Thursday, 29 March 2012

Cliddesden Station Master's House

All three main stations on the line had similar styled station master houses. The most useful pictures I could find, old and new, on which to base this model were that of Bentworth & Lasham. Today, Cliddesden and Heriard houses have had substantial extensions added top to bottom, which obliterates much detail of the original design. Bentworth & Lasham appears only to have grown a ground floor extension at the rear. Therefore, this was the only area that required guess work on the original door and window arrangement.

The roof was the most complex part of all the model buildings to design and build. It is made in three parts; the pitched roof section, the middle section front & back and the triangular piece at the hip end. Template mock ups were made for each part and dimensions taken from them for the parts to be drawn up and coloured on the computer.

This is a substantial property for 'the management' compared to the two bedroom terrace cottage for staff. The boss even had the luxury of a flushing toilet (albeit in an outbuilding) whilst the staff made do with earth closets.


Monday, 26 March 2012

Mr. McCormick's Reaper Binder - Part 4

Reel fixing, 3 Levers, Seat, Banner/Guard and Towing Shaft

All but the towing shaft are supported by a single piece of wire formed into an ellipse and positioned between the platform and elevator.

Six individual parts are soldered to the support bar. The only way to apply heat for soldering a part without previously fixed parts falling off is to use a heat shunt between the part being soldered and the others. A crocodile clip with a pointy end can be used for this but I used a purpose built tool that is used in electronics product manufacture.

On the full size machine the operator's seat is sculpted and has perforations. On the model it is a flat washer! Can you spot the difference, or even see which part it is?

The banner guard proclaims the manufacturer. Both this part and the bundle carrier were sometimes removed in practice.

The towing shaft is for two horses. It is made from flat brass and is fixed to the machine by wrapping it around one of the big wheel supports and left free to rotate.

To Part 5

To Part 1


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Mr. McCormick's Reaper Binder - Part 3

Elevator, Binder & Bundle Carrier

Now it is looking like photo's of the real thing, a mishmash of mechanics with little clue as to what does what!

The Elevator lifts the wheat into the binder attachment which ties and pushes the bundle into the carrier.

It is made from card except the yellow binder spindle is wire, as is the cradle.

How to make the tiny cradle? It is only 7mm x 5mm. The answer was to splay the inner cores of a 7/0.2 wire and whilst still attached solder a single wire across the cores. (This piece forms the outer guard and strut) Then, cut the cores from the wire alongside the strut.

To Part 4.

To Part 1


Friday, 23 March 2012

Mr. McCormicks Reaper Binder - Part 2

Platform Conveyor and Wheels

The two brochures cited in Part 1 are extremely useful because the machine is shown broken down into its sub assemblies. This really is the only way to understand its makeup since photos of a fully built machine do not give much away in this respect.

More helpful than photographs are the videos shown on YouTube since some give all round views and moving parts reveal its operation.

The platform is made from wire and sheet copper with a bit of brass for the wheel guard. The conveyor is a strip of paper wrapped around the platform and coloured with crayon. The big wheel is a left over part from a plastic kit and the spoke wheel a metal washer, except I did not model the spokes! I have not modelled the serrated cutting blade either since this part of the machine will be covered by wheat stalks when the model is placed on the layout.

I have not made a scale drawing to work from. I'm making it up as I go along with parts roughly scaled from the height of a man standing alongside or sitting on the machine shown in photographs and videos.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Mr. McCormick's Reaper Binder 1903 - Part 1

With the wheat field growing fast (previous posting) it is time to consider what to harvest it with. The answer for the 1900s is a McCormick Reaper Binder.

There is evidence here of a McCormick reaper in use at Hatch Warren Farm near Cliddesden in about 1900.

I am building the 1903 version using these resources, plus others, as the basis for the model.
McCormick Brochure 1
McCormick Brochure 2

The machine appears quite complex with pulleys, wheels and chains on view all over the open framework. Modelling these intricate parts is nigh on impossible in 2mm scale. What I hope to capture in the model is a fair representation of the machine by modelling the most visible parts when viewed from a distance of about 2 feet.

I'll start with the 'reel'. This is a rotating hub of 6 slats that neatly lay the stalks of wheat cut by the sickle onto the reaper conveyor platform.

The 1903 reaper was available in 5', 6', 7' and 8' wide cutting lengths. I am modelling the 5' version so the model reel (photo) is about 10mm wide and 10mm diameter.

It is made from brass strip for the slats and copper wire for the supports with a copper wire spindle, all soldered together.

Two techniques I developed to ease the assembly ready for soldering. For a slat assembly a slat support (wire) is formed into the asymmetric U shape and offered up to the slat. The ends of the wire are looped one turn around the slat. This holds the wire firmly in place whilst a hot iron and solder is applied to the joints. Repeat for the other slats so we have 6 separate assemblies.

Next, get a flat circle of BluTack, or similar. This is used to hold the spindle and slat assemblies together prior to soldering. The spindle is first pushed vertically into the BluTack. Each slat is then married up to the spindle and held in the BluTack ensuring parallel orientation to the spindle and 60 degree separation between each other. The soldering iron is applied to the spindle and the solder fed into the assemblage of spindle and slat supports.

Simple for such a small assembly when you know how.

To Part 2.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Growing the Wheat Field

Wheat varieties in the early 1900s grew to a height of 3-5 feet. That's 6-10mm in 2mm scale. I'm using plumbers hemp to represent the wheat, which is cut to size using electric hair grooming clippers. A No.2 comb gives the required height. The natural hemp is just the right colour to represent wheat ready for harvest.

The plan is for about half the field to be uncut wheat and the rest to be stubble with sheaves of cut wheat. The demarcation point being a McCormick reaper drawn by two horses. The reaper will need to be made from scratch. The finished scene will evoke the period and therefore interesting to view. The terracota ground colour is ok under the uncut wheat but might need to be darkened under the stubble area.

The method of growing the wheat is to first mark the runways for the hair comb webs to pass unhindered. PVA glue is laid between the runways. A pinch of hemp (not too thick) is cut off the hank and pressed into the glue and so on to create each row of wheat. When dry the clippers are gently pushed through the wheat along the runways to trim the height. The excess is vacuumed off.


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Scenic Modelling

A visit to the Basingstoke Model Railway show, gave us the opportunity to buy some scenic models for Cliddesden. This weekend was spent making and painting a Langley Horse Drawn Coal Cart, painting Ratio Line side Fencing, and painting LSWR Loading Gauge (had to extend plinth by a few mm).

Here is the results:

Horse and Cart

Loading Gauge
Line Side Fencing


Monday, 5 March 2012

Painting Buffers

A little Sunday afternoon project... Painting the buffers

Opted for rust finish on the metal work. It was a bit fiddly painting the red line, and might need a bit of improvement later. However, I'm pretty happy with the result.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Wind Powered Water Pump

Image from
Cliddesden station had a wind powered water pump. The clearest picture of the pump I can find on the internet is shown to the right. Further investigation revealed it was a John Wallis Titt "Simplex". Surprisingly  a lot of information about the wind pump can be found around the internet, such as it's got a 20ft wind wheel, 48 canvas sails, each being 5ft long etc. On further investigation we found that a similar wind pump has in fact been recently restored to working order, in a small village called Crux Easton, this is in fact only 30 minutes drive from Cliddesden. Hopefully we'll make a visit soon, to gather some more knowledge. More information about this wind pump can be found here: and a picture of it from google maps, shown below:

Unfortunatly we could not find an exact model replica in N gauge. As the structure would have been a little fiddly to build from scratch. We opted to buy a kit which is as closer match we could find available on the internet - in fact the only thing similar in the kit is the tower, but it acted as a good basis and it conveys the atmosphere, and structure of the prototype, until I pluck up the courage to make it from scratch or find a ready built Simplex. In order to make it resemble Titts wind pump we done a few little modifications.

The kit we used was a  Scale Link WIND POW`D WATER-PUMP KIT (Reference #SNF008), available here:
Here is a little review
Scale Link were incredibly responsive to emails, they seemed willing to help and supply photos when requested. The ordering online was simple, and arrived within a few days of purchase. On to building. The instructions were witty and relatively comprehensive, the comment "be careful with the glue or you and your model will become one", made me chuckle as it almost came true! The fret was cut out from the frame using sharp nail scissors and any accessible rough edges were rubbed down with fine wet and dry paper (without wetting). That was the relatively easy bit, next came glueing. Using super glue and a cocktail stick, and a few pairs of hands, we applied a thin bead on each joint, starting with the frame sides. The platform was bent into shape using tweezers, and glued in place. The platform is supplied with a barrier, but as you can see, the prototype did not, so we omitted them from our model. The kit was supplied with a flat fin tail, as you can clearly see the real life picture of the wind pump above, it had a smaller canvas sail wheel. Using a bit of left over brass fret we fashioned our own smaller wind wheel. The main wheel in the model is a lot smaller than the real life prototype, but for the moment it'll do. We even managed to make it spin freely. The fret seemed to be a smaller scaled version of a larger model. This was apparent when trying to fit the supplied rod, no matter how hard we tried it would not fit in the supplied "designated" holes, a bit of thin wire sorted that problem. A lick of paint later and the wind pump was finished.

scale comparision against 5p coin, unpainted
Finished paint wind pump, next to water tower
All in all it was a nice sunday afternoon project, although requires a bit of patience and skill the model does look impressive and was worth it in the end.

back of wind pump, colour and black and white
A similar picture to the original (at the top) showing the back of the wind pump, in colour on the left and mimicking the original black and white slightly fuzzy picture on the right.

- Ed
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