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.