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.
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 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 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.
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).
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 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)
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.
The numerous LSWR 10 ton covered vans were built between 1885 and 1922 to a few different diagrams as the design was developed. Different body styles were combined with either timber or steal chassis with two axlebox types; Panter or Warner’s, and several different brake systems.
The low roof, sliding door Diagram 1410 covered vans were the most common LSWR covered van with well over 1000 built. Although many were scrapped or entered departmental use before Grouping many passed into SR ownership at grouping with a number, many in departmental use, surviving beyond nationalisation.
Brake gear varied from: single sided double block, ‘Morton Clutch’, the rarer for this diagram ‘Lifting Link’ and most commonly what the SR called ‘Freighter’ that had independent brake gear on each side.
Ten covered vans to the Diagram 1410 were built for the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway (S&DJR) they differed from the LSWR versions as they did not have the end vents and only single sided brakes. They later were absorbed into SR stock and had end vents fitted, become identical to D1410 vans.
The tooling suite for the models allows for bodies with either 8 1.2” or 6 1.2” end planking with and without the end vents on steel chassis, 8 open spoke or 10 closed spoke wheels, and single sided, Morton, freighter or lifting link brake styles. The specification of the model includes highly detailed body and chassis, prototypical brake gear and safety loops fitted, beam compensation, sprung buffers and a sprung coupling hook fitted with metal three link couplings.
The models have been produced and are currently being shipped, the initial price is £66.95 each, that is the special early-bird price and only applies payment is made in full at the time of ordering. For those not wishing to pay in full, it will not be possible to place an order until after the models have arrived. These subsequent orders will be at the prevailing price of £77.95 and not the early-bird offer price.
Bachmann Europe have continued their new policy of making quarterly product announcements the highlight of todays announcement of new tooling is the SECR/SR Maunsell/Lyons Diagram 1559 25 ton good brake van first introduced in 1918.
These ‘modern’ 24ft long 16ft wheel base brake vans with their spacious guard’s accommodation were given the nickname ‘Dancehalls’ . Although the later SR standard brake vans had shorter bodies they used the same underframe design. A total of 60 of the vans were built between 1918 and 1927 with the first 20 being on 12″ channel underframes to Diagram 1559 and the following 40 on 15″ channel underframes to Diagram 1560. The difference between the two diagrams can be easily spotted as the Diagram 1560 vans did not have the bottom 3″ plank across the sides. Ten of the vans were rebuilt in 1963 for departmental use, these had one balcony incorporated into the van section and end windows added becoming diagram 1571, some of these after being both vacuum and air piped lasted until the 1980s.
The four Bachmann models of the SECR Diagram 1559 brake vans being released are as follows:
Thomas Mitchell was originally the proprietor of a brick and gravel merchant, that by the early 1900s had become Thomas Mitchell and Sons, brick and tile manufacturers, with a large brick works at Guildford Park. By 1902 they had their own black with white lettered 10ton Private Owner wagon for the transportation of coal to the works.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Graham asked: “should this review be written in the style of a Rapido marketing email,?” but Muz replied: “Right! Stop that! It’s silly.” (with apologies to Monty Python).
I will let the photographs show how good these wagons are and provide a welcome addition to any SECR / SR modellers fleet. I have only purchased some of the SR versions, but SECR grey and BR Grey and BR Departmental versions are also available (see the original announcement here for the full list).
Some people, without a full understanding of the manufacturing process and where production and overheads costs lie, might crawl away at the RRP of £32.95; and whilst there might still be other manufacturer’s wagons currently available at a cheaper prices the realistic market prices are certainly changing as all costs rise. The models can of course be purchased from retailers such as Kernow Model Rail Centre at a slight discounted price.
The 7 plank open, later SR Diagram 1355, were the SECR’s most numerous wagon with 2,121 wagons built between 1915 and 1927. The SR later fitted a sheet rail. British Railways had over 70 wagons still in service in the 1960s and the last withdrawals were not until the 1970s.
The 5 plank opens utilised the same steel chassis as the 7 plank wagons, 550 were built between 1920 and 1925 with standard buffers that became SR Diagram 1347. A further 150 were built 1921/2 with the self-contained buffer type, as on the 7 plank D1355 wagons, and became SR Diagram 1349. They were withdrawn in the early 1960s.
All three versions of the models, sharing the same underframe, have accurate body detail, including nicely planked insides and now becoming much more common on wagon releases good underframe detail that includes both etched and wire parts. They also feature nice split spoked wheels on 26mm pin point axles that run in brass bearing cups, that along with a with a weight of 32/33g ensures very free running.
On my examples, as can be seen in the images, a number of the self contained buffers were glued in at wonky angles, but being separately applied parts these can be carefully reaffixed.
The livery application is crisp and well printed. I know for a fact that Rapido have used the same paint colour reference for the SR brown as the Kernow Model Rail Centre used on their ex LSWR/SR D1541 Road Vans, although this appears to be a slightly lighter but still more than acceptable, interpretation of the colour possibly due to the more satin finish, (and even lighter with the lighting I have used in my studio), on these wagons.
The tooling allows for both taped plain and the self-contained buffer types for the 5 plank wagons. To achieve the 7 plank versions fitted with the sheet rail, a pre shaped wire rail along with its moulded mounting brackets for each end of the wagon have been supplied as separate parts for the use to fit (glue) into position (instructions on fitting is included with each wagon).
The holes in the mounting brackets for the sheet rail will need to be opened out very slightly to ensure a good fit. The one slight downside is that the rail can only be positioned in the upright position, as it would be when a sheet was covering the wagon and not, without some modification, in the sideways stowed position when no sheet was fitted.
[Edit 20/05/22] To demonstrate the effect that the factory satin finsih has on the paint colour as mentioned above, the picture left shows a comparison with one of the Rapido wagons given a coat of Testors Dullcoat matt varnish and brings the colour much closer to the Kernow Model Rail Centre ex LSWR/SR D1541 Road Vans, and therefore looking much better.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This weekend 4th/5th December sees the fourth World of Railways Virtual Exhibition, and a weekend filled with entertainment for all ages, model railways of all shapes, sizes and scales, plus informative model ‘how-to’ advice, and interviews with the brands who bring us the models we enjoy, including a in a couple of different interviews yours truly…
The virtual show organisers, Warners/BRM, have introduced a range of new features, including: guest modelling panels answering your questions, and a Christmas shopping segment you’ll not want to miss. Fan favourites remain, including the hugely popular Kids Zone, competitions, puzzles, exclusive interviews and more.
A #BigWORshow wouldn’t be complete without its competitions! There’s something for all the family across the weekend, from ‘spot the difference’, puzzle games and colouring for younger viewers, with a fabulous selection of prizes to win for adults, from a Hornby Queen Elizabeth and limited edition Merchant Navy, to an Oxford Rail modern air-braked Warwell and Bachmann BR Mk. 1 coaches.
Bachmann Europe have continued their new policy of making quarterly product British Railways Announcements and whilst Covid-19 has stopped any physical showcase event taking place, Bachmann announced the new items in a video that can be seen here:
Unfortunately no new models this time around for Southern Railway / Southern Region modellers, after the new O2s from the last announcement, (although I can recommend the new SPA / SEA wagons…, and even I am impressed by the 00-9 Double Fairlies) but I am confident more is to come in the future, remember it is a regular quarterly announcement and all the items announced today should be available during the next three months and not all that is being produced Bachmann for the year.
Work in progress – update (added 04/11/21)
Bulleid Coaches – These are now at the decorated sample stage following some amendments to the first Engineering Prototypes (see here) , Malachite, BR Crimson and Cream and BR(s) Green, and awaiting signing off before production can commence.
BR Standard 5MT – modified to enable sound fitted models, engineering prototypes have been approved and livery artwork is being prepared.
Class 450 EMU – These are at the decorated sample stage.
Class 319 EMU – In production
The next announcement will be in early February 2022.
The model railway world and mainly Southern Railway meanderings of Graham 'Muz' Muspratt