Time for an Update

29 October 2018

The new FV432 update set

I’ve just put another accessory set on my website.  It’s a stowage basket and stowage bin that were fitted to FV432s from 2000 onwards.

The new bins in place

My N gauge Haverfordwest layout is based on the period 2000 to 2004 (I went there to photograph the site in 2000, and again in 2004 where I saw a military train) and so I needed to have these additions on all of the FV432s on my layout.  This photo shows one of the vehicles that I’ve temporarily taken off the layout to photograph it.  This is only a subtle change, but one that I wanted to do.

 

NGS Warwell kits now available

One interesting piece of news is that The N Gauge Society now have the modern Warwell kit in stock.  Two weeks ago I attended the Cardiff Model Railway Exhibition with my club where I saw a very nicely made N gauge layout from a group of Bristol modellers.  It was one of them who told me that the Warwell is available again.  I’ve just had a look on their website, and it’s still available.  However, what they call the WWII Warwell and Warflat kits (that were actually used up to the mid 1970s) with diamond frame bogies are still not yet available.

 

IPMS Scale Modelworld

The other piece of news is that I shall definitely NOT be attending the IPMS Scale Modelworld show in Telford any longer.  Sales were low in the 2016 show, but I just about covered my costs.  Last year the organisers insisted on all traders having public liability insurance.  I covered the other costs of the 2017 show, but not the cost of the insurance, that I had purchased specifically for this show (no one else insists on you having it as a trader, other than the show at The Tank Museum, that I have never done as a trader).  What is clear is one important fact of life.  It’s all well and good being invited to attend shows, but if very few people buy your products there’s little point in being there.  When you attend a show as a trader you get very little chance to look around the show, as even with friends to help you, you don’t want to leave them for too long on the stand.  If I ever do decide to visit Scale Modelworld again, it will be as a visitor, rather than as a trader.  At least that way I might get a chance to have a look around the place.  I made a diorama of a Tornado in a Gulf War setting, and went out of my way to finish off and have in stock the Thornycroft Nubian Major Mk.9 Fire Truck to try to attract some interest from aircraft modellers, but clearly they just weren’t interested.

So, if you want any of my models you’ll have to get them either on-line, or from one of the few remaining model shows that I am doing as a trader.  One show I shall definitely be continuing with is The International N Gauge Show (TINGS) in Leamington Spa in September, but in a different location.  For several years I have been in one of their “shell scheme” stands.  But the trouble with them is that you are cut off from your neighbouring stands, and I know that some people this year had difficulty finding me.  For 2019 I shall be in the same hall as before, but on an open stand, next to Andy Vaughan of Severn Models.

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More for The N Gauge Society

18 June 2018

I’m spending a lot of my time at the moment doing work for The N Gauge Society (NGS), both casting up some parts in pewter for their wagon kits, and also making master patterns and packaging a new range of mainly resin kits which are designed to be lighter, and so more suitable as loads for N gauge railways.

The resin Humber Pig

Here’s one of the first test castings of the Humber Pig, which is the next model in this small range of vehicles for The N Gauge Society, to go with the Saxon and upgraded Scimitar.  These two models are proving to be very popular, and there have already been several production runs of them.  The NGS Shop seem to be selling them as fast as they are being made.

The front grille is a separate part as it’s the only way that I could see to make it.  One advantage of this is that people can fit some of the alternative grilles that were fitted to these vehicles if they want to.  The Humber Pig has been made as an up-armoured vehicle as used in Northern Ireland, but could also be converted into one of the vehicles used by the Royal Hong Kong Police.  I’ve got photos of these at Ludgershall depot after they had been returned to the UK, so they would probably have got there by train.

The rear protection bar has been moulded on to the hull, so the list of parts is just the main body, the front grille, and four wheels.  I shall now have to wait for these models to be produced by the company doing the resin casting before I can send them off to the NGS Shop.  If all goes to plan, they should get them in five to six weeks.

Meanwhile, I am finishing off the fourth model that I agreed to make for the NGS, namely the Bv 206 over-snow vehicle.  I know that this is essentially just two boxes on tracks, but they are particularly complicated boxes with fiddly doors and windows to make.  I was asked to make it with clear windows, and so I have also needed to make a basic interior for it as well.

Here are the main hull parts, showing a separate interior for the front unit.  One big problem that I’ve had has been getting the sloping angles right for the body sides, and then making sure that the two body units are the same size.   I made the front unit, which looked okay, and then made the rear unit, only to find that it was the same width at the top as the front unit, but considerably wider at the base.  I re-checked everything, and found that the front unit was wrong.  I had the wrong angles to the body-sides, which resulted in the front body being narrower than the rear one.  I’ve got it all sorted now, but it was very fiddly to put right.

This coming weekend I’ve got the MAFVA (Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association) National Competitions in The Burgess Hall in St. Ives in Cambridgeshire on the Sunday.  This for me is always by far the best military modelling show in the UK and one that I can highly recommend to anyone interested in models of military vehicles of all shapes and sizes

Recent Activity

4 April 2018

On Easter Sunday and Monday I was with Peter Denyer, Dave Burton and Sean Hooper and his wife with my club, South Wales MAFVA at a Carmarthen Modellers show to celebrate 100 years of the RAF at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, at Middleton Hall, Llanarthne, which is just off the A48 just west of Cross Hands on the Road to Carmarthen.  This is somewhere that I have passed on my way to Pembroke many times, and for many times I’ve promised myself that I must visit the place.  It is the grounds of a large country estate, with some of the original buildings, and with a large unsupported dome glasshouse that was designed by Norman Foster.

The diorama as built for the IPMS Scale Modelworld in Telford

The diorama as built for the IPMS Scale Modelworld in Telford

I dug out all of the models that I had with RAF aircraft of vehicles, including this one of an RAF Tornado during the first Gulf War (Operation Granby).  I made it for the IPMS Scale Modelworld show in Telford to have something on my stand that would be of interest to aircraft modellers.  Two stands up from me was Jon Page with his Sphere Products range of laser cut MDF accessories.  He had served in the RAF at a Tornado unit, and told me that during refuelling, the wings would be angled outwards as otherwise, as the fuel went into the wings, the whole aircraft would tilt backwards, with the front wheels in the air!

RAF Fire Station

RAF Fire Station

I also made up a new RAF Fire Station, based loosely on the one I had seem at RAF St. Athan, and with the right combination of vehicles for when I visited the place, so that I could show off my new Thornycroft Nubian Major Mk.9 Fire Truck (and this also went with me to the show last weekend)  I was very concerned in that despite having a new model for the show, and two new dioramas to illustrate my models, sales at the show were disappointingly low.  To add to all of this, the show are now insisting that all traders, irrespective of their size, must have Public Liability Insurance.  I covered the cost of the stand, and of the hotel bill to stay there, but didn’t cover the cost of the insurance, and it’s only this show that is insisting on this.  As a result, I am very much continuing with P G Models, with sales this year up on those of last year, but I shall definitely NOT be attending the IPMS Scale Modelworld any longer as a trader.

The scene with the wings brought forward, and various bits broken off

The scene with the wings brought forward, and various bits broken off

Going back to the Tornado scene, throughout my years as a model maker I have always been very grateful for any comments from people who know about the subject of the model.  You always get the smart ar*es who tell you that it never appeared in that colour scheme, or you’ve got something on the wrong way around.  But for those who do know what they’re talking about I’ll make a mental note, or a written one about what needs to be corrected.  Many years ago I made a 1/76th scale Battlegroup Diorama, that I’ve shown previously on this blog site. One time I displayed it at at a Waterloo Day display held by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards when they were based in Tidworth.  During the course of the day I had loads and loads of comments from both officers and senior NCOs about various things that I didn’t have quite right.  I then spent about two months working through my list of “Things to Do” and corrected all of them.  A few years later I displayed the same thing at a very strange model show in The Royal Welsh Agricultural Showground in Builth Wells.  I’ve been at many shows where I’ve heard loads of bull sh*t, but this was the first one where I quite literally had it on the railings around me in the cattle shed where I had my Battlegroup diorama.  During the course of the show I met a number of Gurkhas, who were based at Dering Lines (School of Infantry) which is nearby, and also by someone who was an officer from there.  He was convinced that I must have been in the Army, and was most disappointed to hear that I was just a Weights & Measures Inspector.  The thing about this though is that by listening, and acting upon the various comments that I had heard, I managed to make my work that little bit more authentic.

For this Tornado, quite a few bits broke off in order to open out the wings, but I managed to do it without completely wrecking the thing.

The Tornado corrected - I think!

The Tornado corrected – I think!

And here it is, as displayed last weekend.  The only thing I’m not sure about now is whether the under-wing fuel pods and weapon pods should also now be tilted to face forward, but the wings are now in the correct position.  There is one other thing that I need to do on this.  The scene still has one figure pulling out the fuel hose, but Jon told me that this was usually done by two men as it was so heavy.  So I need to find one more little man to correct this.

The Tornado corrected - I think!

More landing craft models.

For the last few months I have also been working on more models for the senior NCOs in Marchwood.  I started with this order for three RCL landing craft, then had an order for another one, and for two MEXEFlote models as well.  When I first made this model of a Ramped Craft Logistic I expected to sell a handful of models, but not many more.  What I find quite amazing is that I have now sold 75 RCLs and 48 MEXEFlotes, and it looks as though I’ll soon get another order for more of them.  I have now nearly run out of the etched handrails that I had made up for me, and will now need to find someone else to do the etchings for me.

The Humber Pig

The Humber Pig

I’ve been doing some castings for the N Gauge Society, to make the ballast plough for the ‘Shark’ converted guards’ van, and have also been working on the new models to be cast in resin for the N Gauge Society. I went to the casters in Birmingham the other week and have given them the master patterns of the upgraded Scimitar and the Saxon again, for more castings of them, and also handed over the master pattern of the Humber Pig.  The potentially tricky bit will be casting the front bull-bar.  The casters have suggested one very novel solution that they are going to try, but if that fails I might have to beef this up a bit and cast it myself in pewter.  I’ll have to see how it goes.

Another view of the Pig

Another view of the Pig

Here’s another view of the completed Humber Pig.  I also discussed, and showed, what I have done with the Bv206 over-snow vehicle. There are a number of tricky things about this little model as well, but hopefully I’ve been given some very helpful advice as to how to get over those issues, to make what will be the last of the initial four vehicles that I promised to make for the N Gauge Society.

Meanwhile, I’ve got the Miniature AFV Association (MAFVA)’s Annual General Meeting next Sunday that I’ll be chairing again as the MAFVA Chairman.  And as the old saying goes, there’s nowt like a quiet life!  But I’d far rather be doing this than watching the TV or reading a newspaper all day, and ending up with dementia.

 

 

Something new for Telford

8 November 2017
The model in bare pewter

The model in bare pewter

I’m getting ready to go off to the IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) Scale Modelworld this weekend in The International Centre in Telford.  So just a quick post to show what will be new at this show,

From the other side

From the other side

I haven’t got the time to put this model on my P G Models website just yet as my priority is to build up some stock for the show.  I hope to put it on the site next week when I get back.

The older IRR green colour scheme with yellow stripes

The older IRR green colour scheme with yellow stripes

I did not start casting this model until the end of last week, so this and the red painted one have been done very much in a rush, so don’t look too closely at my painting.

Another view of the green one

Another view of the green one

I first started making this model about 25 years ago, to go with the Scammell Mk.10 and the Range Rover TACR2.  It’s been stuck in a cupboard for years and then just three weeks ago, I decided to see if I could finish it off so that I could have something new on my stand at Telford.

The three vehicles at an RAF Fire Station

The three vehicles at an RAF Fire Station

Here are all three fire vehicles together on a base with a fire station made up from two Kestrel Designs fire station kits.  What I have done is based loosely upon the fire station at RAF St. Athan when I visited the base in the early 1990s with Pencoed Air Cadets.

 

My Models for The N Gauge Society

18 September 2017

It’s been quite a while since my last post on this blog, mainly because I’ve been so busy.  Since becoming Chairman of the Miniature AFV Association (MAFVA) there has been a steady stream of things to do.  One big thing has been the development of a new MAFVA website by John Paulding where I have been helping out by adding reviews and posts.  Meanwhile, in South Wales MAFVA my friend Paul Hennessy has taken over the role of branch publicity officer.  Within days of starting this, Paul has set up a Facebook page for our club.  Again, having the thing set up, it is important to keep adding new posts to it as otherwise there is the risk of it becoming stale.  We’ve now got 67 members on this Facebook page, which is going well.  Incidentally, South Wales MAFVA are having our Annual Model Show on Sunday 1st October from 2.30 to 5 pm at St. John’s Church Hall, Rachel Close, Danescourt, Cardiff, CF5 2SH.  You are most welcome to come along and see what we make.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was working on making some resin models for The N Gauge Society (NGS), with the idea being that resin is a lot lighter than the pewter that I usually use, and so they will be more suitable as loads for the NGS kits of the Warflat and Warwell wagons, and for the post 1975  version of the Warflat that is currently being built.

Master pattern of the Saxon

Master pattern of the Saxon

Here’s the master pattern of the Saxon, and below is the master pattern of the Scimitar.

Master pattern of the Scimitar

Master pattern of the Scimitar

I did not want to be dong the same things in resin as I was already doing in pewter, so the Scimitar is one from the Life Extension Programme where they had deisel engines fitted with new grilles and air intake duct, plus new side bins to the front and raised headlights.  I did not want to do any casting in resin myself as I did not have the equipment to de-gas the resin to remove the air bubbles, and did not want any problems wit the fumes from the resin.  I ended up using the same resin casters as The N Gauge Society use for their own range of railway wagon kits.

The kits packed up ready for sale

The kits packed up ready for sale

What is surprising is the amount of time and effort that is required in order to put a kit into production.  There’s a lot more to it than just making a master pattern and casting from it.  First off, I needed to chose some suitable blister packs that would look suitably different from my usual P G Models ones.  That done, there was then a need for the artwork for the insert card to go into the pack.  This was kindly done for me by Ben Ando, and I then arranged to send off the artwork to the printers who printed them out and cut them to shape to fit into the blister packs.  Next thing was to sort out the instructions to go inside the pack.  Again, I wanted them to look different from my usual instructions and so had a “half-way-house” going a bit nearer the very detailed instructions that the NGS put in with their kits.  Unlike the other models in my range, these ones also have a colour photo of the vehicle to act as a reference.  And of course, I still needed a silicon rubber mould for the gun barrel and track units for the Scimitar.  I’ve got there eventually, but it has all taken time.

I cleaned up and packed the first batch of castings that I had and sent them off to The N gauge Society shop.  Within weeks of them going on sale, most of the first batch have already been sold.  As a result, I have now sent the master patterns back to the casters for a second batch to be produced.

The two models in black & green

The two models in black & green

Another view of them

Another view of them

I initially made up one of each model as you can see here, with photos of them used by the NGS for publicity, and I took them with me to a number of shows.  However somehow I’ve either lost them or put them somewhere so incredibly safe that I can no longer find them!  As a result, I made up another one of each and left them in their bare resin/pewter to show to people on my P G Models stand at The International N Gauge Show the weekend before last.

The assembled resin models

The assembled resin models

Here are the assembled models left in bare resin and pewter that I had on display at The International N Gauge Show.  They seemed to generate a huge amount of interest, with double the level of sales on the Saturday from what I did last year.  I also put the N Gauge Society journal next to the models as I was particularly pleased with what they had to say about my models.  If you’d like to read it, you can see it on the N Gauge Society website, which has also recently been revised and updated, and looks very good.

Some new ones

Some new ones

I’ve now made up two new models of each, as you can see in this photo.  One of each will go off to the NGS for display in their mobile shop display that goes around the model railway shows, and I’ve got one of each for myself.  These models are being sold only by the N Gauge Society, so if you want any of them you’ll have to get them either from the NGS shop by mail order, or from their display at any of the shows that they attend.

 

A New Range of Models

24 July 2016
Saxon Personnel Carrier

Saxon Personnel Carrier

Towards the end of last year I was asked if I could consider working with The N Gauge Society to  produce a range of largely resin models as loads for their existing Warwell and Warflat wagon kits, and for a new kit under development by them of a post-1975 Warflat.  The main problem with my pewter models is that despite them being hollow kits, they still weigh more than resin models and so raise the centre of gravity of the wagon and load.  I have largely overcome the stability problem on my own Haverfordwest layout by removing the floor plates from my vehicles, and adding a 5 gramme weight underneath them, and so lower the centre of gravity, as I have shown in a previous post.  However, there is still the problem of the weight of the vehicles, which limits the number of loaded wagons you can have on a military train on a layout.

I was initially unsure about this as I had taken quite some time in deciding which material to use for my range of models before deciding upon making them in pewter.  The idea this time was to get them cast by someone else who is currently doing all of the resin castings for the other N gauge Society kits.

Upgraded Scimitar (Life Extension Programme)

Upgraded Scimitar (Life Extension Programme)

I had a meeting with the Vice President of The N Gauge Society, and the person who is going to make the updated Warflat wagon, where we went through the various different options and possibilities.  All of the models in this range will be sold ONLY by The N Gauge Society.  You will have to be a member of this Society if you want any of these models.  I shall make the models for the Society, but I shall NOT sell any myself, at all.

My aim is to make all of the models in this range as either completely new subjects, such as the Saxon at the top of this post, or as upgraded versions of existing P G Models, such as the Scimitar LEP (Life Extension Programme) where the vehicle is a post 2004 version with a new diesel power pack/engine with new headlights, new stowage bins, new engine air inlet, new commander’s sight, and Bowman communications box on the side of the turret.

Humber Pig

Humber Pig

All of the models will be mainly made of resin, but some such as the Scimitar will have a pewter gun and track units.  Where appropriate, the plan at present is for the models to include photo etched parts such as stowage baskets and possibly wing/door mirrors.

Bv206 over-snow/amphibious vehicle

Bv206 over-snow/amphibious vehicle

Other vehicles to add to the range are the Humber Pig in its original 1950s version (suitable for the WWII version of the Warflat already in The N Gauge Society range of wagon kits) and also in a later form as used in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s, as shown above, before being replaced by the Saxon Patrol, which will also be considered, along with the Saxon Recovery Vehicle.  Above is the Bv206 over-snow/amphibious vehicle that is still in use by the Royal Marines.  I can clearly recall seeing a photo of one of these vehicles on a car transporter railway flat wagon, but I just can not find the photo anywhere.  If anyone can shed any light on this I would be most grateful as The N Gauge Society are also going to produce a model of this car transporter wagon.

The master pattern of the Saxon

The master pattern of the Saxon

Here is the master pattern of the Saxon.  I completed this just before The MAFVA Nationals in St. Ives in June so that I could take it along with me to show it to some of my friends before it went off to be cast in resin.

The master pattern of the Scimitar

The master pattern of the Scimitar

And here’s the upgraded version of the Scimitar.  Both of these models have now been handed over to the company that will do the casting and I am waiting to hear from them.  I have an expected delivery date of the end of September, but the models will not be available until some time later as there will need to be some time to develop the artwork for the packaging, instructions, and any etchings.  The other thing to consider is whether to release just these two models or to wait until more different types are available.  The release date will be down to The N Gauge Society rather than me.  So don’t hold your breath in anticipation just yet.

Two Scimitars at Haverfordwest

Two Scimitars at Haverfordwest

One thing that this will mean for me is there will be another train that I can add to my Haverfordwest layout, using the new Warflats, which probably will not be available until February/March next year.  I saw a train at Haverfordwest with just four Warflat wagons, one empty, and three with two Scimitars each, as above, and an empty Warwell.  A nice compact little train load.

I shall let you know how this develops, but there is one final point that I must stress.  These N Gauge Society kits are a new range that will be produced by me AS WELL AS my existing range of pewter kits.  There has been nothing new for a while as I’ve been working on some dioramas for myself and then making these two kits, but I do have loads of ideas for different pewter models to add to the P G Models range.

An Evolving Design

18 March 2016

I have been a member of the Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association (MAFVA) since the mid 1970s, some 40 odd years ago, and have recently been looking at our Association’s logo.

The original design

The original design

The Association started in 1965 and was originally known as the Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Collectors Association, although the ‘C’ for Collectors has been omitted in this early issue of Tankette, the Association’s magazine.

A Tankette from 1970

A Tankette from 1970

I joined the Miniature AFV Association in the mid 1070’s, but have since managed to get some earlier issues of what I have always found to be a really useful magazine (only available to members, so you have to join our Association if you’d like to have it).  By 1970 (probably earlier) the Association had developed a logo that has continued in use right up to the present day.  The logo shows a line drawing of the first tank ever to be built that was made by the William Foster Company in Lincoln and was affectionately known as “Little Wille” after its creator.  This first tank was really just a design concept, which went on to develop into tanks armed with guns that were successfully used in the First World War.  Little Willie is surrounded by a 12 toothed drive sprocket from a tank, that is attached to the tank’s engine and gearbox, with the teeth locking in to the tracks and so, as the drive sprocket rotates, it moves the track forward or backwards.

The 1983 version

The 1983 version

My knowledge of the 3D version of this design goes back to when I first entered any models in The MAFVA National Competitions that are held once a year.  First places in a class are awarded a trophy and certificate, and the seconds and thirds get just a certificate.  So I’ve got quite a few certificates, but just a limited number of awards, that makes them all the more precious (not worth a bean as a resin casting on a bit of wood, but there was a huge amount of effort put in to making each of the models that won any awards).  At the 1983 Nationals I entered several 1/76th scale models that got nowhere, and a 1/35th scale armoured Bedford RL ‘Pig’ that won the award for the best Post War model in the competition.  You’ll see that someone has now made a 3D version of our logo.  My friend Paul Middleton, who is now the MAFVA President (which he well deserves) tells me that it is actually an escutcheon.  I had to look in my Oxford Dictionary which says that “an escutcheon is a shield on which a coat of arms is represented: a family shield”  which seems to describe it quite nicely.

The 1988 Nationals in Manchester

The 1988 Nationals in Manchester

Five years later I was at the 1988 Nationals in Manchester.  I had dropped off my wife and children to look around the city centre whilst I went to the model show. I can’t find any certificate to go with this award, so I don’t know what it was for, but you can see a further evolution of the “Little Willie”  surrounded by a mailed fist and with a red rose (of Lancashire?).

The 1990 Nationals in Glasgow

The 1990 Nationals in Glasgow

This was taken a stage further with a really well produced version of Little Willie, this time surrounded by a Scottish thistle to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Miniature AFV Association, and that the Nationals were held in Glasgow.  This time I can say that I was awarded this for either a 1/76 scale model of a Foden 8×4 Cargo Truck, or for a 1/76th scale model of a Combat Engineer Tractor, both of which won 1st places.  This is a particularly attractive design.

I was discussing the MAFVA escutcheon with Peter Bailey of London MAFVA at our Annual General Meeting in St. Albans last Sunday and he told me that he believed that this design was made by one person, but I now know that it was designed by Derek Hansen of Accurate Armour.  You can see that he has done a superb job in sculpting this design which still looks as good now in 2016 as when I first saw it in 1990.

The 1999 version

The 1999 version

It would appear that someone, somewhere later removed the thistle part of the design to leave the drive sprocket and the Little Willie.  My model club, South Wales Branch of the Miniature AFV Association used resin copies of this design when we held the MAFVA Nationals in Cardiff in 1998.  This one was an award to me at The Nationals the year later in 1999 for fist places in the classes for Small scale softskin kit – a Bedford TK; or for Small scale softskin conversion – Leyland DAF DROPS Truck.

A resin copy from 1998

A resin copy from 1998

Going forward to a few weeks ago, I was wondering what one of the Little Willie escutcheons would look like if I cast it in pewter.  The one above had been painted, so I took off the paint with Mr Muscle oven cleaner (make sure you follow the instructions if you want to use this as a paint stripper as it’s quite nasty stuff), and then used Milliput to fill in some gaps around the edges of the drive sprocket.

The end result

The end result

And this is the end result.  The pewter has ben cleaned with files and then rubbed over with a brass burnishing brush.  The sun has caught it at the top of the cog, but it is of a more even colour than it looks here.  Many previous versions of Little Willie have been made in resin and painted with metallic paint, but this is the first one actually made of metal.

I took some with me to the show in Folkestone (see my last post) where I gave Paul Middleton some of them for use as awards at the 2016 MAFVA Nationals which will be held in The Burgess Hall, Westwood Road, St.Ives, Cambridgeshire PE27 6WU on Fathers Day 19th June this year.  If you want to see the best of British miniature armour modelling, and softskins, this is the show to attend, and also with one of the best selections of specialist traders as well  I sold several of these “Little Willies” at Folkestone, and also at the MAFVA AGM where they appeared to be very popular.

 

 

Saracen nearly done

2 September 2015
Side view of the Saracen APC

Side view of the Saracen APC

For the last few months I’ve been working on the Saracen Mk.2 Armoured Personnel Carrier as well as building up my stock for The International N Gauge Show in Leamington Spa the weekend after this on 12th & 13th September.

Same model, but in bare metal

Same model, but in bare metal

It’s taken quite a time to get this model done as there are a multitude of angles on the vehicle.  It fact it was probably not far off a modern “stealth” vehicle.  What this means is that you have to be very careful in getting the angles right.  Just one or two thousandths of an inch out and it will completely spoil the model.

3/4 rear view

3/4 rear view

This isn’t a brilliant photo, but it shows the rear plate, which was one big problem.  You can just about see that there are what look like exhaust pipes running up the hull rear on either side.  These are in fact crew air extraction rather than engine exhaust pipes.  They are too small to be made as separate parts, so I attached them to the rear plate.  My first mould came out with the upper hull fouling on these air exhausts, which meant that it would not sit up against the rear plate.  So, parts adjusted and second mould made.

Two different wheel sizes

Two different wheel sizes

In the photo above, the casting from the second mould is on the right.  I had used the wheels from the Stalwart (but with new suspension arms) as being as close as I could get, but they weren’t quite right.  I had the model with me at the Avon IPMS model show in early August and showed it to my friend Tim Neate, who has done some articles on the Saracen in the MAFVA magazine Tankette. He liked the look of the model, but felt that the wheels were too big.  He thought that the wheels from the Bedford MK/MJ may be nearer the right size.  I had a week off the Saracen to get some more casting/re-stocking done and had another look at it the following week.  I found the original wheel that I had used for the Bedford MK/MJ, which was slightly smaller, but square in profile.  So I went over the wheel with a small scalpel blade and opened up each of the tread marks, and then rounded off the squareness.  This wheel is just 20 thou less in diameter/ 1o thou in radius, but is now far nearer the right size.  The end result is the casting to the left from mould No.3.  Thanks again to Tim for his helpful advice.  It was/is much appreciated.

The other side view

The other side view

I haven’t got the time to take my usual black & white and colour photos for my P G Models website, so I won’t release this model on the website until after The N Gauge Show.  However, I am building up a stock of them and will have them for sale at the show.  I’ve now got to draw up a side view of the vehicle and an exploded diagram of the parts to show what goes where, and then to put them into a Word document with arrows and text.  There’s just over a week to go before the show, so it should be just about enough time to do it.

 

Making and Painting a Runway Control Vehicle

7 June 2015
All of the parts

All of the parts

Well, not quite “all.”  With the wheels missing and the front of the body in place.  Even so, this is certainly one of the simpler models in my range.

Fixing the chassis to the body

Fixing the chassis to the body

I have made the chassis integral with the body floor for ease of construction.  It simply slides into place along a step inside the body, and then goes down into a central slot on the body front.

The main body parts together

The main body parts together

Here I’m holding the chassis/body floor up against the body whilst the two-part epoxy resin sets.

Adding the cupola

Adding the cupola

I have made the observation cupola with solid windows to be consistent with the other models in my range, but this could be opened up or replaced with one made up from plastic card and clear acetate sheet if you wanted to have one with transparent windows.

Spraying on the primer

Spraying on the primer

I usually use Halford’s grey primer, but for this vehicle I used the white one.  My “spray booth” is simply a piece of hardboard and a piece of cardboard vertically behind it.  When you spray, start just off the model to the left and have a steady spray across the model and onto the board to the right of it.  Do this gently and repeat until there is an even layer of primer all over the model.  Remember that several thin coats of paint are better than one thick one where the paint will run and clog up any detail.

Everything primed

Everything primed

Start by spraying on the underside.  This is an acrylic based primer, so it dries very quickly.  Even so, I still leave it for about 15 minutes before turning over the parts and spraying the upper surfaces, then leave for a couple of hours before any top coats of paint.

Painting in satin white

Painting in satin white

All of the upper surfaces were painted in satin white using the flat brush you can see to the right.  Take care to keep the paint off the windows as a matt surface is best for going over them later on with a pencil.

Cutting out the transfers

Cutting out the transfers

The completed model that I have shown on my website is painted overall light olive green, with yellow stripes.  For this one I fancied something a bit more colourful, with the red and white chequer board pattern, with a green cab, wheel hubs,  and chassis.  The big problem was how to do it.  I thought of painting it white and them masking off the white and spraying on the red, although there is often some paint creep around the edges of the masking tape.  Then I had an idea, what about using red transfers/decals from red cross markings.  The ones above came from a 1/87th scale Roco Minitanks set and were exactly the right size.  You could use any suitable source of red markings.  Something like a 1/35th scale ambulance marking would also do, if you’ve got one spare.

Applying the transfers to one side

Applying the transfers to one side

For these transfers I used Humbrol DecalFix and was very pleased with the end result.  The DecalFix was brushed on the model where the transfer was to go.  The transfer was put into a shallow dish of water, to the top right, for just a few seconds.  It was then taken out of the dish and left on one of my fingers for a bit longer until the transfer started to loosen from the backing card.  It was then slid off my finger and on to the model, onto the wet DecalFix.  Once happy with its location, a light coat of DecalFix was put over it.  Leave for a few minutes to set, and then onto the next piece.

Adding the top bits

Adding the top bits

I didn’t have enough of the larger squares for the top parts, so made these up from some smaller red crosses, as you can see in this photo.

Finishing off with a coat of matt varnish

Finishing off with a coat of matt varnish

Once the transfers had fully set I then went over all of the body with a thin coat of matt varnish.  Staying with the Humbrol brand, I used their “Matt Cote” after giving it a good shake beforehand.  Matt varnish is one of those things that often causes problems.  Most times it seems to leave a slight sheen, and is very rarely truly matt.  However, with this Humbrol product I found that the finish was consistently matt.  And no, I’m not on any commission from Hornby (the owners of Humbrol).

Painting he green bits

Painting he green bits

Here’s a case of “do what I say, not what I do.”  I should of course have painted the green parts before applying the transfers. but I just about managed to keep the green paint off the red and white bits.

Painting the wheels

Painting the wheels

As usual, the wheels were painted matt black, with a touch of matt white added to it.  The wheels were left on their sprues for ease of handling.

Cleaning up the wheels

Cleaning up the wheels

Once the paint had fully dried, the wheels were clipped off their sprues using a Xuron cutter.  They were then cleaned up using a No.10 scalpel.  I used to do this using a file, but find that, no mater how careful you are, there will always be some bits of filing that mess up the wheels.  Using a scalpel saves this from happening. Once done, the bare metal was painted using the same mix as before.

Fixing the wheels in place

Fixing the wheels in place

The wheels were fixed in place as usual with a two-part epoxy resin, in this case the 5 minute version of Devcon.  It always seems to take longer than that to set, but it is a lot quicker than the other version of it,

Using a pencil for the widows

Using a pencil for the widows

All windows on the cab, the body and the cupola were rubbed over with a pencil.  Keep the pencil at as flat an angle as you can, and avoid pressing too hard to save lifting any of the paint.  I did in a couple of places, but it doesn’t show too much.

The end result

The end result

And here’s the finished model, or nearly so.  After taking the photos I’ve noticed a few places where the white looks dirty, which would probably be true to reality, but I would rather have it looking clean.  Overall though I’m pleased with the end result

 

Ready for Mould Making

21 May 2015
All of the parts ready to be moulded

All of the parts ready to be moulded

Just a short post to say that the Bedford Runway Control Vehicle is now ready to be moulded.  First off will be a mould with the two wheels, to get two of each, and then a mould with all of the bits that you can see here.

All joined together with no glue

All joined together with no glue

Here’s everything joined together with no glue in sight.  It doesn’t always work like this, but if it can go together okay without any glue it’s a good indication that it should go together okay as the finished kit.

Three-quarter view of it

Three-quarter view of it

This view gives a good impression of the modified cab, with mudguards horizontal at the rear, built up using Milliput two part epoxy resin, and a smaller front bumper, now with the headlights set into the cab.  Once the moulds are done, the next things to do are the instructions.  I make no claims to being a graphics artist, so drawing the assembly sequence is always a bit of a chore for me, although luckily it’s the thought of it that’s worse than actually doing it.