7mm On Heather's Workbench - wider and longer

Discussion in 'WR Action' started by Heather Kay, 19 January 2016.

  1. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Slow but steady progress on the bench. While waiting for the missing castings I pressed on and installed the brake shoes and basic rigging to the two E3s and the E7. The latter has an issue where the rigging interferes with the vac cylinder, so I'm pondering a sneaky adjustment there. Incidentally, I'm still pondering on a method of preventing electrical shorts if the wheels contact the underframe.


    Here's one of the E3s, with the suspension clutter and step boards installed. I had a comment on Facerag about the nice blue roof! Working out the clerestories is next on my agenda once the underframe bits are done and dusted.


    The E7 has brake gear now. Isn't it funny and b****y annoying that you often only work out the simplest and best method to fit something on the last one you do. The brake shoes/hangers have to literally hang from the pseudo bogies. The etched parts in the kit are of variable length, design for the original suspension system. As I'm bodging them to fit a different setup, I tried a couple of methods of extending them, bending them, and so on, and eventually hit on the best method as the last pair of bogies were on the bench. Oh well. I'll know next time.

    Happily, the castings that were missing arrived today, so that's my next job. Lots of drilling holes, fitting 'ooks, and assembling things on underframes. Before I do that, though, about that vac cylinder that's getting clobbered by the bogie swing...
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  2. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Some folk spend their Saturdays lounging about, or doing DIY, or whatever it is normal folks get up to at the weekends. Me? I spend it bending up tiny bits of brass wire, and soldering them into tiny holes drilled in whitemetal castings, and going ever so slightly (more) round the bend.


    Actually, with the company of Handel, Mozart, Bach and, latterly, Herr Beethoven, doing their thing through various orchestras pumped out of the hi-fi at a reasonable loudness, it didn't seem so bad. The repetive tasks pass by fairly smoothly, though keeping the consistency of components is always a trial.


    And here's what I've ended up with. Springs and axleboxes assembled, and brass wire hooks installed, plus all the hangers likewise. Now, shall I push my sanity further today by assembling this little lot on their respective coach underframes, or shall I give my braincell (and eardrums!) the rest of the day off to recover?
  3. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    I don't know how you can make money doing it, but I am very glad you do. Getting all the extra little bits of detail right really adds up to more than the sum of the parts and makes your models outstanding. I know of plenty of 'museum quality' models in museums which are no way near as realistic or accurate as your models.

    With the inspiration from seeing your carriages I now need to remember not to take too many shortcuts while finishing my models and I might get somewhere close to your standard.
  4. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Fraser, coming from you that's very kind of you.

    Being honest, I often do more work on a model than strictly necessary, and I think it's fair to say I don't charge enough overall.

    These coaches are proving a challenge, but that's part of the fun. I don't always document the advanced bodgery sometimes required to fit something. Inevitably, given the subjects, there are some compromises along the way. The important thing is my client is happy with what he gets.
  5. john lewsey

    john lewsey Western Thunderer

    Hi I happened to pop into Heathers yesterday and had the pleasure of seeing these coaches and they are really good she also showed me a finished six wheeler all painted I GWR livery STUNNING !
  6. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Thank you John. :oops:


    All suspension castings and footboards are now fitted. Headstock detail needs doing, but I think it's time to think about roofs and clerestories.

    They already make an impressive train on the test plank. I understand my client wants to add a pair of 8-wheeled luggage vans to this set. Stick a shiny Rover on the front, and away they go!
  7. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    The least said, the soonest mended. I'm not enjoying creating the roofs on the E6 and E7.

    For one thing, I was told there was a part on the etch for the clerestory roof. Well, I've looked high and low, and under, and I can definitively report there is not a part for it. There is in the E3 kits, but that's a tale for another day. So, into my stash of sheet material to see if I had anything close to the kit roof in size and thickness. I did. Using the E3 as inspiration I took a measurement and thought about trimming a pair of strips out. Then, I thought, since I will have to deploy my rollers in anger, wouldn't it make more sense to have a wider strip to work with? So I cut a slightly generous strip wide enough and long enough to allow for my usual short-sightedness with regards to dimensions.

    Out came the rollers. With some trepidation, as this is the first time I've rolled something other than scrap metal, I began to form the curve. I think my rookie mistake was having sheet material slightly thicker than recommended (max 0.6mm). The ends took on a lovely curve, but the middle wasn't so cooperative. I had another rummage in case I had some other thinner material, but all I had wasn't long enough to make the grade - and I wasn't about to add butt joins into the mix.

    I recalled seeing a hint about using cereal packet board to help protect rivets and etched detail during rolling, so I wondered if supporting the central area during the process might help. It did, sort of. Let's just leave it at that.

    So, clerestory roofs rolled and latterly trimmed down to a better size. Next for the main roof, which comes with holes in the middle for the clerestory parts to slot into, and light to cascade down from above once the roof is on. I had a faint understanding that the thinner central sections might be a problem, but I bodged round them and the result was a roof that eventually was too curved, but with some brute strength could be made to fit the partition profile fairly nicely. I've tacked the partition bits into the roof, posed the sides and upper roof in place, and I'm now pondering how in the heck I can make either roof detachable so it's accessible for glazing the clerestory and later fitting of lighting.

    As the body comes away from the floor, it may be possible that I can permanently fit the roof to the body. That way it will actually fit nicely. Perhaps the upper roof can be made detachable for access inside. Whether internal details will be so easily removable remains to be seen. Something to ponder on this evening.
  8. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Western Thunderer

    When I come to do my clerestory coaches (in 2mm scale) I intend to secure the clerestory roof part with small magnets, mainly to allow me to paint all of the mouldings and glaze the clerestory part as a separate unit. I have used small 3mm dia x 0.5mm magnets to hold a roof on one of my brake vans, and it is held surprisingly strongly (obviously a piece of flat steel needs to be added within the model for the magnet(s) to act upon), and clearly something significantly larger than 3mm dia would be necessary for a 7mm model.
    Hope that is not a stupid suggestion for a larger scale model :)

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  9. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Not stupid in the slightest. In fact, throwing ideas around with Best Beloved earlier, magnets was the first thing he said.

    I shall take the idea on a meander through my brain for a while.
  10. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    Nothing fixed yet, while I continue to ponder magnetic options and other things. Two down, two to go.

    I've trimmed out the E3 roof parts - and discovered the purpose of some mysterious parts I couldn't identify before! - and I'm currently in "sitting and staring at things until I work out how they fit together" mode. Unlike the E6/E7 kit roofs, which were full thickness etches, the E3 roofs are delicate doily half-etched affairs that look like they will warp and twist at the merest hint of a soldering iron nearby. Should I attempt to form the gentle curve before fitting the crossmembers? What holds the crossmembers in place to ensure alignment? Should I fit the clerestory sides first, and hope I can form the curve by persuading the half etch to follow the crossmembers?

    I'm missing something obvious, so I'll go back to staring at things for a bit.
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  11. farnetti

    farnetti Western Thunderer

    Hmmm. If they are that thin I would tend to solder the cross members to the body first to provide a strong and stable base (where have I heard this recently)?

    I am not clear how the clerestory sides fit with the main roof etch against the cross members but if the former could be fitted next (maybe with some longitudinal strengthening) it improve matters further.

    Then roll the three roof sections to match the roof profile and attach with a very quick dab of the RSU to avoid warping.

    I haven't come with a plan B if you want the roof to be removable.

  12. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Ken, thanks for those ideas. Apologies for not responded sooner - I'm afraid I've been knocked sideways by that real life thing again, and I'm missing an entire Thursday because of it. On the way back to normality now, though.

    When I feel strong enough I'll take photos of the roof parts. I think using the RSU may have merit, though I tend to be heavy handed with it at times. I may try dialling down the amps and do some tests with similar materials before I commit.

    I think I may be able to form the curve in the main roof and upper roof relatively easily. At least, getting it as close as possible and letting solder hold the shape should be achievable. Fitting the roof permanently would be ideal, but it would limit access to the interior for detailing. I've made a rod for my own back by installing brass sheet in the end compartments to fix the floor to!

    Having a few days of recovery will let my brain cell work over some options.
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  13. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Today, I felt strong enough to tackle proper work again.


    First, here's my foe for the day. One of them, at least. Where the BGS E6/E7 kits had cross bars all along the roof, this one has thin strips at the ends only. The partition formers fit between the half-etch tongues, with little to aid registration while you do it. The clerestory sides are supposed to slot in to the longitudinal gaps. The sides only fit one way round.


    A closer view of the tongues. I've snipped the ends of each tongue, as they had tiny cusps joining them and foiling any attempt to fit the roof formers. The tongues also flap about, and inevitably bend. What a curious design choice.


    Rolling the curve proved relatively simple, after all my worries. The metal is half-etched, but is still quite thick. My trusty 25mm aluminium rod and some forgiving surface, with my upper body weight, did the trick. I'm trying one of the formers for size. It doesn't fit. Well, it does, but doesn't leave space for the clerestory sides to fit later. There is no easy way to centre each former, either. I don't want to cast aspersions, as this kit was designed by the late Carl Legg, and he was no fool, but there has to be a better way to achieve this. Anyway…


    Here I've pinned a side in place to see how it fits. As explained, it doesn't. Nothing for it but to file and grind the best part of about a millimetre off each side of every former. While I was at it, I ground out a slot into the roof former itself to allow the side to drop in.


    I jury-rigged some wood offcuts with a clamp to try and hold the top of a former while I dabbed the hotting stick at things. The important thing is to try and get the roof to follow the former's curve. The first two or three formers needed a wedge under the roof to help align things. Once the basic shape was being held by the first several formers, it was easier to work with.


    Splodgy dabs of solder. It actually looks worse than it is. I tinned the upper side and edge of the former, but only cleaned the mating area on the roof. Sloshing some flux in, loading the iron with a generous blob of cored solder, and a reasonably quick in-and-out sufficient for the solder to wick along a little, a satisfying sizzle as the flux boiled away, and the job was done. I'm not about to bother doing neat seam solder joints. What would be the point? Besides, more heat means more danger of distorting the roof.


    The next task was to install the sides. I exercised my swearing lexicon a little, it has to be said. Why can I not be given kits to build that actually fit together‽ Getting tabs into the longitudinal slots, holding things in place, working out where to actually solder the thing, then finding it doesn't meet with a former… It's a bodge, and I'm not proud of it. Nothing lines up properly. I hate it.


    From below, you can see I've added further solder dabs to try and hold the roof and clerestory sides in place with minimal wrinkles. There are still wrinkles.


    To cap things off, literally, a pair of ends are meant to finish things. One of the roofs, things fitted nicely. On this one, it didn't. One side is obviously misaligned along the roof, but I am not going to take it all apart again. It would most likely be wrecked if I try. I'll perform some artistic bodgery to cover things over later.


    There we are. What I haven't done yet is to file down the centres of each former so they're not proud of the clerestory sides. No idea why or how that happened. Like I said, there has to be a better way to create things like this, and while the CPL designed kits are marginally better than the BGS designed ones, neither exactly covers themselves with glory. Still, they are what they are, I guess.

    I shall finish up the various bits and bobs later. I am considering whether I want to continue with the build for the rest of this month, as I'm feeling a bit frustrated with things. I will be out and about over the weekend, so perhaps my mood will calm for the start of the new week.
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  14. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Artistic bodgery, did I say? No amount of bodgery has managed to overcome the dodgy roof.

    I seem to have this thing with brass coaches and brass roofs…

    In the cold light of Monday I looked long and hard at the errant upperworks, and decided to attempt disassembly and reassembly.

    Using my gas torch on a very tiny flame, applied sparingly, I managed to extricate the clerestory sides without serious damage. The roof formers followed. I cleaned things up, and had another session with the "rolling pin". Happy with the overal curvature, I began to fit the formers again, checking each time against the body for signs of things going banana-shaped.

    Of course, it wasn't going to solve the problem. It hasn't solved the problem. Get one end sitting down nicely, the other end points skyward. Get the middle sitting properly, and both ends wave in the breeze. I appear to have induced a stretch somewhere. Things came very close to being launched down the garden for an airworthiness test. :rant:

    Here's the problem…


    Should I be able to get both ends and the middle to play nicely, I now get a lovely wave along the edges. Like a bubble under wallpaper, it shifts about depending on various stresses on the ends. My immediate thoughts are to cut the roof across to let the stress out, and make good somehow later. (Some kind of canvas covering effect was always planned, so this might do.)

    I've decided to give up on this roof for now. I think I shall consider making a new roof from scratch, if I can get some suitable material. I'm very tempted to ditch the brass altogether and go with styrene.
    Last edited: 8 October 2017
    Jon Fitness likes this.
  15. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    That is soooo frustrating, Heather, and I can't offer an answer except to say that I had an identical problem with the one and only brass roof I tried to fit to a Mk 1 GUV. I'm pretty sure that some of the problems were associated with trying to anneal the roof. In my case the errant roof actually did get launched in to space, and I bought a preformed one in aluminium I seem to remember. I suspect that a replacement roof for the vehicle you are building now is not an "off the shelf" option.

    I'll be interested to hear from the gathered expertise within these hallowed walls concerning how to go about fitting a brass roof. Admittedly, when I built my GUV I had no rolling bars - whether they'd have made the job easier I've no idea. However, as the roof is not a regular curve I'd have thought not.

  16. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    I think the flight test option still stands!

    I've since found the other E3 exhibits similar issues. So, that's two roofs I need to sort out.

    I've found where I left my thinking cap, so both models have been quietly consigned to their respective shelves before I do them a mischief I'll regret.
  17. farnetti

    farnetti Western Thunderer

    Hi Heather , your first idea of cutting through to relieve stresses would be my first option as well. Almost certainly more mucking around will be needed to align the join, wire or square section to align maybe.

    You have taken the clerestory sides and roof off, are the vertical bolsters and side roof sections soldered in position?

  18. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    The real roofs had some thickness to them, probably at least 3/4" boards plus an edge batten plus canvas. Before you cut the roof I would try soldering a strip of brass to the underside. This will make the edge thicker and much more rigid. Soldering the edge as well as along the clerestory might also balance out the different expansion which caused the waviness. Thinking about it, the strip could be a folded L shape so the leg could hang down and locate the roof in the body.

    I used the soldered on strips recently for a simple arc roof and it made a big difference to the stiffness of the roof.
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  19. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Yes, they are. I took pains to try and ensure they were as vertical as I could make them, but trying to align them across the roof is not a simple prospect.

    This was something considered. The cross formers, though, are in the way, so they'd need some surgery to allow a strip to run along the bottom of the clerestory sides. The outer edges would work. I like the idea of an angle, but I made a rod for my own back by opting to not fold over the top edges of the body sides all the way. Consequently, they're in the way. Ack.

    The elephant in the room is the overall upward curvature of the roofs themselves. Cutting and strips would help eliminate the wavy edges, but the roofs would still take on a general air of a pagoda roof!

    I need to talk to someone about this, so if things pan out I'll report on ideas later.
  20. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Jiminy! That long? Cripes. Apologies, everyone.

    Right, where were we? Ah, yes, wonky roofs.

    Sometimes it really pays to just let things fester for a while. At least, that's what I find. Eventually, a plan to deal with the problem surfaces. In this case, my problem was brass roof construction that really wasn't working. While I would prefer not mix media, sometimes it's the only way, so good old-fashioned styrene sheet and strip came to the fore.


    Using one of the brass formers as a template, I marked out eight plastic ones. I took my time to ensure all of them were pretty much identical in shape and size. I numbered them mainly for my own use.


    If you want to play along, you need a pack of Evergreen 177 2.5mm x 4.0mm strip. You can see what I'm up to. I've made slots in the middle of the formers to take the strip, which runs the full length of the coach roof.


    A week or so ago I invested in a large sheet of 8mm thick toughened glass, which came into its own as something nice and flat upon which I could assemble the styrene roof without the solvent gumming it all to the cutting mat. I used various squares to try and keep things at right angles within a given amount of my usual bodgery. The formers have been spaced to coincide with the coach partitions. At this stage, I was considering making styrene clerestory sides, but I've subsequently reverted to the etched parts.


    Amazingly, it actually fits. I am currently in "sitting looking at it to figure out what happens next" mode, to decide whether further longerons are required and how to let the roof slot into the brass body reliably. I also think I shall need to buy in some suitable sheet material to make up the actual roof sections, as I don't think I have enough for the two coaches in mind.

    If this is really successful, I may well extend the idea to the E6 and E7 roofs, although they are actually reasonable brass efforts at the moment.