The current issue of Model Rail magazine (MR286, May 2021), includes a Masterclass feature detailing the history of the pioneer 'Peak' locomotives. The Class 44s may only have enjoyed a brief Top Link passenger career, before being relegated to freight work, but they paved the way for the successful Class 45/46 fleet, along with the evergreen Class 47s.

To compliment Pip Dunn's historical notes, I decided to try and create the unique 44009 Snowdon, which not only wore a different set of bodyside grilles (along with 44010), but also carried odd nose ends after collision repairs. Some surgery was required, using a donor Class 45 bodyshell, while an etched brass grille pack was employed, courtesy of PH Designs. 

It took quite a bit of work, especially grafting the new nose end on as seamlessly as possible. But the hard work paid off and I'm really pleased to finally have '009 in my OO gauge collection, to compliment my other 'Peaks', especially 44010 - a model I converted in the late noughties. 

Furthermore, it's been a while since I've done a job of this kind, so it was great fun to rekindle memories of cutting-and-shutting locomotive bodyshells and adding lots of etched grilles. I realised how much I'd missed it, especially the sense of satisfaction when the coats of paint start to build up and the model takes on its new identity. Maybe I should do more in the future...? 

Once the Class 45 nose end had been installed, it was a case of tidying up the joint as much as possible, with filler and abrasive pads. I also scribed the horizontal seam, which is missing from the Bachmann models.

Flattening the moulded grilles was another time-consuming (and messy) job. Lots of abrading followed to get the bodysides smooth and blemish-free, before the new grilles were fixed in place.

Ready for the paint shop. Other details added included a new roof fan grille (from Shawplan), boiler step plates, handrails, lamp brackets, buffers and brake hoses. The roof of the boiler compartment was also modified.

44009 has joined 44010, a model I created in 2008/9.

The full modelling demo and Class 44 prototype feature can be found in the new issue of Model Rail magazine, on sale now!



  1. Loved this article. Twenty years ago, kitbashing, rtr conversions were the norn. I still have a Lima Cl 55 to bash into a DP2 and to lengthen the bonnet as advised by MR twebty years back. We're losing current skills becuse of the ease of shelling out more for previously scarece prototype modles. I'm re-motivated to do it by this article.. Nice one George

    1. Thanks Duncan - glad you enjoyed reading it. I certainly enjoyed putting the feature together!

    2. Apologies re my spolling (!)


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