For those old enough to remember black & white television: ITV 1957 to 1967. Google it if you are too young to remember!
Emergencies do arrive at one's door, as in the popular hospital soap, a sudden unforeseen occurrence needing immediate action:
'Well, it was like this, Guv, we reversed a rake of wooden-bodied minerals into the siding, and then the engine wouldn't move. Can't figure it out, the engine was running perfectly until then...wonder if the chip has gone?'
'Ah!' [the possibility of the chip having failed. I knew the loco was equipped with a Loksound V4] 'Did the sound perform okay?'
'Yes - it were working fine.
I was in the middle of commission work, routine surgery would have to be delayed, and so I took the patient in and set to work. Placing the Bachmann Austerity on the track produced a direct short indicated on the controller. To cut a long story short (excuse the pun) and finding no obvious visual cause of the short, a gradual disassembly of the loco was undertaken, including separating the soldered-in permanent wiring between loco and the tender which housed the Loksound and speaker; this was an early Austerity not DCC ready and had been converted by me some years ago to DCC sound, it was one of my favourite locos, and the clanking big end ring of an Austerity was well reproduced - I had heard many of them in my childhood, clanking past in the night on the old GW & GC mainline.
By separating the tender both physically and electrically from the loco it became clear the fault was confined to the loco itself; and moreover, the short-circuit did not exist with the chassis bottom plate removed, but screw the bottom plate back on and the fault was present; this has happened before with these Bachmann Austerity locos, and I was somewhat relieved to suspect that the Loksound V4 was undamaged, and would only require the soldering back of connections between loco and tender.
The fault in the chassis bottom plate is with the metal strips that carry the pick-ups to each wheel, with time they tend to bow upward toward axles number two and three until they create a short across either or both of these axles; the remedy is to drill out the plastic securing blobs (what else do you call melted blobs of plastic) at the front leading end so that the metal strips can be stretched out and secured down with two-part epoxy; the slots for the wiper contacts will have to be carefully widened with a file at the front end to accommodate the slightly re-positioned metal strips - it's only a fraction of a millimetre.
Once the two-part epoxy has cured off and the metal strips are fully flat and secure I paint the top surface of the strips with two coats of ladies' clear nail varnish to insulate them against any further contact with the axles; although hopefully the epoxy will keep them in place for many years to come. All that remains is to screw the bottom plate back on, track test that the short is no longer present, and reassemble and rewire the four connections between loco and tender. Job done.
The photo below shows the disassembled chassis parts; note the bottom plate is reversed in relation to the chassis in the photo. The right hand end of the bottom plate shows where the securing blobs of plastic have been drilled out, the slots for the wiper contacts enlarged marginally, and both metal strips secured down throughout their length with two-part epoxy. Both metal strips have received two coats of ladies' clear nail varnish to insulate their exposed metal surface: avoiding the soldered wire contact area in case these wires ever need replacing. You will note also the heavily modified tender chassis with additional wire holes and grouped ventilation holes underneath where the Loksound V4 sits on edge; the speaker sits over a rose of specially drilled holes; space is very limited under the tender body. The tender is permanently coupled to the loco when in situ through adaption of the original tender coupling. The original conversion involved a lot of work; now just careful soldering of four wires and general reassembly is all that is required to restore that lovely clanking sound.
One result of lock-down: in the metal completion of this Pannier. Yes, it is 4mm 00 gauge and, having been acquired as a part-completed model in need of finishing has sat unfinished on the shelf for a long time; I completed making and fitting the lamp brackets and the handrails about 04.00 hrs Sunday morning - all those years in BR signal-boxes on night shift turned me into a night owl.
The original construction of the model is very good, especially the chassis which has clearly been put together by someone skilled in the art of true alignment. A Keyser motor with a long tail protruding into the cab originally powered the model, I suspect the plan was to fit a flywheel on the shaft, but I preferred not to have this intrusion into the cab, and swapped the Keyser for another similar Keyser with the tail already removed, leaving the cab pretty much clear. The electrical pick-up arrangement was rather novel and looked like a piece of trellis fencing, designed to provide springing to the wheel contact; unfortunately this did not make sufficient reliable contact, and so I scrapped the existing pick-up arrangement and created the arrangement in the last photo below, which is self-explanatory if you study the score marks creating isolation sections in the copper clad; it had to accommodate the existing wiring arrangement, apart from my addition of a television suppressor which was quite tight due to the surprising lack of space inside the boiler; incidentally, the bare white-metal interior of the boiler I insulated with two thick coats of ladies' clear nail varnish. The mechanism was run-in on a rolling road and, after a bit of teething, adjusting the angle of attack made by the worm drive, the mechanism suddenly blossomed into a nicely running unit, albeit with still a bit newness to wear off; however, the chassis runs very nicely and reliably, thanks to that accurate alignment.
She isn't a perfect build, and that is fine by me, for I always maintain as much as possible of the original work in recognition of the unknown soul who built her, aware that in many cases these unfinished builds that come onto the market are often the result of someone's passing. The task of priming and painting remains, and for that she will have to join the queue for the paint shop.
There was a time when learned men,
Insisted the Earth was flat,
And porcupines wore trilby hats;
Stegosaurus a feather in their cap,
But the Earth is round,
And we go around and around,
Learned men; women; politicians too,
Insist their theories might,
Be accepted without a fight.
Months in fact, whilst I have been self-shielding, and to some extent I am still self-shielding as the infection rate appears to be rising into Autumn; I rather think the second wave has already started, the question is how dangerous it will be compared to the first wave, making comparison to 1918-1919 when the second wave proved greater than the first. However, that aside, I have completed some mechanical restoration and building projects that had become shelved through lack of time, so that's quite a good feeling; although, it also means I have created more priming and painting for myself - talking of which, I have uploaded two new photographs to accompany the work on the 7mm LMC L&Y 2-4-2 which is nearing its painting stage.
The Russian Military model now has a frame around it and is also nearing its final stage: images to follow soon. The Matisa Support Coach project will also have new images soon; and much to my own surprise I am building a 4mm narrow gauge 009 model of a sewage works railway, inspired by 'Davyhulme Sewage Works and its Railway' by Robert Nicholls; from The Narrow Gauge Railway Society. Special Issue: number 232. Spring 2015. ISBN 978-0-9554326-8-2.
What a super little book, an absolutely fascinating read. I've never done narrow gauge before, and the project offers great scope for flat desolate 1950s landscape, hand painted back scene, and trundling wagons of detritus. Sludge Digestion Tank anyone?
Whilst happily and quietly converting some Gresley teak coaches from EM to 00 - some people do go the other way - and listening to BBC Radio 4, an announcement immediately following the 14.00 news broadcast stated we were going over to The Archers where Ambridge 'has remained Coronavirus free': no doubt house prices in Ambridge will see a sudden increase in value.
Does anyone know if Borsetshire is a flood plain?
My wife has self-isolated me (does this count as false-imprisonment?) due to the COVID -19 threat to my health; admittedly, I am prone to respiratory infections. Years ago, my mother and I both caught influenza; my mother did succumb to the virus, and I was too ill to go to her funeral - it took three-months for me to fully recover from that strain of influenza - so my wife is taking no chances with me: I am banned from doing my monthly big food shop at the nearby superstore for instance; personally, I don't believe my wife is particularly worried about losing me - after all some women collect husbands - but rather she is more worried about not having anyone to sort out her daily computer problems!
As of 28th February 2020 my website will no longer feature a shop or store page, and no further items will therefore appear for sale on this website; this has been done as a result of recent changes and rationalization. The website will continue to feature updates and progress on projects already started; and I will be looking to introduce new work as time progresses. I am prepared to accept commission work on an individual basis, and my contact details remain unchanged for those wishing to discuss commissioning work with me.
Website navigation is also undergoing some changes and development, with links marked in blue on certain pages being introduced to take you to new pages that are not part of the Menu bars above left; this is being done to accommodate growth in the number of items being worked upon and restored, and to avoid cluttering up the basic Menu bar navigation with extra headings. I've added some directions where necessary to help you find your way around these changes, and to help you find the new pages.
There are some new images of the military diorama, showing a general arrangement, and some detail images of the figures in progress, the base will be receiving a distressed winter scheme frame to complete the presentation of the diorama, and allow me to plant the final details once handling is complete; the frame will be made by Linda my professional picture framer, and I've got her primed (sorry: pun) ready to make the frame this week. On another front the Matisa van has an image of the new sides in raw plastic card added, and again this is work in progress. The LMC 2-4-2 is next on the agenda, hopefully more images soon. My innards are still uncomfortable; but I'm limping around in all directions trying to get things done.
The above title relates not to more studio plumbing, but to my own; I had become aware for some little while that all was not quite right with my internals, and a visit to the GP has confirmed I have a problem, in fact two problems that will require surgery, and so I am waiting to be called into hospital on two separate occasions for surgery. This has come as bit of a blow as I had been looking forward, indeed planning, some trips into the Brecon Beacons to do some landscape painting; part of my overdue return to painting on canvas in 2020, and the plans for this now look likely to be delayed, as I cannot imagine that I will be in a fit state to go walking up mountains for a while.
In the meantime I have been busy on the military diorama which is nearly completed, and I am now applying the finishing stages; soon I will post more images and bring that particular project to a close. The Matisa support van in 7mm is also nearing completion and will form the subject of more images in the near future. The resotration of the LMC 2-4-2 suffered as a result of all the earlier studio upheaval, leaving me no space to work upon the loco for some time; however, I can get back to the bench now that all the cardboard boxes and clutter has finally found a new home, so I hope to provide some updates on this loco soon - all the above, of course, depends on what happens when I go into works to have my internals overhauled, and what sort of convalescence I need afterwards.
As always, having good health is the cornerstone to being able to do anything...look after yourself.
A leaking radiator has occasioned the need to move large amounts of kit, and materials, to facilitate access for the installation of a larger and more efficient radiator; having provided the heating engineer with room to work, the decision was taken to carry on the process of clearing out no longer needed junk, boxes, and all manner of 'I may need that in the future' items that have been accumulated in and ever increasing process of reducing my working space: rationalization has been brutal over the past few weeks, and with a small amount more to do before the studio is fully operational again I have, at least, gained space and a sense of calm and order following removal of stuff once psychologically rooted to the spot. Thanks to corrosion inside a radiator I am at last free of accumulated junk and clutter, and normal studio service will be soon restored. The new window blinds are lovely, the studio is warm, and I can get back to doing what I do best: paint.