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James Makin
Wells Green TMD

On My Workbench Archive, March - April 2007



Monday 30th April 2007

Fame Again!

Just trawling around the web I've found Richard Swayne's second video of Wells Green TMD which is rather nice, managing to capture some of the beautiful 'Tractor' sound to be heard at the layout, although it is interesting to listen out for some of the conversations in the background as well!

On My Mp3: Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Sparkle


Sunday 29th April 2007

(Almost) ready for work

As you can probably guess from the lack of updates this last week, I have not really been up to much railway modelling but thought I'd show the donor body for the new project - 87029 Earl Marischal, as mentioned in last Sunday's piece. The Lima body was kindly donated by John Dedman, and as you can see was once 87022, but has since been subjected to some paint testing over the last few years!

On My Mp3: Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Move This Mountain


Sunday 22nd April 2007

Decisions, Decisions!

The 'big question' that I often face upon completion of a model is 'What's the next project going to be?' - and this is always difficult, I simply have too many things I want to do!

But I think there is a big clue in the above photograph, something just too irresistible to ignore. I've wanted to model a Class 87 for a number of years now, I think finally I have reached the time when I can't go without one any longer! Although the above image shows 87025 County of Cheshire (actually rather appropriate for running on the Crewe-based Wells Green TMD!), I have a soft spot for 87029 Earl Marischal, so it makes sense for this to be the first one, at least.

Obviously with locos as nice as the '87's, one is never enough! So although for now 87029 will be the only one, I do hope to model 87022 Lew Adams/The Black Prince, 87025 County of Cheshire, and 87031 Hal o' The Wynd. I don't personally remember the Class 87s in any other livery than Virgin, so this will be reflected in model form, with a nice selection of 87s in red and grey!

As with most things however, it is all too easy to list names and numbers of those dream locomotives, it is quite another matter actually sourcing all the parts and actually doing the modelling, that's when the list of locos to be modelled is normally cut down dramatically! But it would be good if I could see this project through for once, after all, part of the reason I built the layout was to give me a space to run West Coast AC electrics so it would be rather nice!

On My Mp3: Sugababes - Ace Reject


Monday 16th April 2007

Out and about

With the show now passed it is time to reflect on another fun weekend's exhibiting!

The Crawley MRS' exhibition at Horsham was most enjoyable, with many superb layouts on display and some very helpful stewards - I was most taken aback at the small army of helpers unloading my car upon arrival on Saturday morning! With operators in the form of John Holmes and Martin Browning helping out on Saturday, I knew we were going to have a good day, and with the public seeing a lot of trains in a short time span!

86228 Vulcan Heritage made its exhibition debut at the Horsham show, although some running in still needed to be done before it could be a reliable member of the fleet - so for most of the day it was consigned to the far end of the reception road simply showing off its bright lights!

So far I have not yet DCC chipped any of my class 57s, so it was nice when Martin brought along his new Bachmann class 57 no. 57010 Freightliner Crusader for a good running session on Wells Green TMD. Being factory-fitted with a decoder meant it was only a case of plonking it on the track and watching it move, which was quite a novel experience. The model is rather nippy too, I may even consider using Bachmann 57s to replace some mechanisms in my troubled DCC-fitted Heljan Class 47 fleet!

EWS-liveried 47767 Mappa Mundi, 66042 Lafarge Buddon Wood and 37886 Sir Dyfed/County of Dyfed line up outside the shed.

Once we had got round to finishing the Crawley MRS' yummy bacon sandwiches, we finally got round to doing some operating on Sunday morning. Along with me and Pete Hollman, school teacher Chris Sweeney was operating the layout and presumably feeling right at home in the school-hall location, Chris had no problem ensuring everyone was kept under control!!

Pete Hollman brought along his new loco, the Bachmann sound fitted Class 66, now renumbered and weathered as 66158. Older pictures can be found of the loco at the Brighton Modelworld show in February, where the locomotive operated in unbranded EWS livery.

Incidentally, Pete was not the only one tempted by Bachmann's factory fitted sound, as Martin Browning snapped up an EWS 66022 for the cracking price of £110, and of course we just had to test it on Wells Green TMD, it would have seemed rude not to!

Meanwhile Pete offered to help out with improving the running qualities of my Intercity '86', and the fiddle yard became an impromptu operating surgery around Sunday lunchtime!

Chris Sweeney also brought along a selection of stock, including these two Heljan Class 57s, and what became the first ever Heljan Class 33 'Crompton' to grace the rails - that is, excluding my Class 33s with Hornby '86' bodies mounted on top!

And of course, no special exhibition update would be complete without the behind the scenes access to see the bits that visitors don't get to see! Here we have a school exam-desk which is liberally covered in empty drinks cans, bottles, little sandwich bags, used serviettes and a nice scattering of Heljan boxes. We were very lucky this time though, the layout behind us was operated from the front, so I had double the space to make a mess of!

On My Mp3: R.E.M - Orange Crush


Wednesday 11th April 2007

Show preparations

Things are coming together nicely on 86228 Vulcan Heritage, the chassis has been painted and weathered, with only a small amount of detail painting to be done, meanwhile the body has seen significant work including installation of the Sommerfeldt '968' pantograph and painting all the fiddly bits!

Glazing has gone in too, and it's now starting to look like a proper locomotive, with only the lighting kit and decoder to be wired up before the 86 is ready to enter service for the first time. As readers will notice, this has been a long, drawn-out project, with related OMWB entries going back to well before Christmas time so it's nice to see it leaving the workbench eventually!.

Completing it is also a big thing for me, as 86228 was one of those locos that was planned right from the beginning, along with 86231 Starlight Express - it was meant to appear on the layout at DEMU Showcase 2005, but never made it due to the rush of finishing the layout on time. This is the last '86' I will work on using the Hornby model, and from now on attention turns to rebuilding the remaining Class 90s and doing those Virgin Class 87s I've always dreamed about!

This weekend sees Wells Green TMD back out 'on the road' again, with the 12th exhibition being the Crawley MRS show at Horsham. The venue is Tanbridge House School, Guildford Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1SR. If you're in the area and can come along then, as usual, please do say hello and have a good nose round the layout, hopefully my trusty team of operators will keep you entertained!

On My Mp3: Girls Aloud - The Show


Sunday 8th April 2007

Happy Easter!

On My Mp3: Pet Shop Boys - Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)


Wednesday 4th April 2007

Transfer irritations!

As you can see, here's the next stage of progress on 86228 - laying the Fox Transfers Intercity stripes in a straight line. Easier said than done! I dislike laying long straight transfers and normally get around having to do this by using other modelling techniques. I'm not sure why I didn't do it this time actually - painting stripes seems so much easier, but never mind.

With TOPS number nearly applied, electrification flashes laid and a naming ceremony too, the body has been varnished since this photograph was taken. Attention is also turning to completing the underframe, with triangular bufferbeam footsteps added, plus assorted pipework. I've also used some rather fine plastic strip to represent the frame around removed compressor although I fear this will be promptly destroyed following the first exhibition!

On My Mp3:Dead Or Alive - You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)


Tuesday 3rd April 2007

Detail painting

Having completed the orange cantrail lines with some degree of success (modelling formula: 'effort' divided by 'patch-painting' multiplied by 'painty fingerprints') it is now time to move on to adding the little extra details before transfer application. Things like handrails, door handles and jumper cables all need to be given a lick of paint before I can proceed to the next stage.

Meanwhile, I also intend to recommence work on remotoring 90040 The Railway Mission. I'd already done the bogies and central chassis modifications ready to take the new motor, but still need to cut the Heljan drive shafts and extend them with brass tubing - which I have still yet to get round to buying more of!

*New* 'On my MP3 Player' section - I have finally got round to buying one of these so I can now play my embarrassingly cheesy collection of music whilst modelling, so it seemed very appropriate to list what I am currently listening to whilst working on the models featured here. The link goes to YouTube so you can actually hear the same tunes - if you feel that way inclined! As you can see from the pics of 86228 - the modelling quality has already started to suffer!

On My Mp3: Sugababes - Red Dress [original version]


Sunday 1st April 2007

The joys of masking

I love repainting locomotives. But I hate masking them up!

Followers of the on-going class 86 saga will notice the loco has finally received its top coat of Intercity dark grey, and is now ready for application of the orange OHLE stripes around the top of the body. Applying the line is always one of the more tricky tasks - obviously you want a straight line, at the right place on the loco, and a good scale thickness of line too.

Some people are successful utilising transfers from Fox's or Modelmaster's but I am useless at applying long thin transfers normally, and rarely have the patience required! So I use my normal method, which is to apply two strips of masking tape above and below where the line should be, and then paint the exposed plastic. This method seems to go well until you get near the corners on loco's ends where it all gets complicated!

A question I'm often asked is "which masking tape do I use?" - currently I am working my way through a load of Tamiya 6mm masking tape, which seems pretty good to me, and have been using this company's products for many of my projects since the early 2000's with no outstandingly bad results!

I started off modelling using the since-obsolete Howes/Railmatch range of masking tapes, which would come in many tiny sizes, excellent for masking OHLE cantrail warning lines but sadly I got through all my rolls some years ago now. I'd subsequently tried the red vinyl 'Eurostar' tape having heard many peoples claim's at how good they are, though I felt rather disappointed because of many 'red bits' and orangey-coloured smudges left behind on the paintwork after masking removal!


Monday 26th March 2007

Hacking and chopping in public!

Here we can see Pete Hollman showing off his soldering skills at his debut exhibition as a demonstrator for Diesel and Electric Modellers United.

Demonstrating yesterday at the Ally Pally show for DEMU proved to be a very enjoyable experience, as always it was nice to put names to faces for people who I'd only met through internet forums etc, in addition to seeing some other modellers for the first time this year.

I'd been asked to demonstrate at the show last year too, so instead of going for the usual mucky weathering demo, I decided to chop up and remotor my detailed Hornby 90040 The Railway Mission - something not often seen on demonstrators stands, and one that attracted a lot of attention from many puzzled onlookers!

But I also find destroying low quality RTR models quite therapeutic!

Above you can see a small display of three rebuilt AC electric wrecks, and the developing 86228 in the foreground. 90040's chassis can be seen laying on the 'operating table' - in reality a 'borrowed' dining room table mat because I couldn't fit my A3-size cutting mat in my bag!

Naturally the highlight of the event was the shopping - and having actually made a shopping list for once, I was all ready and raring to go when I arrived at the venue. Like something out of Dale Winton's Supermarket Sweep I set off at opening time and soon snapped up a copy of the Platform 5 Locos & Coaching Stock 2007 book, shortly followed by a tin of Phoenix's Intercity dark grey and the new Train Crazy Slam Door EMU DVD. With nearly £40 burnt, next stop was some Lenz 'Gold' decoders. All the traders seemed to have really expensive prices for their 'Gold's so it was quite a challenge to find some at a good price.

Following a tip off from fellow speedy shopper Martin Browning, a batch of cheap decoders were located at Charlie Petty's DC Kits stand where shortly after I could be seen handing over lots of hard earned(?) cash (...well, just typing my PIN actually but that doesn't make for very good reading!).

Then it was a quick dash back to the DEMU stand to see Pete "how can I explain these purchases to my wife" Hollman's new rake of Heljan Cargowaggons and do a spot of modelling on 90040. Having spent around £200 yesterday, the only downside was not finding any of Dale's 'Bouncy Bonuses'!


Thursday 22nd March 2007

A bit of variety

It's been the third Thursday in a row now that I've updated this website on - it's getting into a habit now!

Rather amazingly there have been quite a few varied modelling activities going on this week, ranging from paint spraying, fitting electrical pick-ups and photography too!

Due to the poor performance of most of my Bachmann Class 66s, I set about adding extra pick-ups onto the front axle of each bogie to prevent the sound-chipped locos losing power and 'going silent' as they tended to in the past. I'd already fitted 66010 with extra pick-ups, and this was a very good performer, so it was about time the rest of the fleet followed suit!

66042 Lafarge Buddon Wood is the latest class 66 to receive treatment.

Meanwhile the 'background project' of respraying and detailing 86228 Vulcan Heritage (basically something to fall back on when all the other modelling activities get boring!) has now morphed into a yellowy shade since Tuesday. When I get round to it, a final coat of Falcon Grey will be added over the top, before the Intercity stripes are added.

I'll be demonstrating how I re-motor locomotives on the DEMU stand at the Alexandra Palace show this Sunday, showing off my methods of destruction on some poor Hornby Class 90s. So please say 'hello' if you're passing by the stand wondering what some guy with a razor saw is doing to his locos!


Thursday 15th March 2007


The latest - and only(!) - development to take place this week, is painting the initial coat of white onto 86228, which is shortly to receive yellow ends too. Seeing as I was planning to weather the finished loco somewhat, I decided against obtaining fancy 'proper' shades of Intercity Silver White or whatever, mainly because once covered in gunge you won't notice the difference!

Instead I went for the standard Humbrol Matt White no.34, which I always make sure I have plenty of 'in stock' anyway. On my previous Intercity repaint I was rather disappointed with the rapid discolouration of the varnish, so am opting for acrylic varnish for the first time ever on one of my repaints - so this should be interesting! It is well known that enamel varnishes such as the Railmatch ones do discolour, but apart from the Intercity '90' repaint, I have had no other experience of this.


Thursday 8th March 2007

Slow-ish progress - the Heljan/Hornby 86228

It hasn't been a particularly busy week on the workbench it would be fair to say, but I have finished detailing the roof and ends of 86228 Vulcan Heritage, ready for priming and a final repaint back into unbranded Intercity 'Swallow' livery.

With the etched grilles installed, Shawplan fire extinguisher bottles and aerials in place, attention turned to adding the pipe runs and making sure the loco looked much more like the prototype!

You'll notice that not only has the Hornby roof-mounted current collection switch been removed, but it has also been replaced with a profiled 'lump' on the roof - as seen on a real '86'. In preparation for the Sommerfeldt '968' pantograph to be added, sides have been fixed in place, robbed from an old-style Hornby pantograph. I have also made a start on the underframe detailing, with a couple of pipes being installed, but am unsure just how far to take this model - I could spend hours adding more fiddly little details, perhaps chopping away and replacing some of the detailing on the front of the bogies themselves, but haven't decided yet!

Now given a quick coating of Halfords grey car primer, it is my first opportunity to examine how well the body modifications have been carried out, and whether I need to spend more time filling and sanding bodywork before I can continue.

Luckily everything came out reasonably well - I am not that good at doing a 'top class' filling job but I can no longer see where the Hornby bodyshell fixing lugs were, so I'm very happy! The next stage is now to begin the painting process - starting with the White, then masking, then Warning Panel Yellow ends, then masking, and finally Intercity Falcon Grey. Fox Transfers's Intercity stripes have been bought - I did not have much luck masking & painting stripes for an Intercity 'Swallow' repaint of 90013 The Law Society, so hopefully things will be better this time!

Modified details such as the door handles and altered door kickstrips became much clearer once the primer was applied.


Thursday 1st March 2007

Fame at last!

Recorded two weeks ago at the Brighton Modelworld show, it turns out that the first video of Wells Green TMD has appeared on the internet, put up on YouTube, by Worthing MRC member Richard Swayne. Having seen many other modellers recording their layouts on camera I was always put off by the lack of decent equipment to hand, and also seemed to be the only person in the world not to have a video camera on their mobile phone!

If anyone else would like to post videos of my layout up on YouTube feel free to do so! Here is the link to the eleven second recording of 86231 trundling about the layout.


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