New Tricks – brass kits

So what do I need to learn to make this a worthwhile challenge. Well after point building, the next biggest task, and probably steepest learning curve is brass /etched metal kits. I will need to build several etched wagon kits and the piece de la resistance for the layout will be an etched brass colliery head frame / winding gear.

Brass kits and Black and Decker modelling hasn’t seemed to mix so I need to reinvent myself. The ‘pocket money’ range by Connoisseur Models has kits aimed at beginners. This was a perfect entry for me, or so I thought, except the 4mm range has been discontinued. Undeterred I purchased two 7mm kits, a low mac and an LSWR brake van.

Determined to get it right, I read the instructions (a novel approach) and combined with advice and tips from club mates at Risborough & district MRC, found that I needed a whole tool range of tools. First up was the soldering iron. My 25w Antex iron was simply not man enough so I invested in a temperature controlled, 50watt iron. Fitted with a wide, 4mm trip, this has made soldering much easier. I have dusted off my ‘hold and fold’ and various bull dog clips and small clamps. I stocked up on various flux products including Carrs green flux and some brass brushes for cleaning up.

First up was the low mac which is one of the beginners kits. This proved to be a decent kit though I would build it differently a second time. There are a few minor build errors but hopefully they will not be noticeable when painted. It has been tested around the Risborough club test track and did not fall off so at least it runs! I really enjoyed building the kit and had a proud smile on my face as it toured the test track for the first time and it even stayed on the track.

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Connoisseur Models Lowmac

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Next on the work bench is the LSWR brake van. This is a more complex kit and I am making sure I take my time to get it right. Progress has been slow as a result but I am happy with the quality that results.

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Connoisseur Models LSWR 24 Ton
Brake Van – sides in progress

I have now been able to test out some new equipment \ product. Firstly I have now got a Badger mini sandblaster airbrush (Model 260-1) so have given the lowmac a blast. Whilst this has removed some surface deposits and given a good base for the primer, it appears my compressor is not man enough for the heavier deposits. I resorted to the tried and tested Shiny Sinks for the final clean up. The result was a good clean surface.

Untreated lowmac

Untreated lowmac

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Lowmac after cleaning with sandblaster & shiny sinks

I have been researching primer paints for a week or two and there seem to be 2 camps – Alclad 2 primer with micro-filler or Halfords car primer. I decided to try the Alclad 2 primer, bought from The Hobby Shop. This contains a micro filler which smooths out minor imperfections and forms a good bond for the top coats. Results so far look very encouraging with an excellent smooth finish to the lowmac.

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Lowmac after painting with Alclad 2 primer

Work has moved on with the LSWR brake van. Much detail has to be added to form the strapping and stanchions. I might not take a conventional approach to this type of detail but the end result is the same. I apply a liberal amount of liquid flux the solder over the part. Add more flux then offer onto the van side. Lots of heat from the 50W iron and bingo, a well fixed part. It needs cleaning up so the Dremel will be used with brass burnishing brushes then a trip to the sand blaster. I also have some desolder braid to try at some point as well.

LSWR brake van body now assembled

LSWR brake van body now assembled

 

With new skills leanrt, my attention turned to the R T Models Hudson tipper wagons which grace Kirkmellington. Etched in Nickel Silver, the techniques learned from the Connoisseur Models 7mm scale kits are being applied and thankfully, it is proving to have been the correct course to take. Luckily, the Risborough & District MRC have an O gauge layout under construction so my 7mm models will still get to run.

First, I have formed the six Hudson tubs and worked through the detail parts before starting on the chassis.

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Hudson tippers

Hudson Tipper – running trials

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