Iain MacIntosh; 196′ – 1040′

Belah Viaduct 

Iain has created another staggeringly good piece of railway art. Prints can be ordered through the 77021 Loco Group who will hopefully benefit from healthy sales.

I’ll let Iain himself do the talking from herein!



196′-1040 was completed this morning.

Belah Viaduct stood 196′ high and stretched for 1040′ across the infant River Belah in the Cumbrian Penines, the measurements lending themselves to the title of the piece.
A Blackpool to Newcastle summer Saturday train is depicted crossing the deceptively weak looking structure behind a pair of standard 3MT locomotives 77002 & 77003.
Available for pre order through www.77021.org and being offered to another group I support at A3 & A4 sizes it should allow both groups to raise much needed funds for their recreational aims.
I will be offering A2 prints through my website once set up.
At close on 200 hours work, this has been by far the most labour intensive artistic work I have undertaken in this range thus far.

On with the next one now however, no time like the present as they say…..


The Scottish School


Back in the autumn of 1977, when it appeared that the railway interest I’d picked up in the summer wasn’t going away anytime soon, I joined the East Kilbride Model railway club. At that time, they had their ‘Nerston Junction’ layout in operation and to a new enthusiast like me, it was a thing of wonder with its island platforms, sweeping curves and MPD.

A couple of weeks later, I visited the Cathcart Model Railway show which for some reason that year was being held in the McLellan Galleries. looking at the various layouts, it occurred to me that ‘Nerston’ stood out from the crowd with its neatly ballasted and painted track, well-made buildings and consistency in appearance of its trains. Very few competing layouts at that time on the Scottish scene had the same finesse as EK’s creation had and as the group progressed, I was privileged to see the Aviemore, Ardlui and Beattock layouts take shape, each raising the quality bar that bit higher. Whilst at the club, I was exposed to the work of some very competent and talented modellers including Dave Franks, whose work continues to inspire me to this day. It’s down to Dave that I build my own locos nowadays and it may even have been Dave and the late Ian McNaughton who introduced me to the concept of weathered finishes – see the monster you created, mate? 🙂

EK weren’t alone in producing good layouts in Scotland back then of course and I remember Eastbank MRC showing a rather nice Southern Region layout. There was also a nice LNER era loco depot whose name escapes me now, but by and large, EK’s layouts stood above the general mass of code 100 and Triang with their SMP Code 75 bullhead track and kit-built locos/detailed RTR.

By the mid 1980s though, things were starting to change and the advent of historical groups like the NBRSG (1978) and the Caledonian Railway Association (1985) provided repositories of information on Scottish railways previously hard to obtain. Special interest groups like the 57 Study Group, The East of Scotland Finescale Group and the Scottish Region Study Group have risen and produced some excellent finescale layouts such as Hewisbridge, Burntisland,1883 and Alloa respectively. The East Neuk Model Railway Club’s superb Law Junction in 2mm scale demonstrates quite emphatically that 4mm isn’t the only game in town here any more!
The Scottish Modellers group, which evolved from the Scottish chapter of DEMU has brought new standards to the post steam era Scottish scene with superb scratch built models of Timber P wagons and on track plant for example.
It’s not only groups that are driving this quest for high quality finescale though. John Duffy’s Clatterinbrig and Joe Loftus’ Rockvilla Goods are notable examples of individual projects, the latter now being active on the exhibition circuit. Although, originally built in the wastes of East Yorkshire ( 😉 ), Jamie Wood’s evocative Culreoch is currently being enhanced by its current owner to give a more characteristic representation of the post-war era ‘Port Road’ and can now be wholly considered a ‘Scottish Layout’. I understand you’ll be able to view it again publicly next year.

It would be churlish to say that this increasingly excellent modelling was entirely self-generated as much inspiration was generated by the marvellous work being created by our neighbours south of the border and classic layouts such as Kier Hardie’s Wibdenshaw, Stoke Summit and Dewsbury Midland immediately spring to mind. The appearance of such as these at the big Scottish shows provided further inspiration and spur to greater things among Scottish modellers. There’s no parochialism in terms of prototype however, evidenced by the 57 Study Group’s Tyneside-set Montague Fields and Dave Franks’ Wharfeside layout but there is, wherever you are, an interest among local modellers of their local scene. Scotland is no exception.

We live in an era of unprecedented digital communication and whilst it’s a global phenomenon, Modellers in Scotland are more interconnected than ever before and a great exchange of ideas, information and inspiration is going on in our sphere of interest. This communication is going on largely individual to individual and blog to blog, rather than via internet forums which other than for highly specific interest groups such as Scalefour and the CRA are largely redundant and increasingly irrelevant.

There is, I believe an upsurge in interest in the Scottish Pre-grouping companies evidenced by the plethora of books on for example the Caledonian and G&SW railways, not to mention healthy membership of the company societies. The SouWest association has this year celebrated its half century with a very well attended series of talks and dinner evening at (unusually) Carlisle. People are again starting to take an interest in Scotland’s Transport and Industrial heritage (witness the campaign to save Govan Graving Dock as a Heritage site) so it seems and it appears that it may be part of a broader cultural wakening currently going on in Scotland.

Arguably, we could be witnessing the birth of a new ‘Scottish School’ of railway modelling; there certainly seems to be a great deal more high quality modelling going on up here than I remember from twenty-thirty years back!

Here’s tae a bricht future!



There I was, about to tell you about the very nice etched parts I’ve used to upgrade the Dapol/Airfix 35 T tank. And very nice they are, RT Models did a great job. Unfortunately I failed to account for the fact that the tank should actually be facing 180 degrees in the opposite direction, meaning the ladders come down over the brake lever pivots! I guess when the whole thing’s painted black and the effects applied it’ll be less obvious but it’s one to watch out for in future builds of these vehicles.

Never mind, it’ll give the experts in smoky private dens and Hell of a Windbagger – type places something to feel smug about when they’re not playing at amateur espionage. 😉

Assorted Oddments

This entry is dedicated to Willy McKnight and Steve Turnbull; two ‘good guys’ from the Scottish hobby that we lost this week. My thoughts are with their families and friends

Having finished the commissions mentioned in the previous post, I decided to crack on with a couple of projects of my own.
The first move was to complete the Cambrian Sturgeon and the BR Plate wagon conversion I’ve been working on since the spring.
The Sturgeon has a load of rail and though the plate has a couple of bits of dunnage on the deck, I haven’t done a plate load as yet.




I also set about two Bachmann Covhops, giving them a work stained appearance. It certainly lifts the overall grey of the wagons and provides a bit more depth.



You might remember also that I was working on one of the Dapol (nee Airfix) 35 ton tanks too. After some very careful work with my Proxxon multitool, I was able eventually to machine sufficient material from the small castings for the roller bearings without trashing them. This meant I had a proper rolling wagon and a properly functioning sprung suspension. On with the RT Models detail etches next!


At Perth, I bought a few small kits for road vehicles and a couple of pre-grouping goods wagons.

First vehicle I have almost completed is a rather nice Road Transport Images Ford Thames light truck. Only requiring a windscreen and wipers, this wee model is starting to take shape. It was nice to meet Frank Warner, RTI’s proprietor at Perth and I’ve since purchased another couple of vehicle kits from him.


I also visited the Caledonian Railway Association’s stand that day and acquired a couple of models from their new range of resin wagons and also a cast kit from their second hand sales. This was for a G&SWR box van. It’s an old White metal effort from the erstwhile Model wagon company. While it was a bit tricky to get square, I got there in the end and have also added a false floor to mount the Bill Bedford sprung guard irons.



Lastly I’ve been working on one of the Associations ‘RY Pickering’ coal traders.
It’s a nice, well detailed resin one piece casting which again, I’m fitting with Bill Bedford sprung axleguards and castings by Wizard model.
So far it runs in a beautifully smooth manner though it still needs the brakegear and buffers – perhaps The Talented Mr Franks can assist there? 😊


For External Use Only.







I recently finished these two models for a friend. First one is a nicely constructed O gauge J39, 0-6-0. In addition the effects, I also added a cab storm sheet and coal for the tender.
I’m very pleased with how the model turned out.

The second model is a Bachmann Class 24 diesel, converted to a late 1960s Inverness example by adding Brassmasters conversion parts and opening out tablet catchers on the cabsides below the driving position.
The model was given Shawplan glazing as a final touch before the effects were applied.

The recipient was very happy with with the models I’m pleased to report. 🙂