Thursday, 26 January 2017


Shabby pre-owned loco transformed.

I'm especially pleased with the quality of the paint job. Looks like a factory finish in the flesh!

Another Class 37 has entered service, this being the 20th example in my collection (how many '37s' does one man need?!) and the fourth in the original Railfreight scheme. Considering I spent my early teens painting everything in this livery, that's quite a modest proportion! 

Obtained second-hand at a bargain price, the Bachmann Branchline model was in a sorry state; heavily bashed about and a poor runner. After a full strip-down, re-lube, partial re-wire and plenty of cosmetic work, the loco looks as good as new - and runs beautifully.

Representing Thornaby-based 37693 as it appeared in the late 1980s, this machine was a regular visitor to South Wales on metals traffic. I always loved the Kingfisher logo adopted by Thornaby, especially the full colour version. Here, the motif decals are from Precision Labels, while the rest of the transfers are from Fox. I seem to have applied slightly oversized numerals - they should be a couple of millimetres smaller, but I'm not splitting hairs - the loco sports an inherent inaccuracy anyway - the pattern of nose-side grilles isn't correct for '693. 

Furthermore, this being one of Bachmann's earlier '37s', the bonnet top doors are too small and the cab doors overly sunken.... In the big scheme of things, I don't really care - I now have a model of an unusual loco and more variety in my 1980s Type 3 fleet. When your day job forces you to be as accurate as possible, sometimes it's a relief to purposely do something wrong - a rebellion of sorts!
The Thornaby Kingfishers are striking additions - excellent decals from Precision Labels.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


Spray booth given a leg-up in the quest for comfort.

I've finally gotten around to doing something I've been meaning to do for the past two years - raise my spray booth up to a more suitable working height. Since moving house in 2015, my workshop was set up in haste and I've slowly been refining the arrangement whenever time permits. But the location of the spray booth had been bugging me for a number of reasons.

Limited by the siting of the extraction duct and lighting, the previous arrangement saw me having to crouch on a stool or kneel on the floor in order to work the airbrush carefully around a subject. I'd lost count of the times I told myself that I need to raise up the booth, for comfort as well as helping improve the quality of my work.

For the sake of an hour or two 's worth of cutting and joining plywood, the difference now is astounding - why did I wait so long?! I've also gained some useful extra storage space beneath.

Note the thermometer fixed to the base of the booth. The ambient temperature has averaged around 2degrees Celcius this past week, so the little heater has been working hard to get the room to a workable temperature before any spraying could commence.

Friday, 13 January 2017


A perfect kit for a winter's evening.

First day back at work today, on Friday the 13th no less! Despite the several inches of snow outside the door, I managed to make it to the station and travel the 140-odd miles to the Model Rail office. After an extended festive holiday, spending a couple of weeks redecorating and taking care of an ever-increasing list of household repair jobs, it's a relief to be back at the day job, in a warm office, in clean clothes!

I did manage a little modelling work over the holidays, though, building this super little laser-cut kit from 4Ground Trackside. Taking up a couple of pleasant evenings in front of the fire, the wood and fibreboard parts slot together easily and everything ended up square and true, despite being built after a Scotch or two.

There's no need for painting, save for a little detail work if desired, as the parts are pre-coloured to suit the Great Western Railway or Western Region of British Railways. The roof needs a little finessing, to hide the joins and some extra detail work - inside and out - would set it off nicely. A full review of this 'OO' gauge model will follow in Model Rail magazine soon...