Oswestry Works

Locomotive works diorama in 4mm

Tag: 57xx

Missenden Abbey Spring Weekend

Last weekend of March 6-8th was my second experience at Missenden Abbey modellers weekend.  Last year at the Autumn weekend I’d registered on the 3D Printing course led by Bob Gledhill, an experience which played a large part in my decision to go self employed in 2015 and start Modelu.  This time round however I was there to learn about loco building, in particular chassis building.  I’d bought a High Level 57xx chassis at Scaleforum North last year which I’d not had the courage to start, so that seemed like a good project for Missenden.  There are probably simpler first kits to attempt – I’d also purchased the Comet Dean Goods, but as the instructions were so comprehensive I opted for the HL Pannier, backed up by the knowledge that help would be on hand if I got into difficulties.

Missenden Abbey Loco and Kit Construction Course

With guidance and sound advice from Paul Willis and tutors Tony Gee and Tim Watson I got as far as constructing the frames, laminating the articulated connecting rods and constructing the horn blocks.  Having never constructed a chassis before I needed some assistance interpreting some of the instructions, where experienced builders would already know which stage for example to solder the spaces and frames.  Other than that, the build went well without any major malfunctions!  So far so good and I’m aiming to finish the chassis for Scaleforum North in April.

High Level Pannier Chassis build

For anyone thinking about going to a Missenden weekend I can highly recommend them, not just for the modelling and skills, but for the people you meet, the friends you make and the banter you have.  It’s worked well for me saving a complex kit or a particular new skill for a Missenden weekend where so much help is on hand, not just from the experienced tutors but from other modellers as well.  I’ve learnt much about tools, techniques and tips, all which should help further my modelling skills now I’m back home.  What also makes the weekends so enjoyable is the time spent at dinner and in the bar, where you get to find out what others have been working on, maybe track building, weathering, lining, DCC, sounds etc or just having a chinwag and a laugh – so much is going on that the weekends fly by.  Looking back at the first post on this blog, I’d just come back from the Autumn Missenden.  That weekend gave me a big modelling boost as I’m sure the Spring one will.

As well as tackling the Pannier, David Brandreth and Tim Shackleton kindly invited me to demonstrate 3D scanning on the Saturday evening, in particular scanning people.  This is something I’ve been researching and experimenting with for producing highly detailed and highly realistic figures.  Attendees on the course were invited to bring along props and clothing suitable for the 1930’s-1950’s period, to be scanned in various poses

Missenden Abbey 3D Scanning Demonstration

A good number of people rose to the challenge, three people bringing boiler suits, firing shovels and grease tops (two of which were volunteer drivers on preservation lines), another bringing a pick axe to be depicted as his grandfather who worked in a permanent way gang.  Tim Shackleton donned a cloth cap and was scanned in a ‘waiting for the pub to open on a cold morning’ pose.  It was great fun and I learnt a lot about the process and where it needs streamlining.

The scanning setup uses a Cubify Sense scanner, which is a handheld laser scanner for the consumer market. Retailing around £300 it is usable for low resolution scanning of people or mid-large size household objects.  Anything requiring greater fidelity or accuracy requires a more advanced scanner, with quite a hike in cost, such as the Artec Eva (approx £10,000) or for smaller subjects the NextEngine desktop scanner (around £3000).   Using the Sense scanner does have some operational drawbacks – the scanner is wired to a laptop/pc, which means extension cables must be used.  Care has to taken not to get tangled up in cables!

The scanner captures 1 metre cubed in 3D space, so any background outside of this box is ignored.  In some cases areas of the floor or ceiling maybe captured but these can be easily removed later in a 3D package such as Netfabb or Meshlab.  Other issues can occur if the scanner is moved too fast, or if the laptop/PC isn’t powerful enough.  For trouble-free scanning a powerful computer with a dedicated graphics card such as a high-end Nvidia is needed.  With a steady hand and a patient person being scanned, acceptable results can be produced with the Sense scanner once they have been scaled down to the required scale.   I’ve experimented so far with 2mm, 4mm and 7mm figures.

Modelu Test Scans

It’s still early days but I’ll be offering this as a service in the future, for modellers who’d like to feature themselves in their layouts, driving a loco, spotting on the end of a platform, or watching the world go by in some sleepy corner of the layout – the possibilities are seemingly endless! The immediate priority though is to push on with converting the garage into a workshop with proper lighting and enough power sockets for all the paraphernalia associated with 3D printing.   Then I’ll have a proper working environment to see where this new adventure leads.

No.5726 – Primed, Numbered, Allocated


No.5726 finally gets her numbers! They’ve been in the project box since last May so it was quite a moment finally putting them in place.  I thought I was 99% there with No.5726, but boy does the macro lens show up a lot …. I’m happy though, this has been a fantastic starter project in detailing, its been quite a journey since March 2014…! Credit to George Dent, Paul Marshall-Potter, Mikkel and Iain Rice for the inspiration to first take a scalpel to 7739.

Since the last entry on No.5726 quite a few jobs have been finished, firstly priming with a Halford’s black rattle can after masking up using the method detailed by PMP on Albion Yard.  The finish the primer leaves is great, flat black and looks like it gives some protection too.  Unfortunately as I peeled the maskol away, the route/power indicator decals came off.  Something else to add to the list!

Next up was fitting the etched plates, early emblem and shed code all from Modelmasters.  Seeing Tom Fosters lovely results with No.4645, I also went for Pacific Models smoke box plates.

Once the primer was on a few more last minute detailing ideas came to mind.  Fitting the porthole windows from the Mainly Trains etch reminded me a photo of No.7792 / L.94 I’d taken at Tyseley last year.  The spectacle windows were open, a nice feature.  Two other smaller details to note – the steam heating cock and chain; and the pet pipe draped out of the cab.

GWR 5700 Class No.7792 / L.94 at Tyseley Open Day 5th July 2014

The steam heating assembly is made of a mix of types of wire, scrap brass etch, romford wound brass vacuum pipes and a 3D printed steam heating cock.  It was winding the wire to make the retaining chain that gave me the idea for the pet pipe, the pipe used to wash down the cab and dampen down dust in the coal bunker.  For this I wrapped 40swg copper wire around some 24swg wire.


Jobs still to do – varnish the decals, real coal, screw link coupling for the rear, steam heating cock and pipe for the rear buffer beam, left tank filler lid handle missing, paint the whistles with brass paint. Then weather… then… build the High Level Chassis and get No.5726 into the world of P4! That’s a job slated for Missenden in the Spring.

Full set of the build is here on Flickr – https://www.flickr.c…57641881239955/

A few notes on the open spectacle windows which I’ve forgot to mention as it was so long ago!  I used a tapered reamer to remove the moulded window rim, then opened the window up just enough to slot in brass spectacle window from the Mainly Trains etch.  Glue’n’Glaze was used beforehand.




Pushing the envelope with a B9 resin mix

GWR 9000 Class Top Feed test print

After what was in retrospect disappointing results with Spot HT – through my own ineptitude I must add, I went back to the tried and tested  1:1 mix of B9 Creator Red and Cherry resin.  This isn’t to say one is any better than the other, but with little life left in the layer of PDMS silicone before it needs replacement I didn’t have the leeway to experiment further with Spot HT.

This last batch of prints has been more experimentation with what level of detail is possible.  Second time round I reduced the size of the whistles and the steam heating cock to be a more prototypical size, even more challenging for the printer.  After quite a few false starts (left the projector lens cap on, build table not calibrated properly, not enough resin, ultrasonic died), I finally got a successful batch of prints of the highest detail so far.

This feels like uncharted territory because I’ve not wanted to let myself believe that it was capable of this kind of detail, until I’d seen it with my own eyes, coming out of my own printer.  I firstly revisited the design of the top feed for the Dukedog, the previous version not having a recess for the pipework.  This was designed to fit 20 swg copper wire, but the printed hole is slightly tight. It was a good exercise to see how well the resin could be worked with and the small hole could be opened up easily twiddling with a small drill bit.  This top feed will end up on 9014.

The whistles came out almost perfectly, considering that some of the detail in the design was under 0.25mm it would be impossible to see with out a macro lens or magnification.  Once cured these fine parts are quite robust, they aren’t indestructible but they did handle tweezers and finger tips, positioning them and trimming away traces of Tacky Wax under a magnifying glass!  It’s the detail presented on these that has really left me speechless.

GWR Standard whistles and mounting bracket test print

GWR Standard whistles and mounting bracket 30 micron xyz print

The beauty of this resin is it’s use to complement traditional materials, in this case matching up the whistles and mount with a Comet whistle shield etch and two strands of 36 swg copper wire to represent the whistle pipework.  The whistle print stood up to the finicky task of glueing everything together well, with impatient tweezer nibs looming, third hands full, trying not to drown the details out in glue.  This is the kind of detail I was hoping to attain after a few abortive attempts last year.

So with that done I think I’m out of excuses as to why 5726 can’t be finally painted and have its correct numbers fitted!

5726 with new whistle assembly

Comet Whistle Shield Etch, 36 SWG copper wire and 3D printed whistle and bracket assembly

5726 with new whistle assembly

5726 with new whistle assembly

Experiments with Spot-HT Resin

Other B9 Creator users have had some impressive results usingSpot-HT resin, in particular for small highly detailed components.  The main difference with this resin to the proprietary B9 resins is that you cannot use it for casting, it is also much less viscous which should mean that it settles quicker.

I’d just about enough life left in the layer of PDMS for another print, so today I tested printing some detailing components using Spot-HT.   The test parts I’ve roughly drawn up in Sketchup, some will need a little more work depending on the results of the print.  The test pieces were:

  • 4x Pannier tank rear steps
  • 1x Top feed for 74xx
  • 12x GWR Whistles pairs and mounting bracket
  • 14x Steam heating hose cocks

Spot-HT Test Print components

First up, the steps have come out really well, with a thickness of 0.5mm they look just right.  The rivet detail has come out nicely but I will probably increase the size next time round.  There is some flash to remove from the edges of the steps, due to the positioning on the build table.  Another thing for next time is printing these small components on a sprue. They were a devil to get off the build table without damaging! That said, this material is pretty tough even before curing under UV light.

The whistles have lost quite a lot of their detail but I think this is down to the clouding of the PDMS.  However, the small nut on top of the whistles has printed really well, considering its 0.25mm wide its pretty amazing!   The steam heating hose cocks also look pretty good, with the addition of a turned brass pipe and handle made from 0.4mm handrail wire.  However both these items are slightly overscale, I’ll have to get the micrometer out next time and make them more accurate!

Spot-HT test prints

5726 with 3D printed steam heating hose cock

For now that’s it for printing.  I’m waiting on my spare vat to return from the USA as its being fitted with a replacement for PDMS called Nuvat, developed by Evert on the B9 Creator forum (details here).  This new material should last a lot longer than PDMS.

Happy New Year


Happy New Year! What a wet and windy start it is here in Mid Wales.  Thankfully we’ve been making the most of the good weather in the last days of 2014, spending Monday at Llangollen for a first trip on the new extension to Corwen.  It was a beautiful clear blue sky day, very cold but the mulled wine and mince pies served en-route helped!  It’s also the first time I’ve seen 5199 in steam after seeing her in the works earlier in the year, paired up with a set of crimson and cream stock.   This was the perfect day to experience the line, the sun warming the south facing hillsides and the lee sides in hard frost.

I spent New Years Eve with friends in Rhayader and our last outing of the year was to walk part of the Mid Wales line north towards the remains of the Wye bridge and Marteg Halt.  I’ve only seen the track bed from the road before so it was interesting to see what was left of the line, if anything.  The biggest surprise was what I think is remains of a concrete distant signal post, about a mile north of Rhayader.  Some cast iron kissing/crossing gates were a few yards further up the line, along with a few piles of bricks from a demolished plate layers hut in the undergrowth.  Before we turned back we took a look at the remains of the old Wye bridge, the concrete stanchions still standing tall either side the river.

Today I’ve finished the replacement pipework on 5726.  For the injector overflow pipe I’ve used slightly smaller washers, reamed out to fit the copper wire as I think they look a little more to scale than my previous effort.  For the steam heating pipework I fancied having a go at creating the effect of cloth cladding so I’ve experimented with some surgical tape.  Micropore has a fibrous texture and I think might be just about fine enough to look something like the real thing.

The handrails have also been completed, using Markits short 1.6mm knobs, not Alan Gibson as I’d originally thought.  Final job now is the whistles and shield before painting finally!


Blowing the dust off 5726

5726 progress

It’s been 8 months since I did anything to 5726, it being the first locomotive that I’d attempted to detail.  It was turning into a bit of a test bed to try out techniques, some worked well, some didn’t and some need revisiting (again!).

It’s been a big help seeing the progress Tom Foster is making on his Panniers and we’ve both being taking inspiration from similar sources – PMP’s Albion Yard and George Dents excellent Detailing and Modifying RTR loco’s, both which have been invaluable to the beginner in detailing.  The push I needed to do some modelling again was reading James Wells post about his 57xx project, detailed and weathered to a high standard in a short space of time.  Cheers James!

The last time 5726 was out it was in quite a sorry state: hand rails removed; whistles removed and refitted a few times, still not happy with them; and lastly I’d started to remove the moulded pipework along the running plate with a view to replacing with brass and copper wire.  Today’s tasks have been to finish the handrails, redo the sandbox pull rods and replace the moulded pipework.   Jobs for 2015 are to have a go at 3D printing a new whistle/manifold/shield assembly, build the etched chassis and finally paint and weather.

Handrails – I’d started work on replacing the handrails back in April and would have finished that step today had I not run out of handrail knobs… the main tank handrail is finished, using AG 0.4mm brass wire and handrail knobs.  Now just the small tank grab rails and cab rails to finish.

Sandbox Pull Rods – Both Tom and James have fitted their RT sandbox etch in a more prototypical manner, which looks much better, so this was the first task to rectify.  Previously I’d had the pull rod fixed to the top of the sandbox lid, where in reality it should be attached just behind the lid to a short pivot.  I used AG 0.4mm handrail wire and soldered it to the end of the pull rod, then positioned into a small drill hole in the running plate.

Replacement Vacuum and Injector Overflow pipework – this was another task inspired by reading Iain Rice’s Etched Loco Construction and something also on the list for 7410.  It was surprisingly easy to remove the moulded pipe work with a flat tipped Xacto knife blade, working along the running plate.   Before starting out, as with trying to make my own injectors for 7410, I needed to understand what I was trying to recreate first.  To help with this I’d recently picked up a BR era copy of the Handbook for Railway Steam Locomotive Enginemen, which has descriptive colour coded diagrams of everything, just what I need for my non-mechanical brain!

Looking through the Pannier papers and at other photos, it looks as though the vacuum pipe runs the length of the left hand side – for these I used AG’s 0.7mm handrail wire. The slightly smaller diameter steam heating pipe runs the length of the right hand side, usually insulated in cloth cladding – 0.4mm handrail wire seemed about right for these.   For the small fastening clips I’ve folded over 1mm phosphor bronze strip and used 14BA washers for the pipework joins.

The injector overflows look like a slightly larger diameter pipe to the vacuum pipes – for those I used 20 SWG copper wire and 16BA washers for the joins.  I’m not 100% happy with them, the bends need to be a bit neater but I’ll see what they look like when painted.  Overall though, I’m happy and its been another good learning exercise!  Next update will be once the handrails are sorted and I’ve had a go at printing the whistle assembly, or part of it so I can still use the turned brass whistles.

57xx/8750 Research and Reference Photos

Whilst the NuCast 74xx build has taken up space on the workbench, I’ve still got the disassembled remains of 5726 which I began detailing back in March to finish.  Much of what I’ve done to 5726 needs doing to 7410 and more so I thought it would be a good time to share some photographs of preserved Pannier’s which helped with 5726.  Tom Foster is about to start out detailing on his blog here, hopefully some of these pictures will be of use Tom 🙂

As you’d expect many panniers passed through the books at Oswestry works, but there were also some classes very foreign to the Cambrian – 15xx’s from Old Oak Common, 94xx’s from Tyseley and even a 97xx Condensing tank. The mainstay however were the small 16xx class, auto fitted 54xx, 74xx and 57xx and the later model 8750’s.   Its the panniers from the Cambrian sheds I’m mainly interested in as they visited the most often, in particular I short listed 4 panniers to feature, 5700 (without a top feed), 5726, 3638 from Brecon 89B and 3789 from Oswestry 89A:

Oswestry Works - 5700 Class visits

Oswestry Works – 5700 Class visits

Oswestry Works - 8750 Class visits

Oswestry Works – 8750 Class visits

It was at a trip to Didcot back in May that I was able to get a proper look at some of the trickier components to see in photographs, such as the sanding apparatus and inside motion.  The small diagram which comes with the RT models sandbox linkage etch I had a little trouble deciphering until I’d seen the real thing.

The sandbox pull rods appear to operate via a single rod from the cab, which connects to another rod which passes under the boiler, then pivoting a right and left pull rod:

Other details of interest for weathering and detailing:

One day I might actually see a Pannier on a platform where I can get some photos of the tank top, though this area is very well covered in the volumes of the Pannier Papers.  5726 is currently minus all its handrails after I planned to replace them with finer 0.45mm brass wire and Alan Gibson handrail knobs.  The new hand rail is bent to shape ready for fitting, but something tells me it will find its way onto 7410 before then…!