Sunday, 9 August 2020

July and August 2020 FCAG meetings

Two months for the price of one in this update!

Our July video meeting had the theme of wagons: Alisdair Campbell gave us a rundown on his collection, from BR prototypes to his Highland Railway fleet, from plastic kits, commercial etches, and his own etch designs, and some pure scratchbuilds. Some discussion of couplings ensued. I was not able to take any screenshots, but if Alisdair sends me his pictures I will add them here.

I had to leave the meeting at that point, but I am told there was some further discussion regarding the proposed group layout. Forfar shed is emerging as a theme. The prototype shed is still standing, in use as the headquarters of a firm of steel-framed agricultural building suppliers.

The shed building is a typical Caley design of the late 1890s but, at four roads by seven bays plus a separate fitters' shop, it is bigger than we want for our layout, which is intended as a display unit for use at exhibitions (remember them?) to convince the punters of the merits of 2FS over "N". As such, it needs to be legless (to sit on top of the exhibition table usually supplied for the 2mmSA Further North Road Show), lightweight, compact enough to go in the back of a car while still allowing four weedy FCAG members in the front (we think 3 feet long, 18 inches deep, 8 inches high when packed).
However, Arbroath shed, completed the year before Forfar, is very similar and had three roads by six bays. Thanks to the generosity of a friend we have its dimensions from an official drawing, so we can hopefully produce something visually convincing. In any case, it is only an inspiration for our scene, and we only aim to model one end of it. The whole thing is meant as a learning exercise, a short-life project to be disposed without ceremony once it has outlived its usefulness. The plan will be something like this Templot rendition:
The August meeting was again a Zoom affair, and consisted of a show-and-tell session. First up was a new recruit, Richard, who told us about his buildings based on Fenwick Pit in north-east England. They are made the old-fashioned way by drawing the shape onto brick-pattern-embossed styrene sheet and building up layers. The window glazing bars and much of the more delicate detail are from Evergreen microstrip. A full write-up is on RMWeb, but we were able to see the results all brought together, in front of a prototype picture on his computer screen:
Some discussion ensued on the best source of 2mm scale hopper wagon kits, with Fence Houses Model Foundry the most likely contender.

Next to go was Jim, who showed us his progress with the remarkable model he has made of the awnings for the Grampian group's Dunallander station. Again the full story is on RMWeb but it was good to hear the detailed tale directly. 
Jim has also been working on further buildings for his own Kirkallanmuir layout. He showed us one or two pictures with an explanation of how he'd created the roof textures. This is a rear view of a small stable, taken part-way through construction and before weathering. Not the most elegant photo but it was what I happened to grab during the description. I hope Jim will post full details on his RMWeb layout thread in due course.
 Andy talked us through his progress with a Fence Houses Jinty chassis, seen here during its live demonstration in motion.
Simon's subject was layout legs. Walking the rain-swept streets of the south side of Glasgow, he was struck by the number of home-assembly bed frames which turn up waiting for collection by the authorities, presumably as kids grow up and need a bigger bed or leave home. Many of these beds were of the type with wooden slats to support a mattress. It occurred to Simon that these slats were likely to be well seasoned after being indoors in a warm place for several years, unlike the wood typically available fresh from a builder's merchant or DIY warehouse. A few such slats therefore accompanied him home and were allowed to recover from the rain in his garage for a month or two.

Although the slats were preshaped to a gentle curve, he realised they could be used in pairs sliding past each other to create adjustable legs by using a wood router to cut accurate slots, and pairs of M8 bolts top and bottom to lock them at the desired height. The curved shape means there is plenty tension to ensure the legs don't slip once the bolts are tightened.
Once in place under the layout, a triangular plywood flap is opened out for lateral stability. The flap is hinged so the legs can pack down flat.
The design uses T-nuts attached to the woodwork as far as possible so that there are no wing nuts to lose. Everything is held together with M8 bolts.
Tony was next. Everyone's jaws dropped when he revealed how he'd spent a wet staycation in a caravan in glorious Scotland ... batch-building 2mmSA Black 5 kit tenders.

Not one tender. Or two or three or four or five ....

NINE tender bodies! All subtly different. Apparently the worst part is the fire-iron tunnel. Next he will tackle the functional powered chassis which runs behind the cosmetic frames.

As if this was not enough, he has also been working on Farish Jinty and 4F conversion chassis. No photos of these though.

Alisdair has been working to complete the model sewage works he promised for Tony's Hest Bank layout.
The Silhouette cutter has been used to good effect to create the roof slates on the store. The capping strips are from Plasticard.
The primary settlement tanks are of conic section. Alisdair cut them using the Silhouette from a mathematically-calculated projection which, to his slight surprise and greater satisfaction, came out right first time.
The concrete-paved roadway are achieved by painting concrete colour onto black card, then scoring through the surface to create the impression of large panels.
Railings are from copper bell wire made up using an aluminium jig. His ladder-soldering technique was covered in a previous blog entry.
We were also shown stock which has benefitted from the recently-introduced nine-spoke, 7mm wheels in the 2mmSA range. The difference is most noticeable when the vehicles in motion.
The rest of the session was spent on a quick discussion of the planned group layout. Nigel had circulated a sketch of a possible design for the basic support structure - a plywood-faced foamboard, or hollow-cell board "suitcase" with welded 1/16" aluminium framing. It turned out not everyone had received the mail in time however, and Nigel himself was busy out cycling in the sunshine (second sunny day in Scotland this year!), so we deferred full consideration for another time. The folding-hoop supports for lighting, a fascia, and a cloth sky sheet are a nice touch. The idea is that it will fit transversely into the boot of a small car and offer full protection to the model. The base will be solid with wiring feeds to the track brought out to the rear for linking. Point control may well be mechanical for simplicity, since everything is on a single board, but if necessary Arduino-driven servos may be used. Design of the turntable mechanism, whether mechanical or power-driven, is still under consideration.
It remains to be seen whether a physical meeting will be attempted in September, but the balance of opinion was that it is still too early. Time will tell.