And more modelling!!

December 31, 2017

It’s becoming a little too serious at the moment – I have to be careful not to become too involved! However, I really want to get this micro-layout finished and soon! Scenery in the form of shrubs, bushes and weeds has been added with a touch of Autumn colour. ‘Loch Dhu No.2’ has also received its nameplates together with a spot of touching up. Time to do some weathering of the stock ans the pug too.

I think the Autumn colours, representing early Autumn when leaves just begin to turn on small trees and bushes after the first frost in the glens. There’s more to do to this scene including some long dry grasses in places, a touch of yellow to the autumn colour and more matting down to kill the shine in the scenery material. Acrylic glues, which are perfect for scenery application, also tend to hold a dull shine which looks unrealistic. More soon!


Matting down…

December 30, 2017

After adding some debris in the distillery yard such as cask staves and rusty loops, matting down of all the surfaces was needed to remove the dull shine from acrylic paints before scenery could be completed. For that, I use Testors ‘Dullcote’ which removes 95% of the sheen. Some more stubborn areas need a little help with Tamiya matt varnish. After several very thin applications, the rails are carefully cleaned of varnish.

The same is dome to the hard pavements in the distillery itself, with the buildings removed. Once dry, the two low relief buildings such as the one at the end of the layout may be semi-permanently fitted in place with glue and the gap between the base of the building and pavement concealed with scenery material. Further weed planting and placing the pile of casks I have previously prepared will finish the scene.

Loch Dhu Distillery is nearing some state of completion apart from small details which may be added over time. Work on the rolling stock, to fit smaller ‘Spratt & Winkle’ couplings (TT gauge ones) and weathering will be completed over the next few months.  I can finalise a couple of simple modifications to the exchange siding side of the layout at the same time (prompted by the acquisition of a rail bus) and that will be it for a while whilst I turn my attention back to my EM gauge Folkestone East layout.

Folkestone East is undergoing a little bit of a revolution where I am ridding myself of all EWS, EW&S and GBRf equipment and related stock to concentrate on the mid 1990s period where there was a significant transition period involving sectors, TOCs and of course the overlap between the opening of the Channel Tunnel and closure of the Dover train ferry service. This will provide a tighter focus on what stock I buy and build for the layout. 2018 will be a year of tighter focus for my modelling!


Detailing takes time…

December 24, 2017

…and a little Dullcote will be needed to kill the slight shine from acrylic paints…

Small details are being added to the Loch Dhu Distillery buildings. They include a representation of yard lighting, wall braces and window bars for security. It is a distillery after all!
The revenue man’s office now has windows, doors and security bars. One door is ajar – a figure representing the head revenue man himself, the very model of taxation bureaucracy, surveying all that goes on around him, will be added looking out of the door. Will Angus MacGallbladder get his way and apply duty on the angel’s share?

There’s just room between the 12t vans and the building to get the doors open for unloading sacks of barley for the maltings. As the buildings are completed, the low relief ones will be fixed in place and the bases finished to blend them with the ground.

The yard will soon be filled with stored empty casks…

Progress has been made on the engine shed, a part relief building which just fits the distillery scene. Remember, the scene is barely 14 inches wide!

The buildings need a little more detail painting and some touch-up here and there before being sprayed with Dullcote together with the yard surface. Otherwise, they have come a treat after a long period of construction and painting. Loch Dhu Distillery, despite some ‘evolutionary’ changes to improve some of earlier work, is nearing completion. The exchange siding side of the layout is being revised slightly and the recent acquisition of a suitable railbus has encouraged the building of a small fiddle stick to complete the main line run – all 40 inches of it. A big layout indeed!


‘Large Logo’ Class 47

December 16, 2017

An attractive BR ‘Large Logo’ Class 47 features in the current (2017) Bachmann catalogue with an anticipated release in either January or February 2018. It represents a popular Class 47/4 No. 47 444 ‘University of Nottingham’ (31-660A) and is finished in pristine condition. It is always good to see an ordinary every day locomotive modelled well; a model which will fit in on most 1980s or early 1990s layouts (Era 8) without looking out of place.The model is supplied with etched nameplates to fit over the printed ones together with numerous separate detail parts including flush glazing, wire hand rails, windscreen wipers and bogie fittings.The paint finish on the featured model was flawless and the blue a pretty accurate shade for BR blue. Despite misgivings by enthusiasts when ‘Large Logo’ livery appeared in the 1980s, it is now a popular scheme on Class 37s and 47s. printing of livery details is sharp and the paint colours dense and opaque.

The model features a six axle drive powered by a frame mounted motor. It’s a heavy model, requiring no traction tyres to deliver impressive haulage capability.Bachmann Class 47s are produced with loco specific details and these can include the steam heating boiler ports and marker lights.Technical specifications include NEM coupling pockets, all-wheel current collection, LED marker lights and a 21-pin DCC socket. A nice model and a good representation of the once common BR Large Logo livery.


‘Birdcage’ coaches – SE&CR ‘Dark Lake’ livery this time.

December 6, 2017

A second batch of Bachmann OO gauge SE&CR 60-foot ‘Birdcage’ coaches are about to land at model shops decorated in SE&CR ‘Dark Lake’ livery which is an attractive and very dark red  – almost brown – with delicate lining on panels and finished with shaded lettering.

This type of coach was primarily operated in fixed sets of three. This set of Birdcage coaches is numbered No. 138 and consists of a Brake Composite Lavatory Coach No. 1174 (39-600); Composite Lavatory Coach No.1178  (39-610) and Brake Third Coach No. 1182 (39-620). The set numbers are applied to the guards’ compartment ends of the brake coaches.

Roof and other details differ on this Pre-Group version of the coaches compared to the BR version featured in October here.

Brake Composite Lavatory Coach No. 1174 (39-600).

Composite Lavatory Coach No. 1178 (39-610).

Brake Third Coach No. 1182 (39-620).

The models have some fine panelling and lining too.

Bachmann’s Birdcage coaches are very striking models with some good interior detail, printed detail on the windows and good livery application. SE&CR Dark Lake livery with its fine lining gives these coaches an entirely different appearance compared to the drab, unlined BR colours!

Bachmann OO9 Wagons…

November 23, 2017

A selection of the brand new Bachmann OO9 wagons has come to light allowing me to grab a few pictures of them as a preview. The Bogie Ambulance Van in WD livery pictured above and below is one of the two new models which features sliding doors in both the sides and ends to reveal a planked floor and interior detail (393-025).They are interesting models, designed to run on 9mm gauge track or N gauge track.Matching the WD grey van is a D Class open wagon in the same livery and weathered (393-050).

The open wagon is also available in Welsh Highland Railway red in unweathered condition (393-053).

Both the van and open wagon are brand new toolings featuring some fine moulded detail. Wheels are metal with an insulating sleeve which will run on N gauge track, either the more rustic Peco OO9 track or if you are modelling a paved area where sleepers are not seen, normal N gauge track will do the trick. A Baldwin Class 10-12-D locomotive to suit the new wagon range which includes a van in Nocton light grey and opens in Nocton and Ashover light grey (not shown) will be released in four liveries.

The wagons should be on general release in December (2017) at the earliest or certainly in the shops in January (2018) with the locos following up in early Spring 2018. The stock boxes are finished in red and green to help distinguish the new oo9 range from standard Bachmann OO gauge, 1:76 scale models.

Distillery progress

November 19, 2017

I did say that I wished to make some significant progress on Loch Dhu Distillery – the aim is to complete the layout to exhibition standard by the end of the year (2017). I have other projects to progress and the reality is that Loch Dhu is really becoming a bit of a log jam in the studio. So, the Lifecolour paints came out to create stone colours and to weather the yard pavement and the buildings prior to fitting windows and other details.

It’s a fun little layout with some nooks and crannies in the track plan to make the scenes appear larger than they really are. The colour blending work with rust colours, grime, dirty black and various other shades from the Lifecolour range has been interesting to do. The Lifecolour paints are durable and quite subtle when thinned around 4:1 with thinner and applied with an airbrush.

The over bridge located in the distillery yard was built up of individual stone blocks cut from South Eastern Finecast embossed random stone sheet and laid in courses varying slightly in width. Some blocks were smoothed over with a little Squadron Putty before being rubbed down and painted. The iron oxide staining of some of the stone is from the Lifecolour ‘Rust and Dust’ set which is a very useful set of layout finishing colours. It looks far better than the Wills material used in the exchange siding scene.

The stone work in the exchange siding scene was built up from Wills materials which at the time looked fine. Having experimented with making my own dressed stone courses in the yard over bridge, I am considering reworking the walls in this part of the layout – but not for some time. There’s too much detailing and scenery to complete including wagon weathering (those Bachmann 12t/13t opens in the front of this view are far too clean!) and detailing the distillery yard. This little layout has certainly taken on a life of its own!