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Update Pages - May to August 2009




A trip to Tonbridge West Yard during the recent Canada Road exhibition visit to that town found four Class 73s at rest, including 73 208 in rail blue with full yellow ends! Inspired by this encounter, the Lima 73/0 from the ‘to do’ shelf has seen some work recently. These views show it about ready for final painting. The model will be finished as 73 004 in a typical mid-1970s condition, and will partner the Ruston & Hornsby class 07 in the Canada Road ‘Southampton 1974’ segway.

Strangely, the Lima model makes no attempt at the bogie footsteps or pipe runs so these have been added using folded brass offcuts and 0,31mm wire. All handrails have also been replaced with 0,45 nickel silver, filed flat on the outside face to match the flat profiles of the prototype.

The roof mounted horns are from Markits, which come with a useful 0,5mm cross-drilled hole allowing for secure mounting on a soldered stub-wire. The cab fronts and engine room windows have received flush glazing, fitted with pantograph wipers left over from a Heljan class 27 project.

The 73/0s featured an additional socket and jumper cable on the cab front which Lima have omitted from their otherwise excellent model of the type. The missing items have been added using left-over Heljan sockets, and cables scratchbuilt using wire and plastic.

The finished 26 023, based on the Heljan model, lightly weathered in a mid-70s condition. The cabside tablet catcher recess on this type caused early TOPS renumbering to be carried at the non-standard right-hand end of the loco.

Mid-70s stablemate 27 027, displaying another early-TOPS Scottish variation. This, and several other locos of the era, carried TOPS numbers applied in the pre-TOPS block style characters. Some ScR locos, including 06 008, even carried markings featuring a mix of both character styles within the same running number!

Returning to the theme of 1960s wagons, B893640 is a typical BR Cattle Van to diagram 1/353, based heavily on the final GWR design. Although the last BR built wagon was delivered in 1954, only 14 years later the railways had largely given up on livestock traffic, and most had been scrapped or found use on other loads. Many carried the original applied livery, as modelled here, through their entire lives. A few pockets of specialist traffic did survive however, and it wasn’t until 1975 that the very last Cattles were withdrawn.

B456226 is a Match wagon to BR diagram 1/098. Built to ride below overhanging bolster loads, these wagons were never loaded in their own right. Many saw relatively little use, and were withdrawn by the early 1970s. The model is based on the Parkside 10ft wheelbase underframe kit, and the type was unusual for carrying the running number on the solebars.

B39649 is a riveted 16 ton mineral wagon to diagram 1/105. The independent brake gear on each side shows that this type originally had bottom doors allowing unloading into coal drops – with the aid of a shovel. Later in their lives these doors were often fixed shut, and the small chevron marks on the side doors deleted as a result. I well remember the rarity value of five-figure numbered minerals by the time I was noting wagon types in the late 70s.

B115822 is a welded mineral to BR diagram 1/108. This was the standard design for the type, and was built in vast numbers by a host of workshops. This model is from the old Airfix kit, with weathering based on a photo from the late 70s, when there was more rust than paint on this particular example.

B886162 is a Covhop to BR diagram 1/210. This distinctive design carried loads as diverse as soda ash, sand, and sugar at different times. Over 1300 of the type were built, most having no fitted brake, although the final few batches were piped for vacuum, and the very last batch had vacuum brake. Only about two appear to have survived into preservation, of which one is awaiting restoration on the Glos/Warks Rly. . The model is scratchbuilt, mostly in plasticard, but with roof walkways made using brass strip.

Pipe wagon B484197, pictured in the Canada Road sidings. Built to BR diagram 1/462 this wagon was one of 50 constructed for a specific contract, and as a result got numbered into the general merchandise series B4xxxxx. Most Pipes had numbers beginning B741xxx. With the end of the contract, the B484xxx wagons were absorbed into the standard pipe traffic fleet. The livery pictured is from that period. By the early eighties many of the type found use on departmental traffic for the engineers. The model is from the excellent Parkside kit, and livery is to a Paul Bartlett photograph.

A bit of fun with the black & white mode on the computer! SR pattern BR diagram 1/202 van pictured in the Canada Road sidings sometime in the mid-sixties……. That BR built 750 of this type while deciding what their ‘standard’ 12 ton van design would be illustrates clearly the scale of railway freight traffic expectations in the late 1940s……..When was ANY sort of wagon last produced in that kind of quantity for Britain’s railways I wonder - never mind a knowingly obsolete design ordered as a stop-gap!!

A detail view of the chassis from the LNER J27 pictured in the March OMWB. Modified Alexander Models frames have been used, with compensation incorporated. The Romford wheels give a live-axle pick-up on one side, and Kean-Maygib 462NS sprung plungers complete the system. The coupling rods are from Alan Gibson, and final drive from the Mashima 1620 motor is via a 60:1 worm/wheel set on the rigid back axle. The centre wheel balance weight is made from 5 thou plasticard fixed with epoxy, and more epoxy is use to fill the wheel centres before filing flush. The completed loco made a debut at the recent Jarrow show and performed well, more pictures from that outing will hopefully be posted in future updates.




Those familiar with the docks area of Gloucester will recognise this building as the Tall Ship public house in Southgate Street. There is still some more detailing work to be done, along with a pub sign and extension to the drain pipes.

It is scratchbuilt from plasticard with a foamboard base, whitemetal chimney pots and a home made tv aerial soldered up from brass wire and the satellite dish is made from a contact lense. The sash window frames are made from micro strip and the rendering is sandpaper.... finished off with some Ratio plastic guttering.



North British Class 29 6112 in 1968/69 livery. An odd choice by Hornby for a r-t-r model given the limited range and working life of the prototypes. The bodyshell has a good basic shape, but needs quite a lot of work on windows and detailing to capture the character of the original.

Brush Class 31 D5683 in 1969 appearance. Based on the Lima model, the main re-work has been to enlarge the headcode display slightly...then it is the usual handrail and lamp bracket work in brass, and the glazing....26 pieces to cut and fit - groan! - but worth it in the end.

BR Class 24/1 24 136 as it looked in 1974. Modified from the Hornby model, and in the livery it carried to the scrapyard in the same year. '136 was one of several TOPS re-numbered examples that never got rail blue livery. This loco has had the 5-pole Hornby ringfield bogie and extra pick-ups fitted, giving excellent control for shunting work on Canada Road.

Blue spot Fish Van E87547 to BR diagram 1/801 was a BR version of the standard LNER fish van of 1948. Although finished in eye catching white - or later ice blue - basic colour, with the large blue spot indicating fish traffic, the high milages between Scotland and London run by the type caused them usually to be in dirty external condition. This wagon is modelled to a photograph taken at Aberdeen in the mid-sixties, and has been locally cleaned over the wagon markings.

An ice blue version of the same type, E87893 shows the post 1963 BR livery for insulated vans. These models were scratchbuilt in plasticard using Parkside chassis parts, and have been shown on previous OMWB pages.

Lowfit B450032 to BR diagram 1/001, based on Parkside chassis parts under a ready-to-run deck moulding. The addition of the small brackets which retained metal strips on the top edges of the wooden sides, using 5 thou plastic strip, adds realism to this model.

Iron Ore Tippler B383305 to BR diagram 1/181 is a scratchbuilt body on a heavily adapted Airfix mineral wagon chassis and was put together 25 years ago when kits for the type were not available. This basic wagon type evolved over the BR period into 10' wheelbase versions with vacuum brake, before being made obsolete by air-braked bogie wagons of far greater capacity during the early-seventies.

Bogie Bolster C B944134 to BR diagram 1/475 is based on the Bachmann model. BR produced several minor variations on this theme, and this model has had new BR-pattern bolsters made using plastic section, as well as changes to the bogie side plates and brake lever arrangement. On the 1/475 the two inner bolsters had fixed positions, unlike other similar diagrams where all four bolster positions could be varied to suit the load.

Bogie Bolster E B923879 to BR diagram 1/479 based on the Lima model, but with Cambrian bogies and new buffers and brake gear. Livery is modelled to a Paul Bartlett photograph from the 1970s.

A change from the usual short wheelbase stock on the layout, COV AB 200062 is based on the excellent Bachmann model and has just been re-painted and weathered. The early examples of this design were vacuum piped in addition to the air brakes, allowing them to run within vacuum fitted trains. The model is in the original livery carried from new, which was retained by some into the early 1980s.

Another van of the same type, 200237 has the new 'Railfreight' logo applied on a maroon patch over the original bauxite finish. Many vans appeared this way after the 1976 introduction of the railfreight brand by BR.



Here is the begining of 'project 124' by Paul James. This cab front has been modified from a DC Kits class 303 EMU, and will form part of a 5 car Trans-Pennine unit. This project will be finished in time for the Manchester exhibition on the 4th & 5th of October 2009.



A view of the completed turnout leading to the stub siding with end dock. A first for me in that it straddles the baseboard join. This turned out to be a lot more straight forward than I anticipated and running a test bogie through it has been successful.

The completed cross-over at the end of the passing loop. The siding to the right goes to the disused coal drops. I've not yet decided whether to model the drops or to leave them off scene.

This shows the start of the wiring and installation of the tortoise point motors. The wiring still has to be completed and tidied up. Thanks to Trevor Hale for his help with this.

Latest addition to the Easington Lane fleet is 08212. This is a Hornby model fitted with Romford wheels and cranks. The weathering has been based on a picture of 08310 in Steve Jordan's class 08 book 'The Liveries of the BR Standard Diesel Electric Shunters in Colour (1952-1996) vol 2', a book I can highly recommend.

Following erratic running the pickup arrangement has been modified by Pete Johnson. Thanks go to Pete, and Kier who helped with the initial EM conversion.




As often seems to happen, I have launched into a couple of new projects while existing ones sit waiting on the shelf for final painting! Canada Road has always lacked a suitable small shunter to accompany the Western Region hydraulic locomotives. To fill this ‘gap’ a green pre-TOPS Class 03 is being modelled. In this view the bodyshell has been stripped of detailing items and then had all the moulded grab handles and handrails removed. More than 100 x 0,35mm holes then need to be drilled to take the replacement handles in 0,31 brass wire.

Another view of the early stages of bodyshell work. The bufferbeam cut-outs have been filled using .080 black plasticard set flush to the surrounding beam. The buffers have been taken off to allow removal of the mould lines and smoothing of the end faces before careful re-setting into the backplates. Some of the detailing of the bonnet door hinges and strapping has also been thinned slightly to better match the prototype.

The 03 mechanism will be based on a Branchlines chassis kit that has been on the ‘to do’ shelf for a while. This view shows the completed frame assembly for the 03 (and another for a new Class 04) along with the associated sprung pick-ups, Gibson wheelset and motor/gearbox. The basic chassis kit has been modified to give compensated suspension by slightly elongating four of the axle bush holes into vertical slots and then fitting floating top-hat bushes retained by soldered wire rings. The equalising beam and pivot are made from brass rod and tube, and the frames have also been drilled ready for the plunger pickups.

Following up the Southern Region Class 73 completed recently, a BRCW 33/0 is now making good progress. The model is being converted from the Heljan 33/1 as this version features an improved roof profile over the original Heljan 33/0. This picture shows the bodyshell with the jumper-cable details removed and filed flush with the surrounding profile. The slotted detail location holes have been drilled out to a uniform 0,95mm diameter and then plugged using 1,0 plastic rod filed to a slight lead-in taper. This is pushed in, with a little poly applied, until a really tight fit is produced. Once the poly has had a day or two to set the plugs are carefully trimmed back flush and smoothed using fine emery paper. .060 plasticard has been used to fill the lower edge cut-out, again being smoothed to shape when the glue has dried.

In this view the re-worked areas have now been given an undercoat of thinned matt white enamel, and new holes drilled for the 33/0 style handrails. The marker light surrounds have been robbed from a junk 33/0 bodyshell, cut out as quite big pieces and then carefully filed back until only the thin light-surround overlay remains. These are then bonded in place using a little poly - positioned slightly lower than on the Heljan 33/0 shell which seems to have them set slightly too far up.

M94693 is an example of a recently completed project to create a fleet of seven BR CCTs for use mainly on Wibdenshaw. The project was based on some cheap second-hand Lima models picked up over the years. Flush glazing with wire security bars has been fitted, as have MJT W-irons with 14mm disc wheels and clasp brakes left over from wagon building projects. All the door grab handles have also been replaced, using brass wire, before final painting and marking using Fox and Modelmaster transfers.



The bodywork on this fleet of seven Shochood Bs has been created using Photoshop. The flat sides of the prototype lend themselves well to this technique. Printed using a high resolution printer the sides have been attached to a plastic box with Parkside ends and chassis.

Here's the inside view to show the various laminations.

This is the inside of the separate hood, which clips onto the body.

The completed wagon except for handrails, couplings and paint.




Another building for Llanthony Road starts to take shape. Built by Richard Grosvenor, this will form part of a low relief scene based on the Foster Bros (cake & seed mill) building off Merchants Road in Gloucester. On a similar theme, a new page has been added to this website which features some of the buildings in and around the Llanthony Road area of the Gloucester Docks, before and during the construction of the new Gloucester Quays complex. Click on the 'prototype' link on the left of this page to view the index.

Faller did a twin silo kit in HO but after a quick phone call, I realised it was discontinued. Since I’m into scratchbuilding things, I thought that would be the best option. So far its been a lot easier than I imagined, and if the walkway looks a bit ropey, then its because its temporarily held on with a blue-tac. I am in the process of adding walkways and caged access ladders.



Using the same principle that was applied to the class 123, Bachmann Mk1 TSOs or SKs are the doner vehicles. The DMC seen above requires the most modifications to the window positions, but this has proved not too difficult as the coach sides can be worked on easily once the coach is dismantled. On the side shown in the photo, all the windows except for the drivers door droplight have been cut out, and some adjustment to the actual size of the windows is required.

This shows the front end of the DMC. It started out as a DC Kits Class 303 cab front, as this seemed the best basic shape to start with. The sides of the cab have been extended and the roof heavily modified. The cab windows have been enlarged and extended around the sides and an aperture for the headcode box cut out. Once I am completely happy that the roof profile is right then the 'eyebrows' above the windows will be added, along with rainstrips and other front end detail. The cab will be fixed to the roof, and the join between the cab and coach side will co-incide with the door edge and colour change from yellow to blue.

I have started modifying another class 303 cab for the 2nd DMC, and started looking at the glazing issue. Each window will be made and then put to one side, rather than make when the cabs are attached to the body / roof. A suitable piece of curved clear plastic was obtained from the Bachmann box packaging.

January to April 2009
  September to December 2009