My Workbench Archive, March - April 2006
Monday 24th April 2006
Rail Express photos
Here are some of Philip Sutton's superb photographs which didn't quite make it into the magazine article. They can also be seen on the Rail Express Magazine homepage . Enjoy the photos - they certainly make the model look a lot bigger and better than in real life!
EWS Executive silver 67029 and AC electric 90027 Allerton T&RS Depot Quality Approved are stabled in the fuelling road behind whilst 92035 Mendelssohn enters the depot.
66042 can be seen on the centre road inside the maintenance depot.
86231 Starlight Express is seen entering the depot, whilst a 'Grampus' slowly rots away in the foreground.
EWS' 66008 and 90031 The Railway Children Partnership.
Tatty RES-liveried 47790 Saint David/Dewi Sant prepares to leave the depot.
Tuesday 18th April 2006
Other than the MFA wagon shown here last week, there has been considerable activity taking place, including work on doubling Wells Green TMD's class 92 fleet. Only having two class 92 locomotives on a layout representing Crewe IEMD is pretty poor, so models of 92026 'Britten' and 92029 'Dante' are being added to the small fleet.
92026 is being detailed to the condition as seen at Carlisle, back in February, complete with large yellow EWS stickers, and a slightly dirty roof appearance. 92029 meanwhile will be the cleanest of the pair, and is being outshopped in original triple grey, as nature intended.
The work is fairly straightforward, as I've managed to source painted grey bodies from East Kent Models, and these are being placed on top of the EWS-liveried Hornby 92s, saving the hassle of a repaint. This means that hopefully the locos will be ready in time for the Leytonstone exhibition on May 20th. I could easily have just run my class 92s in the EWS livery 'as is' and they would have felt at home on the layout. However, it is somewhat ironic that the only currently available class 92s are by Hornby and are only produced in EWS colours.
Just two members of the class carry the livery, so it would seem most disproportionate to have models of both these locos on Wells Green TMD so I've set myself the challenge of only modelling the triple grey machines. Red & gold 92s will never run on my layout!
There have been a few other modifications to this site, with subtle changes to pictures on the title page, and the installation of a new web counter. This replaces the older one which proved quite unreliable and prone to resetting - I can imagine there must have been several people re-visiting the site to find they were visitor number 1 recently!
In addition to this, on the 'Description' page a newer copy of the current trackplan has been loaded up, now showing the large fiddle yard and front extension in place.
Thursday 13th April 2006
One weathered wagon
Here's my latest mini-project, a weathered Bachmann MFA in Railfreight Coal livery. This was the wagon I started weathering at the Ally Pally exhibition, and have only just got round to completing the model. Eventually, a ballast load will be added, but I'm rather pleased with the internal weathering, so this will go on hold for now.
It was a simple process weathering the MFA, beginning with applying copious amounts of Humbrol Matt 186 brown to the panels of the wagon, before wiping off with a cotton bud. Depending on how dirty you wish to have the model, the less you wipe off, leaving a nice streaky effect on the sides.
I then repeated this many times with differing shades of browns and oily-blacks, varying the level to which the paint was rubbed off. This means you can begin to see the different paint shades breaking through each other, which starts to look encouragingly good. It is at that point I start to relax a little, safe in the knowledge that I haven't totally ruined a perfectly good RTR wagon!
After this, out comes the scalpel to start recreating the deep bodyside scars that these wagons receive during unloading with a mechanical grabber. The paint then sits nicely in these grooves, when you apply and remove the next coating of paint using the 'cotton bud method'. Much drybrushing then follows this process, until the wagon starts to match the prototype photographs, or until you are happy with the weathering effect.
Sunday 9th April 2006
Just back from an excellent weekend away at Trainwest, Chippenham - thoroughly enjoyable!
It was a brilliant opportunity to play trains for three days, and meet fellow exhibitors and have a good long chat about railways, both prototype and model. Brendan Walsh's Anderstaff Yard was in attendance, along with George Woodcock's Falworth, amongst many other layouts, including Hollybank Depot. DEMU were also in attendance, so Trainwest had a real 'modern' feel to it!
Several new items of stock made their exhibiton debut as well. 60017 Shotton Works Centenary 1996 appeared, alongside my recently weathered 66010. Pete Hollman brought along 66204 and 66227, amongst a few other choice items of stock.
90022 Freightconnection ran on the layout for the first time since the fitting of the Heljan Hymek chassis. I'm pleased to say it ran faultlessly (I'm still very surprised to say the least!), more about this will appear on the website in due course.
Next door to my layout was Dave Tailby's excellent EM Gauge 'Saxlingham' set in 1965.
George Woodcock (wearing his red 'Falworth' T-Shirt!) stands alongside Pete Hollman on the Sunday.
92028 Saint Saens and 92035 Mendelssohn await their next turn of duty.
Wednesday 5th April 2006
Out and about
I haven't been modelling a great deal lately, however, I have made a concerted effort to go out and record the current railway scene. This was mainly prompted by the fact that I'm planning to model several class 377 'Electrostar' EMUs for Loftus Road, and suddenly realised how few photographs of the class I have, despite seeing them every single day!
So with this in mind, a trip to nearby Brighton was made, camera in hand, and quite a large number of reference pictures were taken - especially around the underframe and cab area. Since I was at Brighton station already and I had my railcard with me, I decided it would be a shame to go home so early on (it being only 11am!), so I jumped aboard the new-fangled First Capital Connect service, and before I knew it I was in East Croydon!
Many more pictures were taken, but by around midday I started to get bored, so travelled on to Clapham Junction. This was where the time wizzed by! Every time I decided to leave, another batch of trains started to approach, so I finally left around 3pm. Not such a bad day out - and enough time to get back home to Worthing before 5pm.
But curiosity got the better of me again instead of going home I - had an urge to sample some of the refurbished Southern class 455/8s, so I travelled to London Bridge instead. The same 'trainspotting' fever took over, as it had at Clapham, so it was not until 6.30pm that I finally had to drag myself off the platform and onto a packed Brighton service to make the journey home.
What I had planned to be a quick half-hour, local class 377 photo session, had quickly turned into a full scale day out - and I ended up actually filling my entire notebook with numbers that day!
In addition to this, here are some photos that were taken last Sunday on the journey to and from the Ally Pally show. It was 11.30 by the time I updated the website, so didn't quite have the stamina to put lots of photos on there!
Full marks to FCC for the speedy application of their branding to their units, as quite a number of them were sporting the stickers by the Sunday morning. Just visible is the former WAGN branding's marks on the bodysides, where the old decals have been removed and the rest of the paintwork has weathered and faded, whilst the area under the branding remained clean and new!
I know its a bad picture - but its a real loco! This was the only pic of a non-multiple unit train taken that day, so I had to show it! Sadly I just missed another good photo opportunity, as EWS's 66068 had passed minutes earlier on a ballast train, but I had all my camera stuff still packed away at the time!
Technically, this is also a loco, albeit somewhat smaller than the conventional. Bounds Green depot's 08853 provided much action for waiting enthusiasts to glimpse, shunting '225' sets around throughout the day.
I couldn't resist plugging the fact that you can now read the full story on Wells Green TMD in the latest issue of Rail Express magazine. Phil Sutton's photographs make the model look even better than in real life!
Bye for now!
Sunday 2nd April 2006
A spot of weathering
On the Diesel & Electric Modellers United roadshow stand at Ally Pally show on the Sunday I was allowed to do a modelling demonstration, so I decided to show some of my favourite weathering techniques.
For a little while I did actually do some modelling - so I'm quite proud of that (!) but eventually things got the better of me, and I ended up having a brilliant time just chatting to the other DEMU members manning the stand, as well as browsing for bargains.
Quite a considerable amount of time in the morning was spent drooling over Phil Eames' Calcutta Sidings, amongst other things.
A close up view showing some of the rolling stock and DEMU merchandise on sale over the weekend.
Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, Bachmann were expressing much interest in my low emission GM 66951 with a view to releasing an RTR version. Keith Wright took a number of comparison photographs of my loco compared with a standard Freightliner '66', and I briefly passed the model onto Bachmann's Merl Evans for examination. You read it here first!
Chris Ibbotson and Nigel Burkin chat about the benefits of having two decoders in Chris' class 66, whilst Sunil Rodger displays his extensive collection of wagon photographs, straight from his laptop on the DEMU stand.
Sunday 26th March 2006
Diesel-Hydraulic class 90!
My latest project stemmed from the frustration experienced at exhibitions, when attempting to run the Hornby Ringfield-motored electric locos (like the class 86s and 90s) over complex pointwork or achieving prototypical slow running, without actually having to physically push them around the layout by hand!
For me, actually having to touch the trains on my layout is a big 'no no' - so many times in model railway magazines you hear people complaining about exhibition layouts where locos are being helped by 'the hand of god' etc. I was desperate not to fall into this category, although visitors to the Model Rail Scotland show back in February, were treated to quite a few views of my hands over that weekend!
So having felt very cheated to have spent many hours super-detailing electric locomotives, only for them to perform so badly - I finally begun my project to put a Heljan Hymek chassis inside a Hornby class 90.
Currently I have managed to transplant the entire Heljan gear towers and wheelsets inside the bogie frame of the Hornby loco, allowing the loco to retain the original bogie/chassis fixing points, which will make maintenance easier in the future, should the loco need to be taken apart easily.
As you can probably see, laminated pieces of plasticard have been used as packing between the Heljan bogies and the outside plastic bogie frames, which have been screwed through with small self-tapping screws. The undersides of the Hornby bogie frames were also cut through to allow enough space for the Heljan mechanism to fit in, although there was little else done to modify the chassis.
My next task is to fit the central motor and then chop the Heljan cardan shafts in two, and extend with brass rodding to the correct distance. This appears to be a deceptively simple project so far - I've encountered no problems as yet, but I'm just waiting for something to go wrong like usual!
Finally, the original Heljan circuit board will be refitted, and perhaps lighting may be installed, but this will be a project for another day.
So far, there has been considerable interest in this remotoring project, thanks for all your emails regarding the '90' - so when the project is complete (and hopefully working!) I'll put on a 'how to do it' article, which will give full details of all the components used, and measurements of cut lines etc.
Personally, this is not an aspect of modelling that I find fascinating, as my main interest is in the scenery/detailing area, but I have found this project surprisingly easy to do - so my advice is have a good think about what you'd like to remotor, and just have a go at chopping things around. If I can do it, then anyone can!
Tuesday 21st March 2006
Apart from modelling electrified depots in the Cheshire area, I have a huge interest in the railways of Devon and Cornwall, and a particular fascination with the TOC Wessex Trains. Every day I commute on their trains, yet I never take any photographs of their units.
Normally I have to travel on their class 158s, but when I'm lucky the booked '158' is replaced by a class '150' in their colourful pictorial liveries advertising the different lines one can travel on. It certainly brightens up the day seeing pictures of kingfishers or sunny harbour scenes when boarding a train on a wet Winter morning!
So, with Wessex about to be swallowed up in the huge mass that is First Great Western, now seemed the right time to finally get out and photograph those beautiful class 150 liveries before the decals are ripped off the side of the units to make way for boring blue!
Exeter St Davids seemed the perfect destination, so I went down for the day, and to sample some more HST haulage! As well as the wonderful '150's I photographed all sorts of other interesting stuff - such as a complete Midland Mainline HST set and South West Trains' 159s and 170s, but I chose to feature only Wessex's units on this site for now.
Above: A very welcome sight was 158859, a regular performer on the Brighton services I use, so it was nice to finally catch it on camera.
For some reason I've never really liked the class 153s - but they do look superb in their promotional liveries. Notice how 150219 (below) has already had its Wessex Trains logos removed.
And finally, here is an image of what inspired me the most on my day out - the maintenance depot at Exeter. During the day quite a few units entered and left the building, along with various repositioning movements going on. To me, this seems the perfect subject of a relatively compact model, which would feature many colourful Wessex Trains units and has plenty of scope for some interesting detailing and scenic work to recreate the location in model form.
Wherever I go for a day out, I always come back inspired to build a model of the place I visit, but this location seems to stand out from the rest of my ideas in that it would be relatively straightforward to replicate and would keep me busy making converting and repainting various 150/153/158 Sprinter models for many years to come!
Thursday 16th March 2006
Here's the latest shot of the MTA 'Doorand', various pipework has been added to the underframe as far as I could see from photographs, although there is probably a load more which has been missed!
However, further work on this wagon (and pretty much everything else on the workbench!) has ground to a halt, due to finally fitting my South West Digital Loksound decoder to 47851. The result was quite amazing - with the loco being much louder than originally thought.
Currently Wells Green TMD is not DCC fitted, with the '47' running on my Cornish layout using all my Lenz equipment, but this will be transferred to the exhibition layout this Summer. Certainly the SWD decoder will be the first of many, one can only imagine what it will be like having five or six sound-chipped locos on shed all at once!
Meanwhile, following the truly awful performance of the Hornby Ringfield-motored electric locos at exhibitions has led to some slightly more drastic action being taken, things are all set for 90022 to be re-motored using the mechanism from a Heljan 'Hymek' (bought new from Rails of Sheffield for £39!).
The original frame from the Hornby loco will be retained, with the entire Heljan gear towers actually mounted inside the Hornby bogie mouldings, meaning there is no need for any extra construction to hold the bogies in place. All that will be needed is to mount the motor onto the Hornby chassis and extend the Cardan shafts.
One slight drawback is that the axle spacing on each bogie is just a tiny bit smaller than the '90', but hopefully the gain in performance will far outweigh any minute inaccuracies. After all the layout is 'narrow gauge' anyway!
If this turns out to be successful then it will be finally possible to consider detailing some 87s and more 90s, but only if the performance issues are sorted out first.
87025 arrives at Stafford with a Euston-bound train on Saturday 10th May 2003.
Wednesday 8th March 2006
Having concentrated so much on getting everything finished for the Glasgow show I have somewhat temporarily run out of modelling ideas!
So it seemed the perfect opportunity to have a go at creating another wagon - this time MTA 'Doorand' 395008 in a battered grey livery. Martyn Read's superb Fotopic site has a couple of images of the chosen wagon which I'm using as a guide to the weathering and detailing of the base model. So just what is the base model then you may ask?
Well for a 'Doorand' the later body-style (equal rib spacing) Bachmann POA wagon would be perfect, all you need to do is chop off a few millimetres from the top of the wagon, and then detail from there onwards.
But for me, things couldn't possibly be that simple, sadly! Having used up all my POAs by converting them into 'Limpet' wagons, and not having any triangular styrene strip meant I wouldn't be able to replicate the capping on the 'Doorand'. Obviously being midweek, a trip to a model shop was out of the question and I couldn't be bothered to mail order!
I have some EWS 'MTA' wagons however, in fact quite a few of them. Dozens and dozens of them even. Surely it wouldn't ruin any future modelling project by nicking one to make a 'Doorand'?
An image showing the true mess of my workbench! Behind the 'Doorand' are some of Martyn Read's photographs, along with a Heljan class 47 bodyshell (will be 47228 one day!) sitting on top of a DCC-chipped FGW 47815 and in the little plastic containers on the wooden cutting board are the remains of the low emission class 66/9 project donor model!
So it all seemed like a good idea at the time - just converting one type of MTA into another, no need for triangular styrene strip as the EWS MTA already has it at the right level. Although I did need to change the rib spacing to make it equal, as on 395008. I guess I've ended with the same result as I would have done using a POA, except it took several hours cutting tiny bits of plastic into shape for no extra result. Oh well!
The view below makes it easier to see - the sides have been bent out to represent the bulges in the side panels of the wagon from a heavy ballast load, using a soldering iron. Much work is still to be carried out on the underframe, including changing the springs on the W-Irons, and putting on all the underframe pipework Bachmann forgot to model.
Next, the 'Doorand' awaits being painted in its streaky, rusty, grey-patched livery, which will certainly be my favourite part of the whole project.
Wednesday 1st March 2006
Model Rail Scotland proved to be an excellent weekend away, offering the chance to exhibit alongside some of the country's top layouts in Scotland's largest model railway show. The weekend was most enjoyable even though it involved a 936-mile round trip!
It was brilliant making friends with fellow exhibitors - such as George Woodcock & Richard Coleman on 'Llwyd Town' and Brendan Walsh & Phil Eames on 'Anderstaff Yard', amongst many other people. Thanks go to all those that took the trouble to visit the show and made kind comments about the layout.
Much to my complete surprise, the low emission 'Fred' 66951 picked up a Model Rail Magazine rolling stock award, it felt really odd standing next to real modellers at a top show collecting an award for my modelling. All I did was chop up a Bachy '66'!
As is traditional following an exhibition, here's some crowd-shots showing the layout in place amongst all the spectators. Crowds were starting to thin out by the time this late afternoon picture was taken, making it slightly easier to see the layout amongst all the people.
Below: Amongst others, DEMU Scottish Lowlands Area Group Co-ordinator Phil Holman had a stint at operating Wells Green TMD over the weekend, here he is in action!
George Woodcock was kind enough to allow me to run my multi-coloured class 158s on 'Llwyd Town' on the Sunday afternoon as well, which was a nice opportunity to run the units in a slightly more appropriate setting than on my own layout!
In case you were wondering, the unit on the left was a prototype Alphaline Wales & West livery. Eventually management decided upon using the silver/yellow livery with the large 'A' logo on the side - meaning 158867 was left as a one-off. The unit carried these colours until repainting in the standard Alphaline livery in 2002.
Incidentally, and much to my disappointment, the Ginsters 158841 is now long since obsolete - Arriva Trains Wales have stripped off the 'Ginsters' logos - putting 'Times are Changing' branding all over the unit, which is not a patch on the old livery!
After the show on Saturday night, we popped down to see what was happening in Glasgow, taking some photos at Glasgow Central station following a ride on the extremely speedy class 334 'Junipers'. Not a lot was going on at the time, but it was a nice opportunity to see some First Scotrail class 156s and Strathclyde '314's in action, certainly something of an eye-opener for a Southerner like me!
Having chased a timber train hauled by 92026 across most of Southern Scotland by car, we finally caught up with it at Carlisle station, where I was able to photograph it standing still, and nearly managed to separately photograph each wagon in the train. Hopefully the information should be useful if I ever decide to model the formation in future!
As well as the '92' there were many 'Sprinter's in evidence, with Northern Rail's 153360, 156444 and 156490 visible in the photograph above.
Finally, a late afternoon stop at Leamington Spa produced several 'Voyagers', 'Clubmans' and 165s - with the highlight being 66092 passing on a container train. Unfortunately my photographs of the '66' were slightly blurred, having been rushed in the stuggle to get the camera out of the bag, having been packed away ready to go home before the sudden appearance of the train!
Contrary to what the average rail enthusiast may think - I actually enjoyed seeing all the multiple units - even getting excited about seeing a class 66!
A very clean and sparkly 220027 enters Leamington Spa station last Monday afternoon.
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