Thursday, 31 March 2016


New Lifecolor washes under test.

Yet more NCB-owned minerals are ready for work at Maudetown Colliery!

Over the past few weeks, I've been playing around with some new sets of weathering paints from Lifecolor. Well, I'm not sure if they're meant to be called paints, as they're more of a cross between paints and weathering washes. Water-based, with no odour and boasting super-fast drying times, they're easy to use and have produced some convincing results. 

Bunched together in themed sets, or available separately, the Rust Wizard has proved my favourite set so far. The box contains 5 different shades of 'rust', plus a jar of Remover solution. This latter is a great help as it allows the washes to be manipulated even when dry - a boon when using fast-drying acrylics and far better than having to resort to smelly white spirit.

A full review of these new Lifecolor washes will appear in the pages of Model Rail magazine soon...

The new packs of Lifecolor Liquid Pigments are available now from The Airbrush Company.
Sticking with the rusty theme, I've also been finishing off a few other mineral wagons for my colliery layout, Maudetown. The Dapol model below has been treated to a reprise of one of my older methods, namely painting the whole thing a textured, rusty colour, applying random blobs of Maskol fluid and painting various shades of the grey livery on top. Once dry, the Maskol is brushed away to reveal patches of corrosion. A little finessing with an airbrush finishes the job. By using Lifecolor paints throughout, the whole job can be done in a day!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016


Where did the logo go?

I've noticed in the past few weeks how the Northern Rail logo has been gradually disappearing from stations around the North West (and further afield I imagine). The franchise is being handed over to Arriva from April 1st, but it seemed a bit premature to be wiping out the outgoing brand's image for weeks in advance. You'd think it would be up to the new franchisee to sort all that out. 

Anyway, on a visit to Kents Bank station in Cumbria, I noticed an information sign explaining why the Northern de-branding was being undertaken. Apparently, it's a requirement of the contract with the Department for Transport (DafT, oh, er sorry, DfT) that the branding is to be removed in advance of the changeover. I'm assuming this is to minimise confusion for passengers over who is actually running the trains? Maybe Arriva will have to introduce their branding in a softly-softly fashion to begin with, in order to effect a gradual transition? Can't see it somehow!

Note the white sticker obliterating the soon-to-be-obsolete Northern logo!
It's not just Northern/Arriva trains that call at Kents Bank, but Trans-Pennine Express services to/from Barrow occasionally stop. Not long after, a Class 37 and rake of Mk2 carriages called, decked out in DRS livery - just as after my camera battery died!

Thursday, 10 March 2016


 Weathered sample completed.

As mentioned previously, I'd been tasked with creating a weathered reference version of our exclusive Model Rail USA 0-6-0T. Strict parameters were set, so that the factory workers can replicate the weathering without too much fuss, but the subtle airbrushed effects have brought an already excellent model to life. Moreover, all of that lovely underframe and boiler detail has been accentuated. Can't wait to see the production models arrive - I've got my eye on an NCB-liveried version for my Maudetown Colliery layout...

To order your USA tank, call 01209 613984 or go to   

Tuesday, 8 March 2016


Class 66's unusual rust patches.

While out walking the dog this morning, I snapped this image of a Freightliner Class 66 (66622) hauling a rake of empty limestone hoppers. There was nothing unusual about this working at first glance but, as the train got closer, I noticed an array of large rust patches on the cab front. 

Although some of the older 66s are beginning to look somewhat 'lived-in', now that they're approaching 20 years old, it's not often that you see a rusty one. Furthermore, the hard-edged nature of these patches of corrosion made them look a little strange. Certainly one of those things that, if copied faithfully on a model, would have many people remarking that they looked unrealistic. There's a prototype for everything, as they say...