Ian_C's workbench - P4 and S7 allsorts

Discussion in 'Workbenches, including workshop techniques.' started by Ian_C, 21 May 2017.

  1. Ian_C

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    Yup, that's about what I'm aiming for. Outstanding!
  2. Ian_C

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    Well, I'll be damned! I've used Zero Paints for car models before, but somehow the range of RAL colours had completely escaped my notice. Thanks for that.
    SimonT likes this.
  3. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Slightly madcap, but ultimately brilliant!

  4. Scale7JB

    Scale7JB Western Thunderer

    Oh thanks very much. Thankfully the voters thought something similar when placed in the Telford competition in 2011.

    This was all done with the life colour rail weathering set. Great stuff, but only downside that I can remember (from a decade ago) is that if you didn't keep spraying it would clog the airbrush each time it was set aside for a few minutes. It's great though for getting that almost 'rough' texture of months of grime sticking to the loco.

    Len Cattley likes this.
  5. Threadmark: Last knockings on the tender, and some paint at last.

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    3D printed plates notwithstanding I eventually caved in and ordered a set of plates from Severn Mill Nameplates. Sometimes you get lucky, and the 48142 number plate and the specific tender number plate 9797 were available. What a nice chap Chris Watford is, and what excellent plates they are! Shame he can't find anybody to etch to his standards, so he'll not be producing any more. Get 'em while you can. Better have a think about a Black Five set and a 4F set. The 3D printed plates were scraped off and the etched plates RSU'd on. Here are the tiny information plates on the tender.
    etched tender plates.jpg

    Some small pieces of lead were epoxied to the larger flat areas of the tender body. Not to add weight particularly, mostly to prevent them drumming. One in the coal space, the others inside on the sides.
    tender lead weights.jpg

    Some blue foam insulation was hacked to shape and epoxied into the coal space. The shape won't be so uniform when the coal's added. Partly used load with a half refill dumped near the front. It's quite interesting studying the shape of coal loads. Not so much of the full and perfectly trimmed load of lump coal in later BR days. More like a few tons of nutty slack piled up under the chute like a little volcano, and left to shake down when under way..
    coal foam.jpg

    Painting or gluing directly on the blue foam can be a bit of a nightmare, so a shell was laid over it with paper and PVA glue.
    tender coal shell.jpg

    After weeks of diversion and procrastination I finally got some paint on the thing. Broken down into parts for cleaning, it's almost a kit again! First a scrub with solvent (IPA or Acetone) with a fine toothbrush to remove any last traces of paste flux and finger oil. Then 4 minutes in a 50C ultrasonic tank to shake loose the remaining crud. Yeah, I know. Paste flux is death to paint etc. I've never found it to be a problem if it's thoroughly cleaned off. Attention to detail, solvent scrub and hot ultrasonic bath seems to shift everything. Has worked OK on 4mm models, so should be OK on 7mm.
    cleaned parts.jpg

    Once everything's clean and completely dry it's time for the first paint. I'm using the Phoenix paints 2 part black etch primer through a Iwata TR2 airbrush with 0.5mm nozzle. Phoenix recommends thinning at a ratio of 1 paint to 1 thinners. The paint's quite sticky stuff and I found that it wouldn't spray well at 1:1. A ratio of 1 paint to 1.5 thinners worked well. The conditions were cool and damp, and spraying at about 15 psi enabled a thin wet coat to build and flow out. No attempt to cover with the etch prime coat. Phoenix recommends a layer that you can just see the substrate through, and that's pretty much what I ended up with. To get the paint to spray right, and to get some practice with the TR2 I made up a rough tender body from the spare riveted overlays and some scrap etch.

    Here's the first session cooking slowly in the paint drying contraption. I'll cook them for a couple of hours to get he solvent off, then I'l just leave them there for a day or two unheated to harden. The etch primer I put on the practice tender a week ago has taken really well. You can scrape it off with your fingernails, but it's not easy. The primer seems to be doing its job.
    etch primed parts.jpg

    The chassis was a painting conundrum. The way I ended up building the chassis means that I can't drop out the axle boxes, so they have to stay in for paint. I didn't fancy the job of un-gumming paint clogged axleboxes so they were masked off for spraying. There will be some touching in with a brush and enamel when the masking's off. Hopefully not too noticeable when weathered and behind the wheels. Next time the axles and axleboxes will be removable!
    loco chassis primed.jpg

    I should mention that I'm using a P3 A2 filter respirator for solvent scrub and painting. It's a JSP Force 8 respirator / filter that I use now. I have to say it's the best mask I've used so far. The seal to face is excellent. It's comfortable to wear for extended periods. And the A2 filtration works very well. You smell no solvent at all when breathing through the filters. Doesn't cost much for the protection it provides. I still work near the open workshop door, even so.

    There's the tender body, some touching in and a few more bits and bobs to etch prime next weekend, then it'll be time for the base coat.
    Last edited: 29 November 2020
  6. Threadmark: On with the BR Grey!

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    On to the base coat. I'd sprayed grey micro filler primer over the etch primer on one side of the test tender body, and left the other side just with the etch primer. I sprayed various mixtures of base coat over both sides as I was experimenting with shade and spray settings. I couldn't see any difference between the grey primed and unprimed sides once I'd got a decent base coat on, so I decided to base coat straight over the etch primer on the model.

    Starting with the tender, the base coat was built up in about 4 layers, leaving a few minutes between coats for most of the solvent to flash off. Once the last coat is done the model goes into the paint drying box to dry and cure protected from dust ( I have to say the paint drying box contraption is ace, it really does work well). The base coat on the tender wasn't so clever, and once cured you could clearly still see the patches of filler I used to level up the dents I'd put in the tender overlay with the RSU (oh, about a hundred posts ago). I ummed and ahhed about just leaving it and hoping it'd disappear under the weathering. In the end I built up a layer of grey filler primer over the patches and once cured, rubbed it down with micro abrasive pads, bring careful not to break through the etch primer to bare metal. Another layer of base coat finished it off nicely. I've noticed a few small blemishes on the loco as well that I'd missed when it was in the metal. In retrospect I'd probably have been better off with a coat of grey primer over the etch primer to help me find the nasties before applying the base coat.
    tender paint bumps.jpg

    The black isn't exactly black. I'd done some homework on colour perspective and concluded that I should fade the black a little by adding a small amount of grey. I couldn't find much hard information to go on, but on an aircraft modelling forum I'd seen about 10% suggested for 1/48 scale. A mix of 9 parts black to 1 part neutral grey was applied to the test tender and left to dry. Seen in daylight, it was clearly a dark grey and didn't look quite right to me. Further experiments ended up with a mix of 1 part grey to 20 parts black looking about right. It's subjective to a degree, and it'll be under a coat or two of weathering, but to me absolute black never looks quite right on models. So, it's an 8F in BR Grey. For the record I used Zero Paints Semi Gloss Black ZP-1366 and Zero Paints RAF Light Aircraft Grey ZP-MIL1007. The semi gloss and the matt grey mix leaves a nice satin sheen. Enough gloss to show through where the muck has been wiped off, but not poke you in the eye. If you had both the matt and the gloss base coat blacks you could mix them to get the gloss level you wanted - anything from stretch limo shiny to dead matt.

    LH side black with crew.jpg
    I couldn't resist putting the main assemblies together to get feel for how it's going to look. The challenge at this stage is to avoid getting oily finger prints on the parts, so it was all put together while wearing latex gloves. You've no idea how much harder that makes everything! Even so, there are marks on the tender sides that'll need to cleaned off before decals are applied.

    black with crew.jpg
    Here's the crew newly painted and posing for the camera. These chaps are from Modelu, and painted using some very basic figure painting techniques. I find the Modelu figures excellent for proportions and stance (well, they should be if they're scanned from real people!), but lacking in definition compared with most military figures of a similar size. The faces in particular are quite jelly mould featureless and it's hard to get any character into them. You kind of get away with it on the 4mm figures, but not the 7mm. I did look for cast resin replacement heads in this scale, but found nothing. If Mr Modelu ever gets the faces sorted they'll be awesome! Yes, the red boots... They were stuck with blu tack to the top of a paint bottle for painting. Don't worry chaps, I'll black up the size tens before you report for duty.

    Top Left quarter all black with crew.jpg
    Amidst the clutter on the bench 48142 is starting to come to life. You can see the smokebox has been sprayed a matt version of the black / grey mix. I know the smokebox started off the same as the rest of the paint on the loco but goes downhill rapidly with heat and exhaust fall out. There are lots of photos of preserved 48151 on the web, and a lot of them are dated. It's instructive to see how long the shiny smoke box on freshly painted 48151 stays shiny. Not very long. You can just make out the matt overspray line one masking tape's width behind the smokebox! I think that'll disappear under the coat of late 60's grime.

    Does it look like an 8F? Yes, I think it does.
  7. LarryG

    LarryG Western Thunderer

    Yes, it definitely looks like an 8F and a neat one at that. The smokebox may look the same as the rest of an ex.works loco, but it has different paint. I believe this also goes for other areas like foot plating, tender tops etc.
  8. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    It certainly does - very impressive although with the attention to detail through the thread I suppose it was only to be expected. It raised the game a notch or 2.

    Thanks for the details for the paint drying box - it looks another useful project!
  9. paratom

    paratom Western Thunderer

    Just read this thread which reminded me of experimenting with my small cnc engraver/milling machine making 4mm scale driving rods. They turned out really well, much better looking than the laminated ones. I just have to scratch build the rest of the loco now.
    adrian and simond like this.
  10. Boyblunder

    Boyblunder Western Thunderer

    Paratom, can you tell us more about your CNC rods in the "Cheapo CNC Milling" thread please? Although your machine may not be that cheapo of course.
  11. Threadmark: Decals and some virtual weathering

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    Here it is with the decals on. They're Fox waterslide. Not many of them, and easy enough apart from the ******g rivet under the number 1 on the cab side. Couldn't get the thing to conform even with a strong decal softening solution. Had to be poked down with the end of a scalpel and touched in once dry. Next time I'll think this out ahead of time and maybe remove the offending rivet during the build. Couldn't find any rules for number spacing, so that was done by eye and reference to photos. Start with '1' in the centre and work out with about 1.5 times the stroke width between numerals.
    decals loco tender 1.jpg
    Experimented on the spare tender body first and found that the decals went onto the satin grey/black with no trace of silvering. That's good, because it saves spraying a gloss layer under the decals. Electrification flash location varied a little from loco to loco. From available photos and bit of guess work this is where I think they were on 48142 near the end of its life. Flashes on the front and rear tender bulkheads too. Some locos and tenders didn't have a full set of flashes. Maybe it wasn't such a concern if the loco never worked under the overhead. I happen to like the flashes as I think it's a signature item for late BR steam, so 48142's got a full set! In case anybody notes that the BR emblem on the tender is a little to the rear of the centre axle, it's deliberate. Appears that the emblems were positioned to sit centrally between the vertical rows of rivets on riveted tenders, and that carried across to welded tenders too.

    Experimenting with decals on the spare tender helped me to find out how vulnerable the decals were to the clearcoat. The thinned clearcoat is quite 'hot' and it doesn't take much of a wet coat to start crinkling up the decals. Once the decals had completely dried out they were given couple of mist coats of Zero satin clearcoat and 10 minutes in the paint drying box before before applying a couple of full satin clearcoats to seal them and protect them from the weathering process. As it turned out I think the greying of the black paint and the satin clearcoat makes for a very good representation of a clean black loco in this scale.

    The last panes of cab glass were made from microscope cover slides (method explained in an earlier post), and they'll be fitted before weathering. I've decided to brush paint the buffer beams, and the Humbrol satin red I'm using will need 3 or so coats before it covers adequately. After that it'll be ready for a deep breath before weathering.

    Just for fun I had a go at some virtual weathering in Photoshop to see if I can get a feel for how it'll look. This is a couple of minutes with a an airbrushy brush setting. I think there's some potential here. I might do a few studies of areas like the cylinders and smoke box to see what works best.
    photoshop weather 1.jpg

    The Martyn Welch Wild Swan classic, 'The Art of Weathering' will be bedtime reading for a few nights.
    Last edited: 19 December 2020
  12. Ian_C

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    I'll second that. I'm thinking about a tiny CNC mill when I've saved up. Interested to see what other folk have been using.
  13. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer


    If you build another, the Horwich built batches didn't have the vertical row of rivets on the cab side sheets ;)

    Loved reading your build and it has given me some inspiration for lifting the kit to similar levels of detail as your own.

    adrian likes this.
  14. adrian

    adrian Flying Squad

    I'm in exactly the same situation - although my wife is not quite sure what is going on as our eBay recent searches are showing an awful lot of incubators! :))
  15. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer


  16. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    It may be worth checking prototype photos, but I believe that sign writers try to avoid writing on uneven surfaces, like rivets etc. they adjust the spacing if they can to avoid them.
    Pete_S likes this.
  17. Threadmark: Some progress with painting and weathering, and some useful knick nacks.

    Ian_C Western Thunderer

    The painting and weathering turns out to be a process that needs to be carried out in several steps, according to some kind of plan, and combined with the final assembly of some parts. So it's taking a while, and so far I've resisted the urge just to throw it all together and sprint to the finish.

    The firebox backhead is now paint complete.
    painted backhead 1.jpg
    It's intended to be a grubby, working cab, kept functional but not polished up. No Brasso on this footplate! To that end, even though the pipework is actually made from copper wire, it's painted a matt red brown to represent the patina you get on unpolished copper. Items that get a lot of use, or are otherwise kept clean, get the dirt rubbed off and a bit of a shine. Gauge markings are painted on, but I might replace them with some CPL photo printed gauges. The fire door is showing some rust due to the heat scorching the paint. The order of painting goes something like this...
    1. Cleaned and grey primed by airbrush. I actually used matt grey Humbrol enamel as the primer, but seems to be OK.
    2. Airbrush all over with the satin tired black, the same as the loco and tender (Zero paints, previous post). I theory it's not a good idea to spray Zero base coat paint over Humbrol enamel, but a couple of mist coats first, followed by some drying time, allows the Zero paint to go on without problems. Into the paint drying box and bake it for a few hours.
    3. Brush painted the details, pipes, handles, gauges etc. Humbrol enamels usually. Add the rust to the fire doors with AK Interactive rust effects. Let it all dry and harden over night.
    4. Scrape or rub off all the paint from areas that will get some wear and cleaning, like the hand wheels and sight gauges. They stick out like a sore thumb at this point, but they'll be toned down in the next steps.
    5. Light overall mist of the weathering colour ( M. Welch recipe) from the airbrush, and some shading of the pipework. Let it dry for about half an hour, solvent gone but paint not cured.
    6. Take a cotton bud moistened with enamel thinners and gently rub off the weathering mix from the items that you want to shine. No need to really shine them up, a thin film of the grime keeps them blended in.
    7. Metallic steel (Humbrol Metalcote works fine, but there are loads of alternatives) on regulator handle and a few other parts. 30 minutes drying then polish gently with a dry cotton bud.
    8. Finally a little dry brushing with a dirty pale grey acrylic to highlight some edges and rivets etc. Leave it in the paint drying box to fully dry and cure.
    Elsewhere, having finally sorted out all the bits and box for axle spacers and crankpins and made some proper assembly notes, a start has been made on weathering the heroically filthy chassis.
    chassis weathering 1 resize.jpg
    I've not found many good colour photos that clearly show the weathering patterns on the chassis, but there's enough to give me some direction. This with the airbrush and the M.Welch weathering formula again. Unlike MW I've not tried to add any talc to the mix to give the paint texture, although I'll probably do that with the wheels.

    You may not have noticed, but as part of the Brexit negotiations before Xmas, Euro Santa's terms and conditions changed. The legal definition of "have you been a good boy this year?" has been adjusted to reduce the contractual obligations around present supply. As a result some odd stuff appeared under the Xmas tree this year. Nevertheless it's turned out to be quite useful.
    paint  jars bottles etc.jpg
    Exciting eh?
    Top left - 100 ml laboratory reagent bottles. Handy sized glass bottles with a wide mouth. Graduated in 20ml increments (on the other side). Best thing about them is the top. They have a proper seal, they're large and easy to grip, and there's no child proof cap nonsense going on. This one used for enamel thinners for brush washing, because I like to be able to see the state of the thinners and the paint coming out of the brush when I clean it. Plenty of other uses I'm sure. From eBay Simax Glass Reagent Bottle with pouring cap and ring, £4.50 each, buy more to get them cheaper.

    Top right - glass laboratory beakers in 25ml and 10ml sizes. I use them for mixing paint mostly. They have graduations and a pouring spout. Previously I've used small plastic beakers for this, but they're impossible to clean properly and they're essentially disposable. Along with cycling to work and a wooden handled toothbrush, this my contribution to the environment in 2021. eBay again, Borosilicate Glass Laboratory Beakers. Besides, they're just cute little things - don't be surprised if they end up in the kitchen!

    Lower - a cheapo paint stirrer. I'd considered paint shakers or stirrers a needless complication for years. Watching a You Tube channel (International Scale Modelling - it's a car modelling channel, but there's plenty of transferrable knowledge) converted me to the cause. I've no idea where this came from , it really was from Santa. Fully mixed paint in seconds, even those tinlets where the pigments sink to the bottom as semi-solid sludge. A quick whizz in the enamel thinners jar and it's clean. Beats stirring away with old screwdrivers or cocktail sticks.

    Oh, and since this is my last post in 2020, I'll wish all the WT'ers a happy and peaceful New Year. It couldn't be worse than 2020 surely?
    Last edited: 31 December 2020
    Brocp, David B, Mike Garwood and 10 others like this.
  18. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer

    Happy 8F New Year to you Ian :thumbs:

  19. richard carr

    richard carr Western Thunderer


    I like the bottles, they are £2.25 each at rapid electronics if you buy a pack of 10.

    simond and Dan Randall like this.
  20. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    I have a fairly expensive paint shaker/ stirrer, I stick the jar/tinlet in the chuck of the lathe, for the time it takes to boil the kettle for a brew. Just make sure that the lid is up against the chuck, to avoid accidents. So far, I don't have a T shirt for that.
    Osgood likes this.