Tuesday, 21 August 2018


Been messing around with one of my mini layouts, trying to de-bug some minor, but irritating, electrical issues. For such a simple track plan, this layout has its fair share of gremlins. The main problem is the fact that it was originally built as a static diorama, then converted to a working analogue-controlled layout, before being altered again to DCC control. The digital experiment was short-lived, however, and a reversion to 12V DC followed. A few accidents in storage over the years - plus a very severe winter in which the layout suffered in the garage - have all combined to make operation something of a frustrating experience. 

Making countless tweaks and repairs is seldom fun, meaning that the layout seldom 'comes out to play'. I'm seriously considering re-laying the track completely, making use of the more appropriate Peco bullhead track and points that have appeared subsequently. But will I ever get the time...?

Saturday, 18 August 2018


Cab interior takes shape.

The Revell Mercedes Unimog kit continues to progress, albeit steadily rather than quickly, not least as this is very much a 'spare time' undertaking as an antidote to my usual diet of railway stuff. Indeed, it's fun to be working on something bigger than 1/76 scale trains for a change, with so much more potential for detailing work in 1/24. Accordingly, I've been adding plenty of extra fittings to the cab interior, which will be highly visible on the finished model, thanks to the big windows and opening doors.

Heavy duty floor covering and mats, seat adjusting knobs and seatbelt anchors are just some of the details installed. The next challenge is to recreate the patterned fabric on the seats, followed by improving the fairly basic dashboard moulding... 

Monday, 13 August 2018


Progress update on Revell kit.

Last month, I posted a blog about a 1/24 scale Revell kit that I'd started, of a Mercedes Benz Unimog. While the kit is not without its challenges, I've managed to make significant progress, with the chassis now assembled and painted, ready to receive the bodywork. I haven't added much in the way of extra detail yet, preferring to make the most of what's provided in the kit, although refining the plastic components has been a laborious task - but well worth the effort so far!

Next job is begin building the cab and its interior, which I'm planning on enhancing with extra bits and pieces...

Wednesday, 8 August 2018


Ancient Lima wagons given a new lease of life.

I've just spent a pleasant day (or two) messing around with some old Lima box vans, some of which date back to the late 1970s. I had a good few of these on my childhood trainsets, with a number surviving onto more 'adult' layouts after a degree of detailing work. With the next issue of Model Rail magazine having something of a 'retro model' theme, I decided to track down some more of these venerable (and cheap!) wagons to see what I could do with them.
A couple were found in the pre-owned section at Hatton's Model Railways, with even a pristine boxed version being very reasonably priced. The branded vans, with the likes of Homepride, Stork margarine and Typhoo Tea, brought back happy memories of yesteryear, but they'd need to be overpainted into more appropriate liveries. The chassis - the main drawback of these wagons - also had to go and, after replacing with Parkside kits and superior wheels, the wagons look just as good (if not better) than many 21st Century ready-to-run products.

Furthermore, at less than £20 per wagon, including the Lima donor models, this made for a very economical project, boosting my fleet of 1960s-1980s vans. See how the wagons were improved in the next issue of Model Rail magazine (MR252), on sale 30th August.