Tag Archives: Speedlink

Expo time

This weekend brings ExpoEM North and for the second year, I have the pleasure of being amongst the range of demonstrators there, along with my good friends Brian Sunman and Ken Gibbons.  Anyone who’s been to an Expo will know the unique atmosphere they have, and we’re very much looking forward to being there and seeing what else Derek Evans has lined up.  Demoing is probably less tiring than showing a layout, but that said, it can be even more difficult to see the rest of the show!

The overall theme of our little bit will be BR period modelling, and Ken will be taking an eclectic mix of projects which echo back to the spirit of Modelling the British Rail Era. Steam, diesel and very probably electric, from the ’60s to the ’90s all have a chance of making an appearance.  Brian’s main focus will be on buildings for our under-construction Waverley route layout, but he will also have with him some of the Carflats that he’s been working on for the same project. This pic isn’t my best effort and the wagon needs some finishing work, but it should show the effectiveness of what is essentially a simple conversion – based on an LMS Period 1 coach underframe as so many of the prototypes were:


I shall be presiding over my usual random mix of modified RTR and kitbuilds, and will also be taking my paintbox.  One particular project I’ll be giving a coat of looking at is my small fleet of grain wagons based on the Trix/Lilliput model.


The methods we use are not specific to any particular prototype or period, but that said, we recognise it’s a finescale show and will obviously slant things that way.  We all have some experience in regauging locos and stock so if you’re curious about easy steps into EM, ask away. And the same goes for anything that’s on show, or even that isn’t.  We’re there to talk, and don’t be put off if we look ‘busy’ or already have somebody at the table – it’s usually a case of the more the merrier 🙂

More details on ExpoEM North can be found on the Society’s own website.

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Filed under Brakevans, Heritage diesels, Mineral wagons, Off the beaten track, Scottish railways, Uncategorized, Wagon kits, Wagon loads, Wagon weathering

Bachmann OBA

Although later than my principal period, I hang onto a few 1980s-ish bits and bobs that I did ‘back in the day’ of Culreoch and Wintringham Haven, particularly as Ken (Gibbons) still retains more than a foothold in that scene.   One such is this Bachmann OBA, repainted into shabby Freight Maroon from the EWS model that was one of the initial introductions.

Dealing with the mechanical bits first, these wagons will convert to EM if you want them to – as long as you use ‘proper’ scale wheels and not just pulled-out Bachmann ones, which have wider treads and will take up too much width in the axleguard units.  This underside shot shows this, and also the block of plastic that I glued at the back edge of the axleguard unit to prevent it swivelling too much.  Moving onto cosmetics, the factory rendition of the roller bearing axleboxes is a bit unconvincing on these models, so I replaced these with Chivers mouldings – the image is clickable and there’s a telltale change in the paint finish that shows how far back the mouldings have to be filed:


As ever, the livery details were my main interest and the vehicle represents an Ashford product from the first Lot built, 3909, and having been retro-fitted with Bruninghaus springs for Speedlink work.    Although the wagon’s been around a while, I took the brief opportunity on sunshine the other weekend to take these next few updated pics.

As well as the usual toning down and odd scuffs, there are odd replacement planks picked out in either black or a different shade of red.   This is something which affects  all wooden bodied opens, but BR’s air braked fleet seemed to have even greater propensity to it than earlier traditional stock; some of the piebald concoctions to be seen  by the time of the EWS takeover were quite fantastic:


Another characteristic effect I wanted to replicate was the maroon overspray onto the inner ends, something I’d picked up on from a period photo.  I’m sure an airbrush would produce this perfectly but all I did was stipple small amounts of paint with a cotton bud:


As an aside, this livery is one of those that courts misunderstanding and mythology.  Quite apart from the exact shade and the related arguments over what ‘maroon’ actually is, it was a livery used from late 1975 and gave way to the flame red and grey mix from 1979.  Once weathered though, it can be indistinguishable from the earlier brown/bauxite shades, and many people think that’s what it is.  I remember on a visit to Carlisle Currock some twenty years ago, someone scraping the side of a stored VDA with a coin to prove otherwise…


The final shot shows a later development, some ‘new’ modelling!  If I recall correctly, the packing cases  were done a couple of years back for Llangerran’s appearance at Thirsk show.  They’re intended to be vaguely MOD-looking although owe more to the method used (block and sheet balsa) than to the photos on Paul Bartlett’s site that provided the impetus.   They’re made up as four sets of two, back to back, and the sizes worked out well enough for two pairs to fit in a traditional 10ft wheelbase Highfit.  Transfers are from various aeroplane kits, a hangover from my lad’s younger days and kept, as one does, because they ‘looked useful’.

Wagons do look better with loads though, it gives them a purpose.  I have a shoebox full of equally likely-looking bits and bobs to work on, and I wish I had more time to devote to the subject.

As explained in a parallel post on my other blog, Hal o’ the Wynd, life has been a bit full lately and this awful ‘winter that won’t let go’ has delayed all sorts of projects, but as most of my recent dabblings are nowhere near finished, I thought I’d dig out something that was, before this blog became one of those with no activity from one year to the next!  I am however currently conducting a journey around some of my ‘in progress’ minerals over on  Modellers United,  so if you’re not averse to single-subject threads and models that are not shiny RTR any more but look like someone’s had a barbecue on them, feel free to drop by and take a look.

On the subject of Llangerran, Ken’s layout now has four shows under its belt and  a new page here for it is under construction – check back soon for pics and (if I can get the file formats sorted) video as well…


Filed under Wagon loads, Wagon weathering

News from the Land of Green Ginger

Yes, I know.  Months since I last posted, and all I can come up with is something only tenuously railway-connected.  But that’s life, of which a hobby is only part; I’ve been on holiday, enjoyed the tail end of what laughingly passed for summer here, and been to two shows in two consecutive weekends.  All of which links in nicely now with the notion that modellers are generally not unknown to enjoy a nice beer or three.

The above is a pump clip from Caledonian’s Flying Scotsman premium ale, brewed to assist with the restoration of said loco.  This one suffered a slight accident when the actual clippy bit broke, and rather than chuck it in the bin, it was very kindly put aside for us by the landlord of one of our  favoured hostelries in Hull’s Old Town.  It’s nice when people think of you like that, and we’re very appreciative.  As to the liquid itself, we can’t speak highly enough of it – Caledonian do seem to be one of those outfits that can’t brew a bad beer, and a brewery tour is on the ‘to do’ list.


Again tangentially related, there are even blogs about pump clips – I found http://pumpclipparade.blogspot.co.uk/#uds-search-results whilst checking out the enticingly named Kitty Brewster.  And on the subject of railway-themed beer names, you could also be unlucky enough to encounter Junction Brewery’s Trainspotter

In other news, I’ve added two very worthwhile blogs to the links bar, those of Chris Nevard and Phil Parker.  Both gentlemen are far more prolific than I, and I hope you enjoy the reads.

Also below is an image of one of Ken Gibbons’ more recent creations, Llangerran.  Now that his North Devon micro Stone has moved on to a new owner, Llangerran is set to fulfil its potential and having already done shows at Expo EM, Rochdale and Thirsk, is booked in for the York show next Easter.

The shot below should show a flavour of what the layout is about, being essential a revisiting of his New Quay micro that featured in Santona’s Modelling the British Rail Era.  Although still a ‘bitsa ‘ station, this is a full length layout and has a surprising amount of shunting potential for what is a relatively simple trackplan.  Again it draws inspiration from the lines to the west of Carmarthen, being situated on a route to a coastal terminus at Saint Davids (a name that will need no introduction to those who recall the work of Mac Pryke in the 1970s).

Here, one of the indigenous class 37s is busy shunting the MOD siding, with one of the last gasps of domestic coal in evidence to the right:

I would have liked to have featured Llangerran as a full page with the other layouts, but the images we have of it are simply not of sufficient quality; in setting up this blog, I’ve never had any pretensions to be an ace behind the lens, but I do have some standards!  Anyway for now, our sincere apologies until that state of affairs is rectified.

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