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James Makin
Wells Green TMD

On My Workbench Archive, January - February 2007


Monday 26th February 2007


We had another enjoyable weekend exhibiting Wells Green TMD - this time at the Carshalton & Sutton MRC's show in Leatherhead, Surrey. Thanks to everyone who said 'hello' and all the pleasant comments too!

Operationally, everything went reasonably well with only a few minor niggles - apart from a decoder fire on board Blue Pullman-liveried 47712! At around midday Saturday, 47712 was seemingly happy, idling away in the fiddle yard when all of a sudden clouds of smoke started pouring from every opening in the body, through the roof grilles, under the sides and out through the cab windows!

Upon removal of the bodyshell it emerged the Lenz Silver decoder had somewhat(!) overheated - and even the sticky fixer had melted into hot goo! Being the same Heljan Class 47 as to have caused a number of problems with Loksound decoders also, I've decided it will be subjected to a major strip down and rebuild possibly using a new Canon motor or similar - thereby removing the main cause of heat inside the locomotive.

As I'm sure you'll be familiar with my quest to photograph just about every 'out of period' locomotive on my humble post-privatisation layout, it will come as no surprise to see this Pannier Tank sat right next to the washing plant! Belonging to my friend Dave Bateman, 5775 is an old Bachmann model, purchased at the show and was duly pressed into service on Wells Green just to check it worked!

The Leatherhead show was an excellent place to bump into some fellow Diesel and Electric Modellers United members, including former Chairman Alan Monk. Alan was earlier caught red-handed operating the nicely modelled GWR branchline layout Aldbury Town, and obviously a closet 'Kettle' enthusiast, Alan was conveniently found 'lurking' around Wells Green TMD when the Pannier Tank was running!

On the Sunday, Pete Hollman and Martin Browning came along for a good play with the layout - Pete even brought a few 'guest locomotives' with him including 66204, 66227 and the impressive Bachmann factory-fitted DCC sound loco, part way through being renumbered to 66158. While the Bachmann/SWD sound decoder was extremely well set up for playing a loud volume with a nicely fitted speaker, things did seem 'odd' when it came to moving the loco at slow speed, compared to the ones South West Digital sell to the public. Hopefully this can be easily sorted by fiddling with the CV values!

And finally below, a image of a Pete Hollman 'loco-fest', left to right 66204, 66158, 60083 Mountsorrel and 66227 which look very nice all stabled together!


Thursday 22nd February 2007

Progress on Loftus Road

Well, it's been a long time since photographs of Worthing MRC's Loftus Road layout were shown - and look at all the progress that has been made!

The fiddle yard track has been completely laid and attention has now shifted to the front scenic boards, where much care is being taken to ensure the track is fairly straight - to roughly match the prototype Kensington Olympia. Wiring on the fiddle yard boards is virtually complete, with only control panels needing to be constructed, meanwhile the focus turns to the building of the signal gantries with the clever wiring associated with it to ensure the aspects change when we want them to!

Pete Hollman's trusty Lima Mk3 coach is really setting the benchmark for rolling stock on Loftus Road, on top of the blue and grey livery we can see a beautifully applied layer of masking tape and bits of sandpaper. Pete in fact uses this coach for sanding his MDF platform edges on his home layout - and thus became the perfect piece of rolling stock for testing Loftus Road with, especially when the platforms are built! With our Peco Code 75 track, the Mk3 makes a lovely clickety click noise as the flanges hit all the rail chairs!

From left to right is Rex Morrison, (working on the fiddleyard wiring), centre is Pete Hollman (wielding a Stanley knife in case any more embarassing website pictures are published) and to the right is James Rann (casually watching the action!).

Here you can see the main running lines going down - the furthest turnout at the top of the photograph above is for the side platform, with the track on the right hand side actually being the central through road past the station.

Martin Browning takes on the job of wiring some point motors on the fiddle yard boards; below you can see the motors in place, and looking by the visible holes in the baseboard, a few more are still to be added!

Back to my layout - Wells Green TMD is back out on the exhibition circuit and will be appearing at the Carshalton & Sutton MRC show at Leatherhead Leisure Centre, Surrey, KT22 9BL this coming weekend, hopefully I'll be there to answer any questions you may have, unlike last week!


Monday 19th February 2007

"What's that noise?"

With the Brighton Modelworld event now over and the layout packed away after three day's exhibiting it was a relieving feeling that nothing went wrong - particularly as for the first time the layout was operated for a day while I was not present.

I had to work on the Saturday so I was anxiously awaiting a text or email saying "the layout's exploded..." or "you might want to arrive early on Sunday" but luckily nothing eventful happened!

A big thanks go to all those who helped out on the layout, and apologies to any visitors who wanted to speak to me but couldn't. Although Modelworld is never really regarded by myself or others as a proper railway show (less and less layouts each year!) the event acted as a valuable training session for the upcoming Leatherhead exhibition next week where I'd imagine there are many more 'serious' rail enthusiasts present expecting a good show!

Getting used to the DCC Sound locomotives is a major part of learning the ropes on Wells Green TMD - especially the built-in 'inertia', meaning you have about three or full seconds of full power to listen to the loco's engine revving up before shutting off power allowing the loco to coast to a stop on the eight foot layout!

More used to shunting SR EMUs on his layout Ashington, here we can see Dave Kent pausing for a moment to listen to 66951 idling away on the fuelling point!

Fellow Worthing MRC member and new operator John Lewry bought a Lima 47807 in Porterbrook livery at the show, so naturally I made sure it was quickly operating on the layout, ready for photographs to be taken!

47807 looks quite at home amongst the modern setting, despite being around six years too early for Wells Green TMD! I actually have a model of 47807 - albeit in its later Virgin Lion of Vienna guise!

...and the weekend wouldn't be complete without some nice 1960's green diesel photographs - Dave Kent's purchase of the new Limby Class 73 as E6003 was just crying out to be placed on the layout!


Thursday 15th February 2007


Just a quick note to say that Wells Green TMD will be appearing at the Brighton Modelworld event from Friday 16th until Sunday 18th, held at the Brighton Centre, East Sussex. If you're planning to come along, please do say hello.

Regrettably I won't be able to make the Saturday, but the layout will be in the safe hands of my friends from the Worthing MRC who'll no doubt try and answer any audience questions while running trains simultaneously!

Naturally I'll be taking the camera along so expect a nice update after the weekend!


Monday 12th February 2007

Fiddly bits

Feedback from my previous MRM article on class 86 remotoring indicated that a number of people would quite like to see a closer description of upgrading a Hornby '86', notably in the detailing aspect of the model - adding those little extras that the thirty-odd year old Hornby model lacks!

Something I'd not attempted before was adding the proper door handles & recesses in the cab doors, with full curvy triangular cut outs to be made and little handles to be fixed in place. This loco will become 86228 Vulcan Heritage - a nice little project being slowly worked upon amongst all the exhibition outings and other commitments. Although not a lot of progress has been made in the last month or so, the lack of other projects has made me dig it out for a speedy re-vamp!

Examining photographs found on the internet and in books & magazines shows up many obvious upgrades that could be made but something that bothers me are the roof grilles on the Hornby AC electrics. All the time we read in magazines about people fitting etched grilles to diesel loco roofs - but never do we hear about people finding the moulded grilles on Hornby's 86s and 90s unacceptable. So to make a nice change from modellers complaining about 'diesel' grilles, I'm complaining about these 'electric' grilles for a bit of balance!

As you can see the holes have already been drilled ready to chop the plastic squares out, and a nice bit of etched brass mesh will be added, overlaid with the three 'grab rails' over the top. Naturally the trademark Hornby roof-mounted switch is removed and filled with car body filler as well as the run of the bus-bars being altered.

Because 86228 will probably spend all its life running on a depot layout I have decided to fit a few 'Wells Green' extras, including an open cab door, which will eventually have a fully detailed corridor/partition behind the cab interior.

In this picture you can also see the bodyside mounting places have been filled in - only slightly. A very thin piece of plastic is popped in towards the outside surface of the bodyshell, which means you can get away with only partially rubbing down the clips on the chassis, thereby retaining the convenient clip fit!

Unfortunately the livery has taken quite a bashing during the work and although the loco will be in unbranded Intercity Swallow livery, it looks like there may have to be a complete repaint - despite taking the greatest care during the modelling stages. Oh well!


Monday 5th February 2007

Back from Hampshire - the 2007 Tour begins

The layout's 9th exhibition at Alton went off without any major problems and proved a very enjoyable occasion! Despite making a wrong turning off the A3, James Rann and I made it to the venue in plenty of time that morning and met up with Peter Denton, the latest member of Worthing MRC to be trained up (pardon the pun!) on operating the layout with the Lenz system.

New to stock was 60028 John Flamsteed making its debut exhibition appearance. Remotored 92035 Mendelssohn also made a brief visit, but was later sidelined due to the loco not quite being smooth enough yet - a little more running in is still required I think!

Operator James Rann couldn't resist bringing along his Bachmann '171' to pose for photographs on Wells Green TMD, and likewise Peter Denton brought this rather nice Hornby Britannia 70013 Oliver Cromwell which went into the record books as being the first steam locomotive to operate on the layout in DCC mode. However, it is not the first ever steam locomotive on Wells Green TMD - that accolade goes to a Hornby 'Q1' tested for someone at the Trainwest show, last April.

My operators work shifts so here you can see Sunday's operators - fully fledged driver John Holmes (left) and 'new recruit' Martin Browning taking the controls, learning all the layout's fiddly bits and faults!

Martin guides 66951 into one of the depot roads.

Wells Green TMD's fleet of re-motored Class 90s currently stands at a paltry two, hence the future plan is to dig out some of the Ringfield-fitted EWS-liveried examples, and give them a new lease of life!

And to round off a brilliant weekend, around seven or eight exhibition invites were received, so these will be added to the list of 2008/9 Tour Dates when the confirmation letters arrive. Wells Green TMD's no doubt coming to a venue near you!


Wednesday 31st January 2007

Clean-up Operation

With the Alton MRG show looming, I decided to embark upon a spot of cleaning to ensure the layout was really sparkling - over the last few months the layout has received a fair coating of dust (despite having its own cover) and the particles from abrasive track rubbers have also settled on the trackwork. Greenery and buildings were also starting to look a bit dull, so it was high time for a spring clean!

To a certain degree I like the layout being slightly dusty and grimy, it does help with the weathering and also ensuring that nothing sticks out as looking too new. However I was completely amazed at the layers of greasy yuck which came off the concrete apron outside the depot buildings - after a nice scrub it was looking as good as it did originally.

On the scenic frontage (gathering dust since September '05) a hair dryer was used to blow away the bits and pieces - not to mention a few stray bushes which became detached!

Naturally the cleaning of the locomotive's wheels are most important, and a start was made on cleaning the Hornby '60's and the Heljan '90's to begin with. Here you can also see the Bachmann 37886 awaiting its turn for the wheel cleaning treatment!

Pondering the best way of cleaning wheels on DCC, I asked on the DEMU Forum (become a member to access this valuable resource!) how others do this, and responses came back recommending attaching a small piece of track to the DCC power supply whilst the loco is upside down on one bogie, then scrub the other bogie with a track rubber. This then means you can end up with ultra shiny wheels, and can finally remove the awful blackening on the treads of Bachmann and Heljan wheelsets.

If you are planning to come along to the Alton MRG (Eggars School, Alton, Hampshire GU34 4EQ) show this weekend, please do say hello!


Monday 29th January 2007

Chipped 'Skip'

The lastest work going on this weekend involved fitting Lenz Gold decoders to the EWS Executive silver 67029 and my remotored 92035 Mendelssohn. I decided to hard-wire in the Lima '67', after all it is only four wires needed to control the loco's movement, it seemed rather easier than attaching NEM plugs and sockets onto the somewhat sparse printed circuit board. In due course, LED lighting will be fitted, but for now the simple Lima lightbulbs were removed and placed in the scrapbox.


Thursday 25th January 2007


We don't get snow here very often in Worthing, so I took quite a few pictures on Wednesday morning hehe!

The catenary is all fixed and working now, so normal service will resume soon, complete with railway related pictures!

Something to keep you going - here's an old pic showing five of Wells Green TMD's 'Sheds' line up outside the shed. The layout is attending the Alton MRG show over the weekend of February 3/4 at Eggars School, London Road, Alton, Hampshire GU34 4EQ, for anyone interested in seeing the layout 'in the flesh'!


Sunday 21st January 2007

Testing times

Hornby's DB-liveried 90029 Fractverbindungen was used as a test loco to examine pantograph movements over the pointwork where the new wiring was installed. The requirements of such a 'test loco' involved something with a pantograph, yet also it had to be a loco which I would not be too disappointed about if a drop of boiling solder landed on it, so this out of the box Hornby '90' fitted the bill perfectly!

The catenary around the layout's 'entrance' is being worked on, with existing wires cut down and replaced, adding that all-important tension to prevent pantographs coming away from the contact wire.

Despite being a relatively simple job in theory ("oh I'll just do that on Sunday morning and get onto some proper modelling before lunchtime"), its sadly is not so easy in practice. Dangling a 450-degree soldering iron tip just millimetres from plastic details is always a frightening task and then suddenly you think of how much easier the task could have been doing it another way, yet you've already gone too far and can't go back now!

I still haven't finished the re-wiring yet though, the next challenge is to connect the new sections of wire with the original ones, aiming for a high quality join with minimum amount of blobby soldering, but I doubt I'll be that lucky!


Thursday 18th January 2007

Vital Preparations

Unlike last week's 'unveiling' there are sadly no new models to show off in this update, but with the onset of exhibitions it is time to give the layout a good tidy up and spring clean!

A few repairs are being carried out on the front Palisade fencing - normally done after every show due to the inevitable crowd poking as well as knocks to the layout during transportation from home to venue and back again. Modifications are also being made to the existing catenary, enough to keep it safe until the newer masts and gantries are completed and installed.

Having been 'press ganged' into doing another show (Brighton Modelworld, Feb 16-18 2007) at the club last night, I realised Wells Green TMD has rather a busy year ahead! As a result the Exhibitions page has been reworked slightly to make things easier to navigate and find out where you can next see Wells Green TMD in action. Bye for now!


Friday 12th January 2007

A Dirty Boring 'Tug'

Thinking about these past web updates, this '60' has probably the largest amount of photographs dedicated to one loco compared to anything else on this website! But as the project draws to a close I just thought I'd finish off the 'story' and show the nearly-final pictures. There are still little details to add, such as silvering the cab footsteps to show wear, and making the buffers a bit oily, too. But it's nearly there.

Behind both the air intake grille and main No.1 end grilles, lots of weathering and detail painting has taken place to match the external weathering of the locomotive.

Here is the 'boring' side of the loco featuring only 1 side grille. However, this side often has some interesting weathering due to the exhaust being on this side of the loco. The above dry brush weathering is all copied from photographs, I just love the way all the exhaust dirt, diesel and other grime streaks down the sides but only where the rainwater carries it - resulting in streaks from each panel line, but not in between!

Some of the windows frames have been painted silver where little pieces of paint have fragmented away. It is amazing to think that this Hornby Class 60 project has completely overtaken my Intercity 86228 Vulcan Heritage project, I must try and get back to complete those unfinished modelling projects!


Tuesday 9th January 2007

Weathering & Comparisons!

Its been over a week since the last update and the current project - 60028 - is progressing slowly, so no change there then! Before the loco receives the airbrush treatment to replicate the mud and grime thrown up from the track and bogies, the roof was weathered and the lovely bodyside spills added. There's something about these streaks I find fascinating but can't explain why!

On most of the EWS liveried '60's the painted window frames are rapidly flaking away, but remarkably 60028's original livery is around 16 years old and the paintwork actually seems in relatively good condition for its age! Even my photographs (incredibly now 6 years ago, how time flies..!) show the window frames in good condition so these were only slightly silvered to represent some bare metal in places.

Other extras included the customary copy of The Sun on the drivers desk along with a drink too. Bits of A4 paper have been scattered on the secondman's seat as well as rubbish on the cab floor. Interior window blinds will be added in due course, to complete the 'lived in' look of the locomotive's cabs.

Moving onto the internal equipment modelled by Hornby, I am unsure whether to remove the round tank-like object to the right of the rectangle radiator (as seen in photo below). I seem to vaguely remember something mentioned in the instructions of the Shawplan(?) Lima '60' internal detailing kit advising that these were later only fitted (or removed even?) to/from Loadhaul locomotives or something. However I regret to say that I do not have enough side on photographs from when I last saw 60028 and can't find my Shawplan instructions either! Ah well!

Although it is a big 'no no' to compare old models with new, it did make interesting looking. The Hornby Class 60 is actually a couple of millimeters longer than the old Lima moulding, with the extra Hornby length being somewhere between the centre bodyside doors and cooling group. Shame I can't get near the prototype to measure it but I presume the Italians didn't have such good access to the real thing when making their model all those years ago, but what with other mistakes to recent models you can't always presume the Hornby model is 'spot on'!

I don't mind though, its the running qualities which make the Hornby model a winner for me. However I have a tiny, tiny, sneaky feeling that the cab roof dome is a little too rounded (from left to right, viewed end on). I don't recall reading about it in any of the magazine reviews but I don't think it affects the look of the model too much.

Something I have noticed however, is the rather green tint to Hornby's dark roof 'grey', noticeably different to my Lima - Railmatch - repaint shown in the photo. Although the repaint is in no way 'correct' by any means as there can be many variations during paint mixing, the greenish roof does stick out a bit for me. I hope my roof weathering is going to be strong enough to cover most of this otherwise I'll have to repaint it or face years of niggling little feelings about this model!

All in all though a very classy model, I know I will certainly be buying a few more over the next few years - even a replacement for my favourite Trainload Metals 60038!


Monday 1st January 2007

Nothing out of the ordinary

Having seen the above loco at Didcot some years back, I have sought to model 60028 John Flamsteed for a while now, and was one of those '60's that I had originally planned to create with the Lima model in mind. 60028 is one of the ranks of 'boring' Class 60s that spent quite a while with no logos of any kind, but I felt I needed to model something a bit plain, simply to justify all the other bright celebrity liveries that also exist on Wells Green TMD! Nowadays 60028 carries a big EWS sticker, but I'd prefer to model the loco in the condition of the photograph.

Fortunately Hornby's latest Mainline-grey release makes things that little bit easier still, so having received my model only 7 days ago I already had the urge to vandalise it!

Naturally the main task was to remove the large Mainline logo occupying much of the left-hand bodyside without damaging the underlying two tone grey paint. Having had much experience of renumbering Hornby locos I was expecting it to put up a fight, (having even resorted to scraping printed logos with scalpels in the past), but the Mainline logo proved remarkably easy to remove using enamel thinners. The images below guide you through the stripping process...

The first part is to open the enamel thinners and splash it on, then wait a little while and rub away using cotton buds;

After a while it should look like this - you'll find the wheel logo takes the longest to disappear though.

Hey presto!

Finally attention has now turned to applying the transfers and nameplates. The etched John Flamsteed nameplates are from Fox Transfers, and although more expensive than rivals Shawplan, I believe they are slightly better quality, with Fox having captured the 'Rail Alphabet' font of the class 60 nameplates better than any other nameplate manufacturer has so far.

Currently the windows have been masked up for initial varnishing, applied to protect the transfers during the heavy weathering stages!


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