I've been musing recently over future layout building projects...

I'm still a little upset about having to dispose of Maudetown Colliery a couple of years ago, so the urge to build another coal mine-themed layout is proving very strong. Especially since getting my hands on a couple of Model Rail/Rapido's new 16XX  models. These OO gauge 0-6-0Ts are rather lovely and reward closer scrutiny as there is so much detail to enjoy, much of which can be missed at first glance. 

Start poking around inside the fully-appointed cab, however, and you'll see a couple of mash tins on the shelf above the firebox. There's also cosmetic valve and piston gear between the frames, just visible under the boiler barrel. The wealth of surface relief really comes to the fore after a weathering job like the one displayed here, where the grime sits around the rivet heads and panel seams.

Apart from a final finessing with an airbrush, this weathering job was done almost entirely by hand, using oil paints and weathering powders. The full process was explained in the April 2021 issue of Model Rail magazine (MR285), which also contained a full lowdown on the range of exclusive 16XX models and an overview of the prototype fleet.  

I'm still unsure about which of my various layout plans to pursue first, although two of the leading contenders do have a coal theme, so maybe I should just give in to my obsession...?!

My 16XX has been greatly enhanced by the addition of a realistic footplate crew and oil cans, courtesy of Hardy's Hobbies. The 3D printed figures fit perfectly within the cab and, after painting, really look the part. The real coal load also helps, along with the fire irons (supplied with the 16XX).

The Model Rail/Rapido 16XX models have been proving very popular. There are 22 different versions to choose from and you can order yours from



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