Don’t drybrush a model to bring out the highlights…


…before scrubbing the topcoat off to add the rust effects…


Still, I can always drybrush the model again, and the rust worked so it could have been worse.

I’ve got a week off for Easter as well, so maybe I’ll make some progress…


Model making paused a bit this week while The Elder Son and I progressed on a long-term bike building project turning a rather ugly mountain bike into a beautiful drop handlebar tourer. Last week we dealt with the most important question of the project: what colour should it be?

Unusually for us, we’d decided on red when we first dreamed the project up without spending hours cogitating about it. This was fine until we actually went to get some paint and realised how many shades of red were available.

We got it down to two shades, and to test it dug up my spare set of bicycle forks* to try them out.

We’ll use the darker red closest to the camera.

Now there will be a race to paint the rest of the bike before one of us has another bright idea or changes our mind….

*One difference between model making and cycling: the spares box takes up more space…

Flu, exams and, apparently interminable load of paperwork have taken their toll on model making time and energy of late, so I’ve been working on the rather silly monowheel.

Having decided the Monowheel will be steam powered because, why not? I had to make a boiler and cylinder. It turns out you can make things like this using card and paper and spending a fair amount of time sanding stuff into shape, something I suspect the early pioneers of model making knew all along.

I haven’t yet managed to make really tiny pipes with paper though. The smallest I managed was about 3mm diameter and that was with a certain amount of quiet swearing and several sheets of scrap paper superglued to my fingers.

Now I’m at the detailing stage which essentially means adding all kinds of bits I’ve had kicking about for ages and which I think look interesting. Engineers should probably not look too closely at some of the bits hanging off the boiler. They would probably also suggest that in reality, if the single cylinder managed to turn the wheel the whole contraption would rotate backwards, slamming the ‘boiler’ into the ground in a rather ugly mess and producing no forward movement at all.

Fortunately I have a seemingly infinite capacity to ignore such technicalities…

This week was my absolutely, definitely completely final exam.

I had to give a fifteen minute presentation of what I’ve been doing in the last year  working in a social enterprise for people with addiction and psychological issues, and then some questions on the report I wrote. There’s a panel of four people: our tutor, the course director, another lecturer and civil servant from the state government.

There are no grades: you either pass or fail.

Fortunately I’d recovered from the flu and managed not to cough all over people. I’d also been reciting my presentation in every spare moment to make sure I didn’t dry up after six minutes.

We all had to say our piece, and answer a couple of questions, then wait while the examiners decided if we were any good or not.

Five minutes later I was asked to go back into the room, where the civil servant in the room told me I’d passed. That was it.

After six years (three years cabinet making and three years Occupational Therapy training) I’ve got no more learning, preparing coursework, carrying index cards, reciting presentations while cycling to work and trying to retain too much information at once:
No more exams, ever*. I’m finished. Finally.

I will of course milk this for all it is worth and post my certificate when it comes through…


Somehow, after mostly recovering from the cold of a couple of weeks ago, I managed to get a flu/stomach virus his week, so instead of going to work tomorrow, all bright and eager, I’ll have to go back to the doctor.


Knowing my local doctor he’ll probably take it as a personal affront that I am refusing to be healthy.

I need to get better soon though, as I have my final presentation the week after and I don’t thing spluttering and sniffing all over the exam panel will improve my chances.

Normal postings will resume when I can write in coherent sentences…


It turns out that modern freight wagons are deceptively complicated

Having assembled the 192 tiny parts to make the uprights on this wagon, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until someone on the NGRM Online forum pointed out that I now had to paint them all.

I really should think about these things more.

This is somewhat important on this stage, the ‘rust’ layer. Once everything visible is dark brown, I can probably get away with missing a gap or two when I add the ‘final’ colour by pretending it’s supposed to look that way. I can’t get away with that with light grey primer.

My plan was to do this in stages after work, but what you see took about 20-30 minutes of painting, rotating the wagon and trying to look at every section from any possible angle, then going back again when I inevitably found a bit I’d missed.

That’ll teach me to get all excited about a wagon in a photograph and start building with no plan whatsoever…




My goodness, a bare two months since I primed the panel van and I’m already using a rattle can on the next model. This could be some kind of personal record. And before someone suggests it, I have sprayed the van, not just posed it here. I know an unsprayed wagon is a bit dull, but let’s face it, a sprayed wagon is just as dull, and camouflaged.

Could it be that having a list of things to do is good for my theoretical but as yet undiscovered work ethic? I’ve found that since January I’ve been relatively more disciplined at not just starting any new project that takes my fancy, usually to avoid difficult bits that I’m not sure how to deal with: knowing there’s a list of extra things to do means I tend to find solutions a bit faster and just get on with the job in hand.

“Faster” is of course a relative term with me, but still…