On the Workbench:September/October 2013

I have had a reasonably busy couple of months at the workbench it seems, with a couple of show visits thrown in to help keep the inspiration flowing……

Work has mainly been focused on freight stock (fairly standard fare for me now – I can’t get excited about coaches!) with a number of vehicles not seen for a number of months progressing through the paint shop. I tend to batch paint kits once a collection have built up, thus saving unnecessary airbrush cleaning etc……

Coaching Stock:

As we like to do things arse about face, having just said everything is freight orientated here is a mk1 coach that Oly has been working on. Readers may recognise it as an example of the Hachette ‘Model Railway Village’ coaches that were available with the first edition of the magazine for £3.00. With the mag swiftly filed in the bin, the coach can receive some attention – it will never make a display case model but working on ‘IILRIIR’ principles (if it looks right it is right) the model is perfectly acceptable in a rake of stock viewed from normal exhibition distances. Oly has fitted it with some slightly smaller wheels to compensate for the over thick solebar (bringing it down to the same height as a Bachy mk1), given it some T-Cut treatment and then renumbered/weathered. It now needs some couplings sorting before entering traffic.




I have been paying some overdue attention to the EE type 3, the model having been sat in the workbench queue for a couple of years now – jobs carried out recently have included lowering it and adding a few finer details.


From the factory, we both felt the Bachmann model sat too high on its bogies, no doubt to allow the loco to negotiate some trainset bends. As it will no longer be required to squeal its way round 18 inch radius curves, I set out to investigate if anything could be done to improve the models appearance.



On removal of the bogie from the chassis block, I found the mount attached to the bogie by 2 screw towers either side of the driveshaft. Attacking these towers with a razor saw to remove about 4mm then filing out the underside of the chassis mount to clear the driveshaft left the loco sitting like this, a great improvement I think:





Next up is renumbering and weathering before the model can re-enter traffic.


NCB stock:

The Hunslet 50550 I have been working on over the summer is now complete, and just waiting for name and works plates (on order with Narrow Planet), some coal in the bunker and a few oil cans etc on the footplate. I made the decision to start converting the industrial fleet to DCC and this has been fitted with a chip – the improvement in slow speed running making it a worth while exercise before we consider operational aspects.




I am now working on a Judith Edge Hunslet 325HP 50T diesel shunter kit. This is the first etched brass kit I have attempted so will be a bit of a learning curve, but if it all goes wrong the model will be dumped in a siding as a failure, as seems to have been the case for a fairly large proportion of the NCB’s real fleet in the early 70’s!

I have married the kit to Alan Gibson wheels and a High Level 108:1 Loadhauler gearbox/ Mashima 1024 combo so it should crawl along at a nice slow pace when done. Or not work at all.



A couple of Dapol PO wagons picked up at the Chatham show for something ridiculous like £1.50 each brand new have been allocated to the NCB Pool, and had an innitial repaint into internal user grey – although I am not sure its dark enough really. They now await some lettering and internal user ‘X’s along with a bit of general decay and heavy weathering. I attacked the top plank of one example with side cutters to replicate an example that was in use at Gresford Colliery in Wales during the early 70’s, the rotten woodwork clearly not standing up particularly well to attack by mechanical shovel!


Another wagon for the NCB stock is this Parkside ex-SNCF 16T mineral, picked up at Scaleforum for a fiver. I have been unable to find a photo of one of these in service on BR in 1972 so it has been cascaded into internal usership. This model has been built as per the original kit design, although I will be fitting some new buffers as the Parkside buffer heads are completely unconvincing!



Freight Stock:

First up is this Hornby (Ex-Lima) CCT which was heavily weathered. I have attacked it with polish to give it the look of a vehicle that has just had an encounter with a carriage washer for the first time in a considerable while. The polish really brings out the depth of the BR blue and it adds a splash of colour to fitted freight services……


Next up, planned to form part of a block tanker train on the next layout, I have spent today working on the chassis of a Bachmann TTA, converting it into an early build TTV. The main work involved has been the construction of new brake gear and replacement of the air tank with a vac cylinder. A heavily weathered standard TTA is shown below for comparison – this needs backdating a bit for ’71-’72 and will feature at some point in the future.


Although much finer etched parts are available, I decided to do the conversion on the cheap, the wagon chassis was abandoned in a corner of the loft and all other parts were in stock – total cost £0.00. Once everything is painted black I hope it will look OK and add a bit of variety to the train for no outlay, if not I can refit the original parts!


A bit of a bargain picked up on the bring and buy stand at Scaleforum was this Airfix brake van for £2.00. I have assembled it as per the kit design and it looks fine at the rear of a train, although there are no doubt higher quality products out there (IILRIIR again…..)


A trio of Bachmann 16T mineral wagons have been stripped down and repainted into ‘rust’ before having some grey paint added over Maskol to give them an abused look. The rust still needs a couple of extra shades adding to give it a bit more texture but they are getting there….


The Cambrian Models LNER Quint bolster is also progressing, although I am working on trying to create a realistic unpainted wood finish and I think there is still a way to go:


Also through the weathering shop are these 2 Parkside plate wagons, still awaiting buffers (standard). They would be getting towards the end of their lives by the period modelled and have been portrayed as such. Seeing this photo has made me realise the inside of the plate needs weathering as well!


This Parkside BR Pipe wagon is now ready for transfers and weathering.


As are these Parkside Vanwides and Palvan, all of which were seen ages ago having been constructed…



Finally, I found these 2 ex. LNER vans in a box of forgotten stuff. They were the first wagon kits I ever built when I was about 14 or 15, never ran freely and were badly painted, not to mention most of the brake gear being on them the wrong way round! I decided to dig them out and see if anything could be done – the chassis was stripped down as much as possible and reassembled while the bodies were repainted into Bauxite. Apart from a few dodgy chassis bits (the broken V hanger on the RH van and the brake link on the LH van being the wrong way round) they haven’t turned out badly, and will look the part in a block van train.



So there we go, a very minimal cost 2 months worth of modelling there – working on stuff already in stock from years ago or purchased at minimal cost – probably less than £20 for 2 months entertainment. Who said model railways were too expensive?


To make up for the low cost modelling, I did splash out on a rake of 15 new Hornby Railroad MGR’s – working out at about £4.50 each they are cheaper than you can get the 80’s models online – these will be backdated over the coming months with crossbars over the top of the hopper and pre-TOPS wagon codes along with various other details – keep your eyes peeled, monotony is on the horizon!



Thats all for now folks, happy modelling, I will leave you with this cartoon from this months Model Railroader that caused a laugh.






2 Replies to “On the Workbench:September/October 2013”

  1. Nice progress. Like the CCT, minerals and plates. The 1970s do present some wonderful weathering opportunities to us. In terms of weathered wood, the Lifecolor acrylic pack is very good and gives great pale as hades which weather up very well with some thin black washes.

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