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...!

Friday, 10 August 2012


Finished and in service, the Bachmann coach looks fit for purpose

As outlined in late July, I've been working on upgrading a Bachmann Bulleid coach. After assembling a pair of No Nonsense Kits bogies, inserting some Romford wheels and improving the bodyshell with etched and cast metal details, a new interior was assembled to represent a Corridor Third, rather than the open layout of the original. I've also added a close coupling system, Kadee knuckles and a few other odds and ends. But you'll have to check out Model Rail issue 174 (out early September) for the full story and step-by-step demo. 

These carriages are a bit basic in modern terms, but they're fairly cheap (if you shop around) and offer great potential for an upgrade. There's much more I could have done with this model, especially in terms of the underframe and I'm wondering about an etched Comet underframe, similar to that currently under construction for an LNER Thompson coach. It would be great also to fit some better glazing, especially if Shawplan decides to add the Bulleids to its Laserglaze range. 

But it's all down to how much you want to spend (I didn't want to spend much!).

Sunday, 5 August 2012


Pair of Bachmann carriages gain new underframes

Bachmann body, Comet underframe and Cooper Craft bogies provide the basis for an exciting project.

It's not often that I get to work on coaching stock projects, so it's ironic that a few have turned up at once. Along with the Bulleid stock upgrade mentioned previously, I'm also working on a pair of Bachmann Thompson LNER carriages. Again, using RTR coaches as a basis, new underframes and bogies are being constructed, along with improved interiors and extra details added to the bodyshells. The body of the 'teak' carriage was purchased from the old Hattons store in Liverpool, many moons ago, along with a bunch of other Bachmann carriage shells. At a couple of pounds each, they were bought with the idea that they may come in handy one day and, over a decade later, they've finally found their call.

Comet and Cooper Craft parts are being used in the main, with plenty of bits from the scrap box also being put to good use. Look out for more updates in the coming weeks, once I've put the bogies together and worked out how to mount the bodies to the new underfames...

The first complete underframe ready for its bogies. The improvement over the crudely moulded original chassis is significant. 

The battery boxes are in the wrong place here - I've since set them back a few mm from the inner edge of the solebar, and another pair has been added to the other side. The Comet underframe is fairly straightforward to assemble, with all of the metal castings from the same range.