, including a real bit of lateral thinking on how to make a ball mount and Hotchkiss machine gun




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Looks a bit odd but the turrets are the rod at the original size just parted off in the lathe and bored half way through 4mm for the turet pivot. Top rim  is plastic strip bent around. The turret bases are truned down about 1mm smaller  and bored all the way through 4mm.




Perspex bonds really well with polystyrene using Plastic Weld. The steering wheel drooped whilst the glue was setting and will have to be straightened/


So the ball mounts. I needed a 6mm sphere that could be easily drilled and bonded and found loads in an unexpected place. The turret of my 1/16 scale RC M1 Abrams tank!  The BB pellets it uses as ammunition are just right. They were drilled to take the barrels which are Hyperdemic needles cut to length and again they bond perfectly with Plastic Weld





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I had some Grandt line plastic rivets but they looked too fine. I went instead for some Tony Riley ones I have had for years. They look a bit clunky now but should look a lot better when the model is painted. The mud guards are the fire engine ones cut down. it is starting to look really mean now! This is the right hand side that does not have a door. The Hotchkiss machine guns have had the lower rod added. I wasn't happy with the front and fitted a deeper front plate with the radiator shutte and starting handle




Rear bodywork complete and the armoured plates under the chassis. I've modelled most of the visor plates open and the radiator shutter




The mix of original kit, Perspex and black and white plasticard gives a good idea of the construcion method. I'll put the workshop heater on tomorrow (We had our first snow today) and put a light coat of plastic primer on to check for blemishes. the wheels are just pushed on for now to make painting easier. The door is left ajar. the door latch actualy works




Thinking about what loco to do to go with the train realised I had already built one that was perfect and sold it. it was a North British Railway J36 0-6-0 65222 'Somme' one of  a class of locos actually named after the First World War after key battles and personnel of the conflict. The battle of the Somme being one of the bloodiest and most pointless offensives of the entire campaign. Built in Nickel Silver and steel with cast iron wheels it was built to 1F standards which are much finer wheel standards. it was fully sprung, had an opening smoke box door and working inside valve gear. The standard small snow plough on the front buffer beam.  Maybe I ought to build another?




more soon



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Looking the part now. Just need to decide on the markings




Now one for our Australian members. In 1914 a group of motoring enthusiasts in Victoria supplied a 1904 Mercedes fitted with armour by Vulcan Enginering in South Melbourne to the newly formed Australian Armoured car section. Now I don't have any drawings, just one decent picture of the left hand side after its turret was removed. So there was a bit of conjecture involved in working out how the body was. Dimensions were fairly easy as the Airfix 1904 roadster is fairly accurate. The big hole through the turret ring and the end visors gave me more of  clue. Knowing where the steering column was also helped to work out the dimensions as did the spare wheel




The headlamps are from the originl kit but the brackets were left over from the Dennis fire engine used on the Austin. The cab top and side door are not attached as painting the inside would be impossible if they were there. Rivets are the finer Grandt line ones




Austin and Mercedes








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First world war British Army field kitchen, must be in good working order. needed by 25th December. Hungry soldiers waiting




I'll go into greater detail later but my years of collecting random 1/32 and 1/35th stuff is paying dividends now


Note the wind up gramaphone sat on the end of the 'Warflat'. British army private on punishment duty peeling potatoes and the model T truck having supplies unloaded


merry Christmas everybody



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