Wednesday, 22 July 2015


Half-weathered TTAs finished off.

With another run of airbrushing courses out of the way, I've been sorting through the paints, materials and stock that has been sitting in a box since I got back from Sussex. As I only ever get time to demonstrate certain techniques on half of a wagon or locomotive, I've been amassing a collection of partially weathered models. In theory, I could use the other half on the next course but with the roof or, in this case the barrel, also being treated extensively, that's seldom possible.

However, after spending an hour or so servicing my hardworking airbrushes, I thought I'd take the opportunity to finish off this rake of TTA tank wagons. It also provided a means of testing whether the Iwata tools were in proper fettle. Happily, they're working perfectly.
As usual!

PS. Thanks to everyone who came to the three courses. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Friday, 17 July 2015


Class 37 component recovery underway.

The diesel depot layout is now complete, with a fleet of EWS traction taking up residence. Centre stage is an elderly and defunct Class 37 (a much modified 30-year old Hornby model) lifted off its bogies and being stripped of usable parts to keep other class members in service. It's quite a hive of activity within the repair shed, with lots of tools, equipment and parts littering the floor. I particular like the access platform and mesh parts bins that were built from etched metal kits from PH Designs. 

The Hornby and Bachmann shed buildings, although quite different in style, compliment each other well. The Hornby shed (on the left) is where locomotives are serviced regularly, with coolant and oil levels topped up and light exams carried out. A fuelling point is adjacent (far left).

Considering this layout was built in a week, using mostly stuff I already had to hand, I'm very pleased with the results. You can see the full story behind this depot scene in Model Rail issue 212 (out on July 30).

Thursday, 16 July 2015


 Shed scene almost ready.

The track has been ballasted and weathered, the backscene installed and the low relief buildings added. A start has also been made on the scenic foreground and the concrete hardstanding on which the sheds will stand. Formed simply from thick mounting card, the airbrush and acrylic paints have created the necessary textures and colouring to depict sections of cast concrete. The inspection pits have also been treated to the 'concrete' treatment, looking rather murky in their depths.

The fuelling point needs assembling, followed by a wealth of smaller details in and around the shed buildings, including a loco jacked-up and being stripped for spares... 

Monday, 13 July 2015


Ready-made structure arrives.

With a modern diesel depot scene to build, I've treated myself to one of Bachmann's ready-to-plant diesel traction depots. This ain't cheap (80-odd quid!), but it's a cracking model and, with time of the essence, building a kit is out of the question. However, the building still needs some work, so I've removed the smoky glazing and re-fitted the etched window frames on the end and side that will be visible (the other side and end have been left as a way of subtly obscuring the backscene). Immediately, the shed looks more refined and the addition of health and safety signage, plus the EWS logo bring the structure to life.

Right - on with the baseboards...!

Friday, 10 July 2015


Iconic AEC bus enters service.

Don't you just love red buses?! They're one of those childhood obsessions that never leaves your imagination. Although all the buses I remember as a little kid on Merseyside were green, my uncle gave me a big red toy bus as a toddler, which seemed very exotic. The idea of riding on the open rear platform also appealed to my youthful imagination (surely this wasn't allowed?!). In our risk averse society, it's amazing that the Routemasters lasted in service as long as they did, especially on the Capital's busy roads. Those hot summer days when the Crosville Bristol VR (on the H2 service) would be speeding out of Liverpool at 50mph, with the front doors wide open, would leave me terrified and gripping the seat rails for dear life. And then my brother would vomit into a Kwik Save carrier bag. Every time. What fun we had.

On a less smelly note, my improved EFE die-cast RM bus is now finished and ready for service. It has a full compliment of passengers, a driver and some extra period advertisements. Missing details such as licence plates and AEC radiator logos have been added, along with some detail painting, especially around the open platform and stairs. All that's missing is a 'Clippie' - the only one I could get hold of is a OO gauge figure, but the passengers and driver are HO, so he looks like a chubby Peter Crouch in comparison. So, just like the guy from the 'On the Buses' TV show, he's probably just popped into one of the nearby houses for a bit of you know what...

Look out for the full lowdown on the RM bus in Model Rail issue 212 (out July 30th).

* NOTE that I've changed reference to the bus as an RM, not an RT as I'd originally published. Shows how much I know about buses. Especially ones from south of the Runcorn bridge...

Thursday, 9 July 2015

OH B****R!


Wouldn't you know it - lots of practical work to catch up on, an imminent string of airbrush courses to teach and thousands of words to type for the magazine. And I go and hack out a big chunk of my fingertip with a Stanley knife. On my right hand too.

Luckily, I have my Iwata trigger handle airbrushes, so I can still finish the Routemaster bus I've been working on, even with my huge comedy bandage! The EFE die-cast model has been titivated with interior detail and transfers and I've toned down the high gloss finish with a mix of satin and light sheen varnishes. Now currently reassembled and clamped-up while the glue dries, a little weathering will finish things off nicely. Just hope the finger heals quickly!