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Sunday 26 March 2017

Project 17 - Coaling Platform

The platform is made from 18mm thick soft wood covered in decorative stone paper and the surface painted with black emulsion.

The coal stack is real coal PVA glued over an epoxy putty heap. The coal is applied in three layers. The first layer is dust followed by 1mm grains and then hand selected chunks a few millimetres across.

At this end of the platform the grey surface (granite dust) is where the coal has not reached.

The ash pit is a free card kit by Scalescenes.

To Part 12.

To Part 1.

Monday 20 March 2017

Project 17 - More Trees

More trees in autumn colours have been planted behind the engine shed completing this corner of the layout. The furthest tree and closest are made from spigs of dead yarrow glued together to form a tree like structure and covered in painted sawdust. The brown trees in between are untreated sprigs of dead sedum. They have a better representation of tree leaves so don't need the sawdust enhancement.

To Part 11.

To Part 1.  

Thursday 16 March 2017

Lima Class 117 DMBS to DMS - Pt 4

The reason I have a Western Region Class 117 is because I thought it ran on the LSWR main line when the Western took over Southern services west of Salisbury from 1963. This is further supported by a photograph in the book 'Yeovil to Exeter' (isbn 0-906520-91-6) that shows an unidentified unit at Broad Clyst in 1964 on a Yeovil Junction to Exeter Central service. Further evidence is its head code of 2C50, which has been independently reported as also being seen on the Plymouth - Exeter LSWR route in 1963.

There is just one problem. It might have been a Class 118 because these were more prevalent in the West than 117s. The only physical difference between the two classes at this time are the car number allocations and the headcode box roof, which is more curved on the 118. With such small differences I am content to run the 117 as a representative DMU on my model of the main line.

Apart from the DMBS body panel conversion and the flush glazing the only other items I have enhanced are set out below.

Cab  Front

A new head code, 2C50 printed from computer. This code means Western Region, Exeter Plymouth District, Train Number 50. The closest true type font to that of the prototype offered by the Windows operating system is 'Century Gothic'.

The destination blind behind the centre window shows Yeovil Junction. At the other end of the train it shows Exeter Central. Probably not correct to have two different destinations but on the model railway it is convenient for travelling each direction.

Window wipers have been installed made up from thin plastic sprue.

DMS Number

The numbers on the 3 car set I purchased whilst individually correct do not form a known set of the prototype. The existing DMBS has the number W51342. The DMS conversion needs a new number so I choose W51384 from the same set as the DMBS. The TC (trailer composite) has the number W59518, which is not of this set. It should be W59494 but I don't intend to change that. Further more, these cars were allocated to Southall shed so probably never ran on my modelled line. It is most likely that sets from Plymouth Laira shed would have been used.

On one side of the DMS (ex DMBS) the existing number near the drivers door needed the last two numbers changed. I found it was easy to remove these using a piece of masking tape pressed over and then peeled away, which lifted the numbers without damage to the paintwork. HMRS Pressfix numbers were then applied but their colour was much brighter than the remaining Lima numbers. I toned them down with grains from a black pastel crayon embedded in the matte varnish that was wiped over the numbers to fix them.

On the other side the numbers were on the body panel that was removed during conversion. Therefore, a complete number sequence had to be applied below the largest window near the rear end. These were treated the same as the other side to tone down the colour.


The gap between cars set by Lima is wider than the prototype to allow the train to negotiate toy track curves without fouling but, what is worse is the chasm between the dummy gangways. All my trains have full gangways fitted and this one is no exception. They are made from paper stuck to a piece of eighth inch cork that is held in the dumy gangway of the model.

The End.

To Part 1.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Lima Class 117 DMBS to DMS - Pt 3

This is about flush glazing the DMS windows using vacuum formed transparent plastic.

There are several video tutorials on YouTube that describe how to make a vacuum forming machine. It is quite a simple process so I decided to try it even though I had doubts about the outcome, which proved to be true. A couple of hours work using scrap materials resulted in a neat machine made from an ice cream container and MDF wood.

Some scrap pieces of bodywork from the donor DMBS served as the moulds.

The plastic for forming needs to be made for the process so I cut a flat piece from plastic packaging that had already been through a vac forming process.

This next photo shows the result. The formed glazing is definitely flush but it is more like bubble glass than flat plate glass. It shows that this DIY process is best suited for objects that have generous curves and not sharp corners.

I decided not to experiment further. Instead I purchased from Peters Spares the Flushglaze product SE-12 by SE Finecast. I like this product because there is spare glazing in the pack in case some get damaged or lost during fitting.

There is also another product called Laserglaze by Shawplan that has sharper corners than Flushglaze but the price is about three times more than Flushglaze.

Final photo shows the installed Flushglaze product.

Next job is finishing touches.

To Part 4.

To Part 1.

Saturday 11 March 2017

2 Expos in 2 Weeks


Last weekend was my pilgrimage to Pendon. I first visited Pendon when The Dartmore Scene was housed in an old RAF hut nicknamed Marilyn. A purpose built building has long since replaced the hut and I have visited several times to see development of  The Vale Scene (1st photo).

Pendon is not so much an exhibition in the usual sense of club events. It is in fact a museum of miniature landscape with the flagship layout depicting in very fine detail the Vale of White Horse, as it was in the 1930s.

With only four model railway layouts on display one could complete a viewing within a very short time. However, the correct way to appreciate the exhibits, particularly the massive Vale Scene, is to dawdle at each viewing point to fully absorb the fine details. This proved a little difficult with a fidgety seven year old in tow. I have to commend the volunteer museum guides who were very tolerant of this and one gentlemen in particular who developed a rapport with our Grandson helping him to focus on aspects of the exhibits.

Visit Pendon Museum.


This weekend saw my annual visit to The Basingstoke & North Hants Model Railway Show, one of the biggest exhibitions in the south. I could only attend on the Saturday and for a limited time due to other commitments. This, plus it being a crowded event meant I could not fully appreciate the exhibits or find much of what I needed from the trade. On the plus side I did meet friends whom one rarely sees outside such exhibitions and bumped into Chris Nevard who I first met at the Guildford show this year when he stopped by our Thornycroft Sidings exhibit. Chris was at Basingstoke as the guest judge for Best in Show. I don't know which layout he choose but those that stood out for me were:

Watercress Line (N)

A cleverly designed layout that packed in all four stations from the line in a tiered structure to save on space.

Bath Green Park (00)

A truly magnificent recreation to scale of the Midland / Somerset & Dorset terminus station.

Navigation Road (EM)

My personal favourite. British Railways blue diesel era depicting a N.E. London industrial scene (2nd photo). The whole scene looked authentic helped by finescale standards of modelling. There is very little on the web about this layout and a description of it was missing from the show brochure. All I can say is it belongs to the Sarum Finescale Group.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Lima Class 117 DMBS to DMS - Pt 2

There are good interior drawings of the 3 car set here that show the seating and partition arrangements.

Two panels of seating were cut from the donor DMBS, and the rear end of the running model seating cut away.

The two new panels were glued in place at the arrow marks shown in the photo. A recess at the rear between seats was cut for body retaining clip clearance.

There is very little photo evidence of the original interior colour scheme for the green liveried cars on the web and heritage 117 photos show blue seating throughout, which I believe should only apply to first class.

What I deduced from published data is this:

Ceiling and driver cab walls: white
Passenger compartment walls and partitions: yellow patterned with grey triangular darts.
1st class seating: patterned dark blue
1st class floor: light blue
2nd class seat cover and backrest: patterned maroon
2nd class seat headrest: tan
2nd class seat sides: tan
2nd class floor: green
Drivers seats: green
Dashboard: black

I used acrylic paints applied with brush, which required many coatings to hide the manufacturers colours. Patterns were not replicated as it would not be noticeable through the windows of the model. If this was required I would use printed paper overlays instead of paint.

It was nigh on impossible to stop the yellow paint leeching into the window frames. After each coat of paint a damp cotton wool bud easily removed the overspill from the window frames.

Next job, flush glazing.

To Part 3.

To Part 1.

Saturday 4 March 2017

Lima Class 117 DMBS to DMS - Pt 1

The Lima Class 117 DMU 3 car set was always shipped with two DMBS (Driving Motor Brake Second) cars. This arrangement does not match the prototype where the trailing car is a DMS (Driving Motor Second).

The difference in window arrangement is very noticeable:
(Photo Left = DMS, Photo Right = DMBS)

There is a conversion kit available from Silverfox Models. However, I choose to use a donor Lima DMBS and do a 'cut and shut' job for my running model because the donor body panels are exact same moulding and paint finish. I was fortunate in winning on eBay someone's butchered DMBS to be the donor.

Changing the body panels at this end of the coach is not the whole story because the window next to the driver doors at the other end is narrower on the prototype than on the Lima model. The difference is not that noticeable so I'll probably leave that alone.

First I cut both body panels off the roof of the donor DMBS using a stand mounted dremel (cutting speed set to 9). The cut was made into the roof a little above the top row of rivets. The cut on the body panel was clean (thankfully) but the roof suffered some distortion along the cutting line due to plastic melt. Not sure if this is due to a worn out cutter or inappropriate cutting speed but it occurred to me afterwards that had I first cooled the body in the fridge then melt during cutting may have been eliminated.

Once the panels were cut away from the roof I lowered the dremel and passed the body panels back through the cutter to trim down to the very top of the rivets. There will be further top trimming later to achieve the final fit.

Next, I selected the window and door arrangements that could be made up into the required replacement panels.

The new panel for each side is made up from two panels cut from the donor sides. Masking tape was used to mark the cutting lines (cutting lines shown arrowed).
The cuts are made with razor saw along the vertical door edges as this will disguise the panel joins except, it is done in such a way  to retain the door hinges and hand rails.

This results in door hinges and hand rails protruding from the panel. The adjoining panel will require cut out outs for the fit.

Alignment is assured by placing a slither of paint on the end of the projections and pressing onto the adjoining panel to leave a mark for cutting guidance. The cut out is then made with razor saw and file.

The two panels to make one are glued together with liquid poly glue.
Photo shows the completed left and right side panels. The panel join is imperceptible in this photo but there is a couple of small gaps that will be filled from the rear with epoxy putty and touched up with a dab of paint.

Turning now to the DMBS to be converted the rear section was removed with dremel and razor saw. The cut at the roof line was just below the row of rivets and finished with a file to the bottom of the rivets.

The edge of the end panel and mating replacement side are chamferred at 45 degrees to disguise the join.

The photo also shows the seams on the replacement panel that is already fitted to the other side and the door handle cut out on this side ready for the implant.

The row of rivets on the top edge of the replacement panel was filed away until a good fit to the body was achieved.

The final photo shows the DMBS (top) and DMS (bottom) body.

Next job is the interior.

To Part 2.

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