Thursday, 27 December 2012


Progress report on the J94 conversion

My industrial conversion of a Hornby J94 0-6-0ST has progressed well, with most of the small detail components added and the bunker changed to its smaller size. I've added a high intensity electric headlamp to both ends along with a Stones steam-powered generator on the running plate. Still to do: assembling the etched metal footsteps, cab interior fittings and handrails, adding the cast injectors, cabside window shutters and a few extra bits and bobs before the model can be primed and painted in National Coal Board colours.

See the March issue of Model Rail for a full demo of this conversion, although the painting and lining will feature in an issue later in the year.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


Homemade vinyls for a special livery scheme

Here's a sneak preview of a project I've been working on for the past week. It's a re-liveried Bachmann Class 170 Turbostar for Merseyrail, with an obvious football flavour. I've printed the decals myself with a standard inkjet printer, which has been an interesting experience. All will be revealed in the March issue of Model Rail magazine, which goes to press just after the Festive holiday and will be on sale in early February.

May I take this opportunity to wish all readers a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

All the best!

Monday, 17 December 2012


Former teaching aid enters traffic in the Dent fleet

Attendees of my most recent Airbrush Weathering Techniques course might recognise this BR blue Class 37 as it played a major role in a number of demonstrations. As a result, the Vi-Trains model was looking a bit rough around the edges: I'd rubbed away the numbers and, partially, BR logos to simulate wear and tear and renumbering techniques, as well as scuffing up the paintwork to let the light grey undercoat show through and add some 'faded' shades. It looked pretty good at the time, but repeated handling whilst wet and being lugged around the country in a tool box (wrapped only in bubble wrap) inevitably contributed to a few bumps and scrapes.

Having earned its retirement from the teaching lark, I treated this 37 to a bit of TLC. Although, apart from the fitment of the delicate detail parts like wipers, horns and brake pipes and a bit of extra misting over areas that had been worn or scuffed, the loco is pretty much how it looked after my initial demo. Except maybe a little more refined.

I had to add new TOPS numbers and data panels and had also wondered about changing the identity. However, Vi-Trains' attention to detail made that difficult as the nose ends and other details are fairly specific. So, it has stayed as 37141. That's fine by me, being a Cardiff-based loco that suits my South Wales colliery traffic perfectly.

Friday, 14 December 2012


ECR Class 66 nears completion

Further to a previous posting, the excellent transfers (Precision Labels) have now been added and the model varnished. So, that's the body sorted, but it leaves the hardest part of project: the revised valances with integral snowploughs. I'll be starting them soon and the etched metal kits look like they should be fun to build and solder. It's the masking for the 'wasp' stripes that's proving more daunting, what with the very irregular shape. Where there's a will, there's a way...

Oh, and the buffer shanks also need painting yellow with black stripes added. And that should be it.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Progress report on the Hornby J94

I've managed to get quite a bit of work done on my Hornby Austerity 0-6-0ST today, with the upper parts of the boiler and bufferbeams adorned with etched and cast metal parts from the RT Models detail kit. It's already starting to look more purposeful, although there's still much work to do on the bodyshell. The cab needs a lot of attention and there's the etched footsteps to fabricate and install. It's all good fun though.

My chosen prototype is presenting some problems in that it seems to be fairly unique in some areas, so I'm wavering over which parts to add and wondering if I've time to scratchbuild some bits of my own. But I'll sleep on it and tackle the problem afresh in the morning...

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Hornby J94 stripped and ready for attention

I've had a detailing and modifying kit for the Hornby J94 Austerity in my 'In Tray' for nearly a year now and, finally, it has reached the front of the queue. Aimed at improving a BR or an Industrial version, there are plenty of etched and cast bits and bobs to replace the moulded details on the RTR model. Before work can begin, however, the loco has been stripped completely, including removing the motor and drivetrain, which is a necessary evil in order to separate the chassis from the running plate/lower boiler section. I've also cut away all of the plastic that is to be replaced with superior components, the image giving some idea of the amount of work involved. What you can't see is that the back of the cab and bunker has also been extensively modified.

I'm looking forward to making a start on adding the new bits, but the model needs to dry out overnight after a good bath and degrease. After all that filing and sanding, I need to tidy my workbench too as there's black plastic dust everywhere!

Look out for more updates on this project....

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Work starts on a Continental Class 66

Readers of Model Rail may have seen the announcement in the latest issue (177) that we've commissioned Bachmann to produce a limited edition Class 66 in the Euro Cargo Rail format. In the meantime, however, I'm working up something of a prototype using a set of etched bufferbeam valances and wing mirrors from PH Designs and some natty decals from Precision Labels. The first step, however, has been to change the identity of my EWS-liveried Bachmann model and there's no quick way of doing this, thanks to the corrugated sides and heavy printing of the EWS logo and TOPS numbers.

So, some rubbing with T-Cut was followed by an overall clean and degrease before masking up and spraying the 'EWS Gold' sections, with a light layer of white primer beneath to give it a suitable backing. Again, the undulating sides offer a challenge to the masking and a few small areas of seepage were treated after removing the tape, using a cocktail stick soaked in white spirit. Indeed, using enamel paints makes this cleaning up easier, even a few days after painting.

A deep gloss coat of varnish has been applied and, once this has cured completely, I can add the waterslide transfers. Look out for more Blog updates on this project, while a full demo article will appear in Model Rail early in 2013.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

AC 90

New detail kit for Class 90 in the testing queue

I've had a number of AC electric-themed projects on the go over the past year or two, albeit most of them only in my head or on paper. But, with a Bachmann 85 now in my collection and a Heljan 86 to finish titivating, another is about to begin with this amazing new detailing kit from PH Designs. Aimed at improving the Hornby Class 90, it contains new resin valances and bufferbeams, plus two sheets of etched brass providing improved cab front details and window frames, plus a host of other goodies.

The Hornby model is a bit old in the tooth in some respects, but in others it's not so bad. The pantograph needs replacing and the wheels are a bit coarse, but I'm certain that, once finished, the '90' should be looking far more realistic.

My only quandary is in the livery stakes. The Freightliner green donor model looks attractive, but I don't really have much F'liner stock, being more of an EWS man as far as privatised freight operators go. But I've plenty of time to think about the colour scheme..!

Monday, 26 November 2012


Finished in time for display at Warley, 37606 is ready for service

With a post-Warley hangover in full effect today, I've been taking stock of all the great kit and component samples collected over the weekend and planning when and how best to showcase them in Model Rail in the coming months. Stuff like motion-sensing illuminated tail lamps, 3D-printed tractors, N gauge farm diorama sets, laser-cut glazing packs have got my creative juices flowing. Other goodies included an etched brass kit of something that will look perfect behind this here DRS Class 37. The paint had just dried in time for the model to be boxed up and lugged down to Brum, along with the Railroad Class 31, for display on the Model Rail stand at the NEC. Thanks to those who sought me out to say nice things about both models (and the mag in general). Indeed, it was a good weekend all round and nice to catch up with some familiar and some new faces.

There was a raft of new models on show too, although I didn't get much of a chance to see them all. I did try some bicep curls with the Heljan O gauge Class 40 (it's BIG!) and Hattons/Heljan Bayer Garrett looked promising. Oh, and the Danes are going to do a BR Class 05 shunter, which I'm excited about. The Bachmann Lanky tank looks good, as does the Dukedog, while Dapol's sand-liveried OO Western looked the business.
Ben and Chris Nevard, got all the gen and images of everything of note and all will be revealed in detail in Model Rail 178. In the mean time, check out MR's Facebook feed (linked on the righthand side of this page)...

Another project chalked off. Now to start a J94 and an etched brass industrial shunter...

Thursday, 22 November 2012


37606 has received its decals and is ready for reassembly

After a few days painting the various colour elements and a deep, glossy varnish coating, the  DRS decals have been applied. Fox Transfers numbers have been augmented by original style logos from Lancaster City Models (the only transfer maker with a licence agreement with DRS). The transfers performed faultlessly and really look the part. The model has now been varnished again, this time with a satin sheen, and will be left for 48hrs before putting the model back together again. I'm looking forward to adding the weathering and final touches.
Unbelievably, it's the Warley show this weekend (how quickly it comes around every year), so we'll be heading off to the NEC tomorrow to set up the Model Rail stand and brace ourselves for the onslaught of Saturday morning. Hopefully, I'll get to have a look around this year - last time I only saw the MR stand and the loos, with very little in between! Maybe see you there? We're at stand B19 in Hall 5, with plenty of special offers on limited edition models and other goodies.

Monday, 19 November 2012


Priming and abrading to get it right

My DRS Class 37/6 project is coming along steadily, although the painting stage is proving a bit slow. After an initial light coat of grey primer, lots of imperfections have surfaced (that were invisible before), resulting in a few hours' worth of gentle abrading with Micromesh sheets and plenty of warm water. The resin noses are particularly guilty of hiding a few sunken areas and hairline scratches that the eye simply can't see until the flat grey paint has been applied.

It can be a bit disheartening to have to rubdown the model again after another coat of paint, but it's best to get all of this out of the way now before adding any of the topcoats. As it stands, I've just applied the last coat of primer, but this time using white as a base for the yellow ends and blue sides. Hopefully, the job can get going in earnest over the coming days...

Friday, 16 November 2012


Rendition of 37606 ready for painting

Way back in May, I briefly mentioned starting work on a DRS Class 37/6 conversion, using a Vi-Trains 37 and some replacement nose ends from PH Designs. Well, work the project has now reached it's turn in the queue and, after a day or two of intensive work with a variety of etched metal bits and bobs, the model is ready for its first coat of primer. This has proved quite a long-winded job, due mostly to the choice of donor model - although this was purely my fault. A Bachy 37/4 or 37/5 would probably be easier, if a little more expensive.

Anyway, the model's finally looking like it ought to and has just tasted its first misting of grey primer, as a way of gauging if I've missed any scratches or tool marks before the painting begins in earnest. Can't wait to get the painting out of the way and get the decals in place. My prototype is 37606 which still carried the original DRS logos when I photographed it at Crewe in 2010. The real thing now wears the fancy new style livery, but I've included a few tiny details on the bodyshells that are more relevant to the earlier scheme.

See Model Rail 178 for the full story!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

ESSO SO GOOD (cont..)

Latest Model Rail generates a bit of interest in Dapol tanks

Since the latest Model Rail (MR176) hit the shelves last week, I've had quite a few comments regarding the Railroad Class 31 project, as well as the Workbench Test, featuring a detailing kit for the Dapol/Airfix Class B tank kit. Produced by RT Models, the etched metal bits make a massive difference to the appearance of what is already a jolly nice model - well, if a bit of time is spent in cleaning up the parts during assembly - the moulds are showing their age a bit, which is inevitable for tools that date back 40-odd years.

As well as emails about the detailing parts, the excellent transfers (from Cambridge Custom Transfers) and the Dapol kit itself, I've also been asked about the weathering. The three wagons that I built have only had a cursory weathering job, using various enamels applied by airbrush. I usually enjoy creating lots of nice, oily streaks on oil tanks, but Esso took great pains to keep these wagons fairly clean in service, especially in the late 60s/early 70s when my models are set. It has given me an idea for a future project, however, so keep an eye out in Model Rail next year....

Monday, 12 November 2012


9F conversion weathered and ready for service

A few previous posts have described my quest to realise a model of the iconic Tyne Dock-allocated BR 9Fs. After some touch-up painting and a few hours' worth of weathering, the model is now complete. The extra plumbing and twin air pumps blend in to the rest of the structure now, which was the intention. Indeed, the overall effect is not bad for a budget model and, at first glance, the Hornby Railroad 9F doesn't look too far off the superior Bachmann version. Look closer, however, and you realise there's no brake gear and a few bits and pieces are a bit crude by today's standards. But then, this model is almost half the price!

It's nice to see the loco hooked up to an appropriate wagon - a Dave Bradwell metal kit that I built a few years back. Not the easiest thing to build, but it makes a great model of the unique hopper wagons. A little bird tells me that a new, easier kit for these wagons should be available next year - see Model Rail 177 for more info (on sale Nov 29), along with the full demo on how I converted my Hornby 9F.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Hornby Railroad 9F ready for painting

Further to the previous post, my Tyne Dock-Consett 9F has received all of its detail upgrades and conversion parts and is ready for re-numbering and touch-up painting. Unsurprisingly, a typically weathered finish is also planned. I've chosen 92098 as my subject as that's the loco that I've been working from, photo-wise, with some great images found in various publications, especially Locomotives in Detail, No.7: Riddles Class 9F by David Clarke (Ian Allan, 2007. ISBN 07110 32467). The full conversion project will appear in Model Rail magazine, issue 177.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Another raft of airbrushing courses completed on the Sussex coast

Not quite a 'wish you were here' postcard from sunny Worthing... but more of a 'Wish I was still there' plea from the cold, grey North! Seriously though, I had a great time teaching my two days of airbrushing and weathering courses at The Airbrush Company's premises in Lancing, just a short beach-side stroll from the inter-war resort of Worthing. Thanks to everyone who attended, who worked really hard and made the courses a pleasure to teach.

Sussex really is a beautiful county and it made a nice change to travel there by train, especially as I elected to go by the scenic route and avoid the big, bad metropolis of London. Just a shame that so much of the journey was on a XC Voyager, or Vomet Comet as they're affectionately known. And, yes, the two I travelled on did smell of a chemical toilet. But hey, that's progress. Who could possibly want to travel in an antiquated set of Mk3 carriages hauled by a Class 47 (south of Brum) and an electric for the northern leg. You know, with a view out of the window, plenty of space, no engine noise under your feet and a much more civilised ambience...?

But I digress. I didn't get much time to walk along the sea front over the 4 day stay, but I did make sure I had a last hurrah early on Saturday morning, enjoying the sunshine and mild warmth of an early November morning. I do love the seaside out of season...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Plenty of copper piping to fit on latest project

A project that I've had on the back burner for a few years has finally reached the head of the queue, being a BR 9F 2-10-0 for the Tyne Dock-Consett iron ore traffic. An Alexander Models conversion kit was obtained a couple of years ago with a view to using a Bachmann 9F but, what with the price of these locos and relative scarcity of them at the moment, I opted to use the budget-priced Hornby Railroad version instead. Happily, it makes for a nice follow on project from last month's Railroad Class 31 & 37 upgrades, which feature in the next issue of Model Rail (MR176) that goes on sale this week.

In fact, the Alexander Models kit was designed to fit the Hornby 9F, so the job is that bit easier, helped by the supplied instructions and diagrams. The loco does lack the refinement of Bachmann's more recent product - no brake gear, clunky tender chassis and moulded details - but the upgrade to loco drive makes it a very sweet runner.

The conversion kit is, despite being around for a few decades, is finely crafted. The twin air pumps are especially lovely and, once plumbed-in, it's all starting to look the part. Just need to sort out the tender now, which needs to be of a different pattern to the one supplied with the Hornby model. Luckily, I have a Bachmann BR 1B tender shell in the spares box, which is lucky. Mind you, suitable tender kits can be obtained from a number of sources - see MR177 for more details...

After a summer of full-size central heating repairs, it's nice to face a more straightforward plumbing job in miniature! The full conversion will appear in Model Rail issue 177.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Latest issue of MLI offers plenty of inspiration

Having picked up a copy of the latest issue of Modern Locomotives Illustrated (MLI), I've unpacked my Dapol NBL Type 2/Class 22 and have started planning what I want to do to it. It's a year since this model came my way and a few ideas have come and gone without truly sparking my imagination. The situation wasn't helped by the relative sparsity of detailed info and decent colour images in any books or magazines. However, the latest MLI changes that as it contains a wealth of material for the modeller.

The Dapol model is certainly impressive and, being a small Bo-Bo diesel fan, is right up my street. After a few evenings curled up in front of the fire with MLI, I should have settled on a prototype (not a simple matter as there were so many variations) and will be able to set about detailing and weathering this splendid little fella. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Ex-Lima 31 is complete and ready for action

The Hornby Railroad '31' is now sitting proudly on the shelf above my desk, resplendent in slightly grimy BR blue. I'm pretty chuffed with how it turned out, especially as the job was a little more rushed than is usual. My regular, relaxed (yet busy!) routine has been seriously compromised by taking a few weeks off in September. The model is anything but perfect - I'd have liked to have had to time to knock-up some cab interiors and the wheels are a bit coarse by today's standards - but it does give the more recent Hornby Brush Type 2 a run for its money. Especially price-wise. I note that Trains 4U in Peterboro are offering the Railroad model at about £50, while a high spec '31' has a rrp of over £140 (or a whopping £231.75 with DCC sound!). So, if you fancy a RR 31, I'd get one sooner rather than later as the production batch is limited.

You can read all about this project and see the step by step demo in Model Rail 176, out on November 1.

Monday, 15 October 2012


WW2 Warwell produced by automated 3D printing

Is this the way forward for model railway kit production? After browsing the website of Shapeways, I found the range of Wild Boar Models, a specialist in 4mm scale military railway vehicle kits, previewed a few months back in Model Rail magazine. After choosing the wagon I wanted, the transaction is made and then the CAD files are sent to an automated factory in Eindhoven where the model is 'printed' in 3D and dispatched by first class mail. 

It's a bit rough and ready, with the acrylic needing quite a bit of work to smooth-out the marks from the laser cutting process. Extra details like builders plates, load shackle loops, brake gear and bogies have to be sourced separately and I doubt the plastic buffers will last long, so they'll have to go. Would it have been easier to scratchbuild? And is it superior to the (rather nice) Genesis Kits whitemetal kit of the same wagon? Well, I'll have to finish this 'kit' off before I make up my mind.

It's worth a look at the Shapeways site. It's certainly an interesting concept and quite a few MR readers have mentioned it in the past. As long as you can design it, they can make it. So it opens up a lot of possibilities to modellers...

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Ex-Lima 31 painted and ready for decals

Just a quick update on my Hornby Railroad Class 31 project. All painting is complete and the gloss varnish is currently drying. Next, the various waterslide decals will be added before the weathering can begin. It's starting to look the part now... this is the stage that I find most exciting, as a model is instantly transformed once the transfers are in place...

Thursday, 11 October 2012


SP's hoist at home on Maudetown

With copies of Model Rail issue 175 now on sale, I've already heard a few positive comments concerning Spencer Pollard's latest feature. SP did a cracking job of assembling, painting and weathering the Ratio loco hoist kit and it is now sitting proudly on part of my Maudetown Colliery extension. I was especially pleased with how he'd treated the bare metal working surfaces of the winching mechanism and the oily, grimy yellow finish blends in well with other items of plant and machinery at this NCB location - not least my little 0-4-0 diesel shunter Imperial.

There's still lots to do on this new baseboard, the scene here being finished off expressly for photographic purposes. However, I was particularly pleased with the textured ground cover, which was a couple of new Geoscenics products under trial - look out for a review and demo in Model Rail in the New Year.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Railroad 31 ready for the paint shop

After fettling the bufferbeam cowlings, the various pipes and hoses have been added and buffers permanently fixed, complete with little tread-plate footsteps! All final body details have been added and the model has now entered the paint shop and received a white priming coat. I'm happy with how it's going (touch wood) and can't wait to get the BR colours on. I had plans for a very intricate weathering job but, with only a week or so left before the deadline, I might have to keep things brief... the perils of having a few weeks on holiday - I'm having to catch up quickly!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Hornby Railroad 31 gets the Extreme treatment

The venerable ex-Lima 31 has retained popular with modellers, with an overall appearance closer to the real thing than the more expensive, high-spec Hornby version. It does need a lot of detailing work, however, but that's part of the fun

It's been a while since I last super-detailed a Lima Class 31, but the recent release of this model under the Hornby Railroad banner has given me a good excuse to see if my skills have improved since the May 2005 issue of Model Rail (No.79). Now, though, there are far better detailing parts on the market than the old Craftsman and A1 Models bits and pieces to treat this model, which dates back to 1989 or so. Indeed, I remember buying one of the first Lima releases (31327 Phillips Imperial in red-stripe Railfreight livery!) from the original Hatton's store in Liverpool.

For this 21st Century project, I've a number of Extreme Etches products to try out, including an exquisite roof grille and fan, plus a pack of laser-cut flush glazing, which I'm excited about fitting at the end of the upgrade. It took me a while to settle on a prototype to copy and the Hornby issue has erroneously coupled a refurbished end with an un-refurbished body, so I umm-ed and arr-ed about whether to go for an early 1980s or post-1990s version.

Finding a spare set of bufferbeam cowlings from the high-spec Hornby 31 helped make up my mind and these have been modified slightly to fit the Lima chassis, as well as many other bits of brass wire, plastic strip and piles of filler.... look out for more updates here and the entire project will feature in Model Rail 176 (December issue).

Extreme Etches (from Shawplan) offer a great rendition of the radiator fan and grille, each being built-up from several individual layers.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Further progress on Parkside kit

As mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, I've been building and enhancing a Parkside BR trestle wagon kit and it's now a little closer to completion. Some slight amendments have been made to the real wood trestles, most notably setting the cross-braces flush with the uprights (I'd erroneously stuck them on top), hence why there are a few pale patches in the above image. These have now been blended-in with a little more wood dye.

What I'm particularly pleased with is the brackets that I knocked-up from 2mm wide, 10thou' brass strip, folded to shape in a Hold n Fold and adorned with homemade bolt heads, punched with a Nutter tool. They just need touching in with a suitably rusty shade of paint and, now that the decals have also been applied, the wagon can get its final weathering job.

Not sure if I'm going to make up a load or not. I like the look of the trestles as they are, but I also fancy trying to create some realistic steel sheet... I'll have to think about it.

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Another brilliant show at Barrow Hill

BR 'Britannia' Oliver Cromwell basks in the light drizzle. Behind is the unique 89001 and  82008.

Last weekend saw the annual exhibition of real and model trains at the Barrow Hill Roundhouse museum, near Chesterfield. Although the Sunday was a bit grey and damp, the Saturday saw glorious sunshine, apparently (I was in Devon until the early hours of Sunday morning!). The show seemed very busy and everybody looked to be having a good time, with plenty of locomotives and some excellent layouts on show.

Highlights for me included operating Chris Leigh's O gauge Railway Children-themed layout for much of Sunday, as well as the sight of so many gleaming Class 20s in a variety of new and old liveries. Look out for more reflections in the November issue of Model Rail magazine...
Resplendent in the new house colours of HNRC, 20313 and  314 are an eye-catching sight.

EMT's shuttle services between Chesterfield and Barrow Hill were performed by 156414 on the Sunday.

A flashback to my youth: a pair of Railfreight 20s, complete with workstained appearance on 20118.

The subject of MR's next exclusive RTR loco - the USA/SR 0-6-0T

Another gleaming 20 - this time in the form of GBRf's 20901. The paint was still wet when it was shunted onto the turntable on Friday night!

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Model Rail's new contributor gets off to an impressive start.

With copies of Model Rail issue 174 on sale this week, I've already heard a few positive comments concerning Spencer Pollard's feature on wagon weathering techniques. His unique approach has certainly raised many eyebrows and we're glad to have Spencer on board as a regular contributor to the Workbench pages. I built these two Parkside O gauge kits earlier in the year and, when Spencer mentioned some of his ideas, they seemed perfect fodder for his attentions - especially the 16t mineral. His attention to detail has really raised the bar as far as wagon weathering is concerned and these two vehicles now make my other stock look a bit boring!

As for SP's work for issue 175, I've just finished photographing the finished model and it looks great. Look out for a preview soon.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Geen GWR Gas Tank Gets Going...

Having obtained this delightful whitemetal kit about 4 or 5 years ago, I've finally got around to start building it. It's a OO gauge kit from the David Geen range and represents a GWR wagon designed to carry and store carriage lighting gas to wayside stations, where coaching stock could be replenished. My knowledge of these is pretty limited, however the supplied paperwork include plenty of prototype information (more than there are assembly instructions!), including b&w images. Which is just as well as these things boasted much in the way of variety and in-service modifications.

The main metal components have now been assembled, with the chassis framing proving a little tricky to get square and true (I had to build a wooden jig). Real wood veneer is provided for the decking, but that will wait until after the painting stage. At this early stage, it's already looking purposeful and, being whitemetal, it's pretty hefty. All in all, it's a jolly nice kit!

Monday, 27 August 2012


Wagon painted and trestle dyed

A bit more progress to report on my BR Trestle wagon: the wagon has been painted using a variety of Lifecolor acrylics to get the bare timber effect on the floor, using the Weathered Wood set of 6 shades. Lifecolor's BR freight grey was also used for the steel sides and ends. As for the real wood trestles, a mix of oil-based wood dyes was used to get a nicely weathered appearance. You can't beat real wood - it looks just like the real thing!

Next step is to add all the scratchbuilt strengthening plates and bolts, add transfers and make an authentic load of sheet steel. Oh, and the photos show the trestle plonked on back to front - but don't fear - it hasn't been fixed on yet!

Friday, 24 August 2012


Parkside kit upgraded with real timber

With a beer in hand (a bottle of Dent Brewery's Golden Fleece - very nice!) and the Liverpool match on the radio, last night was spent building a OO Parkside Dundas BR Trestle wagon. Very similar to an LMS design, the kit's OK as far as detail is concerned although, being an older moulding, there's quite a bit of flash to remove from the various components before assembly can begin.

What I found most at fault was the plastic trestle sections which are very... well... plasticky. There's no wood grain effect and it would take some skilful painting to get them to look right. So I haven't bothered and have made use of some strip boxwood and have used the plastic bits as a pattern from which to cut each component. Now the glue has dried, it can be stained with wood dye. I also need to add some steel strengthening brackets (from brass or thin Plastikard), which sounds like a nice job for the weekend.

Monday, 13 August 2012


Brass kit finally gets a chassis

Started way back in the depths of last winter, this Model Rail/MARC Models SNCF Night Ferry van kit has been waiting patiently to receive its chassis. With a spare hour or two over the weekend, I managed to get the brass and whitemetal bits soldered together and wheeled-up.  As mentioned in previous Blog posts, this van has been built for my fictional wartime Western Desert Railway layout project, so has been modified slightly, hence why the body is wearing a dirty shade of khaki brown.

There's still quite a bit to do, with extra underframe details needed before final painting and lettering takes place. Although these kits are no longer available, they're great fun to build and I'm glad that I've one more in stock for future use, as well as one of the SR Reach Wagons which I'm also thinking of converting into something appropriate for use in the Egyptian desert...!