Over the last couple of years I’ve worked on a number of projects that have taken me outside my modelling comfort zone to some extent. This is no bad thing but I’m a strong believer in pushing my own boundaries and skills in a staged manner: I don’t like failing at my modelling projects, so I prefer a situation where I can complete the majority of a project in familiar territory with one or two opportunities to try something new.
The way I approach and select a new modelling project will use this stepped approach as a guiding principle. My recent completion of the CW’s I wrote about several weeks ago is an illustration of this. These models are made from bog standard injection molded styrene kits, but I decided to add sprung W iron assemblies. Adding this feature not only improved the running and tracking of the finished models, it also forced me to use third-party components and it gave me the excuse to purchase and use a mini mill that I’d been planning to buy for a long while. 80% of the kits were straight out of the box, but the last 20% has taken my modelling to what I consider to be a slightly higher level of sophistication.
Now that I have the mill, and some of the tooling I need to use with it, I can’t believe that I allowed myself to contemplate purchasing it for so long. My next big project is to scratchbuild a steam locomotive and I assume that the mill will come in handy in the process of building this. Can I be certain I’ll need a mill to build my locomotive? To be honest the answer is no, it’s quite possible I’ll build the loco without using the mill. However I know already that I’m contemplating the building process with a level of certainty and confidence that there isn’t much I can’t make if I need to and for this reason I can say that it has already had an effect. Of course I’m a bit of a pessimist in this regard, so it won’t surprise me if I find I need a lathe for the build and this is one piece of machinery that I don’t yet own. The perfect excuse to buy one? 🙂
As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, it took me almost 3 years to complete the three CW’s you can see in the photo further down the blog. So recently, when I was in a position to make a decision about what to build next, it was a real pleasure to be able to choose a resin and white metal kit of a NSWR BWF (Bogie Wheat Flat) from the Waratah Model Railway Co. I chose this as my next project for two main reasons: one was the dearth of bogie vehicles in my collection and the other was that I wanted something relatively simple to build.
The era and line I model tends to lend itself to older style four-wheeled wagons. There’s nothing wrong with this but sometimes we all look for a bit of variety, and being able to build a wagon that had bogies was very appealing. In fact the kits for the bogies were about the most challenging part of the whole build. After I opened the box and took a good look at the kit components I realised that this kit, while beautifully detailed, had a limited number of parts and as such, should be a nice, enjoyable diversion from my normal habit of picking hair shirts.
If you don’t build a lot of kits I can throughly recommend offerings that incorporate resin components (the scale and prototype are irrelevant) as extremely forgiving and relatively easy to work with. About the most challenging aspect of this type of kit is that components can sometimes tend to warp, especially the larger parts. This is usually remedied by placing the component in some hot water (boiling water isn’t necessary, what comes out of the hot tap is more than enough) and giving it some gentle twisting. You can also contact the manufacturer for a replacement part in most instances.
The photo I’ll post to accompany this text is of the BWF I’ve been working on and is about 90% complete. All it needs is a coat of paint, some decals and the wooden deck installed. All up the kit has taken me about 10 hours to complete and this was at a fairly laid back pace with an exhibition plonked in the middle of the building sequence. The body is a single resin casting with the detail components from cast brass and white metal, with brass strip and rod making up the balance of the parts. It has built into an extremely detailed and handsome vehicle that will be right at home on Morpeth MkII, as soon as I can get around to putting some scenery on my new layout.
I’ve got two passenger carriages sitting on the work table that will be my next project and I’ll post a few photos and details as I build these. I’ve never actually built these particular kits before so I’m looking forward to the challenges they are likely to throw up. I wonder if I’ll get to use my new mill? 🙂