Monday, 30 January 2012


More glazing progress.

After 'laser-glazing' my Vi-Trains 47, I also tried out a pack designed for Bachmann's take on the Brush Type 4. Again, the results speak for themselves. For about £9 per pack, the glazing isn't cheap, but it's well worth the money in terms of tangible results. After all, if you've put the work into detailing and/or weathering your model, you may as well add the icing on the cake...

Read more about Laserglaze products on Shawplan's Blog or see my Bench Test article in Model Rail issue 158.

This Bachmann 47 was one of the initial releases (complete with erroneous reinforced windscreen surrounds) and was detailed and weathered as part of an article that appeared in Model Rail issue 139 (Jan 2010).

Saturday, 28 January 2012


The proof's in the pudding.

May I present a few more images of the EWS Vi-Trains 47 fitted with the new Shawplan laser-cut replacement glazing pack. I've also fitted some new Shawplan wipers (pack DP4511A) and used some PH Designs etched weathering masks to suggest the sweep of the wiper blades. I'm a big fan of the Vi-Trains 47s, not least as they can be picked up from some retailers for about £40 and, if you're prepared to put in some detail work and, perhaps, a repaint then they're great value. As far as the underframe's concerened, no-one else has got captured the bogies as well as the Italians.

The factory-fitted glazing is OK, but not a patch on the Laserglaze alternative. The prismatic effect around the outside of the windows exaggerate the thickness of the plastic and the dodgy fit of the cabside glazing spoils the appearance. Well done Shawplan! I'm currently drawing up a list of other glazing packs to invest in to transform the look of many more of my diesels. 

Friday, 27 January 2012


Grubby EWS 47 finished.

As mentioned in the previous posting, I've been working on a Vi-Trains EWS Class 47 project for Model Rail issue 168. Back in July, I made a start on distressing and weathering this loco, but the project then stalled while I waited to get hold of a Shawplan Laserglaze pack. It's certainly been worth the wait, as the new glazing looks superb. I've also fitted a pack to a Bachmann 47 and some photos of the results will follow.

Have a good weekend everyone - I'm hoping for another good result for the Reds in the cup tomorrow...

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Pair of Duffs get the Laserglaze treatment.

With Model Rail issue 166 on sale today and my contributions for MR167 all in the bag, I'm now working on stuff for issue 168. As 168 is the Spring issue (out in late March), it feels like I'm speeding through 2012, yet it's still only January. Mind you, I wouldn't mind a bit of Spring-like weather as I'm getting fed up of the cold and short hours of daylight.  

Today, I've been trialling some new laserglazing packs from Shawplan, designed for the Class 47s of Bachmann and Vi-Trains. I've used some of these glazing packs before (CLICK HERE), albeit on different locomotives, and a Benchtest review appeared in MR158. These two glazing kits follow the same method of being fitted from the outside and are shaped to allow a friction fit that can be reinforced with clear varnish or, preferably, Johnsons Klear acrylic floor polish. 

Both packs fitted well, although I had to fettle the windscreens on the Bachmann model a bit, but this was more down to this model having been repainted than the design of the glazing. I've just completed a little extra weathering to blend the windows with the rest of the dirty bodyshells, making use of some PH Designs wiper masks. I'll post a finished image here in due course, while you can read about the project in more detail in MR168, including a demo of distressing and weathering the EWS 'Duff'.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Cement wagon steps in corruption shocker!

I suppose it has to happen sometimes, but it's frustrating when mistakes creep into a publication, especially when a lot of hard work has been put into an article. The latest issue of Model Rail (MR166) features the PH Designs detail kit for the Bachmann JPA in a Workbench Test (pp48-50). However, the step-by-step instructions have somehow become corrupted. Below is the order in which they were submitted. And apologies for any confusion caused...

Regular readers may remember my Blog entry on the subject of this detail kit, back in September 2011. Click here to read it again. More info on the PH Designs kit can be found here.

 ((Step 1))
The replacement JPA tank walkway kit consists of a single sheet of 0.15mm etched brass. The original bulky moulding needs to be cut away with a sharp knife and the wire rails pulled out and put to one side.

((Step 2))
Razor sharp, heavy-duty scissors, or a set of shears designed for use with etched metal, are essential to avoid damaging the delicate parts whilst cutting them from the fret. Remove the waste as you go to give the jaws room to work.

 ((Step 3))
Study the supplied instructions and diagrams carefully before folding the walkways to shape. A Hold ‘n’ Fold is heartily recommended, as it will keep the brass flat whilst bending with a long, flat blade. 

 ((Step 4))
Use a small setsquare against the base of the Hold ‘n’ Fold to gauge the angle of the fold. Make any adjustments with the blade along the length of the component and recheck until a 90o angle is achieved.

((Step 5))
Fold up the small handrail mounting brackets to a U shape and fix to the walkways with cyanoacrylate glue. Use a straightedge and pencil to mark their positions first, ensuring the brackets are in a straight line.

((Step 6))
Dab a drop of slow-drying cyano glue or epoxy onto each of the mounting feet and fix the walkways into place atop the tank. Re-fix the original wire handrails into the new brackets and secure with cyano.

 ((Step 7))
Careful masking will preserve the finish whilst painting the new parts. Begin with a thin coat of Alclad2 grey primer, sprayed from an airbrush. Leave the mask loose to produce a soft blend between the new and old paint.

((Step 8))
Alclad2’s Dull Aluminium is a perfect match for the Bachmann finish and was also sprayed from an airbrush (this paint cannot be applied by hand). Due to the loose mask, a virtually seamless ‘feathered’ edge is achieved.

Monday, 23 January 2012


Maudetown's further expansion considered.

With Maudetown signalbox almost complete, and with a number of attractive buildings awaiting use, I've been wondering about an additional extension to Maudetown Colliery. It's all a bit 'pie in the sky' at the moment as space remains a limiting factor. However, with the use of modular boards, I'm intending for the layout to be operated in either 1, 2 or 3 board form.

The colliery extension is planned and the board constructed, while I await some spare time to start laying track. On the other side of the central, existing board, I'd like the NCB line to emerge from the tunnel into an exchange siding with the BR branchline. But this might require far more space than I can manage, unless I can come up with something creative.

Over the weekend, I tried out some different configurations on my workbench, using a lovely Scalelink GWR station that I built a few years ago, plus a Townstreet goods shed. Including the latter is probably asking too much but the station should be well suited to the vaguely South Wales theme. This section is also intended to be operated as a standalone micro layout as well as an extension. There'll be some more hours of head scratching and sketching before the project goes any further...

Before too long, hopefully, trains will emerge from the other end of this tunnel into an exchange siding adjacent to Maudetown station.

Friday, 20 January 2012


Maudetown signal box almost finished.

I've said it before, but Thursday night is hobby night in the Dent household so, as Mrs D practiced her piano scales, I sat down with a bottle of beer and my acrylic paints to finish my signal box for Maudetown. As described back in October, this 'box started life as a humble Metcalfe card kit, but has been re-clad and detailed inside and out.

All that remains is to add gutters, downpipes, door handles, railings and staircase. Then a suitable sign needs to be printed, once I've refined the name. Either Maudetown, Maudetown Junction or Maudetown Colliery Exchange Sidings. The idea is to extend my colliery layout in both directions (the colliery side is already underway) including the line at the valley bottom and the link with the local branchline, perhaps with a small station if space permits.

Monday, 16 January 2012


First steps in photo jiggery pokery

Although I use Photoshop on a fairly regular basis, I've never really devoted much time in trying to enhance or manipulate images. But, being at a loose end over the weekend (and full of a cold), I thought I'd have a go at seeing what I could do with some images already on file. So, with my scratch-built War Department Whitcomb and a section of my Egyptian layout, I superimposed the models onto a summer Devon sky and messed around with exhaust smoke and an illuminated headlamp. It took me a while and plenty of mistakes, but now I think I know what I'm doing. Maybe one day I can give Chris Nevard a run for his money...?

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Secret to rendering Scottish Region ballast revealed in MR166

There’s a distinct Scottish theme to the forthcoming issue of Model Rail magazine (issue 166, out Jan 26), mainly to coincide with the excellent Model Rail Scotland exhibition in Glasgow in late February. We all enjoy trekking North of the Border for this annual 3-day mini train fest, it being my particular highlight of the modelling year. I’m always up for a trip to Scotland, although I still haven’t ventured further north than the Clyde valley and Edinburgh. Maybe this year I’ll make the time to tour the Highlands by train, as I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid…

But in the meantime, after several queries from Model Rail readers, I’ve produced a quick guide to replicating the distinctive red-hued ballast that is a common feature in Scotland, to appear in MR166. I won’t give anything away here, save for the preview image above. What do you think?

The project also allowed me to create a new photographic diorama, which has given me a bit more variety when shooting loco and rolling stock portraits. Indeed, the scenic landscape was formed with an interesting new product that I’ve been testing for a manufacturer. It’s great stuff but it’s all hush-hush at the moment. Hopefully, I’ll be able to reveal more about it in Model Rail in the near future…

Friday, 6 January 2012


We're almost there...

A slightly euphoric feeling is beginning to swell inside my chest, after re-wheeling the Jones Goods loco for a photo shoot this morning. After so long, it's finally coming together. I need to mount the wheels in my bench drill and clean up the tyres before assembly can begin in earnest - they're still covered in paint overspray, as you can see in the image above. I also need to add the long boiler handrails before the shell can be finish-varnished, in a nice satin coating - it's a bit too glossy for my liking, at the moment.

My target is to have the whole thing done and dusted in time for the Glasgow show in late February, so it can take pride of place in the Model Rail showcase. In the meantime, you can read all about how I lined-out this little beauty in the forthcoming issue of Model Rail (MR166), out on January 26th.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Fancy lining is almost complete.

Happy New Year to one and all! It was back to work with a bang yesterday as I knuckled straight down to finishing off the Jones Goods loco kit. At the close of play today, the lining is all done and sealed with an interim varnish coat (a final layer will follow soon). The shiny metal bits - buffer heads, safety valves, whistle, lubricators and smokebox door handle have all been picked out with metallic paints. The chimney's copper cap also needs adding, but my tin of Humbrol enamel had dried up, so I'll have to pop over to the model shop tomorrow.

So, what's left to do now? Add handrails and them paint silver, finish painting the wheels and apply the final satin varnish coat. Then, the slow process of reassembling the chassis can start, fitting the motor, transmission and power collection system. A period of running-in will follow before the smaller details can be attended to: coal in the tender, glazing in the spectacle plates, fit and detail the firebox backhead, add footplate crew. So it might be a few more weeks until this project is finally signed off.