Happy St Andrews Day!

Special wishes to all my friends and family and those who should be here to celebrate but aren’t.


Waverley Route artwork.


One of the authors of the new book, Iain MacIntosh, is also an accomplished artist and draughtsman.

He has recently completed this excellent and atmospheric pencil drawing of one of the ubiquitous V2-hauled freight services of the 1960s thundering north through Newcastleton.

These locomotives and the inter-regional transfer freights between Carlisle Canal and Edinburgh Niddrie (Kingmoor to Millerhill from 1963) are an utterly signature feature of the line’s last decade of steam traction and are something I shall certainly be creating in model form. I’ve made a start with the model shown below, based on a Bachmann V2 with some refinements added. I’m not entirely happy with this model yet and there’s still work to be done but in the absence of a state of the art V2,  this version will suffice for now.



Today, sees the release of this years’ second new title covering the Waverley Route and offering an interesting collection of ‘Then and Now’ comparative shots. The book has been produced by local authors Roy Perkins and Iain MacIntosh.

Few, if any, of the images contained in this book have ever been seen in print before; those used to illustrate ‘before’ are predominantly Roy’s own work, whilst Iain conducted an extensive comparative survey to provide corresponding ‘after’ shots, often in the face of mud, over-friendly livestock and electric fences!

Having received my own copy, I can confirm that this is a good, informative read and will appeal to both the hardened Waverlite and interested amateurs!


The book costs £14.99 and can be purchased directly from the Waverley Route Heritage Association via their website; (www.wrha.org.uk)

Please buy direct from the association and help to finance the rebuilding of the Border Union Railway between Whitrope and (initially) Riccarton Junction.


First Fumblings.

This is new territory for me but as an increasing number of highly talented modellers of my ken have migrated to the Outer Blogosphere in recent times I felt compelled to join them in opening up this New Frontier of modelling! I have long had a presence on web fora (since 2004-5, in fact), but lately I’ve found this kind of media has become a bit of a victim of its own success and although there’s a great deal of high quality content, as with the dead tree products, I find that there’s less and less of it with that elusive ‘X-factor’ that really makes a model or layout stand out. I’m not entirely sure why this should be and a psychologist could probably have a field day sifting my thoughts on the matter. I also find that the most successful and largest forum has grown to a size where I can trawl through it for a couple of hours without seeing anything that truly inspires. It may still be there, but it’s increasingly hard to tell the wood from the trees and there are more productive uses of my time on earth that require attention. I think first and foremost though that it may be down to my own parochialism. Layouts don’t really tend to grab my attention unless they depict Scottish subjects or selected areas of Northern England, but having said that, geography and prototype are much less of an issue when the modelling is of superior technical or artistic quality, such as Tim Hale’s excellent Beaminster Road project. Another area that I have a strange attraction to is East Anglia. Quite why this should be I have no idea.  I spent a four-year work stint in South Essex and my interest pre-dates that! Blakeney and Haverhill South are very good illustrations of that area. That said Scotland and particularly the Lowlands and East are of great interest although not massively portrayed at present as opposed to the Northern and Western Highands  which have become the diesel-era equivalent of the infamous GWBLT! In my own case, my attention focusses largely on the Border Country with that famed arterial railway known as The Waverley Route, much missed and subject to re-incarnation in both modern and heritage form. I’m personally involved in the latter project and I’ll be adding the odd observation on this from time to time. Mostly though, this blog is focused on the modelling and though I currently have no layout, plans are afoot for a layout based upon the Waverley as it traverses Liddesdale. That’s for the future though and as I’m painfully aware of the lack of a decent photo backdrop for the procession of models that cross my workbench and that’s where my first public layout-building testbed will be aired. More on this in due course as ideas form. It’s probably enough to know  that it will be based on a busy corner of a steam-age engine shed, using proprietary products as a starting point for key features. The challenge will be to make an original and interesting use of these items in a way that elevates them from the mainstream. Up to this point, the bulk of my work has concerned locomotives, mostly, but not exclusively RTR. Such are the high standards of off the shelf products. A garden table is far from the best showcase to highlight such modelling, but all being well, they shouldn’t have to wait long for something superior and in any case,better natural daylight than some awful dingy fluorescence!