Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Neo TRN2 shows its versatility with weathering results

Further to my last post about the Neo for Iwata TRN2 airbrush, here's an example of the weathering work I've managed to achieve while testing the new tool. The 0.5mm nozzle makes it tricky to get ultra-fine, hair's breadth streaking effects, but that doesn't mean that the airbrush can't achieve a subtle finish. I've used thinned Railmatch enamel paints here and, using an air pressure of 8-10psi, I've managed to get the airbrush right up close, getting the paint in around the ladders, walkway and filling hatch.

The paint flow limiting screw at the back of the airbrush really comes into its own when weathering at such close quarters, guarding against the risk of overdoing things and the pistol grip makes for a very comfortable experience - just the thing if you were faced with weathering a whole rake of similar wagons at the same time.

Monday, 28 October 2013


High spec, pistol grip tool at an attractive price

I've spent the past few weeks trying out a new airbrush in the 'Neo for Iwata' range, and have been impressed with the results. Offering high spec tools at lower prices than the 'real' Iwata range, this airbrush compliments the very impressive Neo 'CN' dual action airbrush released last year. The pistol-style handle and trigger is really comfortable and saves the old aching fingers, especially when working on larger models or when doing any scenic work. There's an adjustable needle travel guide at the back too, that governs the amount of paint emitted, thus offering a safeguard against putting too much liquid down too soon. There's also a choice of 3 paint cups supplied, to suit different sized jobs.

Build quality appears impressive and the performance is jolly good. This TRN2 is a side-feed unit with a 0.5mm needle/nozzle combo, and so is a real maid of all work. It's especially suited to priming and overall livery coats, as well as varnishing and other general tasks. I've managed to do some decent weathering on OO gauge models, but getting very fine streaks is asking a bit much. Instead, a gravity-fed version, with a 0.35mm nozzle is also available with the same trigger style, the TRN1.

Stripping the tool down for cleaning is easy, although I did manage to break part of the nozzle, although I suspect that my advance review sample had had a rough time in the post, as it wasn't packaged in the fetching (and secure) box that the production tools will be. Either that, or it was my incompetence(?!). Once I'd apologised profusely and received a replacement, I've been using the TRN2 solidly for a month with no complaints. Besides, a 5 year warranty is provided with these tools - if bought from a licensed dealer - so the makers are very confident that they'll last.

You can tell that this Taiwanese-made tool is not a 'real' Iwata, as it feels lighter and it lacks the supreme finishing of the Japanese airbrushes. But then, you're looking at near £300 for an Iwata Revolution TR2 with an equivalent spec. At £130, the Neo TRN2 looks to be worth the investment.

If I could sum it up in terms of 1980s Ford cars, the Neo TRN2 could be likened to the erstwhile Escort GL, as compared to a 'real' Iwata being the top of the range Granada (were they called 'Scorpios'?). The cheaper model may lack the superior engineering and extra attention to detail, but it still has the potential to be a reliable workhorse, with more 'trim' than the Escort 'Popular' model and certainly more power than a Fiesta!

For more info, see the Airbrush Company's website and look out for a full review in Model Rail magazine in the next few months.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


Vital addition for the enduringly popular ex-Lima 'ED'

Although Dapol’s ‘OO’ gauge Class 73 is likely to eclipse the venerable Lima offering that is now produced by Hornby, the older model remains ripe for a detailing uplift. Indeed, there are many suitable components available from the likes of Shawplan and these new etched bogie footsteps, from PH Designs, are a welcome addition. Offered in a pack of four (to treat one locomotive), they are simple to fold-up and short mounting pins are incorporated to allow simple and secure fitting.

Assembly is equally effective with solder or cyano-type adhesives and the upright sections even include the distinctive oval cut outs for a very realistic appearance. Short right-angle brackets are also provided to support the overhanging section of the top step.

These steps address the glaring omission of any suggestion of footsteps from the Lima/Hornby model (how did they expect their little drivers to get into their 'office'!) and, with no existing moulded units to hack away, this provides an ideal evening project for budding detailers. Simply fold them up, drill the mounting holes and Bob’s your uncle! 

The Lima '73' dates back to 1986 (is it really that long?) and I can remember it hitting the shelves of my local model shop. With the real locos being based down south, they weren't really my cup of tea at the time but, once a few of them moved up to the Merseyrail network - to work maintenance trains - I had to have one for my layout set in Liverpool's inner suburbs. Luckily, one of my mates was getting bored with trains and selling up his gear, so I managed to get a nearly new Inter City liveried '73' and a few Lima Mk1s for the price of a few pints. The loco was quickly painted blue,  renumbered as 73905 and put to work on ballast trains around Tuebrook.  

Quite a few years later, when Hornby brought out the ex-Lima model, I revisited the Merseyrail Class 73 theme for Model Rail, with a more accurate rendition of 73905 and another example, 73906 in Merseyrail yellow and grey (see issue MR117, May 2008). Back then, I built and fitted sets of A1 Models bogie footsteps, but these PH Designs units are far more impressive. Just a shame that I no longer have my Tuebrook layout...!

Monday, 21 October 2013


Dapol tank wagon gets a coating of rust and grime

With a new airbrush to evaluate and some different techniques to try out, I've been cramming in a bit of weathering, hunkered down in my shed with the heater turned up. Autumn has arrived with a vengeance and I've had to dig out my thermals before spending too much time out in the workshop. 

This Dapol rectangular tank wagon was originally finished in a light grey livery and looked very plasticky, but a combination of Modelmates Rust Effects paint and dyes, plus a variety of Lifecolor acrylic paints - applied through an airbrush - has created more fitting appearance for a heavy oil tanker. I just need to add a few finishing touches, such as grease around the axleboxes and underframe, as well as a new number and weight markings.

Not a bad way of spending an hour in the shed, while the leaves swirl around the garden... 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


Complete Guide to Weathering Rolling Stock

Due for release in the next week or so is the new Model Rail DVD, the Rolling Stock Weathering Expert. Joining the library of 'Expert' titles, it features a wide range of techniques for steam and modern era freight and passenger stock and looks at the use of weathering powders, pigments and dyes, as well as enamel and acrylic paints. Adding realistic graffiti, peeling paint, burnished paintwork and recreating specific types of 'dirt' are demonstrated, using simple techniques and equipment. 

Subjects include:
  • Surface preparation
  • Authentic dusty finish for aggregate and mineral wagons
  • Using powders with fixative solutions to create unique effects
  • Timber-bodied wagons and recreating the look of bare wood
  • Pre- and post-shading
  • Peeling and chipped paint, rust patches
  • Adding texture to roofs and underframes
  • Greasy deposits and staining
  • Graffiti
  • Recreating the typical steam-age look for carriages

See the next issue of Model Rail magazine for more details or see Telerail's website.

Here is a response to a comment on the subject of Model Rail DVDs, posted by Gene...
George....your DVDs are listed as compatable with Region 0 ....which doesn't exist. Canada and the US are Region 1, Europe including the UK are Region you know if your DVDs are compatible with Region1 or are they only good for Region 2 ????

Hi Gene, All Telerail programmes are produced in region-free PAL format, so should be playable anywhere. Maybe that's why they were listed as Region 0. NTSC versions are also available to order, direct from Telerail. For more detailed info, email 
All best wishes, George.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


Unpainted Dapol wagon bodies should come in useful

After spending a few idle moments trawling through Hattons' website, I came across a bunch of unpainted Dapol wagon bodies at a great price. I've bought a few of Dapol's unpainted complete wagons before, as I do prefer to detail and paint my own freight stock - as well as replacing the bulky chassis with Parkside Dundas kits - but the bodies on their own were much cheaper - about £1.50 each! So, I bought a sack full!

With my regular airbrushing courses always needing examples to demonstrate on, these seemed perfect. Mind you, I do fancy using quite a few of them to create working models, with new underframes, wheels and bits and pieces. Even with the cost of the extra components, these will still prove great value models and will certainly keep me out of mischief for some time to come...

Friday, 11 October 2013


Mrs D spots an interesting ad in Aber

The intrepid Mrs Dent has been travelling a lot with her job in the past year: Canada, Holland, Exeter, London, Bonnie Scotchland and, most recently, the delightful Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth. Having had my first real holiday in Aber in the 1980s, I was jealous of jaunt on the train, although an Arriva Class 158 is no match for the double-headed Class 37s and Mk1 compartment stock of my last trip! But, I was curious to see how the station and town had changed since I last visited, so she went with instructions to take lots of photos. 

She duly obliged, but this has to be the stand out image, taken within the Univeristy. Is it real, or a clever mock-up in the Scarfolk style? I'll let you make your own minds up...!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


A few weeks on the sofa at least offers the chance to read

So, what did I get out of the Model Rail Live show at Newark? A bad dose of flu! I must say, though, that it was a great show with some cracking layouts and the new venue worked out very well. Next year I fancy going early and checking out the adjacent air museum. Anyway, as soon as I got home on Sunday I started feeling rough and now, three weeks later, I'm just about getting back to feeling human again.

One consolation of being off work so long was the chance for me to catch up on some reading, including a new title from Holne Publishing, dealing with the history of the Derwent Valley Light Railway. This fantastic light railway ran from  Layerthorpe in York, down to Cliff Common via Dunnington and Wheldrake and lasted into the 1980s (just).

I'd never heard of this line until I moved to East Yorkshire and my old landlord told me about it - he was living in the old station house at Elvington. Indeed, I used to pass over the trackbed a couple of times on my way into work at the NRM. Oh, and during my driving test, my examiner insisted on taking me past Murton station to look at the restored section of line (upon seeing my Railway Museum uniform, my test became more about trains than cars - needless to say I passed!).

A nice chap at Newark knew of my interest in this line and pointed out this new title, so I made sure I ordered a copy as soon as I got home and I'm glad I did. It's a good read and is full of vital info and loads of images, stoking my interest further and strengthening my resolve to build a small layout based on one of the idyllic locations.