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Canada Street appeared at the Railex '24 exhibition in Aylesbury on the 25th & 26th of May, and is seen here all set up on the Friday evening and ready for action. Regular operators Ian Manderson, Steve Wilkins, Tim Cobb and Paul Hatfield were joined by Carole Johnson, and there was a calmness about the team all weekend, just as if Pete had nipped away from the layout for a look around the show.


A lull in proceedings as Steve and Tim discuss a shunting move.


Here are some images taken at the weekend by Chris Hopper - Hymek 7018 awaiting its next duty.


With vans aplenty in the sidings, here's a broadside shot of Brush type 2 - D5683.


08296 is captured shunting a rake of bogie bolsters loaded with steel bar. After a most enjoyable day operating the layout, it was off to the pub for a beer and something to eat.


A view of the quayside as Class 03 trundles around with a short rake of wagons.


Tug boat 'Julia' moored up. Further images taken at Railex can be found here on Chris' Flickr album.


A few more snaps taken by Ian - here's D3316 resting in the headshunt.


37136 gets ready for departure after the train has been prepared.


Brush prototype 1200 Falcon brings a mixed freight into the yard for sorting.


Ian says - my only 'lump in the throat' moment was when they announced the award for best layout in show as voted for by the exhibitors, with Canada Street coming first. The best scenic item on the assembled layouts as judged by Barry Norman was awarded to the Maltsters building.




Further progress this month on the two Comet Ivatt 2-6-0 kits. The loco superstructures are now about 90% complete.


The basic chassis have also been wheeled up and running. Mine is the one on the right, with Markits wheels and the Mashima 1220 motor, while the P4 one on the left has Gibson wheels and a 1420 motor (both with High Level RoadRunner gearboxes).


Chassis pair with completed, de-mountable brake gear assemblies (also including the sand pipes from 0.4mm wire).


An interesting tip I may be able to pass on here. Have you ever needed thin metal strip with a hole drilled accurately into the end of it? The prefect things are the left-over links you get with the Rumney Models screw coupling frets. There are lots of spares and I use them to form the supporting strut at the end of sandpipes – just bend the hole at one end through 90deg, feed on and solder to the pipe, attaching the other end to the brake rigging and then cut off the excess. They’re also perfect for making rodding guides for use on lower quadrant signal posts.


Steady progress on the layout with the quarry’s disused lime kilns beginning to take shape, using my preferred Will Coarse Stone sheets as the basis, as deployed extensively on the Hebble Vale layout.


The prototype basis is the feature that can still be viewed at Sandside – here with my other half acting as a 5-foot measuring stick!


And taking in a wider view of the layout it can be seen that a start has been made on some ballasting, now we’re into warmer weather which speeds up the glue setting. I’ll be doing a ‘Signalling for the Kentside Branch’ demo at Scalefour Crewe over the weekend of 8th & 9th June, so maybe see some of you there?




New into service are some of the Bachmann Freightliner wagons. I'd like to thank those who got in touch regarding the wanted advert recently, the fleet is now bolstered by another 8 vehicles along with a pair of second-hand glue covered outers (which I'd had for some time) and were prime candidates for conversion.


This is a inner wagon FFA with bar coupling at both ends, and are as rare as hen's teeth on the second-hand market. Unfortunately the wagon dimensions and bogie centres are a few millimetres different between this FFA and the FGA outer, so a perfect conversion isn't possible without a lot of extra work.


I set to with a saw and removed the bufferbeams from the 2 black outers. The remaining diagonal bracing is different to the blue inner, but with containers placed either side, it's going to take some noticing. A drawbar made from brass channel section connects the 2 vehicles together using the new pins fitted to the underside of the wagon.


The pair of ex-FGAs - now FFAs if you squint. Colin Craig could no doubt spot the slight error in the bogie positions and trussing, but it's a couple of millimetres and I can live with it for the sake of a bit of chopping and glueing at less than a quarter of the price of a inner wagon.


Tail end Charlie loaded with a pair of 30ft containers. I've added the draught shield for the tail lamp - a common feature on Freightliner outers when oil lamps were used, to prevent them from being blown out.


The freightliner rake also consists of 7 Hornby wagons (5+2) which were heavily converted by Greg many years ago, with new underframe trussing made from brass and strene strip, and replacement white metal bogies which glide along nicely without rocking. Unfortunately the Hornby wagons ride 2.5mm higher as seen in these 2 images.


With the amount of work that had been put into these flats it was decided to retain them in the rake. A makeshift milling operation was carried out using a router to reduce the ride height, then refitting the pivots and bogies.


The 7 modified Hornby wagons are seen here being loaded with a selection of containers, mainly to hide the less detailed decks when compared with the Bachmann wagons.


Here's a couple of snaps of visiting Shenston Road motive power, starting off with Hymek D7036 at Hornsey Road depot - a Heljan model.


A pair of Baby Deltics D5901 & D5909 in charge of a spoil train, both having received replacement 3D printed headcode boxes to replace the undersized Heljan versions.




Whilst successfully getting the 4 main tracks up and running last month, the new through lines leading to the spirelix hadn't been tested. It was found that due to my dodgy turnout building and the fact I had to split it across a baseboard joint it was less than satisfactory, so a new turnout was inserted and laid entirely on one board with the required track and wiring alterations being carried out. Platform realignment is ongoing.


As previously mentioned I am currently out of rail, so a few rolling stock projects have been undertaken. Having already got 2 Invacars on dia 1/001 Lowfits I've rung the changes and put it on a Red Panda steel sided variety. Other than converting a Revolution Caroline inspection saloon and 2 Accurascale coaches (by carefully drawing the wheels up the stub axle to maintain the overall length), it's been a quiet month.




Starting off this month with a road bridge which will form part of the scenic break at the end of the layout, constructed mainly from Wills brick sheets and girder sections. I went to Railex '24 in Aylesbury and met up with my old school pal Gavin Clark of the Scalefour Society. Both Gavin and Pete were a huge influences on me as a teenager in the Cheadle Hulme School Model Railway Society. They were 5 years older than me and had amazing model making skills which have always been inspirational to me.


Here are a couple of recent locomotive projects, starting off with a bargain Hornby Class 08 which I'd acquired in railfreight grey. With the body removed, I masked off the wasp stripes and resprayed with Supadec grey primer, followed by Railmatch blue from a rattlecan. Once cured, a thinned mix of acrylic rail blue and Tamiya royal light grey was applied with a chisel brush using down strokes, and weathered using the IPA bleaching method with a splash of Tamiya black. The loco I chose needed and extra box on one side, so I made a silicone mould and produced one in fast cast resin, which now needs painting and weathering to match. It will be fitted with an EMGS kit of Gibson wheels. The second loco is a Bachmann Class 37 in large logo livery, converted to EM gauge and weathered using the same techniques. There will be more images of these two when they're finished with buffer beam pipework and Smiths screw couplings.


A low relief industrial warehouse with some grime and decay, which started out as 4 modified Bachmann sections tweaked with extra Wills brick details and drain pipes added. The brickwork was repainted and weathered in layers using the isopropyl alcohol bleaching technique (as mentioned last month), followed by layers of washes using several shades of Archive X grey grime and engine black, and some mossy green and yellow tinges to show moldy moss growth. To finish, some light airbrush weathering with a mix of Tamiya black and dark grey cut with 99% isopropyl alcohol to thin the paint.


Pete and I had a lot of talks about controllers and he advised me to get a Pulse Width Modulation controller, saying it lets the shunters crawl along at very realistic slow speeds. I picked up a controller kit (search PWM controller on ebay) and assembled it, and it works very well. They are very reasonably priced so I will no doubt pick up a couple more.


Some readers may be interested to know I'm a full-time professional model maker, producing exact replicas of the Star Wars models which were used for filming in 1976 by Industrial Light and Magic. My models are made using the original donor kits ILM used back then in Van Nuys, Califilornia. A lot of the parts are still available like the trusty old Airfix Saturn V rocket kit, used for the side engines of the Y wing model.


There are a multitude of Tamiya, Airfix, Hasegawa, Esci and Revell kits they cannibalised and stuck all over the models. ILM call them 'geeblies' - parts stuck on to imply form and function of a fictional space ship. These are all painted and weathered to look exactly like the original models used in the film. I meticulously copy the weathering - stain for stain, ding for ding, using Archive X paints which are reproductions of the Floquil Model Railroad paints of the 1970s with the same hues, but acrylic not enamel.



The latest edition of Model Railway Journal (issue 304) features a couple of articles from the emgauge70s modellers - Freewheeling by Kier Hardy, and The Perfect Class 25 by Karl Crowther.