Sunday 9 June 2013

Back On Course

Hi, All!

Two gentlemen travellers enjoy the night air outside the engine room.

After a brief spaceship-producing interlude, I returned this weekend to my work on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile...

Super-thick bronze-wound guitar string... Awesome!

As you will recall, I had begun work on the massive dome roof for the engine room, and work on the engine room interior was progressing apace. This weekend I decided to add a few details, provide the decks outside with floorboards, and a few other bits and bobs...

Guitar string conduits are bent into shape, plastic tubing is added and supports are made.

As is my custom, I had a birthday this year. My son, being the astute and caring young chap that he is, saw fit to give me a set of bronze-wound acoustic bass guitar strings - and I don't even own an acoustic bass guitar! These blighters are chunky in the extreme, and I decided to add a few bits of them to the engine room details.

But first: The Dome.

Top left: finished outer layer and freshly-cut inner layer. Bottom left: iron 'T' girders are created to add strength to the model. Right: rivets are added, the inner layer is painted and the two layers are joined.

I had already completed the outside layer of one end of the dome. Now it was time to cut, detail and rivet the inside layer. This adds strength and rigidity to the roof, as well as a lot of depth and detail. I will, of course, have to duplicate all of this work for the other end of the roof before completing the structure, but given that I have to use various hole punches eighty-eight times per layer, I opted not to do it all in one sitting...

The inner layer differs from the outer, in that I formed radial 'T' girders to strengthen the shape. These will give me something to attach more iron work to as I extend the dome back to cover the engine. Rivets were now added and the the inner layer was painted before joining it to the outer. (Is this sounding complicated? I assure you, it will all make sense soon!)

Satisfied that the dome was taking shape (watch this space, folks!) I turned my attention to a few machine details.

Guitar-string conduits completed and in place...

I have always intended to extend gantries and walkways around the engine, given that the boiler is two stories high. I decided, therefore, to add a few gauges, levers and so on at the higher level, which will then be approachable from the walkways.

Left: one of the previously unused terminals on the engine now feeds into a pole. Right: a gauge and big, hefty switch are modelled from plastic.

So began a bit of super-fiddly-jiggery-pokery.

The finished pole.

Another pole and a giant resistor are added to the other side of the boiler.

Twisty things , switchy things and spinny things. Who could ask for more?

Various terminals on the engine had been left unused as yet, including four big fat ones on the furnace. It was time to use these...

Top: Guitar string is bent into shape. Bottom: sockets and a cradle are modelled , painted and glued into place.

Guitar string snakes across the deck and down into the pit.

With the engine room details looking cool, I thought I should also take a look at the coal hatch and the deck planking outside the engine room. This was a simple matter of adding some thick card strips down the length of the deck, a great many rivets, and some balsa sheet which had been scored and stained as boards.

Thick card outlines the edge of the deck.

Top: rivets are added, as well as dividers to support a handrail later. Bottom: The edging is painted and balsa sheet is glued into the gap.

The coal hatch was made from a rectangle of plastic sheet, scored to look like hatches, outlined with stips of plastic, a few rivets added, and some simple handles made from rod. The hatch and the edges of the deck were painted the same dirty pale grey as the outside of the vehicle.

Top: a simple design is drawn onto plastic, prior to scoring, detailing and painting. Bottom: The finished hatch.

The hatch by lamp light.

So I suppose that brings me to this week's Rivet Count...

All these bits and bobs have added a further 576 rivets to my previous total of 7,055, making a total so far of:

7,631 !

Will it never end?

Albert Finch treads the new boards.

The hulking mass of the engine is just visible through the cloudy glass...

Anyway, there you go - plenty still to do before this monstrosity is finished!

The increasingly complex engine in all its glory.

All the Best!


  1. Good Lord!

    As you say, will it never end? It looks magnificent!

    1. Thanks, Edwin.

      I can honestly say, I have never attempted a project as ambitious as this - there is so much further still to go!

      I doubt I would bother if it wasn't for the encouragement I receive from followers of this blog and the various forums I post on.

      Very glad you like it!

  2. Magnifique! I was going to say magnificent but someone beat me to it! It's a toss-up on the finishing front between wanting to see it finished, and wanting to see the rivet count climb inexorably to some infinite point!


    1. Merci, Hugh!

      Don't worry about seeing it finished - there's a good year or more to go on this one! I'm guessing twenty five thousand rivets or more...

  3. Strewth, Colonel O'Truth, you've outdone yourself with this one - that engine looks enormously powerful. How much does this weigh now?

    1. Haven't weighed it recently, my friend - but not a lot. All the materials are fairly light weight (foam core, plastic, cardboard tube...)

      The engine has to be enormous - wait until you see how big this is going to be...

  4. Marvelous stuff, old boy! What an astute young feller your son is. Just goes to show, properly trained relatives can be a boon to the earnest modeler. The guitar string is obviously a highly useful commodity. I find myself casting speculative glances at my wife's guitar, but 'twould be a recipe for domestic disharmony to touch it.

  5. Nobody does guitar sting conduits better! Sensational update Colonel.

  6. Still amazing. I've been tempted to try a (much smaller) scratch building project inspired by your stuff.

    Rivet count 12 so far.

    1. Fantastic! I'd love to see what you're working on!

  7. The energy drain on my body from viewing and drooling over your modeling museum pieces is eminence. I must take another nap. Beautiful modeling!

  8. Superb level of detail here in evidence Joe, well done.

    Though I hazard to ponder, those fine folks in HM's Health & Safety Executive may take a dim view of the tripping hazard now intrinsic to personnel activity in the engine room! ;-)

    1. Thanks, Scott.

      As Stephen Fry once said: "Health and Safety are the two most dangerous words in the English language."

      Anyway, I haven't finished yet - I may put some safety measures in place.

    2. I have a lot of time Stephen Fry... very talented chap... and certainly known for his wit!

      I look forward to seeing what else you do down in the bowels of the machine...