Monday, 29 January 2018


Will this Maybach-powered industrial loco work again?

After a couple of days' work on the painting and weathering, this little loco is finished and ready to pose on my colliery layout. Depicting an out-of-use National Coal Board locomotive, it looks like it is being slowly stripped of parts to keep other members of the fleet working. The tarpaulin over the missing roof section needs re-fastening and the windows have been boarded over to remove temptation from the local hoodlums.

I'm really thrilled with how this model has turned out. It took the best part of a week to complete and cost the princely sum of £25 for the Dapol loco and the engine kits, plus a few other odds and ends, many of which were improvised from scrap material. 

A full step-by-step demo of this project features in the next issue of Model Rail magazine, out on 15 Feb.

Thursday, 25 January 2018


Cheap kit provides basis for super-detailed static model.

This project is based on an idea that I had years ago. The old Airfix Drewry diesel-mechanical shunting loco, now produced by Dapol, is a great little plastic kit that can be had for around £10, which makes for a useful static feature for a quiet corner of a loco depot or factory yard. 

The plastic parts are showing their age a little, so some remedial work is necessary, especially on the wheels (the flanges are enormous!). And there's plenty of scope for detailing work, such as replacing the moulded handrails with fine brass wire. 

But the kit is also ripe for a more intense upgrade. The soft styrene is easy to cut, so I thought I'd have a go at chopping up the bonnet section to reveal an engine and other internal equipment. With this in mind, I obtained a fantastic kit of a Maybach diesel power plant from The Airbrush Company a few years back (they no longer stock these kits, alas). 

The Great Wall Hobby kit is a 1:35 scale rendition of a WW2 German engine and transmission designed for tanks and armoured vehicles, so it looks a little cramped within the humble Drewry. But, to me, it adds to the fun! Besides, who's to say that this industrial loco hadn't been upgraded with a replacement power unit at some point in its life...?

Although there's just enough headroom and width within the bonnet to accommodate the engine, with only minor modifications, the engine actually looks convincing, especially with the gearbox and driveshaft installed, along with a random array of pipes. The Great Wall Hobby kit provides plenty of detail parts, including a radiator housing for the fan to sit within, which looks at home within the Drewry's nose end.

The project is to appear in Model Rail magazine issue 245, on sale 15 February...

The Maybach engine kit is a pleasure to build, with a high level of detail.

Monday, 22 January 2018


The beginnings of a Peak District-themed layout?

Firstly, apologies to regular readers of this blog for the lack of new content over recent months. The day job has been taking up too much of my time of late, but hopefully everything's settling down again. I've plenty of practical modelling work to share from the last few weeks, but first, here are some images of the finished 'OO' gauge viaduct that I built for Model Rail magazine in December, which featured in my last blog post

The Wills plastic kit was great fun to build and modify. Indeed, I've a few more kits stashed away in the workshop as I plan to build a second, parallel structure for a layout idea that's brewing away. I fancy something based in the Derbyshire Peak District, with trains of limestone being hauled through the dramatic scenery. This second viaduct needs to be sited on a gentle curve, so I'll have to persuade the Wills plastic components to follow the desired profile, which should prove interesting.

But that will have to wait, as I have a few other projects to work on in the meantime...