Friday, June 30, 2023

Testing the new club track


Crossing the bridge

A sunny Sunday, and the first chance I've had to try the new Outdoors @ LWMRS track

Fresh from the attention of Dave Mees (see the current Garden Rail), I set the gauge to 45mm and headed off to the track. 

The loco fired up easily and was quickly trundling around. For the first circuit, I kept things slow and followed it on foot, a reasonable walk as the track is 90m long!

After this, a set of three IP Engineering coaches, recently built by my Dad, was hooked up, and off she went. 

The guys have done a terrific job building this, I'm embarrased that I haven't had time to pitch in and help. I'll certainly be making use of the fascility in the future. If you are in the south Leamington area, why not drop them a line and come along? 

(Warning: There will be more running videos in the future.)

Thursday, June 29, 2023



The reson I wasn't at the L&WMRS open day, was because I was at the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association exhibition. 

This was a work trip to carry our photography on a layout, but I snapped away around the show for another feature. It's a fun event, and a scale I really like - maybe one day there will be a layout...

Anyway, the layout that appealed most me was Mousehole. It's tiny, but beautifully modelled. I grabbed a couple of shots for here, and would loved to have had more time with it, and Jurgen Heinritz, the very freindly builder. 

There is an article in here one day I hope. Not a full feature layout, as at 2ft long, we'd be limited with the photos available, but this is the sort of inspirational modelling that might persuade people to try O16.5 one day.


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Model locomotives at Statfold Barn


Barclay steam loco

A couple of weeks ago, visting Statfold Barn for their big operating day, I paused photographing the wonderful collection of narrow gauge locos, for a breather in the cool exhibition hall. 

There's always something interesting to see, but half-way up the stairs, I spotted these two models. I've always had an interest in models produced by manufacturers, and it's nice to see these have found a safe home. 

Sadly, I don't know any more than the top one is a Barclay (the plate is too small to read in the photo) and the bottom is a Channel Tunnel loco. Something to looking into properly next time I visit.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Battery powered train


Another unusual powered train is this GWR 230 class, with runs on batteries. 

It seems that GWR has a number of short branch lines perfect for this technology. Like West Midlands Trains and the Stourbridge branch, they provide a testing ground for technology, and also a welcome source of reliable performance figures. 

Some of the technology here is amazing Recharges take place at stations with the train dropping a couple of shoes on to electric rails. The process must take place in the three minutes it takes a driver to change ends. It seems that three full charges a day are required for the 19 trips - so the chargeing involves a lot of electric juice!

The big question, is when will a RTR model of the 230 unit appear? Well, at least one manufacturer is looking at is since there would be a reaonably easy job to produce the LT D stock they were converted from...

Monday, June 26, 2023

Hydrogen powered train


Another busy week, with more to come. However, I did have to take a trip out to the Rail Live trade show, and so have a few photos I can share from there, as well as a few other visits I've not blogged.

The first photo is from Rail Live and is a hydrogen powered train. It looks like a standard 769 set, but with unusual gubbins on the underframe. OK, I'm no expert, but all that hydrogen infrastructure looks different to a standard diesel set. 

Anyway, it was a popular photo stop, being right inside the entrance. Sadly, I didn't manage a ride. Not for the hydrogenness, but just scoot around Long Marsden rail depot would have been fun.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Visiting the South Warwickshire Electric Flyers

Model aircraft

A work trip meant I couldn't attend the L&WMRS open day, but my Dad performed his usual "Meet and Greet" duties - which gave him the chance to welcome some people from the flying club on the same farm as us. 

It turned out that they had a family camping weekend, so the next day, we nipped down to see what was happening. 

On arrival, we were greeted and shown around. The members couldn't have been more welcoming and eagerly showed us the aircraft, and fascinating technology inside them It seems that you can have a 'plane that can automatically compensate for wind buffeting, and even fly itself back by GPS if it gets out of range. Amazing stuff. 

In the clubhouse were a huge number of models. Presuamably because there were several tents-worth of families for the weekend. 

The highlight was being able to try some goggles that provided a first person perspective from a 'plane in the air. While one memeber flew, using his goggles, I watched through a second pair. It was absolutely amazing!

Now, I've no desire to have a go at flying (OK, gliders appeal a little) but if it's your bag, I can recomend the South Warwickshire Flyers. A really freindly bunch. More details on this website.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Tyco Super Train

All I can say, is, I want one. 

It looks like standard HO scale track too. Maybe MRJ would be interested in an article on converting it to P4? That would liven up Scaleforum...

Friday, June 23, 2023

This boat won't float

I've been pretty good about not adding to the model boat kit collection  recently. Despite being very, very tempted at the club open day, I managed to leave with two less boats that I arrived with, thanks to the "Bring and Buy" stand. 

However, on a visit to the Cheltenham Model Centre, I was taken by this diecast stern-wheeler from Corgi for a couple of quid. It's a bit odd, I mean why make a non-floating boat? 

The boat can be played with in the same way as a toy car - it runs on a roller, and band around the paddle wheel. Clever really. 

A little digging online reveals some answers, thanks to Mike Pigott's article here. This small range was produced in the 1980s, when hardly anyone would remember what a cowboy film was. Even then, this is a oddball in a range of horse powered vehicles. 

It's still fun though.


Thursday, June 22, 2023

Van done


MR Box van
There we go - finished!

Considering I bought this at Easter, completing the job by the end of June is some sort of record. 

I'm very pleased with the result. A bit of learning along the way, but it wasn't difficult project. 

One question remains - how heavy should it be? G1MRA don't have any specific recomendations, so I've only tacked the roof in place so I can add weight if required in the future. 

All that was left was to shorten the box, and it can go into the G1 stock store for a future running session. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Bargain LEDs on the high street



Nipping in to fast fashion retailer Primark for a pair of shorts, I spotted a box labled "Indoor strip lights" next to the pay desk. It was only a couple of quid, so I didn't look too hard. Like most modellers, I'm attuned to stuff that "looks like it will come in handy".

In the box, there is a self-adhesive strip of warm white LEDs 145cm long, connected by a cable to a 3 AA cell battery box with an on/off switch. 

This all seems like a bit of a bargain to me. If I spot another store, I'll pick up a few more as they actually could come in handy!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023




Nearly there. A quick clean up of the buffers shanks and they bolt stright in with the accompanying spring. It's a few minutes very satisfying work. 

The couplings though. The theory is simple, but the nut doesn't quite fit between the chassis strengtheners. And if it doesn't fit, you can't do it up. 

So, there was a fair bit of carving away to make this work, but eventually I managed to get some clearance so it could be done up to the end of the thread in the hook casting. I considered a few bodges, but in G1, the hook really should be sprung. It might look pretty, but you can't see when the van is on its feet.

Actually, I seem to remember the same issue on the O gauge version. I should have learned.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Wheel cleaning


Wheel cleaning

After all the spraying, including a coat of varnish to seal in the transfers, the wheels were pretty filthy. Time for cleanup, which turned out to be easier than expected. 

Step one: Using a cotton bug, wipe nail varnish remover on the treads and flanges. This removes a lot of muck, but dries super-fast leaving a smear. 

Step two: Polish the smear away with a fibreglass pencil. I was pleasently surprised how fast the metal shone through. 

Nice for something to go well, although I don't like the smell much!

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Stratford & District Model Railway Club


I'm always keen to visit model railway clubs. Knowing how much good being a member of the L&WMRS has ben for me, I'm an advocate for club membership. Online there's always the "I went one and didn't like it" response, but my attitude is that there is a club for everyone, but not every club suits everyone. That, and expecting the club to mould itself around someone who has just walked in the door is unrealistic. 

Anyway, a sunny morning saw me find (it's in the wilds) Stratford MRC. The first surprise was to meet 2 or 3 people who had been down to Leamingon, but didn't feel it fitted them. However, the different feel of Stratford worked well - see what I mean? 

Stratford are based upstairs in a farm building, and they have nearly as many layouts as members. N, OO and O, plus some G scale outside. 

The main OO has an interesting dumbell plan which allows a very long run, but with no crawling under baseboards! The design owes a lot fo US practice, and works well. The ends have given them plenty of space for scenic details too. 

I was certainly made to feel very welcome, as were the others who visited on this open day. It's a freindly club that is in use pretty much every day with members progressing projects. 

If you are in the area, check them out: Stratford MRC website#

Question: What make is the loco at the top of this post? I'm thinking Centre Models as it's whitemetal kit with a chassis very similar to theirs, but no-one seemed to know.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Saturday Film Club: Widdershins

A steampunk love story, beautifully animated. Sit back and enjoy.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Garden Rail - July 2023


Variety is the spice of life on the The Greendale & Brownhill Railway. Rupert Conner and his family have built not so much 'an 0 scale' railway, more 'a no scale' railway where anything goes. From vintage steam to the latest 3D printed locomotives, all have a place in the line. 
Also in this issue: 
Opening your garden railway to the public. 
Building a budget radio control system. 
Return to the Anglesey model village. 
Electric motors for your models, how do you pick the best? 
A 3D printed GWR water tower – and the free files to make your own. 
Cooper-Craft kits are back, we build the entire 16mm scale range. 
Steam oil for your locomotive. 
Plus the latest product news for the large scale modeller.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Better resin buildings, a telephone box, people painting and a pier railway in BRM

Phew! That's a long list. 

Well, as part of our 30th birthday re-design, the practical content in BRM has had a makeover. For a start, you get a photo of me on the page (must get a better one taken) and we've tweaked the content style a little. 

My big project is upgrading resin buildings. 

Parkers News

Obviously, I used Parkers Newsagents as the basis for the work, but all the techniques can be applied to other buildings. 

At the same time, I've covered building a Langley K6 telehone box, and a quick guide to painting people. 

All this requires some new thinking from me. As the staffer for this section, I'll be picking up the smaller projects normally, as I'm not paid by the page. Getting my head around this more punchy content isn't easy, but I'm sure I'll get it worted eventually. 

The section has a new look too - a big change from the traditional, but staid, BRM style of the past. It's still very much a work-in-progress, so we'll be tinkering with things for a few months to come. 

Palin's Yard

I've been out with the camera too. Not very far, I was able to shoot Palin's Yard at our clubrooms, before it left for a new owner. Pete's O gauge layout is a lovely model, and a firm "Layouts Phil would like to build" candidate. 

Finally, on BRM TV, I spent a day on the Hythe Pier Railway. 

Now, I wasn't expecting to make this film, I went down on a days holiday, so it's a series of stills with a little video, but hopefully provides a taster of this fascinating line. 

All this in the July 2023 issue of British Railway Modelling.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Warehouse Wednesday: Horsted Keynes huts

Bluebell railway huts

A recent work trip that took me past the Bluebell Railway left me with enough time to drop in to Horsted Keynes for a quick look. The work replacing the station canopy is amazing, but I was just as taken with this collection of concete huts byy the entrance.

Bluebell railway huts

For a Southern themed line, a couple of classic SR plateleyers huts, the ones shaped to clear the loading gauge when on the back of a wagon, are no surprise. I wonder if the square one is also SR, or an interloper? 

Whatever, they looked great in the sunshine, and it's nice to see them still in use.

Bluebell railway huts

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The sweet smell of methylated spirits


I love the smell of meths, so when the transfers in the G1 kit turned out to be methfix ones, I was happy. Not least because this means no carrier film, so they can be applied to a matt surface without silvering. 

In theory, application is simple, cut light around the letter or number, and peel the top surface with the print away from the backing. Using a sharp blade, this is easier than you might think. 

The transfer is put in place and wetted with a 3:1 mix of meths and water. A bit of proding, to ensure it's in the right place, and flat. Leave for 15 minutes, and then wash the carrier paper away with water. 

And to be fair, that's how it worked. OK, there was the ususual pain lining up the numbers (hint, turn the model upside down, the different angle makes errors stand out) but otherwise, they seem to stick fine. A worry with a second-hand kit is that the transfers will have dried out and need rejuvination or replacement. 

Left overnight to fully dry, I cleaned up any leftover purple marks (the colour is s dye added to the meths so we can see it) with a damp cotton bud, and a finishing spray of matt varnish.

Monday, June 12, 2023

I'm not sure what I bought. Was it a bargain?


Traders taking cards is bad. Then you can buy junk on a whim. 

£20 for this possibly On30 loco. 

Regular readers will know that an American On30 layout is (hopefully) in my future. I already have some stock, and a few building kits. 

What I don't have a tender loco, and so at first glance, this tired example was worth a punt. 

I was told it didn't work, but looking at the multi-pin connection, I guessed that all those wires not fitted to the tender plug might have something to do with this. 

Getting the top off taxed me for a while, until I decided that there must be a screw under one of the boiler mounted sandboxes. There is, but I had to break both off (superglued on) and was surprised to find they are whitemetal castings. 

Removing the wires from the PCB, I managed to connect the motor directly to the pickups - and to my satisfaction, it runs very sweetly on a 9V battery. 

So, there is potentially, a working loco. Plenty of bodywork will be required. The cab has been badly extended with Plastikard, and it needs a smoke stack. None of this should be too hard, especially if the aim is an American looking loco, rather then a hi-fidelity model. 

Whipping the top off the tender, I get a surprise. 

A sound unit! Not a DCC chip sadly, that would be worth several times the price of the loco, but still, there is potential for noise if I can wire it up properly. That is, unless someone wants to make me an offer for the tender contents...

Anyway, for the moment, it goes in the On30 box, waiting for the time I get to build my dream layout. Well, one of them...

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Railway Collectors Association - Gaydon 2023

Most shows don't involve walking through a car park full of Jaguars, but when the event takes place at the Motor Museum, Gaydon, it's par for the course. Apparently, a montly meet of people for whom the sort of cash we pay for collectables is small change...

The railway collectors assoction covers all scales, with everything from N to G2 represented.A few had brought along displays intended to show off their collection, but most were using model trains as model trains should be used - rattling around oval tracks!

Of course, the main even is the trade, and even in a small space, there was planty to buy. 25 traders, with generous tables heaving with temptation, were keen to take your money. Prices seemed very reasonable - a bonus for those who don't think collecting stops at eBay. 

I often wonder how I'd get on at a show if money (and space) were no object. Often, it would make very little difference, but this time, I'd have filled the back of the car with some very tidy Tri-ang Big-Big train sets for a start. 

All good fun. I picked up some useful contacts too. Now I know where to get a 3D printed fan for a Battlespace Turbo car from. Well, if I can find the leaflet again I will.

Oh, and when I left, the Jags had been replaced by a line of Lamborghini's.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Saturday Film Club: Farewell "Mr Hornby"

A touching tribute from the people at Hornby to Simon Kohler as he retires from the firm. I thought it was worth posting ghere, partly because I appear in the middle of it interviewing the man himself!

I've known Simon for years. We even worked together on for a while. My greatest wish is that just before he left the office on Friday, he signed off a new version of the Battlespace Turbo car into production. Well, I have nagged him about it for years...

Friday, June 09, 2023

Should it be yellow?

Blue HST

A slightly random photo for this Friday. Some time ago, I photographed the wannabee "Blue Pulman" train as it came through Leamington. It's not really a Blue Pullman, it's a repainted HST and I wish the owners would stop pretending. It's not like HST's aren't both excellent, and an endangered species!

The thing it, I know that the rules allow locos not to have yellow ends any more - but they just look wrong without them, in my opinion. Anyone else feel the same? 

Thursday, June 08, 2023



A thin coat of primer followed by a spray of Humbrol 64 did for the main livery on the Midland van. I'm sure someone is going to tell me that this isn't exactly the right shade of grey, but it looks pretty close to the photos on the Slater's website, and that will do. Old paints faded quite quickly in service anyway, and I have a feeling that long term this is going to be lightly weathered, so the exact colour isn't that important. 

All the ironwork under the solebar, but not on the solebar it seems, is black. A couple of hours poking a small brush around, loaded with Revell 9 (Anthracite) has sorted this. 

All that is left to do is remove the paint from the whee trads and flanges, and it will be time for transfers. I'm getting there!

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Waterbourne Wednesday: Dry dock for canal boats

Hatton dry dock

Part way thorough the flight of locks at Hatton, and handy for the excellent cafe, is this dry-dock for narrow boats

The short arm can be dammed, and then drained to allow access to the bottom of the boat for barnacle scraping and re-blacking, both horrible jobs for the boat owner, or anyone they can pay to do the work!

Being outside, with no cover whatsoever, must limit the work that can be done. There's nothing in the way of fascilities either, so you take your wate from the canal (there is drinking water reaonably near) and electricity comes from a generator. 

For modeller, there's potential here for a simple, and interesting addition to a canal scene.

Hatton dry dock

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

More metal


More metal to fix on to the G1 van - this time some rather nice lost-wax cast handrails. All slotted into position easily, with the exception of the long middel one, where the spigots were very slightly off. I simply filed one end flat and superglued it in place 

Under the door is an etched runner. These are handed as the holes should match up with the spigots on the plastic bodyside. Not a problem, but a little trap for the unwary.

Monday, June 05, 2023



I seriously thought about leaving the back-to-front brake gear. Firmly fixed in place, I wasn't sure I could remove it without damage. And would anyone notice? 

Eventually I decided that I would notice. It would always bug me. And now was the time to do something, before any painting. 

So, every joint was treated to a big blob of Zap debonder. This stuff is mainly for unsticking skin, but it couldn't do any harm. 

After 15 minutes, I started waggling pins and trying to slide a knife between flat metal joints. It's took a little while, but eventually I managed to pull it all apart without any damage. Superglue joints on non-porus surfaces aren't that strong, and can often be persuaded to seperate cleanly. 

After that, everything was cleaned up and re-assembled the right way round. Every part was re-used, and it now looks right. I'm glad I didn't settle. 

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Photos from the Gauge 3 AGM 2023

A few photos from my trip to Flitwick for the G3 AGM show. I'm not a member, but with my Garden Rail hat on, there are always some potential stories from the scale, and I always enjoy chatting at a show.

Steve Barrett fires up his J65 on the outdoor track. 

The G3 Project loco kit prototype. Members can build this electrically driven Adams G6 for £500 (+ motor/gears and radio control). The bodywork is 3D printed, and it looks like a lot of loco for the money. 

Who doesn't love a chocolate loco? 

Some absolutely stunning workmanship. I am in awe of people who can do this sort of thing - as I told the builder.

It's a Dalek on the footplate. That regulator can't be good for his rubber plunger! (Don't worry kids, it's an electric model, so doesn't get hot)

All in all, I very pleasent few hours. I can't get involved with another scale practically, but I'll admit it is tempting. There are a lot of modellers, displaced from other scales by burgeoning RTR, who could find a home here. 

Gauge 3 Society website.

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Saturday Film Club: Metcalfe buiding improvements

Back in January, I recoreded a video for BRMTV with suggestions for improving Metcalfe building kits. It's now been made public, so I can share the film here for your entertainment and education.

Friday, June 02, 2023

Not a C Class

SECR C Class

A couple of weeks ago, I had to take a trip down south for a photo shoot. By accident, I found myself near the Bluebell Railway, and since I was running early, decided that this would be the perfect place for a spot of lunch.

SECR C Class front

I'd just finished my delicious spicy Mediterranean vegetable pie, when there was some chuffing from outside, and this stunning C Class arrived (see comments for correction). Well, of course, I had to take some photos.

SECR C Class tender

Helped by cracking weather, the loco really shines. When you look at the livery, it's no surprise that the Bachmann version sold out as quickly as it did.

SECR C Class cab