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Local Flavour

This post can best be described as a taste of local flavour if not the full meal itself.

Anyone familiar with railways in the Stourbridge area will be aware of the Parry People Movers that operate between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town. Little 4 wheeled railbuses that spend their days shuffling along the UK’s shortest passenger branch line. The line itself is still jointed track meaning the ride is somewhat best described as lively! While famous now for these little vehicles Stourbridge didn’t really embrace the railbus idea the first time around, The line begin operated by autotrains and GWR design railcars at the time railbuses were being tried elsewhere.

However as Brettell Road is a loose interpretation I have gotten hold of a Heljan one as a nod to the little people movers. This was always going to be a nice to have rather than a need so having kept my eye on eBay for a cheap one, just on the off chance, this AC version popped up as a non runner with a dodgy motor for less than half the price the runners were going for.

The motor was replaced with a small Mashima I already had. One of the drive shafts was bent out of shape too but as these little models are very heavy for their size I binned that and now its just powered on one axle. For what it needs to do that seems absolutely fine.

I’ve fitted a Zimo MX634D decoder in the space in the roof linked to a TCS KA2 stay alive hidden behind the door and weathered it, The wheels are Branchlines 3ft using the original gears and bushes. You do need to grind a little bit of the chassis away to get them to fit. A couple of passengers and its good to go.

Same idea – different generations!

Another bit of local flavour. The yard crane at the real Brettell Lane was a bit of a chunky affair. In line with my upcoming demo at Scaleforum on making the most out of older models, I’ve come up with this representation using the Airfix dockside crane as a start point. The jib is scratchbuilt from plasticard. I’ve only seen a few distant pictures of the real thing so this is very much a loose interpretation.

Just a few pictures.

Just decided to do a few images, including a view of the canal which I’ve never gotten round to and a few experiments.

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.


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 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!

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.

More on bananas, couplings and a short time lineside.

With the motor sorted out I cut away the molded hump (as well as the seats) and added a new floor from 20thou plasticard.  The replacement seats were from DC kits (I think).  The interior was then sprayed a reddish colour as that’s what pictures seemed to show. I added some curtains (drawn up in photoshop and printed) along with 3 passengers – Brettell road being very sparsely used by the public.

Although I will be keeping the railcar as no14, I removed the numbers in preparation for adding the later off white version at the other end to the way Dapol had them.  The numbers came of very easily with a spot of turps substitute on a cotton bud.  Be very careful around the lining as that comes off almost as soon as you look at it!

Returning to the coupling conundrum

If you remember I was toying with the idea of using a UV torch for my coupling pole but the one I had gave out a lot of visible light. I’ve upgraded to a much better UV laser torch and since photographing it is quite difficult I did a video instead.  I did try adding a filter to block the visible light completely but it made it extremely hard to use.

On the subject of videos, may I invite you to get a comfy chair and a mince-pie and spend a while line side watching a bit of shunting. (this one is all diesel)

The Dapol flying banana – part 2

As mentioned last time I planned to use a Brassmasters 7ft bogie for the none powered end of my GRW railcar. The Brassmasters bogie is longer overall than the Dapol one – you can see the adjusted one at the top of the picture. Here is the bogie in position with pick ups on the far side. The near side picks up through the bogie itself.   If all you want it a p4 railcar then you can stop here. I tested mine at this point and all seemed fine but its worth noting that the pickups  are wired the opposite way round at each end. The red wire at this end goes to the opposite rail at the other.   A bit odd!

Naturally I didn’t stop there. This is the interior without the body. That huge moulded lump has to go. The culprit is this huge motor. No idea why its this big, the thing only has to move itself and you can’t couple it to anything anyway!  The Mashima sitting on top is a 1020.The good news is the motor and its mounts simply unscrew from the underframe.  I mounted my 1020 on a  bit of 80thou plasticard and on the floor. By moving the motor back from its original position you can mount the flywheel lower too. A bit of 1.5mm ID/ 2mm OD tube meant I could use the original flywheel which contains the universal joint. The drive shaft was cut in half and lengthened with a bit of tube. There’s a small lip in its channel at the motor end that needed to be ground away. While I was hacking the chassis about I cut a hole to allow me to represent the engine. Spares from the Heljan class 128 underframe sprue did the job. Next, the interior and finishing.

A brief return to the 101

You may remember the discussion on improving the Lima 101 turned to the windscreen problem as this is the only area (at least in the body) where the Bachmann model scores over the Lima one. Well a kind-hearted soul sent me some window frames to fix the Lima model and the results are presented below.
improved lima 101 windscreens
I was never that put out by the Lima windscreens but side by side it’s quite a difference.

It’s alive!

With the track finished and wiring done the first train has had a run round the layout. Surprisingly for a first running session, nothing fell off! In the absence of suitable stock 08610 and a short rake of modern wagons did the honours!
I think my fascination with chopping up hornby class 110 DMUs is turning into a bit of an obsession! A quick browse on EBay saw another victim picked up cheaply (althoug this is the first time ive ever had a complete one). Question is what to do with it. Looking at some early ’60s pictures there’s a couple of options and I present the case for each below.

Class 100

Seemed to be quite common in the area.
I’ve done one before so I know what to do
It appeals to my function over form tendencies.

I’ve done one before!

Class 103

Quite an attactive looking unit
I haven’t done one before

Less common than the class 100s

Perhaps I need to ask my audience what they would prefer to see?

Room for a 101?

So far Bachmann have done quite well with their first generation DMUs. OK the mould lines on the 108 cab were not ideal and the oversize metal chassis block is a poor design decision but they fill a much needed gap in the RTR market place. Not so their latest offering offering as the 101 is already available and given its Lima origins isn’t bad at all. Of all their DMUs the 101 is the the one that Bachmann could least afford to drop the ball on but sadly it seems they have. Given that this is the first DMU thats a victim of the new price structure it’s a bit of a double clanger!
I feel I must take some responsibility for some of the online fuss as I may have been the first to point out that the bottom of the main windows and the door windows all line up on the model when they shouldn’t. One online commentator went to great lengths to draw lines on photos of the model and the prototype that show the error very nicely (although in a bizarre piece of manufacturer brown nosing he then try’s to convince us that the model is right)!
On its own the window error isnt much but it’s one of those relative errors that just screams out at you. Lima themselves seemed to have a good understanding of this and while literally everything on thier earlier 117 is wrong it all works together so it looks ok. Correct one thing and suddenly it looks worse than when you started!
A few years ago the obvious thing to do would be to combine the strong points of both models to produce something accurate. Lima body on the bachmann chassis and while that’s fine for something like a class 25 where your outlay can be less than £50 do we really want to be forking out close to 3 times that for a DMU?
So given that fixing the bachmann 101 is going to be quite difficult, the easy route this time is just to fix the Lima under frame. People have remarked for years that it’s bad because it’s just a box with surface detail but lets think about this for a second. What is depicted is about right it’s just that the holes are filled in (you can see where this is going can’t you?)
Option 1 the quick fix
Ok this is a total bodge but all I did was weather the chassis and repaint the ‘holes’ in matt black. It was only ever meant to be a temporary fix but it’s stayed like this for a good few years now. I have also replaced the undernourished Lima bogies with spares from the Hornby 110.
Option 220140707-194641.jpg
It’s not actually much more effort to just drill out the holes and tidy them up with a scalpel or circular saw in a mini drill. I’ve re-added the tanks from bits of plasticard. With hindsight I was never going to replace my Lima 101s anyway but if I were to buy another I’d definitely be looking at buying a cheap second hand Lima model than feeling the need to have the latest thing.

10th April 2014

Class 114

Those who follow the workbench section of the site will know that I have been converting a Hornby class 110 into a class 114.  Well its nearly done now (just a few tweaks to do) and a new page has been set up for it in the units section.

There are also new pictures in the coaches section and a new page for steel wagons (admittedly with only two to look at so far).

13th March 2014

model rail LEVIts been a good while since I wrote anything for Model Rail Magazine but this months issue has a short article on my model of LEV1 for those who like buses!

Another DMU Diversion (part 4)

Moving on to the DMBS like the DTS the easy option would to be to use the Lima 117 chassis as is and like the DTS most people will be none the wiser.  However hacking DMU underframes about a bit it quite a good way to spend an evening.  So first stage is to look at prototype pictures and decide what can be kept and what needs to be removed.  The best tool for this is a metal cutting disk in a minidrill.

class-114-DMBS-underframe-hThe above picture shows what I kept – again the battery boxes were in the right place but too small so they were removed.

class-114-new-UFSome parts are repositioned while others are made from bits of plasticard, microstrip or brass pharmacy rod. The radiators are quite distinctive and I do believe unique to the class. These were made with a bit of an old Shawplan class 56 grill for the mesh.  Given the position of the filler and the odd curved tops I wonder if these were standard items from a bus?  That brings the fabrication part of the project to an end – the gangway will be another Masokits one as shown here before and it’s just a painting and weathering exercise from here.  No need to show that so the workbench will move on to the next project, I will add a gallery for this unit to the stock page when its done.


Another DMU Diversion (part 3)

Moving on to the underframes, the obvious thing to do is mount the DMBS on a lima 117 DMBS chassis and to mount the DTS on  lima 117 TS chassis.  To be honest for most people that would do as provided they can see that the DTS hasn’t got an engine they proberly wont have clue if the chassis matches the real thing or not.  (I’m half expecting a high proportion of people to just think that the model is a Bachmann 108 anyway!).  However where’s the fun in that?

4326531684_fa11774b34_oThe above image (© John Turner/53A Models of Hull Collection and used with kind permission) shows that there is quite a substantial beam running down the middle of the DTC and that there are prominent heating vents under some of the doors.  With this is mind I set about seeing what I could keep and reuse from the lima TC chassis.  The only part that is in the right place is the battery boxes so you could leave them where they are but as I found when researching class 116’s, the lima battery box is too small. In the end all of the underfloor detail was removed as were all of the footsteps.

class-114-DTS-underframesAbove the rebuilt chassis.  the new Battery boxes are from Replica Railways as are the vac cylinders.  the V hangers are from Southern Pride and some of the original lima parts have been repositioned.  the rest is just from Evergreen strip.  The bogies are spares from the Hornby 110 and the steps are my own etches. The sideframes are mounted on my own design of bogie available from Brassmasters.  I tend to use Branchlines wheels on the leading bogies of my DMUs and Gibsons on the others I also mount the non rocking bogie at the gangway end so that any track deviations are not so obviously transmitted to the body. Weather this makes any real world difference I don’t really know.

a few links

John Turner/53A Models of Hull Collection  Replica Railways   Southern Pride Models   Brassmasters

Another DMU Diversion (part 2)

With the bodies assembled they were washed and then given a quick coat of primer to see where any joints needed further work before detailing could begin.


The DMBS requires the most work but common to both vehicles I added the door hinges that had been lost in the cut and shut process or the reshaping of the tumblehome (it’s easier to remove the hinges and add them back in later than to try to work around them).  Hornby’s moulding of the door lines is far to delicate so these were scribed back in and new roof vents added (from MJT).  On the DMBS a hole was cut for the grill on the side and a cut down grill from Hurst models added.  The frame is 10×30 thou microstrip glued in place, left to harden and then sanded down to about half its thickness. The surround was then carefully cut to about half its width and the excess removed. The guards doors are the wrong way round for this side only so the details were removed, the window filled in and a new one cut.


The other side is easier with just 2 fillers to add. These were drilled as a 2mm hole and files square. The surrounds are the same as the grill on the other side this time cut down to about 1 third of their width.  The DTS is a lot simpler although some (not all) have the same grill as the DMBS in the same place. As always a picture of the actual vehicle you want to do in the time frame you want to do it is essential.

class-114-endsThe cabs had a new rainstrip added (the dc kits one is too fine) and destination box fronts from my own etches.  The headlights are drilled out as I think this looks better.  Trick here is to drill a fine hole first as near as you can to the center then open up with a 2mm drill.  No work is needed on the inner end of the DMBS but the DTS needed the (somewhat elaborate) toilet fillers added.

Another DMU Diversion

One of the projects I really enjoyed last year was chopping up a Hornby class 110 body shell to convert it into a class 100 (see here and here).  Theres something nice if not a little old-fashioned about taking a razor saw to an old body shell and making something new.

From an RTR point of view Hornby’s 110 was always a bit of an odd choice due to its sphere of operation being so limited. Theres a lot more logic in Bachmanns approach of doing a 108 however to those of us who like fiddling with models the 110 is quite a hidden gem of potential.  Due to its profile (which Hornby kind of messed up a bit) and the position of the door windows relative to the main ones its far more versatile than the 108.  Some classes of DMU that are possible from the 110 starting point are

  • Class 100 (see above)
  • Class 103 – ok with a fair bit of work but see here
  • Class 104 – the obvious conversion, and the one you tend to see most
  • Class 107 – I know this had been done as a limited edition but that was just a reliveried 108, the profile and window positions are wrong so if you want something a bit more accurate, then the 110 is where to start
  • Class 114 – For the same reasons as above, stretching a 110 is going to give you a better result than stretching a 108.

Of those it was the 114 that appealed and by good fortune Tysley inherited some in 1987.  Thus a 114 is a good candidate for either a Brum-Nottingham or a Brum-Cambridge service.

There are other ways of course, a complete kit from DC kits or a conversion kit for the Lima 117 from Craftsman but I picked up a cheap set of 110 bodies and thought id go this way.

class-110-choppedThe above image shows the way that the DMBS was cut up to convert it to a 114.  The cab and one set of doors are scrap while the new section comes from the TS and the cab is DC kits.  The profile of the cab needs adjusting on a bit of sandpaper to match the class 114 profile.

class-114-DMBS-cutting class-114-DTC-cuttingDMBS top and DTC below reassembled. Sections marked as A are new, sections marked as B are original and C are orignal but reversed.  Next stage will be to remove the roof vents, fill the joins that need filling and adjust the profile.


New year, same old same old!

HSTs-at-BNSjan2014I do promise that I will get bored with taking pictures under the roof at some point but a few more that I am quite pleased with.45115atBNSjan2014

Using the Brassmasters Bogie with Sprinters

Although I didn’t design my bogie with sprinters in mind they can be made to work with them.  It’s simply a case of cutting off the outer end level with the bearing holder and using the inner brake shoes instead of the outer ones to control the bogie.

sprinter-bogie-1If I were to design a sprinter specific version I would move the fame down to be hidden by the main bogie frame (and adjust the brakes for the smaller wheels) but a spot of Matt black paint will help hide the frame.  Below is the view of the underside.sprinter-bogie-2


17th February 2013

This update sees some new pictures of DMU’s for you to look at, there’s a new image in the class 108 gallery and for those who have been following my workbench page there’s a new gallery for my class 100/105 hybrid.

To see the multiple unit galleries click here


Oddball DMU, Final part

class 100 DMU, class 105 DMUHi All

Just to draw a line under my oddball DMU project, heres the pair complete bar the weathering.  As the weathering will essentially be a repeat of the entry for the class 108 DMU theres no real reason to repeat it here but I will add pictures to the DMU galleries when they are done.  The windows on the class 100 are a combination of Hornby’s 110 and the Replica flush glazing for their Mk1 coaches. The plain windows being cut from acetate sheet and everything being secured in place with Klear.

The tail lamp is a bachmann one with a new handle from 0.35mm wire.

Gangways for DMU’s

Hi All

I’ll get back to the oddball DMU in the next entry but this time (and still related) I have been looking at gangways.  The ones Bachmann supply with their first gen’ DMU’s are quite nice and correctly feature the double scissors that most DMU’s carry.  However it doesnt really matter how nice they are if there is still a gap between them.

The easiest way to fix this is to use something like these (or make your own) and while not super accurate, lets face it no one is going to notice anyway!  However I have for a long time been a fan of the Masokits gangway (see here for Masokits) which while perhaps a bit OTT and a bit tricky to build are well worth having a go at.

Basically it still works the same way, essentially folded paper but surrounded by etched ends and that all important scissors framework.  The etchy bits when assembled look like this.

There are some extra brackets in the kit (which i left off) and it also caters for different types (GWR or LMS).  You can even lock them together as per the prototype if you want too!  I pretty much followed the instructions with one deviation.  The instructions suggest soldering the backs of the pins with a oiled Rizzla (other makes are avialable) paper acting as a barrier.  I chose to solder the pin to the outer arm and crimp it when assembled to old it all together.  In reality the paper pushes the arms outwards keeping everything in place anyway.

One painted (carefully!) the paper is folded up and popped into place and a small peice of crepe paper (supplied in the kit) is glued over the top to represent the tarpauling.  (you could easily add this to the ones mentioned earlier to improve them if you wanted too.)

The finished result on a class 108 DMU.  I only fit one as the exhausts tend to interfere with them working.  A light dusting of weathering is all thats needed.   As I said at the start, no one is going to notice anyway but thats not the point!



Oddball DMU part 2

The comment in part 1 about the 105 being a tip from the box job wasnt 100% accurate. The 105 I got had headcodes but my prototype doesn’t so out with the filler and sandpaper!

The model was also a DMC when I need a DMS but luckily some careful work with fine sandpaper and the yellow stripe came off.  Thinners on a cotton bud took care of the first class stickers on the windows and the numbers.

On to the chassis – the 1o5 only needing the buffers replacing with something finer (18″ Oloes from A1 models) and the buffer beam painting red on both vehicles.  On the class 100 I ground off all of the little brackets on the solebar and added bits of microstrip to deepen the underframe.  I havent re-attached the radiators yet.

An oddball DMU

Hi All

I’ve had a throat infection meaning no modelling for nearly 2 weeks but i’m now getting back into the swing of things.   The story behind the following actually originated from a discussion about class 105’s at New Street.  While they did put in appearences they were something a bit different.  By my era though they were no longer to be found in the midlands.  Or so I thought.

Searching for class 105’s I found this picture of a class 105/100 Hybrid at Tysley.  Theres another picture of it still at Tysely in October 1986 and the unit lasted well past mid 1987 so I decided it would be something a bit different.

Pic © Andy Cole @ Andy’s Trains and used with permission.  For more of Andy’s pictures see http://www.flickr.com/photos/67444577@N02/

While the 105 is nice to have its not exactly special in model terms, being a pays your money, tip it from the box affair but the 100 is something a little more interesting.  The prototype being built by Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in the latter half of the 1950’s, some only lasted about a decade before withdrawals started.  This one 53355 lasted until 1988 and was the last of its class in revenue earling service.  It was also the last DMU to run on the national network that didnt have onboard tail lights.  Its class mate 56301 was the first DMU vehicle preserved.

I ordered a spare hornby 110 body for a few quid so, with not a lot to lose by having a go, I set to work on producing a drawing of both classes to see which bits I had to move and which i could keep.  The drawing is below

On Wednesday the 110 body duly arrived and was duly assaulted with a razor saw and scalpels, below shows the bits I left in place.

Above the class 100 Jigsaw showing the re-arrangement of the bodysides.  I also removed the window frames at this point.  Next to go were the roof vents and the end domes, to be replaced with spare DC kits ones.  I figured that it would be easier to remove the smaller headcode boxes from the DC kits domes than reprofile the existing roof.  The joins were filled and sanded and then a quick coat of primer to check how it all looked.  More filling and sanding was required.  I picked up a power twin class 105 and set to work making the Hornby body fit the Bachmann chassis.  The buffer beames were cut off and new ones made from a bit of microstrip.

Close up of the front showing the new buffer beam and new buffers with their mounts.


More to follow