Sunday, November 17, 2013

Workin' on the railroad...

So here we have it, the first locomotive of the Ukraziland & Gwundaland Light Railway (U.G.L.R, or Uglier as it's affectionately known).
 Henry Oliver Pratt and Oberst Hans Wöhl inspect 'Priscilla,' 
the new tank engine.

Pratt and Captain Whitney discuss the engineering required to lay miles of track through sometimes-hostile terrain.
* * *
I do need to cast more track lengths to make a full stretch across the width of the gaming table, and sometime after that the length of the table, which is six feet. Rolling stock in the shape of flat cars and goods wagons will appear by the by. 

Of course, the country must be conquered in order to run any kind of railway at all. More on that when I get a chance to clear the decks and actually run a game.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Progress on the railway

It was a busy weekend what with plumbing problems to fix. I did finish the main construction on the tank engine model.

The wheels are drilled out ready to pin in place. I'll make four buffers and fit drive rods, and put 'coal' in the rear hopper once painted. After that comes the question of which colour to paint it. 

Most engines on colonial-era railways were utilitarian black which I find boring. I could paint it black with brass and copper areas for contrast. I also have a nice blue paint - but the end result would look a bit too much like Thomas the Tank Engine.

I'm leaning toward a deep magenta similar to the old London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) livery.

* * * *   
I've been asked about the materials I use to make molds and castings. The mold is a two-part silicon medium called OOMOO 30 from Smooth-On, available in the US and UK. It mixes at a 1:1 ratio and has a good curing time and shelf-life at room temperatures. Be sure to stir it well, and avoid any contact with water or latex as it won't cure at all.

The resin is KastEZ, a two-part epoxy resin with a short mix life and curing time. Typical decanting time from a mold at room temperature is a matter of ten-fifteen minutes, leading to a quick turnaround time for fast production. It's a little smelly and can be messy. All in all, though, it's easy to work and can be drilled, sanded and cut without problems.

The kit comes with two 8 ounce bottles, a mixing cup, stir-stick and disposable plastic gloves. I find using plastic disposable spoons to be the easiest way to measure out the two parts in the small quantities needed for some casting jobs. 

All in all, though, since I already have the materials and molds I'd be happy to make an engine body and wheels to order for gamers who'd like such an engine. Drop me a line and we can work something out. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

In Flanders fields...

Today is Armistice Day. 
In memory of my Great-Uncle Alfred Matthews, L/Bombardier Royal Field Artillery.
Killed in action on the Somme, 
19th October 1916.
* * * *
And in memoriam to all those who served.
And in gratitude to all who are serving.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Molds, track and loco

A number of chaps have expressed interest in the way I'm setting-up a narrow-gauge railway for my Colonial campaign. I thought I'd share some pictures of the beginnings. 

These are the molds I made for the track and locomotive driving wheels, with four of the six wheels cast. As you can see from the top-right mold the track normally has ballast and terrain either side when fully-molded. In this instance I want to make a short bridge or culvert which won't need the effects so I cast only the rails and sleepers/ties.   

The casting's smokestack was too short for a narrow-gauge locomotive so I cut off the flare at the top and extended the stack with a length of brass tube and a bead. The footplate and the beginnings of the rear coal box are made of basswood, plastic card and L-section strut.  

The driver is a Eureka VSF miniature. Footplate space is limited but two crew figures will fit without the 'slotta' bases. I'm debating whether to make a removable canopy for the footplate which some prototypes had.
The underside of the casting is rougher than I'd like, but it'll still work for the drive wheel mounting. In future I won't fill the mold so high, and will build the mounting from plastic strut instead. I'll drill the centers of the wheels and pin them in place for added strength. The drive rods will be [-section plastic strut. Rolling stock is farther down the road. More pictures as the project develops.   

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