Friday, 20 December 2013


After an intensive week's work, we're almost there...

See how this loco was detailed and weathered in Model Rail issue 192, out 23 January

With all the details now in place, all that's left to do is coal her up and apply some final weathering, especially in terms of adding oil and grease to the various moving parts and a final overall misting with the airbrush to blend everything together.

I'm pretty chuffed(!) with this so far, especially the weathering job and the small details like cab shutters/doors, tools and the spark arrestor on the chimney. Working in a larger scale has almost felt like a holiday, such has been the ease with which I can see things and without the frustration that fiddly little parts can bring. I can certainly see the appeal of 'O' gauge in this sense and I'm looking forward to seeing this little loco trundling along my mini 'O' gauge layout-cum-diorama. This should keep me occupied over Christmas, anyway!

As I'm clocking off now for the festive break, may I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

Thursday, 19 December 2013


Careworn industrial loco takes shape

One of the things I love about model making is the act of taking what's in my imagination and producing a 3D object - a sort of materialisation of a visualisation, if you catch my meaning?!

Anyhow, with the Ixion Hudswell, Clarke loco in a semi-assembled state, following the early stage of weathering, the model is starting to look the part. I spent quite a while ruminating on the exact visual effects that were desired, then planning how they would be achieved and with what products/materials. So far, it's all going (mostly) to plan, with some lovely peeling paint on the smokebox and bubbling paint caused by severe corrosion of the steel bodywork.

I'm probably about halfway along now, with a few jobs to complete before the cab can be assembled properly, followed by the reinstatement of the various bits of plumbing and other working bits and bobs, such as the reverser rod. I also need to fabricate a wire mesh spark arrestor, which should be fun.

Don't forget that a full demo of this project will appear in Model Rail issue 192, out in late January.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Work on the Hudswell, Clarke 0-6-0ST gathers pace

I've made a few minor detail alterations on this Ixion Models RTR 'O' gauge loco, and scratchbuilt some wooden cab doors, along with runner brackets for a set of sliding shutters. I've been using a number of prototype images as a guide, being particularly inspired by the preserved Wissington, during the later years of its working life out in the Fens of East Anglia in the 1960s.

With all the modifications made within a day, weathering has begun, making use of a number of new Modelmates paints. Rust Effects is now available in three different shades: Yellow, Copper and standard, and they combine to great effect and contain a texturising ingredient that dries to an incredibly lifelike rendition of real corrosion.

As you can see below, I've decided to really go to town on this loco, creating the effect of a hardworking industrial loco, operating in a harsh environment, towards the end of its life. There's still a lot to do, so I'd better get back to it!

Monday, 16 December 2013


 O gauge Hudswell, Clarke provides an interesting new project

This splendid Ixion Models ready-to-run 7mm scale locomotive is the current subject on the Dent workbench. With a few detail additions and improvements to make, I'm also converting it to a more authentic industrial appearance. As only an occasional dabbler in larger scale models, this is proving a welcome diversion - especially as my last project was in 2mm scale! Indeed, it feels like my eyeballs are being given a well-earned rest, without the need to scrutinise things so closely and I've managed to come up with a very effective way of recreating roughly oxy-acetalene-cut and hand-hammered sheet steel.

For the full story on this loco upgrade, look out for the article that's going into Model Rail magazine, issue 192 - out 23 January. In the meantime, though, I'll post some finished pix here before then.

Thursday, 12 December 2013


Small scale farm diorama finished

Now that the farm has been populated, the scene looks much more credible, with a small herds of Friesian cattle, sheep and a handful of horses grazing in the fields. There's also a pair of pigs in a sty and an assortment of agricultural machinery in the sheds and barn, all courtesy of the Lytchett Manor Models set of whitemetal figures, animals and equipment.

Fitting into a 12x16inch scene, I've managed to cram quite a lot into the space, although I'm just lacking a stable block for the horses. However, if I ever get around to setting this into an 'N' gauge layout, I'll work out something at the end of the muddy lane. Iill also need at least one field planted with an arable crop, to justify the presence of the threshing machine and mechanical harvester.

Look out for the farm-building article in Model Rail issue 192!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


2mm scale diorama takes shape

For issue 192 (Feb 2014) of Model Rail magazine, I'm putting together an article on how to create a typical farm scene. Working in 2mm scale/'N' gauge, I've made use of a number of off-the shelf buildings in the Hornby and Farish ranges, along with a delightful kit of farm vehicles, figures, animals and equipment from Lytchett Manor Models. Having finished most of the scenic work, I just need to finish painting the various people, animals and other bits and pieces before fixing them into the scene.

I've always wanted to live on a farm, so creating miniature versions is always one of my favourite scenic pursuits, although this is my first attempt in 2mm scale. It's proved to be great fun so far and I'm happy with the adaptation of the Graham Farish/Scenecraft town house into a believable farm dwelling. Covering the ornate portico entrance with a particularly verdant climbing clematis has helped. Indeed, it has something of the 'Manor Farm' air about it. Adding a stream in the foreground has also lent the scene a further bucolic touch, with a lovely little stone bridge (Ten Commandments) providing access.

The various figures, vehicles and accessories, temporarily superglued to a scrap of plywood, are currently being finished with a variety of acrylic paints. When dry, they can be snapped off the plywood and fixed into the scene.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


New resin casting kit on test for Model Rail mag

Having received a review sample of Sylmasta's new resin casting kit, we decided to offer readers a full low-down on the basics of creating your own moulds and how to cast your own components. The kit includes silicon rubber compound, for creating the moulds, plus two-pack polyurethane resin, release agent, measuring cups, stirrers and full instructions. All you need to provide is plasticine/clay to help form the pattern, some material to build a mould box and the master object to be copied.

Here, I've made a mould using a turned wood master of a Wifi roof dome for a GNER/East Coast Mk4 DVT. As you can see, the moulds are made in two halves and they're now ready for the resin to be injected. Look out for the full demo of this useful technique in Model Rail issue 191 - out Dec 26th.

Monday, 2 December 2013


After 15 years of frustration, I've finally given up!

It was with a heavy heart that I finally bit the bullet and demolished my model of Dent station. After numerous attempts, the increasingly battered baseboard has become a real obstruction in the shed and, with no realistic prospects of the project going any further, the decision was made to break it up. Having moved all over England in the past 15 years, and doubled as a shelf, storage crate, housing project for mice, and latterly a feline hangout, the partially boxed-up baseboard simply ran out of lives. In truth, I'd lost heart in the project a few years back and was only keeping it for sentimental reasons.

However, that's not to say that my Settle-Carlisle layout plan is completely dead. Rather, I've finally realised that it makes more sense to go for an 'N' gauge recreation. After all, it was the idea of capturing the scenery that appealed the most - the trains were secondary. Thinking how much more I could fit into the same space was the real clincher, but I think the project will have to wait until I've moved house and settled somewhere permanently. Then I can do the job properly!

The main frame of the baseboard is far too good to waste, being built from high grade, knot-free, straight-grained pine, with dovetail and half-lap joints and not a screw in sight. I was studying furniture making at the time, and getting as much practice in as possible. After so many house moves and periods stored in cellars, attics, sheds and garages, the timber frame has proved 100% reliable. If only I still had the time to take so much care with my baseboard construction.

Having stripped the board back to the bare bones, I'm planning on re-using it for one of my other layout projects - most probably my wartime recreation of the Western Desert Railway, in Egypt. Watch this space...