Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Depot gets a DRS theme

I posed a few locos on my depot diorama/layout yesterday, ostensibly to take a few portrait photos of a few newly finished DRS machines, so here is a few left-overs... It's a bit out of sync in terms of period accuracy - the eagle eyed may notice a DRS-branded 87022 lurking inside the shed - but it was intended to get a feel for how the layout will look with a matching set of post-privatised locomotives.

The layout is about to be re-worked a little with a new backscene having arrived from Gaugemaster, along with another chimney. I've also got a matching chimney to assemble for the large warehouse that will complete the masking of the exit/entrance siding. I'm considering replacing some of the shorter low relief buildings too, to add some extra height....

Hopefully, most of these modifications will be in place in time for the Warley show where it's planned to be on the Model Rail stand.

Two pairs of 20, 47s, a 66 and an 87 lie-over at XXXXXX MPD.... The Xs mean that I've yet to christen the layout! 

This view gives an idea of the compact nature of this self-contained layout. The large warehouse hides the entry/exit siding.

The Peco turntable, as featured in Model Rail No.148, is at the centre of operation. Here, a heavily modified Lima 47 is being turned.

A Model Rail limited Edition Vi-Trains 47501 sits beside a modified Bachmann 20 (a conversion from a few years ago, done for my diesel detailing book). I've since converted another 20, with a third currently in the paint shop.

Yes, that is an 87 hiding in the shed, along with another Class 20/3.

The DRS 'shed', as featured in the previous blog post, sits on the fueling road.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Some Sheds for my Shed layout

My mini MPD-themed diorama-cum-layout that I hurriedly built for display at the recent Model Rail Live show is now back at home, with much development work planned over the next few weeks, not least a replacement of the backscene with a more appropriate industrial theme. I'd made a real mess of sticking the original 'hills and dales' backing on in my haste, with lots of lumps, bumps and smudged ink from using PVA glue instead of a dry adhesive like double-sided tape (whic I think I'll be using next time).

Anyway, I'm just waiting on the new backscene sheets to arrive from Gaugemaster and, with those fitted, the buildings can be tweaked and finished, another big chimney added and many other missing small details, such as the MPD interior fittings.

In the meantime, I've been detailing and weathering a selection of modern traction to work on the layout. The idea is to have the depot as anything from an EWS/DBS, Freightliner, DRS or late BR installation, with just a swapping of signage, road vehicles and locomotives to set each scenario apart. I'm already well blessed with EWS and BR traction, along with a fair few DRS machines. However, I've only a Freightliner 08 to my name, so I may have to dip into my pocket for a shed or two, plus a 57. I fancy a 70 too, when they arrive from Bachmann.

The Bachmann 66 really rewards some gentle weathering, with the highly detailed bodyshell and chassis coming to life.
The EWS livery has been around for ages now, but DBS seem in no hurry to get rid of it.

The DRS Compass scheme suits the outline of the 66s well (I'm not so keen on it when applied to the 20s or 37s).

I was meant to be stripping this 66 to repaint into another livery (Colas) but have decided to keep it as it is!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Network Rail Class950/150 DMU finished

AT LAST!!! The NR conversion is complete and the model has been 'photted' for Model Rail with a couple of days to spare. I really must get back to my usual level of organisation and not be rushing - it's bad for one's blood pressure! Anyway, here's a few sneak peaks at the completed model and the whole project will be demonstrated in detail in the next issue of MR, No.150 in fact - quite a landmark. In fact, we're producing a special issue in honour of a century-and-a-half issues since Chris Leigh masterminded the original launch way back in the day.

The degree to which the sides must be altered can be appreciated in this view.

Just a breath of dirt from the exhaust stacks (plus the scratchbuilt generator outlets on the roof) and a tiny splattering of track dirt on the underframes are the only traces of weathering added to the 150/950 unit. Everytime I've seen the real thing, it's been virtually spotless.

The little cameras on the ends are a vital addition and are part of the comprehensive conversion kit from PH Designs. See http://www.phd-design.co.uk for more info, or look out for a copy of MR150... Out soon!

Monday, 18 October 2010

A Mixed Bag

The Network Rail 150 project seems to be taking forever... it's nearly finished now, though.

Another busy weekend full of painting and weathering projects for both Model Rail and my next book title. First and foremost has been the Network Rail Cl150 DMU that is now almost complete: Today will see the decals and final varnish coat applied, so we're looking at a Tuesday finish... with Press day on THursday, I'm cutting things a bit fine. But that's what happens when you go on holiday - the model's still waiting for you when you get home.

I really must train Maude the Cat in the art of rolling stock conversion and painting...

Also trundling along the Dent production line is a repainted Dapol tank wagon in NCB ownership, lettered as a water carrier for the loco water tower on Maudetown Colliery (which is also now completed and in situ).

This Bachmann TTA has been detailed with an S-Kits detailing fret (new walkways, ladders, handrails etc) and repainted for use as a loco fuel carrier for my little MPD layout. It's about to be suitably weathered.

Progress on my small HAA fleet has seen the repainted hoppers decaled and these are also in the weathering queue before reassmbly (the hoppers will be treated seperately to stop the red framework acting like a stencil when the paint is being sprayed).

Some N gauge work has also been progressing with a delicate weathering job applied to this Farish Jinty. Some rolling stock and a Freightliner Class 57 are next up in 2mm...

At the other end of the scale, this O gauge Tower Models Pug has been numbered and a BR logo applied. The shiny appearance will soon give way to a lived-in look and I've a few 7mm wagons to weather too.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Mini Dioramas off to Illinois

I was recently asked to create a handful of small demonstration pieces/dioramas to be exhibited on the Deluxe Materials stand at the upcoming I-Hobby Expo show at the Donald Stephens Convention Centre, Rosemont, Illinois, USA (Oct 21-24). Displayed here are the fruits of my labours (and a few late nights in the shed!).

This little lakeside scene makes use of the impressive Solid Water two-part resin that can be formed into undulating shapes as it hardens. Then, using Making Waves, ripple and wave effects can be created on the surface. They're both really easy to use and give terrific results when fully cured.

I've been using Glue n Glaze for a while now, on all manner of projects, but this industrial-style window frame (from a Wills kit) is a good platform on which to show off the product's potential.

Scenic Rust has also been around for a few years now and it's a great resource when carefully applied, such as on this Bachmann boiler barrel, set into a scrap yard scene. The real rust particles give the surface not only an ultra-realistic colouring but also a welcome texture. Some extra weathering has been added to mix a bit of dirt and grime onto the surface for that final touch.

You may have noticed that each scene has been created using the plastic packaging provided with Oxford Diecast road vehicles (with the clear lids in place, they are perfect for storing and transporting the scenes), rather like the small veg patch scene that featured in the pages of Model Rail a few months ago.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Scalescenes MPD

Just popped down to Peterborough to repatriate my small loco depot layout/diorama that was built for display at Model Rail Live. This work in progress is to be finished off (well, as much as possible!) before putting in another public appearance at the Warley show in November. I'll post more images of the layout as and when I make progress but, for now, here are some pics of the main scenic feature: the MPD.

Assembled from a downloaded Scalescenes kit, it took a good while to complete but the hard work was worth the effort. I especially liked the roller shutter doors and optional graffiti...

I couldn't print out the supplied glazing panels on clear film as my printer wouldn't cooperate. Instead, I cut pieces of clear Plastikard and added thin strips of white insulation tape.

Yes, there are even roller shutter doors on the inside!

The MPD looked good when finished, as each sheet incorporates a degree of weathering. However, I added a bit more, especially in terms of exhaust staining. A bit of dirt also disguised any glue stains and a coat of clear varnish seals all the inks and prevents fading.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Unit Shifter

The Bachmann 150/PH Designs conversion is taking shape slowly but surely.

The past week has seen much progress on a couple of modern DMU projects, most notably the Network Rail Class 150 conversion. All new parts have been added and a priming coat applied and a little extra work with filler and abrasives is now needed before a white undercoat follows prior to the bright yellow livery.

So far, it's been a joy to fit the various bits of brass and, once the painting's over with, the small cameras and equipment boxes can be built-up and fitted to the cabs. Things are getting a little 'tight', however, as press day is not too far away and I do hate to rush...

A few coats of Alclad grey primer have so far been added to the modified bodyshells, which helps to reveal any areas that need remedial work with filler and abarsive paper. Building up the coats in very thin layers prevents the delicate details from being swamped by the paint.

Also on the go concurrently is a Bachmann 2-car Turbostar that has been completely stripped and rebuilt due to 'accident damage'. It used to be in Porterbrook white/purple (as featured in Model Rail a few years back) before it's misadventure, but will soon be transformed into a fictional livery. Well, not entirely fictional.... watch this space!

This rebuilt Turbostar has needed a lot of TLC to get back to this stage and has also now been primed in grey, awaiting a few coats of metallic paint.

Even with painting and weathering taken into account, this detailed, scratchbuilt water tower has taken only around 6 hours to build.
Also off the Dent production line has been a freelance, scratchbuilt water tower for Maudetown Colliery. As the layout is to employ National Coal Board steam power, even up to the late 1980s operating period, some form of refreshment was needed and, inspired by a similar structure that stood at Bold Colliery, near St Helens, I knocked up this girder-built frame topped by a cylindrical boiler (a Bachmann moulding) that's been converted to water storage.
Using lots of scrap and improvised materials, I'm really pleased with the outcome. It's only taken a few hours from start to finish, working around the Class 150 project. I just need to assemble and paint a water filling column to match and the pair can be sited on the stabling siding of the colliery. I'll be writing this project up for Model Rail very soon, complete with plans and dimensions for the framing etc. It may prove to be a perfect undertaking for the odd winter's evening.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Network Rail Class 150 to begin

Now recently returned from a week away in sunny Devon, I feel refreshed and reinvigorated to get cracking on a number of practical projects that have been awaiting my attention for a while. First up is a conversion kit for the Bachmann Class 150 DMU, to turn it into the Network Rail track testing unit.

This is another superb offering from PH Designs and it looks to be an enjoyable, if potentially labour-intensive, project. For a start, the model will need to be stripped and fully prepared before any of the cutting and filling can commence and that is what will be filling my first day back at 'the office'.

What a lovely set of etched bits!

Although I'm not keen on the livery, it's always a shame to strip away a finely-applied factory finish, as is sported on this Central Trains 150.

Not only do the etched brass and nickel silver parts of the kit look to be of top notch quality, but the colour instructions and supplied reference images are a real boon, not least as good detail images of the real thing are not the easiest to find.
More progress reports will follow and the finished article is to appear in the landmark issue No.150 of Model Rail.