It seem a very long time since I last posted to the blog, so maybe it’s time to run through what I have been doing since the beginning of the year.
There are three loco kits in preparation, the S&D Scottie and two unannounced Midland Railway Johnsons. All are well advanced with most of the design work finished on the Scottie and one of the others. There is one major test still to do and if this is successful I expect the Scottie to be available by Railwells this year and one, if not two, of the MR locos by Scalefourum.
I will update the web site to reflect this when I have more information on pricing and availability.
The supply of the nylon coach underframes has been a nightmare this year. Shapeways, who manufacture these, changed their way of checking the uploaded drawings which resulted in models that had printed in the past being rejected, and because only the first fault was reported, I soon found myself in a seeming endless cycle of error correction and rejection. In the end I gave up and withdrew all these underframes from the website. Recently I have found a local resin caster who is willing to experiment with some my ideas, so the plan is to remodels all the underframes and bogies in a resilient resin. This will improve the surface finish and maybe lower the price.
I have the first prints of the MET Dreadnoughts bodies, so it is likely that these will be used as guinea pigs for a wider range of bogies and underframes. I would expect these coaches to be available certainly by Scalefourum this year.
The long term plan is to convert those kits that have been produce in the past as etchings to either all or part resin kits. The problem with this approach is that as the patterns and moulds for the resin are relatively expensive, I will have to be careful about which coaches get this treatment. My gut feeling is to go for specialist stock, such as push & pull units and restaurant cars, but I am always open to suggestions.
In the mean time all the etchings listed in the old lists are still available at the quoted prices.
With so many new wagons listed, I determined that what was needed was a much quicker way of generating 3D models than painstakingly drawing them in CAD. So a start was made on writing a script that could generate the required 3D information. I made a good start and managed to get the headstocks, solebars and w-irons working, but them ‘other stuff’ intervened and now I have to go back to the scripts and try and work out why it did it all that way…
However I have patterns for three NSR wagons ready to go for casting in the next couple of weeks and two more close to being finished.
The wheels have been on a back burner for a while, mainly because I have had increasing doubts about the material that I have been using. By it’s nature it is somewhat brittle, and because it is a photopolymer it will tend to age and become more brittle over time. Ideally the wheels should be made in a tougher material than the one used at present. It it is likely that this will be possible with a resin and work will start soon to find a way of producing suitable moulds.
It has been one of my long term aims to be able to to produce ready to run locos in P4 and EM as well as OO, so being able to make prototypical wheels is a fundamental part of that ambition.
All in all the first part of 2013 has been disappointing and frustrating. Let’s hope that the change in the weather will see more of the pile of part finish projects brought to fruition.