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4th October 2019

Another very busy month, making progress on Kingswear 3D backscene panels 3 and 4. These sections depict the mostly Victorian/Edwardian expansion of the village to the north, where more of the buildings are constructed from semi-glazed red brick with yellow brick quoins and window framings.  These are sited upon levelled plots set between narrow contour roads as they step up the eastern bank of Waterhead Creek.  Their width to depth ratios reflect the natural slope of the ground, and with the added benefit of a pleasant view across the creek, all the frontages are conveniently layered and more or less in parallel.  Although there are quite a few buildings to do, this does make my life quite a bit easier, so here’s to Kingswear!

This is the section I am doing at the moment, with the carriage sidings near the shoreline to the right and just a few houses encroaching into the tree lined upper part of the riverbank against the sky.  See how relatively small the trains appear in the landscape.

A small section of the sunny side of the Dart valley above the retaining wall for the station cut as it was.  The gardens and allotments are nearly all built over now, with posh holiday homes reaching almost to the tree line.

Kingswear has grown from a small fishing settlement with merchant’s houses, sail lofts and sheds mostly clustering around the western mouth of the Creek, into today’s largely residential village with buildings dispersed right over the headland. The population of the parish was 1332 in 2001, an increase of nearly 350% in 190 years, an increase derived from the redevelopment following the arrival of the railway in 1864 and the increased marine activity from the ferry pontoon and the coal wharf.  The present character is far less industrial and many of the frontages have been rendered and painted in bright colours giving the village a very distinctive character and they stand out, especially when viewed from Dartmouth.  As the reference indicates, there was far less of this evident in the 30s, with exposed grey natural stone rubble buildings and retaining walls, and later decorative all brick structures.

Neil Podbery has been working on-site, detailing the tidal creek from reference, and both he and Paul have visited South Devon recently (for intensive research gathering and pub lunches) The first boats are coming in now with a barge on the way, and some kits for the smaller beached craft at Waterhead Creek.

Carlton House has changed a bit since the 1930s, but only the top floor, and it still remains sitting on a slope at the north end of Higher Street.

The old rubble walled ‘Ship Inn’ was lime washed quite early on and it has also survived the years without any horrible add ons.

A gathering took place recently at Bucks Hill, with a sizeable attendance and some very photogenic visiting locomotives.  These pictures come from the camera of Dave Thomas who did a great job of recording this particular running session. The captions might well be a little short due to time pressure!

A great shot of Gresley B17/1 4-6-0 No 61613 ‘Woodbastwick Hall’ leaning into the elevated curve at Ewyas Harold on the down main.  The loco was built for the L.N.E.R at Darlington works in late 1930 and was allocated to 31A Cambridge shed.  Dave Thomas

G.W.R. 70 ft Steam railmotor No 74 rests in the Golden Valley branch line platform.  It was designed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer, George Jackson Churchward, and two units were manufactured for trials.  They entered service on the same route on 12 October 1903, and further 44 were built during 1904 and 1905 and by the time production finished in 1908 the fleet numbered 99 carriage units…. Dave Thomas

A clean Class ‘G1’ 0-8-0 no. 2057 (later LMS No. 9371) wheezes past on the down main in the attractive lined black L.N.W.R. livery…Dave Thomas

Ex L.N.W.R George Whale designed ‘Precursor” 4-4-2T takes a rake of L.M.S. coaches through Bucks Hill on the up main.  There were 50 of these attractive ‘Atlantic’ side tank locos turned out of Crewe works between 1906/9 …Dave Thomas

This close up shows some of the detailing work on British Railways Standard class 9F No 92223, one of Kevin’s recent M.O.K. kit builds, now running and weathered by Neil Podbery. The Riddles 2-10-0 was turned out of Crewe works in June 1958 and moved from 84C Banbury Shed to 11A Carnforth…Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas wanted to try this Pannier Tank locomotive out, and he wasn’t quite satisfied with the running, but it looks fine in front of Bucks Hill cabin.  No 1731 was rebuilt from a July 1892 Dean Saddle tank at Swindon in 1909, and it did remain there at the famous 82C shed…. Dave Thomas.

This double headed goods train ran for some time with a lovely pair of G.W.R. 4300 class 2-6-0s brought along by John Edwards, with No 7310 as train engine, and No 7304 as pilot.  The leading engine is fitted with an automatic token catcher (which I do have castings for, just in case anyone does need this unusual fitment)  No 7310 was the last engine turned out of Swindon in the year 1921, and its companion emerged just a month later…. Dave Thomas

Ex L.N.E.R. Class O1 No 63806 2-8-0 is a David Andrews kit built and painted by Graham Varley and weathered by Neil Podbery. The locomotive was Introduced in 1944 as a rebuild of the famous Robinson 8K design by Thompson with 225lb/sq in Superheated 100A boiler, new 20″ x 26″ cylinders with piston valves, Walschaerts valve gear and an impressive Tractive effort of 35,520lbs. The 1948 shed for this workhorse was 62A (Thornton Junction) and the model is displayed on Neil’s Autumn siding diorama… Neil Podbery

This Gresley A3 Pacific No 60065 ‘Knight of Thistle’ is a Finney7 build recently completed by Richard Lambert and weathered by Neil Podbery.  The original was built for the L.N.E.R. in mid July 1924 at The North British Locomotive Company, Glasgow…  Neil Podbery

This old sectioned view came my way from a collection, and I think this might have been airbrushed in inks using a Doncaster General Arrangement drawing.  The worn ‘map’ type fold out is titled ‘4-6-2 Three Cylinder “Pacific” Express Locomotive… designed by H.N. Gresley C.B.E…. Chief Mechanical Engineer, London & North Eastern Railway.

Virtue and Company Limited, formerly of 19, 20, and 21 Thavies Inn, Holborn Circus, London, EC1. was a publisher of illustrated books, employing the best artists and engravers, and this particular rendering for their Locomotive Railway Carriage and Wagon Review series was done by Mr W. Wilkinson.

Tony Geary came along to Bucks Hill, and he has nearly finished a CPL  Paco ‘C’ Diagram N16
I now have etches in 4, and & 7mm for this 1937 built horsebox, and I have assembled a partial kit for the 7mm version.  The etch is really comprehensive with compensated W irons and fully detailed brakes.  The only items missing are the roof vents and lights, and the underframe tanks, cylinders and wheelsets.  It does come with a separate detail ironwork strapping etch, both steam & vac pipes, screw couplings, sprung buffers and handles ….Tony Geary

My next door neighbour Dave Cooper very sadly passed away a few weeks ago. He was born on the 25th May 1936, and I attended his funeral service at the parish church of St John the Baptist in Stone.  A number of Princes Risborough Model Club members also came to pay their respects because Dave was a regular member, a font of railway knowledge and an all round excellent chap.

He would build the pre production G.E.Mellor (GEM) Kits to see if anything needed to be revised for production, and there are well over 200 models that Dave put together over his career.  Perhaps the most extraordinary fact is that he persevered in doing all of this as well as producing albums full of photographs of preserved steam from all over the British Isles and even some from Africa.  Now Dave chose to do this even though he had to manage with one arm, but it just goes to show you cant keep a proper railway enthusiast away from his hobby.  I’ll miss our over the fence chats and my genuine sympathy goes to his wife Linda and the rest of his family.

Just one of the many engines that worked day after day on Dave’s permanent upstairs layout. Its an old school cast whitemetal Holden T26 (later L.N.E.R. E4).  No 7464 was built at Stratford in 1900, and T26s were often to be found on passenger trains to the Norfolk Coast, particularly Wells and Cromer, as well as the movement of horses by rail to and from Newmarket Racecourse, and this one was allocated to 31C Kings Lynn Town.  After the 1923 Grouping, the class received the mixed traffic livery of black with single red lining and red buffer beams, and this lasted until the early 1940s when unlined black was introduced.  The surviving locos carried this livery until their withdrawal.

The American Pie dragster has made its last pass down Santa Pod Raceway for this season, and it will now hibernate until March. Safe storage includes standing the chassis up at both ends, blowing up the slicks to 9lbs (to keep their shape), unloading all the valve springs, unpacking the chute and draining the fuel out. There are some other tasks to attend to, but no major work is required, and that’s great news.

Side view of the last pass of 2019. The car is travelling at about sixty MPH here in low gear, at around the sixty foot track mark, and it is approximately one second into a full pass.  The car will shift into high gear in another second at about 6500 RPM and the slicks will start to centrifugally grow to a 15% increase in diameter by the time they cross the finish line.  This occurs in a further seven and a half seconds, and it affects the final drive ratio, dropping the RPM by the same amount.  All dragsters have to include this progressive ratio change in their numerical choice of rearend gear set.  Original by Alice Fairhead Photography.

Dave Alexander very kindly took me on a tour of the London Transport Museum at Acton, and I found myself completely absorbed in the restoration work, both the completed projects and the ‘in progress’ jobs.  If you do like old electric trains, be certain to keep an eye out for open days, it’s well worth a visit and you can donate directly to restoration projects.

The Museum has rescued a 1904 built driving end car which, which, like much of the Edwardian electric stock has something of an American subway look about it, as well as being a stylish English open saloon. The car has a Monitor roof, four foot end platforms with side metal gate entry, and the long sets of opening fan light windows gave the spacious open interiors a near continuous light source.  It has suffered a fire and is quite heavily damaged, but it’s not beyond repair, and I really had to fight off an urge to roll up my sleeves and make a start!.

An 0 gauge Mersey Railway Driving Trailer First from about the turn of the last century, brilliantly scratchbuilt by Mr G. Redmayne Hosking and featured in the album section of the March 1964 issue of Model Railway News.  It’s similar to the District Railway 1905 ‘B’ stock, and the whole vehicle, even the signwriting is pure U.S.A. style.  It wasn’t just London that took American transport investment, and I’m surprised they didn’t call it the Mersey Railroad! …Brian Monaghan.

Simon Roberts has updated me on the forthcoming 2020 Missenden Spring Weekend, and it seems the backscene/scenics course has managed to fill to capacity in just two days! This is very encouraging, and I understand the enrolment numbers have been high for the other courses as well.

A 2D backscene for an Exmoor scene.

3D period landscape for a Devon coast scene.

15th August 2019

Quite a bit of activity lately, with lots of running about to keep up with it all, but it’s fine, I could do with the exercise!  As usual, Kingswear takes priority, and it is now rewarding us with some visible progress.  The Waterhead Creek area is shaping up and the Royal Dart Hotel has been re-configured slightly to fit into place while still allowing room for the Dartmouth ferry slip and some 3D backscene facades in the lower levels of the village. I’ll put a couple of photos here but most of the work is still ‘in progress’ and this will be so for some time to come, so a few other items follow which I hope you find interesting.

The Royal Dart Hotel was formerly known as the Royal Dart Yacht Club and Family Hotel, overlooking the river to the south west, and is built upon a stone outcrop adjoining the railway station building. Built circa 1850, as an Italianate style stuccoed hotel, the river front of the main block (pictured in progress here) has a low pitched hipped bitumenised slate roof with over-sailing and bracketed eaves. Below, a wide splayed two-storey bay is attached, with a cast iron balcony with tented roof upon iron columns. A two storey wing to north is carried over the carriageway with first floor supported on iron columns forming a covered way to the railway station platforms and quayside.

The Royal Dart Yacht Club originally established a base in 1866 on the Kingswear side of the River Dart in two rooms of the hotel and invited like-minded people to apply for membership at the cost of a guinea a year. In 1881, they moved into to this new clubhouse (centre foreground) just beyond the Dartmouth ferry slipway, where they remain today, organising Regattas and races. Slipway House and the shops facing the square appear to the left of this view, but bear in mind that part of this backscene layer will be obscured by the eventual placing of the hotel.

There was a recent gathering of enthusiasts and guests at Bucks Hill, and I managed to get a few pictures from the afternoon running session.

Kevin has recently finished a G.W.R. City class 4-4-0 for his collection and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to get a picture.  Apart from coal and crew figures No 3434 City of Birmingham is shown here in Garter livery, with fully lined Brunswick green with black painted frames lined out in crimson.

Built at Swindon works as No 3434 in May 1903 ‘City of Birmingham’ was subsequently renumbered No 3711 in 1912. The City Class had the large No 4 tapered boiler and belpaire firebox from new, but received an extended smokebox, top feed and were superheated in November 1910. When built these locomotives represented the state of the art of the double frame, inside cylinder technology and they were used successfully on the Great Western Railway’s crack expresses, but with a few years the outside cylinder 4-4-0 Counties and the larger 4-6-0 locomotives would result in them being gradually reallocated to secondary duties in the Northern Divisions. No 3711 was allocated to Leamington shed until withdrawn in July 1930.

Ex Midland Railway Johnson 3F 0-6-0 No 43762 heads west with cattle empties at Ewyas Harold. The locomotive was built at Neilson & Co at the end of August 1902, and rebuilt by Fowler from 1916 with a non superheated Belpaire boiler. This particular loco was allocated to Mansfield in the early B.R. period.

Away from the lines, this row of trees forms part of the backscene. A narrow country lane can just be seen winding between the trees on its way from Kentchurch to Ewyas Harold, and a 1930s era cast iron 3-way fingerpost signs a ‘T’ junction accompanied by a wooden telegraph pole.

A Stanier Black Five heads east with open wagons. British Railways No 45428 was built in October 1937 as LMS 5428 in by Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth Engineers Ltd at their Scotswood Works in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Fortunately this one was preserved, and now resides at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway named ‘Eric Treacy’

BR Class 4/2 Mogul No 76052 on the down main with an engineers train. The locomotive emerged from Doncaster works in August 1956 carrying the lined black B.R. Livery.

Gary Smith contacted me recently in connection with the Kingswear project, having just read an article in one of the old GW Journal’s about wartime memories of Britannia Crossing, which is just up the line to the north.

Branchstow are specialist railway booksellers, with a particular emphasis on high quality books produced by small independent publishers, and with this approach, they are able to offer railway books that are not widely available, so for top quality reference please do visit….


I made a point of Including Panorama Mesdag in one of the introductory chapters of the book because although it doesn’t have a railway in its foreground, in some ways it is the ultimate backscene.  It’s housed in a purpose-built museum in The Hague, and it’s essentially a cylindrical painting (also known as a Cyclorama) more than 14 metres high and about 40 metres in diameter (120 metres in circumference). From an observation gallery in the centre of the room the cylindrical perspective creates the illusion that the viewer is on a high sand dune overlooking the sea, beaches and village of Scheveningen in the late 19th century. A foreground of fake terrain around the viewing gallery hides the base of the painting and makes the illusion more convincing.

Mesdag was a notable marine painter of the Hague School; in 1880 he was engaged by a Belgian company to paint the panorama, which with the assistance of his wife Sientje Mesdag-van Houten and some student painters (including George Hendrik Breitner), was completed by 1881. However, the vogue for panoramas was coming to an end, and the company went bankrupt in 1886. Mesdag purchased the panorama and met its losses from his own pocket. The panorama is now the oldest surviving panorama in its original location and it really is worth a visit if you find yourself in The Hague.

I found an old brochure in English from 1966 and here is a comparative ‘then & now’ picture from Seinpost dune showing the view of Scheveningen looking north at the time of Mesdag and the subsequent additions by ’66

Mesdag cleverly captured the scene by placing this glass cylinder on top of the dune, ducking inside and painting the scene’s outline onto the inner surface. Panorama_Mesdag

We attended the Dragstalgia event with American Pie. intending to try our 25% nitro fuel, but found the nozzles weren’t capable of flowing the increased volume. The timing advance was adjusted from 36 to 46 degrees to anticipate the slower burn, but the risk of piston damage from a ‘lean’ fuel/oxygen ratio was too high for comfort.  We just switched back to Methanol and ran all weekend.

There are only two more events for us to attend before the Fallnationals & season close but we got a thumbnail pic in the Custom Car Magazine event coverage.

On the social side, the Wild Bunch were inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame, and a couple actually got engaged while on the race track!

My wife Michelle took this picture of the dragster’s garage a little while ago. The long trailer is stored between the two fences behind the garage leaving the car on stands for maintenance work between events. A pot of gold would definitely come in handy for parts and fuel during these waiting periods, but I’ll just have to settle for a rainbow instead….could be worse!

Brian J Roberts of Sebring Florida is a 77 year old ‘railroad nut’ who grew up in Worcester, and his first job was a Signals and Telegraph engineer for GWR based out of Shrub Hill station. 

Brian now has his own ‘ride on’ railway with lots of American rolling stock, and here he is setting up a goods train in front of the engine shed. This is headed by a propane fired live steam engine, but to be different, he has come up with an idea to build a G.W.R. AEC Diesel Railcar which he always admired. Riding these became an obsession (a GWR railpass funded the journeys), and the miniature version could be powered by golf cart batteries either at 24v or 36v pulling a suitable riding car. Brian Roberts.

I came across this old multi layered cellophane cutaway pamphlet tucked in between research volumes but it’s quite difficult to display.  Basically it consists of a thick paper cover with registered double sided transparent leaves, each printed with a progressively deeper sectional view.

The subject is a 3,300 H.P. Class AL5 25kV AC Electric Bo-Bo locomotive designed for the newly refurbished West Coast Main Line, from Birmingham, to Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool and later Preston. By 1965, the electrification had spread south to London Euston.

The British Railways Class 85 was an electric locomotive built during at Doncaster in the early 1960s, as part of BR’s policy to develop a standard electric locomotive. Five prototype classes (81-85) were built and evaluated, which eventually led to the development of the successful Class 86 locomotives.

Forty of these were built from 1961-64 by BR at Doncaster Works and I do remember seeing them speeding through Kenton and Harrow & Wealdstone as a young lad. E3061 survives as the sole representative of the 40 strong fleet.

Dave Alexander always knows what’s going on, and we met up with him at an open gardens day at one of the local villages.  It’s a beautiful place, and they have a miniature railway which is currently being extended.  We were taken on a tour of the workshop, and here are some of the items.

This old style O gauge layout has been preserved, along with the original stock. Scratchbuilt Metropolitan and Great Central Locomotives and some later L.N.E.R. engines that used to work past Wendover and Amersham.

This miniature signal cabin was rescued from Mill Hill on the Grittenham Light Railway.

Metropolitan Railway luggage van No 3 was built in 5″ gauge, and would go well with Dave’s “H” class 4-4-4T. A rake of Dreadnought carriages would complete the 1930s picture very nicely, but we’ll have to see about that!

Ian Statham usually sends in his progress photos, and this view now includes the first stages of the 7mm scale layout in the foreground.

Considerable progress has been made on the track and wiring, with a few bugs to sort out but it works reasonably well. Next major work stream will be the scenery on the layout itself. There will be a carriage shed and industrial building on the left hand side and on the right, a bridge over the lines and the entrance to a station.

This caught my eye a few weeks ago.  It’s a reconstruction of the city of Rome in the age of Constantine (fourth century AD), and it was created between 1935 and 1971 by Italo Gismondi. He was a trained architect, and carried out numerous projects, including a plan of the Imperial forums in Rome in 1933; the restoration of the northwest portion of the Baths of Diocletian in1927 and also work on the Planetarium.

The reconstruction, at a scale of 1:250, integrates information from the marble Forma Urbis (the large plan of Rome created in the early III century AD) while also incorporating data from archaeological remains and other ancient sources.

Museo della civilta Romano (google search)

I also found an excellent but quite shocking 3D sequence of the destruction of Pompeii.

Jonathan Marcus is considering a diorama model based on the widened lines near Farringdon. I did a 1mm scale mockup some time ago to show the some of the possibilities, so we’ll see. It’s a really interesting location not just because of the rich history, but also because the lines are at multiple levels.

Jonathan has recently found an A2 Class 0-4-4T No 79 which ran into Farringdon Road in this livery until the SER/LCDR merger in 1900.

It used to be fashionable to hand draw ‘cutaway’ views of vehicles and you do still see the occasional computer generated modern equivalents, sometimes even 3D animated versions. That’s something we could never achieve with the old ‘airbrush on board’ technique, but a forum exists to catalogue and view the old style drawings, and I found one of mine still on there. I took a copy of it, because of course, I completely forgot to when it was submitted to the publisher! 

The VW Beetle does have a massive cult following, but it’s certainly not a favourite of mine. This was a reasonable commission, and I needed the work. The subject is a 1970s bug, with horrible orange paint and the rear view shows the gutless 1300cc flat four engine in situ.

Andrew Hicks has written another 4-page spread on the 3D backscene for Ealing Road, and this has now been published in the Sept edition of Railway Modeller Magazine (pp754-757), It includes extensive and very positive mention of the Missenden courses, and Mick Bonwick has asked me to take another ‘Spring weekend’ backscene and scenic course…..For more information on this, please check…. missenden-abbey/


http://www. uk/

Please do come along if you want to update your backscene or do a test section for a new layout, and keep an eye for the booking date as there’s only room for eight projects.

The Ealing Road layout, with it’s clever scale reduction progressing to distance.

3rd July 2019

Kingswear’s second backscene panel has been this months main priority, and it’s coming along fine.  Quite a bit more scenic work has been carried out on site by Paul and Neil, and we’ll all get together for another day in mid July to try the second section into place.  I have come across quite a bit of local history and first hand written memories of Kingswear, but I’ll wait until the layout is done and edit the content to match the finished pictures.

Neil is doing the tidal flats at Waterhead Creek, and one of the next steps will be to paint the exposed creek bed from reference in all its subtle colours, with mud deposits and seaweed etc.

This panel has been laid up in plaster bandage by Paul, and it will eventually accommodate the last few house facades of Kingswear village. These will be at reduced scale, and I need to finish some more of the second panel before work begins on the detailing.

Sepiatone of Carlton House and Lodge as it used to look. The small double fronted lodge house to the extreme right is now rendered, but a few dwellings like this were constructed in distinctive red brick and terracotta in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some good examples of slate hanging still in the conservation area, and these are included as facades on the layout. Exposed stone rubble construction is often associated with public use such as the church and almshouses in the village centre and also with the ubiquitous stone walls. The stone used typically is a mixture of grey limestone, the local shillet and Paignton red sandstone. One material common to nearly all the buildings is the slate roof. Chimneys are of brick or rendered with individual clay pots. This element is important as the roofs are frequently on view due to the steep valley sides. There is still some work to do, and the structures are just rested temporarily in place.

A few weeks ago, Malcolm Mitchell sent in this monochrome photograph of one of his recent builds. The superb 7mm model in question is of Collett G.W.R. No 6856 ‘Stowe Grange’ which was built at Swindon in late 1937 as a variation of the ‘Hall’ class, with smaller driving wheels and incorporating some parts from withdrawn 4300 class locos.

The ‘moderne’ style monogram was irreverently referred to as the ‘Shirtbutton’, and it replaced the existing lettering on both tender and tank sides for a few years. In other respects, the locomotive liveries continued the practices of the previous era, but the logotype also found it’s way onto ashtrays, clock faces, stationery, travel posters and tea sets. The first known application of the famous roundel was on the 1st of June 1934, and as luck would have it, I do happen to have 7mm scale transfers of these in both yellow and gold.

Please do visit Malcolm’s well maintained website to celebrate those beautifully engineered locomotives of the G.W.R. 

Dave Alexander is a noted expert on the Metropolitan Railway, and he has somehow managed to get his hands on a wonderful 5″ gauge ‘H’ class 4-4-4T.  I have a signwriting job to do on the bunker rear plate and front bufferbeam, and after this is done, it will be going away to have injectors fitted.  Once it has couplings, and a few other small detailing jobs are knocked off the list, it can be steamed.

They must have looked great at speed out in rural Bucks with a rake of varnished teak ‘Dreadnought’ bogie carriages…..A lovely engine, and one of my all time favourites.

Added number, with black dropped shadow

Dave also has a collection of original postcards and photos from the thirties and forties, and here’s a scan showing No 110 at work. It was the last of the eight ‘H’ class built by Kerr, Stuart & Co of Stoke on Trent in 1920. These could do 75mph heading the express passenger trains on the outer section of main line between Harrow (later Rickmansworth) the change point from electric locomotives, and Aylesbury or Verney Junction.

A scanned page from Dave’s rare and complete original Metropolitan Railway blueprinted company stock list, which includes all the electric motor cars and trailers, with their specifications and wiring diagrams, as well as the fleet of steam engines.

The 2019 Railex exhibition took place a few weeks ago now, and we met up with Neil Podbery and Martin Finney (who was exhibiting his new diorama) on the Saturday.  As usual it was excellent, so the usual compliments go to David Lane and the Princes Risborough MC.

David Stone’s 7mm scale Sherton Abbas diorama narrowly topped the best layout award. The excellent Great Western Railway branch line terminus is set in the Edwardian era circa 1905. The name was derived from Thomas Hardy’s novel “The Woodlanders”. David Stone.

This ‘in progress’ view over a siding features a few trees in the foreground in the finished diorama, but I thought it was worth including because it gives an uninterrupted view of the great job Dave made of the backscene. David Stone.

Sepiatone of the sidings, with G.W.R three and four plank opens, and private owner wagons behind. David Stone.

To generate more power from our unsupercharged engine, we have decided to upgrade the fuel from 100% Methyl Alcohol, and try adding 25% Nitromethane content instead. (This is as far as we can go in terms of nitro percentage before we need to apply for an explosives licence under modern regulations) This mixture will enable a better burn with less atmospheric oxygen, but it will require adjustments to the fuel injection metering as well as an increase to the advance of the ignition timing.

Next year we might install a longer duration Ultradyne ‘Bullet’ camshaft to further increase the oxygen intake. These come from from Memphis, on the Tennessee/Mississippi state line. Thanks to UKDRN for the brilliant picture which is included in their website slideshow.

 UKDRN Website

After I put the Pennsylvania Railroad T1 here last update, Lee sent me a link to this well researched HO scale model, produced by a friend of his from across the pond

Number 5536 was a Baldwin Locomotive Works product. built in 1946 and it remained unchanged until September of 1948. The air smoothed shrouding stayed intact up until 1948, with the exception being one panel above the engineer’s side rear cylinder. In fact, most of the T1s did lose major streamlining pieces during shopping and repairs. Number 5536 was originally assigned to the PRR’s famed “Middle Division” in Pennsylvania, but she could be spotted in Chicago, Fort Wayne, Cincinnati, and even St. Louis!

Six distinct T1 variants are planned, each one carefully researched and constructed to represent these unique locomotives, so visit ……

There is another running session at Bucks Hill soon, so that’ll be a good catch up. Dave Thomas took a few pictures away from the rails at Bucks Hill, and here are just a couple of examples. Of course, there are plenty of others at Kevin’s own reference website at….

This tumbledown stone barn was made for the model by Gordon & Maggie Gravett, and it stands above and behind the lines to the west of the station. Dave Thomas.

This working scene is modelled on the road to Ewyas Harold village, as the lane levels out and begins a descent through woodland before emerging to cross the River Dore over a small single arch stone bridge, entering the village from the south east. Dave Thomas.

L.M.S. Stanier Jubilee No 5593 from a previous session. Kevin Wilson.

Phil Gomm’s Collett 0-4-2T No 1473 emerges into open country from the short tunnel to the west of Bucks Hill station. Dave Thomas.

I recently found these old Cambridge college paintings for sale via Worthpoint, which is an interesting resource for identifying, researching and valuing antiques, art and vintage collectibles.  I did these years ago, and in those days, I never bothered to take copies, so they were just sold as originals and forgotten!



Great Court is the main court of Trinity College, and it was completed in the early years of the 17th century, when Thomas Nevile, the master of the college, rearranged the existing buildings to form this elegant single court.

The Bridge of Sighs is a covered neo-gothic bridge crossing the River Cam, linking the new court of St. John’s (to the left of this familiar view) with the older original Third Court college buildings on the right. It was built in 1831 to the design of Henry Hutchinson. and for some reason was named after the covered bridge in Venice, which looks nothing like it!

I also found one of my better engineering study projects from the very first year of an apprenticeship at the George Stephenson College. I spent most of the time driving around Watford and Bushey at breakneck speed in my worn out Austin Healey 100/6 instead of doing what I was supposed to, and as a result, I didn’t get a 9/10 very often!

Part of this quiet landscape will appear behind Dave Gower’s 4mm scale Edington Junction layout, which is still in progress. Edington is a rural village, situated on the north side of the Polden Hills in the Sedgemoor district of Somerset. Either side of it lie the villages of Chilton Polden and Catcott, and north of it is the small village of Burtle. The subject of Dave’s permanent exhibit will be the local station which was originally named Edington Road, with the village itself some two miles away. In 1890, it became the junction for the Bridgwater branch off the Highbridge line. Neil Podbery

The backscene for Ian Statham’s Alcesterton is coming on, and here’s the main central feature in place, with a D.M.U. visible on the left on the distant viaduct.

This might be seen as disrespectful, but it is a proposal that has been around for some time now (although without any actual result).  I will include some edited copy from their website here and wait with interest. It’s not to be confused with a static Titanic replica which is currently being built in China.

The Titanic II will be a reproduction of the original vessel with replicated restaurants, dining rooms, interiors and cabin layouts.  Passengers will be treated to the authentic Titanic experience while benefiting from the integration of modern safety procedures, navigation methods and 21st century technology to produce the highest level of luxurious comfort.  Fredrik Johansson, Owner / Executive Project Director of Tillberg Design said the company was looking forward to working on this world class project. “We are delighted by Blue Star Line’s continued vote of confidence in Tillberg Design of Sweden, and we are very excited by the prospect to bring the development of the design of the Titanic II to a successful completion,’’ he said.  Titanic II will follow the original journey of its iconic namesake, carrying passengers from Southampton to New York.  The ship will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivalled attention, intrigue and mystery in every port she visits.

29th May 2019

Another busy month, with Kingswear as the main priority, but a few things have cropped up in between my days of work on the second panel

Neil Podbery’s additional backscene work on Kingswear has concentrated on the landscaping and scenic foliage cover around the back of the Waterhead Creek area. The laundry buildings appeared alongside the narrow lane leading north towards Brixham, with Paignton and Torquay lying further to the north. The cleared aperture in the tree cover will receive a semi relief facia of the gabled ‘Oversteps’ residence when I can get round to making it.

To the left of Waterhead Creek, the line follows the shore for a short while before curving north, and above it, this steep section of the eastern riverbank facing Dartmouth is still known as Hoodown.  300 acres of this farm land was purchased by a Mr Richard Roberts in the late Victorian period to apply development ideas really in advance of his time. No doubt influenced by what he saw happening in other Victorian seaside towns, he cut a series of 14 foot wide roads, with the lower side half held up by a 4 foot high dry stone wall, using local materials. and advertised the sale of building plots. Had he had his way, the land at Kingswear, facing the Dart, would have been fully built up like that at Torbay and other south coast towns.

The width of the roads must have been considered adequate, for at that time the motor car had hardly been conceived, and shortly after this, rows of fir trees were planted, (as seen in the photo), which stood intact for 70 years or more, after which westerly gales blew them down one by one, until by now only the odd one or two are left standing. Even after many years only two plots had been sold, and the larger part of the land, which was then almost treeless, was ploughed up and put to potatoes, and the land produced good crops. After the end of the war in 1918, the steep land was abandoned and reverted largely to bracken and scrub, but the large rabbit population kept the grassy areas bitten down so the vegetation was considerably different to what it is today. luckily, we do have reference for the way it appeared, and here’s a relatively tree-less Hoodown in 1936.  John S. Roberts

Dave Thomas has sent over a number of photographs from the recent Bucks Hill gathering and these are much appreciated as I was not able to attend. 

Stanier Mogul number 13263 heads a train of iron wagons round the curve to the west of Bucks Hill, crossing the occupation overbridge. The original was built at Crewe in December 1933. Dave Thomas.

A Churchward Small Prairie No 4508 in Garter livery heads west with horseboxes and vans. The loco itself was built at Wolverton Works in June 1907. Dave Thomas

Gresley A3 Pacific No 60049 ‘Galtee More’ rests at Bucks Hill in early B.R livery. The loco itself was built at Doncaster in 1924. Dave Thomas

A G.W.R. ‘ROD’ 2-8-0 No 3048 rests at the Bucks Hill yard head shunt. This particular Robinson work horse was built by the North British Locomotive Company of Glasgow at the end of April 1927 and would soon be allocated to Worcester.  Dave Thomas

I will soon be publishing the full version of the Aberayon and Chiltern article, including all of Dr Paul Glover’s original copy and captions as an expanded version of the well edited Model Rail Magazine feature.

Aberayon Viaduct. Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

I’ll include Dr Paul Glover’s full copy in the update , but please bear in mind that the illustrated section shown here is still available as a modestly sized GWR shunting terminus. Do let me know if you would like a ready made 7mm scale exhibition layout or a permanent loft layout.  Model Rail Magazine

Railway Modeller magazine have published the third instalment describing the now completed Missenden Modellers ‘Great Model Railway Challenge’ entry layout ‘Ealing Road’. Andrew Hicks explains how the forced perspective effect was achieved in a four page feature including a number of clear diagrams and photographs.  Do please pick up a copy if you are into urban landscapes, it comes highly recommended, and I think Andrew’s description of how they went about the rear panel will follow next month.

Railway Modeller June 2019 issue.

The ever-popular Autumn Weekend has places for 70 modellers; of whom 45 can be

accommodated at the Abbey.  Booking for places at this weekend has already begun, so reserve your place as soon as possible to ensure that you can attend the course of your choice.

Courses Available

• 4mm (and smaller) Kit construction with Tony Gee and Jerry Clifford
• 7mm (and larger) Kit Construction with Kevin Wilson
• Weathering and Airbrushing with Mick Bonwick
• Track Construction with Norman Solomon
• 2D CAD with Justin Newitt
• Electronics Workshop (for all abilities) with Mike Bolton and John Gowers
• DCC Workshop with Pete Brownlow

We have been very busy with the dragster over the last few weeks and a number of very good photographs have appeared in the nostalgia drag racing internet pages.

This view by Neil Dilkes cleverly captures the car at the very moment of initial motion which is known as the ‘leave’. The front wheels have lifted very slightly from the race track and the slicks are distorting as they transfer the torque from the vehicle to the rubber covered surface of the start line.
This leave is quite a good one, and I am pleased with car’s attitude & balance. We can now start to increase the power output and keep an eye on the results.

An 8.50 second elapsed time is our next milestone, and then lots of hard work to get down to the low eights. Keep up with the latest team news at…..
Also take a look at the completely new Wild Bunch website….
The backscene for Ian Statham’s Alcesterton is coming on, and the viaduct is now in place.

The next big task is to work across the two halves of the scene so as to disguise the centre join. The left hand end of the viaduct can then be blended into the layout scale scenic break. As you can probably tell, Ian is not inclined to do anonymous grey backscenes!

I have been following the travels of the newly completed UP 4014 ‘Big Boy’ on Youtube, but away from this latest mega achievement,  a group of enthusiasts are building a replica of the well known 2-2-2-2 articulated Pennsylvania Railroad T1 locomotive.

A remarkable animation of the finished replica has been published, and it’s well worth a quick study when you have a minute, even if you are not particularly interested in American locomotives.

The extraordinary quality and realism of this presentation took me by surprise, so by all means do click on the link provided

The year is 1956, and the Pennsylvania Railroad makes a decision to scrap the last surviving T1 Locomotives. It possessed a combination of features that wasn’t utilized anywhere else (Franklin Poppet valves, Duplex drive, and Loewy styling). The uniqueness of the design is the main reason we’d like to see it reproduced. There are a lot of other large steam locomotive restoration projects ongoing, and we need to do something to set ourselves apart from other organizations making appeals for donations. If completed, the T1 would be the only poppet valve locomotive operating in the USA, and the only rigid frame duplex anywhere in the world.

27th April 2019

Just time to sit down for a few hours and catch up with some recent activity.  Neil Podbery has now started on some of the landscape work around Waterhead Creek on the P4 Kingswear layout.  There’s still plenty to do, but we have good reference, so this will be a great help, as it lets me concentrate on the station panels. 

I have updated my homepage slideshow with a few different pictures, mainly to include one of Kingswear, but a couple of my older favourites have been inserted into the sequence for variety.

Sepiatone of a Lee Marsh Dean ‘Achilles’ 4-2-2 No 3039 “Dreadnought’ passing Sydney Gardens.

There is a now a good possibility of constructing a new full size 3031 class ‘Bogie Single’, and a replica of one of these would certainly enhance the Great Western Society collection, bridging the gap between the Broad Gauge and the 20th Century eras,

Some investigative work has already been carried out, and a Swindon ‘General Arrangement’ drawing is already in Society possession.  From their experience with other projects there are already some idea of the costs, and the most challenging aspect of the project is likely to be the manufacture of the crank-axle, which was a forging on the original locomotives.

Interior view of Bristol Temple Meads old station from platform done in 7mm scale.

I wasn’t able to attend the latest Bucks Hill gathering so I don’t have any record of the afternoon running session.  Hopefully I’ll be able to pop along for the next one.

Kevin has now taken delivery of this B.R. liveried M7 0-4-4T and it’s the only pic I have from this session. The original locomotive was finished at Nine Elms to a Drummond design for the London & South Western Railway at the end of March 1905, and by this period was shedded at Bournemouth. Photo and weathering by Neil Podbery

Neil’s completely re-configured website is now published, but there are plans to expand both the Weathering, and the Scenery and Backscene sections of the site with new photography.  There is also an accompanying Facebook page, and both have their links provided below.

A frame grab from the new look site.   Photos by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine

Website link

Facebook link

It’s too soon to show the whole Waterhead Creek area of Kingswear’s backscene, as we are all working on this section, but here’s a small part of it in progress. The Dartmouth and Kingswear Steam Laundry was owned by a Mr Mitchelmore, and was managed by the Bell family who lived in one of the Waterhead Cottages between the Laundry and the original mill building (seen to the right).  The power for the laundry at that time came from a steam engine, which had a high brick chimney.  The water supply came from a stream to the cemetery, which had originally been the leat to the water mill.   A large square reservoir was dredged out halfway up Waterhead brake with overshoots and overflows to control the water level.  Incidentally, the same pool below the cemetery also supplied the water for the railway station via a pipe along the creek and water tower, which stood alongside the railway cattle pens.  This also supplied the railway engines near the turntable.  All the machinery in the laundry was driven by overhead shafts and pulleys, which ran the washing machines, calendars and spin dryers. In later years, the brick chimney was demolished and replaced with a tubular steel version.

Part of the Kingswear backscene in progress.  Neil Podbery

Summer trees at skyline to the north of Kingswear looking east.

I found a superb example of colour plate illustration as a frontispiece for a locomotive volume from the late 1930s period.  The subject is No 2001 ‘ Cock o’ the North’, one of Sir Nigel Gresley’s P2 Mikado locomotives for the London and North Eastern Railway.  It was built at Doncaster works, and of course this note wouldn’t be complete without a reference to the impressive new build in progress at Darlington.

I think it’s probably a coloured works photograph, but it’s beautifully done by a relatively little-known illustrator called Murray Secretan who also designed posters for the G.W.R. and rendered some expertly coloured photographs of various other locomotives for the Locomotive Publishing Company.

The American Pie dragster has a dedicated Facebook page, recently set up by Dan Boone.  He completed his three observed licensing runs and, so by all means keep up with the fortunes of the team at….

This picture shows some of the equipment used to keep a dragster pilot safe, and this stuff is all mandatory nowadays. Dan’s helmet has fitments for a ‘HANS’ device which allows for natural head movements, but prevents any unsafe forward travel in accidental impact situations. This scenario did happen to one of our fellow Wild Bunch racers over the recent Easter competition, when his 2000HP engine unfortunately disintegrated five seconds after leaving the startline. By then the car had nearly completed its pass, and was travelling at about 180MPH. The escaping oil mist temporarily obscured his vision, but luckily this time, there was no instance of fire.  Frame by Graham Baglin

This shows a backscene at the base painting stage, before any of the 3D work begins. Pat Humphrys is working on his Welford Park to Lambourn line, and this landscape appears at the point where the single line runs on a low embankment before crossing the River Lambourn by way of a girder bridge.

There’s still a good bit of work adding stippled texture to the fields, progressing to colour matched 1mm grass fibres as the middle distance comes into view.

This small bookcase display is looking for a new home, so do please let me know if you like the look of it

The single OO gauge line can accommodate either a medium sized tender engine, or a very short pickup goods. I’ll get it posted in the ‘For Sale’ section when I can.

Progress continues on the 3D backscene for Ian Statham’s Alcesterton layout, This latest view includes the viaduct , with the skyline just pencilled in behind to suit the optimum viewing height.  Just to be clear on this, this view is just the backscene.  

Ian is already doing scenic cover work on the newly formed valley contour surfaces.

It just goes to show we don’t have a monopoly on backdrops! This is a much better outlook than the usual painted sterling board effort and even though it repeats rather a lot, it does include the foreground fencing! Still, they haven’t done a 3D one yet so we’ll keep the edge for now at least. Maybe they will start disguising building sites using holograms in the future. All credit to DW Support Services for a good go!

8th March 2019

The Bristol Gauge 0 guild show was held at Bristol’s Frenchay campus of the U.W.E, and it turned out to be a well attended, successful event (as usual).  Good to catch up with a few familiar faces as always and briefly speak to Lee who is considering doing an LBSCR\GNR large Atlantic. Be sure to visit the page and register an interest if you would like one.
Latest progress on the 12″to 1ft build is described from time to time.

Five minutes before the show opens, we’re stocked up and ready. Summertime is mostly taken up with the dragster, but we’ll be back when Guildex comes around. Just call me if you need anything in the meantime.

There are a number of etches being done at the moment, mostly 4mm scale G.W.R. carriages for shipment overseas, along with some stock replacement sheets.  Looking through the existing carriage stock, I have found a few lovely etches, so I’ll put them in a list here and you can contact me by e-mail or phone.  Obviously there’s only a short admin, packing and post delay instead of the usual production wait for these.

This main line D121 Brake 3rd was built in 1936, and was unusual only in the positioning of some of the droplights. No 4083 has full height corridor and door lights, but the van end guard and vestibule windows are all a good nine inches above the waistline. J.H.Russell

There is also a D45 Toplight in 7mm scale, and in the 4mm scale stock, there are four particularly fine etches, including a C24, an M10, a D42 and a D45 that I don’t have any picture space for.
There are only one example of each, because most are of course produced to order, but do get in touch if any of these happen to be missing from your collection.

The 2019 Missenden Abbey Spring weekend was held just a few days ago, and Mick Bonwick has now taken Chris Langdon’s place as course director.  There is no better person for the job, and we’re already looking forward to the next event, which is the ‘Summer Retreat” .  Chris was presented with a 3D printer and a cake at a small leaving ceremony, but I have a feeling he’ll be putting in guest appearances from time to time.

As I understand, there are only a few places now remaining for the Summer week, and please also note that the booking for the Autumn weekend will open fairly soon.

The scheduled gatherings are listed on the Missenden Abbey Modellers website, and we can expect a new look for the site shortly as well as an increased presence at shows and conventions.  Please do come along and see us, have a chat and ask questions.

6-7th April
Scalefour North, Wakefield 
25-26th May
Railex, Aylesbury
10-11th August
31st August-1st September
Guildex, Telford
28-29th September
Scaleforum, Aylesbury
Railex is one of the major shows, and it’s a stone’s throw from where we live.  The 2019 event will be held at the Mandeville Stadium over the Whitsun (or late spring) bank holiday weekend.

A number of outstanding layouts will be presented in all scales, as well as the usual trade support. so please see more information at….

Railex 2019

Sherton Abbas is one of my favourites, but it’s just one of a superb line up at the 2019 event.

This years Missenden participants all submitted their form questionnaires, and from the start it was clear that there was going to be a wide variety of study subjects. A few actual ‘in progress’ dioramas were progressed, as well as the more usual ‘trial’ sections and 3D mockups.
Kathy Millatt and Andrew Hicks from the recent successful TV series came along to the scenics and landscape course, along with six other modellers from all over the country.  I’ve put in a few examples of the work, and asked all the participants to keep me updated.

I don’t usually put ‘process’ pictures in here, but it’s good for future Missenden Abbey participants to see what takes place, and just how far you can get in a good weekend session.  Madeleine Foreman enjoys landscapes, and wanted to work on the backscene for a loft layout, She made good progress layering the land surfaces, contouring and painting.  Gordon Woods

Michael Ridley-Smith found out about Missenden from the TV and he needed to make a scenic section for his loft layout. I persuaded him to add a rear panel to finish it off at the back, and Michael did a trial row of trees as a painted layer, then overlaid it with a semi relief model.  Gordon Woods

This is part of the 3D backscene for Ian Statham’s Alcesterton layout.  There’s a decent allowance of depth for layering and forced perspective, and this mockup depicts a valley with red brick arched viaducts and abutments supporting a high central bridge viewed above terraced roofs. Looking forward to seeing this one come together. Gordon Woods

Kathy Millatt spent most of the weekend on a card mockup of a diorama, but she has so much on the go that it might well be next year before she can get round to making a start on the actual model. In the last few hours of the Sunday, she trial painted one of the views to distance that will eventually appear at the limit of the diorama’s ‘frame window’. Gordon Woods.

Gordon Woods is working on a model of Dearness Valley Junction, set in the 1960-1964 period at a location a mile or so to the south of Durham.  It is a tricky site to photograph in the present day, but the images of the area show what was there through vegetation patterns etc and the ECML still runs through the area.

Gordon brought a fine reference folder including a number of period shots and a good selection of relevant maps (being a retired Geography teacher certainly helped in this respect!) The quick 3D test section shown here was produced by a referring to combination of reference sources, and I particularly like the distant hills at skyline.  Gordon Woods

There are a couple more good examples to include, but I don’t have any pictures yet.  I can always complete the set next time. I have already had some good feedback, and there is a review of Kathy’s work, and a picture of the ‘Stonington Harbour’ mockup on her extensive social media network.

Kathy’s Facebook 

Peter Drost makes award winning rolling stock and locomotives and here’s a view of a gated industrial siding on his Tanat Valley scaleseven layout

Pat Humphrys has been putting in the hours on his 7mm scale ‘Welford Park to Lambourn’ layout and he showed me this picture on his phone at the Bristol event.  The small station at Welford Park is seen here (looking North East), and it was always quiet, apart from Newbury market days.  Passenger receipts were minimal but goods traffic did provide some returns for the branch, with only small quantities of coal. Surprisingly, there was little or no milk produce forwarded, with the main income coming from the conveyance of watercress grown in the nearby river Lambourn.

This was the only passing loop on the line, and it was reconstructed by the GWR in late 1908 with the addition of a signal box located at the Lambourn end of the up platform.   A second platform was also added along with new corrugated iron pagoda waiting shelters. It was named after the nearby private estate, serving the villages of Welford, Wickham and Weston. The area remains very similar looking today, unfortunately without it’s railway, and this is the arrangement of the backscene with a row of trees following the line as it heads out north west into open countryside before passing East Garston. Leckhampstead and Peasemore are hidden behind the rising valley contour at skyline, and Pat’s model then loops round to reach the Lambourn terminus. The full 3D backscene is coming on well, and the next section requiring work is to the left of this scene. Patrick Humphrys.

A small gathering recently took place at Bucks Hill, and Chris Walker paid us a visit. He wanted to try out some of his Midland & South Western Joint Railway stock, and it looked right at home. Much of the rolling scenery that the MSWJR ran through is similar to sections of Bucks Hill. 

This attractive lined lake passenger train made a few stops, and a black MSWJR 0-6-0 followed the passenger train round on the same road. We paused it briefly at Ewyas Harold for a portrait, and I will put up some more shots from this session A.S.A.P.  Chris Walker

Shaun Underhill sent me his painting of the District Railway’s Osterley & Spring Grove Station circa 1933.  The colour of the station name board was one of the reasons for the original enquiry, which has now gone from being Metropolitan dark red to a mid green (which was my guess) and finally to dark blue.  In the end Mike Horne, who writes books on the District and other L.T lines confirmed that District Railway signs did in fact have a blue background.

The early model Austin 7 is owned by a friend of Shaun, and all in all, it’s a pleasant subject to paint with enough period detail to make it interesting.

The first Kingswear backscene panel has now been rested in place, and I have already begun work on the next one.   A trip in the van and a few hours of tweaking got the job done, and it’s a significant step in this large project.  Each building facade is represented as it appeared in the 1930s and it’s my favourite type of layout environment… a historic recreation.

This small sequence shows one aspect of the process, starting with a look from the viewpoint  to confirm the correct contour profile.

Generate a Panorama, with a south east view at 160 degree sweep.

River Dart, with a view out to the English Channel.

Work in progress, overlaid onto the digital contour landscape

Before installation

Rested in place with Hotel, Station and Quay still in progress.

The rear panel is my usual sheet of soft aluminium, and the facades are all researched and individually laminated in Slaters Plastikard, Wills moulded sheets and various other textured materials.  The paints are artists acrylics and the foliage is done with a combination of products from the usual manufacturers. There is quite a bit of wiring to do once the panel goes in, as virtually all the windows are illuminated.

The village hall was built on a very cramped plot in 1920, but it still presents quite an imposing facade as it overlooks the station, appearing in many railway photos. It served many functions, including the Headquarters of all the Civil Defence activities, and also held dances in aid of various charities and war efforts, The money was raised to begin a “Welcome Home” fund for the members of the forces. Each returned serviceman was given a brown leather wallet and a pound note. The telephone number was Kingswear 83.

Detail of Kingswear’s stone parish church, which was dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, often associated with pilgrimage.  Overseas travellers preferred Kingswear as a landing place on their way to the tomb of Thomas à Beckett in Canterbury and this probably gave rise to the association.  The original church was heavily ‘restored’ in 1847 and it appears at just below 4mm scale on the layout’s 3D backscene as a forced perspective facade.

The opposite bank and headland is our limit of view angle to the South West.  Dartmouth and Kingswear both had tidal mills, Kingswear’s on Waterhead Creek, Dartmouth’s across the Mill Pool, made possible by the ‘Fosse’ or dam across its creek.  Because of the larger gap between Dartmouth’s two protruding hills, Hardness and Clifton, this created a larger opportunity for creating flat land suitable for building on. Kings‘Wear’ actually refers to a tidal mill that used ‘Weirs’ to control the water in and out and allow more regular power for its corn grinding in Waterhead Creek, (behind us in this view) It worked in a very similar way to Dartmouth’s ‘Fosse’, letting water into the Mill Pool – creating not only a place to produce food and employment, but also a beating heart to the local community.

Chris Nevard has kindly allowed us his professionally taken portfolio of Dave Thomas’ diorama (primarily to showcase some of Neil Podbery’s weathering work). Dave has done some superb extra detailing work to this, and hopes to exhibit the model with sound and two road storage yards for his ever expanding collection of 7mm G.W.R. locomotives.

Shed pilots can be portrayed moving dead engines around for maintenance and light repairs, and the interior can be presented as a night, or busy early morning scene, or daylight with a view peering out over the coaling stage and other shed roads. Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

I clearly remember my trips to Old Oak Common, seeing the dirty old Westerns and Warships idling outside the sheds, and this view takes me back to those days. Class 52 No D1011 Western Thunderer rests on the back road, and the shed will fill up with noise, diesel fumes and smoke when the pair of sixty four litre Bristol-Siddeley-Maybach V12s start up for a day’s work! Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

Peering out through the old windows, other engines can be seen as they trundle around the depot. Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

The old shed has seen better days, as a pair of workhorses are temporarily stored. Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

I do like seeing similar engines close by, particularly in shed views, as it was normal for typical local duties. No less than four small prairies occupy the shed in this 1930s type view. Original by Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

January 12th 2019

A quiet Christmas/New year, mainly spent trying to catch up with my work. Firstly I must confirm the very sad loss of Jack Anziani, who passed away In the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead just before Christmas.  He was a regular attendee at Bucks Hill, became a good friend to all of us, and will be sorely missed.

I don’t have a front portrait, but here’s Jack in his element at a Bucks Hill running afternoon. (He’s in the blue checked shirt)

Last train from Westcott.

Lee has recently sent me one of the first photos of the new painted and lined Wainwright 4-4-0.  The availability details of the limited run can be found here, along with some detail views .

The ‘D’ class 4-4-0 tender locomotives were built to a Harry Wainwright design for the South Eastern and Chatham Company. The first of the class entered service in 1901, and by 1907 fifty-one were in traffic. Of these, twenty-one were built at Ashford built while the rest were supplied by outside contractors based in Scotland and the North of England. The flowing curves and balance of these engines was the equal of any of the most elegant designs of the period, and so was the lavish lined out paint scheme.  (A Modelu figure of our old friend Dr Paul Glover studies the new arrival from the platform). Lee Marsh Model co.

There are only four places now remaining for the Missenden Abbey Spring weekend, and I’m pleased to note that the new Templot course has filled up to capacity.  Course director Chris Langdon will be retiring shortly, so I’m expecting even more jovial heckling during his introduction and de-briefing speeches than normal this year.  Please do visit the Missenden Modellers home page for updates.

The well stocked bar at Missenden Abbey.

A Missenden Modellers flyer for the three annual courses.

I came across this satellite map source recently, and it depicts the terrain without unwanted information tags and windows, Quite handy if you do want an uncluttered print for a backscene reference folder.  I’ll be sending a link to this resource as well as the usual recommendation to apply ‘Generate a Panorama’ to all the new participants of the Backscenes and Dioramas course. 

Zoom earth link

Camden roundhouse example

Nick Dudman found a few spare hours over Xmas, and finished off his full scale timber G.W.R. barrow crossing following the official drawing on this website as closely as possible. This pic of the final job was only taken a few weeks ago.

Nick’s excellent replica G.W.R. crossing.

A few pics from a well attended running session at Bucks Hill just before Christmas. Having too many pauses and disruptions to the running of trains is not ideal, so we decided just to have a short period of photography at the Ewyas Harold section of the main lines before resuming the running session.
Dave Thomas brought quite a few locomotives and joined in the session, eventually sending me some of his own locomotive portraits, all taken from the ewyas Harold curve.  I’ll be updating the ‘Bucks Hill in 7mm’ site soon with a similar set of portraits, for fans of the layout.

Unfortunately, Jack was not able to attend this event , but I know he used to enjoy seeing Westcott photos published now and again, so there are a few previously unseen versions added in monotone as a tribute.

A B/W version of L.M.S. workings taken from Chris Nevard’s Westcott feature for Model Rail magazine

Westcott shed modelled by Jack… R.I.P.
Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine

Ian Rathbone brought this wonderful scarlet London and North Western Railway ‘Greater Britain’ class locomotive which was a class of ten 2-2-2-2 steam locomotives designed for express passenger work by F. W. Webb.
All the locomotives were named, and one unusual feature was that the names were always split over two nameplates, one on each driving wheel splasher. This necessitated the use of two-word names, rather than some of the abbreviated names the LNWR had previously used.

They continued in service until Webb’s retirement, but his successor, (George Whale) preferred simple superheated locomotives, so consequently they were all scrapped between 1906 and 1907.

‘Greater Britain’ in period sepiatone. The original was built in October 1891, with a second following in May 1893. The remaining eight three-cylinder compounds came from Crewe Works in April and May 1894, with the two outside high pressure cylinders drove the trailing drivers, timed by Howe-Stephenson valve gear.  The one inside low pressure cylinder drove the leading drivers using a slip eccentric. Most unusually, there was no mechanical coupling between the two sets of drivers.

Stanier Coronation class Pacific No 46234 ‘Duchess of Abercorn’. The original was Built in the summer of 1938 at Crewe, and it appears here as allocated to 12A Carlisle Upperby shed, in the late British Railways lined Brunswick green livery.

G.W.R. Collett 4-6-0 4900 class No 4919 Donnington Hall was built in March 1929 at Swindon works. In the late B.R. period, the locomotive was allocated to 85A shed at Worcester. The loco is seen here from an unusual viewpoint near the bottom of the embankment.

Lee Marsh G.W.R. 517 class 0-4-2T No 1160 passes an up local service.

Ex L.M.S. Fowler three cylinder ‘Patriot’ class 4-6-0 No 45513 was built at Crewe in the summer of 1932, and is seen here in lined British Railways Brunswick Green livery. This particular loco retains an original parallel boiler outline, and was shedded at 8A Edge Hill.

G.W.R. 2021 class 0-6-0PT No 2069 is another workhorse from the Dave Thomas collection. The William Dean original had a saddle tank and emerged from Wolverhampton works in 1899. Dave Thomas.

Dave Thomas brought this G.W.R. Churchward 2-8-0T No 4298 and it appears here heading west with a rake of loco coal opens. The original design was introduced in 1910, but this one was built at Swindon Works 31/10/1922. The model was weathered by Neil Podbery. Dave Thomas.

This Collett 5600 class was introduced 1924. for service in the Welsh valleys. 0-6-2T No 5634 was built at Swindon at the end of September 1925. The loco is about to cross over the occupation bridge on the down main heading for Abergavenny, to the south west. The model was also weathered by Neil Podbery. Dave Thomas.

The Wild Bunch Dragsters trophy for American Pie. Our engraved plaque is in the middle , surrounded the some of the great names of UK quarter mile heroes.

Maybe next year I’ll be able to find enough time to re-do the rear bodywork with a bit more panache, like this spectacular ‘boat tail’ slingshot dragster of the mid sixties period. This car would eventually have received a colourful hippy paintjob, but it looks fine here just in the exquisitely hand crafted bare ally. His somewhat dowdy opponent can be seen in the far lane with a simpler ‘bucket’ rear body.

From the 1950’s to the 1970’s, dragstrips big and small were littered all up and down the Pacific Coast of California, but less than a handful remain today.  One of the regions more popular quarter mile raceways during this golden era was the Half Moon Bay Dragstrip, located just outside San Francisco.

In 1942, the California State Highway Department constructed the Half Moon Bay Airport 20 miles south of San Fran for the U.S. Army during World War II, and it was turned over to the Navy at the war’s conclusion.  In 1947, San Mateo County acquired the airport and ten years later, with the hot rodding movement exploding across the region, the newly popular sport of drag racing took over the runway and it’s surroundings.  Several improvements were made to what was then the largest dragstrip in Northern California, including fencing, bleachers (stands), a top end safety net, a timing tower made from an old bread van!, concessions, and the latest and greatest timing and starting line equipment. It was also one of the first tracks in the nation to use radio and television to advertise their racing events.

The Dartmouth & Kingswear Steam Laundry stood a little to the north of Kingswear at the end of Waterhead Creek, and in it’s day, it took good care of the uniforms from the Royal Naval college on the opposite bank of the River Dart.  We chose to include it as part of the character of the locality and the backwater will soon appear as an interesting 3D layout feature, using forced perspective. I will take some pictures of this scene when the time is right, but it’s too early for now.

This is a hand drawn artwork of the prominent sign that appeared on the south facing wall of the laundry building as it protruded out to the roadside, just beyond the small front gardens. It’s basically just a tracing of a reference photo, and the cutout is for a south facing window.

Railway model manufacturers very often commissioned traditional illustrations to romanticise their products. An illustration made it easier to glorify the size, power and speed of the modelled vehicles, and allowed them to be depicted at their impressive full size.  Terence Cuneo’s famous oil paintings are probably the best known examples of railway art ever to grace a catalogue cover, but here are a couple of lesser known manufacturers with their hand painted covers just for fun.

A North British type 2 B0-B0 no D6100 stands ready to brave the bad weather on this atmospheric Playcraft catalogue cover.

A Warship hydraulic, Woodhead electric and a Pacific Steam loco race each other in this marvellous celebration of speed and power….. Who won I wonder? and was the signalman ready for his busy spell?

A superb Cuneo study of passenger trains at Saltash, taking turns to cross the iconic Royal Albert Bridge across the River Tamar.  This is one of the less commonly seen covers, as the 9th edition (issued in 1963), and it included the ‘Lionel’ brand.

We paid another visit to the south coast recently and we often stop at the charming town of Rye for a coffee and walkabout.  This time we found the Rye Heritage Centre, which is housed in a converted 19th century sail loft on the Quayside.  For modelling interest, it’s actually the home of the ‘Story of Rye’ town model which is a 1:100 scale model of the hilltop town in Victorian times.  It uses a unique ‘Son et Lumiere’ style sound and light effect sequence, bringing over 700 years of Rye’s rich history and folklore to life .

Intrigue, myth, ghosts and smugglers, are all brought to life in this fascinating show, centred on the beautifully crafted Rye Town Model. Watch royal visits, French invasions and dastardly doings, and as the stories unfold, the commentary is enhanced by dramatic sound and light effects.  It’s well done and worth a visit.

Paul Glover’s wonderful Aberayon & Chilton 7mm scale layout will be appearing very soon in issue No 257 of Model Rail magazine.  A typically well photographed portfolio by Chris Nevard captures the charm of the model, and Kevin and I submitted Paul’s copy to the editors.
A preview can be found at the MR Facebook page here…….Aberayon Facebook 

Dean Goods at Chilton shed. Chris Nevard/Model Rail Magazine.

There are a few more pictures to include soon, sent in by enthusiasts but they are going to need some processing work.  Apologies, for this…..I will get round to including them A.S.A.P….. Back soon.

November 23rd 2018

Several trips this month, working on Kingswear’s permanently installed baseboards, mostly shaping the various removable panels that now form the backscene landscape around Waterhead Creek. Some of them need to be ‘single skinned’ so to speak, allowing the maximum access to a concealed fiddleyard behind the scenes.

In the meantime, I have also been making the elements of the backscene townscape, including the floating timber ferry pontoon with its lattice iron approach walkway.  The small cluster of buildings including Mill House are underway as well , forming the focal point of the backwater scene.  Paul is doing the boats and small timber and corrugated sheet boat house near the high water line.

A number of relief outline houses appear against the skyline, forming the outline of the sought after Ridley Hill area of Kingswear. These really contrast with the humble working dwellings and quayside businesses, which will eventually oversee the station further to the left of this point. They have been produced to a smaller relative scale, and are just rested in place for now because they still need to be wired up for lighting before being permanently installed. All share a westerly view, over to the opposite bank, with Dartmouth visible to the right and various inlets in the wooded riverbank before the promontory at One Gun Point and then further still, out over the English Channel and Jersey beyond the horizon.

I did find some priceless reference the other day in the ‘Kingswear History’ page, where part of the locality that I’ll be modelling on the next panel is remembered in earlier days by Mike and Jane Trevorrow, who also run a current news page covering local activities.
I hope they won’t mind if I include some edited information here as an example of just how useful these local history accounts can be to researchers.

This photo from the 1920s shows the sunny side of the Dart riverbank, and houses are being built to the north of the Church and ferry as the town expands. The side on houses called Overhill (2) which were the first to be built around 1890, then Hawarden Terrace (3) a few years later, followed in 1900by the Beechcroft pair of semis(4) bordering Higher Contour road; semi detached from Glenhurst(5) , Killiney(1) , (which was built with semi glazed red brick with yellow brick quoins and window framings) completed the group in 1908 and couldn’t decide which road to adopt for it’s entrance, and so took both Wood Lane, and Higher Contour Road for access. Mike and Jane Trevorrow.

Using old Tythe maps of the area, it seems that ‘many of the unbuilt plots were originally described as gardens. Mike and Jane Trevorrow.

I probably won’t do another update now until after Christmas because of time pressure, but there is a get together in the next few weeks at Bucks Hill which will hopefully yield a few more pictures.
Kevin is thinking about doing a movie describing the layout in some detail and so we’ll see when we can get together.  There’s plenty to feature but it’s really a question of deciding the subject matter in advance.  The layout has recently appeared in a new Peco supplemental magazine dealing with only 7mm scale equipment which is brilliantly done.

Please do pick up a copy if you see it as it includes some great modelling and of course it features the new 7mm Peco accessories range. I’ll be looking to include some of these products into a diorama as soon as possible.

I have tweaked a few more Bucks Hill pics from the last running session and I expect there will be another get together at Christmas time.  I’m hoping to catch up with Jack Anziani there as well, so I’ve added a few pictures I can’t remember including before, from his characterful ‘Westcott’ terminus layout.

‘Cornishman’ 4-4-0 at the Down main platform

Toad brake van in the down loop.

Collett 1400 class 0-4-2T No 1473 and it’s Auto trailer head pass Ewyas Harold heading east towards Abergavenny.

Adams Radial 4-4-2T being turned at Westcott’s small shed.

Single decker bus at Westcott’s level crossing.

Manchester four wheeler at the loop behind the station building.

L.M.S. Diesel electric No 10001

A short film sponsored by the English Electric Co featuring the prototype L.M.S.locomotives during trials.

Malcolm Mitchell sent in a few vignettes of his latest 7mm scale build, and it is a pleasure to study.  I’ll put three here including a sepia toned version, and we can look forward to some pics of a Broad Gauge ‘Iron Duke’ and an Armstrong 4-4-0 which he is working on at the moment.

King George VI is displayed here in late 1950s British Railways condition, and was allocated to 81A Old Oak Common during this period.

6028 Cab detail view

This particular Collett King class 4-6-0 was built at Swindon at the end of July 1930, and all members of the class were modified with 4-row superheaters from 1947. No 6028 received it’s elliptical brass capped double chimney in 1955.

By all means take a tour of some of the many other locomotives that have emerged from “A” Shop.

A long time ago now I trained as a technical illustrator doing cutaways and ghosted views of vehicles etc and I still keep an eye out for traditional illustration because of course it takes me back.  A few publications still do use traditional illustrations as I remember them but I find that one of the most common uses of traditional illustrations and even occasionally some cutaways can still be found on plastic kit boxes. They sometimes appear just as isolated outline studies, like a cut out, but now and again, the vehicle is depicted ‘in situ’, and these are the most fun.

Illustrated book covers are comparatively rare nowadays but some of them were very well done like this Ladybird cover leaf. There’s a distinctive nostalgic feel to these pictures even though they were just commercial art at the time. The book cost two shillings and sixpence, or just ‘two n’ six’ to ordinary folk.

A classic Airfix kit box features a traditional illustration of a cattle wagon on the lid and look how well the vehicle is portrayed in this ‘in situ’ picture. Next month I will see if I can find some fine quality illustrations done for the covers of model catalogues which is another source of really good work, as well as featuring commissioned oil paintings from time to time.

If you do enjoy galleries of landscape art, there’s always this catalogued list of artists. Seek inspiration to have a go at your own picture, or just leaf through the paintings for pleasure.

J.M.W. Turner’s Raby Castle and the Earl of Darlington’s hound pack. The surrounding landscape is dominated by one of the wildest skies ever painted, with it’s wonderful roiling storm clouds, shadows and sunlight.  J.M.W. Turner.

I have been corresponding with a number of previous Missenden Abbey participants lately, and their various projects are coming on very well indeed.  Most are still at their mock up stages but it won’t be long before we’ll be able to have a look at some really great work mainly on these built up diorama scenarios. 

This early stage mockup shows the elements of Andrew Glover’s Todmorden Viaduct diorama coming together, backed up with a ‘Generate a Panorama’ contour plot of the Yorkshire hills plotted from the correct map location and viewing height. Andrew has carefully adjusted the horizon and track bed heights to 146cm and 135cm respectively to correspond to a 160cm average viewing height.

This is part of Ian Statham’s Alcesterton diorama in progress and there is already quite a bit of work in this progressively scaled townscape. The depth and balance of the scene is already starting to work very nicely indeed and no doubt I’ll have a few more images of progress next time I can get round to posting. Townscapes can take a long time, especially when the detailing work becomes necessary.

I will be popping over to see Pat Humphrys in the next few weeks and we will spend a little time looking at the Lambourn end of his 7mm scale model, As you can see here Pat already has the knack of developing the basic distance layers, and the next job will be to adapt the buildings of the distant town into focal layers from Pat’s library of period reference photos.

A new course has been added to the range at Missenden Abbey Spring Weekend dealing with the application of Templot to layout planning.   ‘An introduction to Templot’ with Gordon Ashton

The car is now in hibernation until the beginning of the 2019 season at which point, Dan Boone will be taking over the driving duties for a while. Winter storage entails draining all the fuel out, standing the car up off its wheels to avoid flat spotting or wrinkling the thin slick sidewalls, unpacking the chute, and removing the rocker arms to even all the valve spring pressures.  We also need to tidy up the trailer a bit, buy a caravan and book a storage plot for it near the strip, and finally get a bigger, tougher marquee.  Really looking forward to going out with the Wild Bunch next season, particularly as they very kindly voted American Pie as this year’s ‘Best Slingshot Dragster’ (front engine type).  We couldn’t make the annual dinner, but a massive thanks to Claire Meaddows and Colin Theobold (judge) for putting us up for first place.
To visit and learn about nostalgia drag racing in this country, click the link below

This is a very blurry screen grab from a movie clip, but it shows us doing our thing.  Dan and Mark are keeping an eye on things as I start the burnout.  We’ll be swapping places next year, but I have to learn how to crew, as I’ve never done it before.  Doing the safety checks, fuel refill, pulling the parachute pin without releasing it by mistake, plugging the hefty jumper cables in to start up, towing back from the top end, and many more duties.

Dan does fit into the small roll cage…..just, and the full set of 4 layer Nomex fireproof safety gear has now arrived from the States. This includes the gloves (which were still missing when this picture was taken a few weeks ago)

Lee has a new logo now, and he has sent in this picture of a Dean Goods 0-6-0 No 2524 originally built (with a new fangled inside frame arrangement) in February 1884 at Swindon.  Alongside stands a Collett passenger 0-4-2T No 1157.  Cliff Williams

Lee Marsh Model Co Dean Goods 0-6-0

This study close up of the Dean cab shows the fully detailed backhead, and all the other components including the 1908 cab warning plate. Lee Marsh Model Co

Let me know if you need one of these for your GWR cab as I do have a CPL half etch available in 7mm scale. They need blackening and highlighting.
Furthermore, if anybody would like the CPL brass name and number plate collection, please let me know.  I do struggle to find the time to maintain the stock level, and I could use the added space on the CPL stand.  There’s quite a bit of existing stock and a full set of perfect contact films.  The list can be found here..

The CPL Chain and Shackles kit was designed for securing wagon loads like containers to flat wagons for instance, but I have had a few enquiries lately about adapting the components to make the bufferbeam mounted safety chains that were fitted to some vehicles.  These were mostly omitted from designs after the grouping, but maybe with a pack of 4mm scale wagon coupling links or just some suitable extra wire they could be quite well represented.

All the Met locomotives were fitted with safety chains even into the mid twenties, but quite a few other companies also fitted similar types. Here’s my old ‘D’ class Sharp Stewart 2-4-0T Metropolitan locomotive that had them from new. David Lane.

Please do remember that both the Aberayon and Whitchurch Road layouts are still looking for new homes, so on the basis that it is much much easier than starting afresh, just give me a call on 01296 749070. 

Whitchurch Road station building and platform. David Lane.

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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 14.32.59

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 08.45.40

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.

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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.

Slide1 copy 4

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 08.39.08

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. 

cover mr art

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.