Thursday, 28 April 2016


Super-detailed carriage enters service.

Although I ended up rushing the painting and lining stages, I'm not sure that it's obvious when looking at the finished model. It took a while to build up the Lifecolor acrylic BR maroon paint to a suitably deep finish, aided by copious fine layers of Alclad2 gloss lacquer. Lining was also carried out with Lifecolor acrylics (the straw shade) and a draughtsman's ink pen (the black bits). Further time savings were achieved by painting the chassis in its weathered shade from the offing - no messing about with a perfect coat of black first! The roof was treated in a similar fashion.

The image above was taken in daylight, from my back garden. Only later did I notice that the direct sunlight was causing the plastic foot boards to warp slightly. Once cooled indoors, they obviously returned to normal as I was none the wiser until uploading the photos.

I'm really pleased with the outcome of this project, with the finish far exceeding my expectations. Why have I been spending so much time on finishing my coaches the old fashioned way, for so long...? Seriously, though, it's hard to believe that this coach started out as a basic plastic kit bought for less than £10.

You can see the whole project described in the next issue of Model Rail (222), on sale 5 May.

Monday, 25 April 2016


Bodyshell complete and ready for the paint shop.

Further to the previous post, the Palatine Models chassis is now adorned with a super-detailed Dapol LMS brake 3rd body. The sides have been left bare for now - no door handles or grab rails - as these will be installed after painting and lining-out, so they don't get in the way. Just about to spray the primer coats and, while the body dries, I'd better get to work on the interior.

Can't wait to see how the model looks after the BR maroon livery has been applied. Looks like I'll be using acrylics for the paint job, as time is running out - no luxury of waiting for a day or two in between layers of paint, as would be the case with enamels. But will I be able to achieve that lovely deep lustre of steam age coaching stock? We'll see...

Monday, 18 April 2016


Etched kit assembled and awaiting a bodyshell.

This etched nickel silver carriage underframe kit is from the Palatine Models range and was a joy to assemble. Representing a typical LMS 57ft chassis, it can be employed under a wide range of coaching stock and a choice of riveted or welded frames offers further options. Half-etched locating guides are provided on the carriage floor, so there are no excuses for soldering the wrong bits in the wrong place and all the parts fit together supremely well - hardly any fettling was required and, as a result, assembly progressed quickly and smoothly.

Having installed a set of MJT whitemetal bogies, the chassis has been thoroughly cleaned and tested before the resin battery boxes and brake cylinders are fitted. I'm going to fit a superdetailed Dapol compartment brake bodyshell onto this chassis, eventually...    

Monday, 11 April 2016


A dusty finish for a Dapol van. 

I've been having something of a weathering fest over the past couple of weeks, with a wide variety of freight stock given the mucky treatment. It has nearly all been out-of-the-box stuff that has been treated and it's interesting how some pretty basic models can suddenly look much more authentic after a bit of weathering attention. Normally, I'd have replaced the chassis on this Dapol gunpowder van but it's shortcomings are now less obvious - at first glance anyway!

Furthermore, for a change, I haven't used an airbrush on this van at all. Hand brushing with acrylics and weathering powders alone have been employed. There are a few more of these to do, and they should provide a pleasant contrast with my rake of Blue Circle Presflos...

Thursday, 7 April 2016


Oxford Rail Private Owner coal wagon ready for service.

Having sat patiently on a shelf in the workshop for a year or so, I've finally gotten around to tinkering with one of Oxford Rail's 'OO' gauge Private Owner coal wagons. From the initial raft of releases, this wagon has been treated to some distressing, patch-painting, weathering and a load of real coal. The bare replacement planks even boast a hint of wood grain texture under the layers of grime. 

While the wagons looked good straight from the box, the finish was a bit iffy, with the red bleeding through the white lettering and an overall plasticky appearance. With a couple of hours' work, the finished model looks much more convincing. Now employed in the National Coal Board's fleet, wagon no. 5472 can begin to earn its keep... 
Fresh from the box... Good, but could be better!
With much of the work done, it's seen here awaiting lettering and numbering by hand.