Category Archives: Workbench Witterings

Any colour you like as long as its SR Goods Wagon Brown, the hues and lows of colour perception

Colour perception, especially with models, is an often debated topic especially when manufacturers occasionally, and some more than others, appear to get it wrong. There can be several reasons why colours on models do not always appear correct. In this post I look at some of the issues and reasons that can influence getting colours correct. I have been constructively critical in the past of some manufacturers attempts at getting colours / liveries correct and often try to get colours and liveries corrected, if possible, and have done so again only recently with some proposed SR locomotives (naming no names but fingers crossed they arrive OK).

Diagram 1530 Bullied Cattle truck in a close SR Goods brown livery
The ‘low’ a way too light milk Chocolate Hornby  Warner’s 20t Brake Van
Getting very much closer, Hornby’s subsequent Warner’s brake van release
A Bachmann SR Diagram 1579 brake van is a reasonable, perhaps slightly dark, rendition of the brown (although the sole bars should also be brown not black)

I will use LSWR/SR Goods Wagon Brown as a case in point; for example, Hornby have had multiple attempts to achieve the correct SR colour. Back in 2016 their excellent SR Diagram 1530, as per my review here, was released in a good, if not very slightly too dark, representation of the SR Goods Wagon Brown but by 2020 the colour on their ex LSWR Warner 20T SR diagram 1543 brake vans, as I highlighted here, was the wrong shade of chocolate. Perhaps the fact that the official name of the correct dark brown colour is “Chocolate Brown” they chose milk chocolate instead? Hornby have subsequent released further versions of this model in a darker version but is still slightly too light and lighter than the colour they used on the cattle truck!

In my day job I therefore, for my own satisfaction / reputation, had to ensure that the LSWR/SR Goods Wagon Brown on the Kernow Model Rail Centre ex LSWR Diagram 1541 Road Van that I was responsible for producing was as close to the correct colour as possible. I undertook a lot of research to be able to provide the factory with the correct paint references, although this is not as simple as it sounds as I will discuss below.

The KMRC Diagram 1541 Road Van in what I believe to be a good representation of LSWR/SR Goods Wagon Brown

Following much historical research and checking many contemporary references I was able to provide the factory with a suitable British Standard paint colour reference, however even this is complicated by the fact that such a historical British Standard reference is now obsolete so not readily available for the factory to obtain! Careful checking and agreeing decorated samples ensured that I was happy with the factory’s interpretation of the colour to allow production to commence.

I am also only too happy to share my researched colour references with some other manufacturers, to try to achieve some consistency of colours for all Southern Railway modellers alike, including for example my good friends at Rapido Trains UK, and they specified with their factory my SR Goods Wagon Brown colour reference for their splendid ex SECR /SR open wagons.

The effect of the matt finish on the 5 plank open compared to the satin factory finished 7 plank open can be seen under the same lighting conditions
Another view showing the effect of the matt finish compared to satin

I did however note in my review here, that their factory interpretation of the colour appeared lighter. I also thought at the time of writing that the finish of the model may have also affected the perception of the colour as it was a satin nearly glossy finish rather than matt.
To demonstrate this, I have now given one of the Rapido Trains UK wagons a simple single spray coat of Testers Dullcoat matt varnish and when pictured alongside the KMRC Road Van and one of the original Rapido Trains UK factory finished wagons the effect of the type finish and its perception of the same base colour can be clearly seen.
I will now apply the same treatment too all my Rapido Trains UK wagons from this batch (and I have also shared the results of this simple change of finish with Rapido Trains UK ).

It should be noted that I have purposely taken the comparison picture under the same lighting conditions. Different forms and types of lighting either when viewing the prototype, for example bright sunshine or a cloudy day, or models for example under warm or cool white lighting (see my post here about white is white…) can totally change the visual perception of a colour. I am also of course aware that you will be viewing this post on different devices and screens that will also create different perceptions of the colour!

In addition to historical superseded / obsolete colour references and paint finishes there are several other factors that need to be considered when specifying and choosing the correct colour.

Firstly, care should be taken when using old colour photographs, or for that matter preserved rolling stock, as there are so many variables that can affect the representation / comparison of any colour. As well as the lighting conditions at the time the image taken the use of different film stocks at the time and variations in any subsequent printing can give different colour hues. Something published as fact, even repeatedly or copied is not necessarily always factually correct and can still include errors or subjectivity.

Another factor to take into account especially with models is that of colour scaling; our perception of colour does not scale and will vary depending on the distance at which it is being viewed and also the size and the area of the colour, for example if you painted a model with exactly the same paint as a full-size example the model will appear darker when look at in isolation. This is therefore also an issue when using a small swatch of colour as an original reference, and this has been the case, in my opinion, with a small number of colours as referenced in otherwise excellent and well respected livery reference books.
Sometimes a model manufacturer will sometimes need to counter this by using a colour slightly lighter on the model than the full-size prototype so it ‘looks right’ to the eye.

Go on try it… you know you want to…
The same loco and same lighting conditions showing the colour perception change due to the lining (and also the black flat top)

It should also be noted that adjacent different colours to our chosen colour will affect the perception the hue, see the example shown left.

This is often highlighted when initially painting a model for example compare a lined and unlined model that uses the same base colour.
For example, a splendid malachite green Bulleid pacific will look to be a darker green until the three horizontal lines are added as can be seen in the image to the left of my 21c11 before and after lining has been applied and photographed under the same lighting conditions.

Finally, one further complication for model manufactures is the process used to recreate the often-complex liveries on a model. This is often achieved by a mixture of both paint and print applications, whereas the prototype is more often than not painted (although some modern liveries are via printed vinyls) . Different specifications are used for paint and print colours. For example, paint colours are usually specified to British Standard (both current and obsolete) or RAL numbers; whilst printing inks are usually referenced Pantone colours. There are often no direct conversions between some paint and print colours and errors can creep into the process when conversions take place. For example, sometimes a paint reference could give multiple close Pantone references, and it can even be the case that when some are converted back, they end up as a different RAL number!
It is therefore imperative that such conversions between paint and print references during the process are checked and agreed at every stage. It is the reason that creating an approved set of livery artworks must then be checked and further approved at the decorated sample stage (actual physical sample not photographs from the factory!) before production. Skipping some of these steps in the process, usually for apparent cost reasons, can easily result in mistakes, such as has occurred with the production of some models in the past and therefore be a false economy.

I hope this little walk through the hues and lows of the processes involved in getting the colour / more importantly, the perception of colours as correct as possible has been of interest, perhaps the first of an occasional “Insider insights” series? As always, I welcome and enjoy reading and responding to comments.

 

Workbench Witterings#15 Going bananas with a Great Eastern flavour

It is not often I post about a new Great Eastern ready to run model but this post is about the latest Oxford Rail Great Eastern Railway 10 ton banana van, confused? Read on…

In fact, along with some information courtesy of friend and SR coach and wagon guru Mike King, 100 of these banana vans were transferred to the Southern between 1933 and 1937, along with 225 of LNER origin.

The GER Banana van edges into the shot of an LSWR insulated van. Picture courtesy and copyright M King
A GER banana van is shunted by ‘Normandy’ at Southampton. Picture courtesy and copyright M King

The reason was the transfer of banana traffic from Hull to Southampton in 1933 and a return to the Royal Albert Docks in 1937.
The numbers of the ex-GER vans, (I believe to their  Diagram 72) were 632822-632921 and they kept their LNER wagon oxide livery but had “SR” applied in the usual position, over a painted patch but with “NE” in small letters in lower Right Hand corner of each side. The return of these wagons was requested by the LNER on 24/11/37. We have not seen any evidence of SR diagram numbers, but no doubt there was one allocated.  Mike has kindly provided the prototype images seen left. The first shows the right hand end of GER van 632849 at Southampton Docks in 1936 with the painted patch under the ‘R’ and the small ‘NE’ lettering. The second image shows van being shunted by “Normandy” at Southampton Docks in September 1936 so the justification for having at least one on Canute Road Quay is all too obvious.

The Oxford Rail GER 10T Banana Van out of the box
The nicely detailed underframe noting the two plain brake levers
Masked up ready for patching, probably a bit of overkill, but this is about going bananas…

SR Decals added, etched Morton Clutch brake lever fitted [edit now actually correctly fitted on the side adjacent to the vacuum cylinder]
Oxford rail have released their  OR76BAN001 Oxford Rail GER 10t Banana Van number 632882 in LNER wagon oxide livery, so I  thought it would make a quick and easy livery adaptation. With a cost of only £16.95 at retailers such as Kernow Model Rail Centre this van with its level of detail, especially the underframe, is very good value for money.
The only error on this particular model is that it has a plain brake level on both sides, instead of having a Morton Clutch type lever on the [edit] side adjacent to the vacuum brake cylinder, the incorrect plain lever would in fact be taking the brakes off when the lever was pulled down!
Ironically I understand that the OR76GEGV001 Oxford Rail GER 10t Covered Van version has two Morton Clutch style levers!
I have therefore replaced the incorrect brake lever, on the side adjacent to the vacuum cylinder,  with an etched version obtained from Wizard Models.
The van is pretty light and only weighs 30g which is under my preferred approx. 45g for a van of this size. Easing a small screwdriver between the bodyside and the chassis side allows the body to be removed to add some additional weight inside it.

Normandy in her slightly later guise shunts the finished GER Banana van with an SR Diagram 1478 version at Canute Road Quay

To amend the livery I simply masked around the original NE letters and painted with Precisions Paints P952 ‘Light Brick red’ as when tested I found this to be a better match to the Oxford Rail representation of LNER wagon oxide than the Precision Paints P67 LNER Freight wagon oxide which was much darker.

I then applied standard ‘S’ and ‘R’, and the non common user ‘N’ on the bottom plank from HMRS Pressfix SR Wagons transfer sheet 13 and the small ‘NE’ from HMRS Pressfix LNER wagon transfer sheet 12 to complete the relettering.

All in all, despite having to replace the brake lever this has been a quick win addition to the wagon fleet, although it awaits some weathering, for Canute Road Quay and will be something Southern Railways wise slightly different…

Workbench Witterings#14 A quick brake… in 3D a SECR Diagram 1558

One of those occasions when looking for an item you come across something else purchased a while back and think I should really finish it… The other weekend I found my 3D print, purchased from Simon Dawson’s store on Shapeways (in those days when it was much cheaper than it is now…), of the 6 wheel ex SECR Diagram 1558 20 ton brake van, so I decide it would make a nice quick win project and be one less thing on the things to do one day list/pile…

The D1558 brake van is shunted at Canute Road Quay by an ex LCDR T class 0-6-0t

Forty 6 wheel 20t brake vans were built in 1898 by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway to Diagram 1558, these had an open veranda platform (i.e. with no roof, sides or end rail) at one end and a closed one at the other. In 1910, 50 more were built with close verandas at each end, between 1914 and 1920 the original vans were modified with two closed verandas. These modified vans were identifiable as had double top rails at the rebuilt end only.  All 90 vans entered Southern Railway stock and most passed into British Railways ownership. There were also variations in some of the framing, planking and handrails between the two built versions.

Buffers heads, handrails and lamp irons added
Brass bearings fitted and the ‘T’ section to support the weighted floor is added to the inside of both sides.
A dusting of Halfords plastic primer. The double top rail at the modified closed veranda end can be seen.
Painting and lettering complete, some etched brake gear will be added in due to finish

The one piece 3D print represents one of the first batch as modified with both verandas enclosed and correctly has the double end top rails at one end only. The print is pretty basic but was quite a clean print, has no floor, and is missing some of the fine top corner strapping detail. Handrails and lamp irons are thankfully not part of the print as I would have replaced these if they were. I replaced the printed bufferheads with finer turned metal 13″ versions, drilling the buffer stocks to take the shank.
There is no representation of any brake gear, although its omission is mainly hidden behind the full length stepboards, I will at some stage add some brake gear, once I purchase some suitable etches.

I drilled the axle boxes to take standard brass top hat bearings for Alan Gibson 12mm spoked wheels, wire handrails and lamp irons fashioned from Bambi staples were added. I made a floor from plasticard onto which I added some lead strip to bring the van weight up to approx. 45g to ensure good running. To affix the floor I first glued some plastic ‘T’ section to the inside of the van sides to provide a mounting location.

Following a dust of Halfords plastic primer the van was brush painted with Precision Paints P91 SR Freight Brown and P90 SR Venetian Red for the ends. Lettering and numbers were added using HMRS Pressfix SR Wagons transfer sheet 13 and then give a spray coat of Railmatch satin varnish to seal. Glazing for the end windows was glued into place before the floor was affixed.

For the time being standard slim tension lock couplings have been fitted using Peco Parkside P34 mounting blocks. It is now added the queue of items to be weathered.

I am sure there is potential for these vans to become a ready to run model one day, as interest in pre-grouping rolling stock is on the increase, hence this project being done as a bit of quick win.

 

Workbench Witterings#13 Backdating Hornby Bulleid Merchant Navy to 21c11 General Steam Navigation as she was in January 1947

Following on from my previous Workbench Wittering posts where I have been forward dating Hornby Series One Merchant Navys #10 21c7 and #11 21c3 to their 1947 condition, as Hornby have so far only produced the very early ‘Widows peak’ style, this post is about how I have, this time, backdated a Hornby Series Two to create 21c11 General Steam Navigation (as I am part owner, Society Trustee and Director of the full size GSN locomotive owning company) as she was in service between January 1947 and September 1948.

21c11 General Steam Navigation in her 1947 condition at Bournemouth. Picture courtesy GSNLPS collection
The nearly finished 21c11 General Steam Navigation
Another view of the nearly finished 21c11

21c11 General Steam Navigation was the first of the Second Series of ten Merchant Navys and was introduced in December 1944, she differed from Series Ones by having a flat front cab rather the previous swept forwards style and,  unique to her, deeper bulbous front fairings between the cylinders and buffer beam. When introduced she had short smoke deflectors but was fitted with the now standard length deflectors in January 1947.

So far Hornby have only produced one Series Two version in the main range as R3861 35017 Belgium Marine, this represents her in post July 1954 condition with a modified wedge shaped cab, no front fairings and the safety valves resited to the later rear position over the firebox crown. One slight error with the Hornby Series Two model is the position of the Stones steam generator that they have modelled in the Series Three lower position (I assume to simply tooling options) that gave greater access  to it, rather than the position for the first 20 locomotives up behind cab side casing and beneath the cab floor. To create 21c11 for my chosen period I amended all these items and in addition I replaced the smoke deflectors with finer etched versions.

A deep breath and use of the razer saw
The cab takes shape
Trial fitting the cab to the body
The cab is glued in place and any gaps filled, the replacement Stones generator is also mounted under the floor at this foreground corner.

Replacing the cab is the biggest challenge for this conversion, I started by removing the body from the chassis removing the deflectors, safety vales, pipework and then removed the cab cutting the bottom edge level with the cab floor.
For the replacement cab I used as a starting point the Light Pacific Original Cab etch 4AGBWOC that is available from RT Models, the Merchant Navy Cab is longer,  so I extended the etch by soldering to it an additional strip of 15thou nickel silver cut to size including the cab roof rear overhang.
The cab was then shaped to match both drawings for the roof and the cab side curve allowing the rear turn-ins to be soldered in place.  At each stage it was tested to ensure a suitable fit against the loco body. The join being at the cab floor level also coincides with the position of the lower lining that will also aid concealing the joint along with a small amount of filler. Etched window frames, also from RT Models were fitted and I used some scrap etch to make representations of the cab roof lifting eyes.
To create the flat front of the cab I used Milliput filler to fill the gap between the cab and the casing, smoothing the front flat with a wet knife blade and using a small rat tail file created the shape of the front window.
A replacement white metal Stones steam generator also from RT Models , was added in the correct location under the rear corner of the cab floor on the driver’s side. Just like the Series One and Two prototypes it is virtually hidden but I know it is there.

Resiting the safety valves

I drilled three new holes for the three Hornby brass safety valves in the original as built forward location and filled the later rear position above the firebox crown with Milliput filler. I carefully filed this to the correct roof profile and scribed it to recreate the joint lines around the dome cover.
I also filled the front washout plug (as this was moved to be slightly offset from the boiler centre line when the safety valves were resited), and created a new washout plug position in its original position back on the boiler centre line, I started with a with a small drill and then elongated the hole slightly, a small amount of Milliput filler was pushed up from the inside and shaped to create a representation of the plug itself.

Creating the bulbous front fairings
The etched smoke deflectors are prepared, and include batons for the Devon Belle wing plates.

I created from scratch the uniquely deeper bulbous front fairings between the cylinders and buffer beam on 21c11, see the image left, I started by cutting some 15th brass sheet to an approximate developed shape, before bending to shape. For the spherical front I made a number of cuts in the brass to create ‘leaves’ to allow the approximate sphere to be folded up (think like creating a globe) before filling with solder and finally filing to shape. A piece of 0.4mm brass wire was soldered to the front edge and filled flat to create the beading.

Once again I have used etched smoke deflectors from RT Models and I show the preparation of these in my Workbench Witterings#11 21c7 post here. I replaced the lamp irons using ‘Bambi’ staples cut to length.

The base malachite green is applied from a rattle can
numbers and lining is applied taking care to get the lining parallel

The locomotive and tender bodies have been painted using aerosol paints, following masking the buffers and buffer beam with maskol, I started by giving a light dusting of Halfords etch primer before two thin top coats of Railmatch 1632 malachite green. The smoke deflectors are painted and lined separately to allow the body area behind the deflectors to be painted first.
Lining and numbers have been applied using HMRS Presfix transfers from sheet 10 (10a for the lines). Care is taken to ensure the horizontal yellow lines are level and parallel, I use a rule and a pair of dividers to ensure these are correct. Note how the application of the yellow lining appears to the eye to change the overall colour of the base malachite green. Once applied the transfers are sealed in place by spraying the bodies and deflectors with Railmatch 1408 Satin varnish.

A view of the completed 21c11 General Steam Navigation as she was from January 1947

The cab roof, casing ‘flat top’ and tender top were then brush painted matt black and the smoke box cowl given a satin finish as per the prototype. Etched nameplates from Fox Transfers are glued into place, as per my usual method of a tiny amount of super glue applied with a cocktail stick.  The wheels have been brush painted with Precision Paints P78 malachite.

The cab side and front windows have been cut to shape from 10 thou clear plastic and glued into place using a very small amount of Delux materials Glue ‘n’ Glaze as this dries very clear. The detail items removed from the body prior to the conversion, are refitted, such as some of the separate pipework fittings and the turned brass safety valves fixed into their new location. A replacement white metal smokebox dart from RT Models was fitted into place after I had glued into position the etched smokebox roundel, that is supplied along with the etched nameplates by Fox Transfers.
I have also replaced the supplied front steps with the excellent and stronger lost wax brass casting from RT Models but fitted other details from the supplied Hornby accessory pack such as cylinder drain pipes to complete the look .

Just a couple of little paint areas to touch up and some light weathering and she will be ready to add to my ever growing (no don’t ask how many…) fleet of Bulleid pacifics.

For more information on how to support or get involved with the project to restore the full size 2c11 / 35011 General Steam Navigation back to original condition complete with air smoothed casing and Bulleid’s unique chain driven valve gear check out the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society website here.

Workbench Witterings#12 Building an LSWR Type 3B signal Box for Westhill Road

In my Westhill Road Ramblings#1 post here, I discussed my thought process for selecting the style and type of signal box for my new little modelling venture Westhill Road. This post looks at my scratch build of the chosen ground level signal box based upon the LSWR Type 3B design.

A cruelly enlarged picture of my scratch built Type 3B ground signal box. The roof is not affixed yet whilst it awaits some final details and a signaller to be added.
The basic assembly takes shape.
The mitred corners and triangular corner uprights can be seen.
Further framework and wall tops added.
The brick base is added and the side porch is started.
The porch is added, still a separate assembly to aid later painting.
The hipped roof, stovepipe chimney and Ratio guttering.
The underside of the roof with roof trusses added and painted.
The Ratio interior is fitted and further further painting completed.
The working lamp is fixed to the roof beam, and a view of the knee frame.
A quick snap showing the effect of the illumination, (a scratch made light shade hides the tiny surface mount LED)

As with many of my scratch-built buildings, even if they are not to be exact replicas of an original prototype, I like to use as much research as possible to ensure that the characteristics and proportions of such a building look correct. In this instance I wanted to make use of some nice proprietarily laser cut windows from Proses Hobby Shop, therefore using these fixed dimensions, and of course standard door sizes, I started by quickly drawing out the design, to scale, referring back to reference photographs at every stage.
The use of these laser cut windows and their dimensions are therefore a slight compromise but by adjusting the dimensions of the rest of the building to suit it maintains the proportions and the overall effect that I am wanting to achieve.

The construction of these LSWR signal boxes was basically a wooden frame and wooden clapperboard structure and I’ve replicated this using Wills 213 clapperboard for the main structure.
From my drawing I cut the wooden floor, from Wills 201 wood planking, to size to give a square base for the clapperboard walls to be built around it.

I mitred the edges of the walls before filing back the outside of the cemented corners at 45° and adding 2mm x 2mm triangular plastic strut upright, see picture left. The use of the triangular section on the building corners creates the corner framing and also completely hides any joint.
Additional plastic microstrip is then used to create the other wooden framework, both externally and internally, and to create the windowsills etc.  (remember to include the thickness of windowsills, door frames etc when cutting out the apertures). Plastic microstrip and Plastrut square section was used to built up the framing across the tops of the walls, along with roof trusses.
The side porch is made from a mix of plasticard, planked plasticard and another Proses Hobby Shop laser cut window. It was made as a separate assemble to make paining easier.

The ground frame sites on a low brick-built foundation, that includes the opening for the point rodding and signals wires to exit with a small piece of microstrip added to represent the steel beam supporting the bricks above the opening.

As ground level signal boxes do not have an interlocking room under the floor, they used a ‘Knee Frame’ with short levers that was higher off the floor to allow interlocking directly beneath the levers. I have used a modified Ratio 224 signal box interior kit for the interior details. I mounted the lever frame base on a piece of plastic I beam and shortened every lever, to represent the 10 lever frame in accordance with the signal box diagram I have already created.

The hipped roof was made using Wills 203 Slates with thin card ridge tiles added. Guttering is added around the bottom edge using Ratio 300 gutters and downpipes. The stove pipe chimney has been fashioned from plastic rod and turned at the top to represent a cowl, and lead flashing asses from very thin plasticard.

The internal working lamp and its shade have been made using a suitable shaped plastic part, I think an old wagon kit, found in the scrap box, with a Layouts4u.net 0805 12v Nano SMD led (prewired) glued to it. It’s affixed to the ceiling truss and the fine wires passing down the wall behind the stove and its chimney.

The external paint colours are SR Buildings Cream and SR Middle Chrome Green from Precision Paints.
I will wait until Westhill Road is ready for its signal box to be planted before I weather it to tone the colours down to suit the tone of the rest of the layout.

Shopping list

  • Wills Building sheets – 201 Wood planking (floor), 203 Slates, 213 Clapboarding,
  • Proses Hobby Shop – 28x126mm 12 pane windows, 12/17mm 9 pane windows
  • Layouts4u.nett 0805 12v Nano SMD led (prewired)
  • Ratio – 553 signal box interior, 538 gutters and downpipes
  • Micorstrip / Plastrut – various
  • Precision Paints – SR Buildings Cream (P95) and SR Middle Chrome Green (P93)

Recommended reading: Signal Boxes of the London & South Western Railway: A study of Architectural Style by G.A.Pryer

I hope this post has shown that, whilst some similar kits might be available, scratch building is not a dark art and is enjoyable and rewarding.

Westhill Road Ramblings#1 3B or not 3B choosing a signal box

Welcome to the first of my Westhill Road Ramblings as I think thoughts (or why isn’t that thunk?), yes dangerous I know, to develop the concept in my mind / imagination and start to make actual physical progress on my new little scenic diorama type layout. To read my introduction to Westhill Road click here. As the layout progresses my imagination, vision , concepts and ideas board will be covered via such ramblings posts, whilst more details on some of the physical items will be covered in my Workbench Witterings series.

Now on to the main subject of this post the signal cabin. The original thought in my mind I had for Westhill Road, with its small level Crossing and minimum signalling and only one point (plus a co-acting trap point) for the siding, was to utilise one of the lovely Kernow Model Rail Centre LSWR ground frame cabins.

The three potential options for the cabin at Westhill Road
The signal box diagram for Westhill Road

However upon developing the concept for the layout further and looking at signal Box diagrams for similar locations on the Southern, and having created a signal box diagram for Westhill Road that required a 10 lever frame, I soon realised that such a ground frame and cabin would actually be too small.
I initially thought about using my scratch built model of Hawkhurst signal box that I built from scratch many years ago now, when still a teenager, but feel that using such signal box at this location would possibly also be out of character for a small wayside halt and crossing  location as Westhill Road and maybe affect the balance of buildings I intend to have on the layout, as it will located directly in front of the roadside combined station masters house / booking office.

A cruelly enlarged picture of my scratch built Type 3B ground signal box. The roof is not affixed yet whilst it awaits some final details and a signaller to be added.

I decided to take a look at the idea of using ground-based signal box. The LSWR have a number of different types of boxes, as the design involved throughout the years, small ground versions of the signal cabins were quite common across the network at smaller locations such as level crossing gates and small stations and these could either be directly mounted on the ground or onto a station platform. I therefore settled on the idea of an LSWR type 3B signal cabin as these were used at similar crossing gate locations.

A birds eye view inside the box
A view showing the knee frame
A quick snap showing the effect of the illumination, (a scratch made lamp shade hides a tiny surface mount LED)

These Type 3B boxes were introduced in 1889 and were generally located in and around Plymouth and also on the Ilfracombe line in North Devon, including wonderfully named locations such as Stoney Mill Gates, Vellator Gates and Duckpool Gates. Unlike the earlier Type 3 and 3A boxes they did not have toplights (replaced with weatherboard or any ornamental valances. As these ground level boxes did not have an interlocking room beneath the floor they utilised a raised ‘knee frame’ with shorter levers.

This slightly more plain style is, in my thinking, ideal for Westhill Road as it gives a slightly more general and not to area / company specific appearance. I have therefore knocked up a quick scratch built version of such a ground box, that is internally detailed, complete with a knee frame and each individual short lever, coloured to match the Westhill Road signal box plan,  and illuminated (as will all the buildings I build for Westhill Road). I will detail the build process in a near future Workbench Witterings post before you ask, and although I do not yet have the actual layout built to plonk it on, I already feel of the three options it will look the part.

 

Workbench Witterings #11 Forward dating @Hornby Bulleid Merchant Navy 21c3 to 1947 condition

As I hinted in my Workbench Witterings #10 Forward dating @Hornby Bulleid Merchant Navy 21c7 to 1947 condition post here, I also intended to do the same with my  R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model. 

21c3 Royal Mail in May 1947 condition with freshly fitted standard smoke deflectors
21c3 in bits following an attack of a razor saw
21c3 Royal Mail
21c3 and 21c7 together what I call the posh chocolate shot

Like the latest Hornby model of 21c7 the previously released model R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model has been produced in her early condition, with the ‘widows peak’ and without smoke deflectors. 21c3 was introduced in September 1941 in malachite green livery but repainted in plain black as a wartime measure in May 1943. Changes to the smoke deflection stated in September 1944 when she was fitted with the top cowl and short flared deflectors. 21c3 was repainted malachite green in November 1945 and was subsequently fitted with standard length and style of smoke detectors in May 1947. She stayed in this condition until June 1948 when she was renumbered 35003 and British Railways in SR style sunshine lettering.

I have therefore took the razor to hand and modelled 21c3 in her May 1947 condition just after she received freshly painted new standard deflectors, complete with the baton along the top for mounting the Devon Belle wing plates as a per a photograph of her that I have in my collection.
Like my 21c7 conversion I have used etched smoke deflectors, electric lamps and a replacement smoke box dart from the excellent Albert Goodall range supplied by my friends at RT Models. The replacement lamp irons are simply staples cut to length and I have replaced the flat printed nameplates and smokebox door roundel with etched versions from Fox Transfers.

I have followed the same steps as per my Workbench Witterings #10 post here so will not repeat the stage by stage details. Who knows when we might see this version from Hornby, as I said in the #10 post once you get over the brave step of putting a razor saw to a brand new model the modification is reasonably quick and easy to complete.

 

 

Workbench Witterings #10 Forward dating @Hornby Bulleid Merchant Navy 21c7 to 1947 condition

As per my review, here, of the Hornby Bulleid Merchant Navy R3717 21c7 Aberdeen Commonwealth in SR wartime black, the model has been produced in her early condition, with the ‘widows peak’ without smoke deflectors. 21c7 was one of the first batch of ten Merchant Navy pacifics, she was introduced in June 1942 in malachite green livery but was quickly repainted in plain black as a wartime measure. 21c7 remained in this condition until August 1944 when she gained the more familiar cowl above the smokebox and also received short flared smoke deflectors. She gained the to become standard length and style of smoke detectors whilst still in black in June 1947.

The forward dating complete, 21c7 in 1947 condition.
The model and new components ready to start the conversion.
The top brackets are soldered to the etched deflectors
The first cuts are the bravest… and the front fairing edges bevelled.
The new cowl is trial fitted in place.
The deflectors are curved to the correct shape prior to painting.
The new front face is complete
The finished 21c7, now awaits some weathering.
Another view of the finished 21c7

As my usual modelling period is between 1946 and 1949 I have forward dated 21c7 to the condition she was just before being outshopped in malachite green at the end of June 1947. This requires the fitting of the cowl above the smokebox, in place of the ‘widows peak’, the fitting of standard smoke deflectors, with electric lamps attached. The middle position lamp irons were also moved to the smokebox door once smoke deflectors were fitted.

For this relatively simple forward dating process I have used the following items: etched smoke deflectors, electric lamps and a replacement smoke box dart from the excellent Albert Goodall range supplied by my friends at RT Models. The replacement lamp irons are simply staples cut to length and I have replaced the flat printed nameplates and smokebox door roundel with etched versions from Fox Transfers.
The Hornby nameplates come off quite easily, they are held in place by three small lugs, one in the centre and one towards each end of the arms. I slide a sharp knife underneath from one side to the other to lift the plates. I then ensure any remaining lug was carefully cut flush to the side. I affix the etched plates using a very small amount of superglue applied with a cocktail stick (some people prefer to use a small amount of varnish instead of glue).

The first step was to fold up and solder the brackets just below the top inside edge of the etched brass deflectors. The deflectors were then bent to both their correct vertical shape and also the curve at the bottom edge to match the existing fairing. I then used the deflectors to mark the position of the horizontal cut required in the existing front fairing. An Albert Goodall electric lamp was glued on the inside front edge of each deflector lining up with bottom of the two rivets on the outside of the deflector. I then used Halfords spray cans to first prime using etched primer before top coats of satin black.

Next I took a deep breath and using a razor saw, cut horizontally,  along the previously marked lines, the fairing back to the smoke box face and then vertically downwards level with the smokebox front, this removes both the ‘widows peak and the sides to meet the horizontal cuts. I also removed the Hornby printed roundel and the smokebox door dart. The sides of the slot in front of the chimney was also filed to match the rest of the opening. With all cuts cleaned up with a fine file, I also bevelled the remaining front fairings to give them a thinner edge appearance.

The Albert Goodall cast white metal cowl was filed to suit the slot in front of the chimney and glued into place using superglue. I drilled holes in the smokebox door for the two lamp irons and the replacement door dart. The finish painted deflectors were glued into place with the top brackets affixed to the top edge of the flat top gutter strip.

The Hornby model as supplied has an all over slightly matt finish, in reality the flat top, cab room and middle section of the tender cab roof were matt, whilst the sides were more of a satin finish and the front cowl also tended to be satin. I repainted the top and the smokebox front and door matt black. Before applying the etched nameplates and roundel I masked the matt areas and sprayed the sides of the model with Halfords satin lacquer. Once the nameplates and roundel were fitted the final tasks were to fit the new Albert Goodall smokebox door dart and the Hornby supplied cylinder drain cocks.

Once you get over the brave step of putting a razor saw to a brand new model the modification is reasonably quick and easy to complete. I will at some stage do the same to my malachite green R3435 21C3 ‘Royal Mail’ model!

Workbench Witterings #9 Refreshing the E2, no mention of Thomas…dam… in

The first five members of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSC) E2 class 0-6-0 tanks were introduced by L Billinton in June 1913.  In service they were found to be powerful but slightly lacking in water and therefore a further batch of 5 were ordered, although delayed by the war, and built between June 1915 and October 1916 with extended side tanks, These extended tanks  increased water capacity from 1,090 to 1,256 gallons.
They were used on shunting and short distance goods trips, their small capacity coal bunkers made them unsuitable for longer trips. They were also used on empty stock workings at Victoria and London Bridge.

E2 No. 2104 shunts at the Quay

Work in progress front 3/4 view

Work in Progress rear 3/4 view

The bulk of the E2 can be seen in comparison with the B4 class. The body is yet to be lowered on the chassis slightly.

The later style chassis with added guard irons and sandboxes. The front fixing lugs are yet to be filed smaller to lower the body (The rear lug is likewise reduced)

The front 3/4 view RH side

the RH Side 3/4 view, she awaits some weathering now

Further shunting at the Quay

Following the onset of electrification a number were used as shunters at Southampton Docks and despite their 16ft wheelbase restricting their use in some areas of the docks they stayed working the docks until 1962 when the Class 07 diesels arrived.
Withdrawal of took place between 1961 and 1963.

The Hornby model of the E2 0-6-0 first appeared in 1979 and following 4 versions, LBSC Umber (2 versions) , SR lined Black and SR olive green, production ceased in 1984.   After which the tooling was altered used for the production of some other blue model… dam I wasn’t going to mention that…

Many years ago in my yoof I simply repainted into SR ‘Sunshine’ black, now with Canute Road Quay being an ideal setting for an E2 I decided to dig the E2 out again and give her a quick win makeover, so finescale modellers look away now…

The original chassis was the standard at the time Hornby generic 0-6-0 X04 motor fitted chassis. As this is a quick win project I have decided to not at this stage built a new chassis but simply swap it for the later style of Hornby 0-6-0 generic chassis with its closed frames and smaller motor and slightly greater level of detail. This later chassis is a direct replacement and also gives better running.
To this chassis I have added front sandboxes, made from plastic rectangular section and filed to shape with wire sand pipes, and added front and rear guard irons from plasticard.

The body itself generally matches the correct dimensions for the E2 which was certainly one of the larger 0-6-0 tanks. I have added new brass buffers, pipework, clack valves and lamp irons from various bits and bobs kicking around from the spares / scrap box.
In keeping with the Brighton Style, dating from when the water in the tanks was pre heated, the tank sides were clad and the fixing bolts for the cladding were a visible feature and the E2 was no different. To represent these visible fixings I drilled then glued in 0.45mm wire before cutting the wire almost flush with the tankside.
Just underneath the running plate I have added the long horizontal air tanks on each side, made from plastic rod and some of the piping from brass wire.

The E2 is a large tank when compared to other tanks such as the B4 class, however the body as new does sit slightly too high on the chassis, and this is simply remedied by filing the underside of the front two fixing lugs and also the underside of the single rear sprung lug.

After a dusting with primer from a Halfords aerosol can she received a coat of Halfords Satin Black again from a rattle can before the smokebox and cab roof were brush painted matt black and the bufferbeam of course in red. Her identity as 2104 was added using HMRS Pressfix transfers to complete the look.

I admit she would benefit from a proper finescale chassis, but as a quick win project I think it fits the bill and will extend the life of the Hornby model seeing occasional use on canute Road Quay. A nice 3D print of the E2 with the extended tanks is available and so this might form the basis of a future project…

Workbench Witterings #8 Taking a ‘brake’ from wagons rolling of the workbench

As I advised in my recent Covid, exhibitions, mental health and life changes post, in an attempt to restore my modelling mojo whilst on furlough I started to build a number of the wagon kits that I had added to the to do later pile over the last few years.

The Diagram 1410 Covered Goods Wagons awaiting painting
The crispness of the Cambrian Models mouldings can be clearly seen in with this Diagram 1316 open
The finished painted and lettered wagons in pre and post 1936 liveries.
The Diagram 1426 shows of its height against a low roofed Diagram 1410

The kits were all from the excellent Cambrian Models range and comprised of:

  • 4 off ex LSWR 10t Covered Goods Wagon to SR Diagram 1410
  • 2 off ex SECR 10t Covered Goods Wagon to SR Diagram 1426
  • 1 off ex LSWR 8 plank 12t Open Goods Wagon to SR Diagram 1316

These kits are of an excellent standard, with crisp mouldings and assemble quite easily once you have got your head around some of the various options, mainly around the type and number of brakes fitted. As usual I refer to the bibles for Southern wagon builders the “Illustrated History of Southern Wagons” the four volumes are now sadly out of print but are worth tracking down if you don’t already have access to copies.

Although I follow the well written and detailed instructions; I tend to replace the plastic buffer heads with metal replacements from the Alan Gibson range or similar to give additional durability. I also add some cut lead sheet to the underside of the chassis to bring the weight up to approximately 30 grams (around one ounce for older readers) as this improves running. I always fit brass top hat pin point bearings into the axle boxes and use Alan Gibson wheels.
I tend to purchase these kits, wheels etc. either at shows, when we could, or online from H&A Models whom always provide a friendly and efficient service and in these times it’s always good to help and continue to support such excellent traders.

The Hornby Diagram 1543 ‘New’ van showing the incorrect brown and oversize Tare lettering height
The paint dries in the oven
B4 No. 82 runs around the two repainted Hornby Diagram 1543 brake vans.
A very busy scene at Canute Road Quay as all the wagon builds have come to visit

In addition to the above wagons, whilst on a roll, I have finally got round to repainting the two Hornby ex LSWR 20t Warner ‘New’ diagram 1543 brake vans that arrived at the start of year. Whist excellent models the SR versions in this first batch were not finished in the correct shade of SR Brown, also the Tare lettering was incorrectly the same size as the wagon number when it should be smaller. A nice touch by Hornby  is that they provide a separate beautifully printed plate for the “Not to work between Tonbridge and West St. Leonards via Battle” in addition to it being pre printed on the wagon side, so I have affixed these to the repaints.

For all my wagons I tend to follow the same painting process:

  • Firstly for the kit builds I give a dusting of Halford plastic primer from an aerosol ‘rattle’ can
  • I then brush paint the base colour, I prefer to paint two thin coats rather than one heavy coat.
  • I always help dry the paintwork in a warmed oven (set to less than 50 deg and the door kept open, luckily, I don’t need to ask anyone permission first!).
  • In most cases I use lettering from the HMRS Pressfix transfer range and I use a mix of pre (large SR) and post 1936 (small SR) styles to give some variety.
  • Finally, I apply Railmatch Satin Varnish from a rattle can to fix the lettering and even the finish.

Well I said finally, but actually the wagons now await degrees of weathering that I tend to do as a batch and still have to do so for those shown here.