On a blog that’s largely dedicated to representing the railway in a way thats so filthy it leaves you wanting to have a shower afterwards, writing something about cleaning track feels a bit odd. As we all know though, cleanliness is next to godliness when it comes to track and the wheels so – noting that a liberal coating of weathering powder over everything increases the amount of dirt our trains pick up (who knew….) – it was time to come up with a way of keeping things clean.
Before anyone starts getting uneasy, don’t worry, we will get to the weathering bit later….
Starting point for this exercise was a Mainline LMS brake van and the Lanarkshire Model Supplies track cleaner kit, which is a nifty bit of apparatus designed for the LMS brake van, and can be purchased Here
In summary, you solder up an etched box, fit it under/in the model and then drop a hefty roller into the box which drags on the track and, when fitted with a cleaning cloth, cleans it. So to get cracking the box was soldered up:
You then need to cut a big hole in the under frame and floor of the brake van to accommodate, before screwing the unit in – that is about that, in its most simplistic form.
I decided to go a bit further and fit some better buffers and new handrails to improve the look of the model. Reference photos showed these vehicles as having low level brake pipes though so I chose not to add these, as with the rest of my vacuum brake stock with similar characteristics. After removing the paint we had something looking like this:
The model was then given a coat of Phoenix BR Bauxite, and lettered using various bits of Modelmaster sheets to represent one of the vehicles constructed by BR in the early 50’s to the LMS design.
Finally, the model was weathered using my usual mix of Tamiya brown/Matt black and NATO Black to fit in with the rest of the fleet. A bit of rust on some of the steelwork seemed to be the norm from prototype photos so this was represented on the end plates and guards duckets.
I aim to use this to run every couple of hours during a show just to make sure things keep moving – I don’t see it as replacing the pre exhibition track cleaning ritual, more topping up and ensuring cleanliness through the day. Hopefully it’ll blend in while doing this job and impact less on the scene than a giant cleaning cloth coming down from out of space!
For anyone interested, I’ve pulled together a quick video showing how the model was put together in a bit more detail: