Chronicling the development of my Cambrian and Narrow Gauge 4mm scale model railway

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The postman knocketh

As the railcar has progressed I’ve thought about how to fit out the interior. I want it to be a symbol of the “bold bright future” post WW2 for low season so it is being designed with a third class compartment and a first class compartment.

A few years ago when I lived in Australia, as part of a piece of work to look at how to improve services on the Traveltrain network in Queensland, I was asked to assess whether the Great Southern Pacific Express set could be used. This set of 21 carriages had been authorised by a rather eccentric Queensland politician who thought Australia should have something to rival the Orient Express. Unfortunately a) he used a lot of taxpayers’ money building it, b) the railways built the carriage bodies and interiors but then mounted them on old brake van bogies that were never intended for the weight or comfort requirements of passenger stock leading to the train having to be stopped over lunch to avoid soup in lap incidents, and c) it was a complete failure because it cost an arm and a leg.

Unfortunately the carriages couldn’t be reused but I’ll never forget the totally ridiculous opulence of the vehicles with inlaid walnut decoration, bar car with verandah complete with baby grand piano and quarter circle marble bar, and the complete “Titanic” feel of abandoned glory.

Here are some photos from the visit – apologies for the quality – phone cameras in 2010 were not what they are today.

I thought my railcar should have shades of that so I want to see if I can fit the marble bar in the first class compartment and I needed suitable seats for the “bright future”. I therefore contacted my good friend Rob of Bron Hebog and asked,

“Any chance at some point you could cast me 3x a mould worth as per you post “Rationing” and 8x bucket seats and tables as per post “comfy seats”?”

The response I got was along the lines of “can I have that in English?” but after a quick clarification, the deal was struck.

Basically the idea is to fit seats like a third class super barn into the third class compartment and fit first class bucket seats and tables into the first class area.

This morning the postman delivered me a box of Bryant and May matches. Normally I prefer my Bryant and May in a book but in this case the box had excellent innards in the shape of the cast seats. So now there is no excuse to get this thing finished off (not to mention the deadline looming).


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Going green and other stories

Hello viewers. It’s been a while. Much has happened while I’ve not been posting. Superpower with Bron Hebog was excellent and was a chance for much catching up, meeting new people, and test running models from other sources (Penlowry, Mountaineer Models, and Narrow Planet).

It was also a chance for me to run the disco car again, this time with my 59 van which has had its chassis sorted out though we did encounter coupling height issues (I use RT models coupling height gauge while BH’s standard is a tad different.)

There was interesting things to look at outside too, and also a chance to see behind be the scenes how Bron Hebog films drone footage…

I also managed to collect some ex-Dduallt stock which I happened to be at the right place at the right time to agree to acquire. Having any Boston Largs Works stock is worth having in my book.

Back in Penlowry world the railcar is inching on. Still not convinced whether my interpretation of using the Ashover coach will be considered in the spirit as I’m not using it particularly conventionally even though I am using most of it, but it’s keeping me entertained with some serious amounts of chopping up and sticking back together again. I’ll do a more detailed post on it soon but here it is currently.

Finally, the Bachman / K’s Bulldog is finally starting to look Great Western. I’m using Rover Brooklands Green paint which is a close match for Mid Chrome Green. The tender has been a bit of a mare but then things don’t always go to plan do they. The gloss finish is all to the good for adding transfers then it’ll have a satin varnish coat to dull it all down again.

Hopefully outshopping may happen by the end of the month.

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Final fettles

No photos I’m afraid but 59 van has a straight chassis, the Alco has a rear coupling that should work, the disco carr is primed to boogie, and the tunes are loaded on the phone.

I’m now on the train on the way to Wales to spend the weekend operating Bron Hebog. See you there.

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Ghost ship

With the farting about, sorry, derailing, all done it was off to the paint shops. I had fitted the safety valve / top feed and also some half round plasticard for the feed pipe covers. I also fitted a set of smokebox door handles as the ones cast in white metal were awful.

As per usual the first layer of primer showed up all the things to tidy up.

I’ve masked a lot of it because my hope is that the original chassis colour can stay. Time will tell if this policy works.

The primer is white because it’s the primer for some Rover Brooklands Green which is a pretty close match for GWR green and is somewhat cheaper.

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Brave pill

In my previous post I left you about to grind out the inside of the Bulldog boiler to accommodate the Dukedog motor which is larger than the original K’s one.

You really do need to take a brave pill to do this because you need to leave the boiler shell pretty much wafer thin. Also there is a massive framing between the Belpaire box and the barrel which I presume is to ensure the box retains its shape while being cast. Fortunately having a boiler that’s been in one piece for about 30 years means it could take this punishment without too much drama. I’d advise anyone doing this project from a “new” K’s kit to use slow set epoxy and leave it for a good week to go rock hard before attempting the build.

You do create quite a lot of white metal flakes…

I used an end mill in my Proxxon mini bench drill to get rid of the Belpaire framing and then used a variety of dentist drills to grind the material back until the new motor fitted.

That done I’ve a couple of areas to fill where the boiler meets the cab and chassis and the safety balance bonnet to fit then it can go for painting.

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The heavy boiler

As we know the Dukedog was created by putting the lighter Duke boiler into the Bulldog frames. So in this case, reverse engineering is to put the heavy boiler back on again. In reality it is a heavier boiler too as the K’s kit is of course white metal so the boiler is a right lump.

In fact, the boiler was the only bit of the Bulldog I kept. I cut along the top of the running plate and just in front of the cab to separate the boiler from the rest of the loco.

I built a new saddle using one cut from a Bachmann City boiler I’ve got in my spares box (the City is a standard 4 boiler not standard 2 else I’d use that in its entirety).

I also decided to keep the Dukedog cab as the backhead is fully detailed and with such an open cab I feel it’s important to have all the details there.

The Dukedog chassis is wired to the tender so that’s coming across complete.

Picture below shows the remains of the cut up K’s Tregeagle with the Bachmann Dukedog in front.

The Bulldog Tregeagle had the original tall safety valve bonnet without top feed whereas by the 1940s they had the combined safety valve and top feed so that’s been taken off for a new one to be fitted (currently in the post).

I’ve added plasticard to represent the frames above the running plate which is much more exposed on the Bulldog.

Next job will be to grind out the inside of the boiler barrel to fit the Bachmann motor.

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A moment of reflection

I had a couple of “moments” this week. Firstly I realised that putting pressure on myself by saying I’d get something done by a certain time wasn’t healthy – much better to do it right than fast. This being the case, I have decided not to get the C2 finished for SuperPower at Dinas in 2 weeks’ time. I’d rather take it slowly and get it right. I’m sure (unless I make a right arse of it this time) I’ll get another chance to play on Bron Hebog another time so it can make its debut then.

This also plays into my strengths (weakness) of being a “reformer” personality which means I’m great at ideas and coming up with solutions fast, but once the excitement has passed, the completion gets a bit boring hence why I need about 20 projects on the go at one time – very frustrating for those that follow this blog I know so I apologise now.

In my week of reflections I also realised I’d been doing William Dean a disservice for many years. I’d always felt the 33xx Bulldog was not a great loco. I realised that this was based on the Patriarch’s K kit one which was rubbish and then reinforced by the Dukedog saga.

But the reality is some of them did survive until nationalisation and any loco lasting 40-50 years in mainline service is doing well.

Having spent some time researching, the general view seems to be that some K’s motors were good and some were absolutely terrible so it’s quite possible this was a dud. Getting Tregeagle out of the box I also realised the years had not done it well. The wheels had all oxidised badly. I also realised (as I knew at the time) this was the Patriarch’s last kit before chucking it up for model engineering and it shows in that it is not as well detailed as any of the other locos, for example it not having any backhead at all.

When I therefore said, I’m going to rechassis it, and the Patriarch said “I look forward to seeing the results”, I knew I was free to get to work. I’ll detail what I’ve done in another post but I’ll tell you what, there’s not a lot of the original now!