GBRf trio…

October 31, 2012

Dapol has added another printed special to its catalogue of GBRf Class 66s: No.66 709, featuring an Medite Shipping Company (MSC) promotional livery. The locomotive was named ‘Sorrento’ in April this year to commemorate a 10 year relationship with MSC.

The quality of livery detail printing has come a long way in recent times and Dapol is taking full advantage of it to offer some very nicely presented models. The child’s graphic or ‘Night & Day’ livery applied to No. 66 720 was particularly striking!

The image of a cargo ship loaded with MSC containers against a blue back ground is a little less lurid that the livery applied to 66 720, but striking, nonetheless. Given the detail in the full size graphic, it has translated to N gauge pretty well. Etched name plates are fitted too.

The model ran well on Dudley Heath following a spot of lubrication. It features fully working lights and in Dapol’s usual style, there was no light leakage into the cab. It’s a fine addition to the GBRf stable of Class 66s. I hope when Dapol releases its OO gauge Class 73, it will include some GBRf liveries in the range.


Cut and shut coaching stock.

October 27, 2012

There’s nothing like an old fashioned cut and shut project. The very thing that traditional railway modelling is made of; the process of buying a couple of scrap coaches for a few pounds, disposing of the damaged bits and creating a different vehicle from the remains and one not available as a mainstream release. This is a practice which seems to be avoided by many modellers these days which is a shame and yet one that makes it possible to build models unique to the individual modeller. A perfect example of cut and shut on my work bench is the Mk.2d Brake First Corridor or BFK. Take an old OO gauge Airfix Mk2d BSO and FO, expose them to the attentions of a good sharp razor saw, shorten the guard section parts and make up a BFK! Careful filing and filling is needed for a seamless finish where parts are joined together and level window line. The parts are fitted along the rain gutter which helps to hide the horizontal join. The scrap parts left over from the cutting exercise (to the rear of the picture above) will be used to repair another Mk2d coach which has broken ends and bought for a few pence. I could join the parts together to create a fictitious composite with a middle door (only kidding).

The Mk.2d BFK is one of my favourite conversions at the moment: inexpensive if the original glazing inserts and bogies are used assuming that both are intact. I am working on my second BFK, to be painted in BR blue and grey livery. I have no real use for it in reality, unlike my first attempt which is finished in Inter City colours with original Rail alphabet block lettering, ready for use on a Manchester or Liverpool – Dover/Folkestone service. However, it is an interesting conversion which finds a use for the numerous BSO and FO coaches lying around on swap meet tables and the finished model could find use in a charter set. The first BFK I completed and featured above is finished with Shawplan ‘Laserglaze’, Replica Railways B4 bogie kits, EM gauge wheels, NMS transfers for numbering, Kadee couplings and painted with Phoenix Precision paints. I urge you to have a go at such a project if you are yet to try one. DBSO conversions and the various Network Rail vehicles are also worth a go. I am also giving consideration to a 4-Bep buffet car conversion to suit the Bachmann unrefurbished 4-Cep model.

The move towards producing mainstream releases of more unusual vehicles is welcomed and Heljan has joined in with its rail car model (a Class 128 parcels unit in OO gauge is also under development). The one featured above is a Modelzone special edition finished in RTC livery as RDB999507, a stand in for a specially built Wickham track assessment car. An irresistible model which is nicely finished, a great runner and one that will make appearances on Folkestone East as part of my 1980s theme, for the hell of it. This one won’t be expensive to re-wheel – only two wheel sets are required! Nor will I be taking a razor saw to it!

N Gauge Dudley Heath project.

October 26, 2012

There is a new page covering the building of my N gauge Dudley Heath project (to date) which is also a project layout for BRM. Started in 2011, the layout is nearing completion and has attended three exhibitions so far, including the recent Peterborough show. Only OHLE is needed to finish together with a couple more structures and small detailing items. The link to the page is beside the Platform 4a & 4b ones in the top menu bar.

The layout name has caused a little hilarity at hotel receptions because Warners Group exhibition organisers often arrange exhibitors accommodation by layout or stand name. Whilst intended to have a Black Country ring, the name Dudley Heath causes me to say: the name is Mr Heath, Dudley Heath! A new web persona, I wonder? However, the Dudley name immediately conjures up visions of the Harry Potter character who is rotund and undisciplined – the only Dudley I know of. Me? I am far from rotund. As for undisciplined… Anyway, my apologies to slim and trim Dudleys out there…


Sgòr Gaoith again!

October 25, 2012

It is amazing how the weather can change completely in two weeks. I headed up Sgòr Gaoith, a Munro at 1118 Metres, for the second time in two weeks, just before the BRM Peterborough exhibition. Just for a breath of fresh air… Sarah came with me this time and we found a completely different looking and stunning landscape – first snow too. Whilst lovely weather is preferred for high level walking, snow and low cloud can make for as dramatic a walk as a sunny, warm and clear day. The panoramic image of Loch Einich was put together from seven images using Photoshop CS5 and was taken just to the south side of the mountain’s summit (summit buttress to the left in the picture).

Heritage DMUs: Dapol’s new Class 122 single car unit.

October 3, 2012

New from Dapol: The Class 122 single car DMU in N gauge, the first time that a Class 122 has been offered in any scale as a ready to run model. It’s technical features are similar to the previously released Class 121 single car unit and the finished product is very attractive.

Two models have arrived for photography – my thanks to David Jones for the opportunity to look them over. One is a blue & grey example as No.55oo5 and the other a departmental unit in plain BR blue as TDB975023. The latter is an interesting choice – formerly No. 55001 and used as a route learning car.

The exhausts run smartly up to the roof on either side of the small destination box, a feature which sets the Class 122 apart from the similar Class 121 single car unit which has a large head code box and long horn cattle style exhaust pipes.

The drive design is the same as the Class 121 including an under-floor drive mechanism allowing the modelling of most of the interior.

The roof is easily un-clipped from the body allowing the fitting of a light bar in the roof. The standard Dapol light bar design simply plugs into the circuit board which is concealed, together with the 6-pin DCC connection, in the luggage van/guards end of the car. Remember to check which way round the roof goes back on the model! The roof clips are moulded as part of the flush glazing inserts.

In all, an exciting release and perfect models for the Dudley Heath project. A couple of Digitrax DZ125 decoders for the pair and they were ready to go with fully controllable lights and no light leakage into the cab. Performance is smooth and the models’ first outing on the layout was without incident. They will be popular additions to the fleet. Come and see them when Dudley Heath visits the BRM Peterborough exhibition in a couple of weeks’ time.