Friday, 17 May 2013


Military diorama kit looks just the job for colliery motive power

Just picked up a smashing plastic kit from Mini Art that, although produced to 1:72 scale, I'm aiming to adapt for use on my 'OO' gauge (1:76) colliery layout. Marketed as a generic workshop, it actually looks perfect as a small engine shed. The main doorway is a bit restricted for mainline locomotives, but it should accommodate some of Maudetown's fleet of diminutive industrial shunters without too much in the way of modification.

The box is crammed full of plastic bits and lots of small details are provided, such as drainpipes, gutters, windows, etc. The quality of the mouldings are high and I'm looking forward to sticking the lot together as well as painting and weathering. However, I need to tweak my trackplan a little to fit it on the baseboard and, as the building has large windows for one side only, I need to make absolutely certain of its location before building can begin.

With another bank holiday coming up, I might have the perfect activity lined up. Especially if it rains!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


Railfreight 'Bone' at work on the Maudetown merry-go-round circuit

What turned out to be a fairly speedy and enjoyable project is now complete: the Heljan Class 58 has been hard at work at Maudetown, hauling rakes of HAA hoppers for the CEGB power station further down the valley. Although a 'bone' has already visited the colliery, this is the first time that one has worked with a reliable slow-speed control through the loading hopper. Indeed, the initial trials with the Hornby-built loco were not entirely successful!

58020 certainly looks like it has been working hard, with evidence of coal dust staining, which is not surprising, given that it has been through the loading and unloading facilities a couple of times every day for the past few weeks. It'll probably get a bath from the man with the long brush and hose pipe at the depot over the weekend, when no MGR movements are booked.

Friday, 3 May 2013


1980s era freight mover nears completion

As mentioned previously, I've been working on a Heljan Class 58 this week, aiming to get the best out of a pretty good model. There are a few areas that need tweaking and, having settled on a specific example, there were some individual details to add. After only a few days of labour, the model is almost complete and is looking much more like the real thing. In fact, the weathering job alone has brought out the best of the plastic mouldings, taking away that plasticky look of most RTR locos, especially those in bright 1980s liveries like this one.

I almost came a cropper towards the end, forgetting to add sandboxes to the bogies until part way through the weathering job. Luckily, the bogie sides pull away from the chassis so they could be treated separately without disturbing the rest of the model. Equally lucky was the fact that I had some A1 Models etched sandboxes lying around, intended for a Hornby 58 project that was abandoned some years ago. Heljan do provide sandbox-fitted bogies to some of the Class 58 releases, but not on my donor model.

Having quickly soldered up the etched 'boxes and improvised the filler tubes, they were then painted and blended in with the weathered finish. They stick out a little bit, probably by about 1mm, but the loco is still 'in gauge', so I let them be.

What's left to do? A few decorative tweaks here and there before posing on my colliery layout for the finished portraits. Look out for the article in Model Rail issue 184.