Friday, February 23, 2024

Model Rail Scotland


Here's a first. All being well, as you read this, I will be taking park in Model Rail Scotland with the World of Railways stand. 

Glasgow is a show I always wanted to do with Melbridge Dock, but never had an invite. It's a very long journey, a 5.5 hour drive I've not looking forward to if I'm honest, but we are exhibiting, and they need someone who can talk toy trains, so I'll load up the models and see how it goes. 

If you are visiting, please say hello. And if there are any Scottish cakes going...

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Water tower, platform and deckchairs in the Spring issue of BRM


A real mix of projects in this month's BRM. I kick off with West Hill Wagon Works modern N gauge platform. Nice kit full of 3D printed detail, and probably the only way you can model a modern pre-fab platform, especially in N!

The kit doesn't include a way on and off as the prototype has the ground built up at the back - so I needed to build a similar bank. As ever, I've gone a little off-piste with the build, but there are good reasons for this. Anyway, slavishly following the instructions is no fun...

Jumping up to 7mm, a Skytex water tower. I like these resin kits, they are very accesible and not difficult to build, but hopefully I have finesed it a little. In addition, on BRM TV, I demonstrate how I painted the stone finish. 

Finally, a bit of madness - etched brass 2mm scale deckchairs. These are Severn Models kits, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Fiddly? Very? Satisfying? Very much so. 

I've also been out with the camera to capture some excellent layouts. 

Tytton Hall Yard - a real crowd-pleaser of a OO roundy-roundy. Well, it was at Doncaster where you couldn't get near it all weekend!

At Doncaster 2023, I shot the 009 and OO layout, Lower Hanworth. Square layouts provide lots of angles to work with, and I think I've managed to produce some views that you can't easily see at a show. 

Finally, Hay Town, and attractive GWR "might have been" terminus. Very pretty, and with loads of well-modelled detail.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

New techniques


There's a slight snag with building Ivor. The power to half the sockets in our house are electricity-free. Two electricians have investigated, and the second one is coming back to have another look and see if he can fix it for more than 14 hours. 

Of course, my workbench is in the dead zone, so soldering has to be carried out with the gas torch, which demands a slightly different technique to the Antex. The joint has to be prepared, fluxed and a little bit of solder put in place. Then hold it all together and blast with heat. It's not as easy, but I've managed to get some joins made - at the cost of two burnt fingers!

You might ask why I don't use the soldering iron attachment instead - simple it seems to take forever to warm up, and I couldn't be bothered to wait. Anyway, blowing solder around joints is good fun!

So, it works, but I'll be glad when the power returns to the sockets!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024



Time for another loco kit, well the Sentinel has stalled, and I'm enjoying the soldering. The PH Designs kit has been in my stash for several years. Bought as a present, one of those things you appreciate, while knowing it means quite a bit of expense to buy all the other bits required to finish the job. 

Anyway, my thought had been to use the gearbox from the Senetinel, but on opening the box, I'd already sourced one from somewhere, so all I had to get were the wheels Slaters 7862W. Ordered direct from the maker, they arrived the next day, and I just ignore that they cost nearly 50 quid! O gauge isn't cheap. 

Ivor the Engine was my childhood TV train. Thomas existed only in books, TV was in the future. I liked the quiet, home-spun style. And I loved the dragon, Idris. 

Anyway, the kit is a mix of brass and nickel-silver parts, with details 3D printed in resin and cast in metal. What I don't have is any instructions, although such a simple (I hope) model shouldn't require them. 

If all else fails, I know Ian Mellors has built one, and will be happy to answer any questions.

Monday, February 19, 2024

All aboard for Titfield!


An electrical fault after a power cut required the attentions of two different electricians, and really messed up my modelling plans - so here's a photo of my Rapido-built Titfield Thunderbolt set, bought with my own money (if it's anyones business), on Ferness Quay. 

Well, I had the layout out for testing, and it seemed a good chance to test the model, which runs very well indeed. It's the cheap standard set without sound, but I have blagged a set of figures when I was last down in Rapido HQ. 

An odd set. I doubt anyone really needs one for their layout, but the film is held in such affection that lots of people want one, including me.