First Bachmann 4-Cep conversion.

April 11, 2017

The Bachmann 4-Cep in original condition as supplied out of the box. A conversion is more of a long project than anything of extreme complexity. Until you have to repaint it!

A long overdue project for my EM gauge Folkestone East project is to convert several OO gauge Bachmann Class 411 4-Cep units to represent the Swindon refurbished units; work undertaken to upgrade the fleet in the early 1980s. The model, as it is supplied, is a four-car set in original ‘as built’ condition with typical Mark 1 coach features. The refurbished 4-Cep conversion involves a long-winded removal of the glazing units and moulded window frames; relocating the guards compartments to the CK and fitting of new glazing units and hopper window frames. The moulded window frames were pared away and smoothed down ready for the new etched ones which are fitted once all painting is complete. The stainless steel colour will be a good representation of the unpainted bare metal of those fitted to refurbished 4-Ceps. This was done using a stainless steel etch designed by another Southern Region modeller called David Crow (see below) and kindly made freely available.

The guards compartment was relocated to a middle trailer during refurbishment work. The original guards compartments in the outer DMBSO vehicles was removed to provide an additional seating bay.

The conversion will involve several other detail changes including swapping the bogies for Commonwealth types and double checking the type of roof ventilator fitted to your chosen unit – they did vary with ridge dome, scallop dome and shell vents all featuring in the 4-Cep fleet. I started work by converting the corridor composite trailer into a composite brake – the two guards compartments in the outer DMBSO trailers being located to bring the 4-Ceps in line with other express stock such as the 4-Cig, 4-Big and 4-Vep units.

Filing plastic away to fit the etched overlay section flush with the rest of the coach sides.

With the guards compartment relocated, the DMBSOs are converted to remove the guards compartments from those vehicles and cut in new windows for an additional seating bay. The etched window frames are used as a guide.

Once positioned as near as can be, the window in the original double doors is sealed up and the new windows cut in on both sides of the trailer.

The door line, door handle and hinges are removed too to create a smooth surface. Some filling is required to complete this work.

A final rub down in the kitchen sink with fine wet and dry paper and the model is ready for the paint shop – models rarely look well after this much work. The first coat of paint will quickly reveal flaws in the body work that need further attention. Rub down again, fill where necessary and re-coat before progressing to more complex parts of the livery! This model is to become No. 1562 finished in Network South-East livery (see below). The full size unit survived until around 2004.

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‘4 Cep’ (41)1602 at London Victoria.

July 18, 2016

02-1085 1602 copy

As a bit of light relief from ‘Brexit’ politics and where Scotland fits in with the EU at this time and in the future, I have taken to trawling through some of my slide collection to look for images of BR (SR) slam door EMUs. The picture is of ‘4 Cep’ No. 1602, one of Ramsgate Depots ‘Magnificent Seven’ fleet of ‘4 Ceps’, a term coined by the small band of enthusiasts that chased them all over Kent in their last years of operation. This shot was taken in November 2002 shortly before this small fleet of survivors of very run down units was finally withdrawn together with the remaining ‘3 Cep’ in the (41)11xx number sequence.


I am no artist…

February 17, 2012

…and that back scene on Folkestone East was something of a challenge (scary nightmare). My first attempt at it was made last November…


I lived with it for around two months until, two days after Christmas, I decided I hated it! The hillside colours, even for a hazy south coast day, did not work at all. From the pencil line on the paint, I was clearly still tinkering with it when the photograph of the Class 47/3 above was taken.

Attempt number two and I think the colours are better. One of the key things is shading the landscape colours down so they are very pale and subtle. This can be done either by adding white or by applying a white wash over the finished scene. The colours are still a little too vibrant in the distance. However, the chalk hills over the real Folkestone East really do crowd the location. That said, the back scene cannot be too dominant on a layout.

Whilst an artist or one of those really talented modellers I regularly meet on the circuit would probably do a much better job, the result from last Christmas looks much better. I sort of like it…sort of…

The darker green representing foreground trees was matched to the ones at the far end of the layout. Those on the hillsides do contrast sharply with the chalk downland grasses in real life. I need to create some subtle shadow around them and do a better job of defining the slopes.

When viewing the work so far, bear in mind several points. The track is a mere 3 inches from the back drop. Also, there will be trees and bushes planted on the embankment behind the track which will partially conceal the painted industrial buildings. Finally, the layout development is being undertaken from the back towards the front, so until that back scene is complete and the scenery planted, no work will be undertaken on the foreground area.

I go through phases of doing a little work, sitting back to check the results, deciding I hate it and redoing it! Eventually, I have to settle on something or be forever reworking scenes! Discovering (for myself because I am sure it’s not an original idea by any means) a dry brushing method of colouring ballast without flooding it with paint means I will be not using darker grains when placing ballast from now on.

As an aside, the 4-Cep model is No.1699, one of the SWT ‘Greyhound’ ones transferred to Ramsgate in the last months of Cep operation on the South Eastern. The model has the orange line painted out, just like the prototype. The conductor rail remains to be installed. I really must get to it!