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On My Workbench - Latest News

Saturday 5th October 2013

Electrostar takes to the rails!

The First Capital Connect Class 377 'Electrostar' is finally complete!

It's been a long time in the making, but finally it is here! My second Electrostar is based on 377504, a member of the First Capital Connect fleet, and normally found plying the Brighton-Bedford route ferrying commuters into the City.

Originally planned as another Southern colleague to my original Class 377/2, when this livery was launched on the FCC fleet in 2009, I just knew it would have to be modelled!

The unit was built in the same manner as the original Electrostar model, being based on the Bachmann Class 170 'Turbostar' diesel, but heavily shortened to represent the 20m bodyshells, with new driving cabs and inner ends. Underframe equipment is also completely different to its diesel cousin.

The cabs were scratchbuilt myself back in 2009, and as some may know, I sell these via my eBay shop for £15 a pair plus postage.

Bodyshells have had 1 window removed from the centre, along with 9mm from each of the end window sections. This will bring the unit down to the correct 20m length, as opposed to the scale 23m shells from the donor model.

The striking First Capital Connect livery was painted using Phoenix's First Group paints, along with my homemade customer transfers. I made these myself from scanned images of the prototype. I got a few strange looks getting the original images, and endless hours in Photoshop scaling the images and getting them in a usable condition!

When first introduced, the FCC units were looking good, but normal service soon resumed and many of the fleet regularly suffer heavy vandalism, and it is not uncommon to see units in service bearing some horrendous attacks from vandals the night before!

Using prototype graffiti images from FCC trains, I painstakingly handpainted the graffiti and tags onto the body of the MSO. This took absolutely ages but much more fun and far better than transfers could ever be! All you need are a few fine paintbrushes, have a go!

The FCC Electrostar is very at home alongside the original Southern 377/2 and will see a busy future running on Worthing MRC's Loftus Road.

The two driving units seen side by side. Dellner couplings were resin cast from the Bachmann originals given away with their Class 350 EMU. More pictures of the resin cab units can be found on my eBay shop.

The FCC livery can be quite pretty - here is a close up of one driving car and the intricate artwork featuring a blurred cityscape. The dot-matrix destination panels feature Brighton as the train's final call.

An inner gangway end of one DMSO. The brake discs are 8.5mm stainless steel inserts from Colin Craig. At a few pence each, these are really superb value for money, and really look the part when weathered.

Being a dual-voltage EMU, the Class 377/5 typically runs under the overhead wires as much as on the third rail. This meant modelling the pantograph well, complete with the Brecknell-Willis pan and associated insulators. There's some great photographs online showing just how dirty this area can get, with the dust fragments from the overhead wire contact raining down on the train.

inspired by seeing a number of these units in appalling condition, it was an easy decision to have a go and translate this in model form. The MSO was brightened up with a couple of designs actually sprayed onto FCC trains in real life, lovingly replicated on the model here. It takes a fair few days building up the layers of paint but is straightforward, you just need patience and small brushes!

So, here we are!

I'm happy to see this completed and running on Loftus Road after nearly 18 months hard work - now to spend some time catching up on modelling dirty diesels me thinks!

As always - my cabs are for sale on for sale on eBay and always keen to see more of these hardworking commuter EMUs in model form, so please do give one of these units a go!

On the iPod:Lana del Rey - Cola



Sunday 23rd March 2013


The new Electrostar has finally had its heart added - with the Bachmann drivetrain rebuilt to fit on the shortened chassis.

Here's how it went -

Above can be seen the original unmolested chassis. This is a great runner, but unfortunately too long for the Electrostar. So we must chop a big lump out of it!

And here goes...! A hacksaw enabled steady progress through the metalwork as the chassis block was chopped to fit in the short bodyshell. The only important dimension was making sure the bogie pivot points were the correct difference apart.

As the same time, I was careful to cut in the right place to ensure the body could still clip into the side of the chassis in the original lugs- which means I can remove the screw holes and the body will still stay in place on the chassis.

The chassis was then reattached together, using metal plate (also from the Bachmann Turbostar) and several bolts drilled through to hold it in place. These were then sawn off, and left a chassis as below:

Now rejoined - it is time to add the all important motor! This was placed on top of a plasticard base, so as to raise the motor above the chassis to allow clearance for the flywheels.

The next stage was to shorten the driveshafts - using plastic tubing to encase the original chopped Bachmann mouldings.

Finally reattached together and chipped up with a Lenz Gold decoder, the power unit is ready for a new life under a third rail electric unit, and with any luck should prove a very smooth runner indeed.

And there we go! I'm now facing up to the task of painting the garish First group colours onto the Electrostar, so join me again soon to see the unit in its final stages!

On the iPod:Taylor Swift - Red



Sunday 20th January 2013

Wells Green - More Pics!

Happy New Year everybody!

Wells Green TMD's recently been featured in British Railway Modelling magazine and as part of that, I had to supply the images. I picked the best I could find but here's a few that ever so nearly made it!

47767 Mappa Mundi with 56033 Shotton Paper Mill and Loadhaul-liveried 60038.

90030 Crewe Locomotive Works and 47767 on the fuelling point. The prototype 'Duff' lasted only a few weeks in service after EWS' refurbishment, suffering a fire and subsequent withdrawal.

90022 Freightconnection and 92035 Mendelssohn await attention at Wells Green.

37886 Sir Dyfed/County of Dyfed, 60017 Shotton Steel Centenary Year 1996 & Virgin's 47851 Traction Magazine.

I still really miss the old Virgin Cross Country XLRA pool of Class 47/8s, good times!

56033 and 90022 inside the depot alongside Virgin's 47831 Bolton Wanderer. The blue Ford Focus is a scratchbuilt model of my first car!

IEMD 01 is the pet depot shunter at the real life Crewe IEMD, so is a must-have for Wells Green TMD!

A chilly night at Wells Green!

Three Shades: No model of Crewe IEMD is complete without a stack of grey 92s!

90027 Allerton T&RS Depot Quality Approved and 90022 Freightconnection. 90027 was the first electric locomotive I ever tackled and is still my favourite.

Fragonset/FM Rail's 47712 Artemis in the unforgettable 'Blue Pullman' livery.

Finally, no selection of photos would be complete without the ever-present Class 66s! Almost book-ending the 250-strong EWS fleet order is 66010 and 66241 seeing through the night at Wells Green TMD.

On the iPod:Ke$ha - Die Young


Wednesday 26th December 2012

The Post-Christmas Lull

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

After the dust has settled on the turkey and taking a break from getting drunk at breakfast time I decided it worth having a brief modelling session...

It's been an absolute age since I last put an update on here but things have been steadily progressing with the First Capital Connect 'Electrostar'. The sides and roof pieces have all been completed, and it's just a case of assembling them like a miniature flatpack IKEA wardrobe. The main similarities being that there are indeed no instructions, and the pieces really don't fit that well either!!

Anyway after enough bodging, my shortened Turbostar parts have finally become Electrostar bodies! The second '377' is now fast taking shape and I've just to cast the cab ends and will then have the set completed ready for the underframes to be added. The photograph below shows the TSO and MSO vehicles awaiting fitting out with resin pantograph-well and cast gangway end.

Currently everything is on track to have it completed by March 2013 - for Loftus Road's next outing at East Grinstead. If you are interested in building a '377' then please do follow the links to my resin cabs for sale on eBay!

Of course, no update could be complete without me showing off my new car either!

It's a Ford Focus RS finished in Ultimate Green, bright enough to avoid losing it in the car park!

As a Mountune edition Focus RS, it packs 350bhp (on par with an '08' shunter!) and it's a right monster to drive - unlike my orange Focus ST, all the power is in the mid-upper rev range, so it'll behave immaculately around town, but dare to put your foot down and it'll rip your head off!

The torque is disgusting, it'll just keep on pulling and I can fully believe it will reach it's billed maximum of 165mph - even when spanking it on the motorway it barely comes close to even taxing the machine, it's incredible!

I've kept hold of my veteran ST as it's my daily drive workhorse - the commute between Worthing and London Heathrow & Gatwick Airports puts on a ridiculous mileage and the ST is so comfortable compared to the tarmac hugging RS. They couldn't be more different - Clarkson nicknamed the ST an 'ASBO', by that definition the RS is a full-blown rapist!!

On the iPod:Lana Del Rey - Blue Jeans (THE song of 2012?)



Thursday 29th November 2012

Electrostar Cab Sale Update!

For those keen on purchasing the Electrostar cabs, as well as ordering via email, you may be pleased to know that they are now available via a secure online eBay shop and can accept payment using Paypal.

If you have any queries or are interested in buying several pairs of cabs, please get in touch via email and I can sort out some special deals!

On the iPod:Fever Ray - When I Grow Up




Saturday 14th July 2012

Electrostar Cabs For Sale!

The Electrostar cabs used in my Class 377 are now available for sale!

Bombardier's 'Electrostar' is now the most common new-generation EMU on the UK network today, and forgotten by ready-to-run manufacturers, it can seem a daunting project modelling one of these fantastic units.

All this has changed, modellers can now easily recreate these EMUs, using my new cabs and the Bachmann 'Turbostar' as a basis for conversion. The resin cabs are suitable for the Class 375, 377 & 379 units operated by SouthEastern, Southern, First Capital Connect and National Express. They could also be easily modified for use for the new Class 172 DMUs and similar.

Made from high quality resin, the cab is a replica of the gangwayed Electrostar and designed for use with the Bachmann Turbostar.

** Just £15 a pair plus £3 postage **

If you would like to order, please email the below address:

Payments can be taken via eBay (search for Class 377 cabs or seller "jamesmakin2002"), or directly via cheque or Paypal 'gift' payment - please contact me at the above address for more details. Discounts are also available for bulk orders.

On the iPod:Florence + the Machine - Lover To Lover

Saturday 7th July 2012

Prototype Inspiration?

Here's a potential candidate for the new Electrostar project!

On the way to a gig with mates, we took the train for the first time in a while, I spotted this First Capital Connect '377'. Risking the wrath of mates' mickey-taking, I pointed the camera at the unit - incredibly I've never bothered to photo any of them before!

It seemed the right thing to do - plus I'd hoped I could get some images of the livery, to help with producing my transfers. Of course, Sod's law meant the only unit I found was covered in graffiti!

I must admit I hate travelling by train nowadays, always surprisingly expensive - 8/10 times, even my gas guzzler of a car is cheaper, plus you have the freedom to escape spending your journey with drunk girls vomiting. Sometimes that's not an option, in which case perhaps the train wins - like train tickets, I've found car valets are also surprisingly pricey.

The 377/5 model itself is progressing well, I have now completed all of the cut-down sides for the 4 vehicles. Each took around 2 hours to chop down, brace and glue - the job now is to sand and fill the joins into oblivion. I'll soon be moving onto shortening the roof sections - by far the most time consuming part of the previous 377/2, so I'm not looking forward to that stage!

On the iPod:Ladylike - Girl Like Me


Sunday 27th May 2012

The 'Difficult Second Album'!

This scene looks a little familiar!

Despite appearances, this isn't a re-hash, I'm actually building another Electrostar!

It's long been my intention to continue with the Electrostar project, and by creating resin components for the building of the original Southern example means there is scope to build more units with the minimum of effort. I have cast cabs, inner ends, pantograph wells and underframe parts all moulded in resin, leaving only a massive cut'n'shut job on the Bachmann 'Turbostar' between me and another example of these fabulous EMU's.

I always said I'd model two Southern Class 377/2s, but in a massive U-turn, I've decided to opt for one of the attractive new First Capital Connect Class 377/5s. I haven't any prototype photographs I can show here, but they are the same design but with funky blue and pink First Group livery with a London city-scape on the side - absolute class.

There's a few minor differences between the early build -200 series compared to the later '500's but nothing major preventing a model from being built using the parts previously cast in resin. The only task therefore is to find four Bachmann donor vehicles and whip out the razor saw!

Each Turbostar vehicle has to be massively cut down to fit the '377's 20-metre bodyshells. This means removing one centre window from each side of the unit, and losing over 1cm from each end of the body - notice the shortened window recesses in the photograph above. The white, ex-Anglia, side above best shows the modifications undertaken, compare this to the Central Trains version, top.

Bachmann tends to sell its Turbostars in two or three car formations, and such is life, that I didn't have the correct number of centre-cars available to easily make a 4-car '377', so I ended up having to chop the inner ends from two driving cars to bash together a new centre car!

This predicament has resulted in the rather sorry looking mess above! This is the remains of an Anglia 170/2, quite an attractive livery, but a ten-year old donor model nevertheless, needs must, and it got the chop!

I've just got to think of an interesting use for this one, but judging by the last project, I've a feeling that few of the components will be re-used to cover breakages in glazing, seating getting lost and that blue roof will come in handy when I get onto slicing up the roof for the First Capital Connect Electrostar.

The previous Southern '377' took three years from conception to completion, I'm hoping to have this one done in a fraction of the time - watch this space!

On the iPod:Amanda Mair - Sense


Saturday 12th May 2012

Announcement: Will all passengers please slam the door behind them!

It's back to the 'noughties' on Loftus Road!

Ever since the Hornby VEP was announced, I've been desperate to re-create the signature unit of my youth; the humble slam door stock finished in the truly disgusting Connex South Central livery. A dirty word to most travellers in the South, this 'Connex' unit is modelled in typical early-2000's condition and represents nothing more than the mundane mediocrity of the daily commute.

Based on the Hornby Network SouthEast release, this unit was soon stripped of its gorgeous toothpaste livery in favour of late-90's corporate white and yellow razzle brought in by the privatised Connex South Central.

Unit No.3486 is but one of hundreds of 'slam-door' units that saw almost 40 years of loyal service on the Southern Region, and following all the attention gained by my previous Southern Electrostar creation, it was only fair that its retiring predecessor had a chance to share in the limelight.

The repaint was a fairly straightforward affair, with an overall coat of Humbrol white replacing the original livery, whilst I created home-made Connex transfers featuring the prototypical fade-outs from the real thing.

Much use was made of Microsol to ensure the yellow transfers sat properly over the multitude of panel lines.

As with any of my projects, weathering was the most important focus and I was determined to recreate the care-worn appearance of the livery; the yellow stripes are modelled deliberately faded in places, and the white has been washed with coats of brown to obtain that typical Connex look!

My favourite part of the project was weathering the roof. I am conscious that this is the first thing we see, so wanted to pay particular attention. The prototypes often featured peeling patches of paint on the roof, and this is faithfully modelled on my 3486. I started by patch painting the original Hornby black roof with various light browns, and then covering these patches with Humbrol Maskol.

Using a technique pioneered by Martin Welch in 'The Art of Weathering', I then painted the rest of the roof with darker shades, with talcum powder mixed in to the paint to create a textured effect. When all was dry, I removed the Maskol, to reveal peeling paint and the layers underneath. More shades of varying hues were applied to create the flaky, sometimes mossy appearance of the roof.

Various windows have been modelled in the open position as often found on the real thing; and I plan to model a busy trainload of passengers in the future, amongst other details still to be added!

All in all, I'm very happy with this latest addition to the fleet, for me it is the fact that the unit is so average, that it adds to the appeal. No.3486 was no celebrity repaint, nor was it cared for, or formed part of the 'specials' on that fateful last day in 2005, but just a humble commuter train, built for purpose, that quietly served a long busy life on the railway, and scrapped along with so many of its other forgotten colleagues.

On the iPod:Marina and the Diamonds - Fear and Loathing



Wednesday 11th April 2012

My guilty pleasure! Cher Lloyd - Sticks & Stones Tour

I'm about to see any last vestige of credibility disappear through the floor with this post!

Perhaps it is easier if I come out and admit it now - I'm a massive Cher Lloyd fan. You know, her off X Factor. You might know her as the annoying chavvy one with a trademark 'snarl' who came fourth, but for me, wow, just beyond words!

I went along to her tour at Bournemouth, and amongst a sea of young children and families, enjoyed one of the best gigs in a long time - despite criticism of her personality, she really can sing live along with the best of them!

I thought I'd post a selection of my best images - no mean feat considering gig photography these days mainly consists of trying to point your camera through a wall of iPhone displays and video cameras to get an uninterrupted view!

Known for the clever marketing ploy that was the chavtastic debut single 'Swagger Jagger' which interestingly reached No#1 in the UK the week of the London riots last year, I would imagine that those of you who actually have heard of her, probably hate her, but for that tiny minority that appreciate the very fine view - please enjoy the photos!

On the iPod:Cher Lloyd - Talkin' That




Sunday 29th January 2012

Time for TEA

I've been working on weathering another 'TEA' tanker wagon to represent a real life example, this time BP's wagon No. BPO87669 in shabby unbranded grey livery.

Like the previous one I'd modelled this too has very noticeable rusty weld lines breaking up the plain grey livery. On the real thing, the 'grey' livery itself has been heavily stained by dirt and rust streaking brought down from the metal walkway on the roof, with patches of light grey visible where someone has tried to clean certain patches!

The wagon started life as a grey BP-liveried Bachmann model, and had the original livery rubbed down, with varying shades of light grey applied over the rough wagon sides, and then Humbrol No.186 and No.63 used for the rusty shades and a good dollop of No.32 grey for the light spillages!

The real thing also has square patches on the left hand ends, presumably where BP logos once existed. The Hazchem panels were moved onto the flat side boards on the chassis, leaving the scar of the old one on the tank barrel. Underframe weathering on the model was achieved by laying out many different shades of whites, greys, browns and blacks in a foil dish and 'mottling' on with a paintbrush until it looked alright!

So, there we go, another dirty wagon added to the rake of tankers!

On the iPod:Florence + the Machine - No Light, No Light


Monday 16th January 2012

Happy New Year!

Here we are in 2012 and with Christmas a distant memory, time to get back into normality!

Over the festive period I built a new test track for stock, since dismantling my original 1998 Cornish layout, I've not had anywhere to test brand new goodies, and with a Hornby 4-VEP under the Christmas Tree, I decided something needed to be done!

Moreover, it was the reason that so many of the Hornby 4-VEPs have had running 'issues' that I needed to test mine out to ensure it wasn't dodgy!! Pleased to report that it's an absolute stunner.

I'm impressed by the internal carriage lighting and although it is in the highly attractive Network SouthEast livery, it won't be staying like that for long!

Going down the nostalgia path, this unit will shortly be transformed into the disgusting Connex South Central livery, just like how I remember them from my younger years! I really liked the weathering in the final years, once debranded to simply 'South Central', and the livery of white turned a yellow shade, whilst the yellow faded to a white!

There's plenty of other projects in the pipeline for 2012, including weathering more TEA tankers, finishing my scratchbuilt Ford Focus ST, finishing the Boeing 747, and starting a '737', an Airbus A319 and an A340, busy busy!

On My Mp3:Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)




Saturday 10th December 2011

I've not had a chance to do a lot of modelling lately, but thought I'd take the opportunity to put up some better photographs of the Electrostar project. On the railway modelling forums there's much talk about the imminent Hornby 2012 release programme. I've just got to hope that the Class 377 Electrostar is NOT on the listings or it's two years work down the drain!

I'll keep on trying to get some modelling done and hopefully the Christmas holidays will see some action on the Workbench, inbetween the inevitable leftover turkey and Toblerones..!

On My Mp3:Marina & The Diamonds (AKA Electra Heart) - Fear And Loathing



Monday 14th November 2011

I've got further with the Boeing 747-400 (B744) kit since the last update, and have to admit I'm really enjoying it!

A great break from modelling the usual railways, and with this kit being 1:144, I'm almost modelling N Gauge! I've been trawling the many airliner modelling forums, discovering a whole new world out there, and already I've caught the 'superdetailing' bug! The plane will be weathered, too!

The Revell kit is pretty bad when you come to put it together, needing huge amounts of filler to disguise the joins in the fuselage; it's only when you tackle a cheap mass-market kit such as this, you realise how spoilt we are in railway modelling with such good kits from the likes of Parkside Dundas, C-Rail, Bratchell Models and so on!

Having taken more time to view the prototype lately, I've decided I'll have a stab at scratchbuilding some new running gear, maybe with moving wheels and rubber tyres if I can find any - one of the great things about this new hobby is that there appears to be dozens of cottage industries out there with just the right products.

In airliner modelling forums there seems to be big discussion on how each person does their windows, some glaze them and others fill them and use little black transfers to represent the holes. I'm glutton for punishment so am going to attempt glazing each one using Kristal Klear liquid glazing, should be 'interesting' as to how this one turns out!!

On My Mp3:Cher Lloyd - With Ur Love



Sunday 2nd October 2011

Modelling reaches new heights

And now for something completely different!

As much as I love cars and trains, aeroplanes are probably the coolest bits of machinery around today, and it wasn't until I went on another holiday recently, this time New York, that I remembered just how impressive these beasties are! You know how inspiration just randomly strikes..!

I'm by no means some aeroplane enthusiast but you can't help but respect the engineering involved, the power at take off is phenomenal and makes you wonder why we get excited about 300bhp cars and 3,000hp locomotives compared to this!

I made a few aeroplane kits when I was about 10 years old, and nothing since getting into railways. I've still got an old Boeing 767 that I tried to complete in just one day, paint and glue everywhere, what a mess!!

With another 15 years modelling experience gained since those days, I've opted for a second try and thought I'd jump in at the deep end with a 1:144-scale Boeing 747-400! The kit is huge, and I'd like to put it into the latest British Airways colours if I can get the transfers right. I'm really excited with this fresh start and it'll be interesting to see what techniques I can learn to put back into railway modelling!


On My Mp3:Ladytron - Altitude Blues



Sunday 18th September 2011

Weekend Working

Things at work are really hectic right now, and this weekend I was supposed to be doing two full day's overtime. However a major computer system failure meant work was cancelled and I suddenly had some unexpected free time to play with...

I dug out a Bachmann TEA wagon that gets used on Loftus Road, and decided to give it a good 'treatment'!

Based on a prototype photograph, this is now TEA no. BPO87469 in the long-defunct British Petroleum grey/yellow/green stripe livery. The vehicle was particularly inspirational, carrying the ancient, faded livery with beautiful weathering, perfect for standing out in my train of uniform-green BP tankers.

To match the prototype, a good starting point was getting rid of the horrendous green and yellow stripes. What were those 1970's BP livery designers thinking?!

Pieces of emery board were used to gently damage the model, roughing up the perfect smooth Bachmann finish, and taking the top layer of shine from the stripe decals. On the prototype, parts of the stripe had faded and disappeared, and large flakes of paint had simply fallen off!

Next job was the fade of the main grey - layers of Humbrol No.1 grey and 34 Matt White were completely painted over the entire vehicle, and then vertically removed using kitchen towel, and cotton buds. This flattens the finish and you are left with streaking and build ups of lighter greys in the hard-to-reach parts of the vehicle. Patch painting of key areas followed as per prototype, using lighter shades of grey to represent the exposed undercoat.

One of the most notable things about BPO87469 was the visible tank weld lines in the body, having long since rusted through the top coats of livery. In model form, the pinstripes were painted with a splosh of Humbrol No.186 Brown (officially the most useful colour in the range!) and left to dry.

On the TEA tankers, rust can take hold around the roof walkways, and the capillary action of rain water drives the rust streaks vertically down the sides, along with dirt and any fuel deposits from around the roof filler points. This was recreated with full-body applications of more No.186 and No.62 Matt Leather, before being partially wiped off with kitchen towel. The intensity of the rust streaking depends on how much paint you remove with the towel.

The next part was working from the bottom up, on the underframe. I use an old foil dish with many different shades of browns, greys and blacks laid out, and using a paintbrush just play around 'mottling' on a combination of wet paint on the underframe until it looked right. The different shades run into each other for a unique effect. A bit less messy than using an airbrush...!

There we have it! It's only the second tank wagon that I've modelled and I took a lot of inspiration from the techniques by Martyn Welch's amazing 'Art of Weathering' and put them into practice. I've got a fair few more tankers to weather at some stage, but for now, this has been an unexpectedly rewarding 'quickie' project to do instead of working overtime!

On My Mp3:The Offspring - Gone Away



Sunday 4th September 2011

The Electrostar is officially complete!

After two years of working on and off at what seemed a daunting project; scratchbuilding a Southern Class 377/2 'Electrostar' - I am pleased to say it is finally finished!

Built from redundant Bachmann Turbostar parts, with scratchbuilt cab ends, underframe equipment and pantograph wells, this 'Electrostar' unit has had it's bodywork chopped and sliced numerous times to bring the unit to scale length - the full set stands at over ten inches shorter than the original Turbostar formation.

Numbered as 377207, the prototype is a dual-voltage EMU working for Southern, and this model was built for use on Worthing MRC's Loftus Road layout, representing the Brighton - Watford Junction/Rugby/Milton Keynes services. These terrific units are similar to the standard third-rail '377's with the addition of much equipment for use under AC overhead power lines.

Readers familiar with the project will notice new touches such as a full complement of underframe equipment and the custom decals applied to set off the unit.

Dellner couplers were pinched from a Virgin Voyager and a fun finishing touch is the 'Loftus Road' destination panels!

As construction has been ongoing for nearly two years, I'll provide a recap on the main action further down the page.

Humble Beginnings - Construction Timeline

I've always been impressed by the Southern Electrostars, I first saw them on our local railway through Worthing during type testing in December 2002. There and then, I thought "I've got to model that" - little did I know it would be a good 9 years before finally making that dream a reality.

When Worthing MRC's Loftus Road came along in 2005, I finally had an excuse to model one of these lovely units, and it had to be one of the batch of 15 dual-voltage units for the West London Line layout.

After a hefty gestation period, the project started in January 2009. This website page documents the entire project, just scroll up from the bottom. To summarise, the cabs were built by myself from plastic sheets using drawings from the Bombardier website, along with a few gigabytes of photographs and a knowing eye!

With a massive amount of cock-ups, sanding and filing, the cab started to look a bit like the real thing, and as I needed to produce multiples of the cab, I decided to resin cast the parts to allow easy duplication.

It may have been easy duplication, but it certainly wasn't stress-free!

A large quantity of resin and rubber moulding material was acquired online from WP Notcutt, and I soon had a big expensive package of dangerous chemicals to play with! It was good old-fashioned messy fun making the rubber moulds and casting the resin parts. It's particularly amazing just how much detail can be captured making a resin mould, it's not at all forgiving however, and your master has to be 100% perfect, or every slight mark or air bubble is caught and replicated - be careful!

With the resin messyness out of the way, I moved onto chopping up the Bachmann Turbostar bodies. The real Electrostars use the shorter 20m bodyshells so this means a window's length is removed from the middle of the Bachmann Turbostar vehicle, and more bits from each end. The cut'n'shut is straightforward but the tricky part is matching up the remaining parts for a smooth fit and making those joins invisible!

A disgustingly large quantity of filler was used to make sure that you cannot see the many joins in this vehicle...!

A shorter vehicle meant a shorter drive chassis unfortunately! The original cast-metal Bachmann chassis was ruthlessly chopped up and bolted back in the scale 20m length, with new short driveshafts made from spare plastic tubing. At the heart of this is a Lenz Gold decoder powering the unit for superb slow speed controllability on DCC, and the functionality is there for some impressive lighting to be retro-fitted when I get the urge!

Meanwhile, back on the body, the pantograph well was cut into the roof, and built from plastic parts:

Next up was bonding the various parts together, the sides, the ends, roof and bespoke inner ends (which were also resin cast) to form one unit. This was the most rewarding stage - finally there was an Electrostar appearing!

Oodles of plastic cement, Bostik and plastic filler were used to properly bond the parts and make the model look like something you'd buy from a RTR manufacturer. It's interesting how flexible resin parts are compared to plastic, and I kept patching up areas where the bendyness caused filler to crack apart.

Livery painting was a drawn out affair - like any project, the spraying was quick, but the masking takes 10 times longer! The Southern livery utilises many green circles which I painstakingly cut myself from a template. In hindsight, a big transfer is a far better method.

With paint fully applied, the unit was varnished - this layer fortunately hides a multitude of sins! It started to look ready for some of the custom transfers to be applied, meanwhile simultaneous developments on the chassis lead to the application of underframe equipment and a fully detailed interior.

This giant cut'n'shut project has been one of the most time consuming modelling tasks I have ever undertaken, with so many challenges along the way. Bad enough building an accurate new Electrostar cab from absolutely nothing, tacking it onto one of the most precise vehicle cutting jobs I've done, cutting metal to build a new central motor housing - and then painting it in one of the most complex liveries on the privatised network today. I'm just glad it's over!

But would I do it again? Watch this space! ;)

Before I go, I must plug my own club, Worthing MRC - we have a fantastic Exhibition going on this weekend - we've lined up a great selection of exhibits including many modern D&E treats, if you live anywhere in the South East please do try and pop by!

On My Mp3:Florence & The Machine - What The Water Gave Me



Thursday 25th August 2011

You've seen it here first!

I've done some weird modelling projects in my time. But this one is the best yet. For a cameo on Worthing MRC's Loftus Road, I'm currently converting a 'HO' scale baby into a teddy bear. Why?

The reasoning behind this is my new road accident memorial scene on Loftus Road, of course!

So many times you see this on the roads and we're all too scared to model Real Life, so it was about time! The teddy bear will be pinned up to the damaged fence, alongside my scratchbuilt flower bouquets at the side of the Loftus Road overbridge.

The bouquets are created from rolled up tin-foil, painted and covered in everyday kitchen cling film, while the remnants of Police tape are actually minty-fresh dental floss!

Final touches such as more cuddly animals, candles and messages are yet to be added, along with a bit of kerbside weathering, including skid marks and damage to the road surface, consistent with a high speed urban collision.

So, there we are! And what's the betting bouquets are now released by Bachmann Scenecraft next year then?!

On My Mp3:Nicola Roberts - Beat of My Drum



Sunday 3rd July 2011

Transfer Window

Custom transfers are the final part of the Electrostar jigsaw and I've done myself some Southern logos and numbers ready for the project, along with 'First Class' logos for the cab ends.

As usual, things don't always go to plan though! At the top-secret location where the transfers were printed, the wonderful laser printer ran low on toner by the second print, meaning one of my sheets didn't work out at all!

Fortunately all is well and you can check out the kick-ass Southern electronic destination panels below - I did these on Photoshop using a 'Dot Matrix' font ripped off a file sharing website, which do the job fairly well. However, judging by the way the hobby is developing, I wouldn't be surprised if we had real miniature scrolling LED displays on models in future!

The interior is all finished and gaining a small, elect clientele of passengers, mainly for the reason I am using cheap unpainted Preiser figures and I can't stand painting people!

Eagle-eyed readers will notice I've painted the First Class section in the Class 377 - First Class is excellent in Southern, the main benefit is you get to sit in exactly the same seat as Standard, except with a greasy little white 'antimacassar' on the headrest - but you can show the world you've managed to wangle a first class ticket from your business expenses!

Last but not least there is a little progress weathering the air vents on the sides of the vehicles - you can see the before and after above, the left carriage has been treated with a mid-brown, whereas the right is yet to be done. They took a while to install on the model and very prominent on the real thing so I hope I'm now doing them justice!

On My Mp3:M.I.A - Paper Planes



Sunday 26th June 2011

Interior Design

Further to last week's photos, here is an update showing the interior going into the Electrostar. Due to the vehicles being a fair bit shorter than the Bachmann Class 170 donors, I've done a fair bit of chopping around to make sure everyone has a seat!

Details such as the flooring, tables and seat-backs have since been picked out in the appropriate colours, and a few people added. I took care not to give in to temptation and model a packed train, on the Loftus Road layout this dual-voltage 377/2, will be working the Brighton - Watford Junction/Milton Keynes services. In all the times I've travelled this route, the train empties-out north of Clapham Junction!

Attention has now moved onto the underframe, and painting all the resin-cast electrical gubbins! I've tried painting each piece of equipment in the original ex-works factory colour, ready for a good coat of weathering to achieve that strange mix of shades that you get when looking at an Electrostar underframe!

On My Mp3:Electric Six - Gay Bar



Saturday 18th June 2011


I'm still here folks, just about!

Haven't really found a great deal of time to update the website but have definitely been modelling a fair bit in the past 6 months! Wells Green TMD has been out and about to a couple of shows lately but I've decided to take a break from exhibiting for a while...I rarely get a 'free' weekend where I can justify whisking myself away to a school hall playing trains with mates and admiring the MILFs as you go..but hey! More worryingly, the layout is starting to age, notably suffering from wear and tear to the electrics, maybe a full rewire in a few years time hmm!

I've got a new layout waiting in the wings but it's a fair while before it will be ready, it's going well so far, will be more detailed than ever before and I promise some of the concepts and scenes will be even more shocking than Wells Green all those years ago!

My day-to-day modelling seems to be the never-ending Electrostar project. Fortunately I can see light at the end of that tunnel - I've just worked up a set of Southern transfers and completing the resin moulds for the underframe equipment, and test fitting it to the first driving car.

I hate modelling underframe equipment so resin casting seemed the natural choice - chopping up anonymous bits of plastic to represent anonymous 'boxes' is so boring, it's even worse than listening to a Leona Lewis album. However, I'm through it now and having got stuck in with the rubbers and got the usual resin under the fingernails, have a neat set of castings stuck underneath my Electrostar!

So now it's just time to paint the little boxes, slap on the transfers, dollop of weathering and the Electrostar lives! This should even be taking a trip over the water as Worthing MRC's Loftus Road has been invited to the Isle of Wight show in November this year, should be interesting!

On My Mp3:Lady Gaga - Black Jesus † Amen Fashion



Thursday 27th January 2011

Ooops, I did it again!

Happy new year everybody!

I've got bored of modelling railways for now, so I've turned my attention to modelling something a bit more exciting!

Long-term readers of this website may remember I scratchbuilt a model of my blue 2005 Ford Focus Zetec Climate, a few years back. For some years this 'HO' scale model sat pride of place on Wells Green TMD...however times change and having splashed out on my baby, an orange Ford Focus ST a year ago, I felt the need to replicate the Ford 'ASBO' in miniature!

Left to right: Minichamps 1:43 Focus, Welly Models 1:64 Focus ST, my 2007 Focus ST & my 2005 Focus Zetec

As you can see, it's very much work in progress, I've only spent around three hours on the plastic model you see below, as before, I started by constructing a rough box shape and then filed it down to match the Ford Focus body profile. I'm armed with a full set of catalogues for dimensions and no less than two real Focuses sat on the drive to measure from!

Unlike my previous blue 1:87 scale Focus model however, the mini-ST is being built to dead-on 'OO' scale, 1:76 exactly, it should be much more accurate than before and more importantly I'm going to resin cast this for multiples - the plan is I am loading up my rake of eight Bachmann 'IPA' Car carrier wagons for use on Loftus Road.

I'm initially producing both the three and five door variants of the ST and finish them in the varying Ford colours to produce an eye-catching trainload of brand new Fords - I may even attempt to remove the ST bodykit and spoilers for another attempt at modelling my '55' Aquarius Blue Focus too!!

For anybody who missed it..here is the prototype!

Just over a year after purchase, I'm still loving it, every journey is an event and I (naively) never anticipated the attention that an orange car receives when driving anywhere, and the engine noise - any gear, any rev, the deep throaty growl is immensely addictive - truly a five-cylinder-hi-fi!

The car's travelled a fair bit and the only downside is the 20MPG and accompanying fuel bills, I do a fair mileage for commuting and pleasure, but worked out if I take this car to 100,000 miles it would cost more than the car's new purchase price!

However as much as I love cleaning and polishing the car, my 'railway modeller' side creeps out now and then and phwooaar look at the weathering job on this beast haha!!

Anyway, when I get back into the swing of railway modelling again I'll get back into finishing the Class 377 Electrostar project but for now this little thing is acting as a good stopgap until my railway mojo returns!

On My Mp3:Cher Lloyd - Stay

(Just wow!) ;p



Wednesday 17th November 2010

Electrostar takes to the rails!

Here it is! After several months waiting, the fully-painted Southern Class 377 Electrostar has finally taken to the rails of Worthing MRC's Loftus Road layout, the unit has received the beautiful shades of Southern green in what was possibly the most complicated liveries I've yet attempted!

There's still much to be done, the pantograph and underframe components need to be added, along with extra cab detail, custom-made logos & transfers and a final coat of weathering.

One of the most challenging tasks was trying glazing and painting the fine black outlines around the cab headlights, each headlight requiring a precise lens to be cut out from clear plastic, glued in place with Krystal Clear. As the painting stage was so difficult, I'm looking into producing large panels of Southern livery as transfers, complete with the circles pre-printed, which would save a massive amount of time and effort masking!

The Electrostar model was being run on Loftus Road, which has reached a very developed stage now with just small detailing jobs to be completed on the layout, the Silverlink-themed purple and lime green colour scheme can be seen above to extend not only from the rolling stock but onto the layout fascia and even our club uniforms!

One of the stalwart Wells Green Class 92s - 92028 Saint Saens has found a new calling, on the London based layout. Normally used to trundling light engine down a 5' plank, this loco has never seen such a hard life working even the heaviest of trains for a whole weekend. The locomotive has seen its innards replaced with a Heljan Class 47 mechanism which appears to be holding up very well with the more demanding role!

Above you can see this fine Boris Bendybus creation lovingly details and modified by Martin Browning, along with the smooth addition of custom Loftus Road destination panels!

So, there you have it! This was just a brief update as the model is far from finished but I will revisit the Electrostar EMU on this website when the finishing touches have been added, and complete a proper write-up on all the changes required from the very humble beginnings of the Bachmann diesel Turbostar, lumps of plastic and a big dollop of glue!

On My Mp3:Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand



Monday 27th September 2010

Going round in circles!

Just a quick update to say I'm still alive!!

Things are still progressing on the 'Electrostar' project - I've not shown any pictures of it lately as I'd like to save it and instead just show the finished article but I've just completed the painting stage.

Masking and painting Southern livery has to be one of the worst, most time consuming, boring and complicated modelling projects I've done ever! Rulers and compasses at the ready - masking those lovely Southern circles, drawing out the stupid little things on bits of masking tape, then cutting them out, fingers crossed the knife doesn't slip and hoping for the best!

I'm sure the marketing guys at Southern thought it would be amazing to have a train covered with pretty light green and dark green circles and superbly curvy yellow warning panels, I'd love to meet them to let them know how much of my life I've lost trying to model that livery!

Eight coats of paint, four rolls of masking tape, loss of sanity, biscuits, and a huge stack of CDs later, and I now have four plastic lumps that resemble Southern livery...finally!

When (if?) I finish tidying up the bodies I will post some nice photos!

On My Mp3:Katy Perry - Circle The Drain


Friday 6th August 2010

Pulling Machine

Following on from the previous update about the Electrostar, the chassis of the powered vehicle needed shortening from the donor Bachmann 'Turbostar' chassis to the more correct scale 20m as found in the Electrostar.

Although an elderly item, Bachmann's multiple unit Class 158/170 power unit runs superbly - even better than many new RTR locomotives, much of this is due to the weighty brick nature of the metal chassis, and this presented a problem when it came to considering as to how I was to power my short Electrostar EMU vehicle. In past remotoring projects on my Hornby AC electric locomotives I've simply added the central can motors onto plastic chassis as it is very easy to do and requires minimal modification to the chassis.

However, with this EMU, I felt for good running, it was essential to retain as the heavy metal chassis to pull the 4-car unit sufficiently, and therefore decided to chop the existing Bachmann chassis into several pieces and stick it back together again!

Approximately an inch or so was removed from the centre of the chassis, and then the ends trimmed off as you can see in the photographs. With the metal being too large to solder back together, I decided to opt for a simple but effective joining solution, bolting the remaining bits back together with a few leftover nuts and bolts found nearby!

With the chassis now shrunk, I then had to refit the central can motor and shorten the driveshafts that connect the motor with the bogie gear towers. The driveshafts now measure around 54mm, the original Bachmann ones were cut in two and glued into large pieces of plastic tubing to get the correct length. All that remained was to test out the unit, wire in a DCC decoder and its ready to go!

On My Mp3:Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed



Thursday 22nd July 2010

The journey continues...

It's been a long time since I got round to doing any updates on the website so apologies folks - so many other things in life are taking time away from actually doing any modelling, let alone writing about it too!

The long-term Electrostar project is getting closer however, as you can see above the bodies for one entire unit have been complete, together with three unpowered chassis units - hopefully in the not-too-distant (!) future these will be painted up in full Southern livery as the first unit of three; no. 377207. This will probably be the most straightforward part of the whole project, although I'm starting to fret about how I will make masking templates for the dozens of large green circles that adorn the ends of each vehicle in the unit!

You'll have noticed that the lowest vehicle in the unit has no chassis yet, this being the slightly more complex powered vehicle! The plan is to chop the metal Bachmann '170' chassis into three bits, and then attach the remaining together, lopping off about an inch from the overall length!

When that is all done, I then plan to move onto modelling the various underframe boxes, and then resin casting these to save boredom on modelling multiples. Other than that the unit just requires painting, lighting and glazing...sounds dangerously straightforward from here on?!

On My Mp3:Marina & the Diamonds - Oh No!



Wednesday 26th May 2010

Play Time!

Last weekend Wells Green TMD attended the Burgess Hill MRC exhibition, a nice one day show and not too far from home either!

There's something about one day exhibitions, not so great if you've got a monster of a layout to set up but for something like my layout, its fun just to pitch up on a Saturday morning, play trains, pack up and then have a nice Sunday to relax afterwards!

I think the layout was a bit bigger than the organisers had expected, there was a momentary 'head scratching' moment when I explained it was in fact 8ft long...after a bit of reorganisation the layout was put up amidst the alluring smell of early morning bacon rolls!

Helpers for the day were fellow Worthing MRC members Mark Butcher and Pete Hollman who brought along a really nice selection of new stock to play with, above you can see Pete's new pride and joy; the Kernow Ltd edition 66623 in Bardon Aggregates blue livery - a real smart stunner!

Mark Butcher brought along a few unusual goodies, notably the Union Jack BR Blue Bachmann class 47 above, and this 1980s Cornish gem 37207 William Cookworthy in the Cornish Railways version of BR Blue, nicely weathered up by Mark!

Going forward in time, Mark supplied his sound-fitted Waterman Class 20 duo consisting of 20042 and 20188. I once owned these locos, having bought them from the Bachmann Collectors Club and pugged them away as investment for several years before flogging them on to Mark who ensured that these locos fulfil their full potential, not rotting away as collectors pieces in dusty boxes!!

A Hornby factory fitted sound '60' also appeared on the layout courtesy of Pete, whilst the Model Rail Ltd edition WCRC 37248 Loch Arkaig brought Wells Green bang up to date!

Between shamelessly playing trains we managed to do some good bargain hunting from nearby trader Martells - anyone who has recently visited shows in the South East may be familiar with some of the great deals they now offer on RTR stock, Mark picked up some Bachmann sound Class 25s whilst I hoovered up Bachmann Class 150/2 'Sprinters' in both Regional Railways and Arriva liveries, along with some bargain-basement priced new Hornby FGW blue power cars for my future project!

You can't beat a good 'Crompton' and Mark's BR Green D6508 Eastleigh looked particularly smart with the snowploughs fitted too!

One of my particular favourites was the new Bachmann Ltd edition 47975 The Institution of Civil Engineers in BR Dutch colours - such a smart little model and the long nameplates add to the impressive look of the model, meanwhile I couldn't resist a shot of 57011 in the new DRS 'Compass' livery stabled in the fueling road!

All in all the show was a good fun day out, the many visiting locomotives added to the enjoyment, everyone likes running their own stock and it produces some great unusual photographs too! As usual a big thanks goes to all the show organisers and most importantly Mark and Pete for coming along to help out and providing a fabulous selection of toys to play with!!

On My Mp3:Second Time Lucky - Drink, Sleep, Repeat


Sunday 25th April 2010

All's well and good!

The weather wasn't quite so nice today so I found time to have a further play with the Electrostar! The latest development is the pantograph well that can be found on mounted on one end of the PTSO coach. On the prototype, this is a fairly straightforward recess in the roof profile, however there are a few complicated shapes to model towards the end of the vehicle, just to make it more difficult if you wanted to model it!

All of the Adtranz/Bombardier Electrostar fleet were built with these recesses regardless of whether they had the actual pantographs fitted, the large majority of the fleet are just DC only and have blanking plates fitted over the holes where the pantographs and associated insulators would be attached to the vehicle, so plenty of detail to be added even if you're just modelling a third rail version!

I started off by chopping a hole into the roof and gradually filing it out to the right sort of dimensions, and then added many strips of plasticard until it started to look like the below image:

Having done this one, it will be used as the basis for another resin casting, this will hopefully further speed up production of the two other units planned and save ages spent fiddling with little lumps of plastic whilst getting high on cyanoacrylate fumes!

Finally the last task on that section of roof was to join together the separate parts, the Electrostars only use a 20m bodyshell compared to the longer ones that the Bachmann Turbostar donor vehicles are based on, I find it easiest to chop the roof sections into four sections, remove pieces and then re-glue with lots of plastic strengthening ribs as seen in the photographs above. I've started adding some big 'U'-shaped channel as reinforcement after one of roof sections broke in half recently!!

On My Mp3:Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip - I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper



Sunday 18th April 2010

I've recently been knocking up a few little station signs for Worthing MRC's Loftus Road layout, roughly based on Kensington Olympia station on the West London Line.

The club layout is progressing rapidly and after many years of baseboard building, tracklaying, wiring, ballasting and constructing buildings, the layout has reached the fun point where fine details can be added! The Silverlink branded signs were made up in Photoshop using real life photographs of some old Silverlink signage with the 'swoosh' on it, these were digitally tweaked and overlaid with new text and miniature London Underground logos added too. These were then printed out on a bit of photo paper, a garnished with some cocktail sticks and dollop of glue to complete!

I've done quite a few TOC-branded station signs for various layouts over the years, notably Intercity and First Great Western ones for my original layout Goonhilly Parkway and some Network SouthEast ones for an old club layout, but these Loftus Road ones are my favourites by far!

Meanwhile, I haven't got much further with the Electrostar project...the nice weather putting paid to that! However I've completed another set of sides recently, the photo below shows a TSO coach primed up and ready for rubbing down to remove all evidence of the cut'n'shut job!

Bye for now!

On My Mp3:Alphabeat - Hole In My Heart



Sunday 7th March 2010

Electrostar - Progress Update

The 'Electrostar' project is still gathering pace - despite appearances, it is getting closer to completion!

Delays are primarily being caused by issues with resin casting. The Bombardier EMUs have several major differences to the Bachmann 'Turbostar' vehicles on which the project is based, most notably the 20m bodyshells, but there are also sets of grilles and other details which make the production of a single vehicle side from a Turbostar a lengthy process. I'd planned to resin cast complete vehicle sides to save time but sadly (and despite much trying!) I just wasn't satisfied with the complete resin sides I was producing, so I'm having to resort to kit-bashing each and every 'Electrostar' vehicle from a Bachmann 'Turbostar' one, all by hand!

This is taking an absolute age to do, especially as I'm building 3 units, so this means 12 vehicles, 12 roofs, 24 sides, 128 plastic joints, nearly 600 strips of mini plastic for reinforcement...it is an absolute labour of love...!

Most of it is soul destroying, mind numbing stuff, but I cut up my first Central Trains unit today and where the bodyside cuts were made, I ended up creating a new web address. This is about as fun as it gets...I even hoped I might inadvertently spell out a rude word but no such luck!

Back to the drudgery of cutting and shutting...

On My Mp3:Alexandra Burke - Broken Heels



Monday 1st March 2010

It's been a while since the last proper update - which I do apologise for, many other activities have been put ahead of modelling, not even accounting for the time spent enjoying the giant tangerine featured previously!

Lately I've noticed that I have not really had the passion or urge to pick up the modelling tools and do something constructive, so to make up for this, I present a bumper update of layout photographs taken at the Watford Finescale show last weekend.

Watford saw the first proper usage of the four new remotored Class 90s that entered service late last year, 90002, 90009, 90030 & 90031 - the initial teething troubles are now sorted and they are good runners now!

Here's we can see 90009 The Economist receiving a wash adjacent to EWS's 90031 The Railway Children Partnership stabled in the reception road.

Work-stained 90022 Freightconnection and Virgin CrossCountry's 86231 Starlight Express await servicing on Wells Green TMD.

As is customary at an exhibition, operators are encouraged to bring along unusual items of rolling stock, this time Peter Denton brought along his Hornby DCC Sound 46249 'City of Sheffield' 4-6-2 for a visit to the depot, the steam sound was great fun to play with!

I am convinced that some anti-D&E people came over to look at the layout simply because this was running, and then went away after it returned to the fiddle yard!! Maybe I need to keep a token steam loco chuffing away on the front just to boost viewing figures hehe!

One of the other new locos, the appropriately-named 90030 Crewe Locomotive Works spends some time parked outside the maintenance shed alongside EWS's refurbished Class 47/7 No. 47767 Mappa Mundi.

Crewe & Nantwich's refuse collectors go about their daily work outside some of the scummy buildings found beyond the boundaries of the depot, meanwhile below, it could almost be the mid 1990's with some very retro Triple grey's on show!

The Virgin fleet is growing - currently Wells Green TMD receives visits by both the Virgin West Coast and Cross Country locomotive fleet, 90009 and 86231 can be seen stabled awaiting attention. In due course the fleet is set to be bolstered by some of the long-awaited new Heljan Class 86s, immediately following this is some very cunning plans for Class 87s too!

90040 The Railway Mission is possibly one of my favourite members of the '90' fleet - I just love the unusual nameplate positioning!

A close up shot of Class 47 no. 47767 Mappa Mundi on the fuelling point. The ageing fleet of Vauxhalls that adorn the foreground may be replaced with something more friendly in the form a few nice Fords and the odd 'ASBO' Focus ST in due course!

I have a few more exhibitions booked for the 2010 season, please keep an eye on the Exhibitions page for the latest updates; unfortunately I've had to pull out of a show at Basingstoke on 13/14 March due to other commitments, despite advance warning however some of the railway magazines are advertising the layout as appearing so thought I'd better clear up the matter once and for all!

Once I get the urge to start modelling again (the feeling comes and goes!) I hope to show some more progress on the old 'Electrostar' project - problems with the resin casting process has meant things are taking far longer than planned but it is getting there!!

On My Mp3:Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love



Tuesday 12th January 2010

I've been Tango'd!

I've finally bought my dream - this is my new baby! After several years driving and saving, I've finally taken the plunge and bought something I'd always longed for - a 2007 '57' Ford Focus ST-2, finished in the gorgeous Electric Orange!

The Ford 'ASBO', as nicknamed by Jeremy Clarkson, is just about as 'in yer face', lairy and Chav-tastic as cars get but there is just something about it that has led it to being my ultimate 'pin up' in terms of vehicles - the fantastic combination of the familiar great-handling Ford Focus mixed with the allure of a 2.5 litre turbo-charged Volvo engine knocking out 225BHP was too much to resist!

Ford sell the ST in a number of colours but of course there was only ever going to be one possible choice - however I have a lot of respect for anyone who had the courage to order a Focus ST in a colour other than the amazing orange!

I'd actually been shopping around for my ASBO for a long time now - I was very picky regarding the specification, it had to be a five-door (so as to transport Wells Green TMD and other people in comfort!) and my favourite example was the ST-2 package offered by Ford, didn't fancy the higher-spec ST-3 as I hate leather seats!

Having viewed several awful stone-chipped and dodgy ones, I was overjoyed to find this mint condition example from Evans Halshaw in Cardiff, combining a good price with incredibly low mileage and perfect paintwork - the deal was done quicker than you can say "Chav"!

The drive back from South Wales to West Sussex was insane, when worked hard, the throaty engine noise is so addictive - though the car's getting a few strange looks round town, drinks like Amy Winehouse, and unlike my last Focus I can't exactly leave it parked on double yellow lines hoping no one will notice...on the plus side, I should be able to get to model railway exhibitions in double quick time!!

On My Mp3:Banned of St. Trinian's- Up And Away



Saturday 28th November 2009

The 2009 Tour draws to a close...Taking Stock

Here it is..! The long-overdue show report from the superb High Wycombe "Wycrail" show held on November 7th. It was a fantastic day out (as most exhibitions normally are), but there was something special about this one, from start to finish it was genuinely enjoyable, we were greeted by a number of friendly organisers from the Wycombe club and enjoyed some of the scrummyest bacon rolls I've had in a long time!

Always a good start to a show! The venue was an average school, the one-day show itself was a good medium size affair but I was shocked by just how busy it was, literally just as packed as some of the biggest exhibitions I've been to.

It was as busy as this for nearly the whole day - almost as busy in front of the layout as the Model Rail Scotland show in 2006!

As usual with a show, it's always nice to have a few new goodies to play with, and as well as the Virgin Class 90 duo mentioned in the previous post, a few old friends in the form of remotored EWS Class 90s made a welcome reappearance on the layout too.

EWS-liveried 90030 Crewe Locomotive Works and 90031 The Railway Children Partnership turned their Heljan motors under DCC power for the first time at the High Wycombe show, the locos having previously been repainted & detailed up for the 2005 exhibition debut of Wells Green TMD. Due to the original poor running qualities of their Hornby 'Ringfields' the locos were sidelined for over 4 years until being dug out and hastily remotored during October 2009, and the rest is history!

As time goes by, the fiddle yard is becoming more and more overcrowded! I shocked myself a while back counting that I had 40+ super-detailed diesel & electric locomotives for a 5ft depot layout - certainly what I dreamt of all those years ago but at the same time I'm feeling guilty that they are not really earning their keep!

Fortunately there is a new project waiting in the wings to replace Wells Green TMD, emerging in late 2010 - bigger, better and more shocking - watch this space!

Exhibitions offer great opportunities to take some lovely pictures of the stock in action, and High Wycombe was no different, here we can see 60028 John Flamsteed and 47831 Bolton Wanderer on the fuelling point, whilst below an array of AC electrics await attention, including 86228 Vulcan Heritage, 86231 Starlight Express and 92035 Mendelssohn. Much as I'm worrying about having too much stock, I just know as soon as the Heljan '86' arrives, the Wells Green 'Can' fleet will inevitably increase..!

So, to round off, a truly amazing show (I really mean that), a big thank you to fellow Worthing MRC member Dave Kent who kindly helped out operate at short notice, thanks everyone who came along and took time to stop by the layout, ask questions and have a chat and finally a huge thanks to High Wycombe and District MRS for putting on a top show!

On My Mp3:Lady Gaga - Bad Romance*

*Music's a very personal thing so I don't normally discuss it much on this page but this is well worth a listen! Love or hate Lady Gaga but this is going to be popular... It's funny we had to wait until November for the release of what is possibly THE best electro-pop song of 2009!



Thursday 22nd October 2009

West Coast Workhorses!

The latest duo of locomotives to join the Wells Green TMD fleet are a couple of former Virgin West Coast stalwarts, in the form of 90002 Mission:Impossible and 90009 The Economist. Both are based on the elderly Hornby model but given a thorough 'going over' in an attempt to bring them up to 21st Century standards with new centrally mounted can motors, full roof detailing and all the fiddly bits added around the ends!

These models have spent a long time in the pipeline - when the models were being planned, the prototypes were still ploughing up and down the WCML for Virgin! With the real things now transferred to 'One' and their successors, ironically the pair has gained an even more attractive livery, however I'll always have a soft spot for the former Virgin fleet, so the project had to go ahead as planned!

Internally, the locos have been remotored using my traditional 'bodge' style - more details about this can be found in the archive OMWB pages from early 2006, but basically this involves replacing the Hornby 'Ringfield' motor bogie with a mechanism salvaged from a Heljan Hymek. Heljan gear towers are fitted inside the plastic Hornby bogies, the centre chassis is filled with liquid lead weight and the motor mounted on top, and hey presto, your 'Skoda' is now a great runner!

As mentioned on this page previously, the locomotives have seen considerable work on the roof, including full 3D 'triangle' roof vents, additional etched brass grilles replacing moulded plastic vents a number of other subtle details like the aerodynamically shaped parts which cover the transition from the back of the cab roof to the sides of the locomotives.

For the pantographs, these were left alone, although the Hornby metal versions are far from ideal they appeared the best compromise, some say the Hurst Models rendition of the Brecknell-Willis 'Highspeed' pantograph is the best, however I currently have 10 class 90s in the fleet - and I certainly don't fancy the task of building ten of their etched brass pantograph kits!

Having previously experimented with using both the underscale Lima class 92 pantograph and the Hornby plastic single arm 'Pan' neither were up for the job - let's hope that Heljan may come up with a useful and (more importantly), durable BW 'Highspeed' pantograph on their forthcoming Class 86!

I normally tend to fit screw couplings on my locos but these two 90s are fully-fledged passenger locomotives fitted with buckeye couplings, Kadee's seemed the natural choice, a raised, operational buckeye is fitted at one end, whilst the other has a dropped version, a plastic moulding stolen from some Bachmann BR Mk1 coaches!

As these are passenger locomotives, they required carriage-rubbing plates to be modelled, these were cut from small pieces of plasticard and attached to the front of the Hornby bufferbeams, although highly fiddly to create, they look reasonable all painted up! Roco produced some of the bufferbeam pipework, whilst some of the other cables were fabricated from offcuts of wire.

One of the main challenges with modelling a '90' is the full-depth bufferbeam valance, on these particular models I have utilised some resin cast valances produced for me by Jon Numan several years back - with a little bit of filing they are very effective and saved quite a bit of work fabricating the valances from plastic. The alternative would be to cut the Hornby valance moulding from the bogie, and then attach pieces of styrene to it, and then file this into shape, before attaching to the underside of the Hornby chassis moulding - quite a time consuming job.

A major part of the project was repainting the locomotives into Virgin livery - of course Hornby have produced RTR '90's in this livery but they are now expensive and hard to source, far easier to repaint a cheapy bodyshell!

One of the things I loved about this project is the subtle livery differences between 90002 Mission:Impossible compared to 90009 The Economist. 90002 was the first to receive the beautiful Virgin livery and has numbers on all corners of the body, along with differently positioned TOPS panels and Electrification warning flashes compared to some of the later-treated Class 90s.

Overall, I'm glad to see these two pretty Virgin locos all finished and ready to work on the layout, it's another one of those long outstanding projects brought to completion, after all these years of planning but never quite getting round to modelling them!

Of course, there are many more exciting things planned in due course - keep an eye out for here soon - but for now the main modelling focus can shift back to the Southern Class 377 'Electrostar' which rightfully deserves some attention!

On My Mp3:Girls Aloud - Some Kind Of Miracle



Sunday 20th September 2009

Show Report#2 - Worthing MRC 2009!

After much preparation by the Worthing MRC and its exhibition committee, the annual exhibition went ahead with great success and was a very fun weekend, with the classic mix of playing trains, gossiping with old friends and a good dose of retail therapy!

Wells Green TMD was invited along to strut its stuff, and performed surprisingly well considering it is the first time the layout has been to a show in nearly a year! Debuting over the weekend was this model of 56033 Shotton Paper Mill in triple-grey Transrail colours.

I realised that inadvertently this is a total surprise to website readers as somehow I've been working on the locomotive for about a year (on and off) but never actually posted any photographs on the internet!

The 'Grid' been sitting on the workbench for so long it almost became part of the furniture, having been purchased at the 2008 Worthing MRC show, with the aim of doing a quick repaint & detail job, however it has been dogged with numerous problems including dodgy batches of rail grey paint, cab lighting connection issues and the inability of the Transrail logos to actually stay on the locomotive!

But anyway, enough of the problems, the locomotive is here and here to stay! Fitted with a Howes sound decoder, the Hornby model has been detailed up to represent a real old timer - this is 56033 modelled as it was back in 1999, I'd first seen images of the locomotive in a Model Rail magazine of the time, and thought 'wow I've got to have that' - it's only taken a mere 10 years to get round to modelling it!

Alongside the new arrivals it was great to run a few old favourites - including some Heljan Class 47s, these are being trialled with some cheapy Bachmann and Hornby decoders, long-time readers may remember some of my hot & spicy decoder-blowing experiences with this type of locomotive so it's not the end of the world if something untoward happens!

Having been 'on the circuit' for 4 years with Wells Green TMD, I've exhibited at a fair few schools and colleges across the country, but what was special about this year's Worthing MRC show was that it was held at the new venue of Durrington High School, Worthing. There's nothing unusual about this alone (though it has Billy Idol amongst its former pupils!), but for the fact it was my old school!

It was a very strange sensation erecting the layout outside my old mathematics class - when I left in 2002 I never, ever imagined I'd be back doing that!

One of the most exciting parts of the Worthing exhibition was the chance to see Paul Wade's Tonbridge West Yard in action, this being the penultimate show before the layout is retired from the exhibition circuit! It's been several years since I first suggested that the club invite Paul's lovely layout to our show so it was fantastic to book it just in time.

With a superb selection of 1990s engineering wagonry and Network SouthEast EMUs of all varieties, Tonbridge West Yard really has something for everyone, I'm sure most people are aware of what a groundbreaking layout this really is - and to refresh memories there will be a well-deserved feature in Rail Express magazine shortly to celebrate 20 years on the exhibition circuit.

In the above photograph you can see the photoshoot underway, with the customary REX lighting gantry and some fancy cameras on display!

One of the funniest moments was seeing REX Editor Philip Sutton taking photos of the trains quickly and efficiently for the magazine feature, yet when it came to taking a picture of Paul Wade posing with the layout, it took dozens of tries to get something just right, without all the distractions from Paul's crew!

Here we can see the very well-stocked fiddle yard of TWY with a veritable selection of goodies to be driven through the superb layout. Even more impressive was the selection of chocolates and drinks held behind the layout for the operators to binge on!!

Barrie Swann can be seen here with Tonbridge West Yard, the yard itself is packed full of engineering stock including 'Seacows' whilst a NSE 4-BEP passes on the mainline.

Another notable D&E era layout to be invited was George Woodcock's lovely Llwyd Town layout, this being one of my personal favourites of the many layout's that George has built over the years, it also took a while to get it to be invited at our show! It was well worth the wait, as George and crew put on a superb display of Welsh operations in this 1991-based terminus station layout.

No exhibition outing with Wells Green TMD would be complete without a few visiting locos!

This time, Worthing MRC member Matt Colburn donated a couple of treats, in the form of this rather nice Bachmann 66701 in GBRf livery...

...and his brand new purchase Bachmann 37672 in Transrail livery, swiftly out of the box and onto the tracks!

Recently I've been experimenting with using my cheapy portable Canon Ixus 70 camera for taking layout photos - this is more commonly utilised for drunken Facebook snaps and the lovely selection of music gig photos that have adorned this page previously - it's not as good as the Canon 350D that most of the layout photos are taken with, however one feature is its small size, meaning it can be placed at rail level (under the wires!) for some eye-level trainspotting photos!

With some experimentation you can see 86228 Vulcan Heritage stabled in the front road on Wells Green above, meanwhile below, I'm particularly please with this view of 90040 The Railway Mission and Loadhaul 60038 caught at the fuelling point. The trick to getting a clear, detailed picture seems to be balancing the camera on the layout, setting the count-down timer and then keeping everything still!

Besides taking photographs of the trains, I took time out to indulge in some shopping; the club had luckily invited traders Martells of Sutton to the show, they are known for their knock-down prices, offering RTR at almost cost price to very appreciative punters! I walked away from their stand considerably poorer than I intended to be, and arms laden down with several bags of modelling goodies including something I've wanted for ages - the new Hornby HST power cars in Intercity Swallow livery.

I absolutely love the 'Swallow' livery and as a youngster I used to look at the old Hornby HST set in the early 1990s catalogues dreaming that one day I'd be lucky enough to have it, so although there's no way I can justify the power cars on Wells Green TMD, it really means a lot to me that I've finally realised a childhood dream!

Back to the photographs, and the diesels are taking over on Wells Green TMD! Debuting Transrail 56033 Shotton Paper Mill waits for maintenance alongside 60038 and 47767 Mappa Mundi. The real 47767 has notably been broken up for scrap recently - very sad news - but at least it has been immortalised in 4mm scale!

Meanwhile SNCF-owned 92028 Saint Saens makes a quick visit to Wells Green. This locomotive is fortunately a sweet runner, being remotored using parts from a Heljan class 47!

In the photograph below 86228 Vulcan Heritage has finally received attention and being prepared to leaver the depot, meanwhile in the background 'depot pet' shunter IEMD 01 totters along the fuelling road. The blue Ford Focus is still going strong in the background!

A close up shot of the fuelling point - I keep meaning to put a light under there - it's one of those jobs on the ever-increasing 'to do' list, as to whether it will actually happen is anyone's guess! For some reason the Vauxhall Astra and Vectra models always attract a lot of attention, for the record they are produced by Herpa in 'HO' scale. Of course, they're too small for 4mm scale but my excuse is that you can fit more in the car park!!

Finally I round off with another track-level shot of the maintenance shed, with EWS 'Shed' 66010 taking centre stage alongside AC electric colleagues 90040 The Railway Mission and Virgin's 86231 Starlight Express.

A big thanks goes to everyone who stopped by the layout for a chat, the WMRC exhibition organising committee, all the nice traders and fellow exhibitors too, it was great to meet lots of old friends again and a special thanks to Philip Sutton for letting me rev his exceedingly nice new Jaguar!

Roll on 2010 for the next Worthing MRC exhibition - hope to see you there!

On My Mp3:Frankmusik - Gotta Boyfriend?



Monday 14th September 2009

Show Report#1 - Cranleigh 2009!

The first of a couple of enjoyable weekends took place on 4/5 September when Worthing MRC's developing Loftus Road layout was taken to one of its first 'proper' public outings, not organised by Worthing MRC, so it was a historic moment you could say!

Setup was on Friday evening and was fairly straightforward, only the organisers had seemingly forgotten about providing a power supply to the layouts! This ended up in some fine acrobatic skills from varying people to suspend power cables down from the high balcony and using Loftus Road's tall lighting gantry as a means of carrying the wire across the hall!

Here we can see Loftus Road operator Martin Browning tackling some of the power supply problems and ensuring the wires are neatly in place, whilst making sure all the lights are fully functional on the lighting gantry!

With all the buildings and bits in place, it was just time to give the track a quick clean before the real fun could be had playing trains!

One of the main new developments was this lovely depiction of the back of a Tesco superstore and a multi-storey car park beautifully modelled by Pete Hollman, along with car park help from Mark Butcher & Martin Browning. Much time and effort has been spent lighting the inside of the car park with small LEDs to give a realistic dim glow, especially effective at night!

Finally as you can see below, there's even a picture of me 'hard at work' (admittedly rare!) driving some trains around Loftus Road, and a rather juicy Bachmann Class 171 in Southern livery stabled in the platform!

Image courtesy of Mark Butcher!

Overall it was a great day out at the Cranleigh show, it was really good fun to operate such a fine layout for so long, hopefully it will be the first of many exhibitions in the years to come, if any exhibition managers would be interested in inviting Worthing MRC's Loftus Road layout to your show, please do get in touch!

Please come back soon for the next show update, the Worthing MRC annual exhibition, including pictures of Wells Green TMD back in action, George Woodcock's Llywd Town and a certain special NSE layout reaching the end of its exhibition career!

On My Mp3:Beyonce - Sweet Dreams



Monday 31st August 2009

Brought back to life!

After nearly a year in storage, Wells Green TMD has finally been dusted down ready for the 2009/10 exhibition season!

I was expecting the layout to be covered in cobwebs and perhaps bits of scenery falling apart but luckily it appears the layout has survived unscathed, and the trusty Wells Green black shunter 'IEMD 01' took to the rails without a problem!

The next showing of the layout is at the Worthing MRC's annual exhibition, held at a brand new venue of Durrington High School, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 1JX. More details about the show can be found on the Worthing MRC website.

Lately I've not spent a great deal of wonga on model railways but when the Bachmann Collectors Club announced their latest model was the Class 150/1 'Sprinter' in Silverlink livery, I snapped one up straight away! The model is perfect for the club's Loftus Road layout (based on the West London Line) and besides that, the Silverlink colours are just irresistible!

It's been over a month since the last website update, this is due to many other social commitments fighting for the modelling time, and as such, progress on the 'Electrostar' model has been considerably slower than anticipated, sadly the trains won't be finished in time for Loftus Road's Cranleigh exhibition on Saturday 5th September, however the project is moving forwards rapidly.

This is the most developed stage of the project so far - a complete rolling shell of a Class 377 DMCO(A), this will eventually be coach no. 78577 of Southern's dual-voltage unit 377207. This, along with 377215 will form the initial two units, followed by one of the beautiful new First Capital Connect 377/5 units - simply gorgeous to look at!

Although a completed bodyshell was shown in the previous update, the main difference is what you see here is completely formed of resin, a total duplicate of the grey plastic master seen before - this is helping to reduce vast amounts of time modelling identical items, with the bodysides and both ends being cast from rubber mouldings of the originals.

As you can see, the what comes out of the mould (top in photo) requires a fair bit of sanding and filing of the 'flash' to get it usable in the model, but this is still a fraction of the time and effort of fabricating completely new parts for each vehicle - hooray for resin casting!

Currently my workbench is resembling that of Bombardier's Derby works with the amount of 'Electrostar' sections lying around, meanwhile work is shifting to preparations for exhibiting Wells Green TMD including the finishing of the two Virgin Class 90s; 90002 and 90009, which all being well, should debut at the Worthing exhibition on 12/13th September - hope to see you there!

On My Mp3:Talking Heads - And She Was



Tuesday 21st July 2009

A Grey Day

Excuse fingers!

The 'Electrostar' project has crept a little further forward in this update, finally the bodysides are finished, smoothed and sprayed grey ready for resin casting.

I'm amazed that the cut'n'shut job on both sides went ahead with few major problems, to be honest I'd thought they would bound to be bent, wonky, and would always look rather dodgy...when filing and sanding it is never easy to see how good the finish is until sprayed with a bit of Halfords grey primer - always unforgiving - so was expecting the worst! Fortunately it has turned out nice and smooth with no evidence of any join marks, more or less!

Resin casting has some time saving benefits which I'm already making full use of - below can be seen the CCTV paraphernalia on the coach side, nicked straight from my pre-cast '377' cab unit! Cashback!

Eagle-eyed viewers will notice the gangway ends have undergone considerable change; the original 'Turbostar' exhausts have been removed with the area filed and sanded flat, whilst the dual recesses have been modelled as found on all the Electrostar variants. The gangway moulding will be restored at some point soon!

Work on the roof continues, I have started to add the very fine parallel seam lines as found running down the centre of the 'Electrostar' roof, it will take quite a bit of work getting this to look good, as the fine bits of plastic keep falling off when sanded!

Overall though the project is getting there, hopefully the speed will increase as once the sides of the driving cars are cast in resin, the castings themselves will be cut'n'shut to form the centre trailer vehicles, if all goes to plan the next update should show some progress on rubber moulds for the bodysides!

On My Mp3:Beyonce - Ring The Alarm (Freemasons Remix)


Saturday 11th July 2009

A Good Grilling!

Following on from last week's update showing the mould for the 'Electrostar' cab, here is a couple of the actual resin castings made from it!

I'm very impressed by just how much detail is caught in the resin, with every little lump, bump and curve of the master repeated multiple times over! There's a bit of tidying up that needs to be done, cutting out the windows and filling in the odd bubble mark but it has saved so much time building several cabs for the two Class 377/2 'Electrostar' units that will form the initial build.

Meanwhile, work on the bodysides is ongoing, this week I added some of the panel joints in the lower body, scribed on with a fine needle, and transplanted the door release lights into their new position on the Electrostar.

One of the differences between the 'Electrostar' and the 'Turbostar', on which the model is based, are the grilles that are found at cantrail height, with the Turbostar DMU fitted with 4 horizontally-slatted grilles compared to the EMU's 8 vertically-slatted grilles, both long and short in size, on one side of the vehicle only. For ages I'd been looking around for the perfect way of modelling these, and finally the idea of using grilles from an old Hornby '86' popped into my head!

So before long that '86' was hacked up (a leftover spares donor from my Class 86/9 project I should point out!) and the 'Electrostar' now has the correct grilles on one side, whilst the other side has the original vents filled in and sanded down. The sides are nearly complete now, and I'm getting bored of looking at the remnants of the blue and white Chiltern Railways livery, so expect to see the next update showing the vehicle in a nice coat of grey!

On My Mp3:Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Just Can't Fight This Feeling


Saturday 4th July 2009

Rubber Up!

Finally, as promised, here is a shot of the finished rubber moulding for the Class 377 'Electrostar' cab, ready for the resin casting - something I'd been meaning to create for months but never quite summed up enough courage to take the plunge!

I'll put some more images up of how this mould was created in the future but it was basically made by pouring liquid rubber over the plastic cab, all within the confines of a wall of Lego. This ensured the rubber set in a rectangular block, and this was done in two stages to create a 'bottom' and a 'top' of the mould, which can be seen to the left and right of the grey plastic cab used as the master. The two rubber parts fit together perfectly so just need resin poured in between to create numerous duplicates of the scratchbuilt 'Electrostar' cab without any fuss!

The rubber was purchased from WP Notcutt of Surrey , along with some Easyflo 60 resin which I will be experimenting with over the next few days to see how it goes - fingers crossed!

On My Mp3:Funk Fanatics - Love Is The Answer (Freemasons Remix)



Sunday 21st June 2009

Completing the set

I told you I've been busy!

Lately I have had the desire to complete long outstanding projects and fulfil all those wishlists of locomotives I planned back during those heady days of building Wells Green TMD in the big rush for DEMU Showcase in June 2005 - of course not everything was finished in time and the layout went on display with a small selection of hastily-prepared AC electrics. In those four years since the layout was completed, strangely I have still not found the time to model the final selection of locomotives on the special list I drew up!

As time goes by, my interests have changed slightly, with new hobbies taking over and even thoughts turning to my next model railway project, but I rediscovered my 'old dream locomotive list' recently and thought it would be a real shame if I did not 'complete the set' and finally model everything I had always planned to!

With that in mind I set about dusting down my collection of unfinished models and whipped out the old airbrush, spanked on the paint & masking tape and hey presto, I have a few brightly coloured Class 90s on their way to completion!

All my locomotives are based on ones I've seen in the now-distant past that are somehow 'special'; here you can see Virgin West Coast Class 90s 90002 Mission Impossible, 90009 The Economist and RES-liveried 90019 Penny Black taking shape.

In the intervening years since choosing to model them all have altered drastically livery-wise, but none of that matters to me anymore - I used to like modelling the most up-to-date livery but I realised now that, scarily enough, I'm no longer modelling the current scene anymore - even the EWS corporate scheme that Wells Green TMD is decked out in is out of date!

I decided to put a little extra effort into doing this batch of Class 90s so sought out some excellent roof photographs after much Google-ing, and this enabled me to go much further in recreating the details around the roof ends, note the cross strapping on the roof, the aerials and the full depth 'triangles' visible in the photograph below. I went for some etched brass grilles whilst I was at it too!

The '90's are at the transfer stage now, the Virgin repaints I am particularly happy with - perhaps its a missed opportunity but it is very tempting to do them up as debranded ex-Virgin class '90's with no stripes or logos (which would be unusual and attract extra attention on the exhibition scene!) but that is not how I remember them, so I'm sticking to the original plan, or so I keep telling myself!

I'll put a few more pictures on here once I've got round to the fun part of doing the transfers and the miniature naming ceremonies, where the little Shawplan or Fox nameplates are applied - always a strange mix of emotions as it is very rewarding but also scary as you wonder if you've stuck the plate in the right place or the worst of all, you do it wonky!

Finally I leave you with a little update on the Class 377 'Electrostar' project - as Intercity used to say, we're getting there!

Below a completed driving vehicle for the 377/2, the shortened sides have been completed as has the roof, all are awaiting resin casting which I have to admit I still have not yet done!

The resin arrived in the post the other week and has sat on the floor awaiting usage, being quite expensive stuff I am slightly afraid to use it in case I muck it up! I'll start with resin casting the cab section before moving onto the sides and roof sections, then if I'm feeling especially brave I was hoping to do some of the underframe boxes too!

On My Mp3:Little Boots - Earthquake


Thursday 21st May 2009


Apologies folks, here's some more shots of the 'Electrostar' taking shape - I still haven't quite got to the exciting stage where it actually looks like the familiar EMUs I know and love but it's getting there!

The sides of the driving car are finished now, as you can see in the photographs the length of the body has been reduced by removal of the centre window, plus a small amount from each end to bring it down to the correct length, after which the bits were stuck back together again.

Work has since moved on to focusing on the roof, and removing some of the Turbostar-specific details and vents and making it look more like an Electrostar! A grand start has also been made on reducing the length of the roof section by bolding sawing it into two pieces!

Despite all this Southern third-rail fever taking over, I haven't forgotten poor old Wells Green TMD, despite it being packed away for the last six months, it will shortly be receiving a few shiny new AC electric locomotives!

More details will follow when I've got some good photographs of the locos being detailed up, meanwhile I've been wheeling and dealing on Heljan Hymeks, getting myself several sets of mechanisms ready for some more Class 90s to be remotored.

Finally, my pride-and-joy Network Rail Class 86/9 'Loadbanks' are also receiving a well-deserved remotoring using Heljan Class 33 chassis picked up for a reasonable price from Hattons, it's busy busy on the workbench currently!

On My Mp3:Miley Cyrus - See You Again (Rock Mafia Remix)


Thursday 30th April 2009

No way back!

Since the cab of the 'Electrostar' is nearly finished now, I've started to move onto some of the other aspects of the conversion, which includes reducing the length of the carriages down, as the real life EMUs are formed of the shorter 20m (ish) bodyshells compared to the longer 'Turbostar' vehicles being used as spares donors for the project, so I took a razor saw to the side of a shiny Chiltern Railways '168' and here it is!

Although it scales up well, it looks disconcertingly short! I am used to seeing 1ft long model carriages, so although correct, it looks a bit strange to the eye! There's no going back now, I've just chopped a reasonably expensive model into four pieces!

Just have to hope it all fits back together again..!

On My Mp3:Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero


Sunday 12th April 2009

Happy Easter!

I can hardly believe its nearly a month since the last update, I've been a little bit pre-occupied with non-modelling activities so haven't had the time to keep the site properly up to date but here are a couple of shots of my scratchbuilt 'Electrostar' cab coming along! I think it's nearly there now, needing only a little bit of tidying up around the glazing recesses before it's time to get messy with resin casting!

The pair of Class 377 'Electrostar's I'm building are being made ready for service on Worthing MRC's spangly new Loftus Road layout, this has seen much scenic work lately, here are a selection of photographs showing the layout as it is now - note the selection of large buildings being constructed by Pete Hollman!

Above is Pete's superb office building, believed to be 'Hollman Communications' HQ or something like that!

The graffiti artists have been at work...I just couldn't help myself!

As you may be able to see, lots of work has taken place on Worthing MRC's Loftus Road and it can be seen at a show in Guildford in the first week of September, hopefully complete with a fleet of Southern 'Electrostars'!

On My Mp3:Lady Gaga - I Like It Rough


Saturday 14th March 2009

Obligatory 'Electrostar' Progress Update!

I imagine its getting pretty boring now but I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of how my Class 377 'Electrostar' cab is progressing!

There isn't a great deal of difference between this update and the previous one, the only main visible changes being the addition of the corridor gangway but in reality hours and hours of modelling time has been spent on this little model!

It's taken ages to get the 'right' shape, particularly over the cab roof and sloping front - only you can be the judge of whether I've caught it but personally I'm very pleased with it so far, a little more time needs to be spent on cleaning up the cab window recesses, as you can see it is a bit rough but eventually it will disappear under some smoked glazing just like the prototype!

Eventually, holes will need to be drilled for the cab lighting which will be challenging, and at some point the corridor gangway plate will need to be constructed, either from plastic or maybe some form of custom brass etching, decisions decisions!

On My Mp3:Haddaway - What Is Love



Sunday 22nd February 2009

The Electrostar progresses!

Just a little bit of an update on how the Electrostar project is progressing, the cab is currently at the slightly boring stage of shaping and constant filing to get it looking like the real thing - I think it looks reasonably alright at the moment but one slip of the file and I could be back to where I started!

There is white powder literally everywhere now, and the boredom and frustration of messing around with little bits of white plastic brings back memories of scratchbuilding my Ford Focus in 2007, hopfully things will get better soon though and I can have some fun resin casting!

On My Mp3:Girls Aloud - Love Is The Key



Saturday 7th February 2009

Long time, no update!

It's February, but Happy New Year everybody! The last few months have been very hectic, busy and amazing for so many reasons, but I have finally got round to updating the website, so here is a little glimpse into what I've been up to lately...!

All is not what it seems...!

...for the white stuff is in fact plastic shavings from my Electrostar project!

I've finally got on with the task of starting my project to build two Southern Class 377 'Electrostars' for the Worthing MRC layout Loftus Road. They are the dual-voltage Class 377/2 variants, used on the services through Kensington Olympia, on which the club layout is based.

The models themselves are being scratchbuilt and heavily kitbashed from Bachmann Turbostar vehicles, with the plan of scratchbuilding key items like cab ends, pantograph wells and underframe boxes, then resin casting these so that it saves time producing multiples of the parts.

I am just working on the driving cab of a '377' at the moment, starting off with a Bachmann 'Turbostar' cab, with tons of added plastic which has been labouriously filed down until it looks vaguely like an Electrostar - hence the huge load of plastic shavings in the first photograph!!

Here's an image of the new cab mounted onto the front of a Bachmann 'Clubman' vehicle - the work is far from over - firstly the bodyshell will need to be considerably shorted to match the Electrostar's shorter length, amongst numerous other modifications to the underframes, roof, bogies and corridor connections - in other words, plenty of fun still to be had!

On My Mp3:Alphabeat - Touch Me Touching You


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