Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Is it a bird? is it a plane? NO It's TABARD MAN!

It's slowly getting to the point where my railway modelling hobby is starting to get expensive!

No, not for the cost of the materials and tools but my clothing is wearing out fast, not a week goes by without some sort of clothing damage.
Solder, Paint, Thinners, MEK, Fluxes and  glues of one sort or another have all left their mark in one way or another over the years.
It was getting to the point where I was struggling to get shirts laundered and ready to wear again before the next one got gummed up with one of the above materials or fluids!

What I needed was some sort of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to try and avoid the major splashes and accidents taking their toll on my shirts, trousers and the wife's comments!


I had looked at white lab coats, warehouse coats and a few other items of apparel before choosing the Tabard. Although designed with women in mind, this garment is just ideal for us modellers.
It offers protection while at the same time leaving the arms free, that was the drawback with the conventional Lab coat overall. Not only that, the front pocket is a great place to put odds and ends when working on the layout, Screws, wire, small tools and your ciggies and lighter too!
Once my new layout "Steam on the Cambrian" is finished and on the exhibition circuit I shall probably wear it   whilst operating! The front pocket being the ideal place for holding shunting poles, and somewhere to drop the hand held controller in to when both hands are needed to couple up or similar tasks.

I wonder if this idea will catch on?


Saturday, 17 November 2012

A "Tail of Two Dogs" Part 5

 After the recent set back with the "Dukedog" chassis I decided to leave that one alone for a while until I can get some more replacement parts.
So, as I am a glutton for punishment I made an attempt at a clients "Bulldog" Chassis.
Now, my client had very thoughtfully provided a set of Romford drivers and extended axles, some Romford fly cranks and a few other better than the kit bits.
Despite using all brand new stuff, getting the chassis to run smoothly, quietly and reliably has taken me the best part of a week! Getting the quartering right with outside fly cranks is a nightmare anyway.
Well at last I have a running chassis!

I had left the chassis running for 24hrs in forward gear and the same in reverse so I would suggest it is now well and truly "Run in"!

Back to the bodies.
As I said earlier, the Dukedog came from Ebay already assembled but due to livery changes and alterations to a specific loco ended up being almost stripped back to kit form! It is now back together with top feed added and a few bits that are wrong removed!

My clients "Bulldog" loco body has been started too!
This very Saturday afternoon whilst most men are at some football stadium, freezing to death watching 22 blokes kick a bag of wind around a field OR being dragged round the local town centre by their SWMBO I was sat in my warm Kitchen/work area drinking coffee and soldering bits of white metal together. Much more satisfying I think!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A "Tail" of two dogs Part 4

It's a case of one step forwards and two steps backwards this week!

I've started building the chassis for both locomotives.
While I was waiting for the motor and gears for my clients  Bulldog to arrive I pressed on with the chassis for the Dukedog.
Both locos chassis are identical so I had to make sure I didn't get all the bits mixed up!

Anyway, after assembling the frames for the Dukedog on a piece of plate glass to ensure all is square and flat.

The frames come pre drilled for the axle bearings and frame spacers but, I had to drill my own holes for the brake hangers.
In all fairness though brake hangers and brake shoes are not part of the kit. I just wanted to add the extra detail to mine,

Here's the Dukedog's chassis under test.

Attached Image 

All seems to be working great in this picture doesn't it?

Now using Sods law two minutes after this picture was taken , CLUNK! and the whole thing stopped dead with the ammeter full scale!
There was obviously something major wrong here (understatement!) 
It transpires that the quartering of the outside cranks had shifted. 
So strip down and fix that another 2 hours work!
Got it all back together and although it runs there is so much end float in the motor shaft/ armature that the chassis would not run smoothly at all.
Nothing for it but to strip it all down and order another motor  from Scale link.
Not only that though, I will also need a gearbox and gear set. 
Ah well can't win 'em all.


Thursday, 8 November 2012

A "Tail" of two Dogs part 3

Latest up date on the "Two Dogs" project.

Whilst I am waiting for motors and gearboxes to arrive from Scalelink I decided to do a bit of work on my own "dog"

The Dukedog arrived from the seller on Ebay nearly all built but painted in GWR green. As I wanted mine in BR black some real cleaning up was needed.

I tried paint stripper but found out that the loco had been stuck together with 2 part epoxy and NOT soldered!
So, Major strip down and reassembly using 70deg lo melt solder. I took the opportunity to put the chimney on straight too!
I changed the safety valve bonnet for one that looks like a GWR safety valve bonnet and not an upside down whiskey glass! I have also found and modified to fit a cast white metal top feed. These were only fitted to a couple of Dukedogs, the one I want to model (9021) being one of them!
Another "must do" was to fit sprung buffers, This entailed replacing the buffer beam for an etched brass one and soldering to the front of the running plate and outside frames.
Anyway here's the loco as it stands today 7/11/12

Note that I am not using the tender that came with the kit either. The tender as supplied by K's is a reasonable representation of a GWR 3000 gallon tender but, as far as I know all the Dukedogs on the Cambrian were paired with 3500 gallon tenders.
As luck would have it I had a spare Bachmann 3500 gallon tender in my spares box, so, that was attacked with a knife and Dremell to produce what you see above.
The tender is now ready for it's first coat of primer but the loco still needs more work before it hits the paint shop.

More on the "Two Dogs" soon!


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Tanked up around Stourbridge! Make it a double!

Just got back from a spot of gricing at Stourbridge Junction.

Not that I went to cop some smelly DMU's. No, today was in search of STEAM!
The Vintage Trains tour "The Panier Rambler" was running today, Starting from Tyseley going out to Stratford on Avon, returning then to Birmingham to complete stage one of the tour.
The second leg of the trip was from Birmingham to Worcester via Stourbridge and Kidderminster.

Stourbridge Junction is my local station so a quick trip down the road to watch it pass through.

Here it is, 9600 leading 7762 (in London Transport livery)

Not really the best picture in the world,but considering the light was not great and they were doing over 40MPH using shutter priority meant that the Depth of field would be absolutely P!$$ poor!

(Click to enlarge Image)

The final leg of this trip will be the best part though. Shame that it will be too dark for pictures with my equipment.
The run up the Lickey Incline unassisted should be spectacular. there will be some real fireworks from the chimneys  as the little panniers work flat out up the bank.
I won't be there to see it but I know a man who will and I'll be getting a rep[ort from him in due course.

Now, slight change of subject.
Some of my regular readers may recall my blog entry The Pedant and odours, well I could add on the latest moan from me and that is the "Rucksack Traveller"
The station was quite busy to day, almost as busy as it was back in steam days when I did my "train spotting" on this station and all stops to Dudley!
Anyway, I digress (Again!)
Today seemed to be the "day of the rucksack traveller or Rucksack Gricer! they were out in force at the "up" end of the Down platform this afternoon! Just when You find a vacant couple of square feet in which to stand to take your shot some idiot with a rucksack almost knocks you flying with his payload!
A quick visit to the gents for "Leak of the week" was fraught with danger!
Walking into the tool room I was confronted by the back end of a large rucksack, almost twice the size of the idiot wearing it! I had to do a three point turn (Not easy with my five bellies!) to get to the next urinal, even then the width of his rucksack impeded on my space so ended up using trap 2 for my relief!

I must write to London Midland suggesting rucksacks be banned from all of their operated stations!