Catching Up

Well it’s been a while since the last post, the intervening time having been rather hectic with work as well as the usual distractions around Christmas, with endless grief of a house move also going on, most of that seems a long time ago now, although relocation is ongoing! This all left me feeling rather uninspired at the back end of last year, but things have got a bit better recently, so what’s been going on Railway wise?

November saw us exhibiting Six Quarters at Solrail in Workington, with a prototype research trip built in for good measure… more of that in a follow up post though – there’s a bit much to get in here!

Christmas brought me a couple of packs of NCB IU HUO hoppers from Accurascale, taking advantage of the substantial saving available in their Black Friday sale. These are a bit modern for us in NCB livery, so will be repainted into BR livery in good time. Also arriving was a Dapol Bolster E, which I decided to weather taking advantage of a bit of time off:

This really is a lovely model, Dapol have pulled the stops out and it shows they are right back in the game having shaken the legacy of a certain someone… I backdated slightly removing the TOPS code but otherwise it’s just had the detail bits from the box fitted.

This inspired me to finally get started on the Rumney Models detailing kit for the older Lima model, which I’ve had sat around for a couple of years….

I’d not tackled anything like this before so it was an interesting challenge. I struggled with a few bits but it’s a well designed kit and patience turned out something looking half decent, certainly a huge improvement on the original!

I think the running plate is the only bit left of the original model, so it’s been quite an in depth project – I now quite fancy doing another but with a bit of a different prototype in mind. I should probably get this one painted and finished first though.

As a bit of a side project, I’ve dug out a model that’s been sat in the projects draw for about 2 years since I last touched it…. an interpretation of a Diamond T that I found a photo of in service with the NCB Mines Rescue Unit – I’ve been unable to find any more details other than it obviously being a winch of some nature, so it’s very approximate, but something a bit different! I need to sort some transfers and wing mirrors, but otherwise it’s almost done:

I don’t think there’s a huge amount more to update on – BWS is next out on the road on the 15th February at Tonbridge I really need to sort a few more bits for it before then, so need to keep inspired!


Uckfield 2019: In retrospect

I can’t believe a month has passed since Uckfield, and I’m only just getting round to actually writing about it, but with a weeks holiday and a trip to Workington with Six Quarters (more on that in a later post) having taken place in the interim, I guess it’s easy to see where the time has gone…

Anyway – Uckfield was, as ever, a great show, and I’ll stick by my previous comments that it is now the best show in the South East if the finescale end of the hobby floats your boat… on display was a top quality line up covering most scale and gauge combinations, and a wide variety of prototypes.

The Uckfield club did a great job of looking after us for the weekend, and were jumping at the gun to help me unload when I arrived on Friday evening, which is always a nice touch even after a short drive. Even better the tea was brewed and ready to go too, and at the end of the show, a rapid exit resulted in the layout being safely tucked back away in my loft within 90 minutes of the show closing, which must be a winner.

BWS performed well all weekend, with guest operator Will learning the ropes quickly…

And Saturday night was spent on the bash as the show conveniently ties in with the Spa Valley Railway diesel gala and real ale festival, which is a complete winner for Saturday evening entertainment at a show!

I didn’t take photos of all the layouts, but here are a few that caught my eye:

Orford (7mm)

Midland In Bristol (7mm)

Thakenhan Tiles (7mm)

Chica, IL (HO)

Blueball Summit (2mm)

Roll on next October for the 2020 show!


Wordy Wednesday

I ain’t dead. I’ve just been busy.

Sometimes my involvement as part of the operating team on the 1:1 scale model railway, ‘The Great Northern” gets in the way of anything smaller scale.

2019 has been mental, I’ve started a degree, I’ve introduced the class 717s and got to do my first full scale repaint, wrapping a class 313 driving coach in Network Southeast. Trust OTCM to get moaned at by enthusiasts by using a new hybrid scheme on the second coach. OTCM bodgery in action on the real thing.

Modelling has never been far away though, Tim Horn made me the headboards for the 313 and Brian from Shawplan providing the livery details. So again modelling crossing over to the real deal but in reverse.

Hybrid liveries and laser cut headboards

We raised £10k mainly for mental health charities, so I’m proud of that and proud in a round about way my modelling helped out.

Not only are distractions at work paramount I live in a smaller house with no room for SQ, so we live apart. A layout of divorce. Which has unintended positive consequences, I don’t see it for months on end. So I have a pang of pride everytime I set it up and take a look. Lot of pride in this post.

And this weekend SQ goes full circle. We’ve been invited to Solrail in Workington.

Which for a lad on the Kent coast is somewhat of a trek. For the more continental readers it’s like driving the entire length of Florida (which I bet most of you do to visit your aunt) but for us is a huge undertaking and for the show organisers. We are going as SQ is based just a few miles out of Workington so it’s a ‘local’ layout. It means we can go and visit the buildings modelled, that still stand and trace the line it was based on. Which will be a surreal experience. Fair play to the exhibition manager, Philip, for inviting us effectively blind.

To make sure we don’t screw up such a kind invite I’ve had SQ in the dining room for two weeks making sure it works and it looks its absolute best.

Its had a thorough shake down:

So armed with a Citreon Belingo and a pack of strong mints, Chris and I set sail for the North on Friday.

The hobby has been getting a tremendous amount of positive press recently. Only today Sir Rod Strewart and Jools Holland were on national radio (BBC no less) chatting model trains which neither of them could believe as much as I couldn’t believe listening to it:

Rod and Jools chat trains – from about 37:00

With another series of the model railway challenge ending on TV it seems we’re on a path to do what we want with our hobby. I’ll be out flirting with Mums and explaining to interested kids how it all works this weekend. Embracing a new fascination with the hobby can only be rewarding for us all.

Come and say hi in Workington. We’ll be the funny sounding ones worried about dragons in the corner.

See you around,


On the road to Uckfield 2019

Next weekend, 19th and 20th October, Bottom Works Sidings will be making its second exhibition appearance at Uckfield 2020.

Uckfield is always worth a visit, probably being the best show for finescale modelling in Kent and Sussex. It’s a shame this year they’ve let their standards slip by inviting BWS but there we go!

If you are visiting the show, do come and say hi, and feel free to comment on the good and bad bits of the layout. Mark Tatlow and Andy Jones will be helping out so if anything falls off it’s Mark’s fault.

Oly won’t be around though, he will be in Inverness instead. Personally that seems a bit of an extreme measure to avoid 3 link couplings under OHLE but each to their own!


Little improvements for the Oxford Janus

It’s been a while since my pair of Oxford Rail YEC Januses got any attention – readers with long memories may well remember the last time they appeared on the blog: A pair of Janii… Or a brace of Januses?

Anyway I finished that post saying that I’d sort the handrails out. Some time ago at one of our modelling days, I took the opportunity to sit down with some 0.45 brass wire and the soldering iron, and put together the required handrails ready for install. These looked nice and tasty on completion:

And after a coat of primer and a black rattle can, we were really in business:

These were then stored in the modelling draw awaiting me feeling in the mood to fit them – I also wanted to fit better decoders and some form of stay alive to the loco as we found them to be very sensitive to my dodgy track laying at Railex, and it seemed sensible to sort that before fitting new fine bits…

Fast forward about 5 months and with BWS’s next appearance at The Uckfield Show looming in a couple of weeks, I thought I should probably get my arse in gear and sort them! Space inside the Janus bonnet is incredibly limited, particularly width ways, so fitting the decoder and stay alive was a bit of a squeeze but with the bodies back on and test running showing a definite improvement over dirty track, I got the handrails glued into place. To top this off I also fitted the Narrow Planet works plates that I’d been carrying around in the loco box for ages!

I’m pretty happy with the finished results – the handrails definitely look better than the originals even though they are far from perfect, and with running improved as well it’ll be good to get them out in the public eye.



At night…

… I’ve always thought the ‘proper’ railway takes on a different character at night, the glow of signals reflect off the polished railhead and the glow of the signalbox lighting illuminates the surrounding area. Even better, there’s still places on main lines in the UK where this is the case.

It may be 23.45, but the signaller on duty in Stockport No2 still has plenty to keep him busy, constantly walking up and down the frame between block instrument and levers, in this case giving the road from Stockport No1 to Heaton Norris Junction for the late running 6E27 Liverpool-Drax Biomass working.

Wagons Roll

Don’t worry, we are still here!

Well it’s been 2 months since BWS was out on the road at Railex, and while it was nice to have a little time off after, we were both soon back on it.

As per usual, progress has been a bit slower over summer but I’ve been working my way through a variety of wagons that have been sat in the stock box unfinished for a number of years. In most cases these have been flat wagons that I’d never painted the deck of, not previously found a technique I was happy with. Coming back to these with a fresh pair of eyes, new techniques and a year or so more of experience, I immediately found a result I was happy with, and this has subsequently been applied to all the wagons, albeit with plenty of variations.

The idea of finishing these was to create a pool for use on metal trains on BWS. On digging them out the stock box however, it was pretty obvious I had rather more than would be required for a 4ft layout so it’s become a rather larger project, with future, larger, layouts in mind, from which I can select a few to take to shows with BWS.

First up a couple of plate wagons, straight from Parkside kits:

A Boplate from the Cambrian kit. I have another of these waiting for paint still in the queue:

A couple of Twin Bolsters, these are both from Red Panda Lowfit Kits, and still require some Vac cylinders (left them off to add weight and now can’t find them…). I’ve just found a couple of Bachmann conflats which also got converted to Bolsters so will supplement these with a pair of those at some point:

As I keep pushing my modelled date forwards, having gone from early 1970 to early 1973, mainly as my interest in air brake wagons has increased, these Double Bolsters are probably now pushing it – they would likely have been converted to Plate wagons by this time. However I like them so they will stay for now. I might mark them up on the other side as Internal Users to get away with them!

Moving onto something with a roof, this Shokvan is a Red Panda kit, and will be employed delivering something fragile to the world, possibly tinplate – just don’t ask what it’ll be used for!

Finally, and again a victim of the moved timeframe, these are 2 of 3 Hornby Toad E brake vans that have been weathered up. They are just too much of a nice model not to use though….

There’s a few more metals wagons to do, which will more than cover off the basic fleet needs. After that I’m planning on turning my attention to some more specialist wagons, Trestles and Coils mainly, to cover off the principle types of metals traffic in South Yorkshire during my era. In the meantime, there’s a couple of little jobs to sort on BWS to get it prepared for Uckfield in October – mainly bits I ran out of time to sort before Railex!