57 Years since launch of the classic Mini.

A significant date that I had admittedly forgotten about. Well done to Nigel for this wee salute!

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Manky Minerals


As part of what is becoming known as Project 77, I have turned out the first of what promises to be a fair few 16t mineral wagons in battered and careworn 1970s condition.

I experimented with some new elements with this pair and whilst I’m not 100% happy with the result it does have promise for further development. If nothing else it should broaden my skills base since I’ve not focused so closely on wagon effects up to now.

The base model is Bachmann’s and they are helpfully offering the version without top-flap doors right now even though the catalogue liveries are incorrect for this version. That point is academic for our purposes here since the wagons are re-liveried. The brake gear is also modified and the area behind the axleguards modified to accommodate EM wheelsets.

It’s a start anyway!

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Southern Boogie



Things have picked up a fair bit of late and these two models have just been finished.

Both are Bachmann OO base models with the C Class being turned out as DS 240; in reality a stationary boiler at Ashford in 1965-66 but with licence taken to assume that she had a brief period as a works shunters or similar.

The second model portrays Nine Elms’ 3MT tank no 82023 in 1966 condition.


Hope you like them!

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Lazy Sunday Afternoon…



It’s a good weekend here at the end of my two weeks’ holiday with plenty of work going on in the workshop.

It may be the fact I tidied it or it might be the fact that my creative instincts have kicked in a bit more of late but there’s definitely an upswing in work going on there.

Saturday was primarily spent on some jobs For a friend and a couple of models that are going to be offered on a certain well known auction site.

Today has mostly been messing about with a couple of wagons, purely for my own entertainment.

Despite the controversy surrounding the model, I acquired on of the Oxford LNER pattern cattle vans yesterday with the intention of tackling some of the major flaws of the model.

Today, I concentrated on the bodywork which those with more specialist knowledge have identified as wrong. Reports advise that the two sides should be a mirror image, rather than opposite handed as Oxford have done. A half hour or so with some plastic strip, filler, the Proxxon and some wet and dry have made the model more superficially accurate and at some stage, I’ll correct the underframes to the 10′ wheelbase it should be using Bill Bedford units whilst also equipping it with a cast vacuum cylinder.

Later on, I made some progress on another wagon that’s appeared on the bench. This happens to be a Parkside BR 24.5 ton mineral; a type that will be very useful in the BR/NCB 1970s project I’m slowly developing in concept.

I decided to fit this with Bill Bedford sprung suspension. Normally any adaptations should best be done before assembly but as I’d already assembled the body last week, I had to try something different to remove the raised areas under the wagon floor.

Again, I called the Proxxon into service but set it up as a vertical mill this time, using a mill bit to machine the raised mouldings down to the level of the floor

Even if it wasn’t strictly necessary it was quicker and more precise than doing it by hand and it was a useful skills exercise.

The BB units were assembled and aligned on the floor .  The wagon is now a basic rolling vehicle but now the solebars need applied. I also need to acquire springs/roller bearing  casrings

I’ll try some of Justin Newitt’s chassis on further builds – it’ll certainly eliminate the chores involved in getting this one to the running stage.


One last item attended to today is this kit built Glasgow Standard Tramcar which is here for painting and finishing. Today, she has received her primer. A day ar two’s curing will see her ready for the first paint


It’s nice to be getting back into some proper modelling again!

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Reorganisation of works.



Over the last week or so I’ve been busy WITH rather than in the shed.

It was in urgent need of new roof felt, having been put up in 2008 and not having had any attention since and in any case, the interior was so cluttered and untidy that it had ceased to be a good place to work.

Therefore, having two weeks off has allowed me to repair the roof and completely reorganise the inside. It’s certainly made a difference to the working environment and it’s once again an enjoyable place to be.

My companion is very enthusiastic about her own specific facilities upgrade!


The outside still needs a fresh coat of paint too but that’s a task for the weekend, all being well.

Meantime, there’s work to be done inside and the improved environment has definitely had an effect on productivity. It’s so much nicer to work in there now!

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Bo’ness and Kinneil Diesel Gala, July 2016


Yesterday, I made the trip up to Bo’ness for the Summer Diesel Gala. After a week off spent largely on tasks at home (more of which in a forthcoming post), I felt a wee change of scenery was in order and this provided as good an excuse as any.

For sakes of variety I drove up the A7 to Tweedbank in order to take the train up The Waverley Route (sorry Scotrail, that’s what it’ll always be to me, whatever expansion of the route takes place!). Having been a vocal lobbyist for the restored route, I feel a certain obligation to use the Waverley as much as possible. A scenic run regardless of the season, the Gala Valley certainly looked good in the cloudy but bright weather conditions.

In due course, I made Bo’ness and met up with an old mate I used to go photographing trains with in the ’80s. We hadn’t really had a proper meet up in nearly 20 years so the afternoon was as much spent having a crack and catching up as enjoying the interesting heritage traction.

Star of the show was unquestionably the Prototype HST locomotive 41001 and her attendant coaches all in 1970s Pullman style livery as the entire train operated during her extensive testing in the early-mid 1970s.

Throughout the day, she operated in tandem with various guest locomotives including 40 135 as illustrated here. 40 106, which accompanied 40 135 north for the gala is well known in the enthusiast world as the last big mainline BR  locomotive to wear its original green livery, which it did in increasingly rough looking condition until 1978 when it entered Crewe Works for overhaul and emerged in a fresh coat of green, giving it a genuine celebrity status for the rest of its working life in an era when the 1966 model corporate Rail Blue livery was universal on the UK’s publicly owned railway. There are not-really-substantiated rumours that ‘106 was already in the process of receiving blue paint when the decision was made to return her to livery she had carried all her life. I imagine a forensic analysis of ‘106’s paint strata would be able to draw a line under that theory; has it already been done?

Another rare visitor to Scottish metals was this Class 33 which had been providing opposite-end power to the trains as they ran the return leg of their journey to Manuel. The duty was passed on to a DRS Class 37 later in the day.


A wander around the Museum and shed complex resulted in an invitation to check out the workshop where the Railway’s ex BR NBL shunter was being repainted and one of the Class 27s was in the throes of pretty comprehensive cab end repairs which resulted in our having a very interesting view of the cab ends and sides reduced to their basic framework as total cab-end re-skinning takes place.


It would have been a shame to have come all this way and not have done a trip on the line so later in the afternoon we boarded a departure for Manuel with the HST piloted by two Class 20s, 20 189 and 20 205. Both of these locos spent part of their BR service in Scotland with ‘189 having been seen operating  the yard at Fort William, while one of my early recollections of railways in 1977 is of 205 at East Kilbride, shunting wagons in Archie Kanes coal merchants’ yard in the old Caley goods yard which was then still operating. Because of that and similar recollections, blue Class 20s occupy a special place in my heart so here are some nice shots of ‘189/’205 looking very smart in Rail blue.




All in all, it was an enjoyable day spent in the company of an old mate from days gone by and some classic diesel traction. It provided an interesting subject for a new blog entry which was admittedly long overdue but I hope to make up for the recent lack of activity with some more postings this week.

I’ll round the entry off with one final image of the Prototype HST heading off, assisted by 40 135

Cheerie for now!🙂




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A sad day…

My thoughts echo Nigel’s today and while there’s no doubt the EU needs taken back by the people from the free market extremists, I also am European at heart.
There are very interesting times ahead I believe, mustering up what optimism I can for the times ahead.

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