Posts Tagged ‘PG Models’

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.

 

Advertisements

Revised Website and Bristol Show

18 May 2017

If you have been trying to look at my website over the last few months you will have noticed that there have been numerous problems.  It started with anyone doing a search for P G Models using Google.  If you searched there you would have the link to the P G Models site, together with the warning “This site may be hacked.”  This did not come up on other search engines such as Yahoo, which just showed the site as normal, but it was off-putting to say the least to anyone doing a Google search.

I was in contact with the company who administer my website for me and I was told that the version of the software that was used on my site was now out of date and needed to be upgraded.  What started as just an upgrade ended up as a complete re-build of the site with the new software.  Whilst this was being done, I then found that if you clicked on P G Models, you were taken to a completely different site, so everyone was re-directed by some dear little hacker with nothing better to do whilst sitting at his laptop in his bedroom.  I am grateful to my website administrators who closed down the site completely as soon as I told them, and to Martin for telling me about this in the first place.  Luckily the new site was nearly completed, which I finished off by re-entering all of the pictures of my models.  550 pictures downloaded in a day!

When you now click on the site you get

New Header

New Header

Which is largely similar to the old site, but now with most of the pictures a bit larger.  This is particularly noticeable if you look in the Categories

The new Armour page

The new Armour page

Where the images are now a lot bigger and clearer. although they are still the same photos that I took many years ago.  If you hover your mouse over the image you will get “QUICK LINK” pop up, which if you click on it take you to brief details of the model, or of you click on the name of the model it takes you to the full-page as before with all of the details about the model.  I have cut back a bit on the pictures.  As you can see above, I’ve tried to get a good three-quarter front view for the main photo for each model, to be consistent.  I have now just one photo for most models showing them in bare pewter as I think it is made quite clear in the text for each model that they come as bare metal unassembled kits.

This process will have cost quite a bit, but it’s one of those things where I had little alternative but to do it.  Luckily the end result is a better site than it used to be, and if you do a Google search you now longer get told that the site may be hacked, because it is NOT hacked any longer!

 

Bristol Model Railway Exhibition

Bristol Model Railway Exhibition

On to some pleasanter things.  Nearly three weeks ago I went along to the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition which was a three day show in the last weekend of April.  For about two months before the show I worked solidly casting and cleaning models to build up my stock.  This year, for the first time, I had both my P G Models stand and I was also exhibiting my Haverfordwest layout and so the week before the show I went over all of the track and dusted down all of the buildings, trackside and trees .  Whilst getting ready for the show, I cleaned all of the locos and gave them a light oiling.  Much to my horror, I dropped my CJM Class 66 loco.  Sod’s Law at work, this of course was/is by far the most expensive model on my layout.  I managed to pick up the bits that had broken off, then removed the body shell from the chassis, re-located the broken off bits, and put it back together.  I don’t know what I did to the loco, but it, and all of the others ran better at this show that they ever had.  In the photo above you can just about see the blur of the CJM Class 66 hauling 18 wagons (which is about twice as long as I used to be able to do), consisting of 10 Warwells with Warriors, and 8 Warwells with my Armoured Ambulance train.  I put a lot of this down to the help I had from Neal Mansell who helped me out at the Didcot Model Railway Exhibition last October where Neal helped de-bug a number of things that weren’t quite right about the layout.  His expert eye to find them, and undoubted experience at curing them has made the layout run better than ever before.  And I admit that this idea of running all of the Warwells together was my friend Mike Gill’s idea rather than mine, but it worked!

Another photo from the Bristol show

Another photo from the Bristol show

My thanks must go to Mike Gill (who looks as though he is about to be decapitated by the banner in the photo above) who helped me set up the P G Models stand on the Thursday night, and then helped me load up the layout in a hire van on the Friday morning, then set it up, run it for three days, and help me take it apart again and unload back home on the Sunday evening.  Quite a marathon.  Thanks too to Dave Burton who helped man the P G Models stand on the Friday and Sunday, and to Mike Johns and his grandson who helped on the Saturday.   Sales were non-existent for most of the Friday and Saturday, and Mike’s grandson was eager to make a sale.  Another case of Sod’s Law,  I covered the stand whilst they went for a wander around the show, and whilst they were away, I made the one sale of the day!  I’m pleased to say that things were completely different on the Sunday, and I ended up covering all of my costs for the show.

Whilst at the show I took some video of the layout that my friend John Paulding has cleaned up and removed the worst of my shaking.  He has now posted it on You Tube as a MAFVAmovie.

Looking at the Goods Yard

Looking at the Goods Yard

One thing that really pleased me at the show was that I was finally able to show my layout to my friend Ron Weatherall, who is the person who gave me the idea in the first place.  These days, many people regard my Haverfordwest layout as simply a show place for my range of P G Models, but that was not why I made it.  I made the models because no one else made what I wanted, so I made them myself for the layout, and then after making them decided to see if anyone else would be interested in buying them. So P G Models started after I had begun work on the Haverfordwest layout.

I met Ron, who is a superb 1/76th scale civilian truck modeller many years ago (sometime around the year 2000) at  the British Model Soldier Society (BMSS) Bristol show that was held in Bath (now in Nailsea).  At the show I was exhibiting some of my small 1/76th scale dioramas of a tank transporter with tank and a support vehicle.  Ron told me that he had photographed armoured vehicles being loaded and off-loaded from railway wagons at Haverfordwest Goods Yard, behind the station.  Would I be interested in seeing his photos?  Does a fish swim!!!

I saw Ron again a few months later at a South Wales Model Show in Rhondda Fach Leisure Centre where he showed me his album of photos and he very kindly let me borrow it.  My first idea was for a small static layout in 1/76th scale using Genesis Kits white metal kits of Warwell and Warflat wagons, using armoured vehicle kits that I had from Cromwell Models.  This developed into a larger static layout and then I had the idea that if I went down in scale to ‘N’ gauge, I could probably be able to model all of the Goods Yard.  I chatted about this to my friends at our Miniature AFV Association (MAFVA) South Wales branch meeting where the others suggested that if I was going that far with a static layout, why not go a step further and make it into a working model railway layout.  And so the idea started.

I am really pleased that Ron has finally had a chance to see what has been very much the fruit of his idea.  I am very grateful for his much appreciated help and suggestions.  Thanks again Ron.

Website updated & news about me

26 November 2016

Just text in this post.  First off, if you’ve looked at my P G Models website recently you will see that I have altered all of the pages for each model.  Every now and again I get people ordering my models, and then realising that they are a smaller scale than they first thought.  I’ve had this several times with both the Scammell Commander and Leyland DAF DROPS models.  One of the problems is that if you do a Google search for say a model of an FV432, it’ll take you straight to the page on my website for the FV432, by-passing the front page where I tell people the scale of my models, and show a model in my hand.  This has now been changed, so for the FV432 you will now see:

 This is an un-assembled 1/152nd scale model kit of an FV432 that measures 35mm long, 19mm wide, and is 14mm high.  It weighs 24g and consists of 5 parts that are made of lead-free pewter alloy.

And the same for most of the models in my range.  You’ll see that it’s:

  • an unassembled kit;
  • that it’s made in 1/152nd scale;
  • what it is;
  • it’s dimensions (to the nearest millimetre);
  • it’s weight (to the nearest 2 grams – useful for railway modellers to see how many they can have in a train that is not too heavy for the loco to haul);
  • how many parts are in it (to give an idea of how complex it is to assemble);
  • and that it’s made of lead-free pewter alloy.

Hopefully that’s covering all angles that I can think of to try to make my models as clearly and as accurately described as I can.

At The International N Gauge Show in Leamington Spa back in September, just two months ago, but it seems a lot longer, I was asked by a few people if I could give an idea of when the vehicles I’ve modelled were or are in service.  This is something that I’ve been asked before, so I’ve gone through my reference books and have now altered all the pages of the website with this information as well.  So, for the FV432 again, you will now read:

 In Service – 1962 (as a Mk.1) then the Mk.2 around mid 1960s and now Mk.3 (upgraded Mk.2s) from the mid 2000s, still in service.

This gets a bit tricky for something that has been in service for such a long time as the FV432.  The actual mark of the vehicle is a Mk.2/2, so that would be more accurately late 1960s through to the mid 2000s, but these dates will give people an idea of when the vehicles were in service.  I have also altered my price lists, so these also now have the dates in service, although a lot more abbreviated than what’s on the website as there’s only a tiny bit of room to include this.

For some of the vehicles such as the RAF ones, I have had to guess on some of the in-service dates.  Whilst I was at the IPMS (International Plastic Modellers Society) Scale Modelworld show in Telford two weeks ago I asked a few of my friends who know a lot more about RAF vehicles than I do if they would check what I’ve written.  I’ll update this information as and when I hear from them.

MAFVA Chairmanship

The other bit of news is about me.  Back in the summer, on Father’s Day in June, I attended the Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association (MAFVA)’s National Competitions in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire.  This is always my favourite show of the year.  I’ve been a member of the Association since the mid 70s, for over 40 years!  Over those years I have made many friends from up and down the country and a few Worldwide as well.  The MAFVA has always given me much enjoyment and friendship which has seen me through hassles at work, then a broken marriage just as I got promoted, and then even greater hassles, followed by being chucked out through redundancy, and then dealing with cancer and a major operation to get rid of it.  And through all of that I’ve had the one constancy in my life in the form of my hobby, and in particular, the circle of friends in my model making association.  At the MAFVA Nationals I had a number of my friends ask me if I would consider standing for the post of MAFVA Chairman that was due for election at the end of this year, for appointment at our next AGM.  I gave this much thought and came to the conclusion that this would give me the opportunity to give something back to the association that has done so much for me in the past and has given me so many years of enjoyment, and continues to do so.

The latest issue of our MAFVA magazine “Tankette” was published at the start of this month where members were invited to apply for a number of posts in the MAFVA Committee, including the post of Chairman, so I applied for it with a nomination from my friend Des Burgess and seconded by David Payne, who I have both known for over 20 years, nearer 25.  I have now been told that I was the only person to apply for the Chairman’s post, and the current post holder did not re-apply,  so I am now the Chairman Designate (probably not “Elect” as there’s been no election) of the MAFVA, and shall take up the post at our next AGM in March.  This is something that I am very much looking forward to doing.

If I think back 38 years ago to 1978,  I was living in Croydon, my first daughter had just been born and I was a recently qualified Trading Standards Officer, who had been in the MAFVA for just a few years.  If someone had told me that I would eventually become a Chief Trading Standards Officer and later become the Chairman of the MAFVA, I would never have believed them in a million years.  But what is amazing is that both have/ are coming come true!  Quite incredible.

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.

MAFVA Nationals & some new dioramas

6 July 2016
Rab's Commander & Challenger

Rab’s Commander & Challenger

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the MAFVA Nationals a couple of weeks ago.  One of the main things for me about belonging to a national organisation such as the MAFVA is that you can meet up with people from all over the country rather than just locally if I were in an un-attached South Wales club.  One long-time friend of mine is Rab Burns who had come all the way down from Scotland to attend the show in St. Ives in Cambridgeshire.  Rab has made up a large collection of 1/76th scale tank transporters with a wide variety of loads.  He has also made up one of my Scammell Commanders and Challenger as you can see here.  I think he’s made a superb job of them.

DROPS with a Samaritan

DROPS with a Samaritan

Here’s another of Rab’s 1/152nd scale models, a Leyland DAF DROPS and Samaritan.  Mounted on a simple base with minimal groundwork, but enough to put the model into some sort of context.  Another nicely executed piece of work.

Stalwart Limber made up as a REME vehicle

Stalwart Limber made up as a REME vehicle

And finally, here’s another little gem from Rab, one of my Stalwart Artillery Limbers made up as a REME recovery vehicle with its crane stowed forward to maximise the amount of room for the crew under the tarpaulin over the rear body.  Rab won quite a few prizes at the MAFVA nationals for some of the other models that he brought along to the show.  He is an amazingly prolific modeller, and always to a high standard.

My new pylon diorama

My new pylon diorama

Here’s what I took along to the MAFVA Nationals as something new.  Not so much a military diorama as military vehicles in a civilian setting.  At the end of April I attended the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition as a trader and was next to Severn Models who make a variety of etched brass kits in several different scales, quite a bit of which is in N gauge, including this pylon.  I have thought about making a scene like this for some time, but wasn’t able to find a suitable pylon.  There is an N gauge one in the Scale Link range, but theirs has three arms, two on  one side, and one on the other and looks more like a French one than a British one.  There is also a pylon in the Kato range, produced by Heljan who I believe are a Danish company.  So okay for mainland Europe and Japan, but not quite right for the UK.  So Severn Models have finally filled what has been a big void for me.

I have deliberately shown it in my hand as every now and again I seem to get people confused over the scale of my models.  I recently had a series of e-mails from someone who wanted me to make a diorama for him as he had seen my work on this blog site.  I suddenly wondered if he was aware that my models were made to 1/152nd scale rather than 1/72nd and so pointed this out to him, and I’ve heard nothing more since then.  A pity really as I could have made what he wanted in 1/72nd scale, but just to make it clear, all of my dioramas for the last twelve years have been in 1/152nd scale.

A close-up of the vehicles

A close-up of the vehicles

A closer view of two of the vehicles.  Just bog standard vehicles from my range painted white to represent some of the vehicles used by Western Power and Distribution.  They have a large depot just down the road from where I live and seem to have some quite unusual looking vehicles.

Looking at it from the other end

Looking at it from the other end

Here’s another view of it, showing the Unimog at the other side.  I picked up the base at the On Track model show in Folkestone in February.  It was designed for a small vignette of two or three large scale figures, but is just right for what I wanted.  It is far more interesting to use an irregular shaped piece of wood rather than just a rectangle of MDF, which does have its uses, but not for this scene.

Abbot firing position

Abbot firing position

I couldn’t get this finished in time for The MAFVA Nationals, and didn’t want to rush it, so finished it of a couple of days later.  The original idea for this came from an Army Benevolent Fund calendar for 2006 that consisted of military paintings by Terence Cuneo.  The September picture was of E battery 1 Royal Horse Artillery in 1974 showing a Battery of Abbot self-propelled guns on an exercise in Detmold, Germany.  My model is not exactly the same as the painting, but is based loosely around it.

Another view of the whole thing

Another view of the whole thing

This is another diorama using wood as a base.  In this case it is a slice through a tree trunk with the bark still intact, which I think helps set the thing off nicely.  The trees and bushes came from a trader I saw at the IPMS Avon show in Thornbury (by the old Severn Bridge, same venue as the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition).  All of the vehicles on this diorama were originally made up as single vehicles to show my latest releases in my range of models.  They cover quite a few years with the FV432 being the oldest and the Ferret Mk.2/3 next to it the most recent.  They now have one base to show them off, which I think looks a lot more interesting than single vehicles doing nothing.

Unloading the ammunition

Unloading the ammunition

The position of the Abbot and the Stalwart is a straight copy from the painting.  All of the figures started off as a box of unpainted Preiser 1/160th scale German railway figures.  I altered their trousers and jackets by scraping with scalpel blades to make them look more like military trousers and tunic, and then I sliced off the tops of their heads and replaced them with pieces of plastic rod rounded off to form a helmet.  The painting in the calendar shows all of the crews in berrets, but the hard hats looked better to me.

The other Abbot to the front

The other Abbot to the front

Another view of the whole thing.  The Abbot to the front here has camouflage nets around both sides and front, with the one behind it having the net deployed by some of the crew.  Both Abbots have had their hull rear door opened up, to allow for the ammunition to be fed into them and to allow the fumes from firing the gun to disperse.

Looking across at the scne

Looking across at the scene

And finally, here’s another view of the diorama.  One of the big plusses for me about modelling in this tiny scale is that you can tell a complete story in a relatively small area,  This would be quite a large diorama in 1/76th scale, but there’s almost as much detail here in something that is half the size, and a quarter of the area (half as wide and half as deep).  The photos were taken out in my garden with a sheet of blue card behind it.

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.

 

A Couple of Interesting Days Out

15 July 2015
The stand at Corsham

The stand at Corsham

For the last few months I’ve been building my stock back up again and working on a new master pattern, so it makes a pleasant change to have a day out now and again.  On Saturday 4th July I attended a new model railway show at Corsham, just south of Chippenham in Wiltshire, which was a purely N gauge model railway show.  It was a really friendly show with plenty of light-hearted banter.  Whilst setting up my display I suddenly realised that I had a 5 ft long table rather than the more usual 6 ft.  As you can see in the photo above, I did a bit of hasty re-adjustment to fit what I could onto the table.

My Canadian scene

My Canadian scene

For most shows I display my scene based loosely on the Ashchurch depot.  For a change I brought along my Canadian scene, showing British Army rail movements to and from the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Alberta, not far from the border with the USA.  To be able to display tanks on railway flatcars on any scene post war, it has to be either Canada or mainland Europe, as modern British tanks from the Centurion in the late 1940s right up to the present day are all far too big for the UK railway loading gauge.  The largest armoured vehicle that is just within gauge is the Warrior Mechanised Combat Vehicle.

Little Ashton layout

Little Ashton layout

Looking around the show there were a number of layouts that caught my eye.  This one is Little Aston which is a modern layout of a motive power depot with a number of diesel locos.  The scenic work looks particularly impressive.

Looking down the layout

Looking down the layout

This is the same layout, looking along it to the other end.  In the distance is an Eddie Stobart depot using the Eddie Stobart articulated trucks in the Oxford Die-cast range. They looked very impressive en-masse.

Embankment Road layout

Embankment Road layout

Another interesting modern layout is this one, Embankment Road, built by Jo Alder.  It is based on the Laira depot in Plymouth that I used to pass when visiting my elder daughter at university.  A nice touch was that the building with the curved roof had interior lighting so you could see the loco inside it undergoing maintenance.  Nicely displayed and un-cluttered.

Sandsfoot Bay layout

Sandsfoot Bay layout

This is another nicely done layout from Ian Stoate, who runs East Somerset Models.  This is quite a large layout, again with a depot in the middle of it, with some oily grime around the areas where the locos would be.

This was just a one day show, which for a first attempt went very well.  There weren’t a huge number of visitors, although I sold more at this show than I did over three days at Bristol, mainly I am sure because all of the visitors were people interested in the one scale/gauge of N gauge models.

A Leopard gate guardian at Merrion Camp

A Leopard gate guardian at Merrion Camp

As a complete contrast, last Wednesday 8th July I attended a MAFVA (Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association) visit to the ranges at Castlemartin in Pembrokeshire.  For as long as I can recall, the entrance to the camp has had two tanks as gate guardians, always named Romulus and Remus.  I’m sure there’s a good reason for the tanks having these names, but I don’t know it.  This is Romulus, a Leopard I that recognises the period from 1961 to 1996 when the ranges were used every year by the Germans (or West Germans that they were for most of that period) which was a reciprocal arrangement for the British Army to use the Bergen-Hohne ranges in Germany.  The other gate guardian tank, Remus, is a Chieftain Mk.11 that had previously been displayed on a plinth in Pembroke Dock.

A Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle

A Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle

We started off with a briefing about the ranges that was fascinating.  I had seen the Forward Operating Base that they had constructed near the main control tower for pre-Afghanistan training.  What I didn’t know was that they also had five mock Afghan villages scattered throughout the ranges.  These have all gone now with the ranges being used for training in more conventional warfare.  The Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) were firing on one of the ranges, with their support vehicles ready for any mishaps or breakdowns.   This Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle was on its way to us to have a good look over it.

The three vehicles on display for us

The three vehicles on display for us

A Challenger 2 and a Warrior Mechanised Combat Repair Vehicle also came over to us.  In this photo you can see members of the MAFVA and of the Friends of the Tank Museum looking over the vehicles and chatting to the crew.  You can look at photos for as long as you like, but you can’t really appreciate the sheer power and size of these vehicles until you can get up close to them.  Thanks to the NCOs and Troopers/fitters who crewed these vehicles for the time they took to show us their vehicles and answer a barrage of questions they had from us.

The RTR on the ranges

The RTR on the ranges

After lunch we went up to the public spectator area where we were able to look across at the RTR firing their tanks at the targets.  What was interesting for me was that our host, the Deputy Training Safety Officer, was explaining exactly what was happening.  The tanks were firing onto pop-up target boards that were both static and moving, out to a distance of about 2.5 km.

A French Rafale plane

A French Rafale plane

At the same time as the RTR firing on one range, another had two British Army Royal Artillery 105mm Light Guns firing further over to the west, and some French mortars, and some French planes.  There were four Rafale planes that had flown over from France, refuelling mid-air en-route that were due to fire on some of the hard targets.  In the end, one plane swooped down towards the targets with two bursts of cannon fire, which is something that you don’t see that often.

 

Another view of the Challengers during live firing

Another view of the Challengers during live firing

And finally, here’s another view of the RTR Challenger 2s on the ranges.  This was a really fascinating day out that was well worth attending.  The Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association (MAFVA) are planning on setting up more visits like this to military establishments, to give their members the opportunity to do something that just couldn’t be done by an individual civilian like me.

 

 

A Bit more on the Trailer

30 January 2015
The back of the front wheel

The back of the front wheel

It’s been a bit of a mixed month so far.  Quiet for orders at the beginning of the month, but picked up dramatically towards the end, and then I caught one of the winter cold/flu bugs that are going around which became one of the worst for several years.  So, just bits done on the trailer, which I shall show all together here.

The front wheels are slightly unusual in that they have square mud flaps, front and rear that are attached to the wheel assembly rather than to the tank, so that the mudguards move as the trailer goes around a corner.  I made them with a jig of two pieces of plastic card to ensure that the mudguards were located squarely.

Test fitting the front wheel

Test fitting the front wheel

I left it for a few hours to make sure that the solvent had fully set, then tested it against the trailer using blocks of scrap plastic card to raise it up.

Comparing with the truck

Comparing with the truck

Looking closely at the photos that I’ve got, it appears that the profile of the fuel tanks on both the AEC Refueller and the Gloster Saro trailer appear to be the same.  The two items in model form will also hopefully be the same.  They also have the same steps cut into the side of the tank.  I made these by cutting out the shapes on a piece of 10 thou plastic card, to make the same shape holes for both fuel tanks.

The underside of the trailer

The underside of the trailer

Working in this small scale there have to be some simplification of some of the parts, as I’ve done this here with the rear axle and simplified springs on the front axle.  With the wheels fitted though, these will be barely visible.

Both wheels lined up

Both wheels lined up

The rear wheel is the same one as used on the AEC, but with a cut out for the supporting strut on the underside of the tank.  The front wheel started off as one from one of my original Foden trucks that were made for me in resin in the early 1990’s.  I had to use two wheels and cut between the two tyres, file them smooth and re-join them to match the narrower profile of the tyres on this vehicle than on the Foden.

Working on the tow bar

Working on the tow bar

In this photo, the tow bar is shown to the left of the turntable that fits underneath the front of the trailer.  I often make small fiddly parts like this on a steel rule, so if you do use too much solvent, just let the parts set properly and then you can lift them off the ruler a lot more easily than if you make them on the cutting mat.  There are two hinges on the rear of the tow bar that locate on the front of the turntable unit.  There is a complicated arrangement of the fuel pipe that goes from the truck to the trailer as it goes from the top of the tow bar, as in this photo, and extends down to run along underneath it.  The best way to make these pipes is not from circular rod, as that would create undercuts which would tear the rubber mould when casting from it.  To avoid that, I use square rod as you can see to the lower left in this photo.  I then carved and filed it to shape so that it is curved just on the upper surface.

The underside of both parts

The underside of both parts

Here are both parts joined together and showing the underside.  There is a slight gap between the pipe of the tow bar and the one on the turntable to allow for some movement of both parts when assembling the kit.

The upper surface

The upper surface

And here’s the same parts from above.  You can see a hole in the turntable that will locate onto a pin on the underside of the trailer.

Making the connecting hoses

Making the connecting hoses

One very fiddly bit was the connecting hoses that go from the rear of the AEC refueller to the trailer.  This was done by trial and error.  There are three right angled joints on this part.  I tried bending plastic tube using various heat sources, but couldn’t get them to come out with a tight enough curve.  I ended up making them from some plastic strip and carved and filed them to shape.  I made six and chose the best three.

Test fitting the part

Test fitting the part

The tow bar was put on a piece of Blu-Tack to get it to the right height and then I adjusted the pipes until they seemed to be the right size.

The pipes in place on the AEC

The pipes in place on the AEC

Here are the pipes in place on the AEC.  They should connect to the pipe on the tow bar, with both truck and trailer in a straight line.  It should also be possible for the more adventurous model maker to show the two going around a corner.

The two models together

The two models together

And finally, here are the trailer and the refueller next to each other.  There are only a few bits left to do now.

2015 Prices

1 January 2015

Some good news, the price of my model kits will remain the same in 2015 as they were in 2014.

I have used up loads of pewter with all of the orders for the Ramped Craft Logistic (RCL landing craft) and for the Mexeflote powered raft.  As a result, I had to order another 25kg of pewter in December, which I would normally do in the summer.  The price of the pewter varies between orders as it is based on the prices at the Metal Exchange, which alter daily, and can go up and down quite a bit.  What was pleasantly surprising was that the cost of the pewter for this order was quite a bit less than my previous order.  This decrease will balance out increases in the cost of packaging and of course, in the postage which always seems to go up, although Royal Mail increased the size limits for a “Small Package” which meant a slight decrease in the cost of some parcels for me.

Wishing you all a peaceful and Happy New Year.

2014 Prices

2 January 2014

Last year I kept prices the same as 2012, but this year I’ve had to put them up a bit to off-set some of the price rises that I’ve had.  The biggest element of cost for me is the metal.  The pewter I use is mainly tin, with some copper and antimony.  All of these vary in price on a daily basis in the metal exchanges.  When I ordered more metal back in 2012 I was lucky to catch it at a bit of a low, which is why I was able to hold my prices last year.  My order for metal in 2013 was at the other end of the spectrum where I had caught it at a relatively high point, which was about 12% higher than the previous year.

Another key factor is The Post Office.  It changed its pricing criteria for parcels, but I found that for orders of just one or two models, I could re-package my models into plastic bags, which brought them down from a small package rate to a large letter rate.  They also had a fairly restrictive size for a small package, but I found that if I cut down some of the smaller boxes I use, I could get below this criteria.  Since then, the Post Office have slightly relaxed their sizing criteria, and I no longer need to cut down the boxes, which will save me quite a bit of time.

On top of that there have been more price rises for the blister packs that I use, and the photo-etching company that I have used have put the size of a minimum order up so much that I’ve now got to look for another supplier (so I won’t be rushing to have any more etched metal parts, although I do think that they look good on the Scammell Commander and Challenger models).

The price rise is just below 5% which will go some way to covering my increased costs.

On another point, I’ve just come back from a visit to the Lord & Butler model railway shop in Cardiff.  They now have a small diorama of my models and a small display with 12 models assembled in bare pewter, together with a small stock of these 12 models. I tried this a few years ago and had reasonable sales.  This time I’ve given them a bigger diorama than previously and a smaller version of the steps that I have at shows to show my models in bare pewter.  I’ll see how it goes.