Thursday, 18 May 2017


 Cheap 'toy' transformed in an evening.

I picked up a couple of die-cast toys in a supermarket a while back, thinking that they may be worth a little attention one day. With a coal loading diorama on the cards, now seemed a good time to dig out the bull dozer and see what could be done with it. Looking pretty close to 1:76 scale ('OO' gauge), the yellow rubber tracks were removed and the whole thing treated to successive layers of weathering, starting with an overall coat of matt varnish. Without this initial step, not much would cling to the shiny, high gloss paintwork.

Enamel washes, acrylic paints, dry pigments and metallic wax-type paints were subsequently applied by hand brush and cotton swabs. After painting, the tracks were replaced, dusted with dry pigments and dry-brushed to give a metallic edge. A tiny amount of airbrush work gave the roof and upper surfaces a fine, dusty texture. All in all, it took about two - very enjoyable - hours. Oh, and the model cost me £1!

Friday, 12 May 2017


After 6 months, Deutz Magirus truck is finally complete!

Having felt like a break from trains, I've been spending the winter evenings building a few road vehicle kits. Started way back in December, this wonderful 1:35 scale ICM kit is the first to be completed. Based on a late 1940s Deutz Magirus truck, the kit has been customised with scratch-built engine detail and hand-scribed wood grain texture on the rear bodywork.

The latter modification was the most time-consuming (and mind-numbing), with the work spread over several evenings. Once painted and weathered (with Lifecolor's Weathered Wood set of acrylic paints and AK Interactive enamel washes), all that hard work paid off, with a much more faithful rendition of bare timber.  

This was a fantastic kit and a joy to assemble. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I ordered another, which will be built with a few alterations to the bonnet and cargo area...

Tuesday, 9 May 2017


 Rusty Effects Bring Ship To Life.

My esteemed Model Rail colleague, Chris Leigh, presented me with a challenge recently: to add the final touches to his 1:76 scale scratch-built rendition of Wallbrook, a former coastal freighter converted to a dredging vessel. It's taken a few weeks to get this far, starting with much of the ship's hand-applied paintwork re-done with an airbrush, adding lots of high- and low-lights for a suitably washed-out look. The big green silt hopper received a lot of attention, as did the crane, which is a die-cast model that has been stripped, repainted and modified.

However, the hull has demanded the most time and effort, getting the distinctive corrosion streaks and grey/green hues of the paintwork and algae deposits right. Modelmates Rust Paint was employed, bushed liberally onto the surface in a couple of layers. When dry, the surface can be manipulated with a damp cotton swab, creating streaks with a wide variety of hues and textures.

Helpfully, the Modelmates paint always remains water-soluble so, if you're not happy you can re-work the streaks or remove them altogether and start again. When satisfied, simply seal the finish with clear matt varnish before adding layers of washes and airbushed weathering to finish things off. Easy!!

Modelmates Rust Paint was built up in several layers. The paint dries to a distinctive texture and the hue is governed by how many coats are built up.
All you need is a damp swab to manipulate the Rust Paint, creating a series of vertical streaks and varying the  shades of the corrosion.