Limited Edition N gauge Class 86s

March 28, 2010

C&M Models of Carlisle has commissioned two BR blue Class 86 locomotives with TOPS numbers and separate etched nameplates. Details can be found on its web site here. I have posted some pictures of both models whic represent 86 204 ‘City of Carlisle’ (very appropriate) and 86 241 ‘Glenfiddich’.The specification is the same as those detailed in my last post except only 125 of each model has been produced making it a very limited exclusive model.

The models are shown without their etched plates. The nameplates are supplied in the box with additional detailing parts to be fitted by the modeller.Both models look very neat and they do bring back memories of spotting AC electric at Carlisle when they were commonly found on a variety of duties. If they succeed in provoking memories, the model has done its job. After all, that’s one of the prime reasons for getting into railway modelling in the first place!

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Dapol Class 86s = lots of colour!

March 26, 2010

N gauge Class 86 AC locomotives in BR Intercity, Virgin Trains and Freightliner colours will be in a model shop near you pretty soon! But be quick: like most Dapol products, they won’t last long.This is something of a sneaky preview thanks to David Jones at Dapol. My thanks to him for allowing me a chance to give them a look over and present some pictures here. The roof detail looks good and those pantographs are fully working with very gentle springing and an adjustment screw to prevent them from riding too high.A look at the face of Virgin Trains 86 229.

BR Intercity colours as 86 213 (with pantograph raised). Some good livery colours on this model!

Freightliner 86 621 with the correct yellow colour. Note the roof fire extinguisher bottles.The model is supplied with buffer beam details including air brake pipes. Note the locating holes ready to receive them. Alternative couplings are also supplied which will fit the NEM coupling pocket.All of the technical features that makes Dapol an award winning manufacturer are present on its Class 86s including working lights, super creep motor, 6-pin DCC interface and a superbly engineered chassis. It all adds up to a fine running model which further takes modelling British outline N gauge into a different dimension. Its a lovely product, once again!Now, all we need now is some decent Mk.2e/f coaches to go with the passenger versions…


Nairnshire Modelling Supplies news

March 19, 2010

The latest stocks of Woodland Scenics have arrived at Nairnshire Modelling Supplies and work has now started on listing them on the Nairnshire Modelling Supplies web site. That’s a lot of photography to get through as there are about 45 new product lines to add; bringing the total number of product lines to over 650. With the continued (and very much appreciated) support we are enjoying from a growing customer base, we will add to the Woodland Scenics range if support for that area is forthcoming! Also added to the range are the Hob e Lube products including ‘moly’ grease and gear lube.

It’s all part of our mission to provide those products which are increasingly hard to buy at local model shops; stocking the invaluable materials that the ‘box shifters’ simply do not. In recent months, we have grown the Kadee range, expanded the Phoenix Paints we can supply and have now added some of the US outline HO scale trucks and wheels from the Kadee range after requests from US-outline modellers. If US outline modellers continue to approach us, we will expand what we stock and will also look at other things which are otherwise hard to find. Currently, negotiations with various suppliers are in progress to add new things from abroad to the range and also our third NMS transfer sheet is nearly at proofing stage too. It all adds up to an interesting time here and we will get as much on-line as we can!

New email address:
Following problems with the old email address, we have a new one for Nairnshire Modelling Supplies: nairnshiremodellingsupplies@yahoo.co.uk


Traction Magazine

March 11, 2010

Traction Magazine has a new editor, Richard Wilson, and I think it shows too. I was particularly interested in this issue anyway, partly due to the cracking cover shot by my train chasing companion, fellow Southern Electric modellers and friend, Graeme Elgar, and because I have a couple of modelling features in it too. The magazine’s designer, Ryan Housden, has done a great job of overhauling the magazine’s dated look without loosing its character and there seems to be more effort into using better quality photography, although much material regarded as historically importance now was not seen as such when taken in the 1970s on cheap film, so we are left with that legacy. Ryan does a great job of taking poor quality but important prints and converting them into half way decent scans.

As far as the modeller is concerned, Traction has to be a great historical resource; I find myself dipping into it from time to time because not every photographer can be everywhere and there’s stuff I missed in the 1980s when I first picked up a camera and tried taking pictures of trains for the first time during my university days in London, and during the 1990s when something called work just got in the way. Today, we take digital photography for granted and I make the mistake of comparing my first grainy efforts on mono film with the results from high specification Nikon and Canon DSLRs I see people take to the lineside today. I realise the results on 1980s film was as good as we were going to get with the SLRs of the time and we should be relieved to have taken pictures when we did.

Today, I suspect we shall see the modern equivalent of the cheap print film images of the 1970s and 1980s: Low resolution digital images taken on compact cameras with tiny lenses. Yes, you can get thousands of images on a CF card when taking low res JPEGs; but remember, the shots of today will become the magazine content for Traction in 20 years’ time. So shoot big, and photograph everything, because I wish I had done the same 20 years’ ago!

As for Traction, with Richard Wilson in charge and Ryan working his design magic (he typesets some of my books too), I think Traction is worth a fresh look.


Concurrent projects.

March 7, 2010

Colas Rail Class 47s are popular with modellers and that point was highlighted by one of those work bench co-incidences. I acquired ViTrains Class 47 for a detail and weathering project, the first time I have tackled a simple (minimalist) makeover of this model. My choice was , 47 739 ‘Robin of Templecombe; although I could have chosen one of the limited edition packs representing two of the other Colas Rail Class 47s. Whilst working on this model, my friend Matt Wassell, of Norwood Park layout fame was contemplating the same project, unbeknown to me. He is located in Ashford, I am in Nairn, hundreds of miles apart.

Anyway, here’s my attempt at making something of what is a very good model despite the variously awkward detailing parts and a somewhat plasticity appearance from the box. This link here goes to Matt’s site which shows his Colas Rail 47s under development, starting with 47 749. Both project are based on retaining the original livery, yet both models will look quite different based on the different materials and techniques used. I attempted to use as many of the supplied parts as possible whilst Matt has hybridised his model with parts from Heljan Class 47s and sprung buffers by Markits.Apart from the bogie detailing parts which eventually gave up the fight to stay separate from the model thanks to Zap Poly glue; the ViTrains Class 47 is pretty straightforward to work on, the body is easy to remove from the chassis and everything went back together again with ease. Perhaps I should look more closely at this model…


Dapol’s new OO gauge ‘Silver Bullets’ (and a scratchbuild project of old)

March 1, 2010

Here it is: The Dapol OO gauge ‘Silver Bullet’ slurry tank wagon, famous of China Clay flows from Burngullow to Irvine in Scotland and calcium carbonate from Quidhampton near Salisbury. A fine looking specimen it is too, something for pairs of St. Blazey Class 37s to haul, or maybe a Class 60…or a Class 92 on the WCML.

Creating a vee tank barrel is not easy, as I can testify from my own scratch building attempts at slurry tank wagons. Nonetheless, nothing seems to deter Dapol in either OO or N gauge. The company has  done a pretty decent job of this complex wagon – dare I say considerably better than its EWS MBA model. The N gauge version is eagerly awaited.
In common with contemporary models, there are a large number of standalone parts, neatly fitted to the model including wire pipe runs and grab rails. Note the legible the data panel printing and accurate details. Whilst the silver chrome finish is a good representation of an ex-works wagon, it can be simply toned down with light weathering, retaining the character of the wagon in its first years of traffic before they were allowed to become completely coated in brake dust and slurry staining.


Printing of livery details is really neat and that tank filer hatch platform fits the tank barrel beautifully and without the usual unsightly slots in the barrel where the legs of the platform meet it. NEM coupler pockets for close coupling are included, together with RP25/110 wheels for operation on OO gauge track. The model is very free rolling and a rake of 12 or so will present nothing in the way of a challenge to a Class 37 or Class 60.


I am pretty relieved to say that the slurry tanks I scratch built about 12 years’ ago are based on a different type of ‘silver bullet’ tank wagon to that now offered by Dapol. It has a shallower tank angle and is slightly longer together with a wealth of differing details. I calculated the tank angle from side on photographs and painted it dull silver knowing that I would weather the model. They remain an important part of my fleet to this day, seeing use on my Dudley Heath Yard layout.
Such a model can take over 25 hours of modelling time to complete with the most basic of detail, consequently the version offered by Dapol is something of a relief on two fronts: it will save time in putting together a decent rake and (thankfully) Dapol chose the ‘other one’!So here it is: impressively finished and look at all those underframe parts too. By the time I had photographed this version of the model, the limited edition ‘weathered’ version for Kernow Models had all but sold out.

It bodes well for the KQA ‘pocket wagon’, samples of which were displayed on the Dapol stand at this weekend’s Model Rail exhibition (Glasgow SECC) together with the N gauge version of the ‘silver bullet’ which cannot be very far away now. It seems that Dapol is prepared to get on with producing some much needed wagons in both N and OO gauge and I suspect the ‘silver bullet’ is far from the end of the story.

As for that shiny tank barrel – it’s a great pristine finish and accurate for the cladding plates in as-built condition. However, it tested my studio lighting skills to the limit!