Friday, 29 January 2010

Jones Goods wheeled-up

A quick update on progress on this OO gauge DJH kit of the Highland Railway 'Jones Goods' 4-6-0, to feature in next month's Model Rail. It's taken me virtually all week to wrestle with the chassis and mechanism - it's not what you'd call one of those kits that 'fall together' with ease...
Anyway, this is how it looked at close of play last night, while this morning has seen the cylinders fitted, along with crankpins and rods. I'm just taking a break before fitting the slidebars and piston rods (and taking a deep breath!).
After ensuring it all runs ok with a few hours' worth of test running, it'll be dismantled and de-greased ready for painting. If it was me, I'd opt for LMS or early BR plain black. However, as it's not my model, I've got to do the whole lined HR yellow/ochre scheme. Fun, fun, fun (?).

The motor and gears have enjoyed an hour or two on the rolling road to bed all the new parts together. These Bacchrus 'saddles' are great for this job - just right for the workbench!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Pug Extra!

As promised in an earlier post, the Pug Masterclass has now appeared in the latest Model Rail (MR140) and here are a selection of ‘in progress’ and finished portraits of my rendition of 56032.

1: The Hornby model breaks down conveniently into its constituent parts, although the cast steel chassis is a bit of pain to modify: a sharp hacksaw come in handy! As seen in the magazine feature, I used a jeweller’s piercing saw and, although these look a bit flimsy to be cutting through solid metal, a good, coarse toothed blade will make fairly short work of the steel. Just ensure the blade is firmly fitted and tensioned.

2: A lot of small details were added to the bodyshell, mostly from generic detailing parts such as handrail knobs & wire and these loco lamp brackets from Mainly Trains. These packs are great value, although some of the patterns are a bit overscale. The new chimney is the only part branded for use on this specific loco class (from

3: With all but the cylinder details added, the Pug begins to look more like the real thing. Note the new brake standard on the cab back plate, etched regulator and lamp brackets (all Mainly Trains parts).

4: Even with the new parts, the un-weathered Pug still looks unconvincing... far too clean!

5: Re-worked bufferbeams and the coal bunker extension plates look far more effective for the separately applied rivet head details. Plastic tube cylinder overlays are a bit too big but this is necessary to cover the originals without impeding the workings of the Hornby chassis. I had intended to add some cosmetic slide bars but ran out of both time and inclination!

6: Plastic strip and angle forms the bunker extension plating and, suitably adorned with rivets and a little rusty paint, look pretty convincing. Adding the liquid glazing to the spectacles wasn’t easy with the coal already in place. However, if I’d glazed them first, fitting the loose coal would have ruined them!

This wee Pug now looks well at home pootling about my little colliery-themed layout. It’s not a bad runner, considering its intended trainset use, although I’m glad that my points have live frogs as it would be constantly stalling at slow speed. That would have convinced me to pair it with a coal wagon runner, complete with extra pick-ups and power cables.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Going to Giggleswick

Greetings from Settle public library! I'm well into my writer's holiday in the Yorkshire Dales and have managed to write 4 chapters in 4 days and have rewarded myself with a mooch into town on market day. One of my many other hobbies is trying out local libraries – the smaller the better (and Settle’s is quite tiny). In my younger days I worked as a librarian for over 5 years and have retained a fondness for them, especially as they can be vital community resources.

My Dad made a big thing of taking me to join the local library as soon as I was old enough and regularly reminded me of how great these places were. All that knowledge and information - and it’s all FREE! All you have to do is turn up and you can learn about anything you like. Besides, local libraries always have at least a few books on the railways of the area and Settle Library is well stocked in this respect, both in the local history and transport sections.

Anyway, I’ve just logged on to the library’s computer to check my email and ensure that there were no problems with my latest submissions to Model Rail. The DB Class 103 electric has been sent down to Peterborough and I always fret about ‘my’ models reaching their destination in one piece, especially after spending so much time on them.

Also, somewhat belatedly (Mrs D made off with the camera before I could download these pics!), here are some photos of Giggleswick station in the snow, from Jan 9th. Most of the snow has melted now, but the S&C and Settle Junction-Carnforth lines ran almost without problems throughout the severe weather. Hoorah, I say! I'm planning a jaunt to Carlisle and back later this week, all in the name of research of course! However, I'm hanging on for a clear(ish) day so I can actually see the scenery...

Going back to my ride in 142078 from Leeds to Giggleswick, it was really good fun (see ‘Eventful weekend in Settle’ entry) and was the first time I’d been on a ‘Pacer’ for about 6 years. Surprisingly, I’ve missed riding on these. They used to be the staple traction whenever I went into and out of Liverpool regardless, it seemed, of distance. I’m not sure that they were designed for use on long cross-country services, but they’ve managed to keep going for over 20 years.

Maybe it’s because they’re quite old, without all the bells and whistles of modern units, but I’m becoming fond of these ‘Nodding Donkeys’. So much so that it’s reminded me that I have 3 Hornby ‘Pacers’ in my collection that may be bumped up the list of future projects. Maybe one in GMPTE orange, perhaps...?

A view towards Settle from Giggleswick. Can you spot the course of the S&C?

Back on 25th Jan...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

GD is away!

George Dent is working away until Jan 25th although Maude, his trusty assistant, is standing in. Will anyone be able to tell the difference...?

Or will the next issue of Model Rail be a special on FISH wagons...?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Deutsche Bahn 'Lekkie'

I hate change! Well, maybe not completely, but I don't react well to having to change my tried and trusted ways of working. That extends to my home working arrangement where all the modelling is done in my study/workshop, whilst messy jobs such as scenics and painting takes place out in the shed. Although any shed jobs invlove taking the necessary tools & eqiupment out with me beforehand, the space is set up so I can just get going with little fuss.

However, the extreme cold is playing havoc with my water-based glues, paints and thinners (some have frozen solid). Besides, it's just too darn cold to be working out there, so my painting station is temporarily on the dining table and that means spending time putting newspaper down, protecting the furniture and floor and then moving it all again at meal times. There's also the camera and lighting (for the magazine step-by-step images) to move around. Not ideal.

Another problem is the lack of ventilation, so solvent-based paints are out of favour for the time being. The most annoying aspect, however, is that I must have been back to the shed about 12 times this afternoon to get certain small tools or consumables that I thought I'd brought in. And that means having to don wellies and a coat to get through the snow.

Enough of the moaning, though, as I can tick (almost) another outstanding job off my list: the DB Class 103 Co-Co electric (or 'lekkie' as we Liverpudlians call them) pictured above. This little Lima beauty belongs to Ben Jones and I've been enhancing it for him, including looking at how to introduce a 'faded' shade of the DB red - a principle that can be translated to any livery. See Model Rail International for more details... out on Feb 25th.

All that's left to do is reassemble the pantographs, strip the masking off the windows and touch in a few bits and bobs. I may do that tonight while I listen to Liverpool's cup replay, if I can do it with one hand (fingers will be crossed on the other!)...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Irish Generator van kit arrives

Today, the Postman has just delivered DC Kits' new resin-bodied construction kit of an Irish Railways (CIE) 'Dutch' generator van. I shall be assembling and painting this for a review in Model Rail in the next month or two. Made up of a one-piece bodyshell, brass floor and whitemetal bogies, the kit provides everything save wheels, bearings and couplings; all of which - as well as a tin of Phoenix Precsion CIE orange paint - can be obtained from DC Kits.
First impressions tell me that it looks pretty good. But then, I would say that as I made up the brass master from etches supplied by DC Kits' Charlie Petty. It's funny seeing the resin mouldings after spending quite a while getting the brass bits to go together (they were produced as an aid to scratchbuilding rather than as a 'proper' kit).

Here's some detail images of the components as they came straight from the box...

The unusual body shape has been captured well and I'm looking forward to seeing it finished in the distinctive orange/black livery of CIE.
Below are some snaps of the brass master being assembled. The roof proved the most difficult part, being formed by rolling with various sizes of brass and copper piping, plus the shaft of a screwdriver (a long one!) for the extreme edges. Forming compound curves like this is not easy and requires care and patience. A little experience helps as well!

Note: Photo of the real generator van was taken by Ed Fahey.

Friday, 8 January 2010

More Duff Action

I’ve had Class 47s on my mind again. No, it’s not an affliction, more that I had a tidy of my office last night with the intention of putting various completed models into storage (ie. moved from the various piles on the floor into other piles elsewhere) and an extra pair of Duffs revealed themselves.

One is a heavily modified Lima model, converted to represent DRS 47802, complete with working lights (a First Class Trains unit). I do think that Lima made a pretty good fist of their ‘47’, although it does take quite a bit of work to get the best out of the basic moulding. Shame the motors are so unpredictable although, touch wood, this one is not a bad runner. A bit noisy though.

The other ‘47’ is one of the first Bachmann releases, renumbered (to 1741, no ‘D’), detailed, weathered and with new headcode codes. Specifically, the 6V53 refers to a southbound Severn Tunnel fully fitted freight routed over the S&C some time around 1970-74 (from Kingmoor or Mossend, I think). The other end carries 3S25, a northbound parcels.

Both of these projects were done for my book on detailing OO diesels & electrics and they prove an interesting contrast between the two models that were produced 20 years apart (Lima: 1987 and Bachmann: 2007).

Oh, and here’s a few Duff photos that I also found lying around... It’s 47492, by the way. Formally The Enterprising Scot. Wouldn’t it be nice to see it in Scot Rail livery again when it’s up and running?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Container Interlude

Having a break from loco projects and typing of articles by messing about with some ‘OO’ gauge C-Rail Intermodal kits that I’ve been meaning to build and review for Model Rail for some time (sorry, Mr Aird!). Consisting of a High Cube ‘box’ and a set of etched details for the 20ft tanktainer kit, these are pretty fine and dandy – a pleasure to build and install.

Indeed, the tanktainer bits are a clear improvement over the moulded parts that come as standard (and fitted to the Stolt unit pictured above, as reviewed in MR118). Check out the C-Rail website for more details ( along with a review in the mag soon.

PS. Note the brass screw hooks inserted into the bottom of the box container to help with the painting process. They can simply be hung out to dry!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Caley Pug signed off

The joys of acrylic paints! After weathering this wee loco last night, a blast from a hairdryer left it dry enough to handle and the coal load could be formed and the PVA glue left overnight to set. Bright and early this morning, all remaining small details were added, the cab glazed and 56032 went under the spotlights for final photography.

All that remained was to dig myself out of the house and brave the weather to the Post Office and sent the article off to the Model Rail HQ. Hopefully, the snow won't delay it too much as it's press next week.

The Caley Pug features in next month's (MR141) Masterclass, so I won't give anything away before the Feb issue appears. However, once it's on sale, I'll post a selection of extra images, including extra 'in progress' shots that couldn't be squeezed into the magazine.

Now for something completely different, I'm about to start a German electric that I'd promised to detail & weather for Ben.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Pug Progress

Just a quick update on the progress on the Caley Pug for Model Rail issue 140 Masterclass. Having entered the paint shops, a coat of matt black has been sprayed, having already painted and masked the red bufferbeams.

I trialled a pot of Lifecolor acrylic matt black from the Danish Railway livery pack (ref. UA806) and this gives a suitably flat, dusty, almost grey-like shade – perfect for a workaday steam loco that will soon be weathered once the transfers have been added this morning.

Hoping to get it finished, photographed and written up by Thursday...

Monday, 4 January 2010

More Modern(ish) wagon loads

Further to the other previous posting on modern engineers’ wagon loads, here are a number of images of my other attempts at creating realistic loads from scrap materials.

The OTA (Cambrian kit) is loaded with hawthorn twigs to mimic timber, dried on a low heat in the oven for an hour before gluing together with fast-setting PVA. The retaining strips are formed from thin strips of electrician’s insulation tape, fixed with superglue.

The Railfreight liveried OBA (Cambrian) carries a short length of plastic piping (polyplumb) left over from refitting the bathroom! Sprayed with red oxide primer and chocked with stained matchsticks and insulation tape, it looks pretty effective as an industrial load. Another kit-built OBA carries steel wire looms (A1 Models) as well as a pair of short tubes. The latter are steel bushes out of a real diesel locomotive and add some welcome ballast to the wagon.

Finally, the Hornby OAA, simply carries a number of loose pallets and a scrap oil drum, strewn around the floor. This recreates a real scene that I remember seeing in the engineers’ siding at Stafford many moons ago.

Modern Engineers Wagon Loads

In response to a good number of written and email responses to the feature in MR138’s ‘George’s Modelling Diary’, here’s a couple more photos of the engineers train in question. I particularly like the SPA with the concrete sleeper load and the heavily weathered ‘Dutch’ livery.

The train was captured at Peak Forest on Sunday 22 March 2009 at around mid day and it sat there happily for a while before moving off after a crew change or break. In all there was about 40-odd wagons, mostly of spent ballast.

The wagon loads need a light dusting with ‘dirt’ from the airbrush to blend in with the surrounding rusty wagon interior and to soften the bright shades of some of the scatters. However, I’m waiting until I’ve done another few of these wagons (including a Cambrian Kits SPA) and I’ll do them all at once.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Rails in the wilderness

It's funny where you find traces of long-lost railways, isn't it? Here's two images taken in the past few days while out and about in the Peak District. Sleeper fencing (with 3-bolt chair holes) and bullhead rail cattle grids (complete with fishplates) were found on a couple of farms. Good examples of recylced materials... and so easy to reproduce in miniature. Indeed, I don't recall ever seeing a cattle grid on a model railway layout.

Liquid Ballast

After a punishing eight mile hike through thick snow this morning, my leg muscles are protesting! That's about 50-odd miles over the past 2 weeks, so the Turkey and cakes have been burnt off, I should think...
So, by way of a relaxing, I found a spare 30 minutes to work on a number of 21t mineral wagon kits (to add to the Chivers kits built a few weeks ago - see older postings). Being the first bit of modelling that Mrs D has let me do over the Festive break, I just had time to add some ballast to a few bodyshells that were already built-up.
I've used a new product that I picked up at Warley from Mr Deluxe Materials himself, John Bristow and it's a non-toxic substitute for lead shot, or 'Liquid Lead'. This stuff is called LIQUID BALLAST and is virtually identical in weight and performance without the nasty side effects of lead (brain damage, polluted environment etc) and it's been stuck in place with another new Deluxe product, 'Speed Bond' which is an ultra-rapid setting PVA-type glue.
Great stuff, great results, non-toxic - Perfect! Look for a review in Model Rail in the next few months, although both products should be available from Deluxe stockists soon (such as Gaugemaster or Squires). I'm afraid I don't have the prices to hand, though!!