Tag Archives: 4mm

Falling Behind: A Leader Story (Pt 3)

Following my last post about Leader, I discovered that the paint was not fully drying and the finish had warped while in storage.

It is difficult to find a paint stripper formulated to strip resin kits, they are normally designed for metal or plastic models. I sent a quick query to Howes of Oxford about their Model Strip and was advised to test the paint stripper on the underside of the body. I did not see any adverse effects, so I covered leader in the paste.

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I left the model covered overnight and cleaned off the paste and paint with an old tooth brush.

I was very happy to see that most of the paint was removed. There was still some panel lines and crevices where paint remained so I decided to also try another paint stripper. My second attempt was with Phoenix Precision PS18 Superstrip and this stuff was quite amazing. I dipped my toothbrush in the liquid and on the first stroke of the brush, the remaining paint started coming off.

The picture below is the now fully stripped Leader body. There a couple of patches of paint that remain underneath. These are where glue was used to fix in the interior cabs. The next stage is a bit of degreasing before Leader’s return to the paint shop.

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Rolling Stock – J70 0-6-0 Tram Engine

In this series of articles I will introduce the locomotives that I operate on Brewery Pit.

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The Prototype
One of the main engines that see’s regular use is my J70 steam tram. The J70s were introduced to replace the ageing Y6s, and were famous for running on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway in Cambridgshire. J70s and Y6s look very similar from the outside, but are quite different underneath the tram body. The fundamental difference is that J70s have six wheels (0-6-0), while the Y6s have four wheels (0-4-0). The side skirts are also formed in a slightly different way, with the J70s including moulded foot steps (Y6s have ladder-like steps) and a curved lower section to the skirt.

The model
My model is made from a Silver Fox resin kit that was bought for my birthday in September 2006. I opened up the side windows using a knife and added hand rails. I decided that I wanted my steam tram to include a boiler, and I just happened to have a Dapol plastic pug kit lying around (many railway modellers do, for some reason). I cut up the boiler and mounted it onto a piece of plasticard and added some hand wheels to either end. The boiler isn’t accurate as it has a saddle water tank, but I didn’t really care at the time (and still don’t).

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Painting
I wanted to represent an engine running between 1948 and 1950, so I purchased as many books as possible and looked at the photos of the various steam trams and settled on No. 68217, which was one of the last steam trams to run on the line.

I weathered the boiler using weather powders and sealed it with a matt varnish.

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The tram was painted with a now discontinued shade of brown from Tamiya’s acrylic range (I think it was Tamiya, I can find out if anyone really needs to know).

The final weathering job shown in the pictures is not accurate to how the model now looks, as it was repainted to better fit in with my Y6 later on.

Power
You cannot obtain a 0-6-0 chassis which would fit such a small loco, so there is little choice but to install and 0-4-0 power bogie. I was a little excited at the time I bought the kit and urgently insisted a black beetle motor bogie be sent out to me ASAP. Unfortunately, the wheelbase (distance between each wheel) of the bogie was quite wide, now I know that this is a skirted loco and little of the wheels is seen, but when it is seen it looked weird.

The motor bogie was converted to DCC control and was a poor runner and it was eventually replaced with better black beetle bogie with spoked wheels (a nice touch), a shorter wheelbase and 27:1 gearing (meaning it can travel much slower than my previous 15:1 version).

My J70 is currently waiting to have a DCC ‘stay-alive’ capacitor to be installed, but more on that some other time.

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Falling Behind: A Leader Story (Pt2)

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We now return to the development of my Golden Arrow resin and white metal kit of the pioneering Bulleid Leader (click here for part 1).

Leader’s bogies are gigantic, just massive. Leader looks like the monster truck of UK locomotives. These bogies are cast in white metal and have a very nice finish. They are also nice and weighty. While reading how to install the recommended DS10 motor I mis-interpreted the instructions and installed a separate DS10 motor into each bogie. In hindsight this wasn’t such a bad idea, as leader is now a real brute on the rails.

I followed the wheeling convention of some of Heljan’s diesels and put bearings around the front and rear axles on each bogie and left the middle wheel floating. This helps prevent the massive wheels from causing derailments.

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I installed two Lenz silver decoders (one on each bogie) and programmed each to the same ID. Trial runs showed strong running qualities, but I did need to shave away some of the higher sections of the bogies to allow Leader to get around the tight corners on Brewery Pit. Having duel motors and picking up current from both bogies means that when Leader de-rails it has a propensity to continue to drive on with the derailed bogie, so one needs to be careful.

Leader often ran with all it’s vents and doors open, so I cut through the resin cast and opened up all the doors and vents. I also made some vent flaps out of plasticard. I then added hand rails and door knobs. Please note that most people fit the the vertical cab rails on the front of Leader in the wrong position. Most models have them mounted on the very front of the cab, but the prototype has them fitted to the sides and they bend around to the front. In my opinion this makes a big difference to the look of the loco. These hand rails were made from guitar string.

I also added lamp irons and a whistle. The flush glazing was hand cut from thick transparent plastic.

I then painted Leader with the softest silver-grey shade I could find. I used a Halfords car spray and I was very pleased with the results. I felt like I had sprayed the paint on a bit thick in places, so I decided to fix the paint with a satin gloss coat – fatal mistake!

The paint never fully dried and always retained a slight tackiness. I keep my models in a metal box surrounded by foam and I was concerned that the foam might mark the paint so I wrapped Leader with a thin bit of plastic wrapping. I then discovered that the paint was still slowly moving and the paint had formed moulding lines with the patterning of the plastic wrapping. I quickly sprung into action and scrubbed away the tacky areas of paint. My model of one of my favourite engines was sullied.

So at this stage these pictures are all I have of Leader in it’s (almost) final stage. A real shame.

The story continues…

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Making a 4mm Radio Control Truck Pt2

So the next stage is to try and understand what is in the box.

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I recognise a few of the parts in the box from previous radio control cars I have built (granted they were far, far bigger). I recognise a servo (and it is only 1.5 x 1.5cm!!!!).

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The receiver is also shockingly small. The largest thing about the pack is the radio controller, which will easily squash the car. It seems that radio control has come on since I last dabbled. This new controller sends out a signal in Ghz rather than Mhz and seems able to be ‘programmed’ to the radio control receiver. No more of that band 1-4 crystal nonsense. This sounds like a step in the right direction. It apparently also means that you do not need such long aerials on the models, which I suppose has helped push miniaturisation forward.

My immediate concern is the wheel sets. This kit is designed to convert a lorry. I didn’t realise that it is designed for a lorry with a double tyre axle on the rear wheels, this might limit what I can convert.

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I have three vehicles that may become the final RC prototype. The ground clearance is really good on the pick-up truck, but the wheels that come with the pack are much smaller than it’s current tyres. They are a much better fit to the NCB lorry, but that might be more tricky to convert.

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The next step is to decipher the german component list. Let’s put google-translate to the test.

Making a 4mm Radio Control Truck Pt1

This story starts with the O gauge layout ‘The End Of The Line’ and Giles work on developing a 16mm Radio Control Truck (http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/18108-radio-controlled-road-vehicle-and-powered-gantry-crane/)

When I first saw this truck I was fascinated. Searching the net indicates that the Germans have managed to make radio control vehicles in HO (1:87), thus it should be possible to create a radio control truck in OO (1:76).


As our UK model market generally lags behind our German and American cousins, I decided that I should have a crack at this.

I have purchased a complete starter conversion kit (which arrived from Germany today) and I now need to start preparing to construct the vehicle.

The first steps will be trying to understand the German instructions (a challenge!!!!), understanding all the components, and finding a suitable OO truck for the conversion.

Watch this space!

BR Class 04 Diesel Tram at Speed: Day 2

The second day of speed modelling took place on Sunday (last week).

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This video includes modifications to the 04s body to take the new Bachmann Class 03 chassis.

On reflection the axle doors on the side skirts are a bit big, but I was modelling at speed at the time and didn’t think to double check.