Saturday, 13 June 2020

June 2020 FCAG meeting

Our virtual meeting this month saw Nigel, Alisdair, Jim, Chris G, Tony, Mick S, Graham, Simon and Stephen zoom in for a session with the theme "Buildings".

First up was Chris, who took us through the technique he has developed for Bosaleck, written up in more detail on RMWeb, and indeed reported on from our March meeting. But you can never have too many photos so here's a sequence of what he showed us:

Starting with a "kit of parts" on 1mm card. The laser can cut holes with separation down to 0.3mm.

Spray with ultramarine/umber mix below and white acrylic above, and dust with Attwood Aggregates Scenic Dust:

Doors added, masked and sprayed green
 Glue in the glazing:
 The window sashes sit in the reveals:

 Magnetic clamps from Smart Models: a great time-saver:

 The laseer cuter makes it feasible to design buildings with full rafter and truss detail which locate accurately into slots in the walls, without spending months or going mad with boredom cutting it out with a craft knife:

Roof tiles printed on brown 80gsm Kraft selfadhesive paper

 Two coats of Bog Oak acrylic paint:
(Very) dry-brushed with a minimal amount of white. The slight raised texture of the brown Kraft paper helps here.
Gutters also cut by laser in 0.5mm grey board: the tangs attach to the underside of the roof board. No attempt made to round off the gutter, but after painiting the correct colour, a black marker pen is drawn along the top to give an impression of depth:

Sills are similarly cut from 0.5mm material
 Bridges are made from laser-cut card with computer-printed downloadable brick paper:

Next on stage was Jim, who summarised his building technique used on Kirkallanmuir. CAD elevations are designed then a cutting file is sent off for laser cutting from 1mm MDF.
 The cutting is precise enough that the delivered parts fit perfectly in a "dry run":

Smart Models downloadable building papers are purchased then manipulated to change the colour balance in Microsoft Office Picture Manager. Signwriting details are edited in as required:

Windows from Jim's own etches: they are painted before glazing material is slipped into the slots between the layers:
 Gutters and downpipes are added from styrene and wire. A dental burr is used to scrawk a half-round groove into the guttering.
Alisdair showed us his recent experiments in producing roof tiles with the help of a Silhouette cutter. He used 80gsm white self adhesive labels. Plain water colour (on the right) was not very effective. Much better was enamel (on the left, one patch thick, one thin) with thin watercolour on top.
Alisdair's building material of choice is styrene sheet. A recent model of a Highland Railway store was made from Evergreen siding.
His technique for guttering is to use an all-round horizontal frame of styrene, with the gutter simply scribed into the surface. The frame is then cut down to the edge of the gutter and the inner part is cut out before being fixed to the top of the walls.
Alisdair took us through his multi-layer technique to build up windows. The various views in the sketch should help: the numbers identify the same part in each view.

An example of the finished result:
An earlier technique he used to represent window sashes was simply to glue microstrip behind the window apertures:

Mick's building technique starts with hand-cut card parts and brickpaper covering (Builderplus or Howard Scenics), as instanced by these shots of a pigsty for his Callaton layout. The paper is left with overlaps: when joining two pieces at a corner, one is trimmed off first, the part is joined, the overlap form the second one brought round the corner and carefully trimmed, with the white edge removed using a touch of watercolour. A razor blade and a scalpel are indispensable.

A corrugated-iron roof is added from wine-bottle metal foil imprinted with corrugations using two coffee-jar lids:

The sleeper fence is made by cutting individual sleepers from card and gluing them to horizontals of 1/32" or 1/64" plywood.

Finally the bottom of the fence is trimmed flush using a razor blade and a hammer while holding the camera in your teeth. What could possibly go wrong?
Once the blood is cleaned off the fence, it can be planted in the ground and looks very effective. The standpipe added near the corner has flooded the ground - the water is represented using the Gordon Gravett technique of microscope slide cover glass.

That ended the "Buildings" theme, but it was interesting to see how four modellers use very different techniques to achieve such high quality results.

Simon showed us the baseboard legs he has made for Glenfinnan, using IKEA bed slats as raw material. These are nicely seasoned and can quite often be acquired for nothing from discarded furniture. A base plank of 3"x1" is rebated to take the IKEA bed slats. Two slats are used for each leg, with a slot routed in one to take a sliding peg and tightening bolt on the other, so height adjustment is possible. A triangular flap, hinged so it can fold flat for storage, provides stability

We spent some time discussing (yet again!) the possibilities for a new group layout once lockdown has eased. A shed scene may offer possibilities. Our homework is to come up with some concrete ideas.

The next meeting, still likely to be virtual since Scotland will still be in phase 2 of the lockdown relaxation, will be on 11 July.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

May 2020 FCAG meeting

The FCAG met by Zoom this month, with a record attendance: Stephen, James, Chris M, Chris G, James, Jim, Simon, Alasdair, Alastair, Nigel, Andy, Graham, Mick from the NEAG and Tony from the Grampian area group. We had a busy  two-hour session of "On My Workbench".

First up was Chris M., who has been pushing on with his Fowler 4F chassis build after the advice on gearboxes from Nigel and Jim at the last meeting. Everything now runs fairly smoothly and he can now turn his attention to finishing the model.


Jim showed us his build of the late John Boyle's etched kit for a Caley 45' coach. Starting with the bogies, he took us through construction of the underframe (with 14BA studs soldered in as bogie pivots) and the gradual build up of sides, ends, the roof (which he remade in hard 4 thou brass shim), buffers and other fittings, and finally ready for the paintshop. The pictures tell their own story. Full details are on Jim's RMWeb write-up.


Chris G. then gave us an update on his nascent - but rapidly-developing - Bosalek project, which can also be followed on RMWeb. Pointwork built, baseboards laser-cut and assembled, landforms starting, buildings being positioned, and everything to a very high standard.

Next up was Mick, who has several chassis projects on the go. One of them was to revive a J26 which was prone to short-circuits. Mick's solution is a new tender drive, built around a layshaft driving all three tender axles via worm wheels.

Meshing was tricky and was achieved by finely adjusting the shaft end bearings. A Nigel Lawton 8mm diameter motor is held in place using a brass ring turned to a smooth push fit on Mick's lathe which in turn is soldered to a brass plate which sits above the frames, with double-sided PCB used to ensure no shorts.

The tender body is from an etch for a B16 and has added brass bar weights. It runs smoothly and slowly without Simpson springing, so Mick does not propose to add any - in any case the loco has them already, and will be wired through to the tender, so a nice-running loco should result.

Alastair updated us on progress with his South Queensferry layout, based around 1890 as construction was finishing on the Forth Bridge less than a mile away. Two Ikea shelves form the baseboards and a Templot plan is pasted down ready for tracklaying. Unfortunately I failed to screengrab his photo correctly so you will have to imagine it .... but we did also get to see his sheet metal bench (his other hobby is 5-inch gauge live steam) and the guillotine he intends to use to manufacture sleepers.

Nigel talked us through his recent build of a French electric loco which has curves in multiple planes. His forming method is nothing more than a good smooth-jawed vice to pin the etch gently against a suitably-sized rod, then persuading the sheet metal to the correct shape with a smooth piece of wood. Others, it seems, prefer to roll on their thighs.

 The chassis is a short-wheelbase Tomix tram chassis; Nigel made a slot in the boxy area below the underframe to carry a DCC chip..

Since the shot below, some further livery detail has been added, giving a touch of red and yellow. It's an impressive beast.

James had an interesting little straight-DC controller which he'd built from a PP3 battery, a pulse-width modulation circuit board, and a voltage and current display. Very neat. A 2mmSA magazine article is reputed to be on the way.

Tony showed us his Black 5 build, from the Association kit. The boiler has been drilled for fittings, the cab is partly built and awaiting overlays, the tender is coming together, and the chassis was painted this morning. It should be wheeled by next weekend. There were a few tales of one step forward, two steps back, but overall he is happy with progress.

He also showed us the latest changes to Dunallander after the experience of exhibiting at Aberdeen last autumn. In order to ease the radius of the curve at the end of the layout, while still fitting in the limits of the Roy's shed, the goods yard has been narrowed by six inches and a couple of sidings removed. The reminder have been straightened and are now more accurate for Dunblane, on which it is based. Here are "before" and "after" shots:

The layout has also been altered from a continuous-run with a traverser to an end-to-end with individual fiddle yards - the operating team feels this will work better at shows.

Alisdair showed us the further progress he's made with the track maintenance train of the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway, where he is (or was, before the lockdown) allowed to work off his excess energy as a platelayer once a week. The basis for the coach is a Masterclass Mark 1 BSK, with B4 bogies from an old Association etch. The Weltrol is scratch-built I think. The detail of the load includes chairs and baseplates. There is rivet detail on the fastening ring plates.

Finally James showed off the button gauge he'd turned up in the lathe ... for P4!

The 2mm one is on the right ...
Apparently he found these so useful when building 2mm track he wanted the same thing for the larger scale. A nice example of cross-fertilization to close the meeting. We all seemed to survive without tea, sandwiches and cake, so we'll aim to run another virtual session next month.