So folks. I’m sure you’re all aware that life can sometimes get in the way of our modelling. There are so many things that happen in our lives, it’s a good job we have our hobbies to help us cope. Unfortunately, moving house is one situation where it’s not that easy to keep playing trains.

I had packed it all away ages ago expecting to move in good time, and then one part of the property chain fell apart so we kept brave and held out and soon it was all back on. Then we have to wait for ages for solicitors and estate agents to do their work – why it seems to take ages, I have no idea – it just does. But wait! whats that, a date for next week. Completion.. Really. Well that’s good news. I’ll have to pack up the newest bits of stock which are still posing on the layout.

I recently had a chance to take some stock to the home of David Eccles, a member of the Norfolk Mardlers. I took some new dapol MK1 coaches and a few old Heljan MK1s too. There really is no comparison in them. The ends, the lights, the tumblehome. I could go on and on about how good they are! They’re great! I have also purchased a couple of the excellent Dapol 122 DMUs. One in Blue (well I had to really!) and one in Blue and Gray.

Well here you can see the two new DMU 122 units in the bay platform in front of a short rake of Dapol MK1s.



ON THE FIDDLE (again!)

Well it’s been a while since I had done some wood work but since I was in the zone – Why not eh!

I after building the previous two sections I hadn’t really done much with them. I had ordered another piece from Tim Horn and he had kindly posted it to me even though I live so close to him I normally collect my boards once they are cut.

So I had this 2 ft x 2 ft section in my garage for what seems like months, it must have been collected way before Christmas but it has been so cold in the garage, nothing has got done there for months, until now you might have gathered!

SO . The other day we had some sunshine and I was in a train mood. The wife and boy were out and these are the times you have to use well.

I got some of the trestles out and before anybody could look at my fiddle yaucrd and say, well isn’t that a whopper! I had it out and the new section was also built.

It looks big doesn’t it. Well it needs to be. Points take up a lot of space which is why I needed the extra 2 ft space to begin with. Well. It was all quite easy today, I was only laying straight track so I got out the dremel type cutter and off we went!

After a little while, we had this – and very pleased with it all I was too! I do need to do the electrics to join this new board to the joining one but that shouldn’t take too long. If I can fit a right hand point and another line beside the two to the right I will. These will carry the longest passenger trains to enter the station and these are only short rakes of 3 coaches in any event!

Well I hope you have enjoyed looking at this. I look forward to the day when I can set it all up in one long display as planned.


Well it’s been quite a while since I updated the blog. The last entry showed a rather white looking crane and so I thought I might need to show this in a new light. Here is the story of where we are up to now.

One of the things I needed to do was to make some of the items that carried all the chains or the rigging for the hooks etc. These were made out of plasticard and I also referred to the Peter Tatlow books on Cranes too.

So, those bits took quite a while to make and rather than trying to cut circles of plasticard I sent off for some small washers in various sizes for both parts.

It was then time to turn the crane yellow!

I ended up using Railmatch paint but due to a problem with my airbrush, I used a Railmatch rattle can. This was purchased from my local model shop Great Eastern Models.


Well this was it after painting the whole thing yellow, then going over the areas which needed to be black with Humbrol matt black. This was applied by brush as I wasn’t sure how on earth I was going to mask all the sections. The black paint was then sprayed with Railmatch matt varnish and this really made all my brush marks go away. So then I needed some transfers. In the mean time, I had been talking with one of my modelling chums from the online world and they were able to offer me some ladders for the small match trucks. Given the small fragile nature of the parts, I jumped at the chance of adding some more detail. The transfers were also ordered from Railtec.

I do still need to add the stripes around the engine housing and will do this soon. Note the new handrails which were 3D printed by one of my modelling chums.

Here’s the crane, complete with its support coaches which are also featured on my blog. To see their story click here.

Well folks. This story is going to end soon and will probably have a happy ever after. I just need to add the other stripes and weather it. Oh and then theres the rigging to add! That will be one hell of a job I guess.

Take Care



Well I have to be honest, it looks better in the white primer than I thought it was going to. I had rubbed a lot of every section down with a fibre glass brush and clearly that effort, removing glue spots and imperfections in the surfaces of the plasticard paid off.

Well this isn’t the best picture of my layout, or the crane to be honest, but it does show the Crane base and the two bogies wagons after they had been painted in white primer.

I then realised that I needed to add the two central hand wheels on the crane base so once this was all super dry I went to my supply of etched wheels and selected 4 of the same type, being careful to file of all the bits of brass that had held them on their sprues.

So here was the crane on its base wagon later once all the primer was dry to touch and ok to move about. The other additional small wheels had been added to the base unit too. At this stage, I was really pleased with myself.

Well I guess it’s time to pay thanks to the real hero behind this project. That award goes to DANNY LITTLE, a fine modeller who has been able to cut all the original black parts out as an aid to building this model. He also very kindly built the JIB for me so I didn’t have to worry out cutting all the parts out and getting it all to be square and strong. I think it’s certainly possible that if you wanted one for your own layout, you should consider asking him if he can help. I did have to buy some bits like the wheels, the axle box covers and buffers as well as the obvious things like paint and glue and a good selection of Evergreen products would serve you well too. Once I had made a start, it really was just a case of adding details to some fairly plain shells and I guess you could add as much detail as you wish. I feel I’ve probably added enough detail now and am at the stage where I now have to consider the finishing of the model and how I can stop myself from spoiling the surface of the model with a rubbish coat of yellow paint! Oh and there’s some rigging to sort out too!


Well it has certainly been a while since my last update. I’m not very good at keeping this Blog up to date and current with my modelling so sorry about that!

Well this seemed to be the first stage for me. I decided that I would stick some black pieces to the kit, amend some others and cut some others out of my own plasticard – a sure fire need for this project as you’ll see through all the pics!

I decided in earnest to use the Peter Tatlow book on Cranes which had some excellent drawings and pictures.

I then went into full kit making mode and as you can see, there were lots of bits which I cut out myself to use with the kit of parts that I had purchased. There would also be other parts which I would need but more about those later.

It wasn’t too long before I had a very bare but very recognisable crane, but it needed a lot of very tiny pieces to make it into the crane I really wanted.

So, after a little dusting of primer, and more little pieces, we’re starting to get something that looks a little bit like to Cowans Sheldon Crane that I’m after!

Sorry this picture is a bit dark.

So after quite a few hours, well, many … we have something that is starting to get me going a bit, and feeling quite encouraged by my efforts. Sure there’s lots to do still but now it’s really starting to look the business. I’ve just got to remember everything I did on the Crane base to do it on the other side!

Breakdown Train Trauma!

Well my latest project, or the one I was going to have to address sooner or later is this monster. I hope one day it will have a bit more detail on it and be painted yellow to match its coaches. It will take a while to get right and to get as much detail in as I can.

I’d like to take the credit for much of this but the main kit of parts (the black bits) was sent to me by someone who has done a great job of cutting all the pieces out for me and his help and been invaluable. (Cheers! You know who you are!)

Well there’s still lots to do. I need to source other bits such as axle boxes etc. so come back again at some point to see how it’s all holding up!

On the Fiddle!

You don’t need to be that clever to realise that O gauge requires a lot of space. While I like my O gauge layout being in my garage, I am only able to have the scenic section on display as I don’t have a room in excess of 20 ft long to join it to its fiddle yard. Well to be honest up till now, I haven’t even had a fiddle yard for the layout. But hey, that’s no longer the case!

I had collected the two 2ft x 4ft baseboards some time ago from Tim Horn who doesn’t live that far away from me , but I hadn’t done much on them…Until now that its.

I have to be honest. I gave my long suffering wife some prior warning to say I needed these two boards to go up in the back part of our lounge as they wouldn’t fit in the garage, trust me, I tried!

So here (above) was the first board in the garage still while I sorted positions for the points and power feeds. It’s not pretty, but it works!

I’m sorry, I didn’t take a picture when I had finished laying tracks so these two are from roughly the same stage. that is, the first two long lines in place and one of the next tracks fixed down. I have always found a good going of PVA holds track down well with the bonus that water will always help you lift the track if needed.

The track was laid across the two boards which were bolted tightly together. The wiring was then added and only after that stage was a dremel type cutter used to cut the track across the board joins. And it all worked!


well not quite, due to the space taken up by the points, I really wanted the tracks to be a bit longer so eventually there will be another 2ft x 2ft board added on the end with just straight tracks added. This will enable me to run the longer trains into the station and goods area.


Something cool to go with some yellow coaches!

Stay safe


Winkle’s Yard in Model Rail

After a long wait, Winkle’s Yard has finally made it into the page of October’s Model Rail Magazine.

I was really pleased to find it on the shelves of a nearby shop and my eyes lit up when I saw the pictures finally printed out.

I do hope some of you are able to get a copy of this to take a look. Here are a few pictures from the same photo shoot, not used in the magazine article. Please don’t take these pictures to use for your own needs. They are not mine and the copyright is held by Chris Nevard and Model Rail Magazine.



Winkle’s Yard – by Shaun Harvey. Photographed for Model Rail
Winkle’s Yard – by Shaun Harvey. Photographed for Model Rail
Winkle’s Yard – by Shaun Harvey. Photographed for Model Rail


Why do I have to do this next stage? That was the question going through my head as I searched for some thin masking tape. I guess the real reason I have to do this next stage is because if I don’t do it, then it won’t all be my own work and i won’t learn the lessons of this dark art.

Well I made a trip to my local model shop Great Easter Models, and their fine display of Failmatch paints. I bought 2 pots of Rail Blue, 2 pots of yellow and 2 pots of a dark grey for the roof.

So I began with the yellow ends. That couldn’t be too hard could it? Well strangely enough it was harder than the blue body sides and I’m not really too happy with them. I’m hoping some smart weathering will resolve any grief caused by yellow fever.

So onto the blue. I was quite anxious about this. But I needn’t have been as it all went quite well other than my concerns about covering up the yellow over spray from the ends. I have now completed one body and to be honest, it’s not too bad. It’s not perfect and I know what I could do again but that’s what learning is about.

This is what it looks like!

Don’t look too closely please!


Having read all the instructions really carefully, I’ve come to the conclusion that the main part of the body construction is now complete and it’s time for some primer.

I always tend to go for some acrylic primer in a can which can be purchased from a car parts shop with ease. They also sell the wet and dry paper which is really useful too.

So armed with my cans of grey and satin black. I headed home to face the job before me. I started by giving the whole 2 body shells a light rub down to remove and blemishes and to give the paint a key. It was a warm afternoon so I headed outside to give it a go!

I started off with the chassis and bogies after wrapping making tape around the wheel treads.

Can you see the mistake! – what a numpty!
Two chassis complete in their coat of satin black

I made rapid progress due to the warm weather and was really quite pleased with the results given I don’t have much experience with this kind of thing!

You can almost see what the next stage has to be here

So now both bodies have been painted and the chassis’ and bogies are in black. Some of them will need another little dusting of black, especially the dynamo area!

The bodies are now going through a process of checking for blemishes and filling and sanding where needed. Given the cost of the kit, I guess it makes sense to do things right. I really want the final coat of paint to look good.

Fill, sand, fill, sand, fill, sand etc…

Fortunately, I was out working so it wasn’t out of my way to get some filler from Great Eastern Models. I also purchased some Railmatch paints while I was there…Well it would have been foolish not to eh!

Keep safe


Running Bressingham 70’s Style!

Our group’s list of exhibitions was totally decimated by the pandemic and without that opportunity to attend these functions, much of our stock has been left in the sidings waiting for its next outing. This list included the Model Railway Day held at Bressingham Steam Museum.

So, a few weeks ago my family attended Bressingham Steam Museum complete with masks, wipes and a lovely picnic!

I bumped into Phillip, the guy responsible for organising their shows and said hello etc. I then said ‘Does anyone ever operate your OO layout in the main hall’. He then went on to explain that it was generally left in the push button mode and one of the Thetford Model Railway Club periodically came over to maintain it.

The layout is quite a large layout with some lovely gentle curves. One thing that could be improved on is its fiddle yard which only has two loops in each directions. This is probably more than enough for a push button layout but for a manual exhibition layout, more loops really help to keep the stock looking different.

While speaking to Phillip, my mind had a little thought and I asked if I could operate the layout sometimes. ‘Sure…When ever you like’, replied Phillip. So a few emails later and there I was with a big box of my stock from Winkle’s Yard and a day of operating this layout to myself. I had great fun and took a few pictures shown below. I’m going back on a Sunday in a few weeks time so I might take some more pics then.

Enjoy the gallery.

DMU building almost done!

The main parts of building the DMU are now complete. I do need to go over parts of the model and make sure its all stuck firmly and won’t fall apart every time I pick it up. The next stage is FINISHING and this includes painting. I think I will start by priming the chassis and painting that. There’s a lot to do even with that such as masking all the wheel treads and painting the engine parts. I think that will really bring it alive. I will then prime the body and this will give me a chance to see if it needs any attention, such as ‘The Superglue Incident’ and other little blemishes. I will also need to think about painting the inside of the body to represent the colour inside. To be honest, I might just do it grey or white.

I’m not looking forward to having to paint the body shells but I guess I need to take on the challenge rather than giving it to Kelvin to finish.

This is the power car with motor at the rear.
The other side of the power car with lots of nice engine parts

So next time I make an entry into my blog, I may have some progress on the finishing/painting front to show you although this depends on the weather being dry and not damp.

Oh and in other news….

Winkle’s Yard will soon be in an issue of Model Rail with some beautiful pictures (not these ones) taken by Chris Nevard. I’m not sure what issue it will be but certainly soon and before the end of the year. It’s been a long time coming but I think the pictures will blow people away!

Take care and keep safe


What a (DUMMY) DMU!

Modern adhesives are wonderful. They can stick all sorts of things together and their use seems to be limited only by our imagination. There is one important thing to conisder however. They do need to be stored the right way up and with their lids or tops on tightly.

Well. Now here is the tale, and before I begin, there is no point in contacting me and asking me how it happened because I don’t know. So, to the main point in the tale. I went into the garage one day and found the DMU dummy car with a load of superglue on its roof and splashed over one side. It had also created some new puddles in my coal depot area and dried up white and crusty.

So my first reaction was AAARGGGGGGHHHHHH!

The second is uprintable in my blog as I wouldn’t want to upset those with a gentle disposition.

Once I had calmed down, I realised there was something to be grateful about. I was pleased that I hadn’t left the motor coach on the layout as glue dropping glue over that could have been really problematic.

So I’ve spent quite a few nights gently removing superglue with a variety of sanding sticks and I’ve learned a few valuable lessons which I’l share with you.

a) Don’t always leave unfinished models on your layout.

b) Don’t leave superglue on or around your layout.

c) If you don’t follow B as above, ensure your superglue or other glue product has its lid properly on and on tightly.

I think we’re back on track now after that unwanted distraction. I shall try and make some more progress with the DMU, Oh and I’ve been in touch with Tim Horn. Maybe a fiddle yard is on its way soon!

What a dummy I’ve been though. I’m now a bit wiser too!

Keep safe!


I’m losing Control!

Well my control panel has been fairly grotty for quite some time. The base of the control panel is a Grainge and Hodder box. Laser Cut and very robust. After my aborted O gauge project, I decided I would try to re-use the main part of the control panel but with a new top. The inter-connecting parts from the old top section were removed and I found a piece of hardboard to fit the new control panel for PRINCE’S STREET.

Well as you can see, it was dirty!

While working on the new layout, the white piece of hardboard has got dirtier and worse as the months went on.

I’m Sorry about the above picutre. It was so bad I couldn’t even be bothered to rotate the image. The piece of hardboard, didn’t start off dirty but with so much glue, paint and other materials around, it was bound to get dirt on it so I decided I would clean it up later. Well I thought I would do that today.

I started by wrapping some masking tape around the switches and removing all the little labels I had added while setting up points and isolation switches. There were also some hints for the double switch as I had avoided all the other wiring methods and ended up with a bit of a mess!

I had some white paint in a rattle can so once I had the board ready, I started to spray. Then I stopped. I realised the white paint would not cover the grubby marks on the hardboard, so I decided I would paint the board first with a dusting of grey primer. This really blocked all the dirt and the white then went on really easily over the grey.

I found some self adhesive black PVC so I cut a piece off the roll and cut some strips of the self adhesive vinyl 5mm wide. I then stuck them in place to show the track layout.

Unfortunately, there were some marks in the top left hand corner that I couldn’t quite cover so a name panel seemed like the thing to do. I think it looks OK!

It was then time to re-label everything with the label machine I had bought for situations like this. It’s not high-tech and it’s not perfect but for my simple DC O gauge layout, I think it’s OK and it works!


I found this character while looking for something else and thought I’d pose him on my layout. I was always told to avoid strange looking men who hang around street corners so this was my first idea. Can you spot the drain covering. Would this still be on a cobbled street left over from days past. Let me know what you think about this scene.




Having spent a little time on rolling stock, it was time to focus a bit on the layout once again. While I had done lots of work on the layout, each end of the layout was yet to come together. I had cut a piece of hardboard for the road bridge and showed this in my previous blog but that was about all.

The board had been sprayed a random mix of grey and black primer, however, I know this wasn’t going to be the road’s final colour.

Some more laser cut brick sheet was cut into strips for the bridges walls. I cut these to match the height of the central bridge section which had been made from plasticard several months ago. In this picture I had also installed a couple of street lights. The pavement was cut from a length of balsa wood and also stuck to the bridge.

I sometimes buy things at shows knowing that one day they might be useful. I was waiting for such an opportunity here and knew what I had to use. I had in one of my storage draws a small sheet of etched road iron work such as drains and man hole covers. I sprayed some of these blackand laid them in place to see how they might look.

In the above picture you can see a pavement access cover and on the road, a cover to the drains. You can see I also used some masking tape over the original paint to create some patched up sections of road. I’m not sure about the road and pavement colours yet but the patches effect works well for me!

In the station area there is also lots to do and depsite it receiving my attention, there still is much to do.

The INTENTIO public house was finished and the roof was completed using my own hand cut and placed individual slates. The pub sign was printed onto a gloss inkjet paper.

I was keen to sort out the end of the main platform and knew that it required a small section of platform to be fitted at the end for workmen or drivers etc. This is also why I cut down a flight of stairs to fit the platform. I think they were from another Signal Box kit that I did not use. This requires a little more work yet but for now, I’m please with its progress.

Another one of my speculative purchases was a sheet of embossed cobbles. I decided that this area was still in the same state as it was during the latter days of steam and that the street had not benefited from an upgraded road system. The end of Prince’s Street was also signifiant in that the station did not have its own car park. This was in front of the two sidings and not modelled. in the above picture you can see that the station now has a front wall, steps up to the station building, a road surface and pavements. As with the road, I’m not sure what colour the pavements should be yet, at this time, they are left in a light grey colour. I have also installed another two street lights. The walls are all too clean and there needs to be another building next to the public house. Despite the amount of work remaining. I’m pleased with the recent progress.

Now, where’s that printer…

Yellow things…Green things and more stuff!

This is a real mish-mash of a post. With the lockdown showing no signs of coming to an end, I have continued to work on a number of different projects with all of them making quite a bit of progress. I have a lot of weathering to do now but that’s for another day.

The yellow BG coach, an addition to my breakdown train has had more work done on it. At the end of the last post, the underframe had been painted and it was time toi add some windows.

The glazing pieces (see above), supplied with the kit had a part of the frame molded into the clear plastic and this needed to be painted yellow. I was anxious to have this with a good density of colour. So I carefully masked either side of the raised frame and underpainted the line with white acrylic paint. I then painted 2 coats of the Railmatch yellow which had been airbrushed on the coach body. Unfortunately a little bit of the white paint lifted clean away from the plastic when I removed the masking tapes. I think have managed to resolve the problem but it was a stressful moment!

…the windows before fitting in the coach…

I also painted the wheel tyres white – a feature of the entire breakdown train.

The windows were then installed in the coach. I used Windor and Newton glass varnish rather than a solvent glue or super glue and this avoided frosting of the plastic if the varnish got on the plastic.

At this stage, I knew I had to complete the most stressful part of the project for me – the waterslide transfer stripes down the side of the coach. I compared the stripe levels of the previous coaches I had done, referred to my reference picture and made a start. After a false start – waisting an entire piece, I cut the subsequent pieces in to smaller sections and this made the transfer easier to handle. I’m quite pleased with my final effort!

the final coach awaiting depot details and a TOPS code.

I do need to add the coach details and TOPS number to the coach. When I made the previous coaches, I used some waterslide transfer paper that i had purchased from the internet and made my own transfers. I shall do this again assuming I can find where I put the transfer paper!

I’ve had a box of trees for quite a while and when I’ve looked at my layout, I’ve often thought that a few trees would be a good idea, but I’ve never got around to planting a few specimens. I think I’ve always been a bit anxous about issues of scale. So with a little bit of anxiety I decided to plant a few trees where issues of scale might not be so obvious – away from buildings and other large structures.

The trees are wire armature made and covered with foilage mesh and other familiar material. Over time they had got a bit compressed, so I opened them out gave a few bits a hair cut and painted the wire branches various shades of green and brown where the wire was showing. I planted a few and the day after planting, I added a bit more paint to the hole which was made for each tree. I shall put some more detail around the bases of each tree.

…I will talk about those controllers another day…
a scenic block is always a good scenic technique

And finally…

I maybe on the road to nowhere but I was pleased to get this little piece of roadway in place yesterday…

Made from hardboard, this roadway crossing the layout is the first stage of my road building project. I have already sourced some street lamps and I also have some etched brass drain cover parts which I also hope to use. Please don’t be alwarmed by the colour of the road. This was just to put some colour on it while I work . I was please to make a start on this as it’s beenone of the most underworked parts of the layout and it needed some attention.

I have lots more to share but I’ll keep it for another day.

Keep well and keep safe


One night only.,.the BGs!

My previous work to convert two Lima MK 1 coaches into Breakdown Support Coaches were a success for me. I guess you could find faults. They might not be totally accurate but they work on the right type of layout and the reaction from paying people at exhibitions has been really positive. Kelvin also demands that they appear on certain occasions….and that’s good enough praise for me.

A long time ago, I acquired a Just Like the Real Thing BG coach for £50 which was a steal if you know about the prices of their kits. This particular model however, wasn’t worth much more than £5 to be honest. It looked like an inexperienced modeller had decided to assemble the main parts of the coach with impact adhesive, and this had oozed out of all the joints and ‘become one’ with the resin castings.

So it was down to me to take this mess of a coach and try and do something with it. Resolving the dry glue issue took time. Lots and lots of time. However, the patience and hard work was slowly rewarded as I ended up with a coach body which was smooth on all 4 sides. Now it was starting to be worth £50!

I primed the body and then sprayed it Olive green in readiness for use as a departmental coach. Then I changed my mind! I decided that I’d add another coach to my rake of Breakdown Support Coaches.

The coach was a rapidly re-primed and painted with a lovely deep coat of yellow to match the other 2 coaches. It then joined the great pile of unfinished models where it has sat for a number of months….until last week.

The recent Covid-19 events have provided me with the opportunity to occupy myself at home and with this situation showing no signs of moving I decided to address the pile of unfinished kits – some of which have already been mentioned on my blog.

I visited Paul Bartletts amazing collection of pictures and found the picture of a yellow BG I knew was there. It was a great side view of a BG coach in yellow with side stripes, assigned as a Breakdown Support Coach at Old Oak Common. For 50p I was able to download my own copy of this image.

My £50 also provided me with some etches to make MK1 coach bogies but there were no instructions for any other kits parts. Given my fear of all things etched I decided to acquire some more parts, these being Bogies and Frame details from EasyBuild and Heljan frame sprues via Howes Models. Now I was able to build the under frame.

I’m not sure if it was wise to use the Heljan BG as a guide, but this is what I did!

I added brake cylinders and linkage at both ends as well as the underframe supports. This shows the underneath before painting.

My previous work had attended to the door handles and the top handles of the single doors. However, the lower door handles had not been added so these were added too. I also made sure that all of these were painted white as per the prototype.

The axle box covers were also picked out in yellow, but yellow paint would not cover black so these were also painted white at the same time as the door handles. You can also see the footsteps added from plasticard – 4 each side – these were just rounded on the corners to give a worn effect.

At this stage the underframe and footsteps have been painted black. I decided to paint it all by hand. Note the reference pic on my laptop.

And so I’m now at this stage. The axle boxes have also been picked out in yellow and make a real impact. I also need to pick out the wheel rims on white. I have the strips and glazing to add and then that will be another one to put on the ‘done pile’.

Wire! Oh Wire!

It needed to be done. I know that. I just wished that someone would come along and say ‘Oh what a lovely layout, let me wire up that double slip for you’. Alas it was my layout and so I have had to bodge the electrics like all my other layouts. One day, I will get one of my layout’s electrics installed properly. Maybe DCC…NO Not yet!

So folks. It is done, it does work and despite the masses of wires trailing down from the underside, the power does seem to go from A to B and every where else required.

a rather messy layout…

The control box is a product from Grange and Hodder. It was used on my previous layout so the top was unusable. I was able to cut a piece of hardboard to size – result! – one re-used control panel. I purchased some velco strip from my local supermarket and fitted a stip of it to the top underside of the fascia. If there is a problem with the layout’s control panel I can now easily remove the section that holds the switches and replace it when I’m finished.

The above picture doesn’t really give an impression that I was making progress but at this stage, I was nearly finished.

looking a bit grubby!

The control panel will be painted or covered with sticky back plastic soon to make it look presentable but for now, I’m enjoying the opportunity to play trains with my limited set up.

I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to run some of my bigger engines on the layout and check their running through all the track work. At the moment everything is running well and I’m a happy man….

Now, what shall I do next…

That DMU isn’t finished yet…

The wife has a new hot tub…….

Another one for the ‘Done’ pile!

With my my desire to complete some unfinished projects showing no signs of slowing up, my attention turned to some buildings. The signal box and station building have been at the ‘nearly finished’ status for ages. however, the had not been given enough time to call them finished until last week.

Many laser cut buildings supply strips of roof cut tiles but I find them too regular and like cut my own from grey card purchased from an art supplies shop. This is cut into strips and then cut into squares.

the front of the station showing the ros of tiles being added

The station now needs some weathering and station signage. I’m currently working on this in Corel Draw. You may be able to spot from the pictires that th chimney pots were added and some Evergreen half circle moulding was added to the top of the roof and painted to match the colour of the slates.

I then turned my attention to the Signal Box. This had been in an ‘amost finished’ state for quite a long time. It had already been weathered, however, it had not been glazed and the roof had not been fixed on permanently. With the main signal box windows facing the operator and no hint of a view inside from the ‘punters’ side, I decided not to install any of the signal box interior detailing kits available. Here is the signal box with all the final jobs done.

Now, what to do next…

Back to the DMU (III)

Well now that I’ve been joined at home by my other half and son, my rapid modelling through the day time has been curtailed a bit.

There has been some progress to the DMU but some of the recent stages have been a little bit slower.

I had to assemble some more partitions from brass etched sections and wire. I could have soldered these, but I’m a bit rubbish with a soldering iron so I glued them using a drop of cyano glue.

10 of these were made – 5 for each coach.

I then continued to fix white metal castings to both coaches to represent the engines, tanks and other equipement required by the DMU. It was really exciting to see these pieces being added as the model became more and more life-like. I also noted that the models also became quite heavy!

white metal castings for the under frame details
the buffers will be added after the model is painted.

Well there maybe just a few more details to add externally before I start making lots of chairs to go inside the DMU. These will need some seated passengers and a driver which I have given some thought to. I will also start cleaning up the exterior of the model using suoer fine emery paper and/or a fibre glass brush.

And finally…

In other news, my Shark wagon has had its handrails painted white. Having ruined the roof part which was supplied, I still need to finish this by fashioning a roof from plasticard. I’ve also remembered that I do need to paint the blades at each end a more rusty and dirty colour.

Back to the DMU (part II)

Well it’s been quite a week for the DMU. I’m sitting beside the instructions for the Kit and concious that there are ony a few pages of instructions left. Some of those sections are big jobs such as the painting section but I am excited by the progress made this week.

One of the first things I did after the last stages was to drill the holes for the front pipes. I was a bit apprehensive about drilling into the model, but my worries didn’t last long and drilling into the front was really easy. The pipes were really easy to install and made a huge difference to the front of the model.

I had to make some partitions which would go behind the driver. These were done and put aside for later use.

I then worked on the drivers console which was partially constructed but not finished. I had to fix some pasticard to the bottom of the partitions shown in the above pic. A drivers chair was also put in place.

The drivers console had the controls put in place and I then decided to paint it as it was a complete assembly.

You can see in one of the pictures a DMU cab I used to help me with the painting.

I’ve also made an other 10 partitions for the DMU and these have been put to one side – in the above butter container actually!. After this, I set about adding the under frame detail for the DMU trailer. I didn’t stop to take pictures as I had to concentrate so here is the one picture from that stage!

Back to the DMU!

Well it’s been quite a while since I’ve done anything to this particular project. I’d avoided the railway totally for 6 weeks at the beginning of the year due to some serious sciatica. I was then a bit apprehensive about what I did do. Some progress was made on the layout and then along came the Corona virus and social distancing. To be honest, I’ve been social distancing for years prefering to sit at home and make model trains.

Yesterday I showed you all recent wagon stock progress but I’ve also been in the garage and removed those smart blue boxes which housed my un-finished Class 105 DMU.

I’m not sure why I’ve avoided this model, I guess I’m aware of the cost of the kit and don’t want to mess it up!

SO….I re-read the instructions and familiarised myself with what I had done and what was next and in the future. Some stages were quite scary but I knew I had to give it a go. So here’s what’s happened this week so far!





Well I didn’t do all of this in one day. I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made and can’t wait to see it progress even more. One day it will be finished and play a prominent roll on my railway, but for now, I’ll have to imagine it’s finished.

Note the fence at the top of the wall made from coffee stirring sticks!

And that’s as far as I’ve got!

See you all soon. Keep safe and well.


Kits, glorious Kits!

Well there’s a silver linning for some of us modellers. It means that staying at home gives us time to get on with some unfininshed projects

Let me try and think of some of the projects I’ve worked on in the last few days:

  1. Skytrex TTA (x4) These have all had their ladders added, the spratt and winkle couplings have been added and they have been sprayed black. Yet to have transfers and weathering. Pictures to follow…
  2. The Slaters Shock Abosrbing wagon has been built, sprat and winkle couplings added and painted into bauxite and black. Yet to be assembled, transfers or weathering. Pictures to follow…
  3. Slaters LMS 20t brake van now built and sprayed into bauxite, chassis painted black by hand. Roof to be painted and fixed. Transfers to source and weathering to follow.
  4. Shark Wagon. All hand rails in place, final painting to be done, transfers to follow, then weathering. I have no roof for this at the moment. Pictures to follow…
  5. HUO wagons painted with 3 shades of acrylic rust. Next stage, wipe and wash with black enamel paint and other colours airbrushed to chassis parts.

The LMS 20 ton Brake Van in its separate painted sections ready for final assembly and weathering…

HUO wagons after the first stage of the waethering process…

And then there’s the DMU! Well this has made some giant leaps in the last few days so come back soon for another update. I’ve taken lots of pics and a video!

Keep well and safe…

Best wishes


Time to hit the Piles (of kits)!

Well last Sunday was a day to stay at home. I had suffered a bit from back pain after standing up for a few hours at the March model railway show the previous day. So Sunday was a day to take it easy. I thought that I would try and get a little modelling done so decided to make some progress on my model of the shark wagon.

The above picture shows the Shark in its gray primer. It was painted olive green using my airbrush and that was as far as I got. My dear wife then caught the model which was on a shelf and a few pieces broke off.

So with a few hours available I fixed the wagon and put it back together. I decided that I would try and sort the handrails out. I managed to find enough wire to complete the job but only just!. Despite painting the wagon, I have managed to get some super glue on the olive green paint. I have started to remove this with a glass fibre brush. The wagon will then have another thing coat of paint before painting the handrails white. It will be varnished with a gloss varnish by Railmatch before adding the transfers which I have already obtained from Railtec. I really think this is going to make a nice little model to accompany the Sealion wagons.

I then decided to start another of the un-finished (or in this case un-started) kits. This is not my picture of a Slater’s shock absorbing van but mine should be finished to look something like this.

I started the model as advised, by assembling the sprung buffers. I then assembled the couplings and in my case, a Spratt and Winkle hook and link assembly. This was as far as I got as I was then instructed to clear my mess up! Oh well, I guess there’s another day! I will take some pictures of this, but at the moment there’s not much to show you.

I really must look at that DMU…

See you soon.


Beware the Ides of March…

Well it was with a little bit of doubt that we set off for the March 2020 Model Railway show from our respective homes. Unfortunately John and Jaeson were unable to join us due to ill health – no not that problem! That virus was a talking point throughout the day…but we talked about trains too!

I was aked to bring a few items of stock by Kelvin and they were commented on by a number of people.

I was able to bring my 3 (almost finished) Sealion/Seacow hopper wagons. I have applied Sealion transfers so I will need to add brake cylinders one end. I was waiting for some parts for this final bit of work has yet to be done. Once this is done I shall add some more rust to the wagons as they did become very rusty in their lifetimes.

The Shark wagon pictured below was made by Graham from an etched brass kit and painted/weathered by Kelvin. I also have a shark wagon to add to my fleet, this being a 3d printed example. I shall finish mine in Olive Green to suit the era of my layout. and the rest of its stock.

The snowploughs were added to the stock for today and were a popular item on the layout promping a number of discussions. I do need to give them a small dusting with a matt/satin varnish to hidde the gloss varnish that was added prior to the application of the Transfers.

So we had a great time running some items that have been made which other people might not have – we like to have somethings that are a bit different…

This was a show where I was a part of…

See you soon


Ready for the Snow!

Or should it be Ready for the Show. My 2 MM1/JLTRT Snowploughs have been sitting around uncompleted for too long. With Morlock Heath being exhibited this weekend at March, Kelvin insisted that the snowploughs made an appearance and so there was a sense of urgency to get them completed.

As you can see from the above picture, the snowploughs have been to Morlock Heath before, but not in their completed state.

Well this Saturday coming, they will be finished with some decals by Fox transfers and Railtec transfers too.

I just hope I can get some satin varnish sprayed over the decals to seal them in. If you’re near March, Cambridgeshire on March 14th, come along to the show and say hello to me and members of our group.


Image preview

Dirty Crane

Last Sunday was bright and dry where I lived, so I didn’t waste any time and decided to get on with some airbrushing which I had needed to do. The snowploughs needed to get a coat of varnish so that they could have some decals applied, but I was also able to weather my excellent Bachmann Crane.

This had 3 applications of colour starting with frame dirt, then dark rust followed by weathered black. All of these paints were Railmatch enamels applied by airbrush.

I was also able to weather my 2 support coaches, an old fish van and what I think is a Gresley Brake. I do need to source some transfers for the coach if I can.

The Crane should make it’s exhibition debut at the Norwich Model Railway show on April 4th where it will be running on Kelvin’s layout Copsey. The crane will only be seen in the afternoon when we will feature stock more associated to the BR blue and grey era’s.

And another!

We have welcomed another person – Jaeson Pryer to our Model Syndicate. Jaeson  is primarily joining us as an operator as our Exhibition Diary gets too much for the four of us. Jaeson has been/is a member of several Model Railway Clubs and is experienced in most Railway and Modelling subjects including Exhibition Planning and Layout Operations. Jaeson does not have an Exhibition Layout at present and his main part of our very diverse hobby is LEGO trains and accessories so you may see some LEGO trains on my blog in the future.

Welcome to the ‘Norfolk Railway Modelling Syndicate’

Image preview

There’s snow business like…

Well I did say I was keen to finish a few projects off didn’t I?

I went to see my friend Kelvin this morning and is often the case, I returned home with a renewed sense of energy and desire to do some modelling.

On this occassion, I was buzzing to spray some white then yellow on my unfininshed snowplough vehicle. These are the former JLTRT models and very good they are too.

I had painted them black and the sides were also done, but I did need to attend to the front leading edge which had remained black whereas I wanted it to be yellow after searching for a picture of the prototype I wanted.

Knowing the house would be empty when I returned home, I ventured straight to the garage and set about the job of masking the desired areas and then I mixed small amounts of white and yellow. I sprayed white over the black as a base for the yellow and after leaving the models to dry for a while, the yellow was added.

The front edge, now in yellow
Now for varnish, transfers and a tiny bit of weathering

I was quite pleased with the way the little yellow blocks came out given they were sprayed over black. I hope to have them finished soon for a forthcoming exhibition.

Doctor, it still hurts a bit!

I’m so sorry for the recent lack of updates. For the last couple of months, I have been suffering with some shocking sciatica down the whole of my right leg.

Even with the garage being really cold at this time of the year, I have not really fancied doing much modelling at all in the warmth of my house. I have occasionally painted the odd wagon but that is all. My lovely wife is not a fan of paints and thinners in the house!

I must now try and get back to some serious modelling. I also need to have my strength sorted for the new exhibition season which will start very soon. My 2 layouts have appearances throughout the year.

Prince’s Street will need some rapid progress soon as it makes its first public appearances this year. There is much to do at either end with the station and bridge areas needing the most work. 2 Dapol signals arrived today and I hope they will really bring the station throat to life . I firmly believe that its the little details that bring a layout alive and and hope this ethos will shine out when people see my layout. I also have lots of wagons half built and now need to bring a few to completion. These include the snow ploughs, the TTAs, the Shark and the ballast wagons. That’s 11 unfinished projects for O gauge not to mention a few OO weathering jobs to have to get done!

The Sealions and Shark await some olive green.
The new Bachmann crane and support vehicles looking far too clean!


Happy new year! Hi everyone, I hope you have enjoyed the Christmas Season.

I’ve been finding it hard to crack on with work on the O gauge layout due to problems with my back and I haven’t been to work since the end of November. I have had the odd dabble with some kits but I haven’t been able to do as much as I would like.

I obtained this departmental Shark wagon from the same person whpo desined and made the 3d printed Sealion wagons.

This will also be finished in Olive green and weathered to show a work stained condition. Since this picture was taken it has been primed the chassis has been painted black.


Another addition to the ‘TO DO’ pile of un-built kits!

I know I have a lot of unfinished kits in the cupboard, but when I saw these wagons on social media, I was gripped and just had to know a bit more about them. These model wagons really do demonstrate that you can make almost anything if you have a bit (well a lot!) of know-how and the right equipment.

And so after quite a bit of work by Rob Law, I am now the proud owner of three (3d printed) bogie ballast hopper wagons. These Seacow/Sealion wagons are likely to be finished in an olive green livery and weathered to a work stained condition. I am aware that Railtec produce transfers for these wagons. They will also run loaded with ballast for added interest.

All the other detailing parts have been supplied and these will be added after the main body has been painted. Sprat and Winkle couplings will also be added to enable them to use the already installed under track magnets.

My unfinished Easy Build Class 105 DMU

Kelvin is keen for me to get back to the DMU project so it might be a while before the seacow wagons are completed!

That’s it…I’m done.

Well it’s been a great year for our modelling group. We’ve attended lots of shows, spoken to lots of people and exhibited many of our layouts. My own layout Winkle’s Yard had quite a few outings and my current project Prince’s Street has got two bookings for 2020.

What have I learned this year? We’ll I need to make a bit of Winkle’s Yard more resilient and robust. I have had a few problems with a short piece of track that goes under the bridge and joins the layout to the fiddle yard – this will be a job for the winter season.

Last weekend we were pleased to be at the Wensum Valley Golf Course in Taverham, Norwich. The setting is really lovely with an amazing view of thr Wensum valley.

Once again, Winkle’s Yard recieved some delightful comments about the amount of detail in the small pace. A lot of comments were made about my lights which are actually fishing tank lights. They were actually vital given the lack of natural light in some of the rooms.

Here are a few pictures taken on the day.

These coal wagons will need to be emptied before they can leave

I don’t want you to think I was there by myself because I wasn’t. I was able to enjoy the company of the rest of our group – The Norfolk Railway Modelling Syndicate. We had Kelvin and his wife Audrey, his son John and Graham. Whilst I spent most of my time operating Winkle’s Yard, some of my trusty colleagues spent time operating one of our group’s other layouts – 4000 Yards – a history lesson in model railway format. This layout features SM 32 scale narrow gauge trains and sound effects from world war one.

Here’s a few pictures taken from 4000 Yard’s appearance at the Taverham show.


Prince’s Street will be making its exhibition debut next year. While I may try to organise a shake down session somewhere in Norwich, it’s debut has been brought forward to August 2020 so it now has two outings planned before it’s even finished. That mean’s I need to get on with the rolling stock additions and the DMU project which appears to have stalled recently while I’ve focused the scenery and electrical work.

See you soon

Best wishes – Shaun

Winkle’s Yard appears at Reepham and Whitwell

Last Sunday, Winkle’s Yard made a successful appearance at the Reepham and Whitwell Model Railway exhibition.

The Whitwell and Reepham Railway Preservation Society was formed in 2008 as a not for profit charity.  It opened to the public in February 2009, fifty years to the day after the line was closed to passengers.

The Railway is manned by Volunteers and Staff and profit goes back into the Charity; none of the Trustees are paid from the Society’s funds.

Any visitors get a taste of how the Midland and Great Northern Railway ran this line, as well as running a variety of Events, historical and more lighthearted, to fund the project. The model railway exhibition is one of many events that take place during the year.

Our group also presented it’s WW1 layout ‘4000 yards’ complete with authentic war time sound effects.

Here are a few pics of Winkle’s Yard from the event:

A class 37 and class 08 shunter take a break.
A class 25 gets ready for it’s next duties while behind it, the 08 continues to shunt.
The workman attends to the point rodding.
An Esso tank wagon awaits collection after topping up the tanks.
A busy afternoon in the yard.
A few wagons are left behind from the departed trains including a surplus brake van
A rare visitor to the yard – the BG coach drops by to collect a large amount of packages.
Mr Barnes may owns the company, but his Granada might not be safe parked there!

Here are a few pictures of 4000 Yards. I couldn’t take too many as I was behind Winkle’s Yard all day.

Prince’s Street Update (AT LAST!)

I know it’s been a while since I posted an update to show any progress on my ongoing O gauge project.

The layout – Prince’s Street – even has an exhibition booking for the latter half of 2020 so I am very mindful of the need to make steady progress in many areas.

In recent weeks I have focused on the electrical side of the layout, something which needs to be right but I have to admit I prefer to do other things such as the scenic side of the layout. Despite that, progress ahs been made with a lot of different things including an 8 ft traverser which will be needed too.

I thought I’d show you a few pics to highlight some of the progress.

I don’t know if you can see from this picture that the track has been weathered with an airbrush and will get more weathering in due course.
Line side hut

I purchsased this little hut as a little diorama. It also came with a grounded wagon body on a little scenic board. I really thought it had a lot of potential and was something different. It has now been fixed in place and ground cover added to avoid seeing the bottom of the building. The earth colour will have some further work done to it as I’m not 100% happy with it.

Some more ground cover has been added around the front of the layout near to where the coal depot will be. I really want it to look uneven and unkempt so I’m doing my best not to make it look planned. As already mentioned, the track will get some more weathering and then I will add some more grass between the sleepers.

I’ve now made the coal staithes from single wooden sleepers glued together. These need to be painted and weathered, then I will started to make the ground in this area look dirty with puddles, mud and piles of coal.

The platform was painted but every now and again it got a little bit of other colours on it so I repained the whole thing including the brick sides and painted fresh stripes on it. It’s a very clean platform and the edges will eventually be weathered with the airbrush to refelct years of grime from diesels and the steam engines before that. The station also needs signage and lamps and people and platform clutter.

I’ve really enjoyed putting the grass and ground cover materials on this little area at the front of the layout. The static grass fibers are a mix of colours and lengths with the longest being 6mm by Woodland Scenics. There are also some Noch plants in the grass although these have been used sparingly due to their cost!

The station area still needs some more work but once I start it should move forward quite quickly. The canopies need a little bit more work but are nearly finished. The station building is also nearly finished and needs its roof to be covered in hand applied slates. I haven’t yet decided how the front of the station will look as I would like vehicles to be able to drive into the railway yard. The end also needs some low relief buildings to make it look like it is part of a small town. The rear wall also needs detail above that. I hope to try and give the representation of some buildings with a wooden fence at the top of the stone walls. The wooden fence made from coffee sticks from Costa and the like! Thanks Costa!

As you can see, the control panel has also been started and uses the shell of a previousl control panel with a freshly cut top section. This panel is designed so it can be hung from the front when the layout is at home and the rear side when the layout is at an exhibition. I guess you could operate it at an exhibition from the front if you wanted. To do this I have had to make sure the wiring looms are long enough to reach both sides

Here’s another shot of the line side hut showing the ground cover around the base of the building. I will probably add some more old sleepers and lineside junk.

SO, Here’s a picture of the whole scenic area at the moment. There’s still lots to do but when the area is tidy, I do feel it’s going in the right direction. I hope you like it too!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Come back soon.



We had a busy weekend with Morlock Heath which attended two shows over the last weekend.

On Saturday 5th October, we took Morlock to Sudbury and had a great time with my older stock.

On Sunday we took the layout to the Bury St. Edmunds O gauge get together which really can’t be described as an exhibition as it really is a lovely gathering of people interested in O gauge. There was a large test track, some layouts and a number of traders. It has a lovely atmosphere and everyone has a great time.

I hope you enjoy some of my pictures:



My Breakdown Coaches on the test track behind my Pre-TOPS Class 37

BR Blue era stock appears on Copsey

Our modelling group had a presence at the Bury St. Edmund’s show on September 28th with Copsey, a OO gauge modern image layout that can be run with various time periods. Due to the availability of different people in our group, I took my blue era stock and had lots of fun giving it a run.

A lot of people made favourable comments about the layout which was built by Kelvin Barnes and my rolling stock which was all weathered by myself.

During the silly hour at the end of the day, my little collection of DRS motive power also made an appearance!

Enjoy the following pictures.

Winkle’s Yard appears at the Bure Valley Railway

Winkle’s Yard was priviledged to appear at the Bure Valley Railway last weekend for their special event Steam in Miniature.

On the Saturday and Sunday morning, it featured steam engines and Green diesels with a move to the BR Blue era on sunday afternoon.

The layout ran well and I was pleased to get lots of postive comments about the level of detail in such as small space.

Here are some pictures taken over the weekend:

The BR late days of steam

The BR Blue era

Winkle’s yard to go back in time.

This forthcoming weekend – the 7th & 8th September 2019, winkle’s Yard will be appearing at the Bure Valley Railway’s STEAM IN MINIATURE weekend.

Alongside their home fleet of 15” locomotives they will have a selection of smaller scale models in action and on display. A special intensive timetable will be in operation throughout the weekend to allow visitors the opportunity to see as many different locomotives as possible hard at work over the nine miles between Aylsham and Wroxham.

The weekend will also feature:

Wroxham Signal Box Trust
Great Yarmouth Model Railway Club
A range of live miniature steam engines
16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers

and more…. I guess I’m in the more section!

While Winkle’s Yard generally features the BR Blue era of the 70s and 80s, I shall try to take Winkle’s Yard back in time with some green diesels and steamies…..assuming they run OK!

Come and see me if you are free over the weekend!



There are lots of uncertainties at the moment, but one things is secure and that is the Modelling Group of which I am a part.

Consisting of Kelvin Barnes, John Barnes, Graham Minshull, me (Shaun Harvey) and our ever faithful supporter Audrey Barnes, we make up the newly named Norfolk Railway Modelling Syndicate.

We are not interested in becoming a club but we do operate by consensus and support. We all have different means and backgrounds but we come together with a common desire to produce and exhibit high quality model railway layouts and items of rolling stock. We also aim to encourage and support other people who are already modelling or new to the hobby.

Kelvin Barnes retains responsibility for the booking of our layouts and we should have something to appeal to all tastes as we have a large number of exciting layouts available as well as other major layouts in the works for the months ahead.

If you want us to attend your exhibition please contact Kelvin on his blog:

www. kelvinsrailway.com

We look forward to seeing you soon.


It’s not much better Doctor!

If there was a train doctor, this is what I would tell him! I’ve tried taking the tablets, using certain colours even doing a bit more work but many parts of the layout are at the scenic but messy stage and it’s not getting much better yet. This is a stage we all have to go through but not many people share this. SO, I’m going to be brave. Please be gentle, it won’t always be like this.

Last time we left our long sidings looking pale and not really oily and at the end of their days. So below is how we left them…

The above picture shows that we now have a little more colour, but not nearly enough yet and the track shows no signs of being weathered. I shall do this when all the ballasting is done.

I will use lots of browns, black, oil spots, puddles and static grass, however, in my eagerness I started to focus on an an area down the other end, the coal yard.

I chose to stick some cork down to raise the height and save a bit of ballast and/or clay, however, in hindsight, I should have put foam board around the lot and skipped the ballast stage.

Despite the warmth in recent days the glue took ages to dry and I hate waiting for things to dry. Once the ballast was dry, I started to put chunks of DAS clay into the ballast, pushing it in with my fingers.

This is the scene after the forground is covered in DAS clay and a start made at the back. When, I’m done, I stipple the clay with a stiff one inch brush which gives the clay a nice rough surface and hides all the joins from all the pieces.

The whole are is now covered and I’ve run a vehicle over the clay so some tyre marks will be present in the muddy ground. I also pushed my finger in hard in one spot so I can create a nice large puddle. The area will have piles of coal, coal sacks and a coal merchant’s hut. I’m really looking forward to this little bit of gritty history.

I was tempted to make one of these crossings with coffee sticks but when someone has made such a lovely job of these, why would you bother. Cutting the angle sections was fun though.

I’ll keep on ballasting, then I hope we’ll have something that starts to look like a proper railway!

Come back soon!


Another Brick in the Wall!

It’s a great song from a great album but I wonder if there was a stage during the writing and recording where they thought, OMG what are we doing. I’m feeling like this a bit at the moment with the layout, and I think it’s to do with the colour of the DAS clay not the clay itself. The track and rail chairs need to be painted and I think that will help a lot, and then I think using the airbrush will make a big difference.


I’m keen to get a lot of the structural things sorted which will help give a sense of where everything is and I was eager to add a perimiter wall. I had some strips of laser cut wood which were left over from the non scenic sides of the platform. I used these to create a wall around the sidings and think that this worked really well. It’s exciting when things start to come together.


The small area at the front will provide a valuable opportunity to add some greenery to the layout and I have also been able to avoid and absolutely straight fence by following the line of the track. I hope I can even get some trees at the front (near the steel ruler) which will push the railway back in to the scenic display.

The picture above shows the spoace that is going to be my coal yard. I’m really looking forward to the building of this section as I loved the previous coal yard that I built on my previous layout.


I’m excited about doing more work on the layout whilst trying to think about the layout and how people will look at it. Will they enjoy it, will they think the modelling is good and will it capture their attention. I know what I want to achieve, I just hope it will be received well by those people who see it.

Finally, a little posed shot of a couple of rail workers. I’m not into gimicks or funny cameos. However, I do want people to look at the work of the people who have built the layout, the quality of the rolling stock, buildings and scenery and I want to talk to people too just like the railway workers depicted here!

Encourage the Young ones!

George operating his Layout

This is my son George. He is 9 years old and quite likes trains, certainly not as much as me but he likes to be invovled. So I try to encourage him and this is the result. It’s a simple oval of N gauge track with some sidings and a hidden siding under the hill. It’s his layout, Freemakers Lane.

This picture was taken during the N Gauge Day held by Great Eastern Models. They know George well and cope wonderfully with his quirky manerisms. As much of what you can see came from GE Models, they knew that this layout was being built and graciously allowed us both to come to display the layout, if nothing else, as an encouragement to children and people who’ve never modelled before.

As you can tell from this blog, not a lot of work has taken place on George’s layout so I thought we needed to put this right. Out came the layout and I tried to think what we could do.

The three little cottages on the hill were purchased on the day of the N gauge show and may have actually been stuck there while we were in the shop, but that’s the last time anything got done to it till yesterday and today.

I decided we should concentrate on the area around the cottages so laid down a stone country road and some bushes. When I said I did this, I really mean George did it so you have to put aside any comments about quality and realise that an autistic 9 year old is wanting to do something himself, and autistic 9 year olds want to get cracking without listening to instructions. So here are some pictures from last night and today!…enjoy.

Well that went quite well and George was certainly every excited about working on his layout again. His was very anxious about getting this work on the blog so if you never care about sending me a message, I’d love you to send him a comment about his layout!

By the time George had got home from school, I had got some more grass out from my garage and was ready for him to do the next stage – the grass bushes around the cottages and the road. This is a picture of it all everywhere before the lose material was sucked out of the way!

Well, that’s as far as we got. I added a little more grass around the factory area and had a play with the BR Blue class 25 (well what did you expect from me) and a few wagons. We now need some more buildings and tree. But that will be for another day I guess. I will need to get my OO gauge layout into the house soon to get it ready for some exhibitions in August.

I guess the main point of this blog today is that we have to encourage the young ones if there is ever going to be a hobby in years to come. If there isn’t a younger generation interested in trains then there will be no clubs and no shows. This year this is no Southwold show. So this is not a made up opinion. This first class show couldn’t go one because those involved were getting too old to manage all thats required for such a show.

Let’s try to get a younger generation invovled so that our hobby lasts for many years to come.

Cinders and Ashes!

I said I might not get to the ballasting for a few weeks however, things moved on in certain areas and I got carried away with myself. I had purchased two grades of ballast, the finest, which one cold easily say was more suited to N gauge layouts and then medium ballast which could arguably be ore suited to OO gauge layouts.

My layout will be set in the early 1970s, in the pre-TOPs days. These days were not that long after the days of steam and it was common for goods yards to have a poorer quality of ballast. Very oftern the track was supported by anything available such as cinders or ashes and eventually this reached the tops of the sleepers and often covered them totally. Look at the picture of the goods area in Norwich station and the tracks at the bottom of the picture.

There is a good way to achieve this effect and it has been developed, mastered and documented by the modelling and photographic expert Chris Nevard. If you look on his blog by following the link given here – http://nevardmedia.blogspot.com/2011/08/creating-effect-of-ash-ballast.html you will be able to see how this look is achieved.

I have been following some of his advice to create a similar effect for my goods sidings and will also use the same methods when I attend to the siding near to the signal box. I started off by laying a really level layer of brown ballast which will be the main ground surface like you can see around the signals.

I needed to give this two layers of what was Woodland Scenics Fine Brown Ballast and was really please with how flat it dried out. I also made sure that other details such as relay cabinets were put in place now rather then chopping out scenery further down the line.


I stuck a border of masking tape down so the ballst stayed in the area where I wanted it and the added advantage was a nice neat edge to the ballast. There were no suprises to the ballasting process, however I was quite anal about putting the ballast in place as prior to the application of the glue there was not one grain of fine ballast on any sleepers. Being fussy at this stage saves a lot of time later on so I’m happy to be a bit obsessive once in a while..


I gave the ballast a few days to dry but the warm weather helped the glue to dry so I was able to move onto the next stage. I used DAS modelling clay to create the surface shown in the picture of Norwich station. You could follow the advice given by Chris Nevard and that would be a good idea, however, I chose to get a little bowl and broke of small manageble pieces of DAS clay into the bowl ready for when it was needed. I also added some water into the bowl so the clay didn’t dry out as it was quite warm in my garage.

There is still more to do on this part of the layout but it’s certainly exciting and should look good when completed.

Ready to Work!

After finishing the painting of the facotry units I was able to get out the airbursh to give them a slight dusting.

I could have made them sooty and work stained like the dark stanic mills of Lancashire or something from the dirty days of the industrial revolution, however, I held back on this and just gave the factorys a medium coat of grime. For the moment, I’m happy with this and have no plans to add more grime.

There are three very low relief sections near the track work and you can see on this picuture (above) I chose to place the unit sections at the baseboard join which was a convenient place. I will run a guttering pipe down infront of this join however it may need to be one of those items that is added when the layout is set up at exhibition as it would be too fragile on the end of the board.

As I type this, the glue is now setting on the other factory sections which move forward about 15mm. They are being held in place by Heljan engine boxes which are clearly made for such jobs!


The other thing I’ve been working on, is my signal box. I have to say that for a long time, it did look like a pile of laser cut parts but now it is starting to look like it could be a real signal box. It still has no glazing but the roof is almost done having been covered by tiles that were all cut and stuck in place one by one! I now have the ridge tiles to do and will stick the roof on once it has an interior.

It’s not snowing in this scene, nor are there large bird droppings, the white spots are little bits of PVA glue and will dry clear by tomorrow morning. I have a little more weathering to do on this building too.


Finally, I know I said that ballasting might not take place till after the summer but I can explain myself, another day….

It’s a Dirty Job!

But someone has to do it!

Well that someone is me since it’s my layout. The factory units were chosen to be a good focal point on the layout but they also provide an interesting railway/industrial background.


These were the laser cut facory sections after they had received a coat of bauxite car primer. This really makes a great brick colour and coming in a larger tin, its good value too!

The windows are nicely cut from white card by laser but they are slightly discoloured by the laser so I painted all my windows again.


I think had had said in a previous blog page that I wanted some sections to be flush to the rear of the back scene and then some other sections just slightly further forward by about 15mm. To do this, I had to cut all the roof sections. Once these were all cut, I glued them into place. They were then painted with matt black paint once the glue was dry.

The laser cut panels feature stone window sills and arches at the tops of the windows. I wanted these to stand out so I started to paint these. Given the fact that I was having to cover a dar colour, the first coat of paint acted as an undercoat,


Having painted the first colour, I decided that I needed to purchase a slightly different colour, something that was a bt more of a ‘concrete/stone’ colour. Once the first coat (shown above) was dry, I added the second coat and painted the window sills again too.

Once the window arches had their second coat, I was really pleased. The lighter colour did stand out but I knew that some weathering would help to tone it down a bit.

I used Railmatch paints through my airbrush to weather the factory units. To begin with I used some Sleeper Grime as the base of the units would get dirty from the nearby track and trains. I also put a faint dusting of this colour over the window arches to show the grime that would run down the walls and over the window surrounds. I then mixed some matt black for some further weathering. I didn’t want to create a black factory so tried my best to give the units a light weathering effect around the roof sections, the windows and certain areas of brickwork. I gave a little more attention to where the panels join and these will have some guttering and pipe work added around there so I wanted this area to look a little bit more grubby.

There’s still a lot more work to do on the buildings. The signal box roof is coming on, but the roof tile paper is at work. It will also need weathering and the station building hasn’t had any more attention at all. What will I do about the insides of these buildings, I will almost certainly need to get a kit for the inside of the signal box…but that’s something for another day. Now where are those glazing strips…

The ‘BIG THINGS’ take time..

Despite the urge to start on some scenic items such as ballast, I’m keen to get some of the bigger things ready first so I don’t have to scrape up ballast at a later stage. As I’ve said on previous ocassions, all of my buildings were made by the same company and this has provided a certain snese of consistency.

I’ve started to paint the station building, the canopies, the signal box and the factory units that will go behind the tracks on board No. 3. Using a cream and green paints, I painted the station building and signal box after picking out the window frames in white.

The station building really started to look good once some paint was added.


The signal box required quite a lot of painting in both cream and green. Due to absorbant nature of the wood, I had to paint some areas twice.

The building hasn’t been glazed yet, in fact none of the buildings have any windows yet. The glazing will be added once the buildings have been weathered.

While I will be able to stick the factory units in place quite soon, the signal box and station building will need to wait for other details to be added around those areas.

You can see that the roof sections have lines cut into them. I like to cut individual tiles from grey card and stick them on one by one. This sounds like madness but I really like the end result and it allows me to model things like a slipping slate.

The factory units are really lovely and go together well or work as a single unit. This one will be fixed at the edge of board No. 2 with the rest of the factory units on board No. 3 As you can see they need one more coat of paint around the windows before they are weathered. I want to add some gutters and down pipes however these won’t be added until the factory units are fixed into place. Finally, there’s one other detail I’ve added recently add that is a few yard lamps near the two main sidings. Theses are working lamps but I’m not sure if they’ll get used. I’m not fond of layouts which have lots of lights on during the day time when they wouldn’t be used.

There are lots of other ground level details to add at the moment and I will need crack on with these soon so that i can consider the weathering at some point. Despite all the best intentions, I can’t see any ballast arriving until the summer is over.

Trying to earn my Stripes!

We’ve been blessed with good weather for the last few days so like a man on a mission, I have unboxed a whole range of items which required a little attention in the weathering department. These were OO gauge and O gauge and spread over a number of era reflecting some of my modelling interests and activites at home and with my modelling chums, Kelvin, Graham and John.

A couple of items are needed quite soon for exhibition dates and some are just for my own pleasure.

The snownplough are an MM1 kit which was formerly available from JLTRT. They are really lovely models and go together well. I had purchased some transfer stripes from Fox Transfers but the whole stripe panel is too small so I masked the stripes myself after searching hard for a tape which was 7mm wide. Why this was so hard I don’t know come on Tamiya. 7mm tape too please!

I do have some small transfers to add but I will give the paint a few days to harden before I contemplate any more work on these.

This picture is quite significant because it shows the first O gauge engine that I have numbered and weathered. Up to this point, I have passed the scary bits of work like engines to Kelvin to do as he’s the expert and I’m just a learner but I thought I’d give it a go.

You can clearly see mine is the front one and is quite clean in comparison. I may need to give the body a bit more dirt yet but I’m pleased with it so far. I need to pick out the bogie springs yet and this will add some more colour to the drab bogies. I look forward to running these engines nose to nose on my layout which is amongst the clutter in the background of these pics.

Finally, something a little different but I couldn’t resist it when it came up for sale on fleebay a while back. I’ve just weathered the underframe withthe normally approach of frame dirt, some rusty bits and the oily axle boxes and buffers all done by airbrush and then the bogie springs picked out in a redy brown colour. It may just get shunted around or run in a mail rake on my layout.