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

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Well as predicted, instead of concentrating on one thing I concentrated on two, or maybe three. 

I had an idea to make Abt rack track with guides as per Snowdon using “metal siding” from Evergreen plastics cut into strips, glued offset, and then use C channel to form the guides. 

I did  a trial which looked good…

…apart from being way too wide. 

And even using a jig to cut the metal siding sheet I couldn’t get the strips the right thickness – either too thick or inconsistently thin. 

This has meant a rejig in the history of the mountain railway which now dates from the late 1880s and uses a variation on the Riggenbach rack (single rack with guides) which I will be able to produce in consistent lengths. 

(L-R) Riggenbach, Strüb, Abt, Locher

Riggenbach rack

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Yup you heard that right. T’missus said I should be careful about saying I’m stripping my model. But there we were, I was. 

The model in question was the Ertl Culdee which is the base for my mountain engine. 

Scale wise it is about right. It just is a shiny purple and has a face and an ‘orrible plastic chassis. 

Following reading internet discussions on the best strippers out there, as it were, and the poor performance of “modern” nitromors I tried brake fluid (because it’s cheap and I’m a Yorkshireman) which took the shiny laquer off a treat but struggled with the paint. I then used polycell stripper which is effectively half the price of nitromors and it went through the paint like nobody’s business. 

What is underneath is a well modelled casting, definitely suitable for the job in hand, although the boiler isn’t anywhere near as steeply inclined as in real life, and in fact looks level by some trick in the photo below, but with a few added parts I think something can be made of the job. And I have a plan for the chassis too. 

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Ever upwards…

So job done. I finished off the walls and added capping stones, discarding Metcalfe’s two height capping stones and going for a single cap. Might look ok on a double track viaduct as the kit is designed for but they just looked frankly ridiculous on a Welsh narrow gauge line. (Of course I only discovered this after I’d assembled a full set of capping stones ready to stick on.)

Overall though I’m pleased with the result. 

I will say though, I’m ready to do something else! 

I am pleased I managed to get the “going past the rooftops” look. 

Next to choose between track, rolling stock, or locomotive. 

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End game

I hope…

I’now on the home straight with any luck. I’m fixing the upright pillars along the length and fixing the back wall on. Then the capping stones will go on and with that we can probably call it done and then I will post a picture of it in all its glory. I know I’ve not shown a full picture yet but I didn’t want to give the game away too early. 

Also on the go are the plans for the loco and stock and the track which will appear in a later post. 

And I tell thee summat for nowt, if you’ve ever built a Metcalfe kit you’ll know they produce a lot of card cut-offs; well that’s nowt compared with how much you get when you modify a kit – my modelling room is strewn with the stuff at the minute. 

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Walls end

The viaduct now had the walls inside the pillars glued to the face of the wood. This was done and clamped overnight to ensure good rigidity of the structure. 

With the viaduct really taking shape I needed to find a way to cover all the joins, more at the wall’s bottom than end. For this I’m using the pillar covers that come with the kit and then making up arch buttresses from spare card. To make these I knocked up a template so I could measure and mess about to get a good fit and then knock off each of the real ones. 

These were then glued in place and clamped and left to dry before fitting the vertical sections. 

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Secrets of the pillars

Although I am totally convinced the card would provide sufficient structural integrity for the viaduct now, I’m not so sure if it ever got a bit damp so to make sure, I have hidden a pretty solid foundation behind the card walls. 

These are made of some timber I had lying around, chopped up on the table saw and measured to fit. Fortunately they did and only one of them required measuring and cutting twice. 

I then glued them in place and pinned them to make doubly sure, particularly as the glue dried. 

Finally I glued the side walls in place and have left them to dry overnight. 

Next stage will be adding walls and decorative uprights to hide unsightly joins in the card. 

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Striding folly

Back to the viaduct… 

With Plan B well underway, I stuck the two arch parts onto the main deck of the viaduct using a square to make sure it was. 

I then glued the arch brickwork in place on the front side using the provided tabs. 

The deodorant can isn’t a comment on how I smell – it’s what I used to pre curve the arches so they fitted better. 

I then cut the arch on the far side using my funky mini shears (one of the better tools in my arsenal) to create tabs for the rear side. 

Next post will look at walls and pillars.