Latest News

12th October 2018
Congratulations to Barry Cossins. Andrew Hicks and their team for having a go at the Great Model Railway T.V. challenge, and now that the first heat of this formatted contest has appeared, we can show a picture or two.  The judges were Steve Flint, the editor of Railway Modeller Magazine and Kathy Millatt who also happens to have an interest in forced perspective landscape modelling.  She went on to feature the layered urban landscape that forms a major part of the Ealing Road layout among a number of examples of the use of forced perspective, and also very kindly mentioned my book on one of her many blog pages. 

Ealing Road’s urban landscape.  Barry Cossins

The urban forced perspective scene has a collaged and edited printed rear panel with several layers of cutouts. Five rows of terraced houses appear parallel to the railway, progressing from layout scale at the lineside, into smaller scales and depths, graduating into the landscape and middle distance.  Barry Cossins

A new category has been added to this website, describing the landscape course at Missenden Abbey Modellers Spring weekend. It can speak for itself, so just link directly from here to begin with if you are considering taking part.  I just thought it would be a benefit to any possible future attendees to gain an understanding of what the possibilities are.

Coffee break!

Spring Weekend 2019 – Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd March

The Spring Weekend opened for booking on 20th September and over 40 places have already been taken up, so If you do intend coming it is advisable to book very soon, especially if you wish to stay at the abbey. 

I have started much earlier with some of the correspondence about backscene projects, which but do please register with David Brandreth first so he knows what is going on.

All the other details are available from the Missenden Abbey Modellers dedicated website.
Neil Podbery is currently working on a new website, which will include examples of model weathering. as well as some of his latest 3D backscene work. There is now too much demand for me to cope with, so lets have a look at some of Neil’s recent output here as a preview, and I’ll provide a link to his revised site when it’s ready.  He has already undertaken one commission I couldn’t manage time- wise, and this way, we’ll have a bit more capacity to get some more work done to the right standard.

Neil is working on a full 3D backscene for a west country layout, and this is a small section of it, still in progress. There’s more detail to be added but it gives a fine initial impression of the kind of landscape surrounding the line.  Neil Podbery

Getting to know ‘Generate a Panorama’ speeds up what can otherwise be quite a bit of research time, especially when we’re turning back the clock. Some more of Neil’s 3D work is to be seen here in this composite view. Neil Podbery

It helps to have some painting experience as well as modelling time under your belt when you take on a landscape commission, and this is an example of one of Neil’s skies.  Neil Podbery

This oil painting by Neil is now in a private collection and it’s entitled ‘Fairford Goods’. I love the shadows in this quiet study, and see how the sky loses some of the upper blue intensity as it descends to horizon. Oil on canvas, 22″ x 16″ Neil Podbery.

More 3D backscene work in progress. Neil Podbery

Tony Geary has sent in some more photos of his builds. He’s making a CPL Paco horsebox, and his own layout is coming along as well.  At some point we’ll have to get together and see what needs to be done for the backscene, which has quite a bit of suburban housing surrounding the modelled section of line.

Tony sent in this Collett 4-6-0 No 4967 Shirenewton Hall which is done in 7mm scale. The original ‘Modified Hall’ was built at Swindon in 1929 with 6′ 0″ driving wheels, higher pitched boiler, modified footplating and other detail differences to the earlier ‘Saint ‘ rebuilds. Tony Geary.

Tony built this Churchward 4700 class ‘Night Owl’ 2-8-0 No 4702. The original was turned out from Swindon at the end of February 1922 and by the time it acquired the late BR livery it was shedded at 81C Southall shed. Tony Geary.

The on-site work at Kingswear is progressing steadily and Paul Woodward has begun the process of contouring the Dart Valley’s eastern slope and riverbank in the Hoodown area just north of the Waterhead Creek Bridge.  There’s still plenty of work to be done, but this area is now starting to take shape.  Paul Woodward

The valley side is taking shape here in mod=roc stretched over a series of foam board formers. We have reference for this area from the 1930s and we will be pencilling the wooded areas and field boundaries into place at the next on-site visit.  Paul Woodward

This is just one of the many frontages making up the layered townscape of Kingswear. Most of the retaining walls and buildings in the town are local stone but a number of fired brick structures were built during the Victorian expansion of the town including this small sail loft which still exists as a private house, looking out over Higher Street.

The latest issue of Model Rail Magazine has been on the shelves for a week or two, but just in case you are a fan of the M.& S.W.J.R. and the late victorian G.W.R. be sure not to miss the beautifully photographed scratch built locomotives of Andrew Cowie.  

Dean 3031 ‘Achilles’ class No 3049 ‘Dreadnought’ on Andrew’s ‘Sydney Gardens’ display diorama. I like the way the wall is reflected in the polished dome.  There is a plan to construct a full size Single, so I’ll get round to doing some investigating on that when I can.  Kevin Wilson

Chris Walker is a fan of the M.& S.W.J.R. and he sent in some photos from a portfolio on the ‘Swindon’s other railway’ website.  These appear on the ‘Swindon Town’ 7mm scale layout.

No 1 and Manning Wardle ‘K’ class I think at the coaling stage sidings.

Sharp Stewart 2-4-0 No 11 with lined lake livery and stovepipe chimney

We managed to get away for a short break in between race events, and ticked another box by visiting the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway. It was a great day out, and our locomotive was 4-8-2 ‘Hercules’.

Our train at New Romney station. It does feel like a main line in miniature…. just as they said!

There are only a few more opportunities to race now as the season draws to a close, and we are in the staging lanes here ready to run against ‘The Villain’. They won easily with their 1400HP supercharged dragster against our injected entry. Dan Boone.

A few shots from the most recent gathering at Bucks Hill follow here.

The tail end of a GWR permanent way train is held in the down loop. The ‘Toad’ brake van has ‘Return to Exeter’ chalked on under the “G”.

Phil Gomm brought a superb BR Era Western Auto Train with a black 14XX side tank No1473 and an Auto Trailer. This is paused at Bucks Hill’s down platform, just opposite the waiting shelter.

Ivatt 4F-A Mogul No 43059 with flat and well wagons in the down loop. The original was built at Doncaster in 1950.

Phil Gomm’s lake liveried auto trailer No W229W at Bucks Hill station.

A view over the platforms looking North towards Callow Hill with the cattle dock and goods shed behind a solitary GWR horse box.

11th September 2018
Another very busy month, Kingswear’s backscene is progressing well, with the first aluminium panel now being partly painted. The foreshore area adjacent to Hoodown sidings is now structurally complete, and we have begun work on installing the backscene roadbed that runs past the laundry on it’s way to Brixham and Paignton to the north, and along behind the retaining wall up towards Fore Street and the ferry.  Once that’s in, we can move on to the construction of the hillsides and the shaping and contouring work around the Waterhead Creek area, and ideas seem to be coming together quite nicely on that too.
That’s all on site, but there’s plenty of studio work going on as well, adding trees and walls to join up the growing collection of building facades. These will eventually combine in layers to portray the townscape as it used to be.  More reference is always being sought, there’s no such thing as too much on a job as complicated as this

There’s a lot more work to do on this section of rear panel, but it’s the beginnings of a view to the south from the ferry, looking out to sea, with the far horizon, One Gun Point, St Petrox Church and Warfleet Creek. It needs a lot more detail, and definitely some more boats, but the tree covered 3D headland that forms the foundation for Kingswear itself will eventually obscure most of the horizon from this viewpoint.

Paul has been browsing through copies of GWR Journal obtained from the Titfield Thunderbolt bookshop in Bath, and there is a wealth of useful information, as well as reference photographs, some of which we hadn’t previously seen. Some of the articles give a real feel for the times and the everyday operations of the railway. Just as an example, there is a piece describing the branch 14xx Class, actually numbered 1466, together with its regular driver’s name – Reg Westaway, which could normally be seen with one or two autocoaches and frequently one or more fish vans, or ‘Bloaters’, attached. Paul does have a 1400 and an auto coach on the layout so it’s just a question of re-numbering it, or possibly building another one. Stephen Bomford has sorted out the fish van and chassis, and that can all go into a very nice, and authentic, train formation.

It always takes a few days to get ready for the Guildex show at Telford’s International Centre. The job is mostly just re-stocking the various CPL product lines, but as usual, it was worth the effort and the event was a successful one
Lee’s stand was mobbed with interested collectors, particularly on the Saturday, with the shelves of the illuminated glass case showing progress on the new projects, and examples of class variants.  A few scenic display dioramas always help to make for an interesting display, providing different environments for the available stock. 

The usual care and attention to detail is clear in this view of a 2301 Class (or Dean Goods), and one example is seen here at Temple Meads. They were a numerous and very long-lived class of engine, originally introduced in 1883, sometimes lasting well into the British Railways era. They were very popular with crews, being simple to operate and very reliable, and with a light axle-loading, they could be found at work on many rural branch lines as well as main line duties. Lee Marsh

Sepia Vignette of Dean Single No 3040 ‘Empress of India’.   Lee Marsh.

Kevin hasn’t had much spare time lately, so there haven’t been any Bucks Hill gatherings, so I will include a few pictures from previous Bucks Hill days that I didn’t get round to tweaking.

A British Railways standard 2-6-0 No 76056 heads east at Ewyas Harold.

Fowler L.M.S. 0-6-0T No 16528 trundles along the up main with a short rake of Cannock Chase five plank empty opens. During this period, all the coal was moved by rail, with none actually being moved on the canal. The small colliery engines would take wagons like these full of coal to the local sidings, where they would be marshalled into long trains, and a bigger, more powerful, engine would collect them for delivery to power stations, factories, etc. Oddly, a few years later, the private railway system at Cannock was actually sold and some canal traffic was re-introduced. In all, the Cannock Chase Colliery Company ran ten pits in the Chasewater area.

Ex G.W.R. No 4919 Donnington Hall waits in the down loop with a British Railways era goods train with containers, and steel panelled covered vans.. This photo has a different lighting which I rather like, so I’ll a few more like this at the next gathering.

I keep getting good feedback from putting up news about American Pie, so I have been working on the dragster’s Plymouth V8 again, this time fitting a new cam driven Enderle 15gpm fuel pump to the 60s Weiand front timing cover. 
We recently tried out the car again over an overcast but dry weekend at Santa Pod Raceway, and the bigger pump has really helped.  Even with a first wild guess at the adjustments, the car finally managed to break into the eight second bracket for the first time.

The first of two decent passes, and a rare glimpse of sunlight. I’m squinting a bit in this pic as I concentrate on the pre launch burnout. The credit for this success must go to my super dedicated crewmen, Mark England and Dan Boone who can be seen running about in the two movie clips (from different camera positions) attached below.

By the way, I do have pair of Keith Black 426 ally heads for sale with good stock rocker gear, and some other stuff, all of which would be fine for a beginner’s level hemi so I’ll put it in the ‘For Sale’ page when I can. 

I made a 7mm etch for the Pullman 10 ft rivetted bogie as pictured below, and brought it to Guildex this year.

Many steam hauled Pullman Coaches were equipped with these unequalised rivetted plate 10 ft wheelbase bogies, so if you are struggling to find them in 7mm, let me know.

The fold up etch contains the bogie frame with crossmembers, bolster and brake gear as well as separate overlays for the curved lower channel. Even the axleboxes and individual spring leaves are included, so certainly not a beginner’s kit, but quite an impressive level of authenticity would be achievable with enough time spent.

My demo single line diorama case has now sold to a collector, and It made sense to take a few last photos before it goes to it’s new home in the west country.  I put my old 1930’s Brill tramway train in as a reminder of when I used to scratchbuild everything! 

The old Brill to Quainton Road train looked a bit like this from the twenties to the mid thirties, but a better looking eight wheeled brake composite carriage was also used which had a wider, and more attractive profile with curving tumblehome lower panels instead of this narrower flat sided affair.

My blueprint for the Metropolitan rigid eight, a lot of the other pictorial reference came from Bill Simpson’s wonderful Brill Tramway book.

A few mid-Victorian rigid eight wheeled carriages survived for passenger service on the Brill line lasting until it’s closure in 1936, and I remember making this one by cheating with concealed bogies. These are cunningly hidden behind soldered brass rigid inner ‘W’ irons and radially controlled outer axles with long spring hangers allowing some sideplay. Very uncomfortable indeed by all accounts, with only thin cushions sliding about on hard wooden pews and nothing at all to hold onto!

No 27 and a scratchbuilt ventilated teak milk van. The louvres were done by repeatedly scraping a sheet of 80 thou styrene with a piece of hacksaw blade sideways along a straightedge. The locomotive boiler is a bit of ally vacuum cleaner extension tube with a hole cut in it for a Portescap RG7 set…how did I ever find the time?

 28th July 2018
A very busy month indeed, resulting in a bit of a delay in updating the news.
I returned from Jersey a few days ago. and my old six planet orrery now resides in the library ceiling of a wonderful gothic house.  As a result of this working trip, I missed a Bucks Hill gathering, and it has also slowed down the work of installing a new high capacity pump into the dragster’s methanol injection system.
The Kingswear 3D backscene is progressing well, with on site shaping and contouring work at the Waterhead Creek area of the layout, and plenty of research and studio work at home adding tea rooms, inns and hotels to the growing collection of building facades. These will eventually combine in layers to portray the townscape as it used to be.

Part of the Royal Dart Hotel, with the rear overlooking the river, adjacent to the station. Circa 1850. Italianate style stuccoed, with a low pitched hipped bitumenised slate roof with over- sailing and bracketed eaves. The main block is three storeys and attic. Three bays to east on this side. A rusticated stucco ground floor appears with segmentally headed recessed windows and a right hand doorway. A first floor band is modelled, and above are first and second floor windows in three tall round-headed recesses with moulded arches and continuous impost. The second floor windows are round headed with panelled aprons below. The three square attic windows rest directly above a moulded cornice. All the sash windows with their glazing bars must still be added. A very large segmentally arched carriageway on right (north) to quay, with five round-headed windows above (two blind), forming a link- ing bridge to an Italianate tower on north side which has rusticated ground stage rusticated quoins to the second stage with round-headed first floor windows and a clock face with heavy moulded cornice above. Bell-stage with three small louvred openings on each side and a hipped roof with large shaped brackets to eaves soffit.

Model Rail magazine’s latest themed issue deals with backscenes which is a great idea.  It’s full of examples and ideas, and it’s a credit to see editorial content concentrating on this aspect, as good landscape surroundings are such an important part of todays scenic models.

The cover of issue No 250 features a photo from Chris Nevard’s excellent Bucks Hill portfolio with its detailed 3D backscene included, and there is also a feature on a making a display diorama in 7mm scale. Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

This one is included in colour as a double page spread, and it stars our own Dean ‘Achilles’ class Single No 3065 ‘Duke of Connaught’ piloting an up express. The train engine is a Dean 2-4-0 No 3242 which was one of a class of 20 fast passenger locomotives built in 1893, primarily to work Swindon to Weymouth trains as well as South Wales expresses like the one shown here.
Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

Don’t forget that Aberayon & Chilton in 7mm scale has yet to appear, and at some point, we will be able to see the spectacular scratchbuilt locomotives of Andrew Cowie as well which will be a treat for all.  I don’t have any confirmed issue numbers for these upcoming articles yet.

I will try and do another update on the Bucks Hill in 7mm website when I can gather a few more pictures together.  It doesn’t help that I couldn’t make the last session, but Kevin beavers away in his workshop whenever he can, so I’ll take a few pictures of his latest output and post them ASAP.
Lee has plans edit some of his updates there as well, but with all of us looking after so many projects it can sometimes be difficult to find enough time.

Lee has published some pics of the sample Dean ‘Goods’ 0-6-0 at Bucks Hill, and here’s a small sepia version.   Kevin Wilson/Lee Marsh.

All the details and options for these can be found at the link provided.   Lee Marsh.

A Clerestory carriage at Temple Meads in lined 1912 lake livery.  Lee Marsh

John Ellis-Cockell from I. D. Backscenes has sent me a couple of samples of his latest 15 Inch high photographic backscenes and they really are good. They have been done to respond to customer requests, and have been professionally shot. John has edited them for perfect colour balance and saturation and printed them onto smooth, matt 180 gsm heavyweight paper.  They can also be supplied with a Premium Poly backing, and all the details can be found at the link provided. Here are a couple of low res crops from the newly produced scenes.

A small section from I.D. Backscenes No 247 ‘Coast’. These can all be ordered in different sizes and if required done to special sizes or mirror imaged to extend a run.

A view from I.D. Backscenes No 239 ‘Industrial’, a 6 metre by 15 inch backscene. Each tube contains two 150cm sections.

I D Backscenes

If anybody would like to take on and finish Whitchurch Road, please do get in touch via the contact page and we can talk about it. I just can’t find the time at the moment with so many things on the go. There are four scenic 5×3 foot boards, but the last one needs some work. It would go in a double length garage or a 30ft shed with a curved fiddleyard at each end, or you maybe could make a loop for it instead. A few pictures follow here as a reminder, but just see the rest of the details and some more images at the link provided… 

The Station Building.

View over platforms.

Bridge 179 detail.

I must get ready soon for the Telford show and CPL, and also do a bit of an update when I can find the time.

Here are a pair of containers shackled to flat wagons using one of the most popular CPL kits.

This  G.W.R. Diagram F16 Double ended Toplight Corridor Slip coach was photogrphed at Swindon’s carriage sidings by Roye England, and I have a really nice 7mm complete etch for one of these. I’ll bring it to the Guildex show just in case anyone wants to build it to attach to the back of a passenger rake.  It would work quite well by itself on a branch terminus layout as well.

The 15thou brass body etch comes with all the usual CPL fine detail, including bufferbeams, droplights, vents, steps, lamp irons, and bolection mouldings. A number of other components are available to progress this one, including a separate 57 foot T/L underframe. Roye England

Square shank round buffers, (couplings need a slip hook filed up), jump cables, steam & brake pipes, Commode, door & grab handles, correct cab brake cranks, underframe brake cleats, ‘V’ hangers & cranks, along with the usual battery box, transfers and interior detailing parts.  It just needs bogies, a roof, and some dedication! 

Here’s a copy link to a well made movie clip that clearly shows a slip working at Banbury

I also have a good set of old 7mm scale etches for a rake of these late G.W.R. Collett coaches…

This is an H36 Bow end composite, so please contact me if you want the details. They need a good bit of effort on the interior research, because you can see in easily through those big windows.

I also have enough etches for a ‘B’ Set and quite a few parts to fit, so again, just let me know if you would like to have a go at these.   J.H. Russell.

There’s no need to wait for harvest time to visit Pendon, in addition to the normal weekend opening hours, the museum will now be open every Wednesday from July 25th until August 29th, and every Thursday from August 2nd until August 30th. A fantastic opportunity to bring children along to the museum.

14th june 2018
Work continues on the many relief  buildings that will be eventually be arranged as a 3D backdrop to Paul Woodward’s ‘Kingswear’. I will pop the odd picture up here, but at the moment, with such a large project, everything is in too much of a half finished state to display.  Townscapes are really time consuming, but it’s coming along. 
I did take a day to join in at a Bucks Hill gathering so there are some pictures from that event, and I have some studies of John Edwards locomotives as well as some gallery views sent in by Malcolm Mitchell.
The Railex show went well as usual, and Michelle and I attended on the Sunday this time, well done to David Lane and the Princes Risborough MC.

The dragster’s support van interior needs to be organised and compartmented so it doesn’t become a chaotic mess as the days racing takes it’s toll, and I have also now de-commissioned the brass six planet orrery with a view to installing it in it’s new home in St Saviour on the island of Jersey.

A few pics from the latest Bucks Hill running day to begin…

James Aitken very often brings interesting models along and this picture shows a bogie warflat with it’s single tank load shackled in place for transport to the docks. The Infantry Mark II type shown here was best known as the ‘Matilda’, as a twin engined tank of the Second World War weighing about 25 tons including the heavy armour. The Matilda II was an excellent infantry support tank but had somewhat limited speed and armament, and was the only British tank to serve from the start of the war to its end. These were particularly associated with the North Africa Campaign in the 40s, hence they often wore brown camouflage paint. The model was built by James from a Tamiya kit.

A close up of the train’s locomotive. The ‘Austerity’ 2-8-0 was based on the LMS Class 8F, which until that point had been the government’s standard design. Various modifications were made to the 8F design by R.A. Riddles in order to prioritise low cost over design life. These included a boiler of simpler construction which was parallel rather than tapered and a round-topped firebox rather than a Belpaire firebox. The firebox was made of steel rather than the rarer and more expensive copper. The North British Locomotive Company (NBL) of Glasgow built 545 (split between their two works at Hyde Park and Queen’s Park) and the Vulcan Foundry (VF) of Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, built 390. North British also built a larger 2-10-0 version.

Ex G.W.R. No 4919 Donnington Hall waits in the up loop. This one was taken in different lighting as an attempt to give an evening shadow effect and I might do a few more like this.

The timber footbridge with shadows in the ‘warm late evening’ lighting.

A superb Lee Marsh clerestory brake in pristine fully lined Victorian livery.

This Riddles B.R. Standard class 4 mogul No 76056 was brought along for a turn by Nigel Smith, and Kevin has installed some photographic studio lighting which is definitely helping to reduce some of those pesky frontal shadows. The locomotive itself was built at Doncaster works in 1955 but had a ridiculously short service life of just over 10 years.

The branch line train arrives at Bucks Hill headed by a Lee Marsh Model co ‘517’ class 0-4-2T. The stone face of the down through platform is in the foreground, with barrows, baskets churns etc, with the wooden cattle dock and goods shed behind.

G.W.R. 45xx class small prairie No 4507 heads a short rake of coal empties past Ewyas Harold on the down main.

No 306 Autocrat was an extended version of the Whale’s Precursor Class 4-4-0, with slightly smaller driving wheels. The first of the class, No 66 Experiment was built in 1905 and a total of 105 were constructed up until 1910. The LNWR reused numbers and names of withdrawn locomotives, with the result that the numbering system was completely haphazard!

John Edwards often comes along to Bucks Hill from the Warley modellers group, and he brought quite a few locomotives along for a run at the last gathering

No 6829 Burmington Grange , passing Ewyas Harold, and the fireman looks back past the brake carriage. The ex G.W.R. 4-6-0 is presented in the early to mid 1950’s period, allocated to 83A Newton Abbot shed. A modified and super detailed “Finescale Brass” Loco, detailed and weathered by John Edwards. DCC & sound fitted.

No 4105, a “5101” class 2-6-2T “large prairie”, as running in the early to late 1950’s. Allocated to 83A Newton Abbot shed. A top end “Lee Marsh” ready to run loco, weathered by John Edwards. DCC & sound fitted.

No 1010 County of Cearnarvon passes by on the down main, running as it did in the early to mid 1950’s. Allocated to 83D (Plymouth) Laira shed, these were the final development of the two-cylinder Saint Class introduced in 1901 and included several features that had already been used on the successful Modified Hall class. In 1945, Hawksworth was given the authority to build a batch of mixed traffic 4-6-0s, and rather than building more examples of existing designs, he chose to introduce the ‘County’ Class as a testbed for a number of ideas he hoped to incorporate into a Pacific design at a later date. The model was built from a Just Like the Real Thing kit, painted and lined by Warren Haywood. It was then weathered by John Edwards, and DCC & sound fitted.

From time to time I spot a George Illiffe Stokes photo in an old book, and I sent one copy to Malcolm Mitchell just in case he hadn’t seen it.  He already had it of course and he is still working on the book, but he did send me a few pictures of some of the locos he has been working on, as well as the ongoing detail research for upcoming Lee Marsh releases.

A front end detail crop of Caerhays Castle No 7014. The original Collett 4-6-0 was built in mid 1948 at Swindon, going to Bristol Bath Road shed. Malcolms finely detailed and researched 7mm scale model shows the loco in its final B.R.condition.

No 6856 Stowe Grange
The 6800 Class or Grange Class was a mixed traffic class of 4-6-0 steam locomotive, built to replace the GWR 4300 Class 2-6-0s, and a hundred of these were taken out of service to be replaced by new 4-6-0s, eighty of which were of the Grange class, whilst the remaining 20 were of the Manor class.
The Granges were effectively a smaller-wheeled version of the Halls, and the wheels, valve motion and tenders were just taken from withdrawn engines, reconditioned and then used in the construction of the new locomotives
Although built to a thirty five-year old design, in service they proved to be reliable performers, handling most duties on the network. Their smaller driving wheels giving them a higher tractive effort than the Halls, and they were often used for the haulage of perishable goods, such as fruit and broccoli, as well as shown here on excursion train duties.

Ex G.W.R. Churchward 2-6-2T No 4508 was built in mid 1907 at Wolverhampton as a development of the 4400 class, but with larger wheels and increased boiler pressure. The model has been beautifully painted and weathered by Fred Lewis of welshwizardlocoworks for its new owner. Photo courtesy of Fred Lewis.


A fascinating portfolio of Malcolm’s work can be found at this link, along with a movie and an extensive image gallery.

My brother travels quite a bit for his work, and he recently went to Belgium for a few days. He brought me a souvenir present of this particular visit, and he chose to donate a rusty old pair of Stilsons to my collection of old tools! Here they are sitting on top, but because they are Belgian, they are of course made of chocolate! Next trip I fully expect him to bring me a teapot.

Some of the ex students from my year at college decided to hold a re-union and this took place in Hatch End near Pinner. It was a great success, just catching up after such a long time, and one of my studio colleagues sent me a couple of pictures of ‘Tornado’ he had recently rendered for a partwork magazine.

Ghosted View of Tornado in L.N.E.R. Apple green livery by Tim Loughhead

Monotone front end detail. Tim Loughhead 

6th May 2018
Still busy doing the Kingswear backscene this month, with an on-site session, doing some landscaping around the Waterside creek area where the line crosses the tidal mudflats to the north of the turntable.  This is all just cardboard and sticky tape at the moment just to get the contour surfaces represented. The relief buildings that crowd the station end are time consuming to scratch build but they are coming along.
The small stone church facing the station stands in a slightly elevated position at the junction of Higher Street and Church Hill, overlooking the River Dart.  It was dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury, and in its early days came under the sphere of influence of Totnes Priory which was then subsequently dissolved in 1539 and it then became a part of the Parish of Brixham.  In 1847, with the village of Kingswear expanding, funds were granted to rebuild the church with the work being overseen by the Exeter architect J. Hayward. The original nave was demolished leaving the 12th-century tower with the rest of the church reconstructed in local limestone with freestone dressing using the same decorated style and design as the old church, but this time on a slightly reduced scale.

The backscene facade of St Thomas needs a bit more work and colouring, but I’ll leave that till it goes in between the other relief buildings. It is situated (of course) right next to the pub!

I took a day trip to Staffordshire with my Missenden Abbey colleague Mick Moignard, and we paid a visit to Chris Walker and his amazing collection of railway models. There are effectively two layouts in one building, one Sm32 at 16mm/foot based on Lynton’s terminus, featuring some early Ffestiniog and Dinorwic locomotives, and another standard gauge one in progress called Charlton Park, scaled at 7mm/foot.

This platform view somehow captures the Lynton and Barnstaple in Southern Railway days. perhaps it’s because the scene is so quiet. A typical mixed train is waiting for the locomotive to back on ready for the run inland. The structures and stock were made by Henry Holdsworth, and Chris has rearranged the station to fit his available space.

The Ffestiniog Railway’s ‘Little Giant’ underwent a 6-month heavy overhaul in 1875, and. with a few minor repairs, the locomotive worked until 1887 when the boiler, smokebox and chimney were replaced. In 1904 Little Giant was back at Boston Lodge for another new boiler and replacement cylinders and cab front-sheet. By 1932, the locomotive was withdrawn and parts were being used to rebuild other England locos. Some parts still survive. 

Yeo was one of three narrow gauge 2-6-2T steam locomotives built by Manning Wardle in 1898 for the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway.  Like all the locomotives on the L&B, it was named after a local river with a three-letter name, the other two locomotives were named Exe and Taw.  Mick Moignard.

The ‘Alice’ class 0-4-0ST locos were built specifically for the narrow gauge Dinorwic Slate Quarry. Eleven were built by the Hunslet Engine Company between 1886 & 1904, designed & supplied specifically to work the many galleries of the quarry at Llanberis, North Wales.

A Lynton & Barnstaple four wheeled covered van.

There is cine film record of the old L&B, some of which can be found here;

My brother was going through some old envelopes the other day, and he found a couple of paintings I had forgotten all about. I’ll put them in the ‘For Sale’ section when I can get round to it, and the originals have window mounts, but no frames.

The first one was a small gouache on watercolour paper picture of Stratford’s old Shakespeare theatre, seen from the Tramway bridge across the Avon. The original idea being a recreation of a Shakespearean playhouse (or what such a playhouse was then thought to have been like) was clearly modified as soon as lines were put on paper, but what eventually emerged was quite unlike any other contemporary theatre in Britain – a delightful and fantastic blend of Mediaevalism, somewhat in the manner of William Burgess, combined with Elizabethan or ‘Old English’ elements. Taken as a whole, Unsworth’s theatre was certainly an interesting (and perhaps always underrated) invention of its time. The associated museum wing was completed in 1881 and the scene dock in 1887. Most of it was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1926, leaving only a shell, but the museum wing, which was linked to the theatre by a galleried bridge, was undamaged.

Kings College Chapel and the Senate House in Cambridge is another small gouache study, looking north along Kings Parade. This is how the famous college appeared around 1900 so the iron railings have now gone and some trees have grown, but otherwise the aspect is hardly any different today.

Richard Hewins called me, needing some CPL equipment and we got talking about his layout, (as often happens). As a result, he very kindly sent in some pictures and here are a few scans.

Dean ‘Achilles’ class No 3079 ‘Thunderbolt’ in original condition passes under a classic G.W.R. lattice footbridge with a passenger train. This is Rowington for Shrewley station, done in 4mm scale, and the wide gap between the platforms goes back to broad gauge days. The Station master’s house is a copy of the structure at Henley on Thames, and the station buildings were based on a kit by Pola.  Ray Lightfoot

George Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Western Railway, was given authority to purchase three French de Glehn-du Bousquet four-cylinder compound locomotives in order to evaluate the benefits of compounding. The first locomotive, was numbered no.102, and called ‘La France’, delivered in 1903, and two further locomotives, nos. 103 and 104, ‘President’ and ‘Alliance’ were purchased in 1905. They were similar to the Paris-Orleans Railway’s 3001 class, and slightly larger than 102 These were built by Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques. with had two high-pressure cylinders fitted between the frames, and two low-pressure cylinders outside. The high-pressure cylinders drove the front driving wheels while the low-pressure cylinders drove the rears. An external steam pipe was mounted just in front of the dome, looking rather similar in appearance to a top feed. In 1907 No. 104 was fitted with an unsuperheated Swindon No. 1 boiler, President herself being similarly reboilered in February 1910 , subsequently receiving a superheated boiler in January 1914. In 1926, the three locomotives were based at Oxford shed and in this view No 103 appears in un-lined green with a Tri-composite 70 ft brake in lined lake livery. Ray Lightfoot.

G.W.R. 4-4-0 No 3822 County of Brecon enters Rowington ‘s platforms with a passenger train. These were designed as a part of Churchward’s standardisation plan, but were found to have a front end too powerful for the wheel arrangement and all were withdrawn by the early 1930s. They were designed, in part, for the Hereford to Shrewsbury LNWR line over which the GWR had running powers, but on which they were expressly forbidden to use 4-6-0 locomotives. The 4-4-0 Counties were in effect a shortened GWR 2900 Class, providing engines powerful enough for the trains but with the requisite four-coupled wheels. Richard’s model is a much modified and detailed Hornby item. Ray Lightfoot

I used to do a little of the old fashioned type of sign writing, but I’m no expert!  The dragster is the only example I have now and it’s done in oil based enamels just like old times (before all those over wraps came in).  The dragster is working now, and on the last of four passes on a well prepared track it gave us a small wheelstand at the startline. My crew is terrific, but of course, we are always dependent on England’s ever changing weather conditions.

The paint on the old glassfibre body panels has a few scratches and stains now, but these cars do have a hard life. One of these days I’ll re paint it…. but not yet!

The font is usually associated with old American playbills and wanted posters, so It seemed like a decent choice for a showman’s type paintjob. Oddly enough, it’s origin dates back to the time of carved hardwood block printing presses and the face was known as French Antique No 2.

Here’s a picture in the return road taken by the Wrathchild slingshot dragster crew who we raced a few weekends ago. They use a Chevrolet small block (foreground) and that’s me after our run on the other side, waiting for a tow back to our pit.  It’s always a good idea to cover the intake for the tow back because the soft slicks throw hundreds of tiny stones upwards, and you don’t want them in your engine.  We cover our side exhausts as well which are known as Zoomies in drag racing parlance. Wrathchild Slingshot Dragster.

Simon George was kind enough to give me some good feedback on my book, and he has been working hard on Heaton Lodge.  A permanent storage facility has now been found, large enough to put the entire layout up. This will be a big benefit, as there’s never a substitute for seeing the whole visible section as intended. The plan is to pay a visit in the late summer to have a look at the pathway of the long backscene and talk about the best method of construction and alignment.

The Mill basement is long enough to take the complete layout, which will eventually have return loops at either end, and a marshalling yard on the other side. Simon George.

An English Electric Class 40 Type 4 1Co-Co1 heads a short train of TTA tank wagons along Heaton Lodge’s four track main line. These JLTRT wagon kits are now fitted with mini ball races from M&M models and have sprung axleboxes. They detect the prototypical 1:137 gradient and there is also a plan to fit sound chips with squealing flanges and flat spotted tyres. I like the light and shadow play on the concrete sleepers in the foreground. Simon George.

Stuart Dodd has been busy with his latest build, a L.M.S. 7F 0-8-0 which is now nearing completion. There are a few jobs still to do, with back head, crew and tools to install, the under frame to paint, and coal to install.

Fowler No 9673 was built at Crewe in June 1932.

Charlton Park is still in progress, but even at this stage, with the structures just rested in place, this shows the site with an open, spacious feel to the station and sidings. Mick has been sorting out the DCC characteristics of the 7mm locomotives, so they all needed a run to make sure the responses are the same on the layout’s system.

Footbridge, Station, Goods shed and Locomotive shed.

M.S.W.J.R. 0-6-0 No 23 stands in front of Charlton Park’s goods shed. Mick Moignard

Three 2-4-0 tank engines were acquired for the Midland & South Western Junction Railway from Beyer Peacock in 1882 and a fourth in 1884. These were intended for passenger work and were numbered 5 to 8, having outside cylinders. In 1894 the Company acquired three lighter 2-4-0 tender locomotives with 5 ft 6in wheels, Nos 10 to 12.  No 11 is seen here and these three locomotives were taken into the GWR locomotive stock when the M&SWJR was absorbed by that company in 1923. Mick Moignard.

A quick reminder that Railex will be here soon, with its high quality reputation following the standards of the previous years. The line up of traders and outstanding layouts in scales up to and including 7mm scale. Stuart Holt will be out with his ‘Kyle of Sutherland’ P4 Scottish layout for the first time at a major show (see link below), The other link takes you to the Railex 2018 home page, and some of the layouts that will be at the exhibition in a few weeks.The event will be held over the Whitsun (or late spring) bank holiday weekend at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium near Aylesbury.

Railex homepage

2nd April 2018
To allow as much preparation time as possible, I can help to spread some advance information about a forthcoming TV programme that may be of interest to modellers.
The ‘Great Model Railway Challenge’ is a planned new series for Channel 5, which aims to shine a light on the world of model railways to a much larger audience than ever before.
It is a competition for teams of railway modellers to build a small layout while being filmed for TV. so it should be an excellent opportunity to show off your modelling talent to an appreciative audience. It is also being supported by some big-name model railway suppliers.
If you would like further information on what is involved, there is a forum discussion on the subject to be found here;
The application deadline is approaching very soon, so if anyone is interested then please email; 

Ian Haynes attended the Missenden Abbey Spring weekend last year, and has kindly sent in a few views of a layout he has been involved with.  It’s a Scaleseven exhibition model of Aston Rowant station, which was a small intermediate station about six miles from the main line junction at Princes Risborough. This part of the branch line is now a nature walk, although the Chinnor section is preserved.  The original plan has been shortened slightly to occupy a 12 foot scenic section, and these photos were taken at the Ally Pally show last weekend.

Eric Hines has done the majority of the work, but Ian took care of the backscene, and this why we are taking a quick look. The contour profile and skyline was taken from ‘Generate a’ looking north, then overlaid onto a horizon line drawn onto the rear panel based on the the public viewing height. This was Ian’s first go after a very good test section at Missenden, and he chose to hand paint the scene in acrylics from his own panoramic photographs of the site, combined with period reference photos with less local tree growth. Ian Haynes

The sky was based on the modern photos, as was the colour of the distant hills, while the foreground surfaces were coloured and blended to match the grass materials that Eric had chosen for the layout, (Aston Rowant’s lighting is LED, with a colour temperature of around 4500 to 5000K). Ian Haynes

The building at Aston Rowant was basically the same as the superb replica that has now been re-instated at Chinnor. To keep up with the progress of the new extension into Risborough’s platform 4 4, and the first main line connected services planned for later this year .

To keep up with the latest from Chinnor and Princes Risborough see here;

Godfrey Glyn reviewed my book on the RM web forum in mid December 2016, just after it was released, and he came along to Missenden Abbey Spring weekend this year.  It was great to finally meet up, and here’s the first distance test section he did in preparation for his four foot Chard station diorama project

It works well, the colour saturation is fine, particularly from foreground intensity to far distance reduction, and the very light touch of the distance detail is also exceptional.  The rails in the foreground are at 4mm scale with this small test section, so that distance work is pretty fine. Godfrey Glyn

A couple of the contributors to the Kingswear layout came along to Bucks Hill for the recent gathering, and as usual it was a good get together and chinwag.  There were a number of visiting locomotives doing the rounds and I managed to photograph some of the many!

An overall view of the station throat area, with a branch line train just ready to go.

G.W.R. Dean Goods engine No 2557 passes by on the down main. The 0-6-0 was built at Swindon in the last few months of 1887 and taken into WD duty in 1940.

Auto trailer No W38 in lake livery rests in the Golden Valley platform, accompanied by a 517 class 0-4-2T

A Dean ‘Duke class 4-4-0 No 3265 ‘Tre Pol & Pen’ takes a rake of L.M.S corridor coaches past Ewyas Harold on the up main. The original 1896 locomotive was rebuilt in 1912 with a superheated boiler, and turned out in unlined green livery.

A pair of ex L.S.W.R Drummond L11 class 4-4-0s pass by heading east with vans. The pilot engine is from a Martin Finney kit, made and painted in Maunsell dark green Southern Railway livery by Chris Wesson. The loco is now owned by Jonathan Marcus who is now looking at ideas for a layout of his own. Train engine No 30171 is in the early British Railways livery, with an eight wheeled Drummond watercart tender, and it emerged from Nine Elms in 1904. Enginemen knew this class as ‘Large Hoppers’.

Ex G.W.R. Collett 5205 class 2-8-0T No 5205 heads west and across the Welsh border with a rake of loco coal empties. These were developed from the 4200 class but had a slightly larger cylinder bore size and outside steam pipes. The first of the class is seen here in the later B.R. livery.

A L.M.S. Fowler Patriot class ‘Giggleswick’ take ventilated box vans east. Like many of the 52 members of the class, No 5538 was actually named a few years after it’s 1933 build date. The weathered 4-6-0 is from a Lee Marsh limited run.

The down through platform with figures, Golden Valley branch line platform, wooden cattle dock and goods shed behind.

21st March 2018
Just a short update to include a mention of the latest Model Rail magazine (No 246) which is now available.  Along with the usual excellent features, reviews and studies, the April issue features Dave Thomas’ running shed diorama as part of a series of ideas for ‘space saving’ type projects.
I have a few old pics of this, and Dave has also started taking his own light play and silhouetted pictures, but Chris Nevard has excelled himself with this study, and some of the interior views are reproduced as double page spreads.
Dave has very kindly asked me to do another diorama at some point, so there’s plenty to do!
Here are a couple of Chris’ interior views showing some weathered G.W.R. locomotives from Dave’s rapidly expanding collection.

A pair of old Armstrong tank locomotives rebuilt with pannier instead of saddle tanks. No 2012 of the 1901 class, and No 2069 of the 2021 class.  The tender of a Dean Goods is visible to the left, and there are many different angles, cameos, and detail close ups in Model Rail’s illustrated feature. Chris Nevard/Model Rail magazine

Two small prairie tanks for this elevated view, and the layered backscene can just be seen, through the window, with it’s nearby coaling stage, distant carriage sidings and urban skyline beyond using progressively reducing scales within 17in of total cabinet depth. Chris Nevard/Model Rail magazine

Missenden Abbey modeller’s Spring 2018 weekend went very well as always, a credit to Chris Langdon, David Brandreth, and the other regular volunteers that work hard to organise the event.  Please do visit their website for details of the two forthcoming events in the summer and Autumn for booking availability

This is part of the backscene studio at Missenden 2018, with various dioramas and backscene test pieces being worked on. I have already received some great feedback from this years participants and organisers. The project list included some prototype study and some typical landscapes

A number of Facebook posts can be found here covering the Abbey’s modelling courses, along with the experiences of participants and tutors alike.
This years projects were….
A 2D hand painted rear panel for a wagon works with traverser.
Detail work and reference for a diorama of Chard Station looking NW in the 50s.
A 3D townscape section for a 7mm cabinet diorama
A 2D test panel and plotting exercises for a loft layout depicting Bognor Regis station in 1910.
A 3D test panel of open countryside from reference.

A level crossing with roadway progressively blending into rear panel for a loft layout.

This short clip caught my eye recently, featuring the retired engineer Ken Small, who became inspired in his retirement to produce his own Canaletto style Venetian canvas. ‘The Bucintoro returning to the Molo on Ascension day’ which hangs in the Bowes museum.  With no formal art training at all, Ken decided to come up with a similar view, and the result speaks for itself.  For me, he comes across as a example to all and I really do hope my retirement goes as well as Ken’s.

Every year on Ascension Day, ruler of the Venetian republic known as the Doge, left the Molo and put out into the Adriatic aboard the Bucintoro which was his ceremonial boat, to perform the ceremony of the symbolic Wedding of Venice to the Sea by casting a gold ring into the water. Ken’s version is slightly different to the original, and he describes his work in a short film.

All credit to Anni Ferguson. 

Stuart Reid kindly sent in some pics of his recently completed experimental G.W.R. enclosed locomotive as one of four examples that appeared in 1906.  As well as 517 class 0-4-2Ts Nos 533 (pictured) & 833, a pair of 2021 class 0-6-0Ts Nos 2120 & 2140 were also partially disguised by this carriage profiled outer casing.
The fully lined outer shell was simply intended to provide a visual uniformity
for the train’s formation, and once the locomotive was coupled between a pair of
similarly liveried auto-trailers, it helped to disguise the familiar steam

They turned out to be quite impractical, partly due to maintenance access issues and other difficulties like dirt soot and ash accumulation within the shell as well as excessive interior heat buildup making oiling round and other crew responsibilities uncomfortable.

Stuart finally finished building the auto tank using a CPL etch, deciding on the 0-4-2 version rather than the six coupled, so he modified the cab door and length slightly. Some guess work was used as he only had the drawing and a photo of No 833 at Trumpers crossing to go on. From the rain strips on the roof and lack of glass in some of the windows in the photo, Stuart surmised that unlike the 0=6-0ST version, water was fed in to the tanks through the windows rather than a hatch in the roof. There is most of a 517 class engine inside the model which he scratchbuilt. Taking it for a run at the Morecambe club, it attracted a lot of interest.

If you are after something a bit different for that Edwardian G.W.R. branch line terminus, I do have an etch to reproduce the shell in 7mm scale which has window beadings, footplate brackets and buffer beams but it does need a profiled roof with hatches for the saddle water tank fillers. I have the transfers as well, but do bear in mind they had all been removed by 1911!

This is the later G.W.R. Auto train and I have a number of detailing parts for these in 7mm scale, including the bell, buffer kit, couplings & correct cab handbrake. I also have a brass detail etch for the low level platform steps. This train is approaching Kevin Robertson’s 7mm scale ‘Abingdon’ layout.

The detail etch assembles into this correctly profiled G.W.R. lever parallel step mechanism, and I have both 4 & 7mm versions, as well as fine etches in stock for the trailer sides and ends as well.

CPL Products latest

A preview photo of the first Midland & South Western Junction Railway train to run through Chris Walker’s ‘Charlton Park’ layout.

The locomotives and stock for this top quality 7mm layout have been superbly built by Chris and by such famous builders as Bernard Miller,  who scratchbuilt stock for the stunning W.S.Norris layout. One station (Stroudley) was L.B.S.C.R. but the other, larger, station (Francisthwaite) was joint L.N.W.R. and M.R. Mick Moignard is doing the DCC control and sound setups on Chris locos.

A few pics from Bucks Hill to finish.  Most of the day to day work has been compiling articles and plotting out the 3D backscene for Kingswear.

G.W.R. No 4208 with an engineer’s train is held in the down loop. The short haul 2-8-0T was completed at Swindon in February 1912, with nearly all the class set to work on the South Wales coal traffic, with few of them straying east of Severn Tunnel Junction. The model was built from a nickel silver David Andrews kit, an ABC/Maxon setup provides power via a soundtraxx chip and Ron Chaplin pickups. A small horse drawn milk float can just be made out in the middle distance, between the locomotive smokebox and the lineside telegraph pole.

M.O.K. Armstrong 4-4-0 No 16 is one of my Bucks Hill favourites. These replaced four of Dean’s “experimental locomotives”, Nos. 7, 8, 14 and 16, thus explaining the early numbering. The adoption of Dean bogies and double-curved running plates resulted in an exceptionally handsome design. The locomotive had similarities to the Achilles class ‘Singles’ but were rebuilt and quickly superseded. The original paint and lining was reproduced to perfection by Alan Brackenborough.

A Gresley V2 waits for a turn at Bucks Hill. The 2-6-2 was bulit for the L.N.E.R at Doncaster in 1940, and would return in 1960 to recieve a double chinmey draughting modification. It appears in weathered late B.R. lined Brunswick green livery.

Double framed Dean 3300 class 4-4-0 passes Ewyas Haroldwith a down milk train. The locomotive was built at Swindon in 1904, and is seen here in unlined Brunswick mid green livery.

It’s late in the day, and a livestock van train heads out on the up main behind a 47xx 2-8-0 No 4701 which began work in January 1922. This class were equally at home with passenger duties. Often rostered on overnight long distance goods work, Bucks Hill’s resident example was built and painted by John Hayes from a Martin Finney kit using a Portescap/ABC drive, and a soundtraxx chip. Original by Barry Norman

March 2nd 2018

A very busy month, with work on diorama cases, maintaining a stock of trees, and arranging the first card backscene mockup sections for Kingswear.  A few days have been spent working on various permanently fitted layouts, as well as corresponding with future participants in the Missenden Abbey Spring weekend backscene group.  A landscape study talk at the Princes Risborough club’s Wheeltappers event turned into a friendly social event, and I have also managed to finish the copy for the upcoming Aberayon article. Phew!

This is the first stage of arranging the elements of a 3D townscape, and the simple folded card shapes allow me to quickly balance the relationships of the various buildings and land contours. The ground plan is traced directly from the layout itself as a paper pattern, so it accurately dictates the available depth for any 3D representation. A little adjustment to the ferry ramp height will be necessary to get the right slope down to the waterline. and some alignment of the road surface of Fore Street as it runs along the front edge.

Model Rail No 245 is packed with how to articles and reviews, and the Urban landscape feature appears over four pages, edited by Chris Gadsby and designed by Matthew Hunt. 

A sepia version of one of the Pictures , with an ex L.N.W.R. Bowen Cooke, ‘George the Fifth’ class 4-4-0 leaving Westcott.  Original by Chris Nevard/ Model Rail magazine.

This locomotive emerged from Crewe works in 1911, and it appears that there are plans afoot to create a new member of the class.
The website isn’t running just yet but the link will eventually be found here
Kevin and I would very much like to find a new home for the Aberayon and Chilton 7mm scale loft railway, so this is an invitation to view the complete layout by appointment, if you would like any more details, please do get in touch.  
The buildings and structures are done to a very high standard, and it would suit a large loft space, or possibly a separate shed type building with an end door.
I don’t have any overall views of Aberayon that I can publish, but although the stock has now gone to pastures new, the layout itself remains complete. All I can do is post a few detail pics here for now, until the full feature comes out in Model Rail magazine.a view of Chilton station building made by Carl Legg.

A view of Chilton station building made by Carl Legg, one of the many excellent structures on the Aberayon layout.

The yard crane

The basic facilities at the station end of the small loco shed

Lee has been busy, and he will soon be separating his projects into Victorian, Edwardian, and later periods, and there are a number of foreign classes in the pipeline as well, notably from the U.S.A.

A Lee Marsh GWR 0-4-2T 517 Class No 1157 and a clerestoried carriage is seen posed on a Temple Meads diorama. Very few would identify this attractive lake livery with the Great Western, it looks like in was stabled in the paint shop at Derby works by mistake! The long lived mid Victorian ‘517’ class engines must hold the record for having worn the most G.W.R. colour variants. This particular locomotive was built at Wolverhampton works in December 1875, and it was to remain in service until November 1935 by which time they were being displaced by the new Collett 48xx class 0-4-2T engines.

A few pics from the recent Bucks Hill gathering follow, and I must include a few more pics on Kevin’s Bucks Hill site, as well as updating Lee’s gallery page.

A Lee Marsh Princess Royal class No 46203 ‘Princess Margaret Rose’ in B.R. blue livery takes an express past Ewyas Harold on it’s way to Bucks Hill. The Stanier pacific was built at Crewe in 1935, and fortunately still survives today. Richard Chetland.

A weathered Lee Marsh Ex G.W.R. Prairie no 4177 in early B.R. lined black waits in the down loop with a brake van.

Kevin Robertson’s Lee Marsh Armstrong ‘517’ class 0-4-2T No 523 appears here in lined G.W.R. chocolate brown livery, backing onto a tanks wagon in one of Bucks Hill’s branch line sidings. The locomotive was from the first batch built at Wolverhampton in 1868

Close up of a superb hand made Tony Reynalds Gresley A4, with individual fasteners on all the components. Check out the real castle nut retaining the crosshead pin!

Some 3D backscene work is currently in progress at a 7mm scale branch line layout including scenes from Welford Park, East Garston, and Lambourn.

The station building and wagons at Pat Humphrys’ Lambourn.


Lambourn Station. The sky rear panel is now in place, so this isn’t retouched.

The Princes Risborough MRC Wheeltappers event went well, so thanks to Tim and the club for the invitation.  They thoughtfully provided me with a flip pad, and a screen projector for the landscaping talk, and the time just flew past. Congratulations to all the competition entries and winners, the standard of modelling made judging a near impossible task,  Roy Norton was awarded the Wheeltapper Trophy for his superb Maunsell mogul.

I asked Tim to send me a couple of pictures of his P4 High Wycombe model, and one of them includes a 3D Modelu scan of Tim as Stationmaster!

The main station buildings are on the down side, and because the complete site is cut into the steep Wye valley side at Amersham Hill, the buildings and platforms are staggered to save width. Tim Peacock.

Modelu Tim on the Platform. It will get busier as time goes by!. Please do visit Modelu and the amazing direct scanning capability here:

A trip to Hayling Island was made recently to drop 10 large deciduous trees off for a 7mm layout called Apsley, and here are a couple of pictures of the scratchbuilt stock that regularly runs. 

All scratchbuilt and hand lined! it’s amazing what you find when you’re out and about!

Single AEC Railcar at Apsley.

7th February 2018

We had a very successful show over the weekend with our CPL stand at the Bristol O gauge show, so thanks to the event organisers and customers alike.   There are a number of new projects on the go at the moment, and I can describe one here from the start as we begin the all important research stage. 

A postcard view of the Dart Valley, seen from the tidal inlet of Waterhead Creek as it nears the coastline of South Devon. This view will be reproduced in 3D to provide landscape context for a fine P4 layout that is in the process of being restored and finished as a permanent exhibit.  It’s the 1930s, and the small town of Kingswear is spreading north from it’s headland opposite the larger settlement of Dartmouth, about a half a mile to the south of where this picture was taken. The upper half of the steep riverbank is still wooded, but many of the trees have been cleared away for houses and gardens. Small lanes have been cut, and stone retaining walls are providing step plateaus for new houses and hotels.

Each building needs to be identified, researched and included so this is not a small undertaking, but it’s progressing well and I will be able to make reports as we work through the project as a team.  Inevitably, little gems of information come to light during the sifting of as much recorded local history as possible, so any passages and pictures that help describe the character of the surroundings can bring an added interest to the modelling work.
This paragraph comes from Reg Little’s memories of his time living at Kingswear, the rest of which can be found here…

‘The train went across the Creek Bridge, and my mother thought the mud was sand and said we’d be able to have picnics and play there, needless to say we did play there in the mud!  On our arrival we found that we lived over looking the creek, and the railway sidings where the carriage cleaners started work at 5:00am.  You could go almost anywhere from Kingswear by rail without having to change – Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Rugby, York, London, Wales etc.  We soon learnt that if you helped the engine drivers with the turntable, you would get a ride on the footplate, up over the creek bridge and down to the station, or up to the Torbay Express sidings.  I have ridden on many a famous engine, one being the King George V (with the big brass bell) which was sent to the USA in the 1930s and broke their rail speed record’.

This plan will help to sort out the station end, we even have the stones making up the ferry ramp! The wagon pier with it’s turntables had already gone by the thirties. The timber pontoon allowed for the tide, by sliding up and down between two sturdy vertical timber guides (visible here at either end)   Paul Woodward.

The Creek bridge area has already seen some additional landscape work since this picture was taken.

Mr John Roberts also recorded some fascinating information and published some helpful photos in his  ‘Memories of Hoodown & my Kingswear childhood’

‘The ferries and horse floats were always interesting to watch – especially the steam driven boats where you could see all of the moving parts going up and down. They were unfortunately soon replaced by the diesel engine, which was more efficient but less spectacular!  At the base of the cliff below my house, “Uplands” was a siding where the first Torbay Express’ coaches used to spend the night, before returning to Paddington the following morning

Tim Peacock of the Princes Risborough MC asked me to do the same introductory demo talk that goes with the Missenden Spring weekend landscape course, and judge the scenic section of their annual ‘Wheeltappers’ gathering (which I’ve not done before).  I always encourage a sort of informal conversation, a bit like the Abbey Spring Weekend which is also coming up in about a month.

A few participants have already been in contact regarding their projects, and this is always rightly encouraged by the weekend organisers. For any modellers that are considering attending in the future, it’s possible to do a short test section like this frame and extend the techniques onto the full length of the layout itself at a later stage. A Lee Marsh Princess Royal class Pacific No 46203 ‘Princess Margaret Rose’ in B.R. blue livery takes an express past Ewyas Harold on it’s way to Bucks Hill. The locomotive was built at Crewe in 1935, and fortunately still survives today.

Dave Thomas sent a couple of pictures in, as he continues to experiment with lighting and shadow the interior of his small two road Victorian locomotive shed. This will be appearing in Model Rail magazine No 246 which is available to buy from newsagents on the 15th March (or slightly earlier by subscription).  The cabinet houses an exquisite collection of Great Western locomotives, while allowing different lighting effects as a photo background for mood portraits and silhouettes.

At either end, mirrored access panels help by providing the illusion of a continuous view, these are also hinged allowing multi stage focus pictures looking along the shed as well as through the front aperture. In this view G.W.R. ‘Aberdare’ 2-6-0 No 2667 of 1902 stands alongside Dean ‘Goods’ 0-6-0 No2537 of 1897 both weathered by Neil Podbery.  Photo by Dave Thomas.

The shed’s outdoor environment is visible though the round topped windows present along the mid section and between the piers of the rear wall, and it includes another shed to the left, a town skyline, carriage sidings with signalbox and a coaling stage surrounded by other depot and industrial architecture. Some atmospheric lighting here and shadow play onto Dean Goods and Taffy 0-6-2T. Photo by Dave Thomas.

Lee Marsh has been busy as usual, and we chatted at Bristol, I really don’t know how he finds the time for it all, but here are a few of his latest projects and some of the previous ones running at Bucks Hill. 

Some of the new releases will form a Victorian collection, and I suspect this lined out Wainwright 4-4-0 will be a popular, if somewhat limited number run. Beautiful !

The Dean goods separated here to show the rods, crank axle & motion, as well as the concealed motor/g box. Malcolm Mitchell

Achilles class Dean Single ‘Dreadnought’ with a train of Clerestories passing Kenderchurch. Original by Richard Chetland.

Lee Marsh Stanier ‘Jubilee’ St Vincent on an up express passing Ewyas Harold. Richard Chetland.

 I found an old 1963 GEM catalogue the other day, tucked between the pages of a larger volume. Flicking through it I came across an amusing treasure trove of old adverts, including one for an exciting new gauge called TREBLE-O-LECTRIC or ‘OOO’ (which was done to 2mm to 1ft).

The cover has a stylised three flat colour screen print with a Caledonian Railway single wheeler, and I noticed it had a patriotic Scotch thistle painted on the front bogie splasher. Then I noticed the buffer heads, which also have the thistle emblem polished into them.   Is this all true? I wondered, so I looked it up and sure enough there they are on the real thing! I don’t know what the five pointed star signifies on the smokebox door, nor whether the tender buffers are done as well?

A scan from the old catalogue showing the three scenes.

From a similar period, this was Peter Denny’s backscene for his Buckingham branch line, showing how naturally good he was at doing the ‘railway in the landscape’.

This over copied picture is from one of Jack Nelson’s models, again showing how his line was just one element of the scene. If anyone has any pictures of old scenic layouts from pioneering modellers like these heroes, do send them in for fun. Malcolm Mitchell is going to be doing an illustrated volume covering the work of George Illiffe Stokes soon, so I’m looking forward to seeing that.

Tony Geary lives in Wales, and he always comes to the Bristol show, and Telford as well, where he sometimes judges competitions.  He builds locomotives professionally to the very highest standards, and recently sent in this 7mm scale build of Hawksworth County No 1011 ‘County of Chester’.

These were to be the final development of Churchward’s two cylinder Saint class of 1901, and this more streamlined looking 4-6-0 was built at the end of Sept 1945. The boiler pressure was much higher for the later Swindon locomotives, and the porting and draughting was improved over the Collett years giving them an impressively high tractive effort. The name seems odd to me, as I would have thought it should have read ‘County of Cheshire’, but I’m sure there was a good reason for it!  Stunning quality loco!  Tony Geary

The new build No1014 ‘County of Glamorgan’ poses no such problem and the methods of donating funds to this project can be found at….

County Project

I will try and fit in a day at Hadleigh soon to have a look at doing some work on the ground surfaces in the station yard area.  I would think this is going to be sieved earth and PVA, with acrylic paint colouring here and there, but there’s some research to be done beforehand to get the subtleties of texture between the high and low traffic areas represented convincingly.

The Hadleigh branch train, passing Great Eastern Railway brake van No 25097.  Original by Chris Nevard.

I have now submitted a feature for inclusion in the next Model Rail magazine Workbench section, showing a few tricks to help doing a layered 3D townscape, so that  will appear in the next issue No 245 on the 15th Feb.  It includes the usual safeguards to avoid trouble with horizons and so on, and there are sketches to show the relationships for differing viewing heights and aspect plotting etc.


The Aberayon feature has all been photographed beautifully by Chris Nevard and I have nearly finished edited the copy and captions, so we’ll see when that can find a slot in the demanding MR schedule.


Aberayon’s goods shed, with a pair of sidings full of wagons and vans.

Pendon museum is now open again after it’s winter break, and the details can be found on their site.
Here’s a calendar listing their excellent Adult Modelling Workshops – 2018 programme.
17 February  ‘Scratchbuilding Structures from Card.’  There is one place available.  
24/25 February  ‘Weathering Workshops’.  These workshops are fully booked.
17/18 March  ‘Detailing the Scene’.  There are places on each of these days.
14 April  ‘Introduction to Control Systems’.  There are places available.
28/29 April  ‘Creating and Painting Miniature Figures’. One place on each day.   
Photography Workshops
During March and April we are running several photography workshops.
1 March   ‘Fundamentals of Photographing Model Railways’.  There are places available. 
2 March   ‘Advanced Skills in Photographing Model Railways’.  There are three places available.

19 April  ‘3D Photography of Scale Models’.  There are places available.

Stuart Dodd sent in a couple of pics of his 7mm scale G.W.R. No 4092 ‘Dunraven Castle’ against a good natural setting.  Very nicely done indeed, the 1925 Collett locomotive was an extended and refined progression of Churchward’s ‘Stars’

No 4092 in a perfect setting.

16th December 2017

We recently attended the Reading 7mm trade show at the Rivermead Centre with a newly re-stocked CPL stand, and the day turned out to be a busy one, with a few new introductions. Lee and Kevin were there with some of the latest releases, and more information regarding future projects from the Lee Marsh Model co can be found at this link…

Lee Marsh Models

This painted sample of a GWR ‘517’ class 0-4-2T No 1466 could be seen in one of the display cabinets at the Reading show, and it rests with a bogie clerestory carriage on the dual gauge baulk road at Bristol old station. A few detail specifications are to be changed, but the extremely high standard of presentation can be seen.  Lee Marsh Model Co.

Inspired by the Pennsylvania Railroad’s K4, Gresley designed this iconic class of locomotives starting with the A1 Great Northern named after the parent company. The class then developed over time into the much loved A3’s. The Lee Marsh run has been researched from 100 original works drawings, so do keep an eye out for regular progress reports on this, and all the other exciting new limited runs in the pipeline. Lee Marsh Model Co.

David Bousfield’s ‘Hadleigh’ feature got some very good feedback, partly due to David’s knowledgeable contributions to the article copy and captions, as well as the well framed cameo photos around the model.  Here are some monotoned versions from Chris’s excellent session, and a colour example from Dave Studley.

This lined blue Great Eastern Railway 2-4-2T No 650 is a regular on the Hadleigh branch line, and it is seen here beginning the journey south with it’s train of four and six wheeled teak bodied vehicles. Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine

A lovely refrigerated G.E.R. Butter Van No 21974 in appropriate buttery livery by Ragstone Models (I think?).  Painted, weathered & photographed by Dave Studley.

Another view of No 650 at Hadleigh.  Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine

The photo shoot has now been done at Aberayon, and Chris will be sending me the portfolio in the next few weeks. The fascinating captions will be then be adapted from Dr Paul Glover’s descriptions, just re-arranged slightly for Model Rail’s upcoming feature. In many cases, Paul actually saw these particular L.M.S. locomotives at work between the colliery sidings and yards, and stood on their footplates while in revenue earning service in the south Leicestershire coalfield.

Quite a few figures appear on this layout and here are a pair of ‘chaps’ standing just outside the modest station entrance at the intermediate station of Chilton.

Hughes L.M.S. 5P4F ‘Crab’ No 2777 in unlined black rests at a turntable road at Chilton’s locomotive shed. The loco was built in late August 1927, and by this period it was shedded at Nuneaton. Modelled by Nigel Smith for Paul in 2001 from a College Models kit, and painted by Ian Rathbone.

Only very basic locomotive facilities at Aberayon, with a single road shed, a water column and timber coaling platform. The goods shed and two sidings are approached by the road just behind the shed.

I have now submitted a feature for inclusion in a future Model Rail magazine showing a few tricks to help doing a layered 3D townscape, so that should appear fairly soon now. It includes the usual safeguards to avoid trouble with horizons and so on, and there are sketches to show the relationships for differing viewing heights etc.

From a relatively low viewpoint like this preliminary sketch, the view to distance is often obscured by nearby structures, but with more commonly encountered high scale elevations, a view across the rooftops to distance is more likely.

Not all townscapes are flat, so it helps to combine your reference sources, and double check the contouring before plotting out the surroundings. The feint blue line is the horizon datum in this view of Bath from the Avon.

David Brandreth is one of the organisers of the Missenden Abbey Modellers events, and he kindly sent me an album of photos from the Warley exhibition.

A tramway within a forced perspective townscape …WOW… it might only be a brief glimpse but what a glimpse it is!  This is a view of ‘IJsselstein’, a historic diorama of an old Dutch town near Utrecht. Holland, recently made by Peter Dillen, who has gained a reputation over the last few years for exhibiting very well arranged illusion models.   It brings the style of the Dutch romantic landscape painter Willem Koekkoek to life. Born in Northern Holland in 1839, Koekkoek was immensely talented, like many members of his family, and he brought the application of high technical skill to his many canvasses depicting charming Dutch townscapes. Peters superb 3D tribute starts at 1:30 scale, progressing to 1:200 at the furthest distance, but does not replicate any specific canvas, but instead captures the atmosphere and local architecture, and he does also paint traditional still life as well as 3D.   If I can ever find the time, I would love to do a Victorian London equivalent cabinet model. I don’t know if Jack Nelson ever visited the Netherlands, but if he had…..       David Brandreth.

See the work of Peter Dillen 

Enjoy yourself over the Christmas break, and explore the work of the romantic painters here..

Neil Podbery has been busy doing some backscene work on a large 7mm scale layout, and it’s looking really good.  The more 3D landscaping on exhibition layouts the better, so as soon as I can, I’ll put a picture of the work up here.  Here’s some of Neil’s latest output..

A weathering job on a small G.W.R. prairie for Dave Thomas (I presume?)  Neil Podbery.

A Ferrari GTO is ‘in the groove’ as it takes the corner in style. The previous entries have left their black marks on the warm tarmac in this scene. I love the summer grass as it contrasts against the shadow and the background tree shadow.  Neil Podbery.

GTO clip

Neil’s site

Just a few older pics from Bucks Hill I haven’t used yet.  I will try to drag Richard Chetland along with his camera to capture any visiting stock after Christmas, when the onset of cabin fever will inevitably result in another running session.

Dean ‘Achilles’ class G.W.R. Single ‘Duke of Connaught’ in early condition, and the lined ‘Monogram’ livery.   Richard Chetland.

Jack Anziani’s photogenic Deeley Compound 4-4-0 No 1152 at Ewyas Harold. Original by  Richard Chetland.

Midland Compound clip

Victorian G.W.R. mixed train approaches Bucks Hill on the up main.

Jonathan Marcus often sends me interesting snippets and ideas for historic scenes, with the most recent exchange being a re-arranged version of Nine Elms goods depot near Battersea. This time, though he sent through a new addition to his wonderful collection of 7mm stock. It’s a G.W.R Toplight Brake Composite No 7664 in garter livery, fully lined out by Dave Studley. I’m proud to say it has been built from CPL etches and a few details only remain to be finished like the corridor bellows.

CPL Brake composite.  Dave Studley

See the quality of the paintwork and lining in this closeup of the garter livery. Dave Studley

Some of the stock for Hadleigh and Bucks Hill was also painted by Dave, and he very kindly sent in some photos along with an order for some transfers. These are well worth a look, and Dave has supplied short descriptions to accompany them, he alternates between South Wales heavy industry in 7mm, and G.W.R. Broad Gauge in 4mm scale, without really getting on with either one because he’s always too busy painting other people’s stuff!

The first one is Dave’s own 7mm scale loco appearing on a board originally intended for a small industrial layout, and it’s a Rhymney Railway 0-6-0 No 6 in their lined green livery built by Mike Edge.  Dave Studley

4mm scale Broad gauge bogie clerestory composite No 560, a kit made by Dave and Graham Bone done about 35 years ago.  Dave Studley.

Dowlais Iron Company ‘Ehedydd’, a Kitson longboiler 0-6-0ST of 1870, built Mike Edge. Dave Studley.

James Finn took me up on some winter trees, and here they are, accompanied by some excellent examples of his own making on ‘Cairnhill’

A wintry scene at Cairnhill with bare cold trees, a pale grey sky and just a row of opens on a siding.  James Finn.

In contrast, a pair of summer trees beside the line, between Aberayon and Chilton.

12th November 2017

Some diorama production work has been undertaken this month, but it’s too soon for any photos. Kevin and I will be doing a set of pics of Aberayon on the 11th of December, along with Chris Nevard, who has recently provided Model Rail Magazine’s editorial staff with a wonderful photographic record of David Bousfields 7mm scale ‘Hadleigh’ for the upcoming issue, (No 243). This will be available at all good newsagents within a few days, and the rest of Chris’s work in capturing the charming model can be seen, along with full descriptive copy and the other usual reviews and layout ideas. The attractive town of Hadleigh lies a little under 10 miles west, and inland from Ipswich and the coastal mouth of the river Orwell in Suffolk, and it was served by a seven and a half mile single tracked railway which opened on 20 August 1847. Two intermediate stations were provided at Capel and Raydon Wood between the terminus, and the junction on the Great Eastern Main Line at Bentley.

A superb overall view of the terminus, looking north over the busy goods shed and maltings.  A typical mixed rake of teak G.E.R. carriages is ready to leave, with a Holden S44 0-4-4T as motive power. Original photo by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine

In so many locations, old station sites are levelled and just re-developed with generic housing estates, but it’s a credit to the locals that Hadleigh’s delightful terminus station has survived the normal ruthless treatment. The surrounding development of this part of the town’s expansion has been done very sympathetically, and the newly built flats and houses resemble the distinctive old maltings architecture that always formed the backdrop to the terminus.

The line was taken over by the Great Eastern Railway in 1862, and by 1889 there were five trains per day with some working through to Manningtree. Passenger services on the line were to peak in 1920 when the number of passenger services had reached seven per day. Seen from inside the overall timber roof, a Holden S44 class 0-4-4T approaches the buffers.  Original photo by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine

Dave Thomas’s moody Running Shed Diorama is currently scheduled to appear in Model Rail, but not until issue No 246, so a bit of a wait for that feature. Photo by Dave Thomas.

There’s no telling what kind of feedback I get from random interest blog entries, with some of them obviously generating more interest than others, but this reply took me by surprise, with a couple of pictures sent in by 7mm and full scale enthusiast Nick Dudman.  They show the site of a new timber board crossing that he is planning to install at Christow, and the humble Great Western Railway drawing I found is now going to come in handy for the job.  Well at least I got the timing right!

The site for the siding board crossing is at bottom left of this view, comfortably clear of the goods platform ramp.

The main line platforms and overbridge can just be seen in the background.


Nick is also working on a model of Christow station, and there is a great website where all the details of this enterprise can be found

Teign Valley Railway

This might come in handy for those brave souls who need to check the clearances on their 7mm scale infrastructure, I hope it hasn’t been superseded by a finer scale version

Please do take a copy or print a scale version if you think it will help with your project.

We popped down to Amersham to see the welcome return of ‘Steam on the Met’, and arrived with just enough time to have a look at Metropolitan No 1 and it’s train before it departed.  The platform was too busy to frame a decent picture, so I persuaded a lady in Victorian costume to be the subject instead!

Excellent detailed Victorian costume and a period pose adds authenticity. The background is the surviving glazed timber staircase of Amersham’s footbridge.

My model of the same type of staircase, painted in the older colours. No posh glazing at some of the outer Met stations, and some didn’t even have a canopy. A train of teak ‘Dreadnought’ coaches stands in the platform behind.   David Lane

A train going the other way in an old photo of a Met footbridge on a sunny day, and the lattice span with its smoke deflector casts a shadow onto the side of the carriage.  David Lane

Stuart Holt will be bringing Kyle of Sutherland to Railex 2018, so I’m definitely going to have a look.  The details, along with photos of the attending layouts is to be found here

Railex 2018

Stuart uses forced perspective in the best way, suggesting depth with a subtle overscale in the foreground, and reduced scale to the background landscape. The relative tree sizes and cooler coloured lighting to the background gently persuade the eye to register distance.

Culrain station from a different angle, with Stanier Black Five No 45473 and a van train passing through.

After years of inactivity, it looks as though my Streamliner is going to be built… amazing!  John Clutch of Astoria, Queens, New York runs a company that produce mobility scooters, wheelchairs and accessories, and he has decided to attempt the world speed record for non electrically powered unmanned vehicles, (in other words very large scale radio control) 

This is John’s first design outline, and I can’t wait to see it come together. Unmanned cars present different problems, because you don’t need roll cages and safety equipment, and there’s no need to bring any control systems like steering or throttle to the central driving compartment either. The other side is you don’t get any physical feel from the car, so in a way they are harder to predict and remotely drive as well.

The record for electric unmanned is over 200, but it’s less for piston engined attempts. This is my original proposal mockup. It would be good to see and hear the car run with a supercharged Conley miniature Chevrolet V8 on nitromethane fuel.

I couldn’t get to Bucks Hill for the last gathering, as I had to attend a wedding ceremony, so all I can do is put a few spare pictures here from previous events and hope I can get to the next one! I will of course add in any pictures that happen to surface over the next week or so.

Kevin has forwarded me this study from Barry Norman, who recently visited Bucks Hill, and his descriptive copy follows; This inspection engine and saloon was allocated to H. Copperthwaite in 1894 for the ” Engineer Permanent Way Department, Southern Division” of the NER. Both were scratchbuilt from drawings I made, using what drawings I could find and photos. Anyway it’s something different.

Lee Marsh ex L.M.S. Stanier Princess Royal class No 46208 ‘Princess Helena Victoria in British Railways lined blue livery approaches the down main platform at Bucks Hill.

G.W.R. Mogul No 4318 in unlined Brunswick green livery rounds the curve at Kenderchurch with a parcels train on the down main. These were first introduced in 1911, with standard number 4 boilers and frame support struts similar to those fitted to the ‘2800’ class. Barry Norman.

A pair of Bulleid Q1 class austerity 0-6-0s Nos 33040 and 33029 in early B.R. black, wait in the down loop with an ex Southern Railway Queen Mary bogie brake van.

Lee Marsh L.M.S. Stanier Jubliee class No 5593 ‘Kolhapur’ in lined black livery.

The Missenden Abbey modeller’s Spring Weekend is now fully booked I’m reliably informed, and Michelle and I are working with Crecy Publishing to promote ‘Creating a Backscene’ in the U.S.A. through their contacts ‘over there’ like Magrudy’s for instance, and hopefully some good reviews in a number of the many model railroad magazine titles as well.

6th October 2017

A month of catch up work on many projects, but before that, I must confirm the sad loss of Dr Paul Glover, who passed away early last week. Paul was a highly respected figure and will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends. I know that he was keen to get his railway recorded for posterity, so I’m going to take care of that in accordance with his wishes.

Dr Paul concentrating at a recent Bucks Hill running session. It won’t be the same without him.

I attended a very busy demo weekend at the Scaleforum event at Stoke Mandeville stadium.  With two six foot tables, I had plenty of space for displays, a diorama and some pictures, including a monitor screen for bringing up reference photos, as well as generating contour panoramas and period maps. 

This generic card display backscene is always a handy one to take to demos. It does a good job of explaining layering, reduced scale and 3D progression in relief.

As there were no other scenic demo displays at Scaleforum, I brought some trees along to show the method and sequence of construction, and the simple materials that get the job done. This is Callow Hill Wood, with the hill rising to the left, and the yard sidings in the foreground.

The Missenden Abbey modellers had taken a publicity stand nearly opposite the demo tables, and many of the Spring 2018 weekend course places are already fully booked.

Spring weekend booking

There are many different study areas we can spend time on, including doing scenes from the front of the model as well as the back. This is a finished layout scene from Herefordshire done in progressive scale, using view blockers to compartmentalise a convex curved rear panel.

There is only one more show to attend with CPL this year at Reading’s Rivermead Centre, so I am occupied with some more work to re-stock the stand, and expand the website. I have had a back page added to my comp slip, and added a load of new stuff to the site.  There’s always something to be done!

This is one of the CPL vehicles I’ve been concentrating on, as it would make a great tail vehicle for a G.W.R. passenger train of the 1930s. I have been sorting out the right underframe & buffers and some of the pipes and other castings.  There is an interesting film clip showing the last slip working at Banbury, with a clear sequence of operation and some good detail shots to help me along.

Banbury Slip working movie

Richard Kanachowski’s new comp slip back page shows a G.W.R. Toplight and a Southern Railway locomotive screw coupling.

A CPL Corridor Clerestory No 3370.

Here’s a link if you would like to see more CPL news, there are some M,S.W.J.R. & Midland 4mm carriages listed now.

CPL Latest news

Bob Bunker sent in this picture of this Metropolitan Railway 1200 hp Bo-Bo electric, running on his 7mm scale Hong Kong based garden railway. No 10 ‘William Ewart Gladstone’ worked on the Met for forty years until the modern silver multiple units took over in 1962.

Bob’s Metropolitan Vickers locomotive appears in  London Transport’s attractive lined Lake livery, with it’s lovely ‘moderne’ nameplates in the centre panel.

It’s easy to subscribe to the Pendon Museum Newsletter, and then follow the links to their other social media sites like Facebook et al.  There are film clips and other reports of progress, courses, children’s education, and the well stocked bookshop where the profits go towards the upkeep of the establishment.  Here’s this month’s header picture. 

Pendon’s ‘Vale of the White Horse’ landscape occupies a large portion of the museum’s upper storey.

Pendon link


Lee has produced this G.W.R. 2301 Dean Goods 0-6-0 Pilot model and Malcolm Mitchell is working on a few corrections.  The locomotive has fully working inside motion and a concealed CNC machined gearbox

Side view and cab detail

 Lee Marsh Model co news

I have had a good bit of feedback from putting up a picture of my old car, so here’s another one taken by Peter Guyan.  (Skip this paragraph if you’re not into automobiles) This outing had to be abandoned mainly down to bad conditions (rain)

This shows the car up on it’s stand with the starter jump cables plugged in.  This is our covered pit area, and it’s in the process of being warmed up by running it in gear for a few minutes, then in direct drive top gear to warm up the rear axle. Crewman Dan Boone is doing the honours, and he will be learning to pilot the car next year.

I found this nice old drawing among a load of folders the other day, so I’ll put it here in case anybody is going to detail model one of those old wooden board crossings.  I expect the crossing timbers extended to the platform ramp fencing at either side.  Note the thin plank in the ‘four foot’ 

11th September 2017

A fairly busy month, including the final detailing & finishing work at Aberayon and Chilton, and an outing to the Guildex weekend event at Telford’s International Centre. We reserved an additional space to one side of our normal CPL trade stand, and displayed a number of items including the single line diorama in the following pictures. As a trade display I was able to label a few items for sale, and were asked many times whether the display included the fabulous ex G.W.R Castle class locomotive very kindly loaned to us by Phil Gomm. Needless to say, the answer was always…Nice try but I’m afraid not!

Phil has made a superb job of No 5007 Rougemont Castle, and it appears in the diorama, on a low embankment surrounded by wooded countryside. The original locomotive was built at Swindon in June 1927, with a first shed allocation to Plymouth Laira. By the period depicted here, it was to be found at Cardiff Canton from August 1950, and then Swindon in March 1959. The last shed was Gloucester before withdrawal in September 1962.

A front end detail view of our borrowed Telford demonstration loco. Rougemont Castle itself was also known as Exeter Castle, built on a knoll within the city known as red hill, or rouge mont in Norman French, because of the natural red, volcanic rock foundation making the hill, and used in the construction of the original buildings, of which the large early Norman gatehouse is the main remaining feature. It was built into the northern corner of the Roman city walls starting in or shortly after the year 1068.

The last few details have now been finished off at Aberayon and Chilton, and the layout will be photographed using L.M.S. stock. I’ll put a few more pictures here, and the rest can eventually make a gallery including Chris Nevard’s work.  This layout has never been published before, so it should create a good bit of interest when the editorial staff at Model Rail Magazine can fit it into their publishing schedule.

Chilton station only has one platform, and is the next stop after the Aberayon terminus. It has a pair of sidings for coal wagons, a small ground frame signal cabin and a level crossing with a connecting bus services. The attractive red brick station building shown here was beautifully made by Carl Legg.

This pair of single decker buses were scratch built for Chilton by Barrie Kelsall. The prototypes were built as 34 seaters in 1930 – 1932 and served the Midland Red until 1950.

L.M.S. bogie compartment stock at Aberayon.

The view looking away from Aberayon has been extended and adapted with a clouded sky to better match the moorland landscape between the terminus and Chilton.

A pair of L.M.S. locomotives rest at the station end of the small shed. The road behind is the single line towards Chilton, with a further set of points leading to the goods shed sidings at a hundred or so scale yards to the left.

Stuart Dodd has been busy, and he sent in this view of No 2938 ‘Corsham Court’.

The loco is built from a Slaters kit, with additional detailing from Hobbyhorse and CPL components in 1951 guise when still in use at Hereford shed, just prior to withdrawal. The loco never was repainted in BR livery, retaining the GW to the end, with only a smokebox number added for BR years and a load of dirt! Tender No 1560 coupled to Corsham Court here, actually ended up behind Foxcote Manor in July 1963 having outlived several locos… fortunately with the exception of Foxcote!

Reservations for Missenden Abbey’s Spring weekend are now open, so keep an eye out for their latest news. I will be doing a demo at the excellent Scaleforum show at Stoke Mandeville Stadium over the 23rd/24th Sept, so by all means stop by for a chat if you would like more info.

Spring weekend link

The usual suspects make up the tutor list, so it should be another good event. There’s plenty of room to spread out scenic work in the Abbey’s well lit studios and classrooms, and we can discuss any preparation beforehand to maximise the actual course time.

Diorama scenes at Missenden Abbey are only done to a ruling scale where the railway crosses the scene, it changes both in front and behind to help suggest the depth we don’t have room for. This view goes from foreground, to half the scale on the other side of the line.

This is part of the reference for an HO scale diorama quayside layout project by Geraint Hughes, representing a south west aspect as seen from the attractive riverside of the town of Ribe on the Danish coastline. It’s perfect for a forced perspective townscape, with the Cathedral standing against the sky as the very dominant focal landmark.

Some of the front row of HO scale quayside houses in the reference picture.

Ken de Groome is one of the country’s best suppliers of Metropolitan Railway stock, and the latest of the 1922 1200 horsepower Metrovick BO-BO electric locomotive kits happily include a set of CPL couplings. Ken also does the typical varnished teak ‘Dreadnought’ bogie carriages that formed the typical electric locomotive hauled trains south of Rickmansworth. 

Here’s a ‘MetroLand’ sepia print of No 2 ‘Oliver Cromwell’ taken from a Barry Norman photograph. These locos were pretty heavy at well over 60 tons, and they would crash and bang over the pointwork as they swapped places with the steam at Rickmansworth. Luckily, Ken is modelling this very scene, and I’m looking forward to that. (I love the Met!)

A few pics from the most recent gathering at Bucks Hill, just with shorty captions…

Fowler 3F ‘jinty’ No 16564 was built at the Vulcan Foundry in 1928 as the latest development of the Midland Johnson six coupled type. Improvements to the 422 strong class included a Belpaire firebox and a larger cab, along with other detail changes. It’s a Jack Anziani build on a down coal empties at Ewyas Harold.

Kevin’s resident JLTRT austerity 2-8-0 No 90040 in the down loop, with a recent weathering job by Fred Lewis of Welsh Wizard loco works. These were all built in a hurry in the mid 40s for the war, and this one was known to be allocated to Woodford Halse on the GC London extension in ’48, and withdrawn in ’65 from Rose Grove Burnley.

Mike Morris is an expert on the welsh valleys engines, and he brought this nearly finished ex-Rhymney 0-6-2T. The white parts and fittings are finely 3D printed.

Un-named Brittania No 70047 passes Bucks Hill loops with a down parcels.

Looking down into the cab of Jack Anziani’s Deeley Compound 4-4-0, which took another spin.

Lee Marsh did his usual trade appearance at Guildex with a lovely stand display. He has been working very hard lately, putting in the hours into probably the most projects on the go at the same time since he started.  Here are just a few pics of both old and new projects.

Lee & Kevin kept this a bit of a secret until showtime, and even though this is the prototype, make no mistake, it is amazing to see. I’ll let the picture do the talking, and of course keep an eye out at Lee’s site for the variations, and the reservation arrangements.

Corridor clerestory in late victorian monogram livery at Temple Meads.

A sepiatone version of a Richard Chetland catalog photo, as Dean Achilles class ‘Dreadnought’ passes Bucks Hill forge with a full rake of 6 bogie clerestories and a six wheeled luggage van.


Large Prairie No 4177 is another Richard Chetland pic, in early British Railways lined black, and with a single ex Southern Railway ‘Queen Mary’ brake van.

The Aberayon viaduct job wiped me out of all the darker green scenic scatter variants, and I have a few more in the pipeline, so I managed to sneak briefly away from the stand at Telford to re-stock!  I succeeded in getting some and found some good darker shades at Polak. Have a look at their range and see…

Polak Scenics

The middle of nowhere! a single B.R. railbus pauses at Tollhouse halt. The scenics here are all done with Polak products. Alex O’Donnell.

  August 4th 2017

I remembered to bring my camera to Aberayon this trip, so here are a few pictures from my latest day of on-site work.  There will be plenty more, hopefully next week, as the work progresses, but I have published a new page in the ‘Finescale Railway models’ page to present a small gallery of views for now, until Chris Nevard captures the layout professionally in a few months. 

Part of the 5ft radius return curve, on the single line between Aberayon and Chilton, where an open area of moorland appears behind a cultivated field to the right.

G.W.R. Castle class 4-6-0 No 5045 ‘Earl of Dudley’ rests on one of the turntable roads.  The model was built by Peter Silvester/Nigel Smith from a Malcolm Mitchell kit, and weathered by Martyn Welch in 2000.

The return curve features a light stone single track viaduct at it’s right hand side, and we have completely reworked this area of the layout. This view is of a small section of the new 2D backscene which has now been installed, showing an Exmoor farm with gentle moorland beyond, along with the addition of some modelled tree growth on the slopes of the Ayon valley. The L.M.S. Autotrain consists of a Johnson 0-4-4T No 1368, and a driving Trailer No 5214 to L.N.W.R. Diagram 52 of 1914. The locomotive was built by Peter Everton, and the trailer from a North Star Kit by Adrian Rowland painted by Larry Goddard. The signal in the bacgtound is actually the Aberayon down distant.

G.W.R. cabin & existing rural backscene.

The Aberayon end of the viaduct shows a road crossing the Ayon valley in the middle distance, carried by a low level single arch bridge in grey stone, with more Exmoor farm buildings to the right. The resin cast stone pattern viaduct is an original model by Enhance Ecosse ( Elizabeth and the late Richard Chown ) done in 2000. It’s actually based on the structure on the L.N.W.R. Charnwood Forest Line version at Grace Dieu, Leics.

Ex L.N.W.R. 0-8-0 No 9205 rumbles over the viaduct tender first, with a 6 wheeled brake van. The loco is another Peter Everton model, painted and weathered by Alan Brackenborough.

This March 1929 Derby built Fowler 4P-D 2-6-4T is one of a collection of L.M.S. & G.W.R. locomotives that appear at Aberayon. Buffered up to a tender locomotive, it waits to cross the main line, and couple up to its rake of private owner wagons in the goods sidings.

No 2872 will be turned and sent to wait for it’s coal train turn. It’s another model built for Aberayon’s G.W.R. collection by Silvester/Smith in 1998

I haven’t done any backscene demos for a while, because either taking out the CPL stand or promoting the book tend to take precedent, but I will be doing one at Scaleforum in September at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium.  If you are thinking of coming along to Missenden Abbey in spring, or you have a scenic project on the go at home, come along and have a chat.

Scaleforum facebook

I’ll bring a selection of stuff with me, Dioramas as well as backscenes.


CPL will be going to Reading and Telford, but you can always call if you need anything beforehand. I’m struggling to get the interior carriage mirrors done, but I think there may be a way to do them in 12 thou polished stainless.

W159W rests briefly at Bucks Hill.

Stuart Dodd sent in this picture of his recently finished David Andrews Kit 

Stuart has moved from 4mm scale modelling to produce this G.W.R. thoroughbred. No 4092 Dunraven Castle was built in the summer of 1925, and it appears here in the 1950s lined Brunswick green British Railways livery.

July 24th 2017

Work continues on Aberayon, with the moorland panorama fitted in position, and more planting of trees is being seen to, particularly around the sloping valley sides. Smaller sized and colour matched, finely textured growth is being placed behind the light stone arches, and larger outline trees take their places in the foreground. I’ll pop a couple of pics of the scene up here next time I visit.  

One of the larger trees that will go in the foreground.

No 3779, an ex Midland Johnson 3F is an Aberayon locomotive, seen here recently trying a heavy coal train at Bucks Hill.

Mike Harris has suggested that the publication will soon be sporting a few design changes, so I don’t know if this logo is still current.  In any event, the upcoming townscape backscene article might now be separated into two parts so as not to lose too much content.

Chris Nevard has paid a visit to Andrew Cowie, and produced two sets of photos for Model Rail, and they are very good.  Andrew is an accomplished scratchbuilder in 7mm scale and studies the locomotives and stock of the Midland and South Western Junction Railway Company. The first set captures some of his work on an excellent two level M.S.W.J.R. diorama which is pictured below. 

Andrew’s M.S.W.J.R. diorama makes the perfect setting for his interesting Pre-grouping collection.

One of Andrew’s scratchbuilt locomotives, M.S.W.J.R. No 5, a Beyer Peacock 2-4-0T made at the famous Gorton works. It does bear quite a family resemblance to the Metropolitan Railway A class 4-4-0Ts of the 1870s, but obviously without the inclined outside cylinder front end and short wheelbase Bissell truck.

A second photo set has also been taken, featuring a pair of late Victorian G.W.R. locomotives, posed in Andrew’s Sydney Gardens diorama.  A Lee Marsh ‘Achilles’ class 4-2-2 No 3001 ‘Amazon’, and an 0-6-0ST No 997 are included with appropriate stock. Do please keep an eye out for these, if you are a fan of the mid G.W.R period, as they will both be appearing in a Model Rail publication with informative captions and copy, although I’m not quite sure when this will be.

Sydney Gardens diorama.

There is a lot of activity at both Missenden Abbey and Pendon Museum this year, so do be sure to keep an eye on the packed schedules of specialist courses and new exhibits. 

The ‘Chequers Inn’ has recently arrived at Pendon, and will be placed in the Vale scene. It is the work of Jane Britton, from a survey and photos of the actual building in Charney Bassett.

Pendon museum Home page

Locomotive building classes at Missenden Abbey are quite sought after in all scales, and the places do fill up quickly. Chassis and soldering, Kit building and DCC are all covered by knowledgeable tutors. One of Kevin Wilson’s 7mm scale G.W.R. locomotives is seen here as an example, built from from a Martin Finney kit. Running bunker first, the 2-8-0T rounds a curve at Kenderchurch near Bucks Hill with a train of flat wagons. Original by Barry Norman.

Missenden Abbey Modellers home page

In a month or so, I will be popping over to see the work of Pat Humphrys, who often attends the Missenden events.  He has sent in a picture of his G.W.R. station, and we can take a look at some of the ground cover, and scenic breaks for the new layout.

Coming along nicely, Pat’s 7mm building from the platform side.

Lee Marsh is very busy with new projects, so there will be plenty to look forward to over the next few months, leading up to Guildex. These can be viewed and reserved by using the link below.

Lee’s projects page

The Maunsell ‘Lord Nelson’ class, along with many other Southern locomotives had large capacity tenders because of the lack of water troughs. This is one eye level view of the 3D file (as the basis for the component parts), or in other words, a tender render!  Lee Marsh Model Co.

Stuart Holt has posted a new angle of the tree screen at Kyle of Sutherland on his excellent blog, and this B/W thumbnail version shows No 54495 between the platforms. See the link to catch up with progress.

Stuart’s blog

Clean P4 Pickersgill 4-4-0 in late British Railways livery. Culrain station’s waiting hut appears to the left, and the train stands beneath the lattice footbridge to the right.

I have a few photos from the most recent gathering to add to Kevin’s                

‘Bucks Hill in 7mm’

I can include some locomotive portraits here for interest, mainly of visiting, or recently completed builds, but the full set will have to go into Kevin’s gallery pages 

Jack Anziani has finished this lovely ex Midland Railway Deeley compound 4-4-0. This is his thirteenth locomotive in as little as three years, so I’m quite looking forward to the next three!

This Wisbech & Upwell L.N.E.R. Worsdell J70 class tramway locomotive looked good on the single line. A long way from Ipswich and the fens!

Kevin Robertson’s G.W.R. Dean Goods No 2516 in monogram livery on a down coal train at Ewyas Harold.

Kevin Robertson also brought along this scratchbuilt Bullied ‘Leader’ No 36001, seen here with an M.O.K. Q1 class 0-6-0 No 33029 in the down loop.

Resident G.W.R. Mogul No 4318 with brown stock.

June 28th 2017

A panoramic backscene has now been painted and cut to shape, ready to be fitted in position behind the end curve of the scenic 7mm Aberayon G.W.R./ L.M.S loft layout.  A batch of matching trees have been done for the valley sides

paul g 3

This open moorland needs a little more work, and a scale hedgerow in the foreground, as it appears behind the curving single line. By this point, the trains heading away from the station have crossed over the wooded Ayon valley on a graceful light stone arched viaduct. Since this picture was taken, the sky base colour to the left has had it’s windy clouds added in. 

paul g2

This view appears in the middle distance, looking south above the viaduct parapet. It’s not extreme open moorland, there are areas of woodland and some areas of unfenced natural gorse and heather to the south east.

paul g 1

The Ayon valley section naturally appears behind the viaduct’s central arches, and it shows a single arch narrow road bridge in the middle distance, with farm buildings along the lane to the south west.

I have done some more edited versions from Tony Wright’s excellent photo session at Kevin Robertson’s ‘Abingdon’, so I’ll put a few of them here….

Abingdon 02 sep

Dean 0-6-0 ready to leave.

Abingdon 04 rf

Grounded coach body with 57xx Pannier shunting a van.

Abingdon 07 bw

Auto train and dozens of milk churns taking up the platform.

Abingdon 06 fr

Lovely rear three quarter view of the tender goods engine in panelled monogram livery.

Lawrie Loveless has produced a detailed 7mm scale model of Victoria bridge based on the preserved structure carrying the single line Severn Valley Railway over the river near Arley.  The arches and abutments can be configured as single, or double line width, as the Albert Edward bridge, and it might make a nice subject for a diorama, with the thickly wooded valley as a backdrop, seating it realistically into the landscape.

All the relevant information about reserving one of these can be found at…

L.H Loveless

2 track plus 2007 bw

A 7mm scale Gresley P2 No 2007 lends scale to the beautiful bridge, with it’s gentle iron arch and balanced proportions.

Albert_Edward_bridge ret

The detail can be seen in this view under the deck of the Albert Edward version.


The name, date and makers plates are framed here in this ‘mid stream’ view of the underside.

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The next article for Model Rail magazine has now been submitted, and it’s a bit longer than the previous introduction, so we’ll see whether it needs editing down a bit….. or a lot!

Chesham best

The article looks at the differences between scale height viewpoints (like this scene) that buildings are usually seen from, and the much higher typical overview over the rooftops of modelled townscapes. It does make a big difference when you need to work out your backscene because you can see much further away from higher up.


I am a little late posting this month, and this year’s Missenden Abbey Summer Retreat course is now fully booked.  The Autumn weekend has a few spaces, but with only possible cancellations remaining for some study areas. 

Contact Missenden Abbey Modellers for enquiries, or navigate the other pages of the site from there.  There are always new modelling directions being investigated, with traditional architectural modelling in popular scales and CAD work as well. 


A G.W.R diorama using 3D CAD design components, scanned from original bow pen on linen drawings. Many different areas of modelling are now being covered by the Missenden Abbey courses, as technologies previously used in commercial manufacturing are adapted to all scales of railway modelling.

I only have a few recently tweaked photographs due to holidays and other time commitments.

Whitchurch Road 071

A Yorkshire Engine Co ‘G’ class 0-6-4T passes the other way with private owner open wagons and a Met brake van.


Lee Marsh Stanier Jubilee No 5593 ‘Kolhapur emerges from a modified Skytrex resin cast tunnel mouth on a diorama.

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The same Jubilee at Bucks Hill, now weathered.

2 8 0 t

Bucks Hill resident G.W.R. 2-8-0T No 4208 takes a flat train west along the down main.

4 4 0

An unusual high view over Ewyas Harold curve to the west of Bucks Hill as G.W.R. 4-4-0 No 3405 ‘Mauritius passes beneath with a parcels working.

May 21st 2017

Scan 4

Model Rail 236 has been out for a while, released just before we took a trip abroad in fact, so with that and dragster commitments, I haven’t had time to catch up lately.  It has all the usual great content and a small 3 page backscene intro as part of their Workbench section. Usual thanks go to Mike Harris and the MR editorial staff.

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There will be a slightly more in-depth follow up in MR 238 with a look at doing townscapes, so I’m getting that one ready now.  A four hour photo session has recently been undertaken by Chris Nevard at David Bousfield’s excellent ‘Hadleigh’ layout depicting the Suffolk market town’s G.E.R. terminus in 7mm scale, with its fine scratchbuilt stock and prototypical goods handling.  I must re-visit this layout soon to explore some 3D backscene work to landscape the open section of line to the east, as it approaches its destination. 

Dave Thomas is now attending shows with his diorama which is a great idea, and it has an infinitely variable lighting set-up for flexibility.  He sent in some pictures, but I’m not sure when it’s scheduled for Model Rail publication.  The backscene now has even more 3D detail added including super detailed loco coal wagons silhouetted on the incline, and a longer road has been laid for a queue of engines awaiting their turn at the coaling stage just outside.

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 17.04.40

This view is from Chris Nevard’s forthcoming ‘Model Rail’ magazine set, showing part of Dave’s superb 7mm G.W.R. loco collection at rest.  The shots are taken  from a variety of different angles inside the shed, and one cleverly shows the backscene through the windows. Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

gwr toned

The crew of No 4937 ‘Laneley Hall’ check the duty roster. Photo by Dave Thomas


The collection of Neil Podbery weathered locomotives is growing, and this has a wonderful ‘grimy’ look to it ….touch anything in view and your hands will be black!  Photo by Dave Thomas

 Andy Stadden now has a blog page, so we can keep up with the latest progress..

A. C. Stadden blog


There has been some interest in the Dean Single Crews, but they do differ with the four and six coupled Dean/Armstrong era cabs because of the panelling inside to accommodate the larger wheel diameters. Always send a mock up cab with all details to ensure a good crew fit.


7mm scale figures at Sydney Gardens.


and 4mm scale at Semley. Photo by Philip Hall.

My friend and trusted publishing advisor Kevin Robertson sent me a book review in ‘Scalefour News’ by Pete Sutherland, who took a great deal of trouble to explain the content so thanks very much for the nod.  Kevin also attended a recent gathering at Bucks Hill and brought a few locomotives from his collection.  A few pics from my camera follow here, some with rather some short captions I’m afraid. 


This scratchbuilt & pristine original ‘King Henry V1’ got quite a bit of interest, partly because it has a small makers plate soldered on perfectly straight under the cab floor which reads ‘Maker J.S.Beeson Ringwood Hants.

ro st2

This Masterpiece Models G.W.R. ‘Saint’ class 4-6-0 bears Kevin’s family name, and it took a 1920s rake on a down train.

240 dean

Resident Dean ‘3232’ class 2-4-0 waits to back onto a short van train in the yard headshunt.

lee lights

Illuminated interior of one of the new resident rake of Lee Marsh Clerestoried G.W.R. carriages.

bh 440 1

A double framed G.W.R. 4-4-0 heads east, past Ewyas Harold, with four and six wheeled stock

phil std

Phil Gomm’s recently built B.R. standard mogul No 76052 took a goods train on the up main.

nigel mog

Nigel Smith brought several locos along for testing, including this excellent and sure footed ex G.W.R. 73xx mogul no 7310. Here it manages one of the longest rakes of open wagons round the down line.

wc bh

A few unrebuilt Bullied West country class pacifics tried out, including Graham Murton’s No 34011 ‘Tavistock in late B.R, Brunswick green livery.


This single chimney ‘King’ No 6015 ‘King Richard III’ was scratchbuilt over fifty years ago by Mike Brierley (Stirling Moss’ Mechanic for a time), and has been left original other than a modern DCC control chip.

south 440

Nigel Smith is sorting this Martin Finney Southern 4-4-0 for Jonathan Marcus with just a little more adhesion weight. The kit was made and painted by the talented Chris Wesson.

A few other pictures from other layouts and projects follow now, and I am lucky to have a few frames from Kevin Robertson’s 7mm ‘Abingdon’ terminus model to start with…

abi bw

There’s a great feeling of space in these views of the Oxfordshire branch line terminus. A G.W.R. Auto train is seen here at the platform end. The layout is in storage at the moment, but will hopefully be assembled soon for another photography session.  Photo by Tony Wright.

Abingdon 01 s

The local service approaches the station, passing under the road bridge and alongside the buffer stops of the yard headshunt.  Photo by Tony Wright.

Abingdon 03 bw

Goods yard with opens, ‘Toad’ brake van and a touring car on the platform.  Photo by Tony Wright.

Abingdon 05 f

A tender engine shunts a mixed goods in the Abingdon yard.  Photo by Tony Wright.

paul stanton

A birds eye view of a scene with long shadows on Paul Ash’s ‘Stanton’ rural diorama.

stuart 4

Another lovely scenic corner of Culrain station’s surroundings on Stuart Holt’s ‘Kyle of Sutherland’ 4mm scale layout, with a very understated hand painted summer sky.

nevard 151106 Westcott IMG_2036

Rail/Road L.M.S. Branch line bus on Jack Anziani’s Westcott. Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail.


Fowler tender detail at Westcott. Photo by Richard Chetland.

April 25th 2017


Model Railway Journal’s issue No 254 is out, edited by Gerry Beale, and it includes an excellent photographic tour of Martin Finney’s P4 model of ‘Semley for Shaftesbury’. The photography has been done by Philip Hall, Peter Swift, Gordon Gravett and Mike Baker, with some views in the eighteen page feature also taken by Martin.

If you do like studying top quality scale models of the pre-grouping era, I suggest that it might be a good issue to see, and my thanks go to Gerry and Martin, who have included reference to the backscene’s detailing in appropriate captions as the tour progresses along the model from the western end along to the eastern scenic break at occupation bridge No 296.

Here are a few more versions of Semley from slightly different angles, and I understand there has been some very good feedback on the feature.

semley sep lead

A sepia view of the western end of the station in 1912, with the buildings of the Salisbury, Semley & Gillingham Dairy to the left. The railway crossed the northern part of the parish as it followed the River Sem past the village to turn south-west. It was opened at the point where it crossed the Warminster to Shaftesbury road, and the buildings were accessed by a new road (just behind the wooden fencing in the centre of the picture), which ran along the north side of the railway, linking the Warminster road with the minor lane leading west into Shaftesbury from Semley church, crossing over the railway just beyond the platforms at Bridge 267. The Railway Hotel, north of Station Road, was opened in 1865 (in the same year as the railway arrived), and the late 19th-century house visible to the east of it became part of the expanding dairy.


The last of the ten stylish Drummond T14 class ‘Paddlebox’ 4-6-0s No 462 heads a down train past Semley’s small coal yard, and is about to pass under the brick arch of Bridge 267 which carries the minor road in the background from the village towards the bottom of the steep hill up into Shaftesbury.

sem field

In 1911 there were still three Coal & Coke merchants in Semley, working presumably from the station. James Wescott & Sons office appears in the extreme right of this view, with a Midland Railway van and a car blocking Station Road just behind the gate.   Semley lies within the Wiltshire butter country, and its clay soils provide extensive pasture with only a small proportion of arable land.  Small dairy farms did remain characteristic of the parish in the late 19th century but by 1912, many of the smaller holdings had been merged into larger farms.  Whitebridge farm (to the left of this view), was sold in 1865, becoming part of the lands of Walter Shaw-Stewart, receiving a new farmstead and additional buildings designed for cheese-making.  Photo by Dave Thomas.

A few new pictures are being added to my updated homepage slideshow, so I have asked Phil Barnett to sort this out for me as I don’t have the editing knowhow.


A version of one of the Chris Nevard Model Rail feature pics of Terminus. It’s a slightly higher viewpoint than the previous pic, showing a Jubilee at the buffers of Platform 1

There might be a few clashes this year between Bucks Hill gatherings, and testing the dragster at Santa Pod Raceway, but I will of course attend as many as possible, dragging Richard Chetland along as usual with his trusty camera.

sr 060

James Aitken brought this ex London Chatham & Dover Railway ‘T’ class locomotive along. The 0-6-0T was built at Longhedge works in the 1880s, passing to the South Eastern and Chatham railway in 1899 before being taken into the Southern Railway stud at the grouping.  Richard Chetland.

DSC_0104 copy

Ex G.W.R. Churchward 2-6-0 No 5377 was built at Swindon in August 1919, and by the early British Railways period was a resident of 85C Hereford shed. Here it heads a train of coal empties past Ewyas Harold on the up main. Richard Chetland.



Collett 0-4-2T No 5818 ran branch line trains up and down the Golden Valley line until its eventual closure. The loco was built in August 1933, arriving for work at Pontypool Road few months later. The main lines are in the foreground in this view, and the trackbed of the branch diverts away a few yards to the north east of the signal box. It then rounded a curve at Kenderchurch to pass its own tiny corrugated sheet engine shed, with the next station being Abbeydore a little over two miles to the north west. Here, a typical hourly passenger service leaves for Hay-on Wye, with it’s junction onto the Hereford to Brecon line. Richard Chetland.


A Churchward 28xx class stays on the down main at Kenderchurch with a rake of coal empties. No 2862 is shown here as externally unchanged since its 1912 build date, retaining the inside steam pipe arrangement and the early cab without any side windows. Almost without exception, these were paired with 3500 gallon tenders. The locomotive has just crossed the facing point into the goods loop visible in the foreground, with the smokebox just obscuring the buffers of the yard headshunt alongside the retaining wall of the cutting. Richard Chetland.

DSC_0016 copy

Lee is doing a second run of the beautiful Diagram D20 Brake Third bogie carriages. These will have many  features, such as interior compartments with accurate buttoned seats, luggage racks, mirrors, over-seat illustrations, period no-smoking signs and internal lighting. Ball races in each wheel set, as well as fully detailed roofs and underframes.   No 2054 has the 1898 livery, but the later schemes are also available.   Richard Chetland.

Click here for more info

An article dealing with the planning and allowance for a layered townscape is in the works for Model Rail Magazine. We can use some of Chris Nevard’s Westcott photography as examples, and I’ll do a few sketches as well.


A townscape at Westcott, done in multiple relief layers.

plat end

A village using a combination of painted work and collage at Whitchurch Road.  David Lane.

April 5th 2017

Scan 9

Model Rail’s issue 233 has a detailed article on Geoff Williams ‘Aylesbury High Street’ in EM gauge, courtesy of the Princes Risborough MC.  It really was a careful team restoration job on this rather than a rebuild, and I believe it is the only published colour feature of this excellent model.  The original appearance has been captured with top quality Chris Nevard photography and Mike Harris’s researched copy describes the story, method and local history.

Scan 13

It could do with a higher horizon line really, but this was a restoration job rather than a new project.  A valuable 4mm scale study of the eastern side of Aylesbury as it appeared a century ago. Original by Chris Nevard.

Mike and Chris have now looked over a backscene article that will soon be designed and illustrated for Model Rail.  It covers some guidelines and planning benefits for any modellers who might be looking to do some landscape work on their projects. 


A different view of Stuart Holt’s Culrain model appears in the MR article. This excellent prototypical P4 exhibition layout uses forced perspective elements, with overscale trees and other landscape elements as front scene view blockers in the scenic area between the viewpoint and the rails, with reduced scale modelling and painting apparent behind. The screen of trees and lovely hand rendered summer sky appear with other views of the layout in Stuart’s blog, and a monotone version of this pic forms part of a single page feature in a recent Model Railway Journal.

To follow the progress of Stuart’s work, visit ‘Kyle of Sutherland’

Stuart’s page

A follow up sequenced article on 3D layered townscapes in will follow in a subsequent issue of Model Rail with some mention of space allowance, plotting to horizon, seeking reference and actually making an urban scene.

I recently spoke to Gerry Beale, who mentioned that Martin Finney’s P4 ‘Semley’ would be appearing with an illustrated article in the next MRJ so I’m looking forward to that … certainly one of my favourites!


This is a sepia version of a previous Semley MRJ feature, and although some of the scenic work was still in progress at the time, it still looks stunning. This elegant L.S.W.R. Drummond C8 class 4-4-0 was built in the June of 1898 at Nine Elms works, and is seen here on an up train leaving Semley for Shaftesbury station in 1912. Original by Barry Norman.

Some more work has been done on the Snow Hill diorama, mostly by Richard Chetland, so here are a few pictures and a great 30 second animation.  The roof components are only outlined at this stage, still requiring their detail work, but it does give a good idea of the structure.

Snow Hill animation link

Roof Structure

Roof truss from original G.W.R. elevation drawing.

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Snow Hill’s truss roof actually tapered because of the track layout, but you can see the middle section here, where the four centre roads were present between the support column rows. Richard Chetland.

We now have a vector guide artwork drawn up for the Swindon long shop, and it should give us a repeating wall section for G.W.R. locomotive portrait dioramas.

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Swindon J shop guide artwork

The windows are done too, and it can be done on the Princes Risborough MC laser cutter.  I can do all the surface and roof just as scratchbuilt one-off work.

The club’s ‘Aylesbury Town’ 4mm model will benefit from the very accurate laser cut machine, and the locomotive shed is done now.  It’s progressing well so here are a couple of image files of the station building elevations sent by David Lane.

snip 1

Platform elevation with canopy trusses

snip 2

Plan view with interior detail.  The architectural detail can be overlaid directly from the surviving building.  No substitute for good reference!

This box van was built using some laser cut components by James Aitken who came along to Bucks Hill.


Southern Railway 12T Box van No49536 has an uneven plank timber body plotted on a laser cutter, with 3D printed underframe and running gear components.

The most recent gathering at Bucks Hill was the largest so far by number of participants and we couldn’t record all the marvellous visiting engines, but here are a few of them, with as much info as I could find.


In early B.R. Green livery, Stanier Coronation class pacific No 46237 ‘City of Bristol’ heads a down train. (The locomotive was finished at Crewe in August 1939, with streamlined casing). Richard Chetland.

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‘La France’ heads an up train through the platforms. Richard Chetland.

pat 45509

The crew of ex L.M.S. Fowler ‘Patriot’ No 45509 are caught by Richard Chetland’s camera as the 4-6-0 passes Ewyas Harold with a van train. The work stained loco bears the ‘Derbyshire Yeomanry’ nameplate, which it acquired as late as 1951. The makers plate reads Crewe Works 1932, and it would have been shedded at Newton Heath.


Nigel Smith’s Peckett 0-4-0ST takes a break from shunting the sidings, and waits to return back up the Golden Valley branch line as far as the next stop at Abbeydore.

cambrian 440

Richard Abbey brought this lovely Cambrian Railways large Belpaire 4-4-0 No 98 built by Stephenson & Co in 1904. (The batch of 5 were actually the last new locos purchased by the Cambrian) The model was scratch built, then painted and lined by Bob Buckland. The first carriage is a Cambrian Railways 45′ non corridor Lug/Lav/Tri composite No 283. The model was built by Peter Dawson using Trevor Charlton sides and painted by Dave Studley.

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The second carriage is a Cambrian Railways 6-wheel Family Saloon No 263.  This one also built by Peter Dawson using Trevor Charlton sides and painted by Dave Studley.  Richard Chetland.

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G.W.R. Lee Marsh clerestory No 3134. Richard Chetland.

4w brake

The final carriage of this train is a G.W.R. 4 wheel full brake built by Richard Abbey from a Slaters kit, but painted and lined by Ian Rathbone.

Simon George is working on his Heaton Lodge layout, and he is currently lowering the support trestle heights.  Once that is done, we can set the backscene horizon and get busy with the rear panel & 3D frames. Here are a couple of pictures of Norman Saunders’ trackwork detail as far as the points for the junction with the Huddersfield line.





There is some work to be undertaken on Dr Paul Glover’s Aberayon loft layout before the photo session for Model Rail takes place, with an Exmoor panorama to be added, along with other scenic work and some foliage and tree cover.


I have some reference supplied for this one, and it will be a gentle moorland panorama, probably looking inland.

aberayon viaduct

The landscape will provide a background for the trains as they cross the viaduct, a little over a scale quarter of a mile from the terminus station.

March 14th 2017

I don’t normally include non railway stuff, but I have updated the menu’s ‘personal…vehicles’ page with a few new photos.  If you happen to like old cars as well as scale models, by all means have a quick look.



American Pie’s 224″ moly steel tube chassis now has a stroked and bored Chrysler Hemi.  It burns methanol fuel, supplied by an old Hilborn 8 stack injector from the 1960s.


The Spring Weekend at Missenden Abbey went well us usual, with a different studio to work in this time.  Six enrolled for Scenery and Dioramas, with all  participants wishing to pursue their own specific projects as test panels and 3D mockups

I’ll list them here in no particular order so you can see the variety of subject matter that gets covered. 

A window diorama space mockup of Paddington’s Platform 1 around the 1920s.

A trial 3D backscene section for a 2mm club layout of Hawes Junction

A scenic 2mm scale layout with scratchbuilt timber trestle & rock face.

Backscene trial section of the proposed Dartmouth Branch in the Broad Gauge era.

A diorama with viaduct, industry and 3D view of Smethwick in the Edwardian era.

A scenic 3D backscene trial section of a branch line looking North near Olney.

For the first time, I brought a computer terminal along, and we were able to directly look up the contouring for each location using Generate a Panorama….

Speaking of which….. the April 2017 issue of Railway Modeller is now on sale, and as part of the content, a two page guide to digital contouring is published using a south western view over Little Town, in the Newlands area of Cumbria as an example.  Thanks go to Steve, Tim and the editorial staff for including it in an issue packed with in-depth layout features, and product reviews.  An independent review of ‘Creating a Backscene’ also appears on P352, and for a future issue, I can do a few notes on choosing and painting skies from reference.


The book has now reached No 3 on Amazon’s Model Railway category ‘best seller’ listing….. Very cool indeed.

Scan 6

The April 2017 issue (above) is packed with content, with a mention of Capability Brown’s landscaping genius in the comment section!

Unusually, Kevin Wilson took the 7mm scale locomotive construction class at Missenden Abbey in the Spring.  Normally he does the Autumn weekend, but they changed it about.  67 modellers is now too many for the Abbey accommodation, but the local B&Bs are fine.  Visit the home page for details of the forthcoming events.

Bookings are now being taken for the Summer retreat, with six days of relaxed modelling from 30th July to 6th August.  The course subjects are all detailed on the website, with locomotive painting and weathering as some of the most popular classes.

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Ian Rathbone repainted this Peppercorn A1 pacific ‘North British’ in the fully lined Pre-grouping colours of the N.B.R. passenger livery. There were a few other variants, and maybe it will give the ‘Tornado’ project ideas!

Missenden Abbey Modellers

A few monotone portraits of Bucks Hill locomotives by Kevin.


Dean 2-4-0 No3242 passes a 517 class 0-4-2T shunting the small goods yard.  Original by Chris Nevard.


Double framed 4-4-0 No 3331 ‘Pegasus’ takes an up engineering train past Ewyas Harold on the up main. Original by Chris Nevard.

Chris Nevard has done a truly brilliant photo session of some of Dave Thomas’s collection in his ‘Running Shed’ terminus window diorama for Model Rail Magazine. I can’t show them yet but they show the collection in situ, and the hinged mirrored doors and 3D backscene visually extend the surroundings in all directions.  It may be that they appear in a compendium issue instead of a monthly, we’ll see.


The Shed cabinet now has dimmable lighting for both interior and exterior.


Since I took these blurry old pictures, a few details have been added, including finely made TT gauge wagons on the Backscene, and 4mm scale locomotives in a queue for the red brick coaling stage outside.

Another proposed photo set by Chris is series of portraits within a Sydney Gardens wall diorama.

5593 & LMS Brake

Lee Marsh Jubilee No 5593 ‘Kolhapur’. The original was built by the North British Locomotive Company of Glasgow in 1934, and here it uses the decorative retaining wall at Sydney Gardens as a photo backdrop.

A section of exterior wall is on the cards for a locomotive display diorama of the old Swindon works ‘J’ shop which was the iron foundry.  The drawing is a modern elevation, kindly supplied by the architects of the site’s current owners, Mcarthur Glen.

steam_3_600pxj shop jpeg

With mirrors to visually extend the wall, this will make a classic location for a G.W.R. locomotive portrait.  It should have a sound track with all the shouting, crashing and banging noises from inside the works!

Jack Anziani has made a really high quality Midland Railway Deeley compound 4-4-0, and when it’s painted, I’ll persuade Richard Chetland to get a few pictures of it at Bucks Hill.  In the meantime, here are a few slightly different versions of some of Jack’s collection.  I do still have a set of captioned pictures to add into the Westcott section.

nevard Westcott

Webb 0-6-2T No 6919 waits for the single line at Westcott. The 2P-F locomotive was built at Crewe in 1901. Original by Chris Nevard.

Westcott 240

There will eventually be a pair of these , and I’m looking forward to seeing them double heading at Bucks Hill. Original by Chris Nevard.

jack pat

Patriot No 5501 ‘St Dunstans’ was one of the first examples to be rebuilt from ‘Claughton’ components in 1930.  The large diameter driving wheel bosses are clearly visible from the original locomotive, and the engine was originally No 5902 ‘Sir Frank Ree’. 

February 14th 2017

Quite a bit of activity lately, and lots of running about to keep up with it all.

Scan 4

Model Rail Magazine No 232 is now on the shelves with a branch terminus theme, and a very good feature on Jack Anziani’s ‘Westcott’. If you are a fan of the layout, as I am, you will find that Chris Nevard’s brilliant photo session and Mike Harris detailed copy have done it proud. There is a competition to win a ‘Creating a Backscene’ volume alongside as well.


Some slightly different versions from the feature follow here…

nevard Westcott 440

Ex L.N.W.R. Bowen-Cooke ‘George the Fifth” class 4-4-0 No 25348 ‘Coronation’ leaves Westcott’s bay platform.  Original by Chris Nevard

This particular locomotive can be seen in a Pathe newsreel here

nevard Westcott 060

L.M.S. Fowler 3F 0-6-0T No16582 was built by Vulcan Foundry in 1928, and it’s seen here alongside Westcott’s single road shed. Notice the clarity of the distance detail in this study.  Original by Chris Nevard.

The subscription link is here:

Model Rail Magazine

There are some great features coming up in the next few months, including another set covering the significant Geoff Williams ‘Aylesbury High Street’ EM gauge layout recently restored to working order by the talented and dedicated team at the Princes Risborough MRC. 

That leads neatly on to the forthcoming Railex 2017 finescale exhibition at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium in May.  It’s organised by David Lane and the Princes Risborough club, and as usual, the layout list is absolutely top quality.  Details can be found at the link below, and it also encourages a download and possible print of the poster.

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Railex homepage

We will be there with CPL, hopefully alongside Bill Hudson books, so come along and say hello.


It looks as if this event will be the last exhibition outing for Gordon & Maggie Gravett’s Reseau Breton based ‘Pempoul’. In this portrait, E415 is seen resting alongside the water riser.

There are plans to do a full photo feature on Dr Paul Glover’s Aberayon & Chilton re-visited 7mm loft layout, which hasn’t been seen in print before.  The collection is well worth a look, and is always operated prototypically.  Here are a couple of thumbnail views just to provide a preview.  Part of the layout includes work by Kevin Wilson, with some fine work also contributed by the late Carl Legg.


There is a possibility of either a G.W.R. or an L.M.S. domain, so we’ll see what turns out to be the decision. In this view, an open cab pannier 0-6-0T heads a branch line train composed of 3 Lee Marsh clerestory corridor coaches.

paulg6 paulg4

Richard Chetland has done another photo shoot at Bucks Hill, partly to get some images recorded for the new Lee Marsh Model Co catalogue.  It turned out to be a good opportunity to leave the lighting in place and take some pictures of visiting locomotives as well as Kevin’s newly painted De-Glehn Atlantic.  Here are a few of them, with a number of others to be added to Kevin’s site soon.  If you would like Richard to take some photographs of your layout or do portraits of your collection, just contact me using the form on this site or just E-mail me at:


Every detail of G.W.R. De-Glehn compound No 102 ‘La France is present, and it wears the early lined black livery, rendered by Alan Brackenborough. The Kevin built M.O.K. kit is absolutely stunning, just needing coal and crew to finish, and it’s seen at Ewyas Harold, heading a set of five Lee Marsh clerestory coaches forming an up train. It’s rare to see a combination better than this, so I’m forwarding the other Richard Chetland pictures to Kevin just for the record.

lnwr 460

This L.N.W.R. George Whale ‘Experiment’ class 4-6-0 was built at Crewe in 1905 as an extended version of the Precursor class 4-4-0s. This one is the second of 105 members of the class, No 306 ‘Autocrat’. It needs a bit of work, so Mike Morris is going to sort out a few running problems.  Richard Chetland.


Ian Rathbone tried out this late BR liveried ‘Schools’ class Maunsell 4-4-0 ‘Repton’  Richard Chetland


Kevin’s M.O.K. ‘King Arthur’ class N15 No 30740 ‘Merlin’ has lightly weathered early BR brunswick green livery. The locomotive was built at the L.S.W.R. works at Eastleigh in 1919 and it heads a train of G.W.R.brown stock on a down train.  Richard Chetland

There are a number of other recent visitors and new builds to be added to Kevin’s site over the next few days

Bucks Hill in 7mm

Paul Ash sent in a couple of photos of Stanton his rural  G.W.R. branch line diorama layout.  The open landscape surrounding this lovely scene is just the ticket, and a few distant trees stand against the sky in perfect balance.  An excellent scene, so looking forward to seeing more of this. 


The subtle painted sky has light, layered clouds, and a coppice stands against the distant skyline.  Paul Ash

January 27th 2017

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Issue No 232 comes out soon, and it will feature Jack Anziani’s ‘Westcott’ layout, among other things.  The photos have been done by Chris Nevard, and another view appears in Model Rail’s layout gallery.

Layout Gallery link

Mike Harris has kindly allowed me to preview this one before he sends me the cover design. Hopefully I will also be contributing a short guide on generating reduced scale backscene elements for a following issue, and some easily produced relief modelling can be seen in this study of the small terminus set in its urban environment.

This is one of my favourite views of Westcott and this feature portrays the early days of the L.M.S.R.

This is one of my favourite views of Westcott because it’s uncluttered, and this particular feature portrays the branch line as it looked in the early days of the L.M.S.R.  The local passenger train has an ex L.N.W.R. Webb 0-6-2T, which was built at Crewe in 1901.  Chris Nevard.


Westcott’s weighbridge office. Richard Chetland

In addition to the magazine feature, there will soon be a gallery type feature on ‘Let’s go Loco’.  A set of selected pictures from around the layout have been done by Richard Chetland, with captions written by Jack, and a few different versions of these are now added to the Westcott section of this site.

517bw westcott

G.W.R. 517 class 0-4-2T No1430 running around the station loop. The engine was built by Malcolm Mitchell from his own kit and painted/lined in early livery with Indian red frames by Alan Brackenborough. The station building is based on St Alban’s LNWR branch but without the track covering canopy. It was made by Peter Smith of Kirtley Models, who also built Westcott’s engine shed.  Richard Chetland.


Ex L.N.W.R. ‘Jumbo’ as LMS no 5005 ‘Pitt’ built by Jack from a Mercian kit sitting outside Westcott engine shed for coaling and water. There is another Jumbo to be built so that they can double head as they often did in service during pre-grouping days. Richard Chetland.

There is also a possibility that the excellent ‘Hadleigh’ (A Great Eastern Railway terminus as seen in Suffolk in 1911) might be the subject of a future article, as well as some of Andrew Cowie’s work, possibly using a Sydney Gardens diorama as a set.

A G.E.R. Horse drawn wagon at Hadleigh Station yard. The model was painted by Dave Studley

A G.E.R. Horse drawn wagon at Hadleigh Station yard. The 7mm scale model was painted by Dave Studley.


A Lee Marsh Model Co, G.W.R. Dean ‘Achilles’ class 4-2-2 ‘Dreadnought’ and it’s passenger train at Andrew Cowie’s Sydney Gardens. The locomotive retains the elegant low pitched, parallel boiler and complimentary round topped firebox, and it appears in panel lined Brunswick green ‘Monogram’ livery with indian red frames and bogie.

Lee has been busy as usual, and the British Railways Riddles 9F looks amazing. Maybe we’ll see one at Heaton Lodge on a preservation special! 

9F information page


This pristine ‘Evening Star’ has a very high detail level, not forgetting the ‘Swindon’ copper capped double chimney. Lee Marsh.

MARM_logo (1)

A few cancellations have now allowed four places to be reserved at the Spring Weekend, and whilst writing this, I will insert a quiet nudge to remind the registered participants to return your forms using the link below by Sunday 19th February, three weeks hence.  Thank you for those already returned.

Missenden Abbey Modellers link

I am pleased to welcome the first ever lady participant to register at the Abbey, which is a good thing for the backscene class and it will hopefully encourage the others to behave themselves and make my life easier!

Stuart Holt sometimes comes along to do backscene planning and diorama work at Missenden, but unfortunately he can’t make this years class.  He did send me some views of one of his projects ‘Kyle of Sutherland’ though.

Stuart’s P4 Blog

culrain station

A view of Stuart’s 4mm scale Culrain Station with his hand painted clouded sky rear panel.

culrain road

The road climbs slightly as it curves away from the station and out of sight behind the view blocking trees to the left. A really atmospheric summer scene, with subtle scenic colours, excellent foliage study and another hand rendered sky with a perfectly matched rising contour to the right.

We attended the BOGG show at the U.W.E. at Bristol with the CPL trade stand and it certainly was a busy day.  Alongside us were the good folks at Crecy Publishing, who brought some more copies of ‘Creating a Backscene’ with them. The sales numbers have now reached a thousand volumes, which is far above my 350 guess, so no complaints at all there. If you have managed to get through it, do please leave me some feedback, either directly, or as a general opinion at the RM web topic below. If I do consider another book project, it will give me some valuable direction.

RM Web book link


A Diorama book might be an idea, or possibly a further venture into applied landscape painting. Here’s a colourful L.N.E.R. duo staged in a window display interior.

Julian Stedman came to Bristol, and he has made progress with his 7mm scale ‘Penpergwm’ Brecon Beacons home layout.


Penpergwm..the gently curving rear panel has a good height allowance, and it has base colours to a low horizon line for seated operation. Some painting work will hopefully be undertaken by Ian Rathbone on the G.W.R. locomotive collection.

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The backscene for Penpergwm is a real gift, with the distinctive profile of Blorenge to the left, and a set of interesting overlapping layers and contoured surfaces. The foreground details are also very lucky for such a remote location. Generate a Panorama.

I found a few old watercolours in the loft the other day, and one or two were by my grandad, Harry Taylor Bambrick who lived his later life in the suburbs of Coventry.

ht b

I’m not sure of the location, but I suspect a holiday in the lakes made Harry want to capture this view. Get back to me if you recognise it. H.T. Bambrick.

January 17th 2017

We will be at the Bristol UWE O Gauge show with CPL, and alongside us will be Crecy Publishing who have kindly produced the pop up display banner (pictured below).

Come along and see us, all the latest news and other details can be found on their page..

Bristol Show 2017


I’ll try and keep up with both enterprises as best I can!  Thanks to Jeremy Pratt and Kevin Robertson for keeping up the interest, not forgetting Wendy Barratt who did the design.  A number of other reviews have appeared since the last post, all with positive feedback so that’s good.


The photo section owes a great deal to the input and courtesy of John Ellis-Cockell and John Stockton-Wood who collaborated on Llanberis. I couldn’t use any black & white images in the book, because of showing the importance of colour matching, but it’s fine here, so here’s a monotone view over the goods yard.


A feature with some of my old Westcott pictures has been published on Mike & Kathryn Whatton’s ‘Lets go Loco’ website (see link below), but there will be a better set soon from Richard Chetland, captioned by Jack Anziani.

Let’s go Loco Westcott article

This is at Bucks Hill, but It's a recent addition toone from Jacks collection

This is at Bucks Hill, but It’s a recent addition to Jack’s extensive L.M.S. collection. Richard Chetland.

jacks double

This four wheeler is seen on the demonstration line.

MARM_logo (1)

I have just begun to correspond with some of the  Missenden Abbey modellers about their projects, with a few previously registered participants attending, and a few new faces too.  I have made many friends at these gatherings (which is one of the best things about Missenden, and due to a slight re-shuffle of tutors at the Spring weekend, Kevin Wilson will be taking the 7mm scale locomotive workshop instead of his usual Autumn dates.

I will be updating the Bucks Hill news and visiting loco pages when I can.


Kevin’s M.O.K. B.R. Standard 2-6-4T No 80105 moves past the 82G running shed.

crossing wescott

Several projects will be moving from mock up stages, and on to the next steps of layering and rendering in detail. Here’s a 3D section of Westcott’s backscene starting directly behind the level crossing, which features a road continuation.


We will be doing layered, multi scaled 3D backscenes at Missenden, and this example provides a prototypical landscape drawn from period mapping.  This reproduction portfolio view was recently featured in a Model Railway Journal edited by Gerry Beale.  Layout by Martin Finney.

Some of the work at Missenden Abbey will be with 2D backscene rear panels, and this one appears behind Semley's small stone and timber L.S.W.R. signalbox and corrugated parcels office. The fabulous P4 layout now has it's most recent detail work in position. and the telegraph pole, station staff, barrows and parcels complete the scene to the very highest standard of presentation. Photo courtesy of Martin Finney

Some of the work at Missenden Abbey will be with 2D backscene rear panels, and this one appears behind Semley’s small stone and timber L.S.W.R. signalbox and corrugated parcels office. The fabulous P4 layout now has it’s most recent detail work in position. and the telegraph pole, station staff, barrows and parcels complete the scene to the very highest standard of presentation. Photo courtesy of Martin Finney.

January 5th 2017

ian all logo

Some of you will already know that the ownership of Ian Allan Publishing’s railway titles has recently been transferred to Crecy Publishing.  In practical terms, the I.A. link to obtaining the existing titles still works, and the shops will remain as well but I must say I’m a bit sad about it really as my effort might be the last hardback to bear the famous name.   Hopefully the Crecy listing will soon be up, but it’s early days for that as I’m sure there will be quite a lot of organising for them to undertake in the new year.  On the positive side, I would very much like to thank all the reviewers who have posted their comments on Amazon and the main modeller’s forums,  


The next printed review, as far as I know, will be Steve Flint’s write up, scheduled for the next issue of ‘Railway Modeller’ magazine to hit the shelves around Feb 10th.


The short book signing session at Pendon Museum turned out to be a great day out, and with fourteen copies sold, the volunteers made us feel at home and gave us a behind the scenes tour at the end.


There has been a great deal of work done, particularly on the Vale scene, with fantastic new buildings waiting to be seated in, as well as disused narrow canal locks, and it would be perfectly possible to add a layered 3D backscene along the lower edge as well if it turns out to be an approved idea.

Richard Chetland has taken a few more pics at Bucks Hill lately and a new feature of his work recording Jack Anziani’s collection will soon be published on the ‘Let’s go Loco’ contributors section.  I’ll put a link to it when they have finished it and update the Westcott section here at the same time.


Len Bunn brought this fine Brassmasters ‘City of Truro’ along in monogram livery, and it took out a rake of L.N.W.R. Carriages on the up main.   Richard Chetland.


It’s hardly ever possible to catch a whole train in a Bucks Hill photo, but Richard moved the tripod back a bit for this new pair of G.W.R. Auto trailers and their 517 Class tank locomotive.


Stanier Pacific No 6200 ‘The Princess Royal’ in weathered L.M.S. lake. Richard Chetland.


G.W.R. Churchward 2-8-0 No 2862 heads a long train of coal empties. Richard Chetland


L.M.S. Coronation class Streamlined pacific No 6244 ‘King George VI’ had originally been ‘City of Leeds’ until 1941, when it was patriotically re-named.   The streamlined casings with their ‘speed whisker’ lining were removed in 1946/7 bringing the class back to conventional appearance, but fitted with smoke deflectors. Richard Chetland.

I have done a quick backscene mockup for the ‘Heaton Lodge’ 7mm scale 1980s layout, so we can try it in place in the next few months, some time before the builder must re-devote more time to the popularity of his company’s supercar driving days, which are coming round again in the springtime. 


Heaton Lodge is near Huddersfield, in the Calder Valley, and the scenery for this mockup backscene has the trackbed of the overgrown and long disused Newtown goods line included as part of the landscape. The scene will be portrayed to match the colours and moods of the bleak season of winter in this part of the country, so the skies are grey, the ground is frosty and the trees are bare.

In contrast, this small backscene end panel is done in the summer, painted to accompany a 7mm scale version of the Great Eastern Railway’s Terminus station at Hadleigh, in the quiet Suffolk countryside between Sudbury to the east, and Ipswich to the east.


A detail from Hadleigh’s end panel, which is nearly done now. This view is what appeared looking North, with George Street’s cottages are to the left, the rear of the Methodist chapel at centre, and almshouses and malthouse roofs to right. There are still a few more details to add in the foreground.  It’s all built over with housing now, and the town is still expanding.


This is what Hadleigh’s station forecourt looked like in 1911, with quite a lot of horse drawn wagons, and small G.E.R. tank locomotives busily shunting the sidings.  Part of the old station still survives, but it is now surrounded by new private housing, instead of the Victorian malthouses.

Searching image libraries and historic mapping on the internet for reference is an inevitable part of familiarising myself with a railway locality.  Most of the information that appears in searches can usually be quickly dismissed as irrelevant, and of course I do try not to get distracted by it! 

So those are my best intentions, but of course I’m far from perfect so during a recent quest for backscene reference, I came across a web page that got the better of my curiosity.  The page I stumbled across is linked here…..The train now departing

I have no connection with the ‘Gerald Massey’ archive other than as a very interested reader, but it certainly extends far beyond the study page of the early years of the London & Birmingham Railway, to include literature, maps and all sorts of other historical study areas.  Be sure to explore the many indexes for an extraordinarily well compiled domain.


Coventry was regarded as one of the most important intermediate stations on the L&B line. ‘The spires of St. Michael’s church, 300 feet high, of the Holy Trinity, and of the Grey Friars, are the great ornament of the neighbourhood, and are seen to great advantage from the road. There is a splendid station here, whole staircases of stone, and every accommodation for the landing and departure of travellers.  (The Standard, 18th September 1838).  Situated a short distance to the south of the City, it would make a good subject for a contained diorama model, with its staircases and spires in the background. Bury 2-2-0 locomotives passing one another with passenger trains, and 0-4-0 locomotives working and shunting goods wagons. Gerald 

A working pencil sketch for a painting of a Bury 2-2-0 of the same period

A working pencil sketch for a painting of a Bury 2-2-0 of the same period

December 9th 2016

This is the ad that Ian Allan have put into Model Rail magazine, and I have had a few more positive reviews to notch up on Amazon and the internet forums too.  It’s doing fine, and apparently, we managed to break the signing day record for I.A. as well as selling out the following day…… Very cool indeed, and quite a relief after that much effort.


I can put a few versions here from a set of recent pictures from a recent Bucks Hill running session, and some portraits from Jack Anziani’s collection, all done by Richard Chetland.  These have benefitted from a new set of diffused lights, allowing different lens settings to the previous trials.   When I can, I will get round to updating the B.H. & Westcott gallery pages on this site, with a larger set of colour versions.


Un-named Brittania Pacific No 70047 rounds the down main, leaning slightly on the curve. The model is by Masterpiece Models, and it has been at Bucks Hill for a while now. A recent weathering by Fred Lewis of Welsh Wizard loco works has taken the shine off, and the reduced reflections and highlights allowed the shot to come out well. Richard Chetland.


Detail of the motion and frames of Bucks Hill’s resident Ivatt Flying Pig mogul. This was built from an M.O.K. kit by Kevin, and just look at the quality. Well worth a close up study,  photo by Richard Chetland.


A Black & white portrait of a Lee Marsh Jubilee No 5600 with L.M.S livery and carriages. Richard Chetland.


Lee Marsh Patriot No 5538 ‘Giggleswick’. Richard Chetland.


Large Prairie 5159 heads west on a local service, with an old clerestory behind the locomotive. Richard Chetland.



No 4418 is turned at Westcott shed.  Richard Chetland


Streamlined tramcar No 245 alongside an L.M.S. Omnibus, both polished and ready to go. Richard Chetland.


This weathered Lee Marsh L.M.S. Patriot class 4-6-0 was posed for Model Rail magazine’s recently published ‘Terminus’ photo set.  Here No 5536 Private W. Wood V.C. backs onto its train, while a suburban service waits in Westcott’s bay platform.  The townscape spreads out into the distance up the valley slope behind.    Richard Chetland.


My favourite so far, G.W.R. 0-4-2T No 1430 runs out of the platform road. It actually appears in the early livery here, with Indian red frames and wheels.  Richard Chetland.

December 1st 2016

The Warley show turned out to be a pretty good result, with 42 signed books on the Saturday.  Everybody was happy with that, so of course my thanks go to all the people who made it happen, including the customers, some of whom bought more than one!  The only drawback with participating is a very limited time window to see the show itself and with a show that size, it makes it even more noticeable.  


I have since sent a copy to Tim Watson for the Copenhagen Fields library.  The diorama was present at the N.E.C. , and some more work has now been done at the city end.


Copenhagen Fields originally surrounded Copenhagen House, the 17th-century residence of England’s Danish ambassador. The locality changed beyond all recognition as the main railway lines out to the east coast cut through here, with noise, animal markets and sidings full of wagons.  Tim Watson & The Model Railway Club.

A few pictures from Bucks Hill running sessions, and some album pictures done in sepia & B/W


This Fowler 4F-C was tried out by Jack Anziani. The loco was built at Derby in Sept 1927, and it appears in it’s original livery.


G.W.R 4-4-0 No 3267 ‘Cornishman’.  Original by Steve Flint.


C. B. Collett G.W.R. 0-6-0 No 2258. Original by Steve Flint.


Metropolitan Railway Sharp Stewart ‘D’ Class 2-4-0T No 76, with a mixed goods train. Original by David Lane.


Met ‘A’ Class No27 in a cutting with horse box No10.

 November 25th 2016


Tomorrow is the day!… Keep an eye out on Saturday for Stand A31 at Warley.  Tim Shackleton will also be reviewing the book for the next issue of Hornby Magazine.


To the right is the colourful upright stand banner from Ian Allan, but if you can’t make the N.E.C. or Pendon, just click on the link to mail order yours for Chr****as.


Ian Allan listing



Mike & Kathryn Whatton have kindly published two small features on landscaping models and listed me as a contributor to their ‘Let’s go Loco’ website, after a visit to Bucks Hill.  A few excerpts from the book are edited in to give an idea of the content.

Article link

The Shed Diorama is done, barring a few tiny tweaks, and I’m hoping Chris Nevard will take an interest and include a little time from his busy schedule to take some multi focus pictures.  The occupants will, in future represent the Great Western Railway instead of the Met.


Two Metropolitan Railway locomotives rest on shed, looking outdoors to another part of the depot. The building has been done as a survivor from the early Victorian period, with cast iron roof brackets, arched doors and round top windows. The roof has timber trusses and the whitewashed interior is peeling and dirty.


Old No 27 is a similar age to the shed itself and doesn’t see much use anymore. The big windows let the daylight flood in, and another shed can be seen in between the outer wall and the grass coaling stage incline beyond that. There are many layers of visible distance behind the ramp, with occupied carriage sidings and signalboxes, and a detailed town skyline can also be seen at the furthest distance.

Richard Chetland has bought some Photo floods to light some portraits of Jack Anziani’s collection, posed around Westcott.  The following trial shots were taken to familiarise Richard with the available space, so we’ll do that when time permits, Chris Nevard’s previous picture set remains in waiting for a full feature in the next Model Rail Magazine bookazine.


Westcott has an ever increasing stud of L.M.S. locomotives made from kits by Jack Anziani. Bowen-Cooke 0-8-2T No 7885 is in weathered unlined black.


One of several Liverpool liner electric bogie trams.


90218 Riddles WD 2-8-0 with a characteristic layering of soot and dirt.


I can’t use sepia toned photographs in books and magazines dealing with backscenes because I need to show colour matching and so on, but it’s OK here and on the Bucks Hill site, so this is L.M.S. 0-6-0T No 11617 on shed at Westcott.

While I’m waiting for a new electricity power breaker for the workshop, I can get on with a small backscene end section for a lovely 7mm scaled layout of the Great Eastern railway’s terminus station at Hadleigh in Suffolk in 1911.


The station and it’s surrounding maltings appears at the bottom of this OS map, and the first backscene section (to the left) will need to look north, across a number of field boundaries, towards the north eastern part of this busy market town. The back of the Methodist Chapel can be seen from the station entrance, along with the other Almshouses, Malthouses, small dwellings, cottages and finally the Tower Mill.

November 3rd 2016



I will be attending the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition on the 26th of November in association with Bill Hudson Transport books, who have kindly allowed us a last minute corner of their trade stand for a small backscene demo.


The occasion will be the release of my first book, and my continued thanks go to all those who are still working hard to make the arrangements.  I can make the Saturday from about 10.30 on, so it doesn’t matter what scale you work in, please do come along if there are any problems with your backscene, or you want to make sure your new project gets off on the right foot.  Use the links below to visit the bookshop, and also to explore the sheer amount and variety of exhibits at the N.E.C. this year

Bill Hudson books

Warley Show

In addition to this, there will be an advertisement in a really exciting new magazine, also to be released at Warley. With nearly all the existing titles booked up with content months or years even in advance of publication, there’s plenty of room for more modelling work from model shops and other rail-related outlets.  It’s actually free to pick up, and will make a great addition to what is a much bigger hobby than is generally perceived I think, so lets all welcome….


I can’t wait to see it, so to help introduce the title,  here’s a quick description from Publisher Tim Hartley….

The Railway Magazine Modelling is a new publication from the publishers of The Railway Magazine, Rail Express and Heritage Railway. The Modelling magazine will be distributed nationwide across model shops and heritage railway lines and will primarily be aimed at beginners and returners to railway modelling, but with plenty of content and interest for the more experienced modeller and rail fan too.

Model shops and manufacturers will advertise to illustrate what’s available for this hobby and high-quality editorial – compiled by experienced journalist Sarah Palmer, and using a number of modelling experts and writers – will feature nostalgia, new models, how-to, model shop of the month and lots more. We’ll also be featuring steam heritage lines, museums and places to visit to get inspiration for the hobby.

Modelling will help answer some of the modelling questions thousands of readers want answered every month.

Their other titles can be found at……


If you happen to be passing the Thames valley area between Christmas and New year, I can include a reminder here that the Pendon Museum will re-open after the holiday break on the 30th of December. I will be doing a demo in the bookshop on this day, and they will also have the book in stock by then. If you can’t make Warley or you just need to get out of the house for a bit, then come along and see some of the latest additions.


The Priory & Godfreys.   Original by Ian Smith


Dartmoor, with No 2844 heading a coal train.   Original by Andy York.


Badminton crosses Acorn Bridge.  Original by Tony Wright.


Wharf Cottage and Carpenter’s Arms.   Original by Chris Nevard.

Richard Chetland is going to take some pictures of Jack Anziani’s collection soon, because there aren’t that many recorded images, certainly not a full set anyway. Here are some of his from the last few Bucks Hill running sessions, along with a few of my B/W efforts in between.  I have done some more updating of recent activity, covering both running days and build projects on Kevin’s Bucks Hill in 7mm


John Edwards fine Drummond M7 with Westinghouse auto train equipment.  Richard Chetland



D1011 Western Thunderer.  Richard Chetland


A V2 runs light, tender first, but pauses in the down loop. long enough for a quick snapshot.


Lee Marsh Patriot No 5527

I took the CPL products trade stand along to the Binfield 7mm scale show at the weekend.  The layouts were excellent, including the Princes Risborough club’s ‘Okehampton’, out for the first time and coming along very nicely.  I bumped into Ian Clements, who now lives in Risboro’, and here’s a link to his ‘Chesham loco works’ site.


A pair of ex Somerset and Dorset 2-8-0s on Ian’s Highbridgewater 7mm scale layout.

October 10th 2016


I have received confirmation of the Missenden Abbey modelling Spring weekend, and the places are being snapped up very quickly indeed.  The excerpts from the Abbey website explain the booking situation to this date, but do check back for official updates at;

Missenden Abbey Modellers homepage


Richard Chetland is working and researching the Birmingham Snow Hill diorama, but It is still very early days for this project, He has a great deal to do in just setting up the initial stages, like scanning and straightening all the relevant photographic reference.  Importing a set of accurate 2D outlines as scaled elevations into a 3D design programme is the essential foundation, and this then allows the creation of  3D files that we know will fit together once printed.


The re-scaled and straightened Edwardian drawings of a Snow Hill roof support column can be seen here, isolated and projected as end and side elevations. The stages of modelling the component are generated directly from this reference, firstly as a basic polygonal framework, becoming progressively more detailed as the 2D information is projected into 3D. The early stages of setting up are shown and rendered here to show a work in progress.


A corner of platform canopy valance for Snow Hill. A number of different profiles will eventually be required for this large 7mm scale mirrored diorama.

As an alternative to 3D, there is always the etch process, and we will be using this as the ideal method of reproducing  the Snow Hill staircases.  Pictured below is another job, this time concentrating on the smaller rivetted canopy trusses at the G.W.R. Henley-on-Thames terminus. 


Reference as good as this takes virtually all that annoying guesswork out of the job, you even get the intermediate trusses and the profiled timber canopy outline. At the time of drawing of course, it would have been just another day to day working specification, but the passage of time now allows us to see it differently, as a valuable document of another era.


Here’s an artwork to reproduce the G.W.R. canopy ironwork from the drawing.  It does require assembly and folding, but it also represents a cheaper, alternative method to 3D when it comes to generating identical repeating components.

A gathering at Bucks Hill took place recently, and here are a few pics of newcomers trying out their running characteristics and responses to DCC, including the all important sound effects.


Collett 4575 class small prairie No 4584 in early B.R. unlined black heads west with a pick-up goods. The locomotive was built at Swindon in 1927 as a development of Churchward’s 4500 class and some of these were fitted with Auto train control gear for work in South Wales.


The fireman of this work stained L.M.S. 0-6-0 stands behind as the driver looks out of the cab’s grimy spectacle plate, (nearly all the ‘mooky’ early L.M.S. locos that appear are from the steady, but prolific hands of Jack Anziani)


This stunning L.N.W.R. Claughton was brought along by Jonathan Marcus. It was originally built by Geoff Holt, and has since had a little updating work done, along with a conversion to DCC. Here, it heads an equally impressive rake of Wolverton bogie stock. 


This Adams Radial No 420 is from Jack’s collection, but was built by Chris Wesson. It pulls a short L.S.W.R. train including the six-wheeled Inspection saloon coach (visible behind the locomotive) which features a very finely detailed interior with passengers. The locomotive was built by Beyer Peacock in 1882 from a small batch of 12

The running shed diorama has now had its lighting system tested, and it has turned out to be about right.  It has quite a bit of intensity, which deliberately throws a lot of bright ‘sun’ light through the big windows , making pools and shadows onto the dirty stone setts. The bright windows silhouette the outlines of the shedded engines, accentuating the gloomy, soot streaked interior.


I have used some of my old cardboard and sticky tape Metropolitan Railway engines to try out the effects, and it’s a real contrast that I want to see for this diorama, not an evenly lit commercial display. I’m happy with the glow of the warm sun in this picture, as it highlights the brick edge of the window aperture just in front of the engine’s smokebox. Although it”s blurry, the colours of a Great Western engine can be seen outdoors on the 3D backscene.


Both ends are mirrored, and one of the last few jobs before I hand the job over is to get some professional photography done using the clever multi focus step method. That will allow me to look along a row of engines from the opening end doors, while still keeping the whole picture in focus.

As a last point, I have taken an interest lately in the paintings of Algernon Newton, and if, like me, you do respond to good landscape painting, you might also find a pleasure in his work.  This ‘painter of quiet distinction’ was born in Hampstead in 1888, a grandson of Henry Newton, one of the founders of Winsor & Newton, the famous art materials company.  

He often painted canals or groups of factory buildings, but he also studied countryside, sometimes as views from railway carriage windows, without romanticizing or shrinking from any detail work.  The paintings were usually created with poetic and restful compositions with a similar balance to those of Canaletto.   He himself once wrote: “There is beauty to be found in everything, you only have to search for it; a gasometer can make as beautiful a picture as a palace on the Grand Canal, Venice. It simply depends on the artist’s vision.”

Newton, Algernon Cecil; Birmingham with the Hall of Memory; Birmingham Museums Trust;

Newton, Algernon Cecil; Birmingham with the Hall of Memory 1929; Birmingham Museums Trust.


to trace; (c) Museum of London; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Newton, Algernon Cecil; The Backs of houses, Harley Street, London, 1925 (c) Museum of London.

September 22nd 2016

Still catching up with backlog work as best I can, some of which has sprung from the annual Guildex event at Telford’s International Centre.  Thanks To Pat Legg for looking after me with the slightly revised CPL stand, it would have been near impossible without her support.  With two 6ft tables, I was able to spread out a little, and place a few items of interest on display, along with Kevin’s superb CPL Dreadnought GWR dining saloon carriage in a diorama case.

There are now quite a number of carriage etches that have been sent for production, so obviously a big thanks to all those folks that placed orders, as well as the stock customers that have now nearly wiped me out of some of the castings stock altogether.  One of the displays was an etch to produce a Lambourne Valley Railway 0-6-0T, which created some interest, so if you didn’t manage to make it to the show, here are a few of the details and a picture of a similar locomotive.


This one is Ealhswith, but the slightly later and larger Eadweade was also an outside cylinder O-6-OT, built for the Lambourne Valley Railway by the Hunslet Engine Company in June 1903 (works number 811), with 3′ 7″ wheels over a 10′ 6″ wheel base. It weighed 24 tons and was painted dark blue lined out in black and white

Eadweade had a copper capped chimney and a brass safety valve cover, and the nameplates were brass with a red background 

It was sold to the Cambrian Railway Company in June 1904 where it became number 24, but under the grouping the Cambrian became a constituent of the enlarged G.W.R.  The locomotive entered GW stock on 1st January 1922 becoming number 819 remaining in service until its withdrawal in March 1946.

There are no castings for this yet, but I will see what can be done to source a set of suitable patterns when I can. In the meantime, give me a call if you would like one etched in advance.

I will post a few more pics on Bucks Hill in 7mm, and take a few new ones at the next gathering which comes up later this week.


Mike Morris wanted to try out this Class 42 ‘Warship’, and it ran without any problems, D867’Zenith’ came from the second Swindon batch in early 1961, using a design adapted from the German V200 class. Twin 1135HP Maybach type engines drove Mekydro hydraulic transmissions all built under licence over here.


Lee Marsh Ex G.W.R Prairie No 4177 heads a local passenger train away from the up platform. The locomotive appears in weathered early BR lined black livery.


Pristine Lee Marsh Jubilee 4-6-0 No 5593 in L.M.S. lined black. The original was built in 1934 by the North British Locomotive Company of Glasgow, as works no 24151, to a design by William Stanier. In May 1936 it was named Kolhapur after a princely state in Western India.

One of the jobs I didn’t get round to before Telford was sorting out the details and reference for this experimental G.W.R. enclosed locomotive, which is one of four examples that appeared in 1906.


As well as 517 class 0-4-2Ts Nos 533 & 833, a pair of 2021 class 0-6-0Ts Nos 2120 (pictured here) & 2140 were partially disguised by this carriage profiled outer casing.

The fully lined outer shell was simply intended to provide a visual uniformity
for the train’s formation, and once the locomotive was coupled between a pair of
similarly liveried auto-trailers, it probably helped to disguise the familiar steam
outline to an extent.

They turned out to be quite impractical, partly due to maintenance access issues and other difficulties like dirt soot and ash accumulation within the shell as well as excessive interior heat buildup making oiling round and other crew responsibilities uncomfortable.  This is an outline of the 2021 class loco with some of the changes incorporated.

If you are after something a bit different for that Edwardian G.W.R. branch line terminus,  I do have an etch to reproduce the shell in 7mm scale which has window beadings, footplate brackets and buffer beams but does need a profiled roof with hatches for the water tank fillers.  Do bear in mind they had all been removed by 1911!  

Even with the initial failure, the arrangement eventually became the most normal locomotive configuration on the railways of the world, as the inner workings of nearly all modern motive power units are enclosed with panelled outer casings. 


No 2140, after the front shell section had been removed.

A consortium of modelling experts have now successfully secured the excellent Martin Finney 7mm scale kits.  It’s a great bit of news, and they can be found at…

This Bulleid air smoothed light pacific No 34098 ‘Templecombe’ was built from the original Martin Finney kit, and this class will become one of the first re-releases from Finney7.

The backscene book is now completely out of my hands, and it rests with Ian Allan’s Print Manager.  A schedule for binding, shipping and release will be announced when they have made their arrangements.  Plans to market and advertise the title can be devised in the meantime, along with ideas to attend a possible trade show or exhibition with a demo table for a launch event.  Malcolm Mitchell is in the process of writing and compiling a volume on the work of George Iliffe Stokes, so that will be certainly be one to collect, looking forward to that.


John Stockton-Wood’s Llanberis is one of the featured layouts, showing that with the right team of people, it’s sometimes possible to generate a specific pre-grouping backscene using edited digital images. This was actually recorded from the opposite bank of Llyn Padarn. Barry Norman.

I don’t have any very good pictures of the running shed diorama yet, but I just have to pick a day when I can get away to buy some mirrors for the end panels.  This gives a hint of what it looks like, with a layered 3D backscene visible through the large windows in the rear wall. It features a coaling stage and sidings all within an industrial setting to skyline.


I used one of my old Metropolitan Railway engines to give a bit of scale to the shed. Eventually, the interior will be gloomy, with the daylight coming in through the windows.

To avoid duplication in a marketplace with limited demand, most of the CPL range concentrates on the equipment and accessories that are not covered by other suppliers.  At the moment there is an adjustable length sprung bogie frame kit that accepts whitemetal or 3D cosmetic sides, but I found a 7mm etch for the Pullman 10 ft rivetted bogie as pictured below.


Many steam hauled Pullman Coaches were equipped with the unequalised rivetted plate 10 ft wheelbase bogies, so if you are struggling to find them in 7mm, let me know. The fold up etch contains the bogie frame with crossmembers, bolster and brake gear as well as separate overlays for the curved lower channel. Even the axleboxes and individual spring leaves are included, so certainly not a beginner’s etch, but quite an impressive level of authenticity is achievable with enough time spent.

August 14th 2016

Many projects are currently receiving attention this month, and I can mention a few of them here, along with some pictures to illustrate progress.  A gathering took place at Bucks Hill recently, and some interesting new locomotives appeared.  I will put the best images up on Bucks Hill in 7mm as soon as I can find the time, but in the meantime, here are a few to begin with.

james m7

James Aitken’s photogenic Drummond M7 0-4-4T No 35 in Southern livery will soon become a regular runner on the Princes Risborough club’s Okehampton layout. These capable side tank locos were developments from the Adams T1 class.

jim star

Jim Gander brought this pristine Churchward ‘Star’ No 4018 ‘Knight of the Grand Cross’. The Knight series of ten locos comprised Lot 173 of 1908. Photo by Richard Chetland.

jub end on

Lee Marsh L.M.S. ‘Jubilee’ 4-6-0 No 5600 ‘Bermuda’ rounds the curve.  It has now been weathered by Fred Lewis and it looks great with it’s hard working ‘in service’ look.  I am currently sorting out a few pictures for Lee’s upcoming catalogue, and it might be a good one to include. Photo by Richard Chetland.

jack fowler

Detail from a Jack Anziani built L.M.S. 2-6-4T complete with ‘mook’. Detail by Richard Chetland.

The previous pics were taken by Richard Chetland, who has already produced a set of historically accurate 3D files from archived drawings.  Some time ago these were successfully printed and assembled into a diorama of Bristol old station.

Temple Meads, in the mid Victorian period. The architectural detail was copied from the drawings, then generated in 3D.

Temple Meads, in the mid Victorian period. The architectural detail for this was basically copied from the drawings, then generated in 3D.

More recently, he has been going over some newly provided reference, looking to reproduce another set of repeating roof truss and canopy components, also in 7mm scale.  The subject this time, will hopefully be a new diorama depicting the Edwardian rebuild of Birmingham’s Snow Hill station.  A couple of examples from the large file of reference drawings follow here for interest.

snow hill

This quality of reference really shines through when it’s properly applied to a railway model. Each brick course and it’s colour is drawn and coloured by hand. The actual station is sadly lost, but with enough dedication and the right information, at least it could be reproduced again as a high quality miniature.

snow hill ref2

Part of the diorama side view would probably be the lower elevation of the stairs leading to the down platform in this combination drawing. Above is an end elevation of the staircases up to the enclosed footbridge, topped with brick and stone arches all resting on the massive girders that spanned the four sets of rails below.

As well as some preparatory work on Snow Hill, Richard has also generated a brand new 3D buttoned carriage seat for CPL, so here’s a first look.  The top cushion is separate, leaving the lower back and squab as a single accurate component for use longitudinally below the windows in saloon carriages.  The top can be cut about and used as raw material for upholstering the compartment inner seat sides and door panels too. The spacing allows the use of the Slaters partitions and armrests either for two or three seats abreast.  

This happens to show the assembly in green smoking compartment leather, but it can be presented in any colours just by spraying it satin for leather or matt for woven fabric

This render happens to show the assembly in green smoking compartment leather, but it can be presented in any colours just by spraying it satin for leather or matt for woven fabric ….. to see animated movie assembly sequence, Richard will also be considering a number of other ‘awkward to make’ components like dining car tablecloths and curtains.

Dave Thomas has sent a few pictures from his Great Western locomotive collection.

dave thomas 2

56xx weathered by Neil Podbery, this will soon hopefully take it’s place in an equally grubby running shed diorama.

dave thomas 1

2-6-2T No 4407 has received the same treatment

I now have an etch to produce the suspended ironwork and pulleys for a G.W.R. Goods loading gauge.  The parts fit either the rail built standard type or the tapered wooden 1929 gallows type post.

Tapered wooden post arrangement.

Tapered wooden post arrangement.

Bullhead rail construction with bracing

Bullhead rail construction with bracing









Etch with ironwork, bracing, rivet detail and pulleys.

Etch with ironwork, bracing, rivet detail and pulleys.

July 19th 2016

Another batch of winter trees is nearly ready for Heaton Lodge, a few of the slightly larger ones have now ‘taken root’ by the lineside fence.  The baseboards will start to develop gradients soon as the burrowing junction to Huddersfield leaves the four track main line to Brighouse.

The boundary fence at the top of the cutting has seen better days. I will soon be doing a mockup for the 3D backscene, and it might be good to do the whole thing in lightweight alloy.

The boundary fence at the top of the cutting has seen better days. I will soon be doing a mockup for the 3D backscene, and it might be good to do the whole thing in lightweight alloy.

Thanks to Gerry Beale for writing up the Semley landscape in the latest MRJ portfolio, some really positive feedback and much appreciated too.  It looks as though Martin will have the layout completely detailed and finished soon, allowing an in depth illustrated feature, (they could be there for some time).

A view over the Semley coal sidings looking north, with the panorama contours to the right.

A view over the Semley coal sidings looking north, with the panorama contours to the right.

The book cover has been through a few revisions since the beginning of the project, but it now has one of Chris Nevard’s Model Rail Magazine pictures on the rear cover, along with a few carefully chosen lines of Sue’s encouraging copy for point of sale/ bookshop customers.  Only one last read though of the designed pages now and Nick and Kevin at Ian Allan will be ready to commit to print.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 17.13.38

Single images to front and rear, with a cool grey background.

CPL Medium-Res Drop Shadow RGB

Still loads of work going on with CPL, some of which can be found on it’s own little temporary page at

4 4 0 arm

Still piles of really fine etchings to be listed and scanned, like numbers and name plates for instance, just to mention one of the dozens of product lines. No 16 originally had it’s individual brass numbers on the beaded rear splasher. Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine

dean nos

The unpolished Dean cab number etch.

Like many western engines, No 16 was modified in it's later years to try and give it a bit more grunt. It lost the old numbers and some of it's purity of line in the process.

Like many western engines, No 16 was modified in it’s later years to try and give it a bit more grunt. It lost the old numbers and some of it’s purity of line in the process.

I recently sent a 7mm scale test interior to Andy Stadden, and he has come up with yet more figures that will perfectly compliment Lee’s clerestory carriages and CPL interior kits as well.  I suggested one gentleman figure reaching up to the luggage rack as a natural action when entering or leaving stations and so on.  There are three new ladies and three gents, and they have all been designed to fit into the first or third classes.  Really nice work done, can’t wait to see them in paint.


One of Lee’s production carriages

Passengers 600 01

A sneak preview of the first class compt mockup, with new unpainted passengers.

cpl1int blueprint

I am working to complete a few more of the interior details, so bear with me while I make progress ASAP.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.00.05

Finally, please do contact Phil Barnett at Abcissa websites if you need to design your website or tweak your existing page.  Phil has been bailing me out for some time now when I get myself in a pickle.  If this does happen to you on a regular basis (like me) just click the link below to get yourself free!


June 30th 2016

Thanks to Anthony Mead of the Princes Risborough M.C. for permission to use a couple of his Railex 2016 Awards photographs.  The first is an overall view of the station area of Geoff Williams classic L.N.W.R. Aylesbury High Street layout which won the Best Layout award.

Congratulations to Tim Peacock, Andrew David, Mick Moignard and all the other volunteers who brought it back to life.  It even made it onto local BBC television as a significant focus of local study and interest, so I have suggested the idea of getting it put back up one more time for a photo session with Chris Nevard.

aylesbury lnw

It does look a little dated here and there, but in it’s day this was one of the very finest models around. No crude Dublo, only finely handmade EM stock, within an equally well researched and modelled locality. Anthony Mead/PRDMC

The other traditional award at Railex is for the best individual model (as a pose to a complete layout), and this year it was judged by Iain Rice.  The recipient was Mark Fielder for his ‘An Clar’ diorama, or more specifically for it’s distant landscape and sky panel.  Mark immediately credited his fellow small scale modelling colleague David Eveleigh for producing this background, explaining that it was actually done beforehand, with the rest of the layout colour matched and blended to it in 3D. 

I'll let Anthony's picture do the talking, for Iain this obviously made the perfect balance of railway in the landscape. Neither one overpowers the other, and

I’ll let the picture do the talking because for me it shows a perfect balance of a railway in the landscape, with neither element hiding away nor overpowering the other.  It’s far from being an anonymous background, instead deliberately locating the model into this remote West of Ireland scene. Excellent work well rewarded IMHO.  Anthony Mead/PRDMC.

Richard Foster and Chris Nevard have now allowed me to publish a few of their top quality Model Rail Magazine images in the book which will look great for chapter headers and so on. The finished pages are now only about a week or two from completion and final approval.  

A super focus Bucks Hill image from Chris shows An 1884 built Dean Goods No 2354 on an up coal train.

A super focus Bucks Hill image from Chris shows an 1884 built Dean Goods No 2354 on an up coal train. Chris Nevard/Model Rail.

The page design style is clean and easy to follow, with tinted caption boxes to separate them from the body copy.

The page design style is clean and easy to follow, with a great font, and tinted caption boxes to separate them from the body copy. Now and again, there is a design feature with a scenic or historic panorama (like this thumbnail view) included across a complete two page spread. Ian Allan Publishing.

It’s regatta season on the Thames, with Henley getting one’s Royal seal of approval. This quickie gouache picture shows the only very slightly less posh Marlow rowing event as it used to look when the old wooden rowing club house was still there by the bridge pier.

People & boats everywhere in this loose painting of the river

People & boats everywhere in this loose painting of the river

In contrast, I found a couple of pictures with more of a deserted feel in the corner of an old folder of unused magazine images.

Bucks Hill usually feels busy, but in this study, there's nobody about, just a deserted wooden platform footbridge.

Bucks Hill usually feels busy, but in this study, there’s nobody about, just a deserted wooden platform footbridge. Barry Norman

The back wall of a crossing keeper's cottage in the Vale, alongside the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway

The back wall of a crossing keeper’s cottage in the Vale, alongside the Aylesbury and Buckingham Railway.  David Lane.

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 08.33.21

The Binfield O gauge show will take place on Sunday 30th Oct.  It’s near Bracknell, and there will be about 8 scenic layouts and 20 trade stands with catering and so on.

Hurley show

I will bring the CPL stock along if you need anything, so come along and stop by for a chat.  I have to do some work on carriage interiors soon, with 3D printed upholstery, and tableware accessories for Lee’s first class dining saloons.

The big windows really show the interior of this Dreadnought dining saloon. I do have the carved mahogany seat ends done as etched overlays and the brass luggage racks above with their fine mesh grilles can be soldered on top for strength, but the tables still need to be laid with plates, cutlery, glasses , posh folded napkins and toast racks.

The big windows really show the interior of this Dreadnought dining saloon. I do have the carved mahogany seat ends done as etched overlays and the brass luggage racks above with their fine mesh grilles can be soldered on top for strength, but the tables still need to be laid with plates, cutlery, glasses , posh folded napkins and toast racks.

 12th June 2016

A small gathering at Bucks Hill yesterday, with a few visiting locos taking turns and a bit of a catch up chat. 


Ian Rathbone brought this fine Robinson 8K 2-8-0 along, and it took a long coal train slowly round. No 3017 was originally built by North British at Queens Park Works for the Royal Engineers to be shipped to France, but as the Armistice and 1919 came, it was sold to the GWR and sent to Neath instead.

bl prin

Alex Brown brought this pristine early British Railways blue Princess Royal No 46208 ‘Princess Helena Victoria’ and here the 1935 built Stanier Pacific heads an L.M.S. express westwards. In fact, Helena Victoria was a granddaughter of Victoria, and of course had a list of many more forenames, but she was more often simply called ‘Thora’. The locomotives were also simplified in name after the second member of the class, and they became known by the railwaymen as Lizzie’s.   Locomotive by Lee Marsh Model Co

It might be good to do a monochrome album of the earlier period Bucks Hill stock, just in it’s own page on Kevin’s site.  It’s a bit too far out in terms of content for the newsstand magazines, but it’s OK on the web.

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Original by Chris Nevard

Slide1 copy 2

Original by Chris Nevard


Original by Chris Nevard

bury double print

Same treatment for a gouache painting, turning it into an etch print look.

Simon Hill tried out a newly made Bullied Pacific, and brought this recently built CPL late period GWR Full Brake.

cpl products

May 25th 2016

The Railex show is this weekend, and I have helped the Princes Risborough club out with a bit of minor tidying up on the Aylesbury LNWR EM layout.  The rest of the line up is excellent as usual, so do make the trip if you can.

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The ‘Art of Modelling’ has Lee’s Terminus and Kevin’s Bucks Hill in Edwardian period, both by Chris Nevard, and that comes out with colour pictures in the next few days as well. 

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chris nevard

The first feature is Terminus, and this is one of the elevated views. It’s presented here as a cropped black and white thumbnail, with two late thirties L.M.S. cross country trains at the buffers. Original by Chris Nevard.

The introductory picture shows an up train, with a Dean Single piloting 2-4-0 No 3242.

The Bucks Hill introductory picture shows an up double header, with one of Lee’s Dean Singles piloting 2-4-0 No 3242.  Chris Nevard.

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No 976 was an 1874 Armstrong 455 class ‘Metro’ tank, and here it crosses the stone occupation arch to the south of Ewyas Harold. Some of these were were kept at Swindon, Oxford and Gloucester after their spells in London’s tunneled lines, while others were also seen in South Wales and in the West of England. They sometimes hauled main-line trains, being capable of remarkably fast running on the open sections. Original by Chris Nevard

The ‘Creating a Backscene’ book is now with the designer to have it’s page layouts sorted out professionally, and this has highlighted a few poor resolution images. Most of these are now improved, and the proposed layout with it’s boxed features looks great.


Thanks to the SS Great Britain trust for sorting me out a good copy of one of Brunel’s sketches. This one goes in the ‘Reference’ chapter. UNIVERSITY of BRISTOL ARCHAEOLOGY Dept.

A recent gathering at Bucks Hill brought a large number of modellers together, and quite a few visiting locomotives took turns.  Here are a few of them, and of course, there are many more to be found on Kevin’s site, including details of his own newly built locos.


This is a recently built De-Glehn compound atlantic, partially disassembled in readiness for painting.

night bw

A new addition to Jack Anziani’s collection is this 47xx night owl 2-8-0.  In this view, it passes an old double framed engine waiting in the down loop with a slower train.

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Barry Norman attended a recent running session, and tried out his L.N.W.R. 18″ Cauliflower 0-6-0

There are many more, but Keith Ettle came along and subsequently sent Kevin a set of archived photos from Ewyas Lacy, near Pontrilas.

pontrilas arch

Just one of the pictures shows the unloading of large stones, probably during the Second war period, at a twin arch viaduct between Pontrilas Station and the Branch Engine Shed. These were to replace washed out soil, as these arches to the North west of the junction supported the single Golden valley line as it headed towards Abbeydore above a flood plain.


The twin arches can be seen here in a backscene detail crop, as the single line crosses the scene from left to right.

I now have an etch to allow the easy construction of the lovely old wrought Iron estate type railings for farm and manor houses. It’s 7mm scale, but I could get different scales done.

estate fencing

The railings can be seen running parallel to the small lane alongside this stretch of line. They can be soldered in a simple jig to make a very robust but accurate model.

kissing gate

There is also a kit for a kissing gate to go with the railings.

Let me know if you would like some of this, it might be just the thing if you have modelled an estate boundary at your lineside.

Peter Mann came along to the larger scales show at Reading Rivermead and spoke about his backscene, and he has since sent in a few pictures of his 3D work on Merney junction, with several different scales, so here’s a view of part of the layout.

merney 1

I made the trip to Coleshill during the week to have a look at the new Heaton Lodge layout, and see what needs doing to make it’s backscene.  A series of accurately joined aluminium panels should do the trick, with easy large radius curves spaced away from the baseboards for 3D.

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One of the hundreds of winter trees for the lineside.

April 12th 2016

Thanks to Richard Foster and George Dent for their ‘Model Rail’ write up of the ‘Terminus’ diorama. 

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I had no idea it was scheduled to appear on the cover!  It’s a great issue, and there are many more Chris Nevard studies published within.  An ‘Art of Modelling’ special feature will be available from May 26th, with more ‘Terminus’ pictures and some Edwardian period Bucks Hill as well.

The theme for the May issue is Stations, and this scene is set in the late 30s, with a pair of Jack Anziani’s weathered Lee Marsh L.M.S. 4-6-0s at the buffers.  Fowler Patriot No 5536 ‘ Private W. Wood VC’, and Stanier ‘Jubilee’ No 5584 ‘North West Frontier’ both appear in lined lake livery.  A couple of differently cropped thumbnails taken from the Chris Nevard images follow here just in B/W. 


These are from the new range of Andy Stadden 7mm scale 1930s standing passengers, and the article looks at social grouping of figures and the atmosphere of stations as well as including the ambient sounds into the background by grouping and editing them into MP-3 loops. 


No need for any ballast under the glazed roof, the firemen can jump down onto the dirty wooden baulks and duck under the buffers to uncouple.  One of the brass name plates from ‘Patriot’ No 5536 ‘Private W. Wood V. C.’ can be found at the Regimental Museum of The Northumberland Fusiliers at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.  In a few years we can see this happening for real, as ‘The Unknown Warrior’ new build is determined to turn back the clock.  

Contribute to the cause at……


Three 12 year old lads are rewarded for their patience when a diesel electric locomotive shakes the ground as it passes Heaton Lodge with its train of hoppers. Time has passed, and one of the lads in the shot is now working on a model of the junction, and it’s locality.  A few pictures of the long four track main line follow, even though the project is still in its early stages.

3 boys

Heaton Lodge junction with a westbound coal train about to cross the low arched bridge over Wood Lane. The dive under lines behind are on a slope leading down to a flying crossover about a quarter mile to the west of this point, and the Calder navigation lies unseen below the treeline.  Photo Bill Jamieson


This is Woodend Road bridge, Mirfield, as it looked in the eighties, with a tubular steel signal bracket reaching over four sets of concrete sleepered tracks.

The lineside road is detailed as a poorly maintained thoroughfare, with patched asphalt, potholes and puddles. The shrub trees are bare of leaves, and the scene is bleak and wintry.

The lineside road is detailed as a poorly maintained thoroughfare, with patched asphalt, potholes and puddles. The shrub trees are bare of leaves, and the scene is bleak and wintry.

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Two rivers form a confluence to the south of the junction with the Colne flowing into the Calder. The valley of the former can be seen in this panorama section, heading away south towards the furthest visible point of the scene, (lined in red).

heaton old line

As luck would have it, a disused line also appears to the south. This is summer reference, but Heaton Lodge is set in deep winter, so the trees will stand bare in cold, grey conditions.

Follow the progress and see more of this undertaking at;

Stuart Holt sent this scene which he spent some time on at Missenden Abbey.  It’s done as a small mockup diorama of what will become a finished presentation of St Donats, with a set of 4mm scale rails to foreground, with progressive reduced scale layers beyond.

Mock-up 11 DSCN4090

Taking shape, the mocked -up view over the Bristol Channel towards Exmoor, with big skies and warm sunlight picking out the lighthouse and the farm as they stand against the grey expanse of water.

Follow the progress in more detail at ;

A recent gathering at Bucks Hill saw mostly regular faces in attendance this time, with a number of visiting locomotives… 

2 6 0

This Dean ‘Kruger’ was built by Simon Hill, with the customary level of detail that he always includes. From the more lofty viewpoints, the reciprocating rods working between the frames are quite visible on these.  2602 was the prototype for the 2-6-0s and was built in 1899, but none of them lasted very long, due to a series of reliability problems including the long 28″ internal crank throws giving trouble with axle breakages.


Four cylinder Stanier pacific No 6205 ‘Princess Victoria’ passes Ewyas Harold with a heavy L.M.S. passenger train. The pristine Lee Marsh locomotive is seen in it’s mid 1930s condition.


Variations of Princess Royal valve motion arrangements can be seen in this picture, with rocking shafts for the inside cylinders to the left, and motion sets on the right.

bred worm

Simon also volunteers at the Bredgar and Wormshill 2ft gauge railway in Kent. This has led to an interest in 16mm scale narrow gauge, and here is a superb scratchbuilt saddle tank locomotive in progress in this popular scale.

2 6 4

Jack Anziani built this Fowler 4P-D 2-6-4T and brought it along for a test run. 2409 was originally built at Derby in 1927.

The backscene introduction article comes out in the May 2016 Railway Modeller, hopefully to be on the shelves by the 14th of this month, I’ve crammed in as much as I could, and they have kept the pictures fairly small so I hope it comes in handy.

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There is also a follow up one with how to get the best from a digitally generated panorama, but it isn’t approved yet so it’s a bit soon….we’ll see.


Thanks to Kathryn at Let’s go Loco for running my CPL listing, do make sure to visit their latest news section for an interesting read.  There will also be one in the Gauge O Guild Gazette, and the UK Model shops registry.  This new contact details ad will appear in the Gazette and the MRJ shortly.


March 20th 2016

Over the next few months, I am going to try and put Pat Legg’s excellent CPL Products into a catalog website.  The range can be listed and put into headed pages for each area, one for couplings, another for carriage etches.  For the time being, I have published a few small cover pages which will hopefully give an idea of the appearance.

Presenting the separate components on their own spool webpage will allow plenty of room, so I can free up on space and make a nice open layout with big drawings and so on. Studying the information will be easy and pleasant…..eventually.

By all means pay a quick visit to the temporary site via the link below

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Bear with me as I get all the listings and photographs inserted, as I must run the work alongside existing diorama commissions.  In a little over a week or so from now, hopefully I can get going, so there will be more details ASAP.

CPL Medium-Res Drop Shadow RGB

The full colour logo has a deliberate patina for added character.

lms cpl

CPL 7mm scale components on a fine L.M.S. corridor coach.

ian all logo

The book cover picture has had a slight retouch to rectify a bent radius rod, and all of Nick and Sue’s fully edited and compiled document is now in the hands of their chosen designer.  A creative sample layout can then be discussed at what will probably be my last meeting before final approval, print and PR launch.


The front cover pic is done, the rear one is OK, and I have submitted the list of acknowledgements. The inside cover blurb needs sorting but I think thats about it now.

The 2015 ‘Railway Book of the Year Awards’ ceremony took place in Waterloo last week, and Michelle and I were invited.  It was very well attended by authors and publishers alike in a very pleasant atmosphere.  The gathering was first addressed by the Ian Allan directors, who then asked Sir William McAlpine to speak, which he did most eloquently.  All in all, a good evening and a bit of a change from the norm. 

ian allan

MARM_logo (1)

The Missenden Abbey Spring modellers weekend went fine, and in the end seven managed to make it to my backscene class.  I tried to pace it so we progressed through a sequence of stages from basic plotting, digital contours, all the way to separate coloured layers and textures.  Bit of a squeeze, but some good test sections appeared by Sunday afternoon.

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An example of typical preparation for a test panel, with a photographic overlay onto a digital panorama.. This one was for Ian Haynes, who was planning a section looking east to back up a diorama model of the Great Western Railway’s Shipston-on-Stour station in the Cotswolds. It will eventually appear in 3D, turning the clock back a hundred years, with smaller field boundaries, and a few of the town buildings to the extreme right.

Stuart Holt came again this year, and will hopefully be sending me some pictures of a new diorama looking south over the Bristol Channel from St Donats in South Wales towards Minehead, and the North Somerset coast.  Many builders at Missenden were researching backgrounds for prototype models within time windows from late Victorian to the mid 1980s.


Alan Buttler of Modelu made a success of his first 3D modelling class at the Abbey with an exercise subject of the station building at Chinnor.

Thanks to Chris Langdon, David Brandreth and everyone at the weekend for a good effort.



Lee has sent me a better photo of the 3’6″ electric loco he brought along to Bucks Hill at the last gathering.  He now has two of these for sale and they would make a fabulous pair on a Japanese mountain layout. 

EF63 010

Amazing detail, and a rare chance to pick up a pair of these differently numbered Bo-Bo-Bo electrics of the Japanese State Railways.

Lee’s 3D designer has come up with an elevation of the iconic Gresley A1/A3 Pacific, and I have a suspicion this limited run will be reserved sooner rather than later.

Check the links page for more details on this run.


Geoff Williams Aylesbury High Street backscene still needs a little attention before Railex. At the extreme right hand end is a view of St James the Great, Bierton’s 14th century church and its vicarage.  As luck would have it, the rear of the building was beautifully painted by Rex Whistler in 1940 just a few years before he was tragically lost in a tank battle in the second war.

Rex_Whistler_-_Two_Ladies_Taking_Tea_in_the_Vicarage_Garden_at_Bierton,_Buckinghamshire 1940

Rex Whistler. Two Ladies Taking Tea in the Vicarage Garden at Bierton,  Buckinghamshire in 1940. The stone corner buttress of the church appears to right, and the summer sun casts lovely shadows.


The extreme R.H. end of the backscene with St James the Great, vicarage and cottages about 1910.

March 2nd 2016

A brief visit to Ian Allan Publications at Weybridge earlier this week, with the edited book manuscript.  The next step will be to look at the page design, and there are some really good possibilities for creative layouts.  It’s a very exciting stage, so bear with us as we find out the timescales and workloads.  Thanks go to Nick and the editorial staff for being patient with me.

My reproduction Plymouth Hemi engine has now returned from it’s dynamometer set-up, with a graph readout peaking at 725HP so that’s also a very cool piece of news.  My old friend who did the set-up for me also returned a portfolio of illustrations he borrowed some time ago, and here are a few pictures from it that I had forgotten all about… 

This airbrushed picture could do with a little more detail and texture here and there, but I'll put it in for now. It shows a G.W.R Star class No 4027 'Norwegian Monarch'

This airbrushed picture could do with a little more detail and texture here and there, but I’ll put it in for now. It shows G.W.R. ‘Star’ class No 4027 ‘Norwegian Monarch’.  The four cylinder locomotive was built as ‘KIng Henry’ in 1909,and initially allocated to Old Oak Common.  Re-named and altered again in 1927, it lasted till the end of 1934, but fortunately, ‘Lode Star’ can still be seen in perfect Swindon condition at the National Railway Museum in York.

A cutaway of the clever and stylish Lancia Aurelia.

An airbrushed cutaway of the clever and stylish Lancia Aurelia, which had a number of interesting features like a compact 60 degree V6 front engine, fully independent suspension, with a transaxle and clutch assembly at the rear, flanked by inboard drum brakes, helping to reduce the unsprung weight.

Souther Railway No 2026 was a

This fine looking Marsh J class 4-6-2T No 2326 was to have been named ‘Grosvenor’, but in the event became ‘Bessborough’ when it emerged from Eastleigh as one of a slightly dissimilar pair designed as express locomotives in 1912.  The sister engine ‘Abergavenny’ had different valve gear and larger tanks.

University College Oxford as it used to look In shadow, on the south side of The High.

University College Oxford as it used to look.  It’s in shadow here, on the south side of The High in about 1900. Most pictures look the other way at the north side towards Carfax.

Tim Shackleton sent me another view of the goods depot at the end of his layout. He has been building it with reduced scale layers as a feature, and the latest progress now features three sizes, as the sidings visually recede to distance.

tim bw

It’s an illusion that the yard sidings are quite wide and spaced apart, actually three proprietary scales of model are fooling our eyes into perceiving depth. Tim Shackleton.

February 17th 2016

Thanks to Bob Savage, and the Bristol O gaugers for putting on a very well organised show at the UWE conference centre.  The place just buzzed all day long, so thanks also to all the backscene enthusiasts who stopped at my demo table to chat about their projects.  I really appreciate it so stay in touch and send me progress pictures as you go through the job.

Dave Stone always stops by when we demo at Bristol, and his wonderful 'Sherton Abbas' diorama layout will soon be treated to some backscene work. One of my favourite projects in all respects, it will be hand painted, featuring gentle rolling hills to distance. Photo Dave Stone.

Dave Stone always stops by when we demo at Bristol, and his wonderful ‘Sherton Abbas’ diorama layout will soon be treated to some backscene work. One of my favourite projects in all respects, it will be hand painted, featuring gentle rolling hills to distance.                         Original by Dave Stone.


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Missenden Abbey is up next, so I will be running about picking up new brushes and cutting up mounting card to do test pieces.  I also need to make some more easels for propping up pictures and one each for the nine students.

We can look at skies as part of the test section, and like fingerprints, no two are quite the same, so always check back and study from reference

We can look at skies as part of the test section, and like fingerprints, no two are quite the same, so always check back and study from reference.

There may be a half hour talk to give on layout surroundings coming up at the 70 strong Scaleseven group convention.  This will take place later this year near Glastonbury in Somerset.

It looks as if the next diorama will take us inside a locomotive running shed, looking out of a gloomy interior at the contrast of a brightly lit outdoor scene. I have some research to do, not only to include the architectural detail and clutter, but also to strike the balance of shadows falling between pools of light, and the way the locomotives will affect this when introduced.  A few 3D mockups will help to encourage good lighting directions and intensities.

A gathering took place at Bucks Hill yesterday, and I will be including a few pictures on ‘Bucks Hill in 7mm’ shortly.  The most recent loco build has now returned as a set of painted and lined assemblies, which have now been put together by Kevin.

This Gooch 'Rover' class single wheeler has been away with Alan Brackenborough, who brought the parts to the Bristol O gauge event a few weeks ago.

This Gooch ‘Rover’ class single wheeler has been away with Alan Brackenborough, who brought the finished parts back to the Bristol O gauge event a few weeks ago.  It just needs a tender full of big coal lumps and a crew to finish it off, but my pictures don’t do it justice.  Have a look at ‘Bucks Hill in 7mm’ for some closer views

These must have been quite something to see at over sixty with a Bristol express. An iconic loco captured in breathtaking detail.

These must have been quite something to see at over sixty with an express. An iconic loco captured in breathtaking detail.

There are relatively few locomotives that are the wrong gauge for the layout, but they are no less interesting to study, and Lee Marsh came along to show this amazingly detailed Japanese 3′ 6″ electric Bo-Bo-Bo locomotive.  


My picture could be sharper, but the attention to tiny detail on this is fantastic. the doors open, the cab has everything separately fitted inside and it has six profiled and geared traction motors. even the working flexible wire feeds for them are present beneath the floor!

A few more views with visiting locomotives follow here….

Nigel Smith brought this hissing L.M.S. Garratt along, which was too long for my lens focus. After obligingly stopping for a picture, it very slowly re-started the heavy coal train on a bend, disappearing from view but still able to hear the sound of the two engines out of sync with each other accelerating the train away until the brake van passed by some time later.

Nigel Smith brought this hissing L.M.S. Garratt along, which was too long for my lens focus. After obligingly stopping for a picture, it very slowly re-started the heavy coal train on a bend, disappearing from view but still able to hear the sound of the two engines out of sync with each other accelerating the train away until the brake van passed by some time later.

Jack Anziani brought a variety of locomotives, including this Austerity 'Dub Dee' 2-8-0 which still needs balance weights for correct appearance, but makes up for it by being covered in 'muck' as Jack puts it.

Jack Anziani brought a variety of locomotives, including this Austerity ‘Dub Dee’ 2-8-0 which still needs balance weights for correct appearance, but makes up for it by being covered in ‘mook’ as Jack puts it.

Another L.N.W.R. Webb 'Jumbo' from Jack's collection, this time No 5005 'Pitt' Originally 1522, I have no idea as to whether it commemorated the elder or the younger!

Another L.N.W.R. Webb ‘Jumbo’ from Jack’s collection, this time No 5005 ‘Pitt’.  Originally No 1522, I have no idea as to whether it commemorated the elder or the younger!


A pair of Welsh valleys 0-6-2Ts, as Nigel's pilots Dave Thomas's G.W.R. example bunker first. Re-starting from this pause, the train engine slipped intermittently until the train gathered speed again.

A pair of Welsh valley 0-6-2Ts, as Nigel’s pilots Dave Thomas’s G.W.R. example bunker first. Re-starting from this pause, the train engine slipped intermittently until it gathered enough speed.

January 21st 2016

There may be a need to seek some 3D Digital modellers for a possible future job, so I have found a number of new contacts recently who have the expertise to create such things. 

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Alan Buttler at Modelu has been very patient with me, using his contacts to find the right people.  If you do take an interest in railway applied 3D scanning and printing, be sure to have a look at his many recent projects at…

Alan is also taking a new fully subscribed Spring weekend class at Missenden Abbey, as if he didn’t have enough to do!

Another possible contributor is Romanian BMW car enthusiast Matei Stancu who has a knack with computer drawing and very good English as well, so by all means have a look at his work at…

Matei's exquisite 3D study render of a Stanier Black 5

Matei’s exquisite 3D study render of a Stanier Black 5 created from scanned L.M.S. drawings.

The last few blending tasks have now been taken care of on Semley’s backscene, with a day trip and some on site brush work.  A few more 2D trees, and a shadow under the horse field northern boundary hedgerow as it leads away from the Warminster Road and extends eastwards behind the dairy buildings.  Martin, Mike and the team will be adding the final details soon, Point rodding posts, Figures, 3D printed L.S.W.R. telegraph poles with separately mounted insulators on brass cradles and two horse shunting of coal wagons in the yard (one hitched behind the other)

Some detail pictures can go in here soon, with proper overall views planned for completion later this year.

The grass horse paddock to the right of the stable has now been visually extended back to the roadway as a 3D curve.

The grass horse paddock to the right of the stable has now been visually extended back to the roadway as a 3D curve.

Andrew David has asked me to restore the original backscenes for Geoff Williams brilliant Aylesbury High Street, which was carefully preserved and has now been resurrected by the Princes Risborough M.C.  This will be appearing at Railex 2016, and I’ll be pleased to play a small part in conserving this peach of a layout. 

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As usual, David Lane has sourced a quality set of displays for the event, which can be previewed at…

Superb forced perspective here. This is how it's done, even the chimney pots look right and the house back on the left is super real. It just goes to show what can be done with a bit of space allowance.

Superb forced perspective here. This is how it’s done, even the chimney pots look right and the house back on the left is super real.  It just goes to show what can be done with a bit of space allowance.

The High Street station was at the end of a straight branch line from Cheddington, and it can be seen here skirting Bierton to approach Aylesbury from the north east parallel to the canal. The Great Western Town Station to the south west was shared with the Metropolitan and Great Central Joint Committee.

The High Street station was at the end of a straight branch line from Cheddington, and it can be seen here skirting Bierton to approach Aylesbury from the north east, parallel to the canal. The Great Western Town Station to the south west was shared with the Metropolitan and Great Central Joint Committee.

The line was kept busy with local produce in both directions, with ducks, geese and fruit from the rich Vale soil, along with 50 churns of milk a day from the only intermediate station at Marston Gate.  All this headed up the Premier line for the London markets, with coal for the gasworks and horse manure for the fields coming back out of the Capital.

A similar view of the same road with the crossing gates closed. It came to a 'T' junction where you turned right to head north east towards Wing and Leighton Buzzard

A similar view of the same road with the crossing gates closed. The backscene is off in this one and it does make a fair bit of difference, it actually came to a ‘T’ junction where you turned right to head north east towards Wing and Leighton Buzzard.

January 9th 2016

Happy new year, here’s hoping it turns out well.  There is a fair bit of activity planned for mine with some published stuff coming out and an increasing number of other projects that are on the go but are under wraps.

Thanks to Kathryn at LGL for placing my listing, please do pay a visit to this increasingly popular resource for everything railways.

 download               Whitchurch road 

There is a show calendar, and a large categorised list of approved services, historic film clips, contributed articles and galleries.

I have recently added a link to Ian Rathbone’s website from ‘Bucks Hill in 7mm’  The example thumbnail is one of my absolute Edwardian favourites, a Robinson 4-6-0 and Ian has done this one in lined Great Central Railway passenger green livery with a brass nameplate commemorating the opening of their new harbour on the Lincolnshire coast.


Most of these were turned out in black, but ‘Immingham’ got the lovely G.C.R. passenger livery. Not a single one survived, only a 2-8-0 and ‘Butler Henderson’ now remain as a tribute to Robinson.

A replica 4-4-0 from the early G.C. period is underway though, and the excellent progress can be seen at ……   The frame plates have now been profile cut and many other components are present.

The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway adopted the grander title of 'Great Central' at the turn of the last century. Class 2 No 687 already showed that Thomas Parker had an artists eye for proportion before Robinson continued the tradition. This beauty was fast and reliable on the easy gradients and sweeping curves of the new London Extension, and deservedly found it's way onto the Company coat of arms.

The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway adopted the grander title of ‘Great Central’ at the turn of the last century. Class 2 No 687 already showed that Thomas Parker had an artists eye for proportion before Robinson continued the tradition. This beauty was fast and reliable on the easy gradients and sweeping curves of the new London Extension, and deservedly found it’s way onto the Company coat of arms.

I can’t wait to see this in one piece, so here’s another quick link to more history and photographs ……

Bob Alderman has done some more on his new East Anglian layout, and it now has a number of local buildings including this mill.  


The lines cross a net of waterways on low girder bridges, one of which can be seen on the left, surrounded by Pollarded Willow trees.  The layout is due to attend an exhibition at Epsom this April.

His most recent book is a proper study of Bridges and Viaducts, with modelled examples, and 500 photos and illustrations, and Bob also takes a class at Missenden Abbey.

Four separate photo feature subjects now await suitable slots in Model Rail Magazine, which tends to adopt themed content for each issue.  The latest is a Bridge and tunnel mouth focus. 

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Chris Nevard has taken some very good period study photos with both early L.M.S. and early Edwardian G.W.R. sessions as well as the Lee Marsh terminus diorama in a late L.M.S period.  They will be great, but must now remain hidden until later this year. 

Every running session, I try and add some new content to the Bucks Hill website, and here are a few of the new pictures. There is another one soon and part of the fun is not knowing what will turn up.


It’s a long way from the east coast main line but I confess I’m drawn towards the Pre-grouping and Victorian studies. The famous Great Northern eight footer with it’s teak carriages is a star attraction.

gw brake

There are some new additions to the Passenger stock page including this Dean era G.W.R. full passenger brake in the gilt lined 1898 livery, with a panelled centre guards ducket.

branch loco sep

This 517 class branch line locomotive  No 832 is in the process of running round, and it has a little of that late Victorian atmosphere that I thought might make a bit of a different G.W.R. feature, getting away from the Castles & KIngs for a change.  Malcolm and Lee have practically finished working out a production run of this class in 3D, accommodating the various changes along the way.

lee malc

A similar version as a rendered 3D production file.


Exeter brake van No 35662 is buffered up to a departmental stores van with end windows and glazed skylights at either end of the arc roof.

Exeter brake van No 35662 is buffered up to a departmental stores van with end windows and glazed skylights at either end of the arc roof.

December 20th 2015

Martin Finney has sent me some more of his work on the Semley landscape, and it has come out a treat, so here are a few captioned pictures showing the result.

A different overview of the yard approach, with G.W.R. Cattle stock and timber offices in the foreground. Behind the fence, Station Road leads away to the right, north east towards Semley village, Tisbury and Teffont. As it rose up to cross the line, the road then climbed to Shaftesbury, three miles to the south of this point.

A different overview of the yard approach, with G.W.R. Cattle stock and timber offices in the foreground. Behind the fence, Station Road leads away to the right, north east towards Semley village, Tisbury and Teffont. As it rises up to cross the line on the left, the local hedgerow lane just climbs gently back towards a ‘T’ junction with the Shaftesbury Road a mile to the south of this point.

The foreground here was actually a horse field, with the Dairy stables to the left, but it shows the gently raised ground to centre, which was wooded on it's left slope, leading down to OS field 225 and Stork lane running alongside.

The foreground here was actually a horse field, with the Dairy stables to the left, but it shows the gently raised ground to centre, which was wooded on it’s left slope, leading down to OS field 225 and Stork lane running alongside.

This is just to the right of Sedgehill, and the accompanying outline shows the slightly rising meadow at centre skyline with three large trees at hedgerow to right, and woodland to left. Martin wanted the sky at this aspect of Semley's panorama to present a featureless light cloud cover, unlike the more dynamic cumulus clouds at the eastern view.

This is the same view, just to the right of Sedgehill, and the accompanying outline shows the slightly rising meadow at centre skyline which had three large trees at hedgerow to right, and woodland to left. Martin wanted the sky at this aspect of Semley’s panorama to present a featureless light cloud cover, unlike the more dynamic cumulus clouds at the eastern view.

The path of the rear panel has been eased into a panoramic curve above the western scenic break. The Shaftesbury to Warminster road runs from the left, progressing into reduced scale as it rounds the curve to the right behind the pond. A row of cottages appear in the middle distance before a bend in the lane to Hugglers Hole, and in this detail, the skyline looking towards Gillingham is mainly broken by woodland, and the entire north Western aspect of the backscene just has a featureless even cloud cover.

The path of the rear panel has been eased into a panoramic curve above the western scenic break. The Shaftesbury to Warminster road runs from the left, progressing into reduced scale as it rounds the curve to the right behind the pond. A row of cottages appear in the middle distance before a bend in the lane to Hugglers Hole, and in this detail, the skyline looking towards Gillingham is mainly broken by woodland. The entire north Western aspect of this backscene just has a featureless even cloud cover.

This is a view from the scenic break at Semley's western end. At this point, the L.S.W.R. main line is directly beneath, with gillingham to the left and Salisbury to the right. Martin has now blended a drop in section of road into the scene, which now appears to progress away north east. The station approach turning is to the right just after the bridge parapet. The area is much more overgrown now, and the busy A350 Warminster road has white lines painted onto it's asphalted surface.

A view from the scenic break at Semley’s western end. At this point, the L.S.W.R. main line is directly beneath, with Gillingham to the left and Salisbury to the right. Martin has now blended a drop in section of road into the scene, which now appears to progress away north east. The station approach turning is to the right just after the bridge parapet. The area is much more overgrown now, and the busy A350 Warminster road has white lines painted onto it’s asphalted surface.

Yard huts and Staithes for both the dairy which had it's own boiler house and tall brick chimney, and the merchants from Shaftesbury who had to lug theirs up the hill into town. A footpath descends the embankment to yard level from from the road to Hatts Farm and the other smaller local holdings to the south.

Yard huts and Staithes for both the dairy (which had it’s own boiler house and tall brick chimney), and the merchants from Shaftesbury who had to lug theirs up the hill into town. A footpath descends the embankment to yard level from from the road to Hatt’s Farm and the other smaller local holdings to the south.

Tim Shackleton sent a mockup picture of a new depot layout, which uses both 4 and 3.5mm to a foot scales in the same presentation.  Even at this trial stage, it adds a successful distance layer, the unusual trick comes from including it in between the lines rather than just behind.

This takes advantage of focal layers, and with a slightly more pronounced visual break between the scales, and some 4.5mm features along the front for continuity of progression, this is the promising beginning stage.

This takes advantage of focal layers, and with a slightly more pronounced visual break between the scales, and some 4.5mm features along the front for continuity of progression, this is the promising beginning stage.

December 17th 2015

Quite a busy spell lately, sorting out reference and researching upcoming jobs

Credit for the first item here must go to ‘Generate a Panorama’, and Adrian of Western Thunder’s ‘Flying Squad’ for rightly pointing out it’s potential when applied to landscape modelling.

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So what are we talking about? Basically this is an on-line resource with a capability of generating a topographical line drawing from any location in any direction from any height.  Once you have a horizon line for your backscene, you need only work out the viewing elevation (eye level height above rails at layout scale) enter it into the parameters and just re-size the panorama before applying it to your horizon. 

As an example of just how effective this is I’ve done a really quick example looking inland over Porthmadog Harbour station and the cob towards Yr Wyddfa and Moelwyn

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360 degree panorama of Snowdonia with Porthmadog at centre.


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Centre section


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Same with reference overlay.

Altogether quicker than working it all out with profiles in perspective and it allows more time for painting (which it won’t do)…yet.  I’ll be out of a job when that happens! 

It need not be restricted to a 2D image, as each layer can be separately done, building to layout scale nearby like the inset.

Give it a try and donate to it’s well being      Generate a panorama

MARM_logo (1)

What I didn’t realise with the last entry was that the entire modellers weekend at Missenden Abbey was already booked up, so thanks to those who have registered for scenic work, I’ll do my best to keep up!

Andy Stadden has moulded specific posed crews for late Victorian G.W.R. locomotives, and these are now available from him, (see links page for contact). They suit most Dean era engines including Achilles single wheelers, Goods and Armstrong classes.

crew dean 2

A set of Sepia framed prints from towns and west of England beauty spots have been prepared for Lee’s compartment carriage interiors, with route maps occupying the centre frames.

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High Wycombe market square & Anne Hathaway’s cottage Stratford-upon-Avon.

A mid week gathering took place at Bucks Hill during the week, with a host of excellent visiting locomotives and a L.N.W.R. Holyhead express rake which looked right at home behind a lined black Patriot.

A Drummond T9 4-4-0 heads a Great Western corridor rake along the up main. This ex L.S.W.R greyhound was built by Dubs & Co in summer 1899.

James Aitken’s Drummond T9 4-4-0 heads a Great Western corridor rake along the up main. This ex L.S.W.R greyhound was built by Dubs & Co in summer 1899.


Jack Anziani brought this ex North Western 6F-A 0-8-2T No 7885 which was essentially a Super D side tank. The Bowen-Cooke designed workhorse was built at Crewe at the end of September 1915, with Joy sllde valves and 27,240lbs of tractive effort.

Jack Anziani brought this ex North Western 6F-A 0-8-2T No 7885 which was essentially a Super D side tank. The Bowen-Cooke designed workhorse was built at Crewe at the end of September 1915, with Joy sllde valves and 27,240lbs of tractive effort.


Jonathan Marcus brought a superb rake of L.N.W.R. carriages to form a Holyhead express.

Jonathan Marcus brought a superb rake of L.N.W.R. carriages to form a Holyhead express.


Simon Hill has just recently finished his very fine Maunsell Lord Nelson class No 854 ‘Howard of Effingham’, seen here in the original 1926 small chimney condition. The build time was 300 hours, from an Iain Young ‘Sanspareil’ kit. Simon machined the Alan Harris wheels and fitted an inside crank and valve gear.

There is more content on Kevin’s BH site (see links)

December 12th 2015

The Reading Trade show was buzzing with activity, and there is a short movie clip of one of Lee’s Stanier Princess Royal pacifics making light work of the heavy L.M.S. Royal train on the down line, and an up corridor express with lined crimson lake carriages.

New Princess Royal with full load on the down line.

New Princess Royal with full load on the down line.

There is now a page for some of the goods stock at Bucks Hill, and there will soon
be additional pictures of some of Kevin’s recent MOK kit builds as they are painted 
and weathered.


Glass lined milk tank wagons in a mixed train

December 4th 2015

Apart from one more day trip to do a few tweaks in the new year, the Semley landscape is now done with as many 3D additions as space allowed.  Some of Martin and Mike’s excellent scenic blending will seamlessly graduate a new progressive 3D section into place alongside the Warminster Road bridge over the next few weeks. After that, there will be a professional set of photos and some feature copy to include other new additions such as figures and telegraph poles etc. I will try and steal as many pictures as I can when the time comes!

This 1901 OS map of Semley shows the quite easy field boundaries looking north over the station and dairy. The fields are numbered, and those are pigsties and a little food store for waste at the other end of field 441, just a little bit away from the other buildings!

This 1901 OS map of Semley shows the quite easy field boundaries looking north over the station and dairy. The fields are numbered, and those are pigsties and a little food store for waste at the other end of field 441, just a little bit away from the other buildings!

If you are coming to Missenden by the way, this has turned out to be an accurate landscape because the top quality layout research has also benefitted the locality. Collected maps and period photos have allowed land surface patterns, details of farms and tree placement, with good skyline profiles too.  It makes the job right and saves time guessing as well.

The two roadways have now been blended into the landscape, with the nearest descending from the road bridge off to the left, and the other lower station and dairy approach obscured behind. They converge in perspective just behind the small grey stone outbuilding at centre right. The dairy cottages can just be seen behind the large tree at extreme left.

Two roadways have now been blended into the landscape, with the nearest descending from the road bridge off to the left, and the other lower station and dairy approach obscured behind (see map). They converge in perspective just behind the 3.5mm scale grey stone outbuilding at centre right. The 2.5mm scale dairy cottages can just be seen behind the large tree at extreme left.

Nick Grant at Ian Allan Publishing has now pretty much compiled the book draft into a well organised word document, ready for editing, so there are now nearly 100,000 words in 22 chapters to have their i’s dotted and t’s crossed before the next stages.

The cover now has a single image, and a jubillee against a 3D backdrop.

The cover now has a single image of a Jubilee against a 3D backdrop.

The Lee Marsh terminus has now travelled to the Reading Trade show where it has been raised up a little, and now also has an ambient soundtrack with suitable station background noises.  Hopefully, for Bristol, the rails can be equipped with drop wires, additionally enabling the individual DCC loco sounds to be demonstrated at the show.

The terminus now has a looped ambient soundtrack with passengers, barrow wheels, garbled announcements and departing train sounds from other platforms.locomotives will soon be able to

The terminus now has a looped ambient soundtrack with passengers, barrow wheels, garbled announcements and departing train sounds from other platforms.

Belbroughton will be one of eight layouts sharing the floorspace at Bristol with 70 traders and 11 demo tables.

Belbroughton will be one of eight layouts sharing the floorspace at Bristol with 70 traders and 11 demo tables.

November 21st 2015

The Semley backscene is now ready to be blended onto the layout, including the curved rear panel and a 3D insert made to blend the road surface gently from the scenic break & into distance just after it crosses the brick arch road bridge at the extreme L.H. end of the scenic section.  A trip down to Blackmoor Vale is now on the cards to fit the landscape into place and we can stand back for a look. 

The road surface in the foreground matches the scaled roads of the layout.

The surface in the foreground matches the scaled roads of the layout.

More pages have now been added to the Bucks Hill website to include separate areas for passenger stock & signalling.  All of the sections will be expanded over the next few months, so it’s a constant programme of improvement.

Keep up to date at;

We haven't even started on the goods vehicles yet, and there is a wealth of great building work and hand lettered vehicles to document. This picture shows the hand laid C&L trackwork on wooden sleepers.

We haven’t even started on the goods vehicles yet, and there is a wealth of great building work and hand lettered vehicles to document. This picture shows the hand laid C&L trackwork on wooden sleepers. Photo by Barry Norman.


The passenger carriage page might well expand into separate companies later, but for now any reasonable portraits can go together. Here’s an old four wheeled Dean Brake Third with a step level grab handle and a panelled ducket for the guard.

Lee has just sent a component assembly visual of the new 9F limited run, and it is generally anticipated that these will turn out to be the most detailed RTR model of the class in all it’s different variants.


Painted and weathered examples will appear very shortly.


The basic components of the model, separated visually by colour. The forthcoming 7mm scale G.W.R. Castle RTR run will also be designed like this.

Some variants are now completely reserved, so if there is a particular example you have your eye on, it might be an idea to check the current availability.

November 15th 2015

I have a demo table at the Jan 2016 Bristol O gauge show, so do come along and pay a visit if you want to update your backscene or make a bit of room for a 3D version. I’ll bring a few examples and we can talk about layering and any added perception of landscape distance to benefit the appearance of your layout.

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Lee will also be bringing some of his latest releases to this excellent event.  The U.W.E. Exhibition & Conference centre near Thornbury is spacious, quiet and carpeted throughout.  With plenty of parking and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s one of our favourite shows.

L.M.S. Patriot No 5503 'The Leicestershire Regiment' passes a local train in open country. The locomotive was built at Crewe in 1932, originally un-named as No 5985, it was named in 1938, subsequently with Royal status in 1948.

A Lee Marsh L.M.S. Patriot No 5503 ‘The Leicestershire Regiment’ passes a local train in open country. The locomotive was built at Crewe in 1932, originally un-named as No 5985, it was named in 1938, subsequently gaining Royal status in 1948.

A new-build Patriot is doing very well, and the project’s progress can be viewed in detail at ;

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Lee will be attending the Reading O gauge Trade show on the 5th December with his terminus diorama.  The details for this event are at;

Railway Modeller Magazine have now confirmed their acceptance of a version of an illustrated article on backscene preparation.  This is now scheduled to appear in two parts in the spring of next year, and it looks at how we actually view a landscape, and then encourages a few basic safeguards to avoid inherent problems later in the job.

Work in progress on a 2D section, with some branches and detail still to be included. This quiet open landscape is lit from the left with even cloud cover, and a low horizon taken from the layout's optimum viewing height.

Work in progress on a 2D section, with some branches and detail still to be included. This quiet open landscape is lit from the left with even cloud cover, and a low horizon taken from the layout’s optimum viewing height.

This will hopefully coincide with the arrival of a consignment of hardback books from the far east and the Missenden Abbey weekend course as well, so that is now shaping up to be a bit of a busy spell.  The cover design has now been finalised, all the copyrights are secured and the compiling and publisher’s editing which are now in full swing, with page design to follow that, then approval, printing, binding and export.

Chris Nevard has now taken some pictures at Westcott using his tricks of the trade, and some proper photo bulbs.  These will form a future Model Rail magazine feature, with period L.M.S stock and some informative captions from Jack Anziani.

There are many interesting locomotives at Westcott, and No 1831 definitely qualifies as the first experimental diesel shunter of the L.M.S. It was introduced in 1932, possibly at the instigation of the Haslam & Newton company of Derby who supplied the hydraulic transmission, and it was built at Derby Works as a nominal rebuild of a Midland Railway 1377 Class 0-6-0T steam locomotive, The frames and running gear of the original locomotive were retained, and a 400 horsepower Paxman diesel engine provided power.

There are many interesting locomotives at Westcott, and No 1831 definitely qualifies as the first experimental diesel shunter of the L.M.S. It was introduced in 1932, possibly at the instigation of the Haslam & Newton company of Derby who supplied the hydraulic transmission, and it was built at Derby Works as a nominal rebuild of a Midland Railway 1377 Class 0-6-0T steam locomotive, The frames and running gear of the original locomotive were retained, and a 400 horsepower Paxman diesel engine provided power.

There will also be some advance preparation for a Victorian G.W.R. photo feature, including some finish detailing of locomotives, with weathering, posed Andy Stadden crews ( he now has a 3D Dean cab positioning template) and lamps etc. We might be able to include some of Lee’s carriages if enough are ready in time.

Duke of Connaught, Dreadnought and Brunel really do need period crews now to stop them looking like runaways! A little work to tone down the appearance can also be applied, but only as a very light touch, as these engines would have been very well looked after in service.

Duke of Connaught, Dreadnought and Brunel really do need period crews now to stop them looking like runaways! A little work to tone down the appearance can also be applied, but only as a very light touch, as these engines would have been very well looked after in service.

A few pictures from a recent running session at Bucks Hill, with some visiting engines.

Prairie No 5150 in B.R. livery heads a down local. These

Prairie No 5150 in B.R. livery heads a down local.

Single chimney Collett King No 6008 'King James II' takes a turn on the L.M.S. Queen Mary Royal train.

Single chimney Collett King No 6008 ‘King James II’ takes a turn on the L.M.S. Queen Mary Royal train.


A recently finished 64xx Pannier based on a Scorpio kit, heads a cattle van train on the up main.


October 31st 2015

The ‘Bucks Hill in 7mm’ website has been expanded with new pages and content, so pop along to see the additions,  and a few pictures follow here;

A screen grab from Kevin's expanded Bucks Hill in 7mm site.

A screen grab from Kevin’s expanded Bucks Hill in 7mm site.

Welsh valley coal heading inland, waiting in loops first at Pontypool Road, then Abergavenny, and on toward the Midlands. The short train will only make light work for the clean 28xx class locomotive No 2862 and it's 3500 gallon tender. Original by Steve Flint/Railway Modeller

Welsh valley coal heading inland, waiting in loops first at Pontypool Road, then Abergavenny, and on toward the Midlands. The short train will only make light work for the clean 28xx class locomotive No 2862 and it’s 3500 gallon tender. Original by Steve Flint/Railway Modeller

No 6011, 'King James 1' in the original 1928 condition, runs along the embankment with an up express.

No 6011, ‘King James 1’ in the original 1928 condition, runs along the embankment with an up express. Original by Steve Flint/Railway Modeller

No 976 slows to a stop at Bucks Hill. Some of these 1874 Armstrong designed 455 class 'Metro' tanks were kept at Swindon, Oxford and Gloucester after their spell in London's tunneled lines, while others were also seen in South Wales and in the West of England too. They sometimes hauled main-line trains like this Cardiff to Gloucester cross country service, being capable of remarkably fast running on the open sections. Original by Steve Flint/Railway Modeller

No 976 slows to a stop at Bucks Hill. Some of these 1874 Armstrong designed 455 class ‘Metro’ tanks were kept at Swindon, Oxford and Gloucester after their spell in London’s tunneled lines, while others were also seen in South Wales and in the West of England too. They sometimes hauled main-line trains like this Cardiff to Gloucester cross country service, being capable of remarkably fast running on the open sections. Original by Steve Flint/Railway Modeller.

Andrew David has researched and written an article on the unfortunate role of the old Great Central wooden carriages involved in the Quintinshill disaster a hundred years ago. It will appear in Heritage Railway Magazine, issue 208-due on October 22nd.  Two similar vehicles have survived, and have now been restored.

No 1076, one of the two restored M.S.& L. / G.C.R 6 wheeled coaches.

No 1076, one of the two restored M.S.& L. / G.C.R 6 wheeled coaches.

October 13th 2015


The November issue is definitely one to pick up, and is now on sale, including a guide leaflet to help those looking at DCC sound additions.  Some stunning layouts are described, including some of my favourites, notably Brixham Bay, with it’s no compromise hand detailed backscene, really placing the coastal terminus firmly into it’s period and surroundings.  Steve Flint has kindly allowed me a few of his recent super focus photos from an introduction to perspective backscene possibilities in the ‘Talking Point’ section.

Detail shot from Terminus interior, with platform end clutter.

Detail  from terminus interior, with platform end clutter, and a parallel one layer backscene at reduced scale. The standing passengers populating the concourse are new releases from Andy Stadden and these additions to his range can now be viewed by clicking the link below. Original by Steve Flint/Railway Modeller.

The new 1930s 1/43 figures sets are now available, as three sets including adjustable porters.

One of Lee's new clerestoried Corridor Third carriages, No 3133 at rest. Built to Diagram C17 in April 1898, it is seen here as new in the early fully lined livery, with full underframe and roof detail. The compartment interior partitions have luggage racks, paintings, mirrors and the upholstery is also buttoned. Auto couplers can be substituted in place of the standard screw couplers supplied, which attach to the tender of the train's locomotive (Just in shot to the picture right).

One of Lee’s new clerestoried Corridor Third carriages, No 3133 at rest. Built to Diagram C17 in April 1898, it is seen here as new in the early fully lined livery, with full underframe and roof detail. The compartment interior partitions have luggage racks, paintings, mirrors and the upholstery is also buttoned. Auto couplers can be substituted in place of the standard screw couplers supplied, which attach to the tender of the train’s locomotive (Just in shot to the picture right). Original by Steve Flint/Railway Modeller.

Livery samples, with the 1912 crimson lake at centre

Livery samples, with the 1912 crimson lake at centre


A recent gathering at Bucks Hill saw good attendance with the Warley mob in evidence, along with some new folks to meet and a few familiar faces to catch up with.  Time just flies at these happy chinwag/running sessions, with unexpected visiting locomotives taking turns among the regular runners. 

No 5818 was permanently on hand to run the daily branch line duties up and down the Golden Valley line until its eventual closure. The Collett 0-4-2T was built in August 1933 and arrived for work at Pontypool Road few months later. It soon became the favourite of the resident driver Charlie Smith who had a habit of taking photos of the day to day activity up and down the line with his black & white camera

No 5818 was permanently on hand to run the daily branch line duties up and down the Golden Valley line until its eventual closure. The Collett 0-4-2T was built in August 1933 and arrived for work at Pontypool Road few months later. It soon became the favourite of the resident driver Charlie Smith who had a habit of taking photos of the day to day activity up and down the line with his black & white camera.

No 2258 approaches Bucks Hill tunnel with a van train. 120 of these Collett 2251 class 0-6-0s were built at Swindon, as first introduced in 1930, designed for medium goods and some branch passenger work. They were really a modernised Dean Goods, sharing the main dimensions, but with more modern features such as taper boilers and full cabs. This one was finished at the end of April in the first year of production, and is seen here as only a few years old.

No 2258 approaches Bucks Hill tunnel with a van train. 120 of these Collett 2251 class 0-6-0s were built at Swindon, as first introduced in 1930, designed for medium goods and some branch passenger work. They were really a modernised Dean Goods, sharing the main dimensions, but with more modern features such as taper boilers and full cabs. This one was finished at the end of April in the first year of production, and is seen here as only a few years old. Original by Steve Flint/Railway Modeller.

It doesn’t look as if we will be able to get the book launch done in time for the Warley show now.   C’est la vie, all part of the learning process I suppose, I am working hard to get all the pictures coded in and sized, but it takes me far longer than any sensible estimate because of my inexperience.  I will be back at Ian Allan this week with the job done.

October 1st 2015

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It looks as though there might be some feature content appearing next year in Model Rail magazine.  Chris Nevard is going to take some professional quality pictures at Westcott (which it well deserves), and also some of Lee’s terminus diorama as well.

An ex G.C.R. Robinson A5 class 4-6-2T arrives at Westcott with a van train.

An ex G.C.R. Robinson A5 class 4-6-2T arrives at Westcott with a van train.

I am also hoping to assemble a collection of unpublished pictures of Whitchurch Road for an article as well, and hopefully these can be edited together by Richard Foster with captions for next year. (Like myself, Richard has a fascination with the old Metropolitan, and therefore a very good taste in railways)

G.C.R Motor Carriage with locomotive No 24.

G.C.R Motor Carriage with locomotive No 24.

One of the Metropolitan Railway's D class waits for the platform starter. The slatted fencing replaced the original, and much prettier vertical picket fencing , which was painted cream.

One of the Metropolitan Railway’s D class waits for the platform starter. The slatted fencing replaced the original, and much prettier vertical picket fencing , which was painted cream.

I have suggested an idea for another pictorial study article, looking at monotone postcard and album photographs of early G.W.R. subjects, so we’ll see what happens with that.  After all, there was no colour photography then, only hand colouring and sepia tone.

A trial of a faded postcard, with Empire of India passing Ewyas Harold.

A trial of a faded postcard, with ‘Empire of India’ passing Ewyas Harold.

Temple meads carriages, with serrated border.

Temple Meads carriages, with serrated border.

A small farm cottage with an extension annexe needs to appear behind the arched road bridge at the up end of Semley’s platforms.  This will be made in reduced scale to help introduce the 3D area of backscene, with it’s progressively decreasing scale,  falling directly behind it.  Does this make the model P3.5 ? I certainly hope so!

Farm cottage near Semley station bridge.

P3.5 farm cottage near Semley station bridge.

September 13th 2015

A few quick pictures of Semley’s new backscene panels from a mid-week fitting session, to be fully captioned when I can, and I also have an additional job of making a reduced scale house behind the brick road bridge at the up end of the platforms.

The L.S.W.R. West of England main line ran through a drained cutting in the open country to the east of Semley station, passing the village to the north and on towards the next station at Tisbury. Some of the naturally occurring pools here, south of Chaldicott's farm have been drained, to allow more dairy pasture,

The L.S.W.R. West of England main line ran through a drained cutting in the open country to the east of Semley station, passing the village, and on towards the next station at Tisbury. Some of the naturally occurring pools here, filled by the Sem, south of Chaldicott’s farm have been drained, to allow more dairy pasture,

Semley Dairy buildings, with a summer sky and a horizon.

Semley Dairy buildings, looking towards Sedgehill parish, with a summer sky and a horizon.

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The grassed embankment in the foreground leads down to a delivery siding and the up platform.


St Catherine's church, Sedgehill appears in the middle distance among the hedgerows and meadows when looking over Semley station.. It has a small squat tower, containing only three bells.

St Catherine’s church, Sedgehill appears in the middle distance among the hedgerows and meadows when looking over Semley station.. It has a small squat tower, containing only three bells.

OS field 77 behind the approach road, looking directly north.

OS field 77 behind the approach road, looking directly north.

The Guildex event turned out to be a success, and Lee’s prototype G.W.R. carriage took it’s place behind a Dean single on the new diorama’s platform 2 road, with a Princess Royal pacific at platform 1 behind. Thanks for all the positive comments I have received since the show.

A Pre-production clerestory corridor third carriage in the 1898 livery.

The pre-production clerestory corridor third carriage in the 1898 livery.


Next year, the station interior will be appearing as a backdrop to an update feature, with some of the latest releases, and we will hopefully be looking to re-model the backscene article that sadly missed publication in Finescale Review.

Particular thanks go to Steve Flint for permission to include some of the fantastic feature photography from this year’s January RM issue in the new book. The super focus images will replace some of my attempts, noticeably improving the quality!

This was the cover photo, but it shows a little more background here. No 6011 King Edward 1 heads east with nine on.

This was the cover photo, but it shows a little more background here. No 6011 King Edward 1 heads east with nine on.

Part of the heading picture from the January Railway Modeller feature. An 1890 Dean Pannier tank No 1873 and a six wheeled brake van head west on the down main.

Part of the heading picture from the January Bucks Hill feature. An 1890 Dean Pannier tank No 1873 and a six wheeled brake van head west on the down main.

Photos Steve Flint/Railway Modeller

September 7th 2015

Lee’s new ‘Terminus’ diorama has now been put to use at Guildex. It can accommodate more stock than his previous displays, which are all now for sale. A few captioned pictures can now be included here, and a few more appear in the ‘Finescale Railway’ section.

Three separate lines enter the station, allowing as many trains into the scene. this overall view features a marvellous Gresley pacific built by Tony Reynalds and an L.N.E.R. full brake as an example.

A view of the interior, with three separate lines entering the station from the left, allowing as many trains into the scene. This overall photo features a marvellous Gresley pacific built by Tony Reynalds and an L.N.E.R. full brake as one example.

The building interior is deliberately generic and nameless to accommodate different engines, but has been modelled with some late Victorian/early Edwardian architectural features and a reduced scale backscene as a single focal layer, running parallel to the train shed wall.

Passengers, porters and taxis populate the small concourse.

Passengers, porters and taxis populate the small concourse.

A pair of 1930s locomotives rest alongside one another beneath the glazed canopy

A display, with a pair of named 1930s locomotives resting alongside one another beneath the glazed canopy. The Art Deco streamliner is ‘Golden Eagle’, and the V2 alongside is ‘Green Arrow’

A painted timber screen separates the baulk rails and their heavy timber buffers from the paved concourse. the glazed truss roof above is also painted cream.

A painted timber screen separates the baulk rails and their heavy timber buffers from the paved concourse. A number of head and tail lamps are kept here to change the train codes, and a plank covered ground frame lets the firemen work the escape crossover. The glazed truss roof above is painted cream, and the concourse appears made in different bricks to the side wall.

Stone cornices and carved keystone detail. To keep to the generic nature of the station, the coat of arms is simply the royal emblem instead of that of a railway company. The decorative window portal in the gable above was turned to the same profile as the arch below, and the panelled glazing is laminated from plastikard profiles.

Stone cornices and carved keystone detail. To keep to the generic nature of the station, the coat of arms is simply the royal emblem instead of that of a railway company. The decorative window portal in the gable above was turned to a similar profile to the arch below, and the panelled glazing is laminated from plastikard profiles.

From a scale height, this view covers the small concourse.

From a scale height, this view covers the small concourse with a great set of mostly standing 1930s passengers by Andy Stadden. A number of new releases to his range are seen here for the first time, including several standing female figures with well researched clothing and footwear.

The area around the entrance gates to platforms 1&2 has 1930s figures, and other generic platform barrows and clutter.

The area around the entrance gates to platforms 1 & 2 has more of Andy’s 1930s figures, and other generic platform barrows and clutter. A couple of additions to this group are from Ruth Redgwick, who kindly provided as many as she could to add to the little crowd at short notice!

The way out, with a 1930s telephone kiosk and a period vending machine. Groups of passengers wait to continue their journeys.

The way out into town, with a 1930s telephone kiosk and a period vending machine. Groups of tired passengers wait to continue their journeys on, escaping from the draughty, depressing place as quickly as possible.

What we really need for this cabinet is an ambient sound loop with the sounds of carriage doors slamming and awful burbled announcements about departing and arriving trains but I ran out of time to arrange this added feature. Maybe next time, which will be with Patriot and Jubilee class engines at the buffers when we go to the Warley weekend extravaganza with Ian Allan Publishing in November.

L.M.S. Princess Royal class No 6203 'Princess Margaret Rose' was built in 1935 to haul northern and Scottish expresses.

L.M.S. Princess Royal class No 6203 ‘Princess Margaret Rose’ in the countryside display.

To make room, this display case is now for sale, so contact Lee or me if you would like a double tracked diorama.

To make room, this case is now for sale, so contact Lee or me if you would like a double tracked lit diorama to show a favourite locomotive.


The case is long enough to show most tender engines and a bogie carriage. Adding a suitable train helps to set the scene, providing a purpose to the presence of the loco in it’s display.

I will be visiting the Ian Allan editors next week to tie up a few loose ends like photo credits and copyrights for the new book, so that will make for a pleasant long lunch, away from the workbench for a change!

August 27th 2015

Just a few portraits from a mid-week gathering at Bucks Hill, with some flooding of the local lanes making the journey difficult. This is to be the last session before Telford, so I have borrowed some stock for diorama photography during this week, otherwise I will have no record of recent work.

A few pictures from the layout then;

A long line of colliery empties trundles back to Wales behind an eight-coupled G.W.R. 2-8-0T from Cardiff shed.

A long line of colliery empties trundles back to Wales behind an eight-coupled G.W.R. tank loco from Cardiff shed.

No 5015 'Kingswear Castle' takes a regular up passenger turn, seen here on a low embankment from above the boundary fence at ground level. Photo by Barry Norman

No 5015 ‘Kingswear Castle’ with a regular up passenger turn, seen here past the station on the low embankment from ground level. Photo by Barry Norman.

No 4208, with a coal train for Hereford. The graded coal in the following opens actually came direct from the NCB!

No 4208, with an up coal train for Hereford. The graded coal in the following opens actually came direct from the NCB!

A first outing for No 4771 'Green Arrow', one of Jack Anziani's latest additions approaching the trailing points at the exit of the up loop.

A first outing for No 4771 ‘Green Arrow’, one of Jack Anziani’s latest additions approaching the trailing points at the exit of the up loop.

Dr Paul Glover's early L.M.S. period Super 'D' has the characteristic offbeat wheezing exhaust sound, replicating that of the originals, with the mis-timed beats due to the slightly worn Joy valve gear.

Dr Paul Glover’s early L.M.S. period Super ‘D’ has the characteristic offbeat wheezing exhaust sound, replicating that of the originals, with the mis-timed beats due to the slightly worn Joy valve gear.

No 4701 heads a livestock train away, north east. This scene could be re-created in a few years time when the replica no 4709 sees the light of day.

No 4701 heads a livestock train away, north east. This scene could be re-created in a few years time when the replica no 4709 sees the light of day. Photo by Barry Norman

Progress on this re-creation of yet another long lost class can be found, this time still within the first few years of the project at.

No 16 'Brunel' pauses for an Edwardian appearance.

No 16 ‘Brunel’ pauses in the platforms. I might propose a black and white movie clip portraying the Dean and Armstrong era, with double headed expresses passing four coupled engines waiting in the loops and so on.

Scenic detail of stone embankment wing walls, overgrown boundary fencing, and a muddy cattle creep with water and hoofprints

Scenic detail of stone embankment wing walls, overgrown boundary fencing, and a muddy cattle creep with water and hoofprints

This nicely researched set of 1930s figures will populate the new diorama and will eventually form part of Andy Stadden's new 7mm set including several new standing female figures.

This nicely researched set of 1930s figures will populate the new diorama and will eventually form part of Andy Stadden’s new 7mm set including several new standing female figures.

Following last year’s Spring weekend at Missenden Abbey, I met Patrick Humphrys at the Chinnor cream tea special, and he has sent me a picture of the graduated sky base blue on the rear panel of his Welford Park layout. The paint is applied by blending two mixed shades together using fine foam mini paint rollers, and he has captured a subtle progression from atmospheric horizon haze to a clearer base blue above. This layout will eventually feature a 3D backscene, done in progressive focal layering, so come along and join us at Missenden where we will be studying backscene projects of all sizes and subjects.

Progressive sky base graduation on Welford Park's new backscene.

Progressive sky base graduation on Welford Park’s new backscene, with a waiting hut for an idea of size.

August 17th 2015


Work is progressing on the various scenic and backscene projects with their looming deadlines, as well as ensuring the delivery of Lee’s new diorama for Guildex

A few cropped views of Bucks Hill from scale height follow here, some from the last running session.


The Golden Valley branch line platform, with a G.W.R. 517 class 0-4-2T and four wheeled carriages. The goods shed is in the right hand background, with the station to the left.


The timber goods shed, with a view through its open doors allowing a silhouette of the handling crane within.

bh 0-4-2t

This view was taken a while ago with the old side tank loco waiting to be uncoupled. Lee has now arranged a 3D design file to produce a limited run of this class of locomotive.

Some development is being carried out with a timed exhaust smoke generator, so perhaps the locos will now weather themselves! It’s too soon to be sure on that one.

JubileeRetouch bw

Photo by Kevin Wilson

lee 5511 bw

The smoke trials are being carried out on a Patriot 4-6-0 like this weathered example. This top quality job and its photo is by Martyn Welch.

Excellent progress is being made on ‘The Unknown Warrior’, a similar new-build full sized Patriot, and the latest can be found here at ;

Gloomy station and shed interiors make good diorama subjects because they are naturally contained spaces. The next display case will show a later period to suit the bigger designs of the 1930s.

Gloomy station and shed interiors make good diorama subjects because they are naturally contained spaces. The next display case will show a later period to suit the bigger designs of the 1930s.

It made a nice break away from the bench to join up with Chris Langdon and the Missenden Modellers Summer week attendees for their afternoon jaunt on the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway. A very posh cream tea on the move, and a chat on the platform with some of the builders who want to do some advance planning work on their backscene projects.

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Lovely bit of indulgence!

Details of this ‘tea and train’ pampering can be found here;

Do have a look at the updated ‘for sale’ section if you have time, some of it is non-railway, but there are a few older projects that have to make way for new stuff because I can hardly move anymore!

col open

The original scaled working drawing for a colliery wagon illustration.


Some other paintings and a decorative orrery light have been added as well, so call me, or send the page link to your friends…. so much to do lately. 

August 4th 2015

We have now nearly finished installing two of Whitchurch Road’s station boards at Dave Alexander’s place, and next time I will make sure I get some pictures of some of his 5″ gauge stuff posted here for interest.

'H' class 4-4-4T with Dreadnought Brake 3rd.

‘H’ class 4-4-4T with Dreadnought Brake 3rd.

Detail from the second board of the oil lamp, fence, and gents loo

Detail from the second board of the oil lamp, fence, and gents loo

Only a few days of work remain before I return to Dorset, with two more backscenes for Semley, including Whitebridge Farm, Sedgehill House and the adjacent OS Field 77.

Field 77 is being harvested, and the receding perspective surface matches the scaled surface on the baseboard.

Field 77 is being harvested, and the receding perspective surface matches and blends into the scaled surface on the baseboard.

Thanks go to Marije Beckers, and her colleagues at the amazing Panorama Mesdag exhibit in The Hague. They have allowed me to reproduce a high-res image in ‘Creating a Backscene’ as an example of probably one of the most convincing artificial environments ever conceived. To study and visit this illusion, click on the translated link for details in English.

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A small section of the panorama, which gives a 360 view as though viewed from a sand dune at Scheveningen on the Dutch coast in 1880. There is no substitute for the real experience though, so if you are nearby, be sure to pay a visit.

I have also been swopping E-mails with Martyn Welch over the last few days, partly because he recently visited Bucks Hill, and Kevin had the backscene’s ambient sound system on. Martyn has a new layout project on the boil which will also feature looped MP3 sound, with bluetooth triggering for occasional sound effects as well, so we spoke about how it was done. Here is a link to a three minute movie that Martyn took during the visit, and if you’re wondering why there’s no credit for the music, it’s because he did that as well, and it’s entitled ‘Autumn’. What extraordinary talent!

A few slightly tweaked pictures of Martyn’s 7mm scale weathering projects then, and a link to the rest of the gallery.

Super realism ...accurate modelling combined with weathering and the effects of a hard outdoor life.

Super realism …accurate modelling combined with weathering and the effects of a hard outdoor life.

Sepia treatment of Monks Eleigh 0-6-0 portait, visit matyn's site to see this in a colour portfolio.

Sepia treatment of Monks Eleigh 0-6-0 portait, visit Martyn’s site to see this in a colour portfolio.

Scenic weathering example.

Scenic weathering example.

July 25th 2015

A few quick tweaked pictures from recent running sessions can go here, but all the other progress lately is tedious stuff like gathering copyright permissions, and other commissioned work that I can’t preview yet. There is more still to come supplying the Ian Allan editorial dept and their designers with the best resolution images I can find, to make sure the quality is up to scratch.

One of the permissions came from Malcolm Mitchell, to include a small thumbnail of a charming George Iliffe Stokes winter scene, and I visited the expanded ‘A shop’ website to identify the image. I became completely distracted from what I was supposed to be doing in no time, and I strongly suggest you do the same

A few pictures can follow here as proof of time well spent! with one G.W.R. (naturally) 517 class locomotive in the bay platform at Bucks Hill.


malc bw

malc sepia

Like Malcolm’s, this website is really designed as a gallery, you can pause and click on most of these images to enlarge them a bit, allowing an advantage over the static printed pages of a book. I understand it is possible to output the book content as a download, with this extra capability built in, but most railway folks still tend towards the printed page and the bookcase.

Our Achilles Class single passes Bucks Hill with its train, as seen from the normal standing viewpoint

‘Duke of Connaught’ passes Bucks Hill with its train of clerestoried carriages.

Stanier Jubilee No 5593 Kolhapur was built at Glasgow by North British in 1934, named after an area of western India.

Stanier Jubilee No 5593 Kolhapur was built at Glasgow by North British in 1934, named after an area of western India.

Temple Meads Old Station

A 3D backscene is visible here through the windows, showing the new station forecourt and the approach and deliveries road curving around behind the offices of the Bristol & Exeter Railway. The four coupled Dean tender locomotive can trace its lineage back to Gooch and the Broad Gauge era. Photo by Tony Reynalds

Pannier & Bucks Hill

A G.W.R. Auto trailer is propelled towards Bucks Hill station, where it will pause briefly before continuing its journey east. Photo by Barry Norman

Westcott, and an ex L.N.W.R. 2P Renown Class 4-4-0 No 5117 'Polyphemus' in early L.M.S. livery. This was a rebuild of a Jubilee class loco.

Westcott, and an Ex L.N.W.R. 2P Renown class 4-4-0 No 5117 ‘Polyphemus’ In early L.M.S. livery. This was rebuilt from a Jubilee class locomotive.

A clear study of the station's platform side, with figures and 'arched' chimney stacks.

A clear study of Bucks Hill station’s platform side, with figures and fine ‘arched’ stone chimney stacks. The Suttons Seeds enamelled signs were to be seen all the way up the Golden Valley line to Hay-on-Wye, and the artwork was re-touched from one of the surviving originals now at Arley.

mal bw

A small Prairie shunting at Westcott.

st sep

The famous Stirling eight footer, in sepia this time to make a change.

July 14th 2015

A most enjoyable running session at Bucks Hill this afternoon, and a good catch up chat with some of the regular attendees. A few pictures follow here.


A few of the larger locomotives took a turn at the head of the fantastic L.M.S. Royal train which appears now and again. A matched rake of Wolverton built eight and twelve wheeled carriages make up the train, with the Queen Mary saloons in the centre with their carved and gilded decorations. The interiors and saloons are all detailed in exquisite miniature.


Jack Anziani’s King James II rounds the western curve with the Royal train

sleeper sep

The overnight sleeper, with the generous allowance of cabin size apparent by the width of the panelling between the windows.


The Manor house and square chapel against the skyline, in focus this time!


Jack Anziani also brought this early L.M.S. 2-4-2T and a matching auto carriage to work the branch line for a change, with his own lining, lettering and weathering applied to the locomotive.


The goods yard at Pontrilas always had timber loads from a big sawmill near the line past Kenderchurch. This train of Southern Railway flats would be shunted, and go via Abergavenny and the Severn Tunnel.


Jonathan Marcus is planning his own layout, and he brought this delightfully grimy Stanier pacific 46236 ‘City of Bradford’ which headed a rake of flush sided 1930s L.M.S. carriages in appropriate maroon. It’s shown here waiting at Bucks Hill’s up platform.


Cornishman slows down as it approaches the points for the goods loop and crossover with a down mixed train.

De Glehn

Kevin’s next build project is coming along well, a West Country class Pacific ‘Templecombe’ in unrebuilt condition, and this backhead is one of the sub assemblies ready for the final assembly. A De-Glehn Compound Atlantic is also in the works.

July 8th 2015

MARM_logo (1)

If you would like to undertake a background test panel for your layout at Missenden Abbey’s Spring weekend, then the booking is now open for a limited number of places.

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 10.36.15

This is the original classic weekend where as many as 60 modellers occupy the Abbey, working in several different areas. It is a great gathering of minds with lots to do, see, ask, learn and talk about.

Getting the best from your weekend session does mean a certain degree of preparation in advance, so assemble a folder with period maps, photographs and a file of any surviving features from a site visit along with layout pictures and sizes to get it all planned and positioned as best as possible.


Period OS maps are ideal



Reference photos




We can freehand airbrush from reference onto a test panel if preferred.

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Blow up any skies you might want to display over your scene, and we can transfer it to your rear panel


I will bring tree making stuff like last year as well.

ref book

We can do plotting and scaling from enlarged mapping as well.


The book now has a listing on Amazon, and can be pre-ordered for a late November release by clicking the link below.

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Before too long it will have it’s own section, but for now, I can’t help but keep an eye out for it in introductory listings of forthcoming titles. Here’s one from Australia, with some descriptive outline copy. It’s all very exciting because I’ve never done this before.

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This is the copy that goes with it;

All railway layouts deserve a fitting backdrop to bring the whole scene to life. In this book artist Paul Bambrick encourages scenic modellers to create their own landscape backscene. In this attractively illustrated book he introduces the reader to useful theory and history, with superb examples of illustrations for the reader to aspire to, but always concentrating on useful tips about how to break down the painting into practical stages to get the job done. The author deliberately aims the book at the average modeller who is not an artist. The backscene serves its purpose as an element of the model layout and even if the reader has not painted a picture before the author demonstrates through exercises and guide examples how you can make interesting creative choices about your railways appearance to achieve a well observed end result. Each stage is accompanied by sketches and photo examples of applications, explaining the principles and methods and showing how directly the reader can get the most practical benefit. The skills of building a layout or a model can be adapted to the job of producing a backscene. And if the reader would prefer a 3D backdrop, the author shows that the skills required require more modelling than painting so they are little different to any other scenic model railway work. The chapters follow a sequence from study to method, as a guide to avoiding common mistakes and to encourage the modeller to adapt the backscene to his or her own modelling methods, materials and preferences, eventually creating a backscene in the modeller’s own style, following his or her own view as to what part an environment should play as it surrounds a layout. The book could also be used to sort out any problems in existing backscenes – the modeller can easily look up the relevant guidelines on perspective, sky or buildings for example. The co-author John Ellis has also added useful sections on alternative methods and processes of producing backscenes using digital photography and editing software for those who are more comfortable with cameras and computers than brushes and paint.

June 15th 2015

There is some newly submitted content in the layout feature pages, and I have labelled the expanded sections. The new stuff consists of material from photo sessions that needed some tweaking. The home page slideshow has also been slowed and expanded.

jack 4w

Jack Anziani now has a portable demo track for some of his 7mm scale trams.

jack det

Westcott shed detail


Many thanks to Barry Norman and Paul Karau for their permission to put some of their MRJ quality photos into the book draft. A few detail shots with informative captions now appear in the Bucks Hill section.

photos 169

I still have a few larger trees cluttering the place up, so if you would like one for your layout, please do let me know. Some are bare frames, some are dressed like these.


tree book

chapt tree


June 14th 2015

Ian Allan are moving their offices to a new site, but I have just finished the book before the re-location. While they settle into the new place, I will leave them be, and pay a visit when the time is right to see if it all makes sense!

It looks as if it will be a hardback book, so there is a cover sheet to be designed, but there’s time enough for that before it’s launched later on this year.

There are loads of suggestions to cure backscene problems, and ‘how to do’ easy 3D stuff as well, with hundreds of example pictures.


I have a batch of upright lineside trees to do for a large main-line layout to be set in winter time. These will follow supplied reference, and here are 30 or so examples of the type required, still needing twigs, fixative lacquer and colour spraying.


The second baseboard for Whitchurch Road will go to Dave Alexander’s place this week, to join the first one of which he has already installed. I will bring my camera with me because he does have some amazing railwayana, mostly Metropolitan related.

Whitchurch Road 033

photos 936

Whitchurch Road 072


photos 926

I must now progress both Semley, and a Diorama for Lee Marsh, depicting the buffer stops of a terminus station. Lee has sent a 3D Cad image of the new GWR 517 class 0-4-2T, done with assistance from Malcolm Mitchell, and the batch will be based upon this. It is a drawing of the basis of the model, not the prototype, so all the components like fixing screws and gearbox are included to check for fit and tolerance. They have even animated it to observe the oscillation clearances between the frames. The ‘Castle’ batch will be produced using the same method.




May 29th 2015

ian all logo

I have now signed a contract with Ian Allan publishing, so the job is to get all the layout spreads ready by the end of the month. I would like to thank Kevin Robertson for his great feedback and advice on this so I’d better get on with it then!

David Lane and the Risborough MC did their usual top job at Railex, with the very best quality combined with an interesting variety of scales and subjects.

Mike and Kevin helped to look after the Warley MRC ’82G’ loco shed model which is just that. There are no duck-ponds, branch lines or hedgerows at Templecombe Road engine shed. Mike passed his new camera over so I could try it out. A Canon SX60HS, very nice too, so here are a few of my efforts after tweaking.

side tank

No 80105 alongside the Templecombe Road shed wall.



64xx Pannier tanks and others at the busy coaling platform.


thrown out

Three errant little boys are sent packing.


standard shed

The standard 2-6-4T from a different angle, in B/W.



Side view of a goods 2-8-0 without many other occupants visible.


arm latest

One of my favourites on Bucks Hill.


May 23rd 2015

This is the finished view over Semley’s coal sidings, with the hedgerow now modelled in front, blending the 3D backscene into the fields. The three characteristic trees seen earlier on in the monotone picture of the Bulleid Pacific now appear to finish the exact appearance of the prototype, but as it was in 1912.

3 trees

I am doing my own layout for the backscene book , which helps me to ensure things go in the right places and the copy reads OK, here’s a screen shot from one of the many illustrated spreads….. it’s a long job!

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One of the examples of forced perspective illusions in the book, this free standing art piece is by the amazing Christina Lihan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Mike Morris has built a Barry Railway 0-6-0 in an effort to try and finish some of his own collection of kits, and it takes a trip onto Bucks Hill at the latest running session, I think this might have been a Sharp Stewart built locomotive.

mike barry060

Still in primer, the loco is given a train of GWR flats to start running in.

The Bristol Station display case has arrived in Vancouver BC, and I will pop a picture of it with its Rover Class 4-2-2 in when I can. in the meantime, I found a works portrait in a 1930s published encyclopaedia. Bulkeley left London on the afternoon of Friday, the 20th May 1892, working as far as Temple Meads, returning the following morning with the last train from Penzance. The short-lived engine was named after a long-standing Great Western Railway director.


An outline retouched works grey photograph of Bulkeley taken at Swindon in 1880.


I also found this interesting view of a Beyer Peacock condensing 4-4-0T between duties on London’s ‘Inner Circle’. I wish I had a Tardis, but I’ll just have to settle for pictures and models instead.


April 22nd 2015

There will soon be a great new illuminated diorama for Lee Marsh, showing a scene at the buffers of a main line terminus, and I will put in a picture as the reference comes together. The Swindon rolling test bed will most likely come after this static display because of the complexity of getting a tenderless ‘Castle’ loco to behave in sync with a fully working mechanism. The exhaust sound must be correctly timed, and to enable this, the locomotive must power itself.

In the meantime, before the old diorama is sold on, here’s one of the latest pictures from Lee’s gallery showing the 9F in situ, If you would like either one of these, contact Lee, and have a look at all the other activity and news on their page here;

lee ret

There is a new feature section on Semley in ‘Finescale Modelling’ but it’s too soon to put any overall views in yet. I’ll just confine the images to details and reference for now, and here are a few from the latest visit, trying the first two linear landscape panels into position. The colours are generally fine, and we have a plan to include some more 3D blending work further along towards the dairy buildings.

semley quiet

Three superb specific replica trees made from winter reference by Gordon Gravett will appear at this point just as they did in 1912, growing from a hedgerow between Martin’s OS field No 462 in the foreground and fields 404 , 402 and 463 behind, with copse 403 just to the left of centre. The colours are fine together, and when its done, we will have created a prototypical view, looking away from the lines into mid Wiltshire towards Wylye & Stonehenge, some ten and twenty miles distant respectively.


semley cabin

Semley’s LSWR platform cabin shows some of the fine detail that rewards a close up study. The tidy uncluttered environment appears as maintained by an army of permanent station staff, and the point rodding aperture and lintel is set into the brick platform edging.



Many rail facing brick walls were timber battened in the Edwardian era, and Martin has researched and reproduced a number of the original signs for Semley’s footbridge staircase wall. The store room beneath would have been oil lit with a cleaned lamp taken from the hut situated further along the up platform.



A P4 double slip in the up yard, hand made in bullhead rail onto large cross section point sleepers. The up main is in the foreground.

semley ref

A rebuilt Bulleid pacific races towards Semley’s inner home signal in the 1950s. The field line in the background with the three landmark trees appears on Semley, and it is beyond this hedgerow that my work begins. This section of the model has recently been re-worked, ready for a 3D portrayal of miles of quiet dairy farming country stretching as far as the eye can see.


farm semley

Barn close up with dairy herd and gentle summer sky

The Finescale Review feature on Westcott is coming along well, but there might still be some more pictures to come yet.


A worn out old brake van is deposited into a siding by a LNWR 0-6-2T at Westcott.


west 17

An Adams Radial 4-4-2T moves onto the turntable.

Stuart Holt attended the Missenden Abbey weekend scenic session, and undertook some acrylic painting from reference on the Sunday. His trial section for the still ‘in progress’ Kyle of Sutherland layout can be seen here in position. It will eventually feature a relief model of Carbisdale Castle to give the model the right local ‘Scottish Loch’ character.

stuart kyle

The backscene has been well observed from reference, including the palette mixed sky base blue with it’s highlighted cloud layers.

April 12th 2015

I’m not sure my memory is improving much with age, so let’s just say I’m getting the habit of taking the camera with me on my visits, and it did come in handy by chance at the weekend’s running session at Bucks Hill.

rover kevin

This is Kevin’s latest, a Martin Finney 7mm Rover Class 4-2-2. The work on this is now finished, but it has been partially disassembled again here, ready for a painting and lining out job by the steady hand of Alan Brackenborough. Next in the queue will be a De-Glehn Atlantic, and the final touches to the interesting Lombardi made Italian electric ‘Crocodile’ locomotive, an articulated frame 1Co-Co1 (I think that’s right) !

front no paint

Front end detail, with the rivetted outer ‘sandwich’ frames prominent, and the new sanding and braking systems of the day also evident, along with modern buffers and four supporting front wheels to stabilise and lead the loco into track curves at a mile a minute. All the reciprocating components between the frames are present and correct of course, so all it really needs now is final assembly and something to run on!


In the early years of planning any layout, seeking good reference out is one of the most important areas of attention, because it always shines through the job once it’s done. Here’s an example of one of the possible rewards that a persistent search might bring to light.

best ref

This genuine GWR plan of Pontrilas station and it’s environs was drawn to show a set of proposed alterations to the track layout, and on close inspection, it actually shows dotted lines indicating possible new configurations. It was unearthed by Kevin in the Public Records office at Kew, and was part of the wealth of information passed on to Mike Morris, who eventually came up with the layout concept, and went on to adapt the drawing’s revisions, and re-draft the necessary re- alignments and areas of gentle foreshortening to come up with Bucks Hill’s similar arrangement.


Reference rarely comes as good as this, and I find it interesting in it’s own right, at a first glance it looks a bit like a signalbox diagram, but the little drawing office catalogue box in the bottom corner gives it away as a P-way plan. Luckily, Mike is making a change from his previous building management work, to concentrate on railway projects, so do please use the link to see the first few pages of his new site coming together.

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Well done to Vincent Caldwell for finally putting Moses Plat on the map, I do hope the Ocean Mails slowed for the speed restriction across the viaduct! The usual well staged and well lit super focus photography accompanies an excellent write up and even a portrait this time.


vincent RM cover


A set of photographs have been taken of Westcott, for a future article. It is to concentrate mainly on the on the 7mm scale collection of historic trams, but will include some layout content as well. A couple of crops from the many views taken follow here as an introduction while we wait for Jack to fill in their histories in caption.


A recent addition, done using natural light on the demonstration line.


jack pics

The turntable is opposite the transition from open country to Westcott town and mill. The shed is just to the left from here.

Work continues on the second panel of the Semley backscene, which has some 3D areas blending layout features into the local landscape

semley panel2

Two roads join at a fork on the right, and more painting is needed at the far distance behind the tree on the left. Martin’s excellent reference allows me to get the prototype job done without any guesswork.

Thanks for all the positive comments on the MRJ Bucks Hill article on the various internet forums and so on. In fact Barry and Paul had to combine two features to get it all into the allotted space and while there is some explanation of the backscene job in the copy, it was never a good idea to try and write a simplified description of how to do it in stages because you would have to leave out too much. Part of the brief was also to provide descriptions of the build up in the early stages long before I even knew about it’s existence, along with a bit of a tour around the scenic section as well. Best to make a proper job of it which is why I’m still doing bits on the book. Here are a couple of Barry’s glorious pics that wouldn’t fit either!


‘Pegasus’ heads a breakdown train out onto the up main. Photo by Barry Norman

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Similar viewpoint, as No 4318 leads a van train south on the down main to cross the border. Photo by Barry Norman


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Thanks to Chris Langdon, Barry Norman and David Brandreth for inviting me back to Missenden Abbey next spring. Things will return to normal for summer and autumn, but if you want to get together to do some backscene and scenic work, keep an eye out for the booking openings at the Abbey.

A set of building components has been sent to Frankfurt to begin a 4mm scale Temple Meads layout, so early days I’m sure, but should be interesting down the line.

April 2nd 2015

An entertaining new end to end diorama idea might be to model a view looking at St James Bridge, Bath, as the Avon loops around to the right here at the south of the city. Basing the aspect on this John Cooke Bourne plate of 1846, some research could be undertaken to bring the scene into the late 1880s, allowing both standard and broad gauge trains to be displayed, slowly crossing the pointwork at the eastern end of the platforms. The partially wooded valley side rises behind the scene as a backdrop, and the added interest of the river traffic below completes the scene.

St James

I do think there should be a movement to reproduce every J C Bourne subject into museum diorama displays

A new baseplate for a Temple Meads display with dual gauge timber baulks and ties. The metal blackened Bridge profile rails with their drop wires will be fitted next, then weathering and ballast.

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Scale dual gauge timbers

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Section of flat bottom bridge rail with soldered wire dropper onto longitudinal baulk.

MRJ No 238 is now available with a write up of Bucks Hill. Barry and Paul have included some of the lineside views into the fully captioned feature as an edit, and made a typically good job of the material and layout.

MRJ 238

Work continues on Semley, and I will pop some progress work from this project in next time, along with some of the pic versions that wouldn’t fit into the MRJ article, and some new photos from Westcott as well.


March 23rd 2015

The latest Temple Meads case insert will soon be converted to dual gauge baulk road, and then dispatched to it’s new home in Vancouver, Canada. It will house a 7mm scale model of the famous Rover class locomotive Bulkeley, the last mile-a-minute flyer to run on the broad gauge out of Paddington. The bridge section rails will have drop wires to enable the locomotive’s DCC sound system.

The Dean/Armstrong era

The rails will be wired enabling DCC with sound.


This comes from an kind introduction by Lee Marsh, and I hope to have some more news from Lee about some future collaborations, including a working diorama of the Swindon Works Locomotive test bed.

This will coincide with the much anticipated release of the new Castle class limited run, and should look something like the photo. Getting it to work is going to involve Kevin and some head scratching!

lee swindon diorama

Judging by the booking of the Prairie 2-6-2T series, these will be reserved fairly quickly, so take a look at the link to keep tabs on this run.

I borrowed an old picture of Bray near Maidenhead from a friend to include some details from it into the book in a section about villages.

bray warm up

Bray still looks attractive, even though the road is surfaced now and has double yellow lines painted alongside the kerbs.

Patrick Humphrys sent me another picture of his latest tree practising work, for his 1950s Welford Park 7mm scale project (A location near Lambourn), and this one was started in the Missenden Abbey classroom.

pat tree crop

Good observation and colour matching from photographic reference on the trunk and boughs.


Barry tells me the next MRJ No 238 will feature 14 pages of Bucks Hill related content as well, so it’s a catch up of new developments including some new additions to the regular locomotive fleet.

March 11th 2015

Three intrepid visitors made the trip from Crickhowell to Bucks Hill for a mid-week running session, they were joined by five more from Andover, and a few local attendees eventually made the number up to fourteen.

A few ‘work in progress’ locomotives took to the main lines first, then some of Jack Anziani’s latest including a LNWR Jubilee 4-4-0 that I didn’t get a decent picture of…yet, and some Lee Marsh LMS 4-6-0s.

Some BH regulars then took turns before close of play, and here are some pics for fun.

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No 4318 rounds the curve on the down main. Photo by Barry Norman


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Shadow play, two eight coupled GW locos pass, with the tank loco heading back down to it’s native South Wales. Photo by Barry Norman


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Breaking the skyline, No 3267 ‘Cornishman’ passes an LMS excursion on a stretch of embankment. Photo by Barry Norman

I will soon be taking a few more photos of some of Jack’s latest additions at Westcott, and also looking through early GWR architecture for a suitable subject for a diorama layout in the 1870s era.

A few details from the first stage of a combined 2 and 3D landscape looking north from the higher ground about half a scale mile to the east of Semley station.

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St Leonards partially obscured with Grove House, school, and OS fields 392, 3, 4 and 7.


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Layered cloud detail above Semley Lane overbridge.


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Looking North East towards Chaldicott’s farm with OS wood 391, & fields 34, 399 and 404.


March 9th 2015

My guest weekend of tutoring at Missenden Abbey went pretty well, and the level of guidance was quite similar to that of the Pendon workshops last year. There were a few more modellers in this group though, and a wider range of subjects and projects to help with, so I did my best and delivered a couple of quick demo talks as requested with a flip pad and a felt pen to sketch things out big enough to see from the back!

What was certainly different about Missenden Abbey to the other classes I have done in the past like landscapes and so on, is that it’s usually just me, but here you naturally mingle with other tutors and modellers alike, so you end up learning stuff from everybody within a friendly and encouraging community.

If you are considering booking a place on one of the next courses, maybe as a gift for a friend or relative, I can recommend the experience whole heartedly. It’s a high standard, but it encourages beginners too so the balance is good, and we know this as several first time participants made a point of commenting on it.

Credit must now go to Barry Norman for letting me fill his boots temporarily, and get the ‘Missenden’ experience. To all the modellers who took a risk and signed up for backscenes and scenery, it was great to meet you one and all so thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt and loading the van as well!

Thanks also to Chris and David for making it a genuine success, and to all the more experienced tutors for their welcome as well. I am hoping to put some of Tim Shackleton’s pictures in here as an edit, and of course, I wish the very best of luck to the new ‘Finescale Review’ Magazine.

Next entry will be in a few days to hopefully include some pictures and also to put in some from a mid week running afternoon at Bucks Hill.

To sign off with, here is a picture of the traditional chocolate frog souvenir that you get as proof of Missenden initiation. You really do have to earn these, so here goes………….



The following pictures were kindly sent to me from John Turner, who came to Missenden with a prepared baseboard test piece gently contoured with a light skim of ground cover.

An unsurfaced road was marked first, and a mixture of PVA, sieved earth and tile grout was applied as a wet mixed paste and applied with a brush. While this was drying, we cut a strip of horsehair hedgerow base to act as a border and built some extra height on with fine chopped wig hair for the finer upper twigs. While still separate from the board, John then dressed it with a mixed variety of fine scatters.

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John found himself at home with fine multi strand cable, and produced several shrubs to blend into the hedgerow. Photo by John Turner

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The foreground still needs some work, with some more patchy rough grass and bare earth, but it already has a good feel and a great lineside identity. Photo by John Turner

To copy a line from John’s follow up e-mail ‘I have never done any scenic modelling’

If this is the first attempt, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the layout build, and thanks for the pics and feedback!

Patrick Humphrys had a good weekend working on a couple of trees for his layout, trying new methods and materials out. He sent me a picture of one that he dressed with all the fine outer twig structure and foliage as well as working with me to apply the bark and the upper branch colouring as well. He hadn’t done a tree before so well done indeed!

Pat warm up

All the fine outer detail and colouring was done by Patrick at the Spring Weekend.

Quite a few had a good go on the Sunday at backscene painting, studying skylines, textures, colour matching and cloud configurations too just on test panels working from reference. Come to Missenden Abbey and try for yourself, you can see by the results it’s well worth the trip.

February 13th 2015

A round trip has been undertaken over the last few days, from Aylesbury Vale all the way to the snow capped Brecon Beacons. The first stop was at the wonderful Glan-y-dwr in Crickhowell. and from there to see the permanently installed layout of Penpergwm Junction. Planning the backscene was the task, and at this early stage of construction, it shows a great deal of potential, with some generous areas allowing a couple of feet of scenic depth to work into, and a very well anticipated curving rear panel.

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A view like this of the well known local landmark of Blorenge will eventually appear as a multi layered scenic feature, with typical threatening rainclouds above, a single line GWR branch in the foreground, and a larger scale front scene to introduce the landscape.

The next stop was among the Dorset villages of Blackmore Vale to pick up the first pair of rear panels for Semley, so south, then across the Severn at Chepstow, and down through Somerset to Shaftesbury. I will put some pictures up soon, but for now, here’s a reworked MRJ copy by Barry Norman.

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It’s 1912 on the LSWR main line, done without compromise in P4. A great deal more research and work has gone into the lineside dairy and its surroundings since this picture was taken. The superb Mike Jolly 4mm scale prototype buildings maintain the consistently high standard, and the backscene must reflect the same level of historical accuracy. Photo by Barry Norman

With an overcast sky approaching from the east, the conditions will change gradually to a slightly hazy, sunshine break at the model centre view, between light showers, with another squall moving away west.

Many of the landmarks are dairy farms, and these will be included in very low relief, appearing between the hedgerows and treelines looking north over the common land, and the main road to Warminster. The village of Sedgehill is just visible to the north west, and Semley Village hall will be done in low relief behind the arched road bridge at the eastern scenic break.

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Whitebridge farm cottages are seen just beyond the common land that backs onto the dairy site. All the landscape features will be included at their optimum viewing aspects, from the period OS map reference.


A diorama will soon be made depicting a scene from the heyday of the Broad Gauge, providing a stage set for a 7mm scale Martin Finney Rover class tender locomotive similar to the pictured example below . It will feature an early disc and crossbar signal, and possibly a Brunel decorated tunnel mouth with a flagman’s cabin.

Rover kevin

February 1st 2015

Lee Marsh made the long drive to Bristol with a couple of display cabinets, and a selection of locomotives. He also brought his prototype GWR Clerestory bogie carriage which warrants a few pictures, even though some work remains to be completed at their smart new production centre recently opened in Korea.

lee carriage

The corridor side, some work still needs doing on the interior, underframe equipment and wheelsets but it’s well worth a look already. The roof detail is evident, and the communication cord eyelets are in place along the roof edge at the panel/door joints, each one is a detailed casting with even the cord hole included.

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The compartment side of the diagram E53 carriage in 1898 condition, access to the interior will be from the underside on these, as the roof is soldered on for strength.


More details and progress can be found along with the locomotive range at;

A trip to Abergavenny is on the cards to help make plans for a very promising 7mm scale model of a proposed junction station at Penpergwm. The backscene will eventually become an accurate panorama of the locality as seen looking south over the line.


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January 28th 2015

The Bristol show demo has come and gone, and Michelle and I met some new faces on the pleasant Sunday outing that this regular show has become for us.

I was pleased to meet Simon Castens of Wild Swan Publishing for a quick chat, and wished him well with the new project. The full range is available from the Titfield Thunderbolt bookshop at

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A few chapter sections covering contouring and farm buildings have been added to the backscene book draft, and I have made a quick mock up of the cover as well.


We took the usual backscene and scenic displays with us, and two new diorama case inserts as well. A Temple Meads platform section shows nine of the arcade columns and their cast iron arches in a weathered condition. It comes with a 2D backscene and it all goes in a 750mm wide case


This Temple Meads platform section has a clear display cover, and shows the 1930s condition, with the finials picked out in grey, and standard gauge rails. Kingswear Castle lends a scale to the interior, and a section of return road alongside gives space for another exhibit if required.



The other new case insert features a stretch of single line on a low embankment, passing an idyllic half timbered cottage surrounded by woodland.

tree shadow

This view of the case insert diorama has Kevin Wilson’s Stirling eight foot single taking the stage to give an idea of the scale. The case is 750mm wide with a completely clear upper cover and a gloss black base, it would suit a collector of 7mm scale branch line stock.

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I am now corresponding with some of the 70 students who will be attending the Missenden Abbey Spring modellers weekend, which has now broken its own record of bookings.

The Berkshire group will be moving their show venue from Langley to Binfield near Bracknell next time, and will shortly be publishing a website to cover the details of the new venue and what we can expect to see.


December 24th 2014

John Stockton-Wood has kindly given permission to include some of Barry’s photos of Llanberis in the photo chapter.


The LNWR in Snowdonia, with a train of of six wheeled carriages on John Stockton-Wood’s superb Llanberis terminus. The backscene is by John Ellis and Brian Johnson. Photo by Barry Norman.

There are a lot of field boundaries and a few landmarks that need to be plotted on this next backscene, and this is the first sketch of the locality. I have two good OS maps to work from, one from 1888, and another from 1925 with a small file of reference photos including one original H. C. Casserley print. Many of the distant farm and village buildings still survive, so I should be able to pin most of it down quite accurately to 1912.

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Quiet dairy farming country on the Wiltshire/Dorset border. A series of progressively more detailed studies will follow this first thumbnail as I work into generating the view as it would have appeared a hundred years ago.

The British History Online site, and other local study resources provide written historical information, like the types of farming, cattle breeds and the sizes of herds etc.


December 12th 2014

The Missenden Railway modellers have made a superb job of the tutor’s introduction page on their website, so thanks very much to them for such a warm welcome.

Barry will return to Missenden after his other Spring weekend commitment, but if you need to do a bit of backscene planning as part of your project, then come along and let the Missenden organisers know in advance. Like the Pendon workshop, we can get together and do some preparatory groundwork to save time.

Click the link to find the interactive version and all Chris Langdon’s other railway related study groups…

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A screen shot of part of the new Missenden Abbey weekend page.

If you do like painting and other Arts and Crafts, please explore the other Abbey Courses at;


Railway of the Month for only £3.95!

The Christmas issue is on the shelves with a full cover feature by Steve Flint, and a pleasant tour around the layout, some nice detail insets and some well adapted copy from Kevin and me.

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January 2015 cover

Many other great layouts and manufacturers releases make up a bumper issue, along with a free DVD hosted by Paul Atterbury, the well known TV presenter and railway historian.

Click the link to reach the options, (the digital version allows blowing up the pictures)

The second draft of the backscene book weighs in at 82,000 words. Phew.


See the colour matching of the land, and the play of light and shadow.

This photo shows the very talented Roy Connelly at work, painting a landscape from life. This picture will be included as a contrast to the approach we would normally take to backscene work which is working from recorded reference.

Lee is working on the corrections for the 9F project using the eye watering pilot model seen here. Next it will be fitted with a custom motor/gearbox and painted, then off to Cliff Williams and Bryan Robertson for fitting with DCC and sound.


Extreme detailing, still in bare metal to check the last few items just before the production of the limited run.


December 6th 2014

Found yet another small painting whilst rummaging around the other day.


A double lock on the Grand Union Canal at Harefield near Rickmansworth.

A couple of figures by the canal pound, while a lock keeper leans over the railings looking down at the approaching narrowboat. Another boatman would be leading the horse along the top towpath, pulling it into the lock.


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Bucks Hill goods shed, with Pannier shunting. Photo by Barry Norman.



An evening visit to Bucks Hill to drop off a diorama for the Reading Trade show and a chance to catch up with Lee, who brought Cliff Williams along on the long haul from Edinburgh. They had a van full of stuff, and plenty of news from events in Europe and future possibilities in America as well. One of the projects for the future is a larger working layout style display for exhibitions.


No 5198 in the pleasant lined green BR livery. The handsome GWR Large Prairies look good in all their variants.

redo st mary

St Mary’s Chapel and it’s surroundings.

The second draft of the book is now ready for further editing, here are some more of the hundreds of detail pictures, each one has a relevant caption written to help modellers get the best from the different sections.

winter compilation

Winter trees have their place as well as the more common full leaf in summer portrayals.


The Great Central girder bridge at Whitchurch Road. Scenic breaks like this have their own sections on planning and blending into backscenes.


All the seasons are considered as well as 2 and 3D variants, with guidelines to help in doing layering and forced perspective.


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Two scales of figure are combined into one view.


whit book 2

Full scale buildings will sometimes feature at the front row of a 3D backscene, so a few examples crop up in the pages, as well as step by step sequences of both painting and model projects.



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Very many different methods and mediums are seen as well as brush painting and modelling, including digital photography and airbrushing.


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Road surfaces, figures and animals feature, as well as natural surfaces.


November 25th 2014

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I have been asked to join in as guest tutor at the Missenden Abbey Spring weekend, and gladly accepted as Barry has a clash of dates this year.

Very happy to help out, so come along if you would like to get a bit of backscene and scenic work in. I can bring a few samples with me and we can have a look at your project. They have succeeded with their winning formula of ‘hands on’ type study weekends, and more places are being reserved each time.

Click the link to view Chris Langdon’s excellent introduction to the course.

I noticed this picture on the wall at my brother’s house the other day, which of course I had completely forgotten about so here is a photo print.

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The market square in High Wycombe as it was.

marlow best shot redo colours

I can use details from this one to point out ruled brushwork, and some things to see when doing reflections as well.


A better quality image of my old Marlow Church picture, which is hopefully going to come in useful as one of the hundreds of example illustrations in the second draft of the new book. I hope to be re-visiting Wild Swan with all the additional material submitted within a month from now.

Two separate Bucks Hill articles have now also been done for the MRJ , but they are in a queue as the content for the next few issues is already committed.


RM logo

Copy has now been submitted to Steve Flint of the Railway Modeller magazine for editing into the comprehensive full colour article on Bucks Hill. It has been structured as a question and answer interview style, with Kevin and me taking turns to provide the replies. It comes out with a set of Steve’s superb multi focal photos and should be a very slick result indeed.

Pannier & Bucks Hill barry

Barry Norman’s lovely GWR Auto train slows rounds the curve, heading for a stop at Bucks Hill station.

Photo by Barry Norman

October 24th 2014

The second draft of my new book is being worked on at the moment, with more examples and step by step sequences being added in.

One of the illustrations is by courtesy of the Royal Alberta Museum, a fantastic natural environment diorama.


This will take it’s place in the new book as an example of superb distance illusion.

My old Metropolitan layout is now with Dave Alexander, and so here are a few last pictures for a bit.

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A handsome 4-4-4T runs through Whitchurch Road with a rake of Dreadnought carriages and ‘Galatea’, one of the Met Pullman saloons.


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An ‘H’ Class running bunker first, in a Casserley print.


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The platform as seen from the waiting hut.


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Same train from the footbridge.


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‘A’ class 4-4-0T by the old original Chambers shunt back signal.

And finally the last pic from Lee’s Diorama which is now in Scotland

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The new moving backscene diorama will look something like this sketch

Westbourne Green

The background will show a view of the Great Western main lines near Westbourne Green, with lots of activity taking place.

October 11th 2014

I am currently expecting a new delivery of 3D printed components to produce another simpler scale section of the Bristol Passenger station platform. This will be represented as it appeared in the 1930s with sleepered standard gauge rails and so will suit the collectors of locomotives from the ‘Big Four’ era.



Please let me know if you would like a Bristol display, it will look like the picture, but the roof will be protected by a super clear acrylic cover.

We attended the Steam Extravaganza at the Kings Cross Granary re-development on the Saturday, with both Gresley Beat and Copenhagen Fields layouts in attendance, with their Caledonian Road localites perfectly complimenting the theme.

An informative display stood alongside the models, informing the public about the very promising progress now being made with the AIMREC museum project. Some of the physical work has begun at Ashford now and other plans are being worked on by Cliff Parsons and his team.


The project can be viewed at

The next demo outing will be at the Langley O Gauge event, Jack Anziani will be bringing some of his fabulous 7mm scale tram collection which is well worth a close up look.

4 wheel

I will be going through some of the book draft this week at Wild Swan, and will be teaming up with Kevin to progress an article for Railway Modeller Magazine.




Part of a display case backdrop that I am hoping to use as a construction example chapter.

Finally, a few views from a session of photography a little while back that I never got round to including, firstly a couple from Westcott.


A Webb 2-4-2T of 1906 in early livery rests in the single road shed at Westcott.


A three coach local passes the level crossing.

A couple from Bucks Hill’s branch line platform

Bh Branch

Bh branch 2

September 11th 2014

The Telford show has taken place, with a busy couple of days helping modellers overcome some of their backscene issues. There are some fascinating projects out there in the making, and I encouraged everybody to send me their progress pictures. In the limited time that you get to look around away from the demo, I managed to spot some exciting new products from the support trade, and I found the whole community to be vibrant and buzzing with new ideas. Other than the horrible journey on the Friday afternoon, it was fab!

Working closely with Lee as usual, we are going to present part of his trade stand next year as a working layout. This will allow the fine slow running qualities and carefully sorted sound systems to be demonstrated in a realistic environment. It should be informative as well as being a good experience for the visitor, including of course a photo opportunity for their own locomotive.

In the meantime, we have been developing a small range of super clear acrylic display cases with diorama inserts, one at 500mm width, and another at 750mm.

Panelled timber screen

Panelled timber screen.


For the larger 750mm cases, I could also offer a section of Brunel style platform as an inset style, so for those lucky collectors of Beeson, Reynalds, and Mitchell engines it might be a nice way to keep the dust off. Please do give Lee or me an e-mail if this is the case…..sorry, no pun intended!

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Here are a couple of photographs from Tokyo, with a pair of GWR Castle class locomotives in a display case, I believe one of these is a Stanley Beeson example, and the other is a Masterpiece. Both of these beauties come from one of the world’s most extraordinary collections.

I love using the products of both John Lloyd and Anthony Reeves of Green Scene and Treemendusrespectively, and new websites will shortly be presented in each case. They will both hopefully be using some photographs of Bucks Hill in their inspiration galleries.

Trees med res

A screen grab from a sequence animation of 3D component production, in this case a classically profiled Brunel balustrade.

Wire frame from profile.

Click the link to play a new short animation. A sketched component evolves into a 3D computer file, first as a wire frame, then rendered and exported, eventually becoming one of a set of components representing exactly scaled Brunel architecture at Sydney Gardens Bath. The work is by the capable hand of Richard Chetland.

September 1st 2014

Apologies for being boring and not updating lately. Getting ready for Telford, making a movie , re-making a new website format and writing a book has been taking up time of late.

A couple of Dioramas are ready for indoor static displays which are now available from Lee Marsh, who will be introducing them as case inserts as a part of his range at Guildex. Please also explore the many other new products that will shortly be available including locomotives, carriages and accessories, the reservations for some of these limited runs are starting to fill up much more rapidly now.

Tree bridge

The Occupation bridge is an optional extra.


This single tracked one is 500mm wide and is designed for the smaller locos

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A double tracked 750mm wide version for larger locos allowing multiple displays.


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The link will play the latest movie taken mostly at Bucks Hill which features three types of Lee Marsh locos. The last one is our Dean Single “Duke of Connaught”.


June 3rd 2014

Found another picture!


This view of Brasenose College dates from the turn of the century before three more bays were added in 1911 to enlarge the quad, they took the place of the two small shops beyond the tower.

The four nearest college bays to the corner date from as late as 1887 and were designed sympathetically by the late Victorian architect T. G. Jackson in the Tudor style in ashlar stone with fine oriel windows.


May 27th 2014

Railex 2014, a great show again, and quite a busy demo table, especially on the Saturday.


A bit of an attempt to get showgoers to have a go at painting this time, and it met with more success than I thought.

Three brave souls gave it a try on the Saturday, and three more on Sunday.



Just a couple of the test cloud results achieved with a bit of encouragement over the weekend demo.

Without exception before they sit down they tell me they cannot paint, but it just goes to show because I think they look fine!

May 20th 2014


The Pendon backscene workshop took place over the weekend, and I applied myself as best I could to the differing needs of the four layout builders who attended the advanced session. The picture was taken before we started work and this time, there was a mixture of 3D work, colour matching and painting from reference.

It’s an informal day, with plenty of chatter, but there are quieter spells while the guys concentrate on their projects and I look after them in turn.


We do test pieces that can be taken away, and tried in position on the layouts later, mostly from reference and maps where required.

Thanks to Martin Ray for the picture and the Pendon volunteers for the welcome, I did chat to Chris Webber after the course, and he gave me a quick tour of the Vale scene which was fun. The standards of modelling here do reflect their museum status, only excellence is allowed in this environment.

A further set of photos have now been taken at Bucks Hill, with a view to publishing illustrated material for the MRJ later on this year. Barry Norman and Kevin spent a day arranging stock and deciding angles and lighting. The best bit for me is that they have asked me to write some feature copy so I’ll give it my best shot!

I can’t print anything from their session yet but there are plenty of studies that would make top quality photo rich articles. So hopefully, one could describe the layout, and another could follow on, focusing on the locomotives and rolling stock.


This is one I did on Bucks Hill, but the magazine ones will be properly focused!

May 12th 2014

The guys at 3D print UK have featured the Temple Meads project in their ‘Stuff we’ve done’ section so thanks to Nick & Connor for doing a brilliant job.

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Here’s a painting that I never got round to making a copy of. I recently ‘borrowed’ it back for an outing to the Bristol Exhibition, and this time I remembered to get a copy!

PB PaintingMed -Res

A well known spot with an irresistible composition, the posh residents of Princes Buildings at Clifton at the top right literally look down on the humble roadside inns & dock workers terraces of Hotwells below.

The painting has now found a new home, not far from Bristol funnily enough.

A new section of 2D backscene for Moses Plat is now nearly ready to be delivered and fitted in situ.

This section allows a transition from a townscape into countryside, while also helping to adjust the horizon line between sections. The progressive build up of a cloud layer allows two existing but very different sections to be left in position behind the layout.


April 23rd 2014

I have now received an E-mail from the new owner of the Bristol Passenger Station confirming a successful shipping to Tokyo in an undamaged state. Phew!! ever so slightly nervous for a bit there. He has already added period figures to the platform, and positioned a pair of GWR locos taken from his extensive collection.

Work on the new Westbourne Green Sidings diorama is beginning to gather pace now, and we are discovering that moving backscenes are tricky to work on! Perhaps in a month or so there will be a few images and clips to start describing this new display case project.

Another advert is scheduled to appear in the Model Railway Journal, to coincide with the forthcomingRailex 2014 Finescale exhibition, and a new look for this website is also being planned.


The new MRJ half page ad goes from urban to countryside in four pictures, and it matches the look of the previous one.

April 7th 2014

Both days of the weekend were spent doing the introductory backscene course at the Pendon Museum.

The time goes quite quickly, so you have to remember to keep an eye out and cover a few subjects before getting too carried away, and dwelling on one aspect of study to the detriment of others. So I plucked up my courage, and did a quick talk on basics first. A few dos & donts and then spending time on colour mixing and reference gathering etc etc.

The participants on Saturday all wanted to try painting a test panel from reference, and so we just got on with it, with each one studying and working from images that would eventually suit the size, location and mood of their layouts.

They just went for it! each and every one just got stuck in and the atmosphere was informal, so I just ran around, sitting down with each in turn, making sure the test panel was going to do it’s job when propped up behind the layout. I tidied up, washed all the pallets & brushes and drove the van home thinking ”mmm that went well” so it’ll be the same deal tomorrow.

I was wrong though because there were a couple of chaps that attended on the Sunday, and as we got talking about the layouts, they both wanted to study and work out different aspects, like doing contour profiles for 3D backscenes, and plotting from maps and reference. We looked at low relief background buildings in distance layers, and never touched a paintbrush all day long.

They went for it as well! it was great, different but just as enthusiastic, so to sum it up for me then, seriously well done to all and thanks to Martin (the Pendon marketing organiser) and the Museum for an excellent get together.

March 23rd 2014

The Temple Meads display case has found a new home, and will shortly be padded & crated carefully for its long journey to the Yokohama area of Tokyo.

A great deal of time has gone into recreating the details of the famous roof, and these can now be printed out at any size. Do get in touch if you have a mind to do a Bristol layout.

Some twenty very high quality photographs have now been taken of Bucks Hill. The method involves doing several images from an identical placement, with progressively adjusted focal points. All the views are then digitally combined into one . Because readers can now enlarge the pictures on tablets & phones, this allows both the foreground and background to be sharp.

March 10th 2014

The last section of the Westcott backscene has now been delivered, and while I don’t have a complete set of photos yet, here are a few to start with.


Westcott town

The view from the bridge away from town.

It has been a great layout to work on, so a big thanks must go to Jack Anziani for being endlessly patient with me.

He happily runs the layout while he’s waiting for me to take measurements & make patterns, so I can be working on the contours & angles to get it all to fit together, and from out of the blue a tram rattles past not six inches from my nose!

More photos now appear in the ‘Finescale Railway Models’ menu, with a few more images from the wonderful collection.