Saturday, 19 November 2016

November 2016 meeting

This month's meeting was in Edinburgh. Alisdair, Jim, Stephen, Alistair and Graham followed the usual formula of discussion, lunch, then a modelling session. We positioned ourselves at the window to make the most of the good light from the winter sunshine.

Jim has been hard at work on his 2016 challenge (a 20cm x 16 cm diorama), which is to be a goods yard scene to try out techniques for buildings on his Kirkallanmuir layout. His eye had been caught by SMART Models' range of downloadable texture sheets at the Glasgow show earlier this year, and several buildings have been put together as trial runs before settling on a design for the final build. The texture sheets look best when printed as Brian Taylor recommends, on matt photo paper, but even on the plain 80gsm copier paper which Jim used for his trial builds they looked very effective, particularly when combined with further computer artwork for signage.

He started with 3mm foamboard faced with card from MRJ mailing envelopes, cut precisely to accept window frames from etches of his own design. 

The etches fold up to provide glazing bars on both sides with a pocket for glazing material, so they can be painted (different colours on each side if necessary) before the glazing is put in place. They look very neat.

Cutting the window apertures in the card neatly is something of a chore and Jim is considering laser-cut card or 1mm plywood as an alternative. We look forward to seeing the completed diorama; the mock-up already looks nice.

Jim also had examples of the various designs of pre-grouping point levers he has already described on RMWeb, and he soldered up a few more during the afternoon. 

Alisdair spent his time building a PW hut out of styrene sheet for the group layout, Sauchenford. By the end of the day he was pleased with his progress.

Apart from over-grilling the bacon rolls for lunch, I gradually progressed the Catfish etched kit which has been on the back burner for some months now. At the end of the session I realised I'd soldered the body a massive 5mm too high in the chassis, much to the amusement of the rest of the group. However Stephen came to the rescue by providing a second pair of hands and a second soldering iron for some rapid surgery to free the body without totally wrecking the chassis.

I was later able to reposition it correctly after some filing to fit. The solebars are going to need a bit of work to straighten them up though! I am now approaching the bit which Stephen Harris describes in the instructions as "fiddly". Ulp ...

I also dragged out for inspection the plywood baseboards and the 50% scale cardboard mockup made a decade ago for a planned depiction of Macduff, a GNSR terminus on the Moray Firth. Maybe I'll finish it (or start it, more like) one day.

Alistair was also working on a model-of-a-model for his planned urban layout, shaping balsa blocks into tenement housing. Stephen meanwhile was soldering up track panels the traditional way, in a 2mmSA jig with little slices of solder to keep the chair blobs a consistent size. The intended purpose of these panels was not revealed. Stephen also had a 7mm Dapol 08 with him. At last, something you can see without an Optivisor!

The afternoon wore on, and by the time we wound up night had fallen. The street is only a few feet from the window and my neighbours became intrigued by the sight of a group of old codgers wearing curious magnifying headgear and bright lights hunched over  ... something ...  on a long table. Were we doing a jigsaw, one neighbour asked my wife.  Well, that's what passes for excitement in douce Morningside. At least they didn't think we were dissecting a corpse.

All in all quite a productive day.