Tuesday 26 March 2024

On Your Trike

Firstly, still alive and finally getting around to another posting. If I was to name one reason why the delay the most logical reason for me is that it has been too stinking hot and humid. Those trying to model with corrugated iron modelling sheds will understand and if not insulated will also feel the full force of winter as well. Is it cheaper to heat or cool?

So although not being down the shed has mainly found me in the study being entertained by the internet and drawing track diagrams. A big time waster is the Facebook pages and as much as some people won't go anywhere near it, I find it quite entertaining at times. My original two sites has now grown to over 20 sites. 

One of the sites is 'Modelling the Victorian Narrow Gauge' and a recent posting was for a 3D printed trike, the three wheeled type the ganger would hand propel along  the track when doing an inspection or other matters. It was offered by Ron Van Der Horst for $30 and the finished photos looked like a nice model. Amongst my plans is to have a ganger shed at Broadwater and have a trike parked outside. I ordered two straight away as sometimes when you procrastinate you can never find the posting again. It seems it is a cottage industry product and the posted photos shows how the end product should look. Nuts and bolts and teeth on the gears are all clearly defined.

The end product

Ron Van Der Horst product photos

If this is where 3D printing is heading then I think it has arrived. To see a 3D printer in action and in the end see a perfectly formed round wheel being produced it amazing. Look how fine the handle has been reproduced.

So after ordering, the box turned up at home. I wish I was at the front door when the delivery guy flung the box, I reckon I could have caught it. Not to worry when I got it unpacked the item was rolled in bubble wrap and also protected by rolled up newspaper. Any any similarity to the picture of the trike that appeared on the Facebook posting and what came out of the box was non existant. I knew that but through Messenger I was warned to be careful cutting away the supports.

I think there is a trike in there
Another issue to overcome was the fact that the kit as provided was supplied in 1/48 scale but for O scale standard gauge which then needed the outrigger wheel support to be trimmed to fit the narrow gauge I was modelling. More on that later.

This really looked like a 'be carefull' type of kit. I then decided this deserved a new blade in the knife. So I found my $10 Aldi packet of 424 blades plus one knife handle to do the job. I picked the most pointed blade thinking if it was thin at the end it would fit right inside this kit. This kit is definitely not suited for anyone with the shakes, bad eyesight or any other medical condition that may see you getting stabbed. But I fell into one of those categories in that I am short sighted and my normal glasses nor my computer glasses would be of any help. So as a lot of people go, I took them off and voila I could see everything, that is anything up close. I started up 'tall end' as a lot of the supports were not so hidden. One by one I cut away the supports and slowly but surely the trike became visible. One factor that helps with cutting away is that the supports come to a fine point when they reach the object, so just a quick nick with the blade and it is cut free. They can then be snapped outwards.


So eventually you end up with what is in the photo above. It is slow work cutting the trike free and I reckon it took me around 40 minutes. In this photo you can also see the outrigger arm that goes on the opposite rail and holds the whole trike up. So this was my next challenge. You could call this a two piece kit. As stated this kit was designed for standard gauge so I had to modify the kit for On30 narrow gauge. I guess the preformed angles in the outrigger once attached to the trike would be a perfect fit, so now I was scratching my nut trying to work out where do I cut it to make it shorter and get the angles right? I also had to refer to the FB photo to see what end of the trike the outrigger went, it would probably work either end but I wanted to get it right, OK so it's up the front. This is an issue with the kit, no drawings or photo of the finished is supplied.

I am now undecided what the hardest part of this kit is, cutting away the supports or working out how to cut/modify the outrigger to 'narrow gauge' the kit. I got some pliers and slowly bent up the support near the wheel. All good I hope to the right angle. If I took the time, I could probably work out how to easily measure the outrigger and find out how much I needed to cut off to get the right length.The outrigger slided under the front but then it was hard to hold the trike, hold the outrigger and hold a pen to mark the spot, if only I had three hands. Somehow while trying this magic trick I managed to break the wheel off. Bugger. I thought I would try some 5 minute Araldite, so after mixing and holding it in position for six minutes it didn't seem to hold. It am not sure if it was compatible with the plastic. So scrape it all off and start again with the superglue, even though now eight minutes had elapsed, I managed to get most off. And after trying the superglue this also didn't seem to be holding. And just as I was pushing down on the support, it then decided to also snap. Bugger No 2. Could I glue these two pieces together? I was lucky that no one was going to be sitting on the finished item. Then as I was trying to sort things out, bang the wheel shot out and landed on the floor. My then biggest problem was that the wheel was grey and guess what colour the floor is painted? I eventually found the wheel and then decided to make up a new outrigger, but out of what? Maybe I could forego the outrigger? A two wheeled trike? Once you got it going it would be just like a bicycle but stopping would also be a problem.

One thing that is missing on my model is what I think is the brake handle that is shown in the photo under the seat on the right hand side. I worked out later that it was one of the sprues I had accidently cut off. In a maze of support pillars it was easy to mistake it and cut off. The kit is excellent for providing it, but somehow it should be pointed out it is a brake handle, don't cut off.

The only time Murphy shined on me today was when I remembered that I had some square brass rod (somewhere) and on one of the rare clean up days I had gathered all my brass wire, rod and angles. And I finally found the square brass and it was a perfect match for the plastic section. Then there was no way I was going to go through the glue the rod onto the wheel again so I decided to drill out the wheel. So I found my $10 Aldi packet of 424 drills, matched the rod size and drilled away and away and right out the front of the wheel. Bugger No 3. Any way it fitted the hole perfectly, so that was OK. Now working with a tougher material, I got to cut the brass to the right length and somehow superglued the brass to the trike. Those two materials seem to work together.

I felt I had finally achieved something by then, the supports all gone, and the wheel issue fixed and the outrigger glued up. Now it was time to get out the Tamiya primer. With a quick spray and with the sun shining a perfect day for drying. I like to get all the processes done in the one go, so after I picked the trike up by the handles and it didn't stick to me it was time for the overcoat. Looking at photos I think I had some red that was suitable. Although not specifically designed for models, I decided to stand back further when spraying to give a similar effect? The end coat came out a bit thick but now it has to be weathered up.

Straight out of the showroom
It was time to weather up using my tried and true method of Tamiya Khaki Drab diluted with isopryl alcohol. But before that because I didn't cover the wheels I had to paint the wheels up in black. Once this was done it was then onto the khaki drab. It is a case of into the khaki, then into the alcohol to dilute. Once on it dries very quickly and can be diluted down further if the original coat is too thick. Even if the end result is not perfect it is a better look than virgin paint.

Dirtied up a little

 Well that's how you fill in a day, put one of these kits together, paint it and write a blog about it. Overall and excellent kit but it would be nice to see a photo or diagram of the real thing and somehow pointing out the brake lever I accidently cut off. Maybe the producer could put a dab of paint on each one and also if a narrow gauge version could be produced with the correct length outrigger arm. Or just maybe it was just me?