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Update Pages - January to April 2013




The window panels for the Downing building are making progress. This view shows a typical panel, with the brickwork finished ready for the etched frame and glazing. The two buildings have around 80 windows similar to this, which caused some thinking on how best to do the fan-pattern brickwork above the arch.

The solution chosen was to press-mould these features in polystyrene. A bit of careful work with a rat-tail file created a mould tool in a piece of 3 x 3 brass bar. This is then heated over a gas flame and pressed into a strip of 30 thou plasticard rested on a steel block. Pressure is applied using another steel block to avoid burnt fingers! After a few seconds the tool and plastic are dipped into a bowl of water, and the impression created carefully split from the tool.

Nine brick fan mouldings ready for final cutting and shaping.

The basic brick panel before the arch and window sill bricks are added

A view on the back shows how off-cuts of brick plasticard are used to create the required depth of the window surround.

A technique which really adds realism to brickwork modelling is filing the mortar courses round any corners, as shown in this detail view. This is done using a knife-edge file, one by one……and on these buildings there must be thousands!

A typical window on the building in Gloucester Docks which inspired the model.

The grain chute on the waterside face of the building has recently been completed. This uses plank texture plasticard, with a bit of distressing of some timbers to add character.

A more general view of the building, showing the window panels in progress.

The elegant Victorian brickwork detailing of the gutter height region is also being added, as the waterside face of the building nears completion.



Underside view of a Heljan class 14 chassis as bought - OO gauge.

For some time now I had been looking for ways to convert my loco fleet to EM gauge using the original wheelsets. You can buy scale wheelsets and wheels to convert most locos, but the cost and availability of them in some cases led me to consider other options. This and the improving standards of the wheels being provided by the RTR manufacturers led me to look at turning down the wheelsets that came with the loco.

Access points for keeper plate.

One thing I would recommend before starting this project is to remove the cab from the body following the Heljan instructions provided. This will prevent any damage to the fragile fittings on the cab roof.

One end of the keeper plate lifted.

The first thing is to remove the wheelsets from the chassis. This is the tricky part as there is no obvious way to remove the keeper plate from the bottom of the chassis. I did it by carefully leavering the keeper plate upwards by sliding a thin object, in my case a knife blade (but be careful as I managed to break one off in the proccess) into the slot at the end of the chassis.

This should release the clips holding the plate in place, they are located either side of the axles and are indicated by the red arrows. By carefully sliding a blade or thin screwdriver along the chassis the remaining retaining clips should be released. Take care around the drive axle as the gearwheel makes this part of the retaining plate the weakest and most likely part to break. With the keeper plate removed, the wheelsets can be lifted out of the chassis.

I decided to tackle one pair of wheels at a time. This ensured I didn't mix up them up and that they went back together in the correct positions, especially in relation to the coupling rods.

Detach the wheelsets from the coupling rods by carefully pulling out the crankpin retaining pins and putting to one side. Take care when doing this as it is very easy to bend the ends of the coupling rods.

I decided to mount the wheelset in the lathe as a complete pair on the axle. This would allow me to see how true the wheelset ran, and also that I would not have to re-quarter the wheels as I would not have to put them back onto the axles. Experience has shown me that as long as you are careful in positioning the wheel in the chuck and positioning the cutting tool perfectly acceptable results can be achieved using this method. The RH wheel has yet to be turned. One further action was to wrap a length of masking tape around the gear on the driven axle. This prevents swarf from getting into the gears when turning.

Now to set the wheels to EM gauge I found the easiest way was to mount the wheelset in a vice, loosely but ensuring the wheel is well supported, then with an old axle and a pin hammer, carefully tap the axle through the wheelset very gently and a little bit at a time equally on both wheels until the gauge is set. If you take your time and don't rush it then you should be able to get even movement of each wheel on the axle. This is especially important on the geared axle where the drive gear should remain central.

One thing about using the original axle is that it's slightly too short, so after regauging this can be remedied with a bit of filler.

With the wheelsets now finished it can now go back into position with the coupling rods. As well as the wheels, the jackshaft also needed to be opened out, not very far, just enough to make its overall width the same as the wheelsets. Go too far and you run the risk of fouling the cab footsteps or the balance weights.

You will also have to add washers on the axles behind the wheel to cut down on sideplay. I used Peco 2mm fibre washers and as I had not removed either wheel from the axle, fitted them by cutting through on one side and twisted out of shape to enable them to be fitted over the axles. Once on the axle they could be returned to their original flat shape.

You will have to decide for yourself on the number you put on each side, but after trials on Shenston Road I found 10 either side worked best. The trials also showed the need to add washers to the jackshaft axle as well, and avoid clearance problems with the cab footsteps.

The loco comes with the brakegear as a separate fittings so they need to be fitted back with care so as not to foul the wheels. I did this by making packing pieces from 2mm x 1mm thick plastic strip with holes drilled in to fit the brake shoe fittings and then glueing into position on the chassis.

When the modified brakegear is glued back onto the loco, I found super glue the best, the actuating rodding also supplied with the loco will now not be wide enough to fit between the brake shoes. I looked at many options to correct this but in the end decided to cut out the center crosspieces off the brake rodding and glue the pull rods onto the back of the brakeshoes. One advantage of this was it allows the Keeper plate to be removed in the future oiling and the like. One thing I did before fitting everything back together was to cut a couple of small notches in the ends of the Keep plate to make it easier to get a small screwdriver in to lever it up in the future.

Attention will now turn to the body, especially filling in the big holes in the bufferbeam. I'm not convinced about the area above the cabside windows and the rainstrip, so may have a look at that in the future. I've now got another Class 14 to modify, and have already applied the technique to a Bachmann kettle class 9F with pleasing results.

Conversion finished and almost ready to earn its keep.

Other recent conversions - In the case of the LMS Prototype Twins, the original profile wheels are quite capable of just being spread on their axles without the need to reprofile, and have run well on Shenston Road and Wibdenshaw. As I possessed an old but servicable Unimat lathe and was reasonably competent with it, the first loco to be guinea pig was a Heljan Co-Bo. This loco came with chunky flanges and was a useful learning curve on various techniques, and how the slightly finer flanges look better and perform well through EM gauge pointwork.

There are other examples of wheel conversions using existing wheelsests, and affordable replacement alternatives, details of which can be found in the Gallery / Projects section of the website.



Due to other commitments there's been no progress on the layout for a few weeks, however with the layout set up there have been opportunities to run and test (and photograph) rolling stock.

This view of the approaches to the station area shows the camera posed at ground level on a couple of blobs of Blu-Tac, resulting in the following image.

Deltic 9002 The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry heads north with the Tyne-Tees Pullman at Hornsey Broadway in 1970, whilst Cravens units go about their business on London suburban services.




It's been an interesting Summer Down-Under and Lesney Park hardware is on hold for a while, so I can get on with other things including some commision work for friends.

Lima class 73 getting a new coat of blue paint.

Some pictures showing a repair I’m currently doing to a Lima VR - S class unit’s nose.

It lost an argument with a hard surface resulting in this damage.

A new surround is made from plastic pipe, and finished off with some modelling filler.

Now ready for the paint shop.



A general view of the Burtons building as it begins to take shape.

The back wall has had the positions for various pipes and vents sketched in pencil.

The main face of the waterside Downing building now has the brickwork complete, the end wall panel is shown in progress.

Brickwork panels for the main Downing building are also underway. Some artistic licence has been used on this building, with an extra floor and changed roof having been added for part of the length.



I've been out and about at Shenston Road taking a few snaps of Greg's recent loco projects and weathering techniques, and also a chance to familiarise myself with my new camera.





Peak D1 and NB hydraulics on shed.







The collection of inter-regional motive power for Hornsey Broadway is growing with a Bachmann Warship having just arrived on the work bench, and inspired by this image taken in 1971. The body is seen here on the mixing pallette with a couple of colours ready to start the process.

Looking pretty messy at this stage - my preferred medium is Humbrol enamels, so there are longer waiting times before adding any more thinners or layers, and allowing the paint to harden.

With the roof painted dirty browny grey and a blend of different colours added to the bodyside, the weathering process is starting to look a bit more like D826 JUPITER as she was in her final days. There's a combination of previous livery colours, filler and primer starting to show through - the result of harsh chemical cleaning on the prototype. Other classes of Western Region motive power also showed similar characteristics (Westerns & Hymeks). The rather basic and overscale handrails on the front of the loco have been removed and replaced with new ones fashioned from 0.33 brass wire, and a fresh coat of yellow paint on the ends. Numbers and double arrow logos applied.

There's a very slight gap at the top of the cab side windows, so the glazing units are painted around the frame to prevent unwanted shiny clear plastic showing. The apertures of the windows are also painted a dark colour to prevent reflected light appearing around the edges of the windows.

With the body plonked on the chassis, I think this is about as far as I want to go with the weathering - the desired effect having been captured in part. Still awaiting work on the engine room windows, and a set of nameplates required.

Also on the work bench - a pair of Heljan class 47 loco's making slow progress. D1100 and 1932 showing initial weathering to the roof areas, and fitted bufferbeam detail highlighted.

Wibdenshaw appeared at the Preston exhibition on the 2nd & 3rd of March 2013.



A bit of a diversion from the '70s theme..... February brought a change from Canada Street and architectural modelling, with a whitemetal loco kit project for Ian Manderson and Hartburn.

The first two views show the bodyshell of the LNER ‘G5’ 0-4-4T mixed traffic tank after a couple of days of fettling and soldering. The model is another of Alexander Models excellent whitemetal series, and the finish and fit of the parts was superb.

A couple of weeks later, and the model was ready for some test running during Hartburn’s appearance at the Warminster show. The mechanism is based around a Mashima motor and 60:1 worm/wheel set on the rear driving axle. This combination fits entirely within the sidetanks, avoiding any intrusion into the cab. Compensation has been added, and in combination with plunger pick-ups on all wheels should assure good slow running.

A view with the livery application underway – my first ever attempt at a lined-out steam era subject. The lining is from a Modelmasters sheet, and was easy to apply. Numbers by Fox, and crests from an old PC Models sheet will complete the finish.

The final view shows the G5 ex-works ready for some light weathering. The model is finished as 67341 which worked the final service train along the Rothbury branch in September 1952……The class were all gone by the late 1950s and so will take Hartburn back into the earlier decade at the forthcoming York show over the Easter weekend.




The Dapol Western - Recently into service at Shenston Road is D1047 Western Lord in blue livery with small warning panels. This particular model was repainted from a green liveried example, masking the yellow panels / glazing, converting to EM gauge, and fitted with driver and Secondman. Awaiting light weathering to complete.

D1000 Western Enterprise detailed and with lifting rings fitted to the roof.

Showing the model straight out of the box (left) alongside D1000 (right) which has received attention to the boiler ports (red arrows) and engine preheat ports (white arrow), instead of the vague outline moulding. The buffers have also been retracted to the correct position (green arrow as supplied).

Improvements have also been carried out to the headcode boxes, with the black edge lining removed to allow the correct size headcodes to be fitted (supplied from Heljan class 47 locos). Better security of the cab front handrails will also be required, using the moulded pip in the middle.

Also relatively new to the fleet are a trio of Heljan class 47s, starting here with 1813 in blue livery.

1674 Samson waits with a van train (wrong headcode) whilst D102 passes through the station.

1728 is a vacuum only example with the earlier style coolant group grills and Spanner boiler port.



Although work on buildings for Canada Street has continued OMWB the pictures this month are of rolling stock items again. The LNER ‘G5’ 67341 shown last month has been lightly weathered ready for use on Hartburn during the York Model Railway Show.

A bunker end view showing the coal rails keeping the sighting from the rear cab windows clear. Some examples of the class had a further, solid-sided, extension added above this, but the modification was never fitted on ‘341.

After a wait of several months the BR Diagram 1/163 Ore hopper, B439222, has been finished by the application of weathering using matt enamels. The wagon’s appearance is modelled to a David Larkin photograph dating from the summer of 1969.

September to December 2012
  May to August 2013