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Brettell Road

Pondering…


Hornby Hacks 2 – The NBL class 21, part 2

My class 21 project is now finished. Above is a before and after comparison. Not a lot more to add really so here are a selection of images.


Hornby Hacks 2 – The NBL class 21, part 1

I’ve mentioned before that Brettell road is a ‘what if’ layout and that extends to the stock as well. So what if the NBL class 21s were trialed in the Midlands? It’s not a huge leap to make from reality really and its reported that they did appear on the Condor’s occasionally (anyone got any pictures of this?). I’ve always had a passing interest in the Hornby class 29 as its melancholy look seemed to stand out from the other diesels in their catalogue as a kid. I never had one though so why not get one now?
I prefer the original look of the class 21 to the re-engined class 29 so that’s the plan. The Hornby model has bits of both. (I know about the upcoming Dapol model but I figured going this way would be more fun!)

The Prototype

©53A models of Hull Collection, used with kind permission. Click here to go to the original.

Although the class 21 and class 22 became something of an irrelevance in the history of British locomotives their story does hold a bit of interest.  NBL could have been said to be at least as experienced in British loco production as anyone else at the time with their LMS commissioned prototype 10800 and the class 16s which shared a strong resemblance. Both were powered by Paxman engines and both were somewhat problematic.

When it came to type 2 units (or type B at the time) they abandoned the Paxman power unit turning to their own built MAN units, built under licence from Germany.  It’s not clear if NBL actually had any real experience in building these engines at the time and to say they were somewhat disastrous wouldn’t be far from the truth. NBL would return to Paxman to repower some of the class 21s and they would be class 29.  Truth is they were little better. Poor cooling and badly laid out equipment only made matters worse for the class.

Where they do hold an interest is in that the class 21’s were diesel electric while the class 22’s were diesel hydraulic. If they hadn’t have been so problematic then a reasonable comparison of the 2 propulsion types would have resulted.  This was the only opportunity for main line locos in the UK. The 2 classes look very similar with the class 21s being just a smidge under 5 feet longer and at least to my eye, looking more ‘designed’

D6109 the odd one out.

D6109 became the odd one out of the true class 21s having received most of the body modifications for conversion to a class 29 but not the Paxman engine (reportedly down to problems discovered in the frames). So D6109 became the only class 21 to get a headcode box.  Interestingly there was one class 29 that didn’t but got all the other modifications.

The Model as it comes.

Being reasonably unfamiliar with the real thing some time has been spent comparing the model to pictures of the real loco and I’ve drawn up a (quite long) list of things I think are off.
So here we go then

A – I think the peak of the roof is wrong – it looks flatter on the real locos. Also the rib behind it doesn’t seem as prominent as it is on the model.

B – The water fillers seem the wrong shape and are missing from one side completely/ the handrail next to it is too long.

C – The bodyside steps seem a bit too round and are too shallow.

D – Ignoring the moulded fan/etch thing for a moment. the whole panel with the radiator fan on is in the wrong place. It should like up with the bodyside grills.

E – There’s a lot of rivet detail on the model. It’s too heavy and I am not convinced it’s all really there on the prototype.

F – As with all Hornby diesels from this era there are moulded on paint guidelines.

G – I think the lower faring tucks under the loco more than it does on the model.

H – Wheels are too small and should be spoked not solid.

I – Central part of the lower bodyside faring looks a lot deeper than the prototype. It looks more like a class 31! I wonder if this was deliberate to compensate for the body being mounted too high as was the norm for Hornby models of the time?

J – Battery box detail is kind of suggested at best.

K – Bodyside door windows aren’t deep enough – they should line up with the bottom of the other bodyside windows. The lower bodyside rib goes across the door on the model – it doesn’t on the real loco.

L – Bodyside grills arent deep enough, they too should line up with the bottom of the bodyside windows.

M – Bogies look a bit filled in to me. Brake shoes don’t line up with the wheels (again common with Hornby diesels from the era. )

N – Steps under the doors are a bit freelance.

O – Bufferbeams blend into the lower bodyside – there’s a distinctive shape to these visible on the prototype.

P – Buffers and bufferbeam are too high.

Q – lower cab front isn’t deep enough

R – Horn covers are a bit basic

S – Cab end lights are very basic too! the upper ones are too near the cab edges.

T – More moulded on paint lines. the lines for the doors stand out. they should be grooves.

U – Headcode box – not on a class 21 (except D6109 as mentioned above.

V – Its well-known that the cab windows are not wide enough. I don’t think they are right vertically either. The prototype seems a pretty even height all the way along. Hornby’s are taller in the middle.

In addition the exhaust port is the wrong shape and somewhat freelance.

So, to work

Side views compared. Woking down from the roof I’ve replaced the exhaust and flattened the cabs a bit.  The radiator grill was cut out as an offset before turning it around and sticking it back in so that it now lines up.

The bodyside steps have been drilled out and the handhold replaced (not really worth the effort with hindsight) and the bottom of the grill frames carved off to be replaced with microstrip. The bottom faring has been reduced (the white strip is where I took a bit too much off).

Power wise the model uses a Bachmann class 25 chassis with the bogie centers spaced out by about a mm each end. I kept the original Bachmann brakes and overlaid the Hornby sideframes after opening them up a bit. The original battery box was shortened and mounted in a new plasticard frame.

The cab fronts have been detailed with Extreme Etches window frames and headcode disks. The bottom of the can being extended and the original detail filed off.  I scored the inside of the tumblehome and bent it in further to match the prototype pictures. The bufferbeams being cut off first and rebuilt.  Hopefully a bit warmer weather and i can get it painted.


Some thoughts on wagon loads.

Ok, it seems a little odd to start a post on wagonloads with a couple of vans but they do give away subtle signs that they are actually earning money and not just trundling around.  Chalk markings and labels are the give-away here.  The chalk markings are done with a sharp chinagraph pencil which allows you to smudge them and rub them out. Much as could be found on the real thing. The labels are from Hollar Models and can be distressed with a scalpel or fibreglass brush before applying. The easiest loads are the loose ones such as coal, ore, ballast etc. This is real coal glued to a foam former (the dark foam in RTR loco packing is ideal). Remember to weather the inside of the wagon first though. One loose load I struggled a little with was coke. In the end I used larger lumps of coal but when set sprayed it with gunmetal to give the dull look coke has. Sheeted loads tend to come in 2 forms. Above the load is sheeted as a stand alone item.  This was a cheap load i found on ebay. The second form is that the load is added to the wagon and then the load and the wagon itself is sheeted over. These are more cheap loads from Ebay which were quite crude. The sheeting is black latex cut from a surgical glove. Sometimes the load is just open to the elements. This is a drawbar converter from Langley Models.Finally, sometimes the load is a wagon itself. An RT Models molten slag wagon loaded onto a Lowmac and ARM-E


More mopping up wagons

As I’ve mentioned in the past I am trying to not add to the wagon roster for Brettell Road, rather just trying to finish off the un-started and partially started kits I already have. Although one or 2 new ones have snuck in to the to-do pile somehow. Heres the latest to find their way off my workbench.

2 such culprits – a Diagram 1828 van from the Cambrian kit and a Bachmann 7 plank wagon. The 7 plank wagon was introduced a few Warley’s ago as the clubs special wagon. Being a Brierley Hill wagon and. according to the info that comes with it, based at Moor lane Wharf (where Brettell Road is very loosely based), it seemed rude not to.

3 Tunnys from the old Colin Ashby Kits with Parkside underframes. I uses some Rumney Models Grampus bits to add the steps and door bangers. The furthest one (in green) is an older model that i built years ago for New Street which I upgraded at the same time.

LMS built (for the LNER) ARM E wagon from the Cambrian Salmon bogies and half of the floor. The rest is plastic strip with some Rumney Models and Colin Criag detailing bits thrown in.

A couple of steel wagons. Bogie bolster E from Lima, Rumney and Cambrian. Made sense to finish this off at the same time as the Turbots (see the New Street workbench). The Plate is from Parkside.
Finally, below, is the completed engineers train.


Return to the back scenes

I’ll admit I wasn’t planning on the back scene post being a 2 parter but thanks to some helpful feedback I’ve had another look at what I did before. Changes are to add detail to the windows and make them more yellow/darker. Ive taken some magenta out of the prints and added some blur to various buildings to knock them back a little and give a better sense of depth. Ive also added a few extra details. Ive also left the roofs gloss while the rest of the prints are matt in an attempt to emphasise the wet effect I’m after. You can judge for yourselves the results below.


Back to Back scenes

Although no one has said anything I’ve never been that happy with the back scenes on Brettell Road. Back scenes are a bit of a quandary as you dont want them to be naff but then you dont really want the viewers of a layout to notice them either. They kind of need to be there but not there at the same time. Initially I used a combination of brush painting and car aerosols to do them but with hindsight and a sprinkling of self reflection I probably didn’t put in the time and effort I should have. Below is the first incarnation.

Above is my revised version.  I downloaded some textures from scalescenes and set to work on photoshop.  I could have rendered my own textures but given what scalescenes charge it really not worth anyones time to do this in my opinion.   Below are some more images before and after.  Below are a few images of hw it all looks in the intended light. 


Project 1F Part 2

Moving on to the body of my 1F i removed the plumbing on the right side as my chosen prototype didn’t have vacuum brakes. I also replaced the splashers with scale sized ones from Brassmasters.   I decided that the lamp irons were a bit too chunky so replaced those too.

The Brassmasters kit includes new coal rails.  I thought the tool box on the the RTR model was too small so I uses a spare left over from my Kirtley build.   I also removed the cab doors which due to the Bachmann design was dead easy to do.  The moulded rear window bars were very crude and hadn’t been moulded properly anyway so those too were replaced.  After these pictures were taken I replaced the buffers with Lanarkshire models examples.   Below are a few images of the finished loco.

The fireman (modelu) takes a breather!


Project 1F Part 1

So, I found a pretty cheap Bachmann 1f on Ebay and as usual, attracted to its somewhat out of proportion looks I snapped it up.  First stage was to see just how easy the Brassmasters Easychas actually was.   Ive used one of these before on my Kirtley but i didn’t use it as intended so this time I decided to do things properly.

For those that don’t know the easychas is designed to fit around the RTR chassis and provide springing.  Its designed to be used in 2 distinct ways.  The super easy way that uses the original Bachmann coupling rods and brake rigging and the not quite as easy etched version.  Naturally I went for the latter.  If you decide to go for the former however you can get a sprung P4 (or EM) loco without even having to fire up the soldering iron!  As it was the full monty approach only took an enjoyable afternoon to put together anyway.  To coin an advertising slogan it does indeed do exactly what it says on the tin!


Bubble part 2

I was kind of hoping to avoid a repaint on the bubble car even thought the lining was closer to a class 121 than a 122, but when  tried to remove the number and the roundels (which were off register) the underlying paint came with it so a repaint it was.

I toyed with doing 55012 as it has a local significance.  Being one of a few bubble cars that on the Stourbridge Town shuttle had a bit of a problem and ended up hanging over the road (see https://www.flickr.com/photos/69498057@N03/6353358089) but ironically I had already done it for New Street.  I don’t recall selecting it specially so 55018 it was instead.


Bubble part 1

I’ve always liked bubble cars (let’s be honest, who doesn’t?) and i recently stumbled across a cheap Lima class 121 so Brettell Road will get a class 122 to play with.  Here it is ready for paint.

The roof has had the grooves filled (not sure why lima did this when the retooled the 117 as the roof was the only bit of that model they got right ) with new vents from MJT.  The cab domes are spares from the DC Kits 304 kit with my own etched fronts.  The exhausts are spares from Dapol (with thanks to Geoff of Western Thunder for pointing out they were available as spares.) and the headcode boxes are microstrip.  Buffers are from 51L and the bogies are Hornby class 110 as per most of my DMU’s. Buffer steps are my own etch and the underframe had has some strategic holes drilled in it to open it up a bit.


Tweaks

Afraid there’s nothing new in this post, just tweaks of things already seen. Ok so you can’t see this one really but in testing the parcels stock shown last time, this point wasn’t as reliable as I liked.   I have a view that all stock should go everywhere and while the parcels stuff probably wont run over this point at shows. it did show up the problem. To be honest its always been not quite right so having tracked down the problem to the nearest point blade the old one was removed and a new one filed up and put in its place.   The old one and a few dead chairs can be seen in the ballast and I thought why not let the layout have a bit of its own history, so they are now firmly glued there.Looking the other way nothing more than a bit of oily track.  After the initial coats of track grime and gunmetal I treated it with AK interactive wet effect and engine oil.   At the recent Derby Show (where we were showing Moor Street) my friend and fellow layout operator Paul pointed out that railcar 14 had lamp irons on the nose. I dunno how I missed this.  So given that I hadn’t sorted the horns either (should be 4 not 2) I have set to work.  I also found that there were cab end handrails and Dapol had missed the double door handrails as well.  Another small tweak that I’ve been meaning to do is to sort out the cab side windows on the class 20.  The original Bachmann ones slid open and like most RTR gimmicks were a bit naff.  So using a spare pair of window frames from Extreme Etches that I had lying around I’ve fixed this little bug bear. My Derby lightweight was always a bit of a rush job for Scaleforum.  The gap between the vehicles being much too big was the main eyesore! Closed up and a masokits gangway fitted. Another problem was that the on board lights lit up the cab.  Some simple blinds from black paper resolved that. Moving on to the warehouse. I’ve finished the guttering and added a low handrail along the top of the wall.  Although Brettell Road is set well before the health and safety culture we have now there was still a reasonable chance of a driver falling off the wall! A bit of the gutter has fallen off at some point.  So some water stains and higher weeds below are the results.


A post post!

Originally I wasn’t going to really have ‘through trains’ on Brettell Road – the through line was only going to be used by the industrial shunter but like most of the plans for this layout it all went a bit wrong.  So now that the branch is used by BR as well it made sense to have a short parcels train.  I had already done a LMS GUV from the Lima model but in another hark back to my childhood train set I always liked my Lima Siphon G as well.  I’m not quite sure what happened to the original one I had but I found a bashed up one on Ebay for a few quid and set to work. The Lima body has had the lower vents added from the cooper craft (ex blacksmiths) etch.  Kindly picked up for me from Scalefour southwest last year by Steve Carter of the Scalefour Society.  The bogies are MJT on the brassmasters frames, as are the buffers, with small steps from the Frogmore Confederacy Range (both available from here).  The gangway is a Hornby DMU one which I cut into from the bottom and glued back together to give that characteristic drooped look. The other side with some of the vents left open. In terms of somewhere for the guard to sit, the good old Mainline LMS BG.   just new handrails, glazing and underframe bits on this one.

A couple of RTR wagons from Bachmann.  the Grain wagon has had its axleboxes replaces with Parkside spares and the brakes moved to line up with the wheels.  Finally below just a few images of my Jinty pottering about.


A little wander around.

The point of the above picture is nothing more than the drainpipe.  Yeah so what? you are no doubt thinking, we’ve seen this stuff before!  Well you would be right but modelling this sort of stuff is now a lot easier thanks to some useful bits from Alan at Modelu.  See here.  I still need to add the actual gutters yet.Speaking of Modelu a couple of Alan’s figures discuss the latest delivery of real ale to the pub.  The chaps umbrella is actually a parasol intended for Z gauge.  The lights and indicator on the lorry do work as can be seen in this little video of a wander around the layout.

For those who like to see things, here’s a daylight version too!

Finally a couple of images starting with Brettell road trying to impersonate a small depot somewhere!


Moor street bridge and its little known history.

This is the view of the real inspiration behind Brettell Road. This is taken from Moor Street bridge looking towards Brettell Lane/Stourbridge.  The remains of the sidings can just be made out to the right of the running lines. There is nothing to show it now but this location was, in 1858. the site of what was, at the time, Britain’s worst rail disaster.

The story starts on the morning of the 23rd of August and the The Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway Company (which was known as the worse and worse, a nickname it never lost) had organised a day trip for Sunday School children from Wolverhampton to Worcester. In the event the ticket offices mostly ignored the instruction that the trip was for school kids and many sold the tickets to anyone.  The train set out from Wolverhampton made up of a tender loco, 24 4 wheel coaches and a guards van (info is sketchy it seems that the guards van was a good van although apparently some guards coaches were included in the train).

It picked up passengers and vehicles along the way as by the time it arrived at Worcester it was made up of 2 locomotives, 42 coaches and at least 2 brake vans. The outward journey hadn’t been without incident as they had coupling failures at Brettell Lane,  Hagley, and Droitwich. It was estimated that there were between 1500 and 2000 passengers on board when it got to Worcester. The train was examined by the inspector of rolling stock at Worcester, the repaired or replaced side chains were replaced by four-link goods couplings before the return journey, but no attempt was made to repair or replace failed centre couplings as the inspector considered that a re-made screw coupling was weaker than the goods couplings.

For the return trip the train was divided into 2, the first being made up 2 tender engines, 28 carriages, and 2 brake Vans (one at each end). The other was made up one tender engine, 14 carriages and a brake van. The second train followed the first 15 minutes behind. The line was worked on the interval system, in which trains were allowed to follow the previous train without positive confirmation that it had reached the next station, relying instead on it having been an adequate time interval ahead at the last station. The guard on the first train was a man called Frederick Cook who it was alledged had allowed passengers into the brake van and even let them operate the brake while he played cards and drank with them.  He was normally tasked with being the guard on freight trains and might not have been all that suited to passenger work.

The line from Brettell lane rises on a 1 in 75 gradient towards round oak so the second train had an additional engine added to cope with this at Stourbridge.  It was after 8pm when the first train arrived at Round Oak, the second arriving at Brettell lane at about the same time. Reports say it was dark and there was a lot of smoke blowing across the tracks from the local factories. The train of the first crew hadn’t spotted that another coupling had broken and 17 coaches and the brake van, with about 450 people on board were now rolling back towards Brettell lane.  A porter tried to chase the carriages but they soon became to fast for him.  The last hope was that the guard would stop the train. Frederick Cook was not on the train though, he was on the platform.

A telegraph message was sent the staff at Brettell Lane to warn them.  Unfortunately the second train was actually departing the station at the time and the telegraph was missed. The second train was struggling with the incline and when the driver did spot the runaway, very late, he slammed on the brakes. Hit train slowing to 2mph at the point of impact. The free coaches were doing about 16 mph but construction at the time meant that the brake van and 2 coaches as good as disintegrated. 12 people died in the crash, 150 were injured of which 2 would pass away later. All of the victims were on the first train.  The driver of the second was said to be ‘shaken’. His loco had its buffers ripped off but was otherwise not too badly damaged.

Amazingly several hours later the track was cleared and the 2 trains carried on their journeys to Wolverhampton. Some of the injured getting back onboard as they just wanted to go home.

Frederick Cook claimed at inquest that he never left the train, that the brake hadn’t held the train and he had jumped for his life at the last moment. He changed his testimony when it was established the brakes were off and he looked remarkably clean and uninjured for someone who had apparently jumped from a train doing 16 mph! Test showed the brake would have held the train and he was charged with manslaughter but acquitted. Some alledge the jury was bribed.

The view looking towards Round Oak/ Wolverhampton


Tweaking the lighting and yet more rain.

I wasn’t all that happy with the positioning of the yard lamps shown last time.  The one on the right masked the tail lights on the lorry (as several people didn’t notice them) and it didn’t do enough to light up the entrance to the yard. Leading a couple of people to enquire how the lorries actually got in. So I’ve had a bit of a fiddle. I’ve moved the light further along so that the back of the lorry is in shade.  This on its own didn’t do enough to illuminate the gate area so…I’ve added headlights to the lorry.  (this picture was taken on a phone).  They are much to bright really but you can’t see them from the front of the layout anyway. Here is what I was aiming for.  Again its too bright for a lorry of that era but I’m happy with a bit of artistic licence for effect.  You can see the difference when the headlights are blocked (on the left).

I have also been busy with more AK interactive wet effects fluid.  Below are a few overviews that give a better hint of the rain. Finally another video, time for another cuppa and a biscuit!


Return to the factory

Although the factory was essentially finished for Scaleforum it lacked the clutter that gives it an ‘in use’ look.  Unless the workers were meticulously tidy I suppose. So I have gone back to make a bit of a mess.  The image above is the before shot……and the after.  I’ve added a wall and gate to the entrance. The old lorry was featured earlier. The wooden boxes are from 4Ground models. I knocked up a rudimentary travelling crane from bits of brass and plastic. The discarded machine tools were 3 d prints and originally intended to go inside the building but I thought they were a bit too nice to hide away so I weathered them up an dumped them outside. Another crane from bits of brass and some basic yard lights.  Below are a few images of the factory at night.  The yard lights do provide a bit more light to the centre of the layout.


Hoppers finished off and a few other things.

I’ve finished off the hoppers I was working on. Here’s the coke hopper in the company of the previous one I had already done. As the older one is an LMS version I revisited the weathering to make it look a little more used. The 13ton hopper Mackerel with a gannet and herring. A few I haven’t mentioned before. The M. E. Evans one is a Bachmann collectors club model in memory of Merl Evans. I spent a very enjoyable day at Tysley with Merl surveying a couple of class 150’s so this little wagon seemed a no brainer to me. Straight wheel and coupling swap with a bit of weathering.  The ED wagon is a Powsides kit for one of the Earl of Dudley’s fleet. Another no brainer.  Whether either wagon would have lasted to the late 50’s I dont know.

Finally I was directed to this neat little book. OK it’s not Birmingham and it’s not even West midlands but if you are, like me, a fan of what I call ‘urban grim’ (I guess most people aren’t here because they like pretty layouts) then you might find this right up your street. No text, just a lot of super atmospheric pictures.

Click here for the link


Whats the opposite of green fingered?

After Scaleforum i became aware that the vegetation on Brettell Road probably was a bit to green and lush for a late October setting. To remind you roughly what it looked like back then here are a few images from earlier in the layout build.

Ok so it wasn’t exactly late spring or anything but armed with some scenic sheets from Martin Welberg and some more muted static grass from WWS supplies I set to work making it all look a bit more, well, dead! As you can see I’ve made he disused line look a lot more overgrown. The eagle eyed will spot a bit of extra iron work supporting the wall. I always intended to add this from the early days of the layout.  I’m happier with it now.


A hopper hat-trick.

3 hoppers via 3 different routes. On the left a coke hopper from the old Three Aitch kit.  I’ve already done one of these and this follows the same pattern of using Bill Bedford W irons.

In the center also a kit but a brass one from Dave Bradwell for the BR 13 ton hopper.  A fun if not sometimes tricky kit to build. Dave Bradwell kits

On the right a mackerel ballast hopper converted from a Hornby trout, again with Bill Bedford w irons. I make no claims for the idea behind this as I first saw it on Kier Hardy’s EM 70s website. Click here


Werble

No I’ve not gone completely mad!Werble is an app for adding animation to photos. Since Brettell Road is supposed to be set in the rain it would be rude not to!


End of the year – end of a sub project

With 2017 drawing to a close I have also (nearly) finished off the road vehicles I will need for Brettell Road.  Despite having 5 bridges over the railway I’ve resisted the urge to do any buses to put on them and I also haven’t done any cars either.Above is the latest and last batch.

Starting with some kits. On the left a resin Ford Thames 400E from Road Transport Images and on the right a white metal ex military Austin 3 ton dropside from MMS.  Unfortunately MMS have now closed so this kit is no longer available.

I found this part built Langley models kit on eBay for next to no money. Its a 45cD tractor unit from the very late 30’s and once disassembling the more sketchily assembled bits I decided that it once belonged to one of the business owners. Some sort of engine fire meant it got dumped but with the intention to restore it to its former glory. However it ended up forgotten and is now rotting away. The tarp is from a black latex glove and I attacked the inside of the front mud guard with a burr in a minidrill to depict the rust working its way through. The rear mud guard is hanging on for dear life as well and some parts have now long gone. Finally a Leyland Steer from a combination of base toys bits.   I find these lorries quite intriguing with their (to my mind) odd wheel arrangement.  The base toys Steer has a different cab to this so I swapped it from an ‘8 legger’ box van.  If you look at the inset picture you can see that I’ve widened the wheel arches and reprofiled the front windows to get something looking more like the pictures I found of the real vehicles. I could have done more with the chassis but where its going you wont see it. Wheels are from Road transport images.


Return of the rain

Up until now I have been using various gloss varnishes to attempt to make Brettell Road look wet. The results have been somewhat mixed especially on the ground itself. So I’ve given a few AK interactive products a try, still water and wet effect. Here are a few pictures of the results so far (Yes it is dry)

The Still water is a self levelling resin and it’s quite thick.  The wet effects is an enamel.  What you see in the pictures is a mixture of both products.

https://ak-interactive.com/


Dapol GWR Railcar, finished off

I can draw a line under my Dapol GWR railcar project as its now weathered and finished. The new numbers came from Steve at Railtec transfers (click here). Here are some pictures of the end result.