Waiting to Proceed.

I surely don’t have to comment on the strangeness and uneasiness of the times we are currently going through together, there’s an entire media circus out there fully engaged in that task, so really this is all the mention it’s getting here though virtually everything in this entry is a result of it!

I currently find myself on furlough from my part time work and have been since late March. Frankly given the nature of my work I’ll be quite happy for that to continue for now!

Anyway, all this time off has allowed me to make enormous progress with the house, getting it ever closer to readiness for sale and hopefully a quick return to my homeland when restrictions do finally ease. The garden is now completed as is the fence and the last outdoor task involved making my own concrete step for the gateway. Knocking up my own shuttering and doing the concrete mix was a surprisingly enjoyable task!

It must be said that my original schedule set last July for achieving my objective of getting home in nine months was a bit optimistic but when I look back at all the things I’ve achieved with the house, the difference is immeasurable. There is still work to do but the biggest part is just decluttering and packing; there’s an awful lot of stuff that needs chucked or rehoused as I intend to travel light to my new life!

Modelling, of course, the whole reason this blog exists has largely out of necessity taken something of a back seat over the last 4-5 years as a whole series of challenges of other kinds have had to be dealt with but whilst ‘ the kennel’ will shortly have to be mostly packed up, some activity has occurred, more of which on my next post, to follow immediately; some technical issues are forcing me to limit post sizes right now, stay tuned, friends! 😊

Playing at Bob the Builder!
The scabby panel will soon be replaced by a nice iron gate!

December 1900

RAILWAY SMASH NEAR BERWICK. ————— TRAFFIC DISORGANISED. ————— MAIL TRAINS DELAYED. —————    Early yesterday morning, when a goods train on the North-…

December 1900

The railways of Scotland have always been dangerous places and remain so. Random Scottish History has been publishing a fascinating series of summaries gathered from press reports in 1900, showing just how so that was! They are worth studying, if occasionally colourful and explicitly gory!

Lovely, lovely models!

Dapol’s long awaited NBL/BR Class 29 Diesel loco.

It’s been almost ten years since Dapol announced their NBL type 2s and although it’s been an incredibly long gestation, here they finally are. For a long time there was scepticism on the part of many, me included about what the quality of the end product was going to be like but in the intervening years, many changes have taken place at Dapol, resulting in some incredibly good models emerging from that manufacturer. When the CAF Type 5 or Class 68 as it’s generally known appeared, its quality of execution and performance gave me utmost confidence that the NBL Type 2 project was in safe hands.

The stunning Dapol Class 68

In December 2019, the first NBLs, the original build (Class 21*) machines arrived and this one subsequently joined my fleet. As an Eastfield loco, circa 1965, she fitted perfectly with my Central Belt interests.

D6116, modelled prior to 1966 Class 29 rebuild

Following on in January came the first pair of four Class 29 rebuilds. These were the ones that really had me excited as I’m pretty sure I have a memory of one of these up against the buffers in Glasgow Queen St as a wee boy in 1968-9. The rebuild programme, tested in 1963-65 with D6123 was technically successful and produced a much more useful and reliable machine but with only twenty machines converted to Class 29 before BR re-appraised its traction needs in 1968, the small, non-standard Class was doomed to early withdrawal with the last examples retiring at the end of 1971. Shame. 🙁 There’s something about the face of these NBLs that seems familiar from my early days. My mother certainly took me through GQS going to visit relatives in the late 60s so I’m pretty sure I saw at least one. It’s the same reason I have early memories of what I know now to be Glasgow Corporation PD2 buses and AM3/ 303 electric units on the north suburban services.

Preserved PD2 of the kind that I rode across Glasgow in as a tot!

The last of the three NBLs to arrive so far is the small panel two tone green version and like the blue Class 29 in the header, the livery in perfectly executed.

1965 two-tone green livery

Once thing that really stands out with these models is the level of detail in the underframe of these models; probably the most detailed I’ve seen.

I’ve yet to give the two 29s a proper run but the 21 has been tested and runs very smoothly. The whole model has a reassuringly solid feel to it and running qualities that would probably have saved the originals from an early grave! This class of locos has long been a favourite of mine and with the release of this model, every class of BR main line diesel has now been properly represented in model form.

In terms of quality models, if not the full-size, it seems the best has been left to last!

Not been idle

adult art black and white group

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

The blog has been quiet lately partly due to some difficulties with publishing posts and also because there has been so much else to occupy my headspace. It ranges from political mess around us; so appalling that I have decided (in a U.K. context) to disengage from the madness and concentrate on developments in my own country.

On the domestic front I am fully engaged in the drive to get the house ready for sale.
New flooring is ready to go down in the hall and kitchen, the fence and garden are complete and a new boiler has been installed and commissioned.
The lion’s share of what remains is decluttering and cleaning.
This of course means a lot of modelling stuff is going to need packing away soon but meantime I’ve taken advantage of some slightly slacker time to have a play with the new Accurascale HUO hoppers and PCV cement tanks.
This has given me the opportunity to try and develop some new weathering techniques, the results of which you can view below.

Also seen in the rather lovely Dapol Bogie Bolster E which scrubs up exceptionally well with the new technique.

I have another nine each of the Hoppers and Cemflos to do so I’ll see if I can improve the speed of production without compromising the quality of finish.

In short, my new techniques involve a preparation layer of varnish and white oxide.

Next, the first layers of acrylic paint then oils, followed or preceded by another coat of matt varnish depending on type of vehicle with enamel washes, further acrylics, powders, fixers and more Matt varnish.

The order of application is type specific and will probably vary as techniques develop with with experience.

The oils add a new dimension to a rusty appearance or a streaky, dusty one. Once I’m happy I’ve mastered the technical factors


Batch Cooking!


Having completed the major external work to the fence and garden at last, I have a bit more time for modelling and other creative pursuits again (although it has to be said that Scubaidh’s walks absorb a fair chunk of the day!) for the first time in a good while.

This activity started gently a couple of weeks back with a handful of wagon kits currently ongoing – more on those in a future post.

This last week has seen me work on some 1980s era Scottish diesels for a friend, plus one for myself.

I really do increasingly enjoy working on models from this era.

This batch, with the exception of 37 192 are already back with Eddie and a follow-on quartet of locos from this period are just about to be completed and weather permitting I’ll show you those tomorrow!



Hi Jack. What’s in a name?

One self-serving individual who has done no service to his constituents or the wider realm of Scotland.
Hopefully our last Vichy Governor.

Yes Annandale

alistair jack

Dear Alistair

You, in theory, now represent the people of Scotland in the UK government. You could say you have hit the jackpot in being in the right place at the right time.  You and everybody else know that the people of the County of Dumfries and Galloway voted democratically against your implementation of Brexit.  You also know that all 32 areas of Scotland voted against Brexit.  And this was before a No Deal Brexit was ever heard of.  Now that’s not even a  pretence of democracy. You apparently just don’t care about that.

We could ask you to jack it in before you destroy our country. You won’t do that. You are obviously a Union Jack and if that was all then it would be OK. We respect the right of people to support the Union if that is their belief. We actually believe in democracy and the…

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Upgrading pickups on the Bachman 08

If you’ve ever had issues with the non-standard pickup arrangement on your Bachmann 08, Chris and Oly May well have the answer here.

The Model Railways of Oly Turner and Chris Matthews

Due to a bit of an oversight in the design process, early Bachman 08’s have always had issues with pickups that bear on the tread of the wheel, rather than the rear face as is more conventional. However, I’ve never actually had too many issues with this and the example we ran on Stoating Bank covered a couple of exhibitions with no problems.

However since moving on to SQ, we had found the trusty 08 had become a bit unreliable and it therefore spent most of the Canterbury show in the stock box. After the show I cleaned the pickups and the wheels and all seemed well again on BWS in the build up to Railex.

However, as anyone who has done a show knows, it’s impossible to replicate the conditions of a show in advance, and I was disappointed at Railex when after a couple of runs down the…

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Transitions 3.0


After five years in a sort of limbo during which I’ve retired from a long time career, handled a couple of health issues, dealt with car and house crises, had a second dabble with full-time working, had a friendship that became a relationship then reverted to a friendship, lost an old companion and then gained a new one, I think I’ve finally reached the point where moving on in the physical as well as other senses has become urgent.

The urge to return home to Scotland has become overwhelming, particularly as England lurches from one disaster to another whilst mutating into something troublingly akin to Weimar Germany in 1932.

Whilst I love my little garden here, this house has failed really to become a home regardless of what’s been done to it; really, like most modern era UK housing, it is merely a space to sleep in, with no real room to grow in the ways I wish to.

At least it is no longer the mausoleum to a failed marriage that it was five years ago, but I conclude it’ll never be a place I can find genuine peace in and in any case, there is too much urban noise and development encroaching on these parts now.

Last month, I gave myself nine months to prepare this place and get it in a saleable condition; so far it’s progressing slowly but it’s still moving in the right direction.

There are three main jobs that are required; completing the line of the fence that was commenced last year and replacing the flooring in the kitchen and hall. All else is essentially paint and decor though I may replace the boiler if I can scrape enough change from the sofa!

I gave a bit of thought about my final destination in Scotland; the South West I ruled out due to being remote from most major points in Scotland;& the Borders too expensive and far too Tory! The Central Belt is too overdeveloped for my tastes now also.

I have always had a liking for the city of Dundee and the rural and coastal areas surrounding it so the County of Angus it is.

Additionally, it’s well placed for easy quick reach of the major towns and cities, most of my friends and hubs for my hobbies and activities.

All being well, I will hopefully have a wee bit of equity when I sell this place and purchase the next which will give me a bit of short term security while I find new work.

Whilst I enjoy the work I do, I’m beginning to tire of the shifts and weekend work again and physically, my body is taking a bit of a hit from the long periods at the wheel.

Something where I have more regular hours but still only around the 25 hour mark will be ideal as I also have to factor the welfare of my new companion in too, speaking of whom…FCD93FED-36E3-42BE-A988-AAFF8072EBC0

…meet Scubaidh Dubh!

Scubaidh is two and a half and an ex-racing greyhound, retired due to a muscle injury before he’d really made proper racing.

Fortunately he was kept at one of the more ethical kennels where retired dogs are re-homed as pets.

He’s made the transition to pet very well and he sure knows that he’s landed on his feet here. Watching him in full flight, he is majestic, powerful and graceful and yet he is a very gentle soul with a bit of a comedic streak about him too.

No dog is ever the same as it’s predecessor – there could never be another Abi and that’s as it should be.

Scubaidh is his own dog and he’s carving out his own special place in my heart in his very own way.

He’s gonna love his new world when the time comes!

And perhaps in a new, more suitable location, free of other complications; modelling can resume its proper place in my Pantheon of interests and activities – although I’m considering a dabble with bee-keeping too, since the little guys seem to be needing a hand at present! 🐝🐝🐝

Peco Announce a Highland Signal Cabin

This is a very welcome development and I hope that this, along with Hornby’s J36 and Rails’812 are heralds of a growing interest by the industry’s big names in Scotland’s rich indigenous railway heritage.

highland miscellany

I had not expected to ever say this, but I can write a post on Highland Miscellany about a forthcoming Highland Railway product from one of the mainstream manufacturers!

In this case this is going to be from Peco and it is based on the cabin at Helmsdale (Helmsdale South).  This is still existent and has been out of use for some time but has been recently refurbished.  It is in 4mm only at present (but who knows about the future?) and seems to represent its present condition.  As I understand it, it is going to be a laser cut kit and is due to be released later this year.

When it comes out, I will certainly buy one and review it here but in the meantime here are some photographs of the initial prototype courtesy of Paul Marshall Potter.

And here are a few pictures of the real thing…

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