Chris' workbench

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Hi all,

So whilst - again - my layout building grinds to a halt (probably until I move) I've decided to have another look at the Lima 37. I moved the 60 on pretty quickly, but have hung on to the 37 as I'd love to see if I can improve it. I've ordered a few tools (drill bits, files etc) to enable me to crack on with it.

Further to this, I've always loved the Great Western livery that adorned class 47 'Thor' in the late 90s (the big logo, not the gold First one) in it's classic green. As I have a Lima 47 chassis in good condition, I'll try to get hold of a cheap body shell that I can, again, update. If I can't, I've got a body that I resprayed into FM Rail livery... I guess I could just strip that.

Hopefully, both (or one for now) will give me something to be getting on with. As I've already got the 37 it would make sense to start with that.

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Whilst recently rummaging through my 'bits box.' I found one of the following:


Photo (c)

Yes, I've already got one which some of you may recall I repainted into a rich green, naming it 'Amy.' Well, as a summer house move means any layout building will go on the back burner for a while, I decided that I'd work on some locos in the meantime. The Mainline 37 is still in my sights, whilst I'm also still tinkering with the blue 08. However, for now, this little loco will take priority.


The idea I've got is of turning it black, with gold lining, and getting some Narrow Planet nameplates to call it 'John Foster,' with the running number 1855. Why John Foster? Think about my passion for brass bands and you've got your answer. 


John Foster, the son of a colliery owner who was born in Bradford, set up a business in a warehouse in Queensbury on the future site of the Black Dyke Mill in 1819. 16 years later he built the first part of the mill and in 1855 he, along with some other musicians established the band which we now know today as the Black Dyke Band. This new band was outfitted with outfits made from materials made at his mill and the band are now the most prominent brass band in the world. 


Add in the fact that during the 1870's Foster bought and renovated 'Hornby Castle' in Lancashire and I can't think of any other name that is more deserving for this little loco. Hopefully there will be some progress in the not too distant future! 

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My loss of modelling mojo has many factors, I believe. One of which is the absolute bonkers way that prices in the hobby have gone up. Recently I've downsized my stock, selling lots of items that were just gathering dust on a shelf. One of the items included a prized class  47 locomotive that I own. Why was it prized? Well, I 'cabbed' the loco when I worked on the railway. However, just sat in a box, I decided to sell it on rather than let it go to waste... which, ironically, the real version of the loco did!

So with my stock list at a low ebb, I decided to add a loco to it. However, I knew what I wanted but couldn't bring myself to pay the - to my mind - extortionate prices asked for it. Therefore the decision was made; go low-tech. Or retro, whichever you prefer. Going retro meant buying a Lima 47. I love them and already have a chassis (and a good runner at that) which I could have used for this project, having bought a bodyshell for it. Despite that, I found myself a bit of a bargain, getting a full loco for a little more than the cost of a spare body.


The Lima 47 is low-tech, particularly by today's standards. Very low tech in fact, however the tooling on the shell is really rather lovely. I've seen many examples of people 'up-cycling' them and they always look pretty swish. I'm not going to do too much to it really but it should make a difference. The plan is to add the front end details on the buffer beams - pipes, etc - and then file away the moulded details on the front of the cabs, fitting proper grab rails. Finally, I want to renumber the loco to 47489 'Crewe Diesel Depot Quality Assured' before adding some weathering to it. I want it to look 'lived in.'

Old school? Yes. A 'Duff' on a budget? Very much so. Excited? Yes, more than I have been by the thought of modelling for a long time. 


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Work on the 'Duff' has started this afternoon. It's only baby steps, but it's work none the less. The main aim was to remove the moulded grab rails off the front of both cabs in preparation for some proper rails to be fitted.


All in all, it was a pretty simple job; remove the glazing from the inside (to protect it... but then I'm toying with replacing it with Shawplan lazer cut windows anyway) before sanding it gently down with a sanding stick. Five minutes spent on each side and the job was done, as you can see below.




You'll notice I've nicked the black cab window surrounds, but again, I'm very tempted by the etched cab window surrounds to improve the face of the loco. Initially, I was thinking of only doing very minor changes, plus the renumber, but already I'm beginning to think about a few more bits and bobs such as the lazer glaze and cab windows. Watch this space, I guess...

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Having done a bit of research of my chosen subject, 47489 Crewe Diesel Depot Quality Assured, I discovered that the 47 had white handrails. Initially I thought I'd just painted the moulded effect that is already on the loco cab side (as seen below) but, pretty quickly, I decided this was a little lazy and, if I was making the effort on the loco face, I might as well do so on the side.




The picture above is how the loco looks 'out of the box.' It's ok, in all fairness, but I thought 'why not give it a go.' I'd read somewhere on line that 26mm staples do the job as grab rails and so, armed with a small needle file, I set about filing the moulded detail.


As you can see below, the right hand one (my first go) is a little rougher around the edges than the left hand side one. Both sides needs plenty of tidying up with a bit of 'wet and dry' (and I'll now need to repaint too - something I was hoping  to avoid) but generally I'm pretty pleased.




The holes for the staples to go in where drilled with a small twist drill and a 0.5 drill bit and they made short work of the job. I've only placed the staples in loosely for now, as there is far more work required around them required before I reach that stage.


In addition, I've ordered a buffer beam detail pack from Bachmann and am debating how to go about adding the front grab rails. Thought process on that is to be continued...

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All cabs filed and drilled. All need a last little smoothing however, then will be primed ahead of painting. Luckily, I've managed to save the darker grey, so I'll just need to touch up the black surrounds in some places, and totally redo the red. Not too bad, all in all.

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Finally, with the school holidays here, I've had a bit of time to do some more modelling. The 'duff on a shoestring' project is progressing nicely, today I've added a new coat of red paint to it, having finished the handrails and surrounding area.


Whilst I left that to dry I pondered what I could do. Sometime ago I 'won' (something I never get, it's an auction so you pay for it!) a cheap Hornby MFA wagon on eBay.




It's in 'Mainline' Blue and is really rather unrealistic - however, I do have a far better Bachmann model. The Hornby version is purely for modelling practice. I dug it out and decided to have a go at weathering it.


It was a reasonably quick job. I took a couple of acrylic paints (burnt umber and burnt sienna) and splashed them about liberally. Next I got some kitchen roll and, before the paint dried, gently pressed it on to the paint to soak some of it up. I repeated the process three times, building up the colour that was left each time. Finally, I dry brushed the underframe with a mix of the two paints mentioned above.




I was left with this. For a quick job, I'm quite impressed. I've only done this side for now as it's highly unlikely I'd ever use this wagon on a layout (as I haven't got one currently for starters!) so will use the other sides for trying other methods.


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I really can't apply that title to my modelling! However, I have managed to get a few hours on the class 47 this week. The last time I had worked on it I'd drilled some holes on the cab sides, ready for the grab rails, before painting some staples white to act as said grab rails. Yesterday I was able to spend a bit of time fitting them. Of course, I broke one, so fitted a 'naked' staple and then painted it in site. The bonus of using acrylics was that, having made a slight white mark on the cab side I could quickly wash it off.




Next up was the water slide transfer numbers. I spoke to John Peck at Precision Decals and he very kindly - and very quickly - made up just what I was looking for. His decals are easy to use. Apply varnish - Johnsons Klear in this case - to the area you want to apply the decal to, leave to dry and then place the dampened decal on, sliding into place. At this stage I leave it to dry for a day before adding a second coat of varnish.




Finally, for now, the nameplates. Courtesy of Fox Transfers, I decided to add the 'Quality Approved' plate underneath, meaning that my 47 is in the later guise of this name. There are lots ways to apply nameplates but I tend to use the varnish approach again. Brush a layer of it on the back of the plate and then place in position. Again, leave to dry and seal again with another layer.


So that's it so far. The hand rails are added to both sides, however the number and nameplates are just on the one. So that is on my 'to-do list.' This list also includes the following:

  • Fit front handrails (wire is on order)
  • Fit front detailing parts
  • Remove coupling bracket from number 1 end
  • Weather - and paint where required - under frame
  • Weather body shell (lightly)
  • Fashion, and detail, a better inside cab
Plenty to be getting on with. Why, then, is my mind flashing to thoughts of modelling a small Heritage Railway terminus?

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Although I've been working on - and thoroughly enjoying - the Lima 47 to keep the modelling going, it's been several years since I last had a layout that I could run something on. In the intervening period I've started to build a few but they've all been abandoned and forgotten.


Recently, you'll remember that I recently blogged about a visit to the Telford Steam Railway. Well, when looking through a few pictures of it again recently, a combination of a few pictures led me to come up with a little idea. The two pictures in particular are below.





Why so inspirational? Well, with only a little space available for a model, a single line terminus (which was my last completed model too) seems to be the right idea. Horsehay and Dawley (above right) is an example of this, as to is Lawley Village at the other end of the line... although I didn't take any pictures of that for some reason. Indeed, Lawley Village - or rather it's Pagoda shelter - is the basis for the station. The picture above left is of the Telford Steam Railway's shop. I loved this, so thought that I'd add that to the model as something a little different. Yes, it will take up some space, but the other idea is that the line is preserved but is only very small and operates brake van rides, nothing more.


So, with all that in mind, I ended up with the following...




I've ordered a few Dapol (formerly Airfix) kits for a brake van and a meat van to act as the passenger service and the shop. I've enjoyed working on the Lima 47 so much I decided I'd rather kit build my stock, rather than just buy ready to roll off the shelf. I knocked a quick foam core base board up the other day. It's tiny (even by my standards) but will suffice. The trusty Wills Pagoda shelter is perfect for the station whilst, finally, my revamped 08, Clara, will do just the job for the motive power.


So far today I've primed the parts to the meat van, and painted the components of the under frame black too. They are just drying now.


Beating modeller's block? Maybe not, but it's a start!

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Aside from hammering Football Manager recently, I've also kept the modelling mojo going with a kit build, modifying a couple of Hornby 'Caledonian Pugs' and planning my new layout.





Firstly, a recent post said I'd taken inspiration from a trip to the Telford Steam Railway. Well, with that in mind I set about recreating their shop, which is located in an old 'van' wagon. I purchased a Dapol 'meat van' kit and set about building it. Once I'd got to that stage I focused on the interior. Using scaled down pictures off the net (a bookshelf, display case and some Hornby train set boxes) I made a representation of the shop interior.





Although you can barely see it with the roof on, I know it's all in there and that's the main thing. It's not finished yet though; the doors need filling smooth and a sign whilst I also need to weather the thing.




Some of you may recall the loco I repainted and called 'Amy.' Well, I've never been that happy with the either the colour or the standard of paint job I gave it. So I sanded it down and repainted it blue. Whilst doing so, I found the other Caley 'Pug' and decided I'd make a small fleet. The result can be seen below. The other loco is yet to be named and numbered, I'm heading towards 'Sophie' and '10' at the moment.




I've ordered a new loco too. Nothing too flash though as it is Hornby's rather inaccurate RailRoad range Bagnall Shunter. I'm not too fussed about it's inaccuracies though, but for £18 figured I could repaint it (and name it 'Alexandra' with the number 1877 courtesy of Narrow Planet) to make a rather fabulous private industrial diesel shunter. In my mind I have visions of it shuffling in with a couple of battered mineral wagons on my new layout... which is still very much in the planning stages - although the two locos above are posed on it's early stages!



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Thanks, Dave. However, the shop might not even make it on to the layout. I might move away from the preserved railway idea and go for an ironstone shunty plank. I've got a few ideas revolving around two simple track plans and am not too sure yet which way to lean.

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The Bagnall Shunter arrived yesterday. I did mention that I 'wasn't bothered' about how inaccurate it was. I had thought it was just a little long compared to the prototype. However, it is massively over scale in all aspects. Therefore I've ordered a Wabtec Sentinel (yes, I owned one previously and sold it on!) which I'll remove the Wabtec gubbins from.

As I type I'm making a pub. More on this later...

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Today I started work on a pub for my new micro-shunting layout, Chetwynd Aston. Using some spare mount board and a Scalescenes 'Stucco' download I shut myself away in the office and got on with making a tiny watering hole named 'The Moody Mallard.' Here's a little step-by-step guide as to the process so far...


1) Cut the bases for the sides out of the mount board. I made a chimney breast out of foam core as this gave me the required thickness for that part of the building.




2) Cover the sides with the Scalescenes stucco sheet, leaving it to dry whilst weighted down. Once dry trim to fit, leaving enough overhang to wrap the paper around the sides and around door and window frames.


3) Glue the sides together, using corner triangles to make the edges meet. Whilst this was drying I made the pub sign and glued it on. 




4) I made the window frames from sticky label, cutting it out before fixing it to see through packaging and sticking to the inside of the shell.


5) test fit on the layout. The Moody Mallard is designed to act as a 'view-block' so that the viewer can not see that the line has no buffer stops yet does not go anywhere. The test fit seems to show this works. At this point I made a small 'lean to' entrance. 




6) I tackled the roof next. Using a Chris Nevard idea I made loads and loads of 5mm squares by chopping up some junk mail (in this case, a Hattons catalogue appropriately enough!). Then gluing the roof base I, one by one, placed the tiles using the point of a craft knife to pick up and position. Twenty minutes saw me do the lean-to before I'd had enough for one day! I left it to dry before painting the tiles with grey acrylic primer. I'll do further colour work with various washes and darker shades.




That's where I'm up to right now. There is still lots to do including printing an interior to give some detail to the inside. However, I'm pretty pleased with it so far.


Hopefully when it's finished you'll be able to almost smell the tankard of 'Fursty Ferret' that the octogenarian sat at the corner of the bar is supping...

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In other news, I've finally got around to fitting the plated to my 'de-Wabteced' Sentinel. It's now got the number 1877 (which the cruel close up shows to be wonky... needs re-fettling) and the name 'Alexandra.'




A little loco like that would do just the job for a tile works... wouldn't it?

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I have no idea how this happened...





That, of course, is a lie. There was a Black Friday sale. I saw it advertised. I clicked to 'have a look.' There it was. Somehow it ended up in my basket and it's now on my modelling desk.Whoops.




Maybe it's not quite so whoops. It's retailing for around the £53 mark. In this sale I got it for £35. It would have been rude not to. Plus, I'd been eyeing up the Model Rail Sentinel - all £70 of it - so this was half that price and is a stunning little loco that I've wanted since seeing it announced.


Oh, I've also got a layout plan in mind for it to run on.


Am I convincing you yet?


It need's debranding. I've got no plans to make anything M.S.C related, but I like the blue and the yellow lining so I'll keep that but lose the writing. Then I'll added the 'Clara' nameplates I have stored away and give a really filthy weathering job.


Convinced? Yes. Good,


Case closed.

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Amy's on her work's Christmas do and isn't back until tomorrow, therefore I've got an evening to myself. So, with a beer and a Bond film on the go, I got stuck into a bit of modelling.




Bachmann recently released the quite stunning Cory Brothers 7 plank wagon, weathered and, all in all, looking quite grotty. I was very tempted to buy one, but then decided that, already owning a Hornby version in pristine condition, I should just do a bit of 'proper' modelling and weather that myself.


Having dug the model out I realised I'd forgotten that, on receipt of it, I'd had a little go at weathering it with a bit of dry brushing. It was pretty rubbish so after a quick splash of water I'd rubbed it off and it was back as new.


After that, I lightly scrubbed the surface with a craft knife to distress some of the lettering on the sides. In some cases I totally removed the lettering on planks, with the aim of priming and repainting these to indicate replacement panels.




Then I primed (acrylic) the replacement panels and then dry brushed the chassis of the truck to lose the sheen of the black plastic.


image3.JPG  image4.JPG


After that the next stage was to paint the replacement panels brown. As soon as the paint was applied I dabbed at it with a small cloth to remove the paint, leaving a slightly grainy effect (it looks ok from a distance) on those panels.  


The next stage involved dry brushing all over the wagon with the primer. Again, the aim was just to tone down the black plastic effect that the wagon suffered from. On the wagon ends I feel I may have overdone it, so there will be a little reworking of that in the future.


The final job was to dry brush (a technique I love) the wagons with the brown paint again, this time on the underframe and around rivets and metalwork to try to indicate a light rusting effect. This can just about be seen on the pictures but I'll probably add a bit more work to this, potentially using a lighter shade - I have a 'burnt sienna' somewhere that will do the trick I'm sure.






Overall, I'm really very happy with the wagon. Perhaps it is a little too lived in, but I'm applying 'rule 1' of railway modelling. It was a very pleasant way to spend half an hour too. 


Next steps: weather the Sentinel and decide on a layout plan to run both the loco and this wagon on!

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Same planks picked out in newer wood on the inside too?

As for the MSC loco... I'd imagineer a little bit of Trafford Park's street running railway for it.


This vintage Wrenn gronk, wearing MSC colours, is not in the same league as the Sentinel but it is still an excellent runner even though it is getting on for forty years old now.


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10 hours ago, Bob Hughes said:

Same planks picked out in newer wood on the inside too?

Bob, the plan is to fill it full of coal so only the top panel (on the bottom photo) will need picking out in that way. However, if it wasn't for that, I'd most certainly forgotten about picking the planks on the inside out too!

The Sentinel will be debranded and used as an industrial loco, I'm not keeping the MSC element, I just liked the blue! 

The Gronk looks good, particularly for a golden oldie! 

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