Thursday, 26 November 2015


Lovely brass kit taking shape.

Been spending my evenings shivering out in the shed (must order that heater!), soldering up a splendid MJT etched brass kit of an LNER full brake. The sides have been laminated in order to get the raised panels and, with both layers needing profiling, it has been a pleasant challenge. Once I'd worked out the best way of holding everything in place while the solder bonds were made, progress was pretty swift, with the body shell sorted in one sitting. The next evening, the underframe bits (whitemetal castings mostly) were installed, along with the bowed end overlays. 

What started out as lots of wobbly, thin bits of sheet metal, is now a very robust construction. Got the roof to sort next, followed by the bogies. For the latter, I've got some of MJT's compensated units, so it's going to be quite a deluxe affair! But, then I'm going to paint it in a really shabby coat of BR blue...

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


C-Rail's new offerings get a coat of paint.

Just blown some paint over a trio of new 4mm scale 20ft containers from the C-Rail Intermodal range. Portraying 1980s-era boxes, the plastic mouldings are starting to look the part, thanks to the authentic livery colours that C-Rail has commissioned from Phoenix Paints. Triton brown, Bulk Haul blue and the lurid Evergreen schemes have been applied and, once dry, the various brandings will be added, from C-Rail-supplied decals - a one-stop shop if ever there was one!

C-Rail are also offering the iconic 1970/80s red/white and red/yellow Freightliner boxes - I've got my eye on a few of those!

Monday, 23 November 2015


Bachmann/Rails limited editions impress.

As my review in the latest issue of Model Rail (MR216) attests, the limited release of the LMS 'Twin' diesels in their original liveries has impressed me. Although Bachmann Branchline has offered BR green versions of 10000 and 100001 for a while, Rails of Sheffield has reserved the stylish black and silver schemes as limited editions models. I had the pleasure of running my eye over these review samples, supplied in a wooden collectors' box with numbered certificate. All very nice. Such a shame that I had to send them back...

I enjoyed reading up on the prototypes, with a good few books available on the subject. Especially useful was a double (or should I say 'twin'!) volume from the LMS Locomotive Profile series, published a few years back by Wild Swan (authors: Hunt & Ford). The first instalment is great, but the second Pictorial Supplement is actually more vital, offering far more technical info and images, along with some corrections to the original volume.

It seems that the version of 10000, with LMS lettering, has now sold out. Other versions of each loco are still available from Rails at the moment, including some custom finishes with BR emblems.

Friday, 20 November 2015


Experimental soft furnishings.

Ever wondered how you could improve on those printed curtains that feature on most modern ready-to-run coaching stock? They look OK at first glance, from a distance at least, but the lack of relief is all too obvious once you get a bit closer. The uniform shape can appear over-regimented too, like the staff have been out with a ruler as the fabric is tied back, as if it was part of a military barracks. And, of course, plenty of coach models don't have any curtains at all, when they really ought to.

There are a few sources of cast whitemetal curtains that, once painted, can look much better (such as MJT). However, I decided to try making some of my own from coloured paper. I didn't have any of the correct dark blue shade - to match the maroon BR Mk1 - to hand, so they're a bit bright. But, the point was to see how they'd look and if I could be bothered to fit an entire carriage in this way.

The results are much better than I expected, with the tie-backs setting them off nicely. After a few false starts, I've managed to work out a quick folding and shaping method, so it shouldn't be too much of a chore. Just need to brave the weather and get some more appropriately coloured card. I could try painting them, but I'd rather not...

Oh, and how do you remove the printed curtains from the clear glazing? A bit of T-Cut will do the trick.

Hornby's printed curtains on its Stanier stock. Not bad, but could be so much better.