Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Colas 66s nearly finished

The striking Colas 66s are nearly complete.

A belated Happy Easter to everyone!

Although most of my Easter weekend was taken up with dog-walks and DIY, I did spend the best part of Good Friday working on a number of modelling jobs, especially adding the decals to my two Colas Class 66s, in ‘G’ scale and ‘OO’. The decals are produced by Precision Labels (in all scales) and each pack provides all the icons, numbers and data panels required. Only the overhead warning flashes were needed to complete the ‘OO’ version (from Modelmaster).

Alclad2 clear lacquer is my current favourite clear coat, especially for pre-decal glossing.

I love working with Precision Labels’ waterslide decals as, although they’re a bit more delicate to work with than other brands, they offer exceptionally realistic results. Applied over a high gloss surface (prepared with Alclad2 clear lacquer) and using Micro Set and Micro Sol setting solutions, the decals adhere supremely well and, once dry, the carrier film is completely invisible. The fact that each pack offers virtually all of the characters required (no having to buy multiple packs for numbers, data panels, logos etc) is also welcome, as is the spare set supplied with each pack to cover for any mishaps!

Micro Sol and Micro Set solutions make decal application easier and more succesful.

All that’s required now is a sealing coat of lacquer before reassembly and internal detailing of the cabs. I can’t wait for the ‘OO’ 66 to be ready to take up its berth on my modern MPD layout along with my other ‘Sheds’. Indeed, I’m slowly building up a nice fleet of these EMD machines in a colourful array of liveries... Who said they were boring...?!

I've grown fond of the Colas 'hard hat' logo. It's certainly refreshingly different to a lot of modern icons on the privatised railway.

Friday, 22 April 2011

A little bit of Hornby, a little bit of Parkside...

Although the vast majority of my model mineral wagon fleet is kit or scratchbuilt, I’m not averse to throwing in the odd RTR vehicle, especially Bachmann’s various 16tonners. But what about Hornby’s 21t steel and wood bodied wagons?

The bodyshells on these aren’t at all bad; it’s only the underframes that are a bit clumsy. Well, for around a ‘fiver’, you can swap the chassis for a much more realistic Parkside Dundas plastic kit and a set of fine-grade wheels and bearings. Having had a half-dozen of these Hornby 21t wagons lying around for some time, I resolved to get the necessary underframes and wheels from the Parkside stand at Model Rail Scotland back in February, plus a few sets of brass buffers and instanter couplings to complete the job.

The difference in appearance is startling and offers some welcome variety to my fleet. The job is also great fun and very rewarding. Although a repaint is not necessary, I wanted a few more internal user NCB wagons for my colliery layout.

Being a very simple swap, the Parkside 12ft wheelbase chassis makes a massive improvement to this Hornby 21t mineral. Note that Hornby have applied the white diagonal stripe to the wrong end – it should identify the end door... Ooooops! (This has been corrected on subsequent batches).

Another modified Hornby product, this BR brake van, has received new wheels, bearings and axle guards. Lamp brackets, handrails and wood veneer floor boards have also been added, along with a new BR livery, complemented by later NCB branding and yellow veranda ends. This is a fictional recreation, loosely based on other brake vans in use at various collieries for long propelling moves.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

NCB Gronk signed off

Just a quick update on the semi-fictional NCB Class 08 project: the model's now complete (apart from 3-link couplings) and ready for service on Maudetown Colliery. This has been an enjoyable, albeit an indulgent, project and NCB No.17 Iron Maiden looks well at home amongst the rakes of NCB and BR mineral wagons. The NCB lettering and numbers are from a Fox Transfers decal sheet for wagons and, strictly speaking, the loco should have cream coloured lettering (as seen on the Class 14 below). But, it's my layout - so there!!

The shade of blue may not be quite the same, but the 'Gronk' makes a good stable mate for my Hattons/Heljan Class 14.

The driver's orange-trimmed 'donkey jacket' can be glimpsed through the cab windows, along with the detailed interior.

Some careful weathering serves to accentuate the relief on the bodyshell.

Monday, 18 April 2011

G Scale Shed Repaint

This is a project that has been ongoing for months, with the odd little bit of progress made every so often, before the model had to be sidelined again to allow other projects to be bumped up in the painting/finishing queue. However, the weekend saw some decisive action taken and the final touches have now been made to the livery and a generous coating of gloss varnish was applied early this morning. With just the decals (from Precision Decals) and sealing clear coat to follow before reassembly, the end is finally is sight. Below is a small selection of images showing the paint job progressing since mid-2010!! This has been my first real foray into G scale repaints and it's certainly proved to be something of a learning exercise. The main problem has been the fact that the model will not fit inside my fume extraction booth, so I've had to take extra precautions to avoid the harmful enamel fumes while also finding somewhere safe to store it whilst each coat dried, away from any dust; my OO stuff simply sits in a box within the spray booth!
I usually prefer to airbrush a priming coat but not in this scale - car aerosol primer did the trick, although it needed rubbing down to a smooth finish when dry. Three coats were used, taking up an entire large can...

Colas yellow is a tricky shade to match and I ended up mixing my own, adding a little white to Railmatch Network Rail yellow.

The orange was easier - Loadhaul orange, again from Railmatch...

Satin black then followed...

Another new experience was lining-out the cantrail stripe - in OO it takes but a few minutes to do a full loco, but this whopper took a few hours to get through!

As things stand now: The G scale 'Shed' dwarfs its OO gauge cousin (also recieving the same scheme) as the gloss varnish cures. The big 66 takes up nearly my whole workbench...

Friday, 15 April 2011

NCB 08 Progress

The fictional livery, number and name all sit fairly well on the ‘08’.
Now fully reassembled and ready for a slot in the weathering shop, my NCB blue Class 08 is nearly ready to enter full service. The cab interior has been painted and a figure added, complete with NCB issue ‘Donkey Jacket’ and hi-viz vest! A few other detail additions have been added, in line with my other Bachmann ‘08s’, namely fuel filler pipes and front step cross brace. I covered how to get the best out of the Bachmann model in my book on detailing diesel & electric locos (see panel to right).
Considering that this model started out as a conglomeration of salvaged parts and a reconditioned power unit, it doesn’t look too bad now!

Copper wire and blobs of thick superglue make up the fuel filler pipe beneath the cab.

Although the cab doors of the Bachmann shunter do not open a la the Hornby version, the cab interior is still highly visible through the windows and the painted bulkhead, controls and driver certainly improve the model.

Although not as lavishly detailed as Hornby’s 08 interior, the Bachmann model can hold its own after painting and weathering the control console and adding a driver figure... ...and you’ll be able to see your handywork from the outside!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Realtrack Models Class144 Test shot

Just recieved this teasing little piccie from Realtrack Models of the first test shot moulding of the forthcoming Class 144 Pacer unit.... it's looking promising... Follow this link for more details.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Sunny Sussex

A most attractive combination of brick arches, concrete and cast iron make this bridge an attractive modelling prospect.

Having just returned from a week’s holiday in West Sussex, I’m now back to a backlog of modelling projects that I’m determined to clear. Top of the pile is a group of Class 66s to repaint and detail, including two in the brash Colas colours – in OO and G scale! These are in the later stages of final painting and finishing and will feature here very soon. Also with a high priority are a clutch of Gronks (or Class 08s), some being repainted and others detailed or modified slightly. I’ve also received a rough edit of the new Model Rail DVD to view and plan the missing sections, for further filming in the next few weeks.

The jaunt down to sunny Sussex wasn’t purely a holiday, as I was teaching a couple of courses at The Airbrush Company’s HQ near Lancing on the South Coast. Both days were full and each student seemed to go away very happy. It was a very rewarding experience, not only being able to pass on some of my experience and ‘tricks of the trade’, but also seeing how each student improved their technique and confidence over the course of each session. I believe that next year’s dates have virtually sold-out already, with just a couple of places left on the ‘Airbrushing for Railway Modellers’ day. See the header of this Blog for contact details.

The Dent Collective de-camped en masse to the South Coast for a Spring holiday and one of the highlights was walking the track bed of the former LBSC Shoreham-Horsham line. Passing through some lovely, unspoilt countryside, there are still a number of railway features still to be found, including this iron and masonry bridge.

Looking inland from the bridge, towards Steyning, the rolling countryside of the South Downs stretches into the distance...

The other highlight of the week was watching Pepper frolic in the sea at Worthing!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Making Movies

The past two weeks have seen some fairly intensive work towards the next Model Rail/Telerail DVD project. Several long days of filming have been completed, with a few more days’ work to follow, hopefully working towards a summer release. More details of title, content and availability will follow later, but here’s a small selection of some of the models that are featuring in the programme. Most notable is a Bachmann Class 08 in the attractive NCB blue livery. Although the Coal Board did operate a few ‘08s’ over the years, this is a fictional recreation for my fictional colliery layout and is designed to complement my two NCB-liveried Class 14s. Also on the workbench during filming has been an LMS camping coach, a Departmental ‘bubble car’, an Ivatt 2-6-2T and an assortment of wagons. I enjoy the challenge of creating instructional programmes but they’re not an easy prospect: coming up with an idea, planning out the format and writing the script can be time consuming, never mind the actual modelling work! Actually, getting absorbed in the practical work can often be the best bit, although working with a camera over your shoulder has its drawbacks, not least as everything has to be visible to the viewer. Precision modelling work is not easy when you have to keep your head and hands out of the way! So, with a few hours’ worth of footage already captured, Telerail’s Phil Metcalfe will be working his editing magic to assemble the programme into a rough shape, allowing us to gauge what’s needed to fill in any gaps. Once the rest of the filming is in the bag, archive footage is sourced and added before the script can be written and passed to the voice-over chap for recording. After that, it’s time for a final edit before the sleeve is designed and printed and the DVDs pressed and distributed. As you can imagine, each Model Rail DVD can take many weeks and lots of effort to create. And that’s on top of creating the magazine.
Salvaged from a number of scrap Bachmann parts and a refurbished power unit, this Class 08 is destined for the Maudetown Colliery fleet.

The Iron Maiden nameplates give away my taste in music – will it be numbered 666...?!

This Bachmann Ivatt 2-6-2T has had a very quick weathering job - but this model is also slated for a conversion project soon...