Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Brass kit complete and in service.

After a couple of weeks of on-off work, the PH Designs Network Rail Track Inspection Coach is now ready for action. What an enjoyable project this turned out to be, and I was lucky to have most of the extra bits and pieces needed to finish the kit already in stock. I did struggle to find any off-the-shelf roof vents of the correct plain dome pattern, so I turned my own, using whitemetal BR shell vents as the basis, re-profiling them while mounted in a mini drill. 

As will be demonstrated in the next issue of Model Rail (MR227), the 4mm scale kit went together very well, with the parts very well thought out, complete with slots and tabs to aid location in most instances. The kit is also available in 7mm scale.

With thanks to Peter at PH Designs for the kit, and Steve at Railtec for the transfers.

Monday, 22 August 2016


Network Rail test coach kit under construction.

Pete Harvey of PH Designs pressed this fantastic kit into my hands at the Warley show a couple of years ago, but I've only just gotten around to putting it together. Representing a BR Swindon-built 57ft observation saloon, after the later addition of recessed bodyside panels. The prototype was in use with Network Rail until fairly recently, usually to be seen sandwiched between a pair of Class 31s or 37s, or a single loco and DMBS.

The kit is certainly impressive and the brass bits have gone together well. Almost everything is provided, save for castings such as buffers, air brake reservoirs, bogies and roof vents. I have virtually everything stockpiled, but the roof vents are eluding me at present, so am considering making my own. 

A full demo of the project will appear in Model Rail magazine, issue 227, on sale 22 September.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Hornby 0-4-0ST finished and ready for work.

As mentioned previously, some quick detail upgrades were recently visited upon this humble L&Y 'Pug' as a prelude to a weathering job. The loco is now complete and ready to start work shunting the sidings of Maudetown Colliery. The weathering consisted of hand-applied Lifecolor acrylic paints and powders - no airbrush work at all. And it took me about two hours, making three hours in all for the detailing and finishing. Not bad!

There's much more I could've done, especially replacing those huge moulded lubricator reservoirs on the front of the smokebox, and I'd like to upgrade the wheels at some point. But I'll make do for now.

I wonder what's in the bucket?! 

Monday, 15 August 2016


Quick upgrade for Hornby L&Y 0-4-0ST.

A spare hour or two over the weekend found me dabbling with this Hornby L&Y 'Pug' that has been in my collection for a good 10 years or more without ever receiving the attention it deserved. It's a really good runner, despite the basic mechanism, but the bland factory-weathered finish needed an improvement and I decided to tweak a few details while I was at it. A new chimney (from 51L models, I believe), smokebox door handle, drawhook and lamp brackets add some finesse, while the big sprung buffers (Gibson) replaced the dumb originals. Although retaining its BR identity, the loco is destined for use in my semi-fictional National Coal Board fleet, so I've not bothered too much with fidelity to the exact prototype. 

And now, to touch-in the new bits and apply a proper weathering job...

Friday, 12 August 2016


Latest book about to hit the shelves.

My latest book is about to be published by Crowood Press, going on sale from 22 August 2016. Covering just about everything to do with modelling coaching stock, there are chapters on detailing ready-to-run models, kit building in plastic, resin, metal and wood, scratch-building, painting, lining and weathering. There's also a guide to installing interior lighting, working tail lamps, interior detailing, compensation, couplings and corridor connections. 

Lavishly illustrated - in full colour - it's quite a weighty tome, with over 250 pages crammed with practical demonstrations. Available to pre-order now on Amazon, the book will be available from all good bookstores or direct from

Tuesday, 9 August 2016


JLTRT kit completed and ready for action.

Here's a sneaky peak at the finished Rectank wagon, built from one of the latest 'O' gauge kits from Just Like The Real Thing. It's a real beauty and has provided some great fun during assembly and painting. It will be featuring in the next issue of Model Rail magazine (226), out later this month, along with a look at developments on JLTRT's founder Pete Waterman's epic layout. 

In conversation with Richard Foster, Pete described how he wants his kits to be build-able in an hour. Well, I spent a bit longer on the Rectank, but I've always been a slow modeller, especially when building something for the first time. Also, I put quite a bit of extra effort into the finish, with realistic wood grain effects on the load bed in particular. The steel load and DIY bolsters also took some time, but they were my own additions.

However, having built one - and worked out an easy way of getting the compensated bogies to slot together without the springs pinging off into space - I reckon I could knock a few more of these out a lot quicker. But then, as I enjoyed the build so much, I was in no hurry for the fun to end!!

Monday, 8 August 2016


Instant updates from the Dent Workshop.

I've just set up an Instagram page, where I'll be posting images of all things to do with trains, models, scenery and, naturally, my dog! I'll obviously still be keeping this Blog going, but the Instagram page offers an alternative outlet for different material. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


Just Like The Real Thing kit almost complete.

Here's a quick peek at progress on the 7mm scale JLTRT kit of an ex-War Department 'Rectank'. A set of scratch-built wooden bolsters has been installed and a load of 'steel' section created from Evergreen styrene. The excellent Railtec transfers have just been applied and, once they're dry and sealed with varnish, I can finish the weathering job and secure the load with miniature chain. 

As mentioned previously, this is a superb kit and I'm almost sorry that it's nearly complete - I haven't enjoyed building a wagon kit so much in ages! Look out for the article in Model Rail magazineissue 226, on the shelves in the UK on 25 August... 
Railtec offers 7mm scale transfer packs for ex-LMS, LNER, GWR and SR Rectanks (packs 7200-7203). Being a loyal Midland Region modeller, I opted for the LMS pack.