Finished at last

Finally after a rather stop-start process over the summer, the BT(L) is finally complete.
I’m pleased with how this model has turned out and though there are certainly imperfections it’s the first of probably half a dozen vehicles to come via a similar route. One thing’s sure; those Shawplan windows really lift things beyond any other type of previously available glazing.
I’ve given the coach a notional ScR prefix to the number but as these lavatory vehicles were few in number it’s unlikely any saw service over the border and I may try some cheeky cut and shut methods to produce non-lavatory variants in future.
Meantime I’m just going to bask in this model’s reflected glory while I await the new etched coupling rods that will allow me to move the Jumbo finally onward to completion!
I’ve also been re-wheeling a number of pre-existing vehicles including a re-bogied and detailed ex-Lima LMS 40′ CCT (that one, Jamie!) and a ‘Hornby Magazine’ Stove R, known in this neck of the woods as a Stove (a)R(se) on account of the less than wonderful chassis provided with the model.
It would be unfair to let this overshadow the model above the solebar which is, in fact rather good. The undercrackers were sorted out using a Brassmasters ‘Cleminson’ underframe which seems to work OK on a continuous run when fitted with OO wheels. How it will fare now it’s EM-ed and likely to negotiate pointwork may be another matter!

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Diagram 1790 further.

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Feeling a bit more motivated to sit in the workshops now things have cooled down a little in the north, I was keen to make a little more progress with the 1790 so on Friday night, I got the airbrush out and gave the model a good coating of Railmatch BR crimson.
This is actually a rather lovely, vibrant colour and it’s a shame BR chose to replace it with a rather sombre shade of maroon after 1956.
It has actually gone on with a rather nice sheen that shouldn’t require too much glossing up before the application of decals. I also ran a paint marker on the inside of the window frames – this makes a big difference to the appearance and will enhance the look of glazing when it’s fitted.
I’ll allow it to settle and cure a day or two before I visit that and meantime I have busied myself painting up the interior. I’ve no idea if these colours are truly authentic but I actually used Lifecolor brake dust (acrylic) for the interior cream as I’m pretty sure that the interior finish would have discoloured to the kind of dirty yellow seen here pretty quickly not only on account of the environment of the steam railway but also due to the universality of the smoking habit in the 1950s!
The interior finish isn’t at all sophisticated but it should suffice given the limited interior visibility.
I also took the opportunity to fit Frogmore grab rails to the doors. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer ease with which they went into place. One thing I would suggest to Frogmore though is that they could maybe produce some 8 and 9mm versions as I still had to make the extended guards’ door handrails myself; a task which you probably understand by now ain’t a personal favourite!
A cursory lick of paint on the rails finished the evening’s work.
I’m pleased with the look of the model so far and this project really seems to be bringing out the best in what’s now a vintage model.

Taking stock

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One project that has been bubbling away at the back for a while is this LMS Diagram 1790 Period 2 Brake 3rd.
It started life as one of those bargain Dapol knocked-down kits that in my opinion offer some of the best kit-basher material around.
Modifications include replacement of the bogies with Bachmann version which were easily re-wheeled with EM sets.
Comet cast underframe parts replaced the old 1970s vintage mouldings, the sides have been drilled out to receive grab rails and the vent holes in the roof have been filled pending re-drilling so the torpedo vents can be mounted in the correct configuration.
Once painting has been completed and the interior suitably decorated, I intend to add the Shawplan glazing.
It’s a tribute to the excellence of the original Airfix tooling that this model still scrubs up well the better part of 40 years after introduction!

The Coo’s ither tail!

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Modelling has been a wee bit slow of late due to being off work on leave. The fact I’m not on shifts means I have more energy and coupled with the extraordinarily good July weather in these parts this results on my getting a lot of necessary jobs in and outside the house done that I’d normally feel a bit worn out and apathetic to do!
Nevertheless, last week I did get this model to more-or-less completion.
Another of the part-builds I acquired from my friend. I completed this Parkside ex-LMS, Fowler era brake, finished in unfitted early-mid 1950s er grey she will be a temporary stand by until the Stanier is ready.
The worst part of the whole job was making the handrails. I absolutely hate this job as however hard you try with measuring and bending the wire, there is invariably a discrepancy that means the rail is either slightly long or short sufficient to provide just enough visually jarring distortion in the rails and generating a generous amount of industrial language from this builder.
Nevertheless, I managed to survive the handrail phase in this one although some weird primer-related clumsiness on my part led to a hint of re-planking as viewed here.
It’s not too bad though, I hope you’ll agree! As standard with my builds this one has LMS Models buffers and EM wheels.

Bachmann Mk1 sleeper (2nd class)

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Newly arrived is Bachmann’s latest coaching stock release, the Mk1 SLSTP (sleeping car, second class).
This model has been much anticipated by modellers of the 1958-83 period and as an overnight service using these vehicles operated over the Waverley, I number myself among those modellers.
Two Mk1 sleepers formed the backbone of the last southbound service on the Waverley in January 1969, becoming embroiled in ‘The Last Stand’ at Newcastleton Station in 1969 where extraordinary scenes (quite fitting in the general backdrop of revolution and direct action protest that personified 1968-9!) saw disgruntled locals blockade the line in protest at its closure. Mk1 vehicles took over the St Pancras-Edinburgh ‘Pullman’ from 1960, the service previously being provided by LMS 12 wheelers.
Now; the model!
Bachmann pretty much own the BR Mk1 series in both 2mm and 4mm these days and as you’d expect, the vehicle meets the high standards we now expect from this logical and intelligent manufacturer.
Long gone are the berm-like roof ribs seen on the early Mk1 releases as you can clearly see here.
Whilst I cannot consider myself in any way an expert on Mk1 coaches, there is a great deal of expert know how on the Yahoo group BR Coaching Stock
A fellow blogger, Bob Reid, certainly does hold greater knowledge of these vehicles and either of these sources will doubtless yield lots of suitable information.
Bob’s own blog is linked via my Blogroll, I recommend you follow the link as he has plenty of interest to share.
What’s evident from the photos is the overall finesse of the model and type-specific roof equipment appears well portrayed.
The BR blue and grey livery is well applied although mine has a bit of a ‘wobble’ in the white lining above one end door. Hopefully, this is an isolated problem. Otherwise, it’s a nicely executed job though and Bachmann have taken to using a rather nice shade of rail blue which actually looks rather vibrant in the bright sunshine the British Isles are currently enjoying!
This vehicle will form part of my 1968 ‘Pullman’ and as I understand it, I may have to alter some details of the vehicle as the model apparently depicts a vehicle subject to equipment alterations in the 1970s.
Some research work is called for!
The model as supplied runs on nicely moulded B4 or B5 bogies. I’m not sufficiently well read to identify them individually as yet but I’m going to put that right.
You can see that a pretty reasonable effort has been made to portray the cabin interiors though if you’re brave enough you could model some of them with blinds down.
Also included is a small parts bag with drawbar details and Bachmann’s ‘hose’ type coupling.
There’s no hint of any part being provided to recreate the slashed vacuum bag that brought the last Pullman to a stand just after it had got underway following the clearing of Newcastleton crossing. A mysterious figure was seen to sneak under the train just before this occurred; I know who the mystery figure is, but I’m keeping it to myself! 😉
That then, is a short but honest guide to the latest vehicle in Bachmann’s popular Mk1 range.
I’m also looking forward to the advent of their ex-LMS ‘Porthole’ stock, due soon also.
Please watch this space and I’ll offer some thoughts and observations when one comes to hand!

Diagram 1/044 Part 2.

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As promised, I continued construction of the wagon tonight.
First task was to fit the buffers and to assist with accurate fitting of the replacements, I first bored down the existing shank, thereafter widening the hole to accommodate the broader mounting spigot of the new cast buffers.
Next task was to fit the drawhooks (Exactoscale) and the label boards on the ends.
I then tackled the underframe and brake gear, replacing the plastic shaft with brass wire and adding brass L section to replace the moulded tie bars as I mentioned yesterday.
The last stage of work involved attaching the door bumpers, brake levers and finally some cast vac bags on the ends. Again these, like the buffers are excellent castings by Dave Franks at Lanarkshire Model Supplies (www.lanarkshiremodels.com).

The model is now ready for painting. One notable aspect of this kit is the thin-ness of the sides and the good internal detail of the body mouldings.
Some imaginative paintwork will bring out the full potential of these details!

BR 1/044 Wooden open

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Tonight sees a return to the bench after what seems a long lay off, partly due to work and a number of other factors, some good, some other but now thankfully resolved!
Anyway, to continue I thought I’d get busy with a wagon build. I have selected Parkside’s PC02A kit for the BR Diagram 1/039 ‘Hybar’ wagon. Never knowingly being one to follow the flock however, I have elected to construct it as a Diagram 1/044 without the rail. This has resulted in the removal of details associated with the sheet rail.
I am basing this one on a David Larkin photograph of a vehicle fitted with self-contained buffers and clasp brake gear. This means the kit underframe is OK as provided but I shall be replacing the buffers with castings. I’m also taking the opportunity to replace the tie bars that connect the axle guards with brass L-section. This has a bit more finesse and strength than the moulded bar which usually ends up breaking during use anyway in my experience.
An easy hour’s work has got me here so it’s probably a good place to halt for the night. I’ll tackle the buffers and underframe tomorrow!