Thursday, 19 May 2011

Multiple Projects

Here's a brief preview of some projects that have been progressing over the past few days: a Turbostar, a Class 121 departmental Bubble Car and a Class 08. One of them is fictional, another is a museum piece (sort of) and the third a resurrected 30-year-old Lima model. Can you identify which is which? Answers on a postcard to....

What livery can this be? I had to mix the blue myself but I'm still not 100% sure about it...

Monday, 16 May 2011

Happy Campers

Fox Transfers offer a pack of Camping Coach decals that are perfect for ex-LMS stock, with numbers, ‘Camping Coach’ lettering and ‘No Brakes’ legends for the solebars.

Inspired by Chris Leigh’s article in the current issue of Model Rail, I thought I’d have a go at recreating an ex-LMS Camping Coach. Chris passed me a picture of a suitable prototype subject, although in an unknown location. Judging by the style and materials of the surrounding buildings, it looks like a South Western location, but I’m not sure. We couldn’t make out the coach’s number either.

But, none of that bothered me one jot, as I simply wanted a rather careworn green and cream carriage to sit in an overgrown siding on a planned future diorama project. The photo shows the coach in a faded and neglected state; indeed, it carries ‘condemned’ chalking on the side. But I wanted a coach that was still habitable, so the weathering was a bit more restrained, concentrating on giving the wheels and underframe a fairly rusty look (not having moved for a while) and lots of rain and weather staining to the roof and ends. Prototypically, the gangways were also removed and blanked off.

The donor coach was a Bachmann LMS composite and I just need to detail the interior and build my mini holiday diorama. Maybe this will be a job best saved for winter when I can be dreaming of warmer days by the seaside?!

Many Camping Coaches had their vacuum brakes removed so any movements around the network would need a brake van on the end. Fox supply appropriate ‘NO BRAKES’ legends for the solebars.

I picked a number at random from those on the Fox Transfers sheet as I couldn’t make out the prototype’s identity. Some research would no doubt have turned up a probable candidate but, hey, I just didn’t care in this instance!

The plated-over gangways are a key feature of many camping coach conversions.

Decal setting solutions help the transfers cling to the glossy coach paintwork.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Tuning up the Bagpipes

Filming for the next Model Rail DVD was wrapped up yesterday, with the last half-dozen segments completed. It just needs editing and scripting now, so we're still aiming for a summer 2011 release. We also filmed a short section for a later programme (how's that for organisation?!), demonstrating some quick and easy ways to weather cement wagons.

Back to the main programme, however, and the above Class 33/1 enjoyed a short cameo role after a rapid, late night re-numbering detailing and painting session the night before. After reading in a recent magazine article (can't remember where or when), the statement of the author regarding the Heljan 33/1 stuck in my mind. He'd said that it was one of the best models of recent years, in his opinion and, with a couple 'in stock' for possible future projects, I was moved to dig one of them out for the DVD project.

It's a few years since they hit the shelves now and, having worked on a couple of them not so long ago (converting them to 33/0s), I'd almost forgotten about them. Not least as they're out of my 'region', so to speak. However, with an open mind, I took BR blue D6520 out of the box. As with many Heljan diesels, straight out of the packaging, they can look a little bland and the unpainted lamp irons (black plastic) get on my nerves a little. But, with an hour's worth of tweaks and a weathered finish, the model really comes alive.

One of the main improvements was the central windscreen. The pop-out glazing looks much better for running a black marker pen around the outer edge to remove the prismatic effect of light reflecting off the corners of the plastic. Touching in the relevant front end details with paint also makes a massive difference. A set of PH Designs etched brass bogie steps also offer a dramatic shift in the loco's appearance - see a review of these in a forthcoming Model Rail.

New etched footsteps are fun to build and make a big difference to the underframe.

They might be a test of your eyesight and soldering skilss, but they're worth it!

Re-numbered as TOPS 33118, the 33/1 is all ready for the weathering process.

So, having re-acquainted myself with the Danish 33/1, I've been reminded of just what a nice model it is, especially after a modest bit of enhancement. I wonder how good the Rail Exclusive 33/0 will be when it appears... if it's anywhere near as good as the 33/1, then it'll be worth the money. I've always had a soft spot for the 33s, especially as a Lima Crompton was my first 'real' model loco as I progressed from my first trainset. It was 33056 The Burma Star - bought from G&I Models in Warrington for £13.95 (new!) in 1986 - the day is etched in my memory! I still have the model, although I converted it to a Class 26 a few years later.

I only ever saw one 33 in my spotting days. 33019, I think it was, on a Manchester-Cardiff service at Crewe in the late 1980s. Maybe I should recreate it in miniature one of these days...?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Colas 66s signed off

The OO Bachmann 66 looks rather natty in its new colours. Just like the real thing, it started life as a DRS liveried 'shed'!

Last night I put the final touches to the Colas Class 66s that I've been working on, seemingly, for ages! I'm really pleased with the results.

The driver in the cab of the G scale 66 has been adapted from a Scenecraft depot worker.

I've been working on many a 'shed' recently - look out for the results in Model Rail soon...!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

More images of the first Class 143 sample

Charlie at Realtrack Models has sent me a few more images of the forthcoming ready-to-run Class 143 DMU. This is the first 3D sample received from China and I must say that we’re all very impressed with it. The prototype looks to have been captured extremely well. One of the highlights looks to be the underframe detail and the method of motorising the unit breaks lots of new ground in that the interior rendering is unaffected by a large blanked-off area as is the case on some other RTR multiple units.

I can’t wait to see a painted sample in due course and I’m holding out for an early period livery – the original Regional Railways scheme to be precise. Or a Yorkshire red/cream. But, I’ll have to wait for those as the first raft of releases feature the 143 in more recent Privatisation liveries. See the Realtrack Models website for more details of prices, livery options and expected delivery dates. More pictures and info will also appear in the next issue of Model Rail (out 19th May).