Tuesday, 31 May 2016


ViTrains Class 47 unearthed.

Rooting through some boxes in the attic I came across a ViTrains Class 47 that I'd forgotten all about. It had been packed away for use as a demo piece in one of my airbrushing courses, but obviously got misplaced when we moved house last year. Anyway, it was a jolly nice surprise to see it again and I decided to throw some weathering paints, washes and pigments at it over the weekend.

As with the Bachmann Class 25s I treated the other week, this is another model that is crying out for a pack of replacement Laserglaze, so I think I'd better draw up a shopping list for the next time I pass the Shawplan stall at an exhibition!

I know that the Bachmann 47 is very nice, but I do like the ViTrains version, especially once it has been detailed and weathered. Such a shame that it has been out of production for a while.

Thursday, 26 May 2016


Pair of Class 25s get weathered up.

Just finished a Type 2 duo - well, almost. Having put quite a bit of work into these two Bachmann models - and studied the finished portraits - I've now resolved to replace the original glazing with some Lazerglaze from Shawplan/Extreme Etchings. It's a small detail, but it makes a big difference. But, until I get around to doing that, the two locos are ready for action. The blue version has been partially repainted in a variety of shades, picking out the high- and lowlights, with a suggestion of faded paintwork here and there. Although it's not actually that dirty, but the careworn paintwork suggests a machine that has been hard at work in the great outdoors for years.

As for the green version, that's actually grubbier, depicting a loco that is working in the steam age. Sharing shed space with grubby steam engines is never going to be conducive to cleanliness, but the sides and ends have a slightly polished look, so someone must have been trying to buff it up at some point in the recent past. There's a fair bit of texture to the oily, grimy underframes too, especially around the fuel tanks.   

I've enjoyed working on these two locos so much, that I've just started on another two blue 25s - one of which is an ancient Hornby version...

Monday, 23 May 2016


1980s Railfreight fleet expands.

A few more air-braked wagons have entered service over the weekend, with a distinct early-1980s feel about them. They're all Bachmann models, originally obtained in EWS colours at a bargain price compared to the BR livery versions. After only minimal preparation, they were duly pre-shaded and weathered in my own special way, using lots of different shades and tones, before the 'muck' was layered on top. I'm particularly chuffed with the OBA open wagon, with the bare timber interior providing a welcome contrast to the outside. 

The techniques employed on both wagons will be showcased in a forthcoming book that I'm currently working on. More details of which will follow in due course... 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Weathering jobs complete.

Having added the final touches over the past few days - and wrestled with the Maskol on the windows, which had been left on for far too long! - the two Sentinels have re-entered service at Maudetown Colliery. I'm especially happy with the blue steam version, having spent much more time and effort on it. The photo doesn't really show it off to full effect, but the sheen on the paintwork looks very effective. Coats of gloss varnish have been layered in between the 'dirt', for a very convincing oily/polished effect. 

All that lovely rivet detail has also been enhanced, along with the exposed valves, whistle and pipework, with burnished copper and brass paint effects. And then there's the scuffed paintwork around the cab doors and handrails.

Working on small locos is certainly more conducive to this 'micro-weathering' approach. Whereas going to the same lengths on a big 'Pacific' usually drives me potty!

Friday, 13 May 2016


Pair of NCB shunters get the weathering treatment.

Eagle-eyed readers may have seen an NCB blue Sentinel being used to help plan my gas works diorama a week or so back - I've been titivating a pair of Sentinels for my colliery fleet. However, after making a start, they've been sat for a few weeks awaiting final touches.

The yellow diesel version is a repainted Hornby model (featured in Model Rail issue 207), and it has been working at Maudetown Colliery for some months in virtually ex-works condition. Standing out like the proverbial sore thumb, I thought it high time to muck it up a bit.

The splendid blue steam version, is a Model Rail exclusive model (a few are still available - see www.modelrailoffers.co.uk  I've added the nameplates (custom etched by PH Designs) and there's still a lot of work to do to achieve the weathered finish I'd envisaged. I'm aiming for a grimy, greasy, yet slightly polished look, with streaks and extra definition around the delicate surface relief. Maybe some scuffs here and there too. 

Must stop thinking about it and just get on with it!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016


Poppy stops the traffic.

Andrew-Barclay 0-4-0T No.4 Poppy rumbles down Mindale Street before passing through the gates of Parpinton Gas Works. The glasses and bottles behind the bar of the Flying Fish Inn, along with the pans and tin baths in the window of Miggins & Son ironmongers, would be jangling with the vibrations. Old Ma Mossop in number 36 is bound to be cursing as the ducks on the wall go flying again.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

IT'S A GAS! (2)

Almost ready for the trains...

Now the road, pavement and buildings are complete (well, virtually), it's just the smaller details to add now. Trees, lamp posts, fencing, gates and other street furniture. There's a couple of gaps to fill too, so I'm thinking of a small park and maybe an allotment. I'll have to dig out some suitable cars and vans too. And some people...

You can find out how I created this diorama in Model Rail issue 223, out on 2 June.

Friday, 6 May 2016


New Gas Works diorama under way.

Just made a start on a new diorama for issue 223 of Model Rail magazine. Depicting a fictional gas works, with railway access via a suburban street (it did happen!), I spent a while setting out the various buildings in such a way as to create some attractive photographic opportunities.It won't be a working railway, which is a shame, as it's starting to look like it would be great fun!

Next job - sink the rails into the asphalt...

Monday, 2 May 2016


I've been messing around with Photoshop, trying to conjure up a vision of yesteryear, as the local passenger train, unusually headed by a Fowler 2-6-4T, departs Lingley Green Halt, sometime in the early 1960s.

Incidentally, I've been doing a bit of work on this tiny layout, assembling a new set of fiddle yard boards (complete with cassette-type storage) and re-converting to analogue control after a short-lived experiment with DCC. Once the trains are working satisfactorily again, I can start adding some more trees to the scenic area. Indeed, the aim is to create the feeling that this fictional location lies on the edge of a forest.