Thursday, 29 January 2015

SPA from FTG

New wagon from a new name in RTR model railways

In the latest issue of Model Rail (MR205), I've reviewed the excellent new 'OO' gauge wagon from FTG Models. Filling The Gap in the BR air-braked fleet, FTG has produced a real gem in the steel-bodied SPA metal carrying wagon. As an enthusiastic modeller of the 1980s BR era, this was a very welcome release, complimenting Bachmann's OBA/OCA and BBA/BDA models, as well as a number of Cambrian Models plastic kits already in my fleet. The attractive Railfreight red scheme is enhanced by the Cardiff Rod Mill logos and a choice of running numbers is available in this first batch. Produced on FTG Models' behalf by DJ Models, it has been rendered to a high standard, with the only real issue being that the couplings are a bit short. For the full lowdown, however, see the review in Model Rail magazine...

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


 Shabby station building ready to open its doors...

There has been little in the way of practical modelling going on in the Dent Workshop since Christmas, with far more in the way of editorial and review tasks to get through. However, I have managed to finish painting and distressing the station building for my latest layout project. Using a Wills plastic kit, the small booking office and waiting room now looks suitably dishevelled, with peeling paint and exposed timber here and there. All that's missing is the doors and windows at the moment, while I toy with the idea of whether or not to detail the interior (I'm not sure any of it will be visible). The toilet block is also in a poor state of repair, with algae growing in the urinal. Urrgh!

Other jobs taken care of include a new corrugated roof for the goods shed in the background. This Skaledale model had the corrugations running horizontally on the sides and, while I figured I could live with it to begin with, it really began to irritate me. So, with a pile of DAS clay and some relaxing music, I set about creating a new roof. It has been given a rough 'rusty' undercoat for now, but will be painted and weathered properly soon.

Another job has been to arrange the small number of other buildings on the baseboard, with their location being important in hiding the entry/exit points of the trains and to give an exaggerated sense of depth to the scene. Being only 4ft and a bit long, this is a very small baseboard, but the landscape is fairly open. Once trees have been planted strategically, the overall effect should (hopefully) be heightened.

As for the scenery, the roads are finished, the pond complete and the muddy lane through the field rendered with Tamiya textured paints. That means I'm now ready to get going with the Noch Grassmaster, which should be fun....!

Thursday, 8 January 2015


Resin kit ready for the winter season.

Yesterday I put the finishing touches to an excellent resin kit of a Beilhack PB600 snowplough. Produced by Britannia Pacific Models, it's available in ready-made or kit format and makes for a very striking model, especially if adding the famous shark's mouth logo to the plough blade. The 'OO' gauge kit provides all you need, including wheels and transfers, so all I had to do was supply the paint (Tamiya acrylics in this case).

I opted for the BR 1980s era livery of all-over yellow, but this can often make a model look a bit toylike. So, a little weathering was applied, mostly in the form of differing shades of yellow to create areas of highlights and shadows, followed by some light enamel washes that pick out the raised detail on the ex-Class 40 bogie frames.

I could have gone a bit further with the detailing of the kit - it has been built 'as supplied'. Some scratchbuilt footsteps and a lamp bracket confection over the plough would make it more authentic but, alas, time was against me. You can see more of this model, plus plenty of other snowplough related stuff in the next issue of Model Rail (MR205), out January 22.

By coincidence, the sight of two pairs of these very ploughs greeted me as I alighted at Doncaster station this morning. I grabbed a quick pic on my phone, so excuse the poor quality. The nearest set is DB965576/7 and they're coupled plough-to-plough using a special bar that hooks onto brackets in the centre of the blade.

Sunday, 4 January 2015


New Year's Eve on the Dean Forest Railway.

During the new year break, I managed to persuade my wife and in-laws to come for a ride on the marvellous Dean Forest Railway, catching one of the Mince Pie Specials from Norchard. I've only ever been on the railway once before, about 10years ago, and that was but a short hop from Lydney Junction. This time though, we got full rover tickets and pootled up the incline to Parkend, back through to Lydney and then returning to Norchard in time for afternoon tea.

The forest is always beautiful, but I do like it in winter, when the deciduous trees are bare and the landscape opens up before the eyes. Here are a few pics of the 'Austerity' loco that hauled our train, plus a selection of attractive diesels in Norchard yard. This is a great little railway, running through an attractive landscape and the museum and new cafe at Norchard are well worth a visit. I'll be making sure it's not so long until I ride the rails again..!