Workbench Witterings #23 Bonnet tiles, roof plumbing and painting putting the finishing touches to Westhill Road’s station building

The station building for Westhill Road is now nearing completion, since my last Workbench Witterings#20 post here, with a little help from my friends I have added the bonnet tiles to the hipped ridges, the roof plumbing and details such as downpipes along with completing the painting.

The all too often birds eye roof view

I believe it is important to get the roof details of buildings prototypically correct, as the viewing angle means we tend to look down on models (that and my Dad will tell me if it is wrong…), yet often some modellers go to great lengths to achieve the finest level of detail on locos and rolling stock etc., but do not pay such attention to building details. Such details can be easily observed / referenced by looking up when walking around.
These details include the correct style of ridge tiles, and roof plumbing; the term for use of lead flashing and lead lined valleys etc., (the Latin name and origin of Lead’s chemical symbol being Pb is Plumbum, that also is the origin of term plumber).

The round topped ridge tiles, for the horizontal ridges, along with decorative finials were already added with  3D printed versions from Smart Models. With hipped roofs the angled ridges often used the same style of ridge tile, however many, like at Alverstone (the inspiration that my mirror imaged model is based on), used the more decorative ‘bonnet’ style curved tiles that give a distinctive serrated edge look.

The 3D printed bonnet tiles, thanks to Simon and Matt, also the yet to painted valleys can be seen

As I was not able to locate any proprietary source of suitable bonnet tiles, I called on a couple of friends for help, firstly using the dimensions of actual bonnet tiles Simon Paley very kindly drew up in Cad suitable sized bonnet tiles, adjusted to match the Wills SSMP211 plain tiles sheets, in a strip 70mm long.

A number of these strips were then helpfully 3D printed for me by Matt Wickham of Vectis 3D Models. Thanks guys!

Simon has detailed the design process he used on his own blog here, so well worth a read.

The hipped ridges were filed to create a flat edge and the bonnet tile strips cut to length, glued in place and painted to match the surrounding tiles.

The stages of applying lead flashing and painting the valleys

The lead flashing around the chimneys is formed from four parts, the section across the front & bottom of the chimney, the two side flashings zig zagging down the brick courses, (noting that the vertical edge of the zig zag leans inwards to the bottom), also overlapping the bottom piece and finally the piece across the top overlapping the sides. I carefully cut and folded 100 gsm paper to represent the separate pieces of flashing per chimney and painted dull grey with a little metallic aluminium paint to achieve a ‘lead’ look. I mentioned how I formed the valleys between the main roof and the two gable in my last Workbench Witterings#20 post these valleys were carefully painted to represent the lead lining.

A view of the front of the building. The left hand door is the entrance to the booking office

The windows have been glazed using 10thou clear plastic simply cut to size and held in place on the inside with the versatile Delux Materials ‘Glue and Glaze’ that has the benefit that any slight seepage of the glue dries crystal clear.

With respect to the painting, for the Brickwork and tiles I painted as per my usual method that I detail here,  I used Precision Paints P952 Light Brick Red as the predominant and top dry brush brick colour and P953 Dark Light Brick Red for the roof tiles.

For the upper rendered walls I stipple painted using P88 SR Buildings light stone paint with the almost dry brush also dipped in talcum powder to give both some further surface texture and ensure a very matt finish (as adding talcum powder to any paint will create a matt finish).

The end and rear of the station building

The main window frames, doors, guttering and downpipes were painted using P93 SR Middle Chrome Green with a little Humbrol Matt 101 randomly mixed in to give a slightly more faded look especially on the end extension door.
Some light weathering by dry brushing, to the roof to represent moss and rainwater streaks and similarly to the walls beneath the end of window sills etc.

The finishing touches to the exterior has included guttering and downpipes, from the useful Peco LK-78 Peco Building Kit 1 and also a typical Southern timetable notice board from Tiny Signs. I still need to add the Booking Office sign, being obtained from Sankey Scenics, above the left hand door. The fire buckets and wall brackets are white metal castings from Dart Castings.
Once eventually bedded in with the ground cover on Westhill Road the drain surrounds for the downpipes will be added.

The station building interior and its lighting will be the subject of a future post as this one is already quite long…thanks for getting this far!


SECR 12 Ton SR Diagram 1358 7 plank mineral wagon packs from Rails of Sheffield

Rails of Sheffield have announced that they are working with Rapido Trains UK to produce exclusive SECR 12 Ton 7 Plank Mineral Wagon Packs in 00 Gauge.

Between 1913 and 1914 the SECR purchased a number of wagons from RY Pickering. These wagons were built to move coal and were at the time were primarily used by William Cory & Son (Coal Factors) based in Erith. They were originally allocated SECR Diagram s1084, later becoming Southern Railway Diagram 1358.

These wagons carried a variety of liveries – Wainwright light grey with small SECR lettering and black metalwork, all over Maunsell dark SECR grey with large lettering and also standard SR pre-1936 brown.

These wagons are produced by Rapido Trains UK using their latest RCH 7 plank open wagon tooling featuring both side and end doors, angled vee-hangers, double sided brakes, flat-fronted axleboxes and split-spoked wheels. Although not all minor detail differences can be captured with this tooling, these wagons will be as close a representation of the SECR wagons as possible.

Three livery version packs of three are available for £99.95 each pack.

  • Early SECR livery (Light Grey)
  • Late SECR livery (Dark Grey)
  • SR Brown – Pre 1936 livery

The wagons are currently in production. The current expected delivery date is Late 2023 / early 2024. (Subject to change)

Workbench Witterings #22 Whether to Weather with Muz revisited

Weathering is quite often seen a bit of a black art and not for the faint hearted; especially when you have just forked out for a brand new item of rolling stock or spent hours building and finish painting a kit. The purpose of this article is to break the process down into a number of steps to make the process less daunting, and actually enjoyable and therefore the make the answer to the title yes! I first put my online via RMweb many moons ago my own methods, which then formed the basis of an article in the October 2008 issue of Hornby Magazine and a later version online on British Railway Modelling Magazine’s website which is now no longer live so I am now republishing it here.

An example of weathered locomotives awaiting cleaning at Fisherton Sarum

Manufacturers produce factory applied weathered finish models, however generally comprise of a simple dusting of a representation of a track grime colour to the model from the bottom up and often do not include the tones, highlights and subtle colours that are usually  seen on work stained locomotives and rolling stock.

Whilst the effect of weathering on the prototype when viewed from a distance often appears a pretty uniform colour, the closer you get; the complexity, depth and range of colours become visible. The method I have developed is designed to take this into account and achieve a similar effect on the model. It should be noted that the visible effect is also changed by the type and direction of lighting. The appearance of brickwork on buildings also appears to change the same way, see here.

It’s not just locomotives but also rolling stock that should be weathered to maintain consistency as can be seen in the coal wagons here on Fisherton Saram

Although colour perception is a topic on its own, see here, colour does not ‘scale’ and a colour which looks right on a full size example may appear totally wrong when seen on a relative small area such as a model and adjustments may have to be made to get the desired results. This is often the case when a manufacture brings out a new model and receives comments such “that colour does not look right to me” when they have in fact gone to lengths to ensure that the colour is the same specification as the prototype.

I would always recommend obtaining a few colour pictures of the effect that you are looking for and working to that, but also take in account that the colour in a photograph or printed within a book is subject to the effects of the lighting at the time, type of film used, developing and printing processes and may actually differ from the real thing. The old adage of ‘if it looks right to me, it is right’ should always be remembered.

The range of colours and effects that should be considered when weathering includes:

  • Brake block dust – typically for the asbestos brake block era a yellowish grey colour
  • Oil streaks – a dirty black and often glossy
  • Rust patches – there is certainly more than one colour and shade of rust, also rust deposits streak due to rain etc.
  • Water staining streaks – usually seen as a slight white deposit left where water has evaporated away.
  • Soot deposits – especially on boiler tops etc
  • Rain streaks
  • Points of wear – a burnished steel effect, Humbrol Metalcote gun metal is particularly effective.


There are a number of mediums used by modellers to weather rolling stock ranging from the use of enamels (as I am describing below), acrylics and weathering powders and pencils. Application methods include dry brushing, thinned washes and airbrush. Although I generally use enamel paints for all stages, weathering powders, pencils (that I have been experimenting with recently), and/or acrylics can also be used.

The process

Although the description below is mainly with reference to steam locomotives, the principles can also be applied to diesel and electric locomotives and of course coaches and wagons (all too often on model layouts we see a weathered engine pulling a rake of completely pristine rolling stock).

I break the process into a number of stages; this is not only way, just one way:

  1. Dry brush base colours of brake dust, rusts and water streaks etc
  2. A dirty wash from the top down using a highly thinned dirty mix
  3. Track / dirt colour is finally lightly airbrushed from the bottom upwards, this is sprayed over the dry brushed colours to give depth and creates the effect that from a distance a more overall dirt colour is seen however as you get closer to the model  the other weathering colours of rust etc show though.

Stage 1

Stage 1

I dry brush a number of base colours to highlight various chassis details, sand pipes and boxes, rivets, corners and crevices etc. The colours I use are Phoenix Precision paints P963 brake dust, followed by P951 Dark Rust, then P950 light rust. The dark rust should be used first with the light rust on top.

Matt white is used to create water streaks etc. around tender and tank filler caps, safety vales, whistles, boiler washout plugs and where water from water cranes has streaked down the tank or tender sides as they have been swung back out of the way.

Do not worry that the colours look too bright at this stage as they will be toned down by the following two stages.

Stage 2

Stage 2

This involves a dirty wash of highly thinned dirt colour for which I use a mixture of Phoenix Precision Paints P982 Weathering (sooty deposits) and other colours such as dirty black and leather. I also use dirty thinners from my brush washing jar (but this depends on what main colours I have used recently, although it usually ends up a dirty grey colour once it’s all mixed up).

Apply using a large soft brush from the top down to create streaks on tank sides etc. I also dab off excess with a chisel pointed shaped piece of foam and cotton buds which results in the wash colour remain in the corners or raised edges and crevices etc. A stipple effect is also used on the boiler tops to create the effect of soot deposits etc from the chimney.
This can be done to varying degrees depending on the level of weathering you require.

Stage 3

The black locos have a two part process which includes an initial dusting spray using an airbrush of Precision Paints P981 dirty black from the top. This nicely results in a greyish tinge to the black especially when used lightly over a satin or gloss black original finish.

All locos are sprayed from the bottom upwards with a brownish grey track colour. The basis for the colour I use is an old Humbrol track colour HS215 that I stocked up on many years ago. I also mix it with Phoenix Precision Paints P977 track colour and some Railmatch 406 sleeper grime. This combination is quite heavily thinned and I keep the mixed pot between weathering sessions and just add to it each time.

To a certain extent I bounce the spray from just in front of the loco but some areas are best lightly sprayed directly.

When spraying over the wheels and motion I apply a small drop of oil to the motion and connecting rod joints etc prior to spraying this ensures that the paint does not seize up any joints. Firstly I give a very light coat then rotate the wheels before a second light coat is added, this ensures no area of the wheels and motion etc is missed by the spray being blocked by the connecting rods etc.

The front and rear of the locos are also lightly sprayed and I also make sure that front faces of items like the cylinders and tank fronts are also included.

Tips and terms. 

Dry brushing, this is where the brush has the majority of the paint wiped off before applying it to the model. It is particularly useful for highlighting raised areas etc. Lightly dip the brush to pick up a small amount of paint, wipe any excess on a tissue until there is very little paint left on the brush (hence the name ‘drybrush’). To apply to the model, lightly brush over the model so the paint catches on the raised detail, or dab into corners etc. A soft flat brush is best for this job (although I should warn you it will soon deteriorate the brush!)

Thinned wash, a “wash” is basically a mixture of highly thinned paint, the mixture I used with enamels is usually about 80/20 thinner to paint, but this varies depending on the result required. A large soft brush is best used. Excess wash can be dabbed off using a sponge or cotton bud.

Airbrushing, the cheaper airbrushes and spray guns work with a single action mechanism where the depression of a single “trigger” and are more than suitable for this weathering technique especially where the bounce spray method (see below) is used.
Double action airbrushes separate the function for air and paint flow so that the user can control the volume of airflow and the concentration of paint.  This allows for greater control and a wider variety of effects especially when spraying directly on to the model itself but I have not found it necessary for this process.

Bouncing spray, this technique is simply bouncing the spray off a scrap piece of wood or card placed directly in front of the model and gives a lighter mist effect than spraying directly on the model directly.  This method would also allow the use of a suitable colour aerosol spray can rather than an airbrush to achieve a similar effect where you can not easily control the density of the paint leaving the spray can.

Weathering powders, these are a usually finely ground powder, or coloured chalks or now also pencils intended for brushing onto models to give a weathered and used effect rather than dry brushing or even using an airbrush. There are powders sold especially for modelling, however you can also go to an Art shop and get a selection of coloured chalks. Using a craft blade a little heap of powder can be quickly scraped off and used. Don’t go for the oil-based types as they aren’t chalk, and won’t make powder. Use a flat head paintbrush and gently brush on the powder following the way dust would settle on the real vehicle. Dust thrown up by tracks would be upward from the tracks and angled towards the rear of the vehicle. Settled dust on the top of the footplate, for example, would be slight but plenty in and around the corners and crevices. The advantage with powders is that you can remove the effect if too heavy with more brushing with a clean brush. Some powder types will require some form of ‘fixing’ after application with a suitable varnish in order to withstand handling.

Acrylics, some acrylics dry too fast to be of any use for dry brushing. You’ll end up with an unusable stiff brush. It is possible to obtain Acrylic Retarder to add to your dry brush colour mix; this will slow the drying time down enough to allow for dry brushing. Alternatively I have successfully used artist’s tube oil paints instead as these dry much slower.

Ground cover, locos, wagons and building fitting into a consistent scene.

And finally… by way of a few thoughts have a go as it’s not as daunting as you might think, but start with something small and cheap to practice on. Where possible refer to relevant photographs (of the period of by look at natural weathering and colours around us especially with respect to buildings, often just a short roam from home. Don’t just think weathering only applies to loco and rolling stock, it affects everything on the layout including buildings and terrain effects and colours, and the often seen far too shiny… road vehicles! Stand back a few feet  and ask your self does your few weathered items stand out of blend in to a more consistent. overall and believable scene.

New LBSC/SR/BR(s) K Class 2-6-0 kit available from Nucast in 4mm

Dave Ellis of Nucast has kindly advised me that their New L.B. Billinton LBSC/SR/BR(s) K Class 2-6-0 kit is now available to order. First introduced in  1913 the eventual 17 members of the class were the first 2-6-0 locomotives on the LBSC and the first with a Belpair firebox. They were generally seen as one of the most successful LBSC locomotive designs.

The new Nucast LBSC K Class (test build)

Nucast have fully upgraded the old Keyser (‘K’s) kit with a new etched nickel silver chassis for both loco and tender.  The chassis can be sprung using the High Level Kits system (parts not included). Both loco and tender chassis now include brakes and pull rods.  The loco now has the very distinctive Slide-bars and Motion Bracket rather than square section N/S rod and some very basic castings for the brackets.  The test build (as per picture) depicts a typical example of 2nd series as built and running through to circa 1930.

They have also added a number of new castings to the kit which will allow you to build both batches of the loco and covers all periods from as built to their final days on BR in 1962. These include :-

  • The original Brighton Cab and the SR ‘SECR style’ cab used when they were modified to suit the composite loading gauge by the Southern.
  • Cab details, back-head, regulator, cab splashers (“seats”), floor and reverser.
  • Boiler fittings include the original Brighton Top Feed and the manhole cover for the first series, and a second dome (similar to the C2x’s) for the 2nd series to attach the top feed too. Vacuum Ejector Pipe.
  • The reduced height Chimney and Dome for the SR composite loading gauge Along with SR boiler mounted Clack-valves.
  • Choice of Ramsbottom Safety Valve or the later Ross pop changes.
The Nucast K Class loco etch

The chassis includes spacers for 00, EM and P4.  We have only built the 00 version and the clearances are very tight behind the crossheads.  So EM and P4 modellers will have to use some ingenuity to build the chassis as is often the case in EM – P4.

The etch also includes Brighton and SR/BR style lamp irons.

The Nucast K Class tender etch

The Tender etch includes the original open style coal rails and the later plated SR style and cab doors which can be modelled closed or open.

The Brighton K is now in stock priced at £135.00 plus postage.  Wheel packs and Motor/Gearbox packs to suit are also available. To order contact Nucast on 01342 822270.

It has been a long time since the old K’s kit had been available, see my Talking Stock #22 The Missing Mogul – the K class post here so it is great to see this new upgraded kit become available that is sure to be popular.

#OnThisDay… O.V.S. Bulleid passed away

Today marks 53 years since the passing of Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid CBE. He was of course Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway  between 27th May 1937 and 31st December 1947 and then briefly for  the Southern Region of British Railways until 1st October 1949.

A line up of malachite Bulleid Pacifics , a Q1 and even the Leader, at Fisherton Sarum. I make no apologies if you have seen this excellent picture by Chris Nevard / Model Rail magazine before but it’s one of my favourites!

On the 10th May 1937 Sir Nigel Gresley advised O.V.S Bulleid, who was working away from Kings Cross, by  telegram stating that “Sir Herbert Walker wishes to see you 12.30 tomorrow” at the meeting Bulleid was asked by Sir Herbert Walker, the SR General Manager, to apply for the position of CME…

This post is not an attempt to outline the whole of Bulleid’s career, but to mark the anniversary of his passing, and also an excuse to show one of my favourite pictures of some of his achievements on Fisherton Sarum.  Also it’s an opportunity to reiterate the fact that order for the first ten express passenger locomotives, that became the first series Merchant Navy’s, was approved by the board in March 1938, and it was a myth of convenience that they were rumoured to be classed as mixed traffic locomotives due to being introduced during the war and having 6’2″ driving wheels (actually the same as the LNER P2 class that Bulleid had previously worked on)!

1st January 1950 Bulleid was awarded CBE in the New Years Honours list. He retired from being Chief Mechanical Engineer CIE in May 1958, firstly living in Devon before moving to Malta in December 1967.



Hattons announce a new batch of ex SECR P Class 0-6-0Ts

Following on from the release back in April 2018  of their SECR P Class 0-6-0t and a further four later that year in Hatton’s have today announced that seven new versions of the SECR P Class will be available Q2 2024

They are to be produced in limited quantities and are available for pre-order now for £85 here. 

The list includes for the first time a new simplified SECR livery, a re-run of the popular 323 ‘Bluebell’ and new running numbers for previous liveries.

Indexing modelling tips and techniques

Amazingly this corner of the web has been going since August 2011 and has grown to over 400 pages of varied Southern related content, I always wanted this blog to not only feature news, reviews and showcase some of my own modelling and interests, but also to hopefully share some of my ideas, hints tips and techniques as I went along.

To aid navigation I have tried to categorise as I went along with the top bar menus but I am conscious that as the site has grown some content could be easily missed. I am now working my way through the many posts on modelling techniques, most of which can be found in my Workbench Witterings,  Talking Stock,  and A View From the Line posts to index them further to help you find Modelling Tips and Techniques topics that might be of interest / help to you.

The eagle eyed amongst you might have spotted the new top menus to help you reach SR News and Reviews etc. easier and also the new Modelling Tips and Techniques menu item that takes you to a new Modelling Tips and Techniques index page.

Feel free to taker a browse and use and/or develop/improve on any of my methods (as they are my way, but not the only way, or necessarily the best way…).

Workbench Witterings #21 Individualising the EFE Rail ex LSWR Cross Country Sets

My Set 253 following a few tweaks and awaiting some light weathering

The EFE Rail ex LSWR Cross Country Sets were announced last November and as is usually the case with the Bachmann quarterly announcements arrived within a matter of weeks. This is not a full a review of the models as that would be a bit disingenuous of me, having been involved in my day job at Kernow Model Rail Centre , with their development (and yes, I hold my hand up to not spotting a couple of the gremlins that crept in to a couple of the livery details).

This post is about a few quick tweaks / improvements that I have made to my own malachite green set 253 (yes, I purchased it myself). Whilst these models have not jumped on the feature creep trend of magnetic roofs (we are yet to see how practical these might be in practice with handling etc.) and over bright interior lighting, they have a good level of detail and separately applied parts inclduing grab handles, handrails, underframe details and roof vents to look the part.

EFE E86015 coach set 314 in BR Green showing box set (Picture Courtesy and copyright KMRC)

The initial EFE Rail Releases, supplied in neat three coach book box sets are as follows:

  • E86013 ex LSWR Cross Country Set – 3 Coach set 253 – SR Malachite
  • E86014 Ex LSWR/SR Cross Country Set – 3 Coach set 130 – BR Crimson
  • E86015 Ex LSWR/SR Cross Country Set – 3 Coach set 314 – BR Green

So on the tweaks…

The very first thing I did was to blacken the faces of the wheelsets, I have simply and quickly used a black Sharpie permanent marker pen, this improves the look and is actually a darker finish to the eye than the brightly lit pictures show. (As an aside, a couple of Sharpie pens are always good to have in the modelling toolkit, especially when exhibiting, as they can be used to quickly touch up any chips or damage that might have occurred).

The Diagram 124 Brake Third

I have added, using HMRS Pressfix transfers, the missing class designation numbers to the brake thirds and for consistency also replaced and repositioned slightly higher those on the composite. The BR versions correctly only have ‘1’s on the first class compartments (and in the slightly lower position). To remove the factory applied class designations on the composite, I first soaked them in good quality enamel thinners and then using a cotton bud and some t-cut to gently rub them off.
For consistency, an element of individualism and personal preference, I like to brush paint all my carriage roofs with Humbrol enamel dark grey Number 33. I also took the opportunity to paint the side of the roof gutter at the same time, as these had been finished in the bodyside colour, that gives a bit of an optical illusion of the sides being too high.

Finally, a recap of the history of these sets, there were 36 sets formed wholly of 56ft vehicles and these sets were generically called ‘Cross County sets’. They were constructed between 1906 and 1910 being built originally as 4 coach sets. These sets comprised of the following:

  • Brake Thirds, four compartment to LSWR Drawing 1446, SR diagram 124, 2 per set
  • Composite (1st / 3rd class), seven compartment, to LSWR Drawing 1298, SR Diagram 274
  • Third LSWR Drawing 1302, SR Diagram 17, 8 compartment, (The all Thirds were originally introduced as 2nd / 3rd Composites but rebranded to all Thirds with no structural change by the end of 1919)
The Diagram 274 Composite

The set numbers were in the ranges 130-151, 253-263 and 311-314 All sets were reduced to three coaches in the mid to late 1930s by the removal of the 8 compartment Third Diagram 17 coaches which became loose stock. At the same time the number of first class compartments in the Composite, Diagram 274 was reduced from 5 to 3 (not a physical alteration just reclassification and change in class banding on the outside of the compartments)
In terms of use, they were seen all over the SW section of the Southern and their duties were pretty well interchangeable with any other 3/4 set. They did not generally run on Brighton or SE section lines, although photographic evidence exists of them running along the south coast to Brighton.
Withdrawal of these sets was completed during 1956/7 Brake Third number LSWR 1520 SR 2975 (ex Set 63 / 146) survives on the Bluebell Railway and Composite number 5065 (ex Set 134) survives on the Kent and East Sussex Railway awaiting restoration.
As was standard LSWR practice not all the coaches had full electrical equipment, i.e. dynamo and battery boxes the others being through wired.

These make up useful pre-grouping type sets for the Western section Southern modeller and are still widely available at retailers such as Kernow Model Rail Centre.

The model railway world and mainly Southern Railway meanderings of Graham 'Muz' Muspratt

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