Category Archives: Workbench Witterings

Bespoke footplate crew by MODELU for the KMRC Beattie Well Tank

The Kernow Model Rail Centre ex LSWR/SR Beattie class 0298 well tank was first produced back in 2011.  Incredibly for a class that since the 1930’s had only three members, with a restrictive sphere of operation, albeit into the late 1960s, on the Bodmin and Wenford branch, the model has been extremely popular resulting in no less than five production batches, the last being under the EFE Rail brand as recently as November 2020.

THE KMRC Beattie well tank 3314 with crew added

Being by nature a very small locomotive, space within the cab is quite restrictive on the real thing let alone the model, finding loco crew to fit has always been a bit of a challenge.
After receiving many requests, my friends at scanning and 3D printing specialists, MODELU have now added a bespoke Beattie well tank crew to their Loco Specific Crew range. 
These MODELU crew have been actually scanned on one of the preserved locos and then modified to specifically fit the footplate of the model.
This ensures the poses are both natural, realistic and can be easily fitted to the model.

The MODELU figures as supplied and a cruel enlargement following painting

The highly detailed and crisply 3D printed MODELU crew are supplied free of all sprues and ready to paint without the need for any fettling or primer. To aid painting I lightly glue the crew to a wooden string stick to make handling easier, I then firstly paint, nowadays using acrylic paints,  all clothing matt black to act as a base and eventually give shadows within creases, folds and any inside edges.
Using matt acrylics, my prefered range is Vallejo, I apply the top colours using almost a dry brush allowing the black within clothing folds and inside edges etc. to still be visible to give the effect of darker shadows etc. and to bring out the exquisite detail within the 3D print.

I was able using tweezers and a small dab of UHU glue fit the crew into place without disassembling the model in any way and immediately bring the loco to life.

The fireman checks the road to the rear

If you have not had a look at the excellent MODELU range of people, loco crew, animals and details accessories such as loco lamps etc. then take a look here, or catch them at an exhibition and even get yourself scanned there and then to ultimately create a mini you figure in a pose of your choice to be part of a crew your own locomotive or feature elsewhere on your model railway.


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!


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.

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.

Workbench Wittering#20 Out on the tiles and going potty with chimneys, Westhill Road’s station building continues to take shape

The build of the station building for Westhill Road continues, since my last Workbench Witterings#18 post here work on the hipped roof and the characteristic chimneys of the mirrored inspiration of Alverstone, for this build.

My sketch and cut parts

Hipped roofs, and the gable windows, can be quite complex to work out the correct angles and lengths to cut roof materials to, in my case for this model Wills SSMP211 plain tiles sheets.
There are now online hipped roof calculators that along with a little trigonometry can be used to work out the relevant measurements, but I make use of the trusty pencil and graph paper to draw the roof to the model scale in plan and elevation, I also kept the main hips at 45 degrees to keep things simple, and the cutting dimensions can then be taken straight from the sketch.
Remember to ensure you always cut the sheets the correct way up so that the tiles overlap each other correctly. I always double check using a finger nail feel the upper tiles overlapping the ones beneath it.
The internal support frame is made from off cuts of 40 / 60 thou plasticard, the advantages of keeping the main roof angles 45 degrees makes this frame quite quick and easy to create.

The roof takes shape, showing the internal frame and filets

Once the edges of the cut Wills sheets were filed to an acute angle to give the closest possible external edge joint, (but not too critical as these joints will be covered by ridge and bonnet tiles), I started to assemble the roof sections on an internal framing along with fillet sections underneath to strengthen the joints.

I always take time when assembling, letting each joint harden fully before adding the next panel and handling too much, otherwise it will keep trying to return to its constituent parts (don’t ask me how I learnt that…).

Once the roof assembly has fully hardened, very carefully with the the end of the triangular needle file  I created what will become the lead lined valleys between the main roof sections and the gable roofs.

The Chimneys, that were quite  large, characteristic and overly ornate at Alverstone,  were made from Wills SSMP 226 Flemish Bond Brickwork sheets, cut to size and the edges mitred to give a close external corner edge joints.

The gulleys, chimneys and horizontal round topped ridge tiles have been added

The unusual sloping tiled decoration was added using offcuts from Wills SSMP211 plain tile sheets. White metal Dart Castings L78B chimney pots, once the inside of the pot was drilled out slightly to ensure they look hollow, were added to complete the look.

The round topped ridge tiles, for the horizontal ridges, along with decorative finials have been added after I sourced the correct style 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, used the more decorative ‘bonnet’ style curved tiles that give a distinctive serrated edge look.

I have not yet been able source suitable bonnet tiles in 4mm scale, and other than trying to make from individual curved tiles cut and folded to shape, I am looking at alternatives and might have a plan, with the help of a friend to draw up and 3D print some suitable ‘bonnet’ tiles, so watch this space…

For more details on valleys and ‘bonnet’ ridge  tiles, see the diagram left taken from the “Architectural Building Construction” bible by Jaggard and Drury (courtesy of my Dad who assists me as a building consultant / critic…) click the image to enlarge.

The overall building is now taking shape.

The small side kitchen extension to the ground floor as also been roofed and gained its more functional less ornate chimney using similar methods.

The next stage externally  roof wise, as well the ‘bonnet’ ridge tiles is to add the soffits (the horizontal boarding under the eave of the roof back to the wall) and rain gutters whilst internally the upper floor ceilings will be added to the underside to complete the roof assembly.

The building as a whole still requires furniture to be added to the ground floor living room and the kitchen, the internal room lights added and then painting can commence before glazing the windows.

Further progress will as always be documented in future Workbench Witterings posts,






Workbench Witterings#19 Building a Maunsell 350HP ‘trip’ locomotive

In my Talking Stock#15 post here I discuss the background to the three Maunsell 350HHp diesel ‘trip’ locomotives. In 1937 Maunsell ordered three six coupled 350hp diesel electric locos, built by the SR at Ashford with English Electric power units, to compare against the Z class 0-8-0 tanks.  They were numbered 1,2 an d 3. These along with later revised versions ordered by Bulleid, were the ancestors of the British Railways large class of 350hp shunters that became the 08/09 class.

Finished as SR No.2 the Maunsell 350hp makes an appearance on Canute Road Quay

Many years ago I built an example of the SR 350hp shunter utilising a Golden Arrow Productions resin body mounted on a Lima chassis. The Lima chassis was the best chassis option at the time. Golden Arrow Productions have since revised the resin body to fit the far superior Bachmann Class 08 chassis, so I thought I would build another before stripping down and updating my original version.
Although 3D Printing is becoming more and more popular,  I believe there is still a place for such resin kits, that are simple to handle and clean up and give a smoother finish straight from the mould.

The modified Bachmann 08 chassis

The kit nicely captures the SR shunters including their distinctive feature of the Ashford body, when compared with the later Class 08/09,  the overhang at the rear of the cab with two angled lower windows, as well as the more normal two vertical windows, giving clear visibility of the buffers and coupling area.

Following the kit instructions, the Bachmann 08 chassis requires a little modification to take account for drop in the running plate at the cab end. I also increased the width of the running plate edge with the addition of some plastic section.

The body with its handrails and bonnet catches etc. added

The resin parts were carefully (the resin material is much softer than other plastic / £SD print materials) cleaned up to remove any flash and the windows opened up. The main body parts comprising of the body, bonnet top, radiator and radiator cowl were assembled simply using superglue.  I then pre drilled the locations for the four cab door and multiple bonnet door hand rails and handles, these were then added using 0.45mm NS wire and for the bonnet door catches I used some etched brass T handles from a coach detailing fret in the spares box.
Lamp irons at each end were added using as usual Bambi staples cut and bent to shape.

A 3/4 front end view the front air tank can be seen either aside of the coupling mount

Although a bonnet ladder is included within the kit, I felt this was a like coarse so I used a finer signal ladder etching.

The kit includes white metal front bottom steps which I added to the chassis and folded up some spare brass etch fret to make the middle and top steps. The two handrails for each of the front steps were again made from the NS wire.

The Bachmann 08 has two small air tanks mounted at the front of the chassis either side of the NEM coupling pocket, the SR shunters had in reality a single air tank mounted across the front. Rather than keep the 08 arrangement, to better represent the SR shunter arrangement, I cut a suitably sized white metal coach vacuum tank, again from the spares box, to fit around the coupling pocket.

The 3.4 rear view showing the characteristic rear overhang with lower windows

If you are not using the coupling pocket then the tank can be fitted as one piece across the front.

The chassis was brush painted, whilst the body was given a dusting of the reliable rattle can Halford Plastic Primer before a top coat of their matt black. The usual HMRS transfers finish the model, she just awaits some weathering (and replacing one of the bonnet door catches that I now notice is missing). After painting I added the window glazing by cutting 20 thou clear plasticard to shape and glued in place using Deluxe Materials Glue and Glaze.

Overall this is a quick and simple project using the Golden Arrow Productions resin kit to build one of these distinctive SR three shunters, and will although a bit far from Norwood their usual stomping ground make an occasional appearance on Canute Road Quay.


Workbench Witterings #18 Not a pane yet, Westhill Road’s station building takes shape

Has it really been August since my Workbench Witterings#16 The Foundations of the Westhill Road station building? I have at last been able to do some more work on it today, starting with a the upper floor windows.

Making the window sections old school…

As I have been unable to find any proprietary windows from the usual sources, including from laser cut suppliers that were the correct size for these distinctive upper windows (the ground floor window are from the PECO LK-78 building kit-1), I resorted to the old school method using various sizes of microstrip.
I have actually used the centre section of some Ratio signal box windows (whispers quietly GWR ones…) that were the right height, but too wide, so have reduced their width and added new edge verticals. To aid production I make up little jigs from the versatile wooden coffee stirrer screwed to a piece of MDF.

The completed 3 and 5 section main windows

Once I had made enough main six pane sections, I joined them together with additional verticals between them, and complete outer frames to make the required three and five section main windows. Once fully assembled they make up into quite strong assemblies. I also used the same technique to make the smaller side landing window. 
With the windows made, although they won’t be glazed until after painting, I was then able to complete the rendered upper wall sections (a characteristic of the mirrored inspiration of Alverstone, for this build)

The shell of the building takes shape, the two doors, the middle for the ticket hall and right hand one for private access can be seen

The shell of the main building was then assembled around the internal lower floor, that has been cut square and allowing for the wall material thickness, and its internal partition walls. The corners are chamfered to an angle greater than 45deg to get sharp corner joints and further reinforced behind with lengths of triangular section.
On the Alverstone station building being used for inspiration there is a shaped brick moulding that runs horizontally between the lower brick and upper rendered walls along with the the very bottom edge of the rendered walls sloping outwards to deflect rainwater away from getting in along bottom edge of the render. I have used half round microstrip and 10thou thin flat strip at an angle above it to represent these features.

The rear of the station building

The approximate internal layout has been worked out for both floors.  The ground floor, as at Alverstone has a small ticket hall with passenger being able to access just the ticket window via the middle door. This is one of the interesting features of this combined station ticket office / station masters house whilst not actually on the platform is one of the quirks that attracted me to using it as the basis for the station building on Westhill Road.
The door next to the ticket hall is the private station house access opening into a lounge, whilst at the rear is a kitchen that in turn gives access to the ticket office and the stairs. Two bedrooms and a bath room complete the upper floor rooms. 

A view inside with the upper floor removed

All the internal walls, fireplaces and chimney breasts etc. have been created from plasticard, representations of the door frames have also added with plastic microstrip. The upper floor is currently removable to allow access inside for painting etc. 

As the building will be internally lit, the central chimney will allow the wires to be hidden down the inside, all the rooms will have a representation of furniture etc. included. I have sourced some suitable 3D printed items to use as a basis and these will be painted and added in due course along with a few suitably posed figures.
I am still planning to make the roof as a separate module so it can always be removed if required, so watch this space for the next instalment… 

Workbench Witterings#17 a period making vehicles

One area of Canute Road Quay that I needed to correct, as it had been both constructively and bluntly pointed out to me on a couple of occasions, is that a few of the road vehicles were slightly out of my usual self-imposed modelling period of 1946 to 1946.

The two new period vehicles on Canute Road Quay

Obviously, I want all aspects of the layout to be correct and consistent, it is all too easy to contrate on rolling stock and miss other, more obvious to others, areas of accuracy. I have therefore been looking to source some replacement suitable vehicles. For someone like me, without an in-depth knowledge of all things internal combustion, I found this to be a much harder and time-consuming job than it could be, as very few of the manufactures of ready to run vehicles actually provide simple information such as the relevant dates of manufacture as part of their listings, resulting in having to google each and any model that I thought might be of roughly the correct period.

The nicely moulded resin and white metal parts are assembled

However, at a recent model railway exhibition I happened to be across the aisle from Road Transport Images run by the very friendly Graeme and Lorraine McQuaker, they produce a range of modular resin kits for British commercial and military vehicles in 4mm scale ranging from a 1930s Fordson AA up to a 2014 Iveco Stralis. All were displayed very helpfully, with yes, the date of manufacture for the prototype (as does their website), just what I had been looking for, making choosing the correct vehicle for my time period accurate and simple!

The range currently includes over 200 cab, vans and pickups, and 16 chassis and a wide range of bodies, trailers and unsheeted loads all cast in resin, with detailing parts in white metal or etched and 35 different wheel profiles.

For Canute Road Quay I purchased a Bedford Spurlings KV 2 ton integral van (built between 1946 and 1952) and an Austin K2-4 with a dropside body (built between 1946-48).

A dusting of Halfords’ Plastic primer

The resin parts, that comprise of cab/body/dropside, chassis parts, cab interior, fuel tank etc. are very crisply moulded, well detailed with very little flash to require cleaning off. These particular kits also included white metal head and side lights either etched or white metal steering wheel, the relevant white metal wheels come with brass rod for axles and are designed such that the wheels rotate. I angled the front wheels slightly on the angles to enable a ‘steered’ position to be allowed rather than the usual ‘straight on’ seen on most RTR vehicles.

Having fixed the cab interiors to the chassis parts I used the trusty Halfords’ Plastic Primer followed by a top coat of other aerosol colours that I happen to have had to hand; you should be able to recognise at least one of the colours…

The Austin K2-4 with a dropside body passes Canute Road Quay

As the windows were relatively small, I used Delux Materials ‘Glue and Glaze’ pulled across the aperture for the glazing, although the front windscreens were possibly on the verge of being large and cutting individual clear plastic glazing would have been an alternative method (if you use this method run a black maker around the edges before gluing in place with a little Glue and Glaze, as this then represents the rubber windscreen seal).

The inside of the headlamps (white metals castings)  were painted with a little silver paint and when dry the lens was created with a small drop of Glue and Glaze.

The Bedford Spurlings KV 2 ton integral van

All that is required now are some registration number plate transfers to be added, I have obtained a set of suitable transfers from Scale Model Scenery.

Overall, these Road Transport Images resin kits are excellent, simple and enjoyable to build, and I consider them good value for money. I will certainly be adding more of their kits to the fleet of vehicles available for use on Canute Road Quay to provide variety whilst being consistent with my time period.

Workbench Witterings#16 The foundations of the Westhill Road Station Building

Amid some of the heart breaking events and issues that life is throwing at many of us at the moment, being able to step aside into model building can be very therapeutic. This is a quick post to show some of the progress being made on another one of Westhill Road’s key buildings, this time the Station House / booking office.

The ground floor inclduing interior walls and staircase takes shape

As with most of my ‘scratch building’ I still like to have in mind / ‘be inspired by’ an actual prototype, in this case I am using Alverstone, this station on the Isle of Wight (Newport Junction) Railway was later absorbed by the Isle of Wight Central Railway and subsequently the Southern Railway.  Whilst I am building it as a mirror image I am keeping its quirky characteristics including: the tiny booking office being part of the station masters house, the brick lower and rendered upper walls and the interesting roof line with hips and gables.

Being old school, no CAD or 3D printing malarkey here yet, using prototype images I create a series of quick sketches / plans on the trusty A3 graph pad to work out, to scale, all elevations and interior arrangement (with a little help from my Dad who worked most of his career in the building trade, thanks Dad!).

As one the features of Westhill Road is to introduce an element of perspective modelling as the overall layout depth is 18inches, I have purposely compressed the size of the Station House / booking office a little to help with the effect once its position behind the LSWR Type 3B ground signal Box and small tin tabernacle chapel becomes clear.
As with all the buildings, I propose where possible to include interior details and lighting (I will utilise the central chimney to hide the lighting wires). The next stage is cutting the windows in the upper rendered wall sections (Wills building material as are the brick lower walls) along with making from scratch the upper windows and creating the bathroom and bedrooms, so watch this space.