News Archive 2

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

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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. 

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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.

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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….

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Dean 0-6-0 ready to leave.

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Grounded coach body with 57xx Pannier shunting a van.

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

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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

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

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


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

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

Chesham best

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


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

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


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

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

Whitchurch Road 071

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


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

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The same Jubilee at Bucks Hill, now weathered.

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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.

ro st2

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

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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.

nigel mog

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

wc bh

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


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

south 440

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

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

abi bw

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

Abingdon 01 s

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

Abingdon 03 bw

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

Abingdon 05 f

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

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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.

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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

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

Scan 13

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

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


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

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

Stuart’s page

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

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


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

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

Snow Hill animation link

Roof Structure

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

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

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

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Swindon J shop guide artwork

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

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

snip 1

Platform elevation with canopy trusses

snip 2

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

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


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

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


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

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

pat 45509

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


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

cambrian 440

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

cam sal

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

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

4w brake

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

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





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


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

aberayon viaduct

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

March 14th 2017

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Scan 6

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

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

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

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

Missenden Abbey Modellers

A few monotone portraits of Bucks Hill locomotives by Kevin.


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


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

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


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


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

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

5593 & LMS Brake

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

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

steam_3_600pxj shop jpeg

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

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

nevard Westcott

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

Westcott 240

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

jack pat

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

February 14th 2017

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

Scan 4

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


Some slightly different versions from the feature follow here…

nevard Westcott 440

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

This particular locomotive can be seen in a Pathe newsreel here

nevard Westcott 060

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

The subscription link is here:

Model Rail Magazine

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

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

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Railex homepage

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


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

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


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

paulg6 paulg4

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


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

lnwr 460

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


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


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

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

Bucks Hill in 7mm

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


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

January 27th 2017

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

Layout Gallery link

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

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

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


Westcott’s weighbridge office. Richard Chetland

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

517bw westcott

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

9F information page


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

MARM_logo (1)

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

Missenden Abbey Modellers link

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

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

Stuart’s P4 Blog

culrain station

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

culrain road

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

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

RM Web book link


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

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


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

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

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

ht b

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

January 17th 2017

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

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

Bristol Show 2017


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


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


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

Let’s go Loco Westcott article

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

night bw

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

barry 0-6-0

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

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

pontrilas arch

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


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

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

estate fencing

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

kissing gate

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

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

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

merney 1

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

heaton lodge

One of the hundreds of winter trees for the lineside.

April 12th 2016

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

model rail may cover

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

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


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


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

Contribute to the cause at……


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

3 boys

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


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

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

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

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

heaton old line

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

Follow the progress and see more of this undertaking at;

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

Mock-up 11 DSCN4090

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

Follow the progress in more detail at ;

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

2 6 0

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


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


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

bred worm

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

2 6 4

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

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

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


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


March 20th 2016

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

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

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

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

CPL Medium-Res Drop Shadow RGB

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

lms cpl

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

ian all logo

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


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

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

ian allan

MARM_logo (1)

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

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

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


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

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



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

EF63 010

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

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

Check the links page for more details on this run.


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

Rex_Whistler_-_Two_Ladies_Taking_Tea_in_the_Vicarage_Garden_at_Bierton,_Buckinghamshire 1940

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


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

March 2nd 2016

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

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

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

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

A cutaway of the clever and stylish Lancia Aurelia.

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

Souther Railway No 2026 was a

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

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

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

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

tim bw

It’s an illusion that the yard sidings are quite wide and spaced apart, actually three proprietary scales of model are fooling our eyes into perceiving depth. Tim Shackleton.

February 17th 2016

Thanks to Bob Savage, and the Bristol O gaugers for putting on a very well organised show at the UWE conference centre.  The place just buzzed all day long, so thanks also to all the backscene enthusiasts who stopped at my demo table to chat about their projects.  I really appreciate it so stay in touch and send me progress pictures as you go through the job.

Dave Stone always stops by when we demo at Bristol, and his wonderful 'Sherton Abbas' diorama layout will soon be treated to some backscene work. One of my favourite projects in all respects, it will be hand painted, featuring gentle rolling hills to distance. Photo Dave Stone.

Dave Stone always stops by when we demo at Bristol, and his wonderful ‘Sherton Abbas’ diorama layout will soon be treated to some backscene work. One of my favourite projects in all respects, it will be hand painted, featuring gentle rolling hills to distance.                         Original by Dave Stone.


MARM_logo (1)

Missenden Abbey is up next, so I will be running about picking up new brushes and cutting up mounting card to do test pieces.  I also need to make some more easels for propping up pictures and one each for the nine students.

We can look at skies as part of the test section, and like fingerprints, no two are quite the same, so always check back and study from reference

We can look at skies as part of the test section, and like fingerprints, no two are quite the same, so always check back and study from reference.

There may be a half hour talk to give on layout surroundings coming up at the 70 strong Scaleseven group convention.  This will take place later this year near Glastonbury in Somerset.

It looks as if the next diorama will take us inside a locomotive running shed, looking out of a gloomy interior at the contrast of a brightly lit outdoor scene. I have some research to do, not only to include the architectural detail and clutter, but also to strike the balance of shadows falling between pools of light, and the way the locomotives will affect this when introduced.  A few 3D mockups will help to encourage good lighting directions and intensities.

A gathering took place at Bucks Hill yesterday, and I will be including a few pictures on ‘Bucks Hill in 7mm’ shortly.  The most recent loco build has now returned as a set of painted and lined assemblies, which have now been put together by Kevin.

This Gooch 'Rover' class single wheeler has been away with Alan Brackenborough, who brought the parts to the Bristol O gauge event a few weeks ago.

This Gooch ‘Rover’ class single wheeler has been away with Alan Brackenborough, who brought the finished parts back to the Bristol O gauge event a few weeks ago.  It just needs a tender full of big coal lumps and a crew to finish it off, but my pictures don’t do it justice.  Have a look at ‘Bucks Hill in 7mm’ for some closer views

These must have been quite something to see at over sixty with a Bristol express. An iconic loco captured in breathtaking detail.

These must have been quite something to see at over sixty with an express. An iconic loco captured in breathtaking detail.

There are relatively few locomotives that are the wrong gauge for the layout, but they are no less interesting to study, and Lee Marsh came along to show this amazingly detailed Japanese 3′ 6″ electric Bo-Bo-Bo locomotive.  


My picture could be sharper, but the attention to tiny detail on this is fantastic. the doors open, the cab has everything separately fitted inside and it has six profiled and geared traction motors. even the working flexible wire feeds for them are present beneath the floor!

A few more views with visiting locomotives follow here….

Nigel Smith brought this hissing L.M.S. Garratt along, which was too long for my lens focus. After obligingly stopping for a picture, it very slowly re-started the heavy coal train on a bend, disappearing from view but still able to hear the sound of the two engines out of sync with each other accelerating the train away until the brake van passed by some time later.

Nigel Smith brought this hissing L.M.S. Garratt along, which was too long for my lens focus. After obligingly stopping for a picture, it very slowly re-started the heavy coal train on a bend, disappearing from view but still able to hear the sound of the two engines out of sync with each other accelerating the train away until the brake van passed by some time later.

Jack Anziani brought a variety of locomotives, including this Austerity 'Dub Dee' 2-8-0 which still needs balance weights for correct appearance, but makes up for it by being covered in 'muck' as Jack puts it.

Jack Anziani brought a variety of locomotives, including this Austerity ‘Dub Dee’ 2-8-0 which still needs balance weights for correct appearance, but makes up for it by being covered in ‘mook’ as Jack puts it.

Another L.N.W.R. Webb 'Jumbo' from Jack's collection, this time No 5005 'Pitt' Originally 1522, I have no idea as to whether it commemorated the elder or the younger!

Another L.N.W.R. Webb ‘Jumbo’ from Jack’s collection, this time No 5005 ‘Pitt’.  Originally No 1522, I have no idea as to whether it commemorated the elder or the younger!


A pair of Welsh valleys 0-6-2Ts, as Nigel's pilots Dave Thomas's G.W.R. example bunker first. Re-starting from this pause, the train engine slipped intermittently until the train gathered speed again.

A pair of Welsh valley 0-6-2Ts, as Nigel’s pilots Dave Thomas’s G.W.R. example bunker first. Re-starting from this pause, the train engine slipped intermittently until it gathered enough speed.