Friday, 30 July 2010


The finish line is in sight on the DZ project.

All the wee brackets which hang below the frame to stop the drop doors dropping too far have been fabricated and glued into place. I say all, but over the years the WHR's wagons have lost a few here and there. So the good news was there were less to make, but the bad news was lots of time spent pouring over photographs trying to identify which wagons had which ones missing in which places.

With that sorted it was time to turn them over and add some brake gear detail - the vacuum cylinders, reservoirs and V hanger are very prominent on the DZs.

And with the arrival of the etches the hand brake wheels have been added too - one at each end.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Evadne and Hilda

Puzzled about the title?

Think of a '70's TV drag double act.

Give up?

Hinge and Bracket!

A convoluted way of getting round to telling you that I've been adding more detail to the DZ's.

As well as the hinges on the doors the DZ's have some strange appendages dangling below the frame along the sides. I think they may be to prevent the doors swinging beyond 180 degrees and banging into the bogies or the brake gear underneath.

That's what's next, by the way, after all these wee thingies have been stuck on.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Bendy Bits

One of the challenges of modelling in stryene is representing the bendy bits. The material has a natural spring and will resist being formed into a curve. (That's until you glue it, of course, when something you need to stay straight will inevitably warp into the shape of a banana!)

The challenge in question this time is the hinges on the doors of the ex-SAR DZ wagons which are bent 90 degrees at the top.

Plan A was to try and make a piece of 20" x 40" thou strip take on a curved shape. This is easy if you're bending the wider, flat side of the rectangle, but much trickier the other way when the plastic is a lot thicker, less pliable and quite brittle.

The usual trick is to heat your piece over the spout of a boiling kettle to soften the styene, bend it and then let it cool. That wasn't practicable with such a small item, so instead I tried dipping it in hot water. It wasn't a complete success. The styene didn't really get soft enough and it would take the bend to about 70 degrees but a facture opened up and it would snap as I tried to pull it towards the full 90.

So I hit on Plan B, which was to use stryene that's already formed into a circle. I cut thin slivers off a piece of tube, file them down to about "20 thickness, then cut into quarter segments. I glued the quarters on the wagon door to represent the bendy bit at the top of the hinge, and then placed a short piece of straight strip below it. If you get them spot on you can hardly see the join.

Friday, 16 July 2010

DZ x4

Four DZ shells are now complete (one runs without ends)

There remains all the latches and catches to be added, plus the brake gear underneath, but I hope now all the doors are made up that's the worst (and the most tedious) part of the build behind me now.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

DZ Progress

My modelling time for the last week's been devoted to the first of a batch of DZ wagons.

The first of a new design always takes a lot longer to make, with many prototype pitfalls to be discovered and overcome.

The doors, and their sunken panels, have proved to be very tricky. At 7mm from top to bottom they're a couple of mm's smaller than the test piece I knocked up, and it's a lot more difficult to get the tip of the scalpel into there to shave down the raised styrene strip - more so at the ends where it has ended up as more of a round indentation than a square.

However, the real wagons have a very distinctive battered look and I hope it won't notice too much at viewing distance at an exhibition.

To show you how much work is involved in each of the six doors on the wagon here's a shot of some of the components.

There is an outer rectangle with curved corners. This is fabricated from 4 strips, then tiny triangles are glued into the corners and filed down to form the curve.

That's then glued onto the front of a plain piece of styrene. Then I make up the inner panel with more strips - the ones at each end have the corners chopped and rounded off before they're glued down. More strip completes the top and bottom of the rectangle. Then they're finished off by scribing with the scalpel as described above.

And to think I've got to make 24 of these....

Monday, 5 July 2010

Anyone remember Cool Mints?

What does an 80's sugar free mint that had a tendency to give you the runs if you ate too many have in common with 009 modelling you're probably asking?

Well, cool mints came into my mind the other day while I was pondering how I was going to replicate some of the features of the DZ wagons.

A cool mint looked rather like a polo that hadn't had the hole in the middle punched out properly, and they had very rounded rather than sharp edges too. (You can tell I ate a few sweets as a kid!)

Anyway, I remembered that they looked similar to the drop down doors on the DZ wagons which I had been wondering how to produce in plastic. Easy with brass, of course, you just push inwards and it stays that way. But I 'don't do' brass.

My solution is going to be to have a rectangle with a hole in the middle glued over another piece of styrene and blend down the edges with the tip of a scalpel until it looks like one pressed-in piece of material.

Here's my test piece. You can judge for yourself if you think it works.

Friday, 2 July 2010

DZ Wagons

Staying with a South African theme the next project for Boston Largs Works is a batch of WHR DZ wagons. (For Colin Lea's Rhyd Ddu layout again)

The same length as B wagons, but with 3 set of smaller drop down doors, they are used as general utility wagons, finding a use on construction of the line as well as maintenance trips like bush bashing.

Some interesting scratch building challenges here - particularly capturing the sunken panels on the drop down doors in styrene.

I shall blog as the project progresses.