Third Kit’s The Charm

I previously posted about how I messed up a model kit. Well, the second one I attempted didn’t fare so well either – again, the sides were on upside down.

The third kit, an LNER Fruit Van, went nearly perfectly.

LNER Fruit Van

I say “nearly perfectly”, but while there are no glaring errors in my work there are a few: a gluey finger print on one side, damaged detail on part of the undercarriage due to too much glue and the roof hasn’t been glued in place yet (due to requiring a a very fine drill).

Next comes two things – building another 5 similar kits which I bought at Model Rail Scotland and learning to paint to them…

Model Building Mishaps

The last time I built a model kit, I must have been 10 or 11. It was a rather large model of the Enterprise from Star Trek: TNG, and I didn’t do a very good job of it. There was glue everywhere for a start, and most of the pieces weren’t aligned properly. I never even got round to painting it, instead choosing to bin it a few years later.

The only other attempts which I can recall were a model of Thunderbird 2 which only had instructions in Japanese and an Airfix Spitfire (every British child has attempted to build an Airfix Spitfire – it’s practically part of the national¬†curriculum) which was mostly built by my Dad.

So by my reckoning, this is my third solo attempt:-

Mis-Assembled LNER Goods Van

Can you spot the mistakes? One is pretty easy to see (especially if you check the extremely big full size version of the photo), the other one is only noticeable if you know what you are looking for or are more familiar with railway wagons then I am.

The big mistake is that the doors are defying gravity by hanging up the way. I didn’t notice that until I went to put the roof on. By that point, it was far too late to fix it, because the polystyrene cement melts the plastic of the components in order to make the joins, so it can’t be taken apart easily. I decided to carry on regardless, to get the practise, which is when I made the second mistake.

The long beam at the bottom of the side should be recessed by about half a centimetre. Because it isn’t, it’s impossible to actually put the wheels on. At this point, I decided to give up, without putting all the other rods on to the bottom of the wagon.

Luckily, I already have a plan for this. First of all, it can be used to test painting techniques on, before I try them out on subsequent (and hopefully better) models. After that, I’m going to cut some of the bits off the bottom and turn it into a van body used for storage, similar to this real life example. I’m planning to lean some model corrugated iron and tarpaulin up against it to hide the worst sins.

So, what have I learned from this:

– Don’t apply so much polystyrene cement, because it’s a bugger to get off if it leaks out of joints.
– Practise assembly before building to avoid mistakes.
– If something looks like it doesn’t quite go that way, then it probably doesn’t.
– Using solvents when you have a cold and are watching Question Time probably isn’t a good idea.
– Read the instructions twice and lay out all the pieces before hand to avoid failure.

All that said, I have to recommend Parkside Dundas’ kits. They are quite straight forward and seem to be quite good quality. They are also reasonably cheap, clocking in at between ¬£5 and ¬£8 for 00 scale four wheeled vans, although they obviously require more time and effort then the ready-to-run (RTR) wagons from Hornby, Bachmann and Dapol. They are, however, far more rewarding then the RTR stuff, as I’m already finding out.

I’m going to Model Rail Scotland on Sunday, so hopefully I’ll be able to pick up another one of these kits because I particularly wanted an LNER goods van. I’ve already got a BR goods van kit and a LNER open van with container to build, and I’m looking for some coal vans as well.

Tinkering With A Small Layout

Working On The Railway

Oh dear. It looks like I’ve finally taken the first steps on actually building something which I can run my trains on.

How horrifically geeky of me.

It’s not terribly big and it’s not progressed very far, but it’s a start and it’s taken me more then two years to actually get to this point. For reference, this point is having cork glued to the baseboard (to dampen the noise made by the trains) and nailing the track down.

The track will be coming back up when I’m next at my Mum’s (there isn’t room for it in my current accommodation). This will let me put down ballast, which will makes the track look a bit more realistic. I would have done that this weekend, but I don’t have enough of the granite chips to do the whole thing.

After that’s done, the board needs to be painted in a neutral colour and I need to build some some landscape, because there are very few parts of Scotland which are as flat as a billiard table. Then, it’ll start looking a bit more like what it is – a siding off a branch line to allow coal to be dropped off for local merchants.

In the meantime, I’ll probably be building a few scenic items and kit models. I’m particularly taken with the idea of having a patched up carriage body sitting around for use as a store, or possibly accommodation for the local tramp.

For reference, the setting is somewhere in the North-East of Scotland, between 1930 and 1960. That allows me to use vans and trains suitable for the LNER or British Railways, including some of the early diesel trains. Sadly, it’s not big enough for me to play with things like this or this, but it’s not the end of the world.