Monday, 25 May 2020

Another Milk Tanker Finished

Lockdown continues to rumble on and it is a strange time for everyone.  For me it involved having to move 3 weeks ago with a change in circumstances, to look after some people.  This was not a problem, but it meant I had to temporarily abandon my modelling area.  Modelling has been pretty much zilch since then for the the past 3-4 weeks, which is a shame as I was making a little progress on a few projects.  However, of course, the well being of loved ones is far, far more important.  To be honest, in some strange way, the last 3 weeks have been some of the most enjoyable I have had in recent years, although lockdown makes doing even the most simple of tasks very difficult.

The finished milk tanker: these wagons were pretty filthy by the 1970s.

However, before I left I managed to finish off another milk tanker for layout.  As per previous post, this is the Dapol offering that is pretty crude.  So in common with the other milk tankers I just tried to highlight some details and create a passable representation of a milk tanker from a poor starting point.  The wagon was taken apart and the worst offending mould lines were sanded off.  Details on the underframe were picked out and highlighted using rust, weathered black and white.  The tanker body was streaked with various weathering shades, before reassembling and a good dose of satin varnish.

A passable representation I think....

Before leaving I did manage to pack a few kits to build.  I have been working my way through a series of Cambrian kits recent, having finished a Herring wagon and two Walrus wagons.  I have a partly constructed SR 40T hopper with me, so fingers crossed I will be able to find a little time this week to finish this off.  In case I suddenly end up with masses of time (which I will not!) I also have a Whale wagon and another Herring wagon with me to build.  In the meantime I hope everyone stays safe and that we can all find away to adapt to this situation and make the best of it.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Lockdown (BR) Blues: A Hornby Passenger C Brake Van C

This week has seen more progress with clearing out the paint boxes and finishing off some languishing projects.  Over the course of the week I have managed to do a few hours of modelling each day.  This is great, as I have started finishing off some half built kits and also moving painting projects forwards.  I am pretty determined to use this time (lockdown) to finish off a lot of projects before spending money on any new models - I have boxes of unfinished kits/rtr stock!  Anyhow, recently I took apart a Hornby Passenger C Brake Van, in the BR blue livery.  After removing the glazing I weathered the van in two parts, the body shell plus roof and the underframe.  On this van I wanted to produce a much better effort of faded and chipped body work and I feel that I have got part way there again with this one - not perfect but it is heading in the right direction.

Finished Passenger C brake van, with some faded and chipped paintwork.

So after washing the wagon and underframe I applied an all over body wash of weathered black/frame dirt.  Most of this was wiped off, before spraying various shaded of faded BR blue of the planks.  I then sealed this up with a blast of satin varnish, before dabbing on some matt white and wiping away the excess with a cotton wool bud dipped in white spirit.  A bit more faded blue was sprayed over the top of this, before weathering with frame dirt, sleeper grime and weathered black.  The underframe was weathered with light rust, matt white, weathered black, frame dirt and sleeper grime.  Both parts of the van were then treated to three coats of satin varnish.  The glazing had a light mix of satin varnish and sleeper grime sprayed over them, before being glued back in place using 'glue n glaze' and the wagon reassembled. 

Side view of the finished van.

So another wagon finished for the parcels train (my goodness it is never ending!).  I might just have to purchase the Hornby LNER extra long CCT in BR blue - it looks a cracking model and I was not very happy with the one I made.....what was I saying about not buying anymore stuff.....
Stay safe everyone and stay safely locked down!

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Another sealion wagon for the ballast train

Over the years I have been meaning to build a ballast train composed of some sealion, walrus and whale ballast wagons.  I am currently building another walrus (which will bring the total to 3) and one of the next kits will be another whale wagon - I was never entirely satisfied with the canopies on the first version I built.  Anyhow, I finally got around to finishing off the third sealion wagon I have.  This is the Bachmann model that I must have purchased about 10 years ago - it is frightening how time seems to just to slip away! 

Finished sealion wagon ready for the layout.

Anyhow, I converted this to 3 link  couplings, which involves a bit of filing and drilling into the buffer beam and cut off the mounts for the tension lock couplings.  I gave the wagon a good wash and then an all over body wash applied with a paint brush that was mostly wiped away again.  After this, various shades of light rust, weathered black, sleeper grime and frame dirt were airbrushed over the body.  This was all sealed off with a good blast of satin varnish.  I always treat the bogies separately to the body on a wagon like this, in an attempt to highlight some detail on the bogies.  Anyhow, another project finished off.  I must finish this second walrus wagon build and get the two completed kits into the paintshop for this rake.  Again apologies for the poor pictures - I am struggling to find decent light in the modelling room at the moment and with the layout firmly locked down and inaccessible with storage, this is the best I could manage.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

A Royal Mail van and the parcels train

Over the last few years I have built a good number of parcels wagons, so it was high time I got around to finishing a few Royal Mail vans for the layout, to ship the parcels away!  So over the last week or so I put a little weathering over a Ford 400E Royal Van van.  A simple little project, which just required dismantling and then a bit of airbrushing.

Finished Royal Mail Ford 400E van.  At last something to get rid of these parcels

These models have a very good gloss finish on them, so I started with a bit of satin varnish, to give the paint something to adhere to.  Then it was a question of some light airbrushing, with a few different shades of grime.  Some varnish sealed it all up before reassembly.  A simple little project and now I have something to sit in the station car park ready to ship the parcels away.  I need a few more of these done for the layout, given the amount of parcels stock I now have!  Speaking of which, at the recent show in East Grinstead, I took a couple of pics of the Class 25 on the parcels train.  

Class 25 bringing the parcels and papers.  Barnstaple still had a very healthy parcels traffic into the 1980s.

The other end of the train, on the short parcels turn that day.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

A 12T fruit van ready to roll

Week 3 of lockdown starts and I sincerely hope everyone is bearing up OK.  These are trying times and modelling is a good way of light relief to occupy some hours and take away the current stress.  Recently, I have managed to finish off the detailing of a few RTR wagons.  The Charlton layout already has far too much rolling stock, but doesn't everybodies layout?  So first up is a Bachmann 12T fruit van.  I need a series of 12T vans for the delivery of fertiliser to the provender store and currently have an operating rake of 3.  This will increase over the next couple of weeks as I finish off more wagons.

12T fruit van finished and ready to roll on the layout.

As per normal I fitted three link couplings to the wagon and then proceeded to give the wagon a good wash. First the wagon was treated to an all over bodywash of sleeper grime and weathered black heavily thinned, taking care to remove the majority of this wash after application.  The wagon was then detailed using an Iwata airbrush, applying Railmatch enamels.  Various shades of rust, weathered black, sleeper grime, frame dirt and white were applied to the underframe.  The body was predominately detailed with weathered black, on the upstanding ribs, door hinges, etc, and sleeper grime more generally across the body.  This was all sealed up with 3 coats of satin varnish.

I realised that I had far to many projects on the go at once in the painting boxes and it was taking far too long to finish anything.  Effort was being divided between multiple models, meaning nothing was getting finished. So over the next few weeks I am concentrating on a few specific models to get them finished off, before tackling some more complex projects, not least an earlish BR blue class 37, which the DCC sound decoder arrived for today.  At least, for once, I have plenty of time on my hands.

Monday, 30 March 2020


I hope everyone is safe in well, in what can only be described as trying times.  Personally, this first week of lockdown has been difficult for me, being separated from loved ones since last week.  However, in amongst all the doom and the endless days of being locked in, I have finally found some time to do some modelling.  I guess it is important to always find a positive, although the situation is clearly very serious.

So this week I finished off a LNER extra long CCT, in classic BR blue parcels livery.  This project can only be described as a complete and utter nightmare!  The building and painting stages were relatively straight forward and I was feeling very smug with the progress.  However, I managed to completely and utterly wreck the application of transfers (I thought I was beyond this!!).  After this, I had to spend a lot of time sorting out the silvering, trying to disguise it with more weathering.  This lead to a large number of varnish coats being applied with various shades of sleeper grime or frame dirt added.  Anyhow, I currently live in a very dusty house, so the more coats you apply, the more dust you trap, which is of course exactly what happened.  Then when it was finished and I was putting the wheels in I dropped it and scratched the roof!

Finished CCT in BR blue.  It doesn't look too bad I guess.

Close up showing the excellent detail of the Parkside moulding.

Another close up showing the added handrails and detail.

The model is the Parkside kit, build with a few extras added, such as handrails.  I painted the wagon using Railmatch enamels applied from my airbrush.  The transfers are from Cambridge Custom Transfers.  I never seem to get these quite right and my applying of them was poor. So the verdict - I am glad it is finished.  The weathering is now too heavy for my tastes, but at least it is finished and runs.  The overall paint finish has to much dust trapped in it for my liking and the transfers still look a bit iffy.  It is one to re-visit maybe in a few years. However, I find once I have finished a wagon I forget about it, so maybe in a few months I will pick it up, put it in the track and think - this is not too bad!  I took some close images of the sides whilst taking a pick too, which really highlight the quality of wagon moulding by Parkside.  Overall a 6 out of 10 on this project for me, but another wagon finished and ready to go on the layout.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

East Grinstead Model Railway Exhibition

This week I have been exhibiting my layout Charlton at the East Grinstead model railway exhibition.  Give the country is in a state of hysteria about Coronvirus, visitor numbers were healthy.  There was a really good range of layouts at the show and I met and chatted with a lot of people.  Charlton performed faultlessly again and I am feeling pretty confident about how I put the layout together.  It is its fifth show with virtually no maintenance and it continues to operate really well, although I need to fix a couple of minor things.  However, Charlton is a fiddle yard to terminus.  This is great fun to operate at home for an hour or two, but in an exhibition hall it is a very tiring layout to operate.  Footfall in the exhibition tailed off in the later afternoons, so I had some time to shoot a few little videos.  One of the things I liked about operating the layout this weekend was I have finished the third passenger coach.  This means the run around loop doesn't work, as the train is too long.  So I now have another locomotive stabled in a siding to run onto the end of the train and pull it away.  Not really prototypical, but much more fun to operate.

I am now keen to be able to finish off a few of the other modelling projects and start planning a much bigger layout.  Fingers crossed that a house move later this year will be the last in a long line and I can start building something that I can keep permanently operational.  Until then, I have no further exhibitions to attend.  I plan to build a small layout (3ft x 1.5ft) just to keep me going and use this micro-layout as part of a bigger plan.....

Class 25 on a short parcels train.

A western bringing in the 3 coach passenger train.

A class 22 running around a branch freight.

Thanks to all at East Grinstead MRC who made this weekend so much fun!