4mm Wantage Tramway - Matthews Tram Engine (EM)

Discussion in 'EM/S4 & S scale' started by chrisb, 25 December 2016.

  1. Stevesopwith

    Stevesopwith Western Thunderer

    Really super job!
  2. chrisb

    chrisb Western Thunderer

    Thank you Steve - a way to go yet with painting and weathering so there's still lots of opportunity to mess up!

    Here are the front (L) and rear (R) buffer beams with working rod couplings (not sure that's the correct term for them) cobbled together from bits and pieces out of the spares box [please ignore the brass bearings behind the beams - I put them there for support while taking the photograph]:

    The makers plate on the front buffer beam has me a little stumped but it was removed at some point leaving a very visible mark so I will probably go down that route.

    Next up I will be pre-shading the body. I've read that the Wantage locos wore a dark green livery but I'm not sure about the skirts. Examining some of the photos of No. 6 indicates the skirts were a different colour, presumably black, but if anyone can tell me for sure I'd really appreciate it.
    Rob Pulham likes this.
  3. Stevesopwith

    Stevesopwith Western Thunderer

    Hi Chris,
    Do you have the 'Middleton Press' book', 'Branchline to Wantage' ? It contains about a dozen views of No.6, which is pretty well all there are.
    In the majority of in-service views there is much less tonal contrast between the body and the skirts than you would get using green and black on a 4mm model, but this could be due to the film response .
    However, Plates 8 and 89, taken in 1920 and 1930 respectively, show the loco in a run down state, where there is some difference between the body and skirts, and could be evidence that the colours were different; and black skirts would be a reasonable suggestion. For the 4mm model, there might be a case for some judicious weathering, or what the military modellers call a 'filter' to reduce the contrast.

    Other issues:
    By 1920, No.6 was in need of attention... the paintwork was very faded and damaged. The lining is very faint, but it is possible to make out that the corners have inner facing points, as on earlier views, eg Plate39. Also, there is no plate above the coupling shackle on the buffer beam.
    By 1923, Plate 7, the loco has been repainted, and relined, but with inside curved corners. There are some changes to the buffer beam. The horizontal split, visible in most earlier photos, has gone, either filled, or a new beam? There is a new 'bracket' on the right side; and an oval plate in the centre. I suggest this is not a makers' plate. I think the refurbishment was carried out at Swindon, and this plate relates to that. No.5, 'Jane' had a similar one. It depends on your client's choice of time period, but the post 1923 changes only lasted for two years before passenger service ceased, and the loco was dumped.
    Dog Star and chrisb like this.
  4. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    There are one or two additional views in Selwyn Higgins' book in which photos are reproduced with greater contrast than the dead greys of the Middleton volume.
  5. chrisb

    chrisb Western Thunderer

    Thank you for the helpful info Steve. I do have that book plus three others and a couple of magazine articles, and I've accumulated about 20 photographs of No. 6 so far. Also, I recently came across a website (British Tramway Company Badges and Buttons - here) with a photograph I hadn't seen before of No. 6 sporting lamps (it's the 7th photograph from the top.) This photograph is dated 1915 but I don't think that can be correct based on the presence of the additional bracket and plate on the buffer beam and no obvious split.

    Further down (the 11th photograph on the website) there's a photograph of No. 6 that really seems to suggest, at least to me, that the skirts were a different colour. Luckily the client wants a realistically (here's hoping!) weathered model so I will go ahead with a green body and black skirts but blend the two as you suggest with filters.
  6. chrisb

    chrisb Western Thunderer

    The plate on the buffer beam has had me stumped for a while but this evening I had a moment of inspiration:

    I fashioned a punch from the de-bristled ferrule of an old paintbrush by squishing it lightly in a pair of pliers to form a slight oval shape. I then punched an oval plate from a piece of tri-foil malleable lead sheet and embossed some 'lettering' on it from the rear with a sharp pin.
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  7. chrisb

    chrisb Western Thunderer

    Painting with acrylics - base colours and filter

    The first step involved determining the exact colours to use for the body (dark green) and the skirts (black). I wanted the colours to be slightly faded so, in addition to black, I picked several dark green colours and mixed all of these with increasing proportions of Tamiya cockpit green (XF-71) which is a chalky green colour that will make the final colour appear faded:

    Not a great photograph but hopefully you get the idea. I ended up selecting Tamiya flat green (XF-5) mixed 1:1 with cockpit green for the body and Tamiya black (X-18) again mixed 1:1 with cockpit green for the skirts.

    For the roof I selectd a 1:1 mixture of Tamiya NATO black (XF-69) and Tamiya NATO brown (XF-68) which is a great general purpose mix for grunge.

    I then started to paint by pre-shading the model with Tamiya white (X-2) and Tamiya black (X-18):

    I know it looks awful but bear with me.

    I then sprayed the body and skirts with the selected mixtures followed by a filter of highly diluted (5%) Tamiya black green (XF-27) followed by a coat of the general grunge colour for the roof:

    (Note, I haven't tackled the reverse sides of the skirt doors yet - these will be painted roughly the same colour as the chassis.)

    Next up will be to apply the lettering and lining and to start weathering with enamels.
  8. Steve Cook

    Steve Cook Flying Squad

    Really is coming on lovely Chris, looking forward to the next update :)

    Pre-shading certainly gives you a bit of the willies when applied to a model! I must admit that I have started priming models in black now, and then highlighting in much lighter tones of the final colour to get a similar effect to what you have achieved - for me its has cut down the application by one coat of paint which helps to preserve some of the details. I also found it cut out a little of the harshness in contrast before the colour coat is applied - if you get the opportunity to try something similar in the future I'd love to know your thoughts on it.

    chrisb likes this.
  9. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    The shading technique is interesting and will be useful on lots of models but I am not convinced it is right for this one. This is just my opinion so you don't have to take any notice.

    In all the in service photos I have seen the body is clean and the paint is in good condition while the skirts are a bit dusty or muddy, as I would expect of a low speed tram operating beside unsealed roads. The dust/mud makes the black skirts look lighter. I can't see a change in colour or shading on the bodywork paint.

    I think there is good evidence that the skirts were black, being several photographs taken after the loco was out of use showing the skirts dark and the body paint very faded. Two are in Higgins' The Wantage Tramway (plates 18 & 32) and another taken a bit later in Oxfordshire Railways in Old Photographs A Second Selection by Laurence Waters - see below. Also note the strap work on the body is the same dark colour as the skirts.
    wantage 6 post 1930.jpg

    While looking into this I realised that Wantage Tramway No 5 is now painted a fetching shade of red and it is the second time in preservation that it has been painted red. Hopefully someone will know more about this but presumably it is because there were traces of red under the Swindon green. So now I wonder if the steam trams were also red? The amount of fading visible in the photo above, after being outside for only 3 or 4 years, would make sense with red paint but less so with green which tends to be more light fast. Higgins is inconclusive on the topic of colours, after stating the cars were painted a medium shade of olive green, continues with "The cars may have been painted brown or maroon at one time. The engines seem usually to have been painted in various shades of green."

    Now I am wondering if my green painted model of No 4 should actually be red with black strap work.
  10. chrisb

    chrisb Western Thunderer

    Thanks Steve, I used the technique you describe on the 1/32 Ruston (and I really prefer it to pre-shading) but I've just not been able to reliably replicate the effect in 4mm. I recently splurged on a more professional airbrush that may help although I think it may just come down to me being a bit ham fisted to be honest!

    The photos below show the current state of play with the body lettered and weathered and the water tanks and dirtied glass for the side windows installed:
    IMG_9138.jpg IMG_9139.jpg

    I started by applying the transfers (POWSides) followed by a coat of gloss acrylic varnish. I then applied a series of enamel washes using AK Interactive Streaking Grime (AK 012) and AK Interactive Dark Streaking Grime (AK 024.) Once thoroughly dry I sealed it with a coat of matt acrylic varnish into which I added a very small amount of AK Interactive Smoke weathering powder (AK 2038 - which was also used to dirty the glass windows.) The last step involved applying AK Interactive Dark Rust weathering powder (AK 2042) along the footplate and bottom/ends of the skirts.

    The last step will be to add some chipping to the ends which, from photographs of the prototype, might have been caused by the coupling 'bar' and to burnish the plate on the front buffer beam with a metal polishing powder (Uschi van der Rosten.)

    While the water tanks and dirty glass do a great job of hiding the mechanism and DCC chip, these are just visible at certain angles through the unglazed window openings at the ends so I need to fashion a covering to resemble the boiler and firebox.

    Then it will be onto the display base...
  11. Stevesopwith

    Stevesopwith Western Thunderer

    Well done Chris... that is stunning!

    Thanks for the painting recipe... I shall try that myself.

    Great stuff!

  12. PMP

    PMP Western Thunderer

    Even if doing stuff ex works I apply a bit of pre-shading (even as a wash) as it helps accentuate detail in angles and crevices. I’ve not tried post shading yet, which looks a similar technique but perhaps not as ‘in your face’. I’ve got some of the AK washes to try too and am looking forward to the results based on your pics.
  13. chrisb

    chrisb Western Thunderer

    Always a tricky proposition painting smaller scale figures but, after a bit of surgery (reductive and cosmetic), a pleasant evening spent with some Vallejo acrylic paints and a very fine brush, here's the end result at 2x magnification... IMG_9155.jpg
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