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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

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 to the 94xx

A while ago I started work on a Lima 94xx tank I’ve had from my childhood. The idea was to match it to a high level pannier or Collett chassis as a quick project. However after speaking to Chris at High Level he decided that the 94xx wasn’t really like either and said he would be interested in doing a specific kit for the loco – the , at the time, recent announcement from Bachmann that they intend to look at the class too might have helped.Top view of the chassis before fitting the wheels – at this stage I decided to give it a basic coat of paint.   Below is the underside. High Level Kits website

Kirtley finished (well nearly)

First up a short video of the inside motion doing its thing.

There’s still a bit of work to do on the Kirtley – add a crew and the weather sheet, some coal and the wet weather effect but its pretty much done. Below are a few pictures.

I have been doing a few wagons as an aside to the soldering iron. Another lowfit from Red Panda.  This one has a Parkside chassis and buffers from my supply. I don’t know who made them or what type they are but they matched some of the pictures on Paul Bartletts wagon site  Thanks to my friend Brendan for the lowfit transfers. The Dapol lowmac kit. Reworked with Lanarkshire models buffers, archers rivets and new axleboxes from the spares box. The brake lever is an etch and the ratchetey looking guide is from a piercing saw blade.  This wagon is really too long to be rigid and there’s not a lot of room for any sort of springing or compensation units so the solution here (which I remember from a P4 society digest sheet years ago) is to file the bearings into a slot and use a bit of scrap etch in the centre of the axle to allow it to rock.

Kirtley part 3 – ready for primer

My Kirtley project has reached the stage that its ready for primer. Buffers are from Lanarkshire models whilst the whistle and safety valves are from Markits. I’ve replaced the steps and cab roof with brass.

Rear view. Some Kirtleys had a simple weather hood to protect the crew. It stretched from the cab roof to the tender front. Anyone got any thoughts on how to replicate this? It will need to be flexible.

Kirtley part 2

wheels-comparedThe Kirtley kit came with wheels (00 obviously) I think they might be Romford. The above picture shows a comparison with a scale wheel (Gibson) and highlights a problem with 00 gauge steam loco’s  While the diameter of the wheels match the oversized flanges mean that the splashers need to be much bigger to accommodate them. They are generally too wide too and sometimes in the wrong place. Some manufactures of RTR loco’s solve this by fitting smaller wheels.

new-splashersOn the left the original splasher (and somewhat crude spring) and on the right my resized version/ I chain drilled a line of 1mm holes inside of the splasher (from the back) and added a new top from some scrap etch.

boiler-modsThe oversized splashers mean the boiler is compromised to fit around it. I modified it with some scrap whitemetal disks (from a southern Pride 310 kit – see, never throw stuff away!)  Below is the loco so far with new splashers, springs and beading along the footplate. I’ve also mounted the chassis a tad higher into the body since the first image the other day. kirtley-part-2

trying a little tenderness.

I never planned for Brettell Road to be populated with anything other than tank engines but as with most things I have planned it’s all gone a bit wrong!  So…

brassmasters-4f-chassisI present you the Brassmasters easychas for the Bachmann 4f, not that its going in one mind you. I found a picture of an interesting little loco at Saltley in one of D.J. Nortons West Midlands books and there was a ancient kit for it too. However the chassis supplied is literally 2 bits of brass with 6 holes in it. It wasn’t really going to do!

The chassis has been built kind of as intended although I needed to shorten the tender wheelbase a bit. I also added a few Alan Gibson frame spacers to the chassis and a high level gear box (smaller motor is in the post) . The p4 frame spacers were a tad wide and I wonder if the EM ones might be better if you are following a similar approach?

inside-motion-paintedHaving never built a tender loco before and figuring if you are going to do something you may as well go for the ultimate solution (or potential failure) I decided to have a go at Brassmasters working inside motion too.   It certainly ticks the fiddly details box that’s for sure but was fun to build.

inside-motionThis is what it looked like before fitting to the chassis.    But what loco is it you might wonder?

kirtley-mock-upA Kirtley goods, I was attracted to its ancient appearance. These loco’s (the 700) class were introduced in 1869 and the last one made it to BR as 58110 being withdrawn in 1951 when she had seen 71 years service!  The body and tender (shown losely mocked up) are the Keyser kit and the kit itself is nearly as old as I am.  I’ve removed the springs to be replaced with something a little more refined and shortened the footplate so that it doesn’t overhang the bufferbeam, All the rivets have been sanded off, the ones on the  smokebox were too crude and the tender of 58110 was flush riveted in the end.  I’ve also reduced the with of the tender footplate slightly to add some 0.7mm L section from Eileens (the actual prototype being very thin in this area and nothing like the chunky cast floor thee kit comes with.



Containers and other things

I picked up a few Parkside container wagon kits at Scaleforum and over the last week or 2 I have been putting them together. Along the way a Bachmann example was added too as it was cheap and had the smaller container that I was after.

conflats-in-progressAbove are the Conflats themselves, the 2 on the left being the Parkside ones and the 3rd the Bachmann one.   The first one is built as intended with the usual additions of buffers and brake pipes from Lanarkshire models, safety loops from Bill Bedford and tie bar from Eileens emporium. (I’ll come back to the chains in a moment).   The second one uses the Red Panda underframes as a lot of those pictured on Paul Bartletts site (link here) seemed to match this configuration. For the Bachmann one it looked a bit of a faff to sort out the underframe as the brakes were set for 00. Strangely Bachmann had the wrong brake levers on either side meaning that the brakes wouldn’t actually work anyway as lowering the lever would pull the shoes even further away from the wheels! A Parkside chassis is the easy option and I had a spare from the second wagon. conflat-underframesAbove is a view of the different underframes. You could go much further than this if you wanted too but this is a representation of what I feel you can see in all the gloom. If you did want to go further then the obvious start point would be one of Justin Newett’s excellent etched chassis but even if you didn’t he puts his instruction on his site anyway and there’s some good references and info on how it should all look. Well worth clicking here! The wagon at the front is the BR clasp underframe. conflat-fine-detailsI mentioned earlier that I would come back to the chains and to my eye Parkside have been too delicate in the details on this kit. There’s a tendency to think that finer is better but I don’t think it works here. The chain I used is 23 links per inch from Langley models Which as supplied has quite round links with a twist to them. You can see the original shape on the container on the right. To get them to the more lozenge shape it’s simply a case of putting one end of a length of chain in a vice and pulling the other to stretch it. Nothing cleverer than that!   The lifting shackles on the roof were also too fine and were replaced with spared from Justin’s Bogie Bolster E underframe detailing kit.  In case you are wondering the wagon on the right was destined for the smaller container which is why the raised links are towards the middle. conflat-rakeThe finished wagons – Both large containers were sprayed with Halfords Rover damask red. The apparent difference being due to the weathering. I might be stating the obvious here but it pays to weather the wagons and containers separately meaning the weathering process is earlier in the build than normal. conflat-close-upThe shackles are from Roxey models and use the same Langley chain links. While a little fiddly it does mean that they can be assembled without resorting to the soldering iron! I didn’t use the supplied eyelets for the containers as I felt they didn’t really look much like the prototype pictures I was using so I just used a bit of fine wire instead.   Once the chains are in place it worth treating them to a thin coat of ZAP thin CA (the pink bottle) to set everything solid.

lowfit800I’ve been doing other wagons too. Above a Dia 1/002 Lowfit from the Red Panda kit.


D2109 LMS 16t mineral wagon from the Cambrian kitbanana-vansA couple of Banana vans – Wrenn bodies on Red Panda underframes with additional details. 20t-brakevansAnd finally a couple of brake vans – on the left the Airfix kit with Bill Bedford springing and extra details. On the right Hornby RTR.

Some handy links

Parkside Dundas (also for Red Panda)

Cambrian Kits

Eileens Emporium (also for Bill Bedford)

Langley Miniature Models

Roxey Mouldings

who let the cat in?

Picking up where I left off last time, a few more dark pictures.


hiding-shunterI’m sure we have all had the frustration of glancing something interesting out of a train window but it being hidden away so that a proper look is impossible?  That was the idea behind this image.

I’ve been building more wagons too. 16-tonner More of the same! Another Airfix 16 ton mineral wagon and another 12 ton LMS diagram 1832A van from the Cambrian kit. (C101)standard-vanI’ve done a Cambrian single plank wagon before too (diagram 1987, kit number C93) but the last one was a fitted example. The Standard 12 ton van, diagram 1/208 is a Parkside kit and is an upgrade for one of their older models (PC07A)french-mineral-wagonA few more Parkside kits. The ‘french’ mineral wagon is one of their older kits (PC22) but I liked its quirky look, the prototypes for these were built just after the war . The 7 plank wagon is a 1923 example with fixed ends (PC73)GWR-vanAnother Cambrian diagram 1667 5 plank open (C57) along with a Ratio GWR van of some description (v23 I think) this wagon is a bit of a freebie. I brought some cheap ‘random’ ratio bits and included in them was the sides and ends for 2 of these, the roof for 1 and no underframes.  I had a box of underframes that I picked up from somewhere else so this wagon was born! coke-hopperFinally for wagons an ancient Three Aitch Mouldings kit for a LMS 20 ton coke hopper. Built with Bill Bedford W irons.   I know Hornby are going to do one of these but building a kit is much more fun!

gwr-railcar-at-brettell-roadA slight diversion as a GWR railcar trundles past!

warehouse-WIPMy warehouse is starting to look a bit more like a building now. The canopy is another old Arifix kit adapted to suit. I’ve mentioned before wanting to depict some life inside this and the following pictures hopefully do that.warehouse-lower-floor-3 warehouse-lower-floor-1 model-mooMost of the figures are Dart castings ones with a Bachmann gent thrown in. The last picture is the reason for the title of this entry as the cat is modelled on my own cat Moo!  Anyway remembering that Brettell Road is set in the rain, Moo has obviously snuck in to somewhere nice and dry!


Deeley Done

deeley-paint-1Aside from a few little details, adding a crew and grease on the buffers, The Deeley tank is now complete. Just got to make it look wet now!deeley-paint-2

More brass bashing

deeley-frontI’ve been busy fiddling about with more etched kits. This time a Brassmasters kit for the Deeley 0-4-0 tank engine.  It’s all gone together pretty well with just a few areas that needed a tweak or 2 to get right (if that’s down to an error in the kit or my ham fisted effort to bodge it all together ill leave up to you).  For the benefit of those who might want to try the same kit i’ll share my findings.  On the valve gear the connecting links (part A36 in the kit) are too long and needed reducing in length by about 1.5mm. While the eccentric rods (parts A37 and A38) are also too long and needed shortening by about 3mm.  I didn’t bother using the supplied buffers and new etched heads and replaced them with some A1 models sprung oleos. (part A81) Don’t worry as I know the real loco didn’t have oleo buffers but the A1 models ones don’t look much like real oleos anyway.deeley-rearI found adding the rear lamp irons to be a bit of a faff and lost some anyway. Its much easier to use a bit of fine strip to form a lamp iron with a long foot so that you have something to hold on to while soldering them in place. I decided to make the roof removable by soldering some scrap etch to the edges so that it can be gently sprung into place under the sides.  Brassmaters supply the sides for the earlier flush sided loco as well as this one. I prefered the look of the later ones as it looked more antiquated somehow.deeley-sideI’ve never done valve gear before. The instructions say that valve gear rivets make the job easier but I elected to use brass pins with the heads filed down and located out of view. A slip of cigarette paper and a drop of oil means that the whole lot doesn’t solder together in one big, rigid lump.  I’m pretty pleased with how it came out if I am honest.

One of those finished things posts.

The advantages of working on more than one project at once is that, firstly, I don’t get bored and secondly every so often you seem to finish a lot of things together.  This is one of those instances with several things that have featured recently have reached the finish line sort of together.

loading-gaugeMy loading gauge has been painted for a while but now its been planted too. I love stuff like this as its one of those things that I hope disappears into the scene and becomes unremarkable. Perhaps once in a blue moon someone will notice it but, much like the real thing I like stuff like this just to be ‘there’. It’s not supposed to get people’s attention. (don’t worry about the big gap under the wall – that’s not been permanently attached yet)Thames-and-AustinMy Ford Thames and Austin A40.  The colours of the Austin have a somewhat obvious Birmingham influence. Cartwrights was a furniture store in Brierley Hill but I have no idea if they used Austin vans or even if they had any road vehicles at all. ex-coke-wagonThis was a quick win project – Started life as a Bachmann Coke wagon which I imagined was sold to Round Oak and had the coke rails removed. I just liked it because it had a local livery and i’ve never done a distressed private owner before. The lettering was attacked with one of those brass brush wheels in a mini-drill and then the wagon was weathered. The w-irons needed a but more work with the mini-drill and a burr to get the wheels in but this was really minimal effort modelling! DE2-paint-1And so to the big project of the last few weeks – the DE2 shunter.  I have to admit I didn’t relish the thought of painting its striped livery but by using some 4mm making tape from a company called Jammy Dog it wasn’t too bad at all. (click here for their website)      A few more pictures below.DE2-paint-3 DE2-paint-2coal-emptiesThis is the sort of train I had in mind for the loco – Pushed up the hill with the loco at the rear and no brake van. I will need to add a shunter to the front wagon at some point.

van-train-bwFinally another moody shot of the Jinty heading out of the yard on a train of vans.

Yorkshire Engine DE2 part 2

de2-build-complete-2I can call the build stage of this project complete. The chassis is all wired up and runs and all the little fiddly bits are in place.de2-build-complete

Yorkshire Engine DE2 part 1

Part of the plan for Brettell Road is to have an off scene steel works, the real Round Oak was (is) just down the line from the sidings at Moor Street. I plan to use the sidings at Brettell Road as an exchange sidings for this and I like the way that a lot of the uphill workings on the old Earl of Dudley’s railway had the loco pushing trains up from the bottom of the hill so I want to replicate this on the model. My choice of motive power for these workings is the Yorkshire Engine company DE2 0-4-0 diesel shunter, of which Round Oak had a fleet and would be pretty new at the time of the model. Not that the loco’s in such an environment stayed new for very long mind you.  Luckily Judith Edge do a kit and this week I set to work.de2-sub-assembliesThe kit breaks down into 3 sub assemblies. The chassis, the footplate and the body. It all goes together pretty easily due to the good design of the kit. It has a simple rocking compensation built in and I decided to use it as supplied. The above picture shows the main soldering work complete with the fiddly details stage to come next. de2-mock-up-1Losely assembled but not bolted together, I will be getting the chassis running with a high level gearbox and Mashima motor. de2-mock-up-2Rear view. The kit provides a resin bonnet top and sandboxes along with a little cover for the handbrake which is mounted on the rear of the cab on the right hand side under the window. I cant find any evidence for this being on the Round Oak examples so I filled the recess for it with a bit of scrap etch and filed it smooth. You can just make it out in the picture.

There was a suggestion that these loco’s first appeared at Round Oak in a plain Yellow livery but I cant find any evidence for this being the case. If anyone has any it would be much appreciated.

Going about it all backwards

One of the first kit wagons I built was the Cambrian Turbot. Back then it had super fragile bogies but was, and still is, a decent kit. The current version comes with one piece bogies so they don’t tend to disintegrate as soon as you look at them anymore.

A while ago Justin Newett of Rumney models produced an upgrade kit for the Lima bogie bolster E and since that where the Turbots came from it seemed sensible to use one of these to update my ancient and small fleet of Turbots. (Kind of the reverse of what BR did.)revised-turbotAbove is a comparison of the new underframe and the old. Because of the good design of he kit its dead easy to build although I did have to cut the baseplate in half as my solebars were closer together than the Lima model’s.

turbot-undersideThe view no one will ever see! These are the newer type of one piece bogie which Cambrian do as a spare.

Cambrian Models

Rumney Models

Variations on a theme

I must admit I’ve never paid that much attention to the humble 12 ton goods van, mainly because I’ve never needed to before. However once you get into them they are quite addictive little so and so’s! After a good read of Ian Flemings blog and consulting books I now find myself with quite a few of them. cambrian-vansFirst up some Cambrian kits. The first 2 were built as per the kit (Although I replaced the roof with 20 thou plasticard) while the third one (far right) was converted to a 10 ft wheelbase diagram 1812 example by carving off the metalwork on the left hand end and, modifying the door mechanisms and replacing the chassis with a Parkside one (code PA16). When it comes to the brake gear you can get etched or white metal replacements for much of the parts but I’m happy to use the supplied ones. I do however replace the safety loops with Bill Bedford etches.unfitted-vansNext the ever so handy Ratio kit for the LMS 12 ton van. The one on the left is built as supplied (but with MJT roof vents) and the one on the right has a modified door , simply using the Mainly Trains etched rivet strips. Buffers are from Lanarkshire Models.vac-convertedVacuum braked versions with more rivet strips, spare vac cylinders from the scrap box and (in 2 cases) tie bars from 0.8mm L section from Eileens. The example on the right has a vertically planked door. vac-and-br-vanLot 929 on the left with Parkside underframe bits and on the right the BR build of the same design. The body for this one isn’t a ratio kit but the old Airfix body. It rides on another Parkside PA16 chassis.shockvansA couple of Shocvans. Plywood one on the left from the recently returned Red Panda kit and planked on the right from Parkside. odd-vanI include this one as its a variation on what the kit was supposed to be. Starting life as the Parkside PC42 kit for the BR fruit van I replaced the ends with more Ratio ones and filed off the diagonal strapping and other details to depict a Diagram 2097 goods van. The chassis was replaces with a PA09 chassis. The roof has slightly lifted so I’ll need to fix that.

Some handy links: Ian Flemimgs Windcutter blog, Cambrian Kits, Parkside kits, Ratio kits, Lanarkshire Models and Eileens Emporium (Also for Bill Bedford parts)

More vehicles, greenery and a first for me.

more-commercialsThe above 2 vehicles represent a return for me in a small way in that both come from manufacturers I have used before and in both cases I was a little bit disappointed previously . On the left an Austin A40 from Road transport images who I used before for a dodge cab on New Street. In the case of the dodge cab I felt it was a bit too rounded and didn’t really capture the look of the real thing all that well but I must say I’m much happier with this little van which was an impulse buy at this years Scaleforum. This is one of their all in one kits which is unusual for them as they usually sell all their bits separately so you can build the vehicle you want. Road Transport Images

The Lorry is a Ford Thames from John Day models. In this case my previous experience was with a diesel-powered Transit bus and again I wasn’t all that impressed. This model couldn’t be further from the transit though as its much better cast with very little work to do. I swapped the supports in the bed for wire as they were a tad scruffy and the bed and cab both needed a little bit of evergreen 40thou section to make them fit a little better but I like it! John Day Models

unloved-trackI decided that the track in my little yard looked too neat so I have attacked it with some powder paint (rubbed in with a finger then sealed with Klear) and some weeds. I’m much happier with how it looks now.
loading-gaugeAlthough I don’t have a goods shed I do need a loading gauge. I’m reliably informed that these were used to ensure that wagons leaving the yard were within gauge and not as some sort of protection for goods sheds. The above example is a typical midlands one and started out from the Smiths kit, I filed off the moulded lifting gear and replaced it with some spare handwheels (from Brassmasters) and bits of wire and brass.
weighbridgeI mentioned in the title a first for me and this is it. Not that i’ve never built a weighbridge before (Although I haven’t) but i’ve never actually built a kit building before. When I was a kid my dad built some for me, usually Airfix kits and Linka, but all my buildings have been scratchbuilt up to now. So in the interests of breaking new ground this is a Wills kit. I turned the door over as hinges on the outside indicated it opened outwards which seemed a bit odd to me. I also filed off the panels on the end and rescribed the bricks and fancied a brick-built chimney but it is still a kit building. Oh and the guttering is bits of brass from Eileens!

Finally, you may have spotted earlier that Ive bedded in (most of) the abandoned warehouse, a few pictures follow:abandoned-line warehouse-bedded-in

Just a few more wagons

Been building a few more wagons for Brettell Road.

Starting with some RTR offering, from left to right, Dia 2078 van from the Bachmann van. I’ve converted it to a fitted van and repainted it. Next an eastern region van of some descriptions again from Bachmann. My local model shop had these in their bargain bin so I picked 3 up thinking it would be a quick win. In reality it was a bit more involved as due to the chassis design p4 wheels don’t fit. The backs of the W-irons were slimmed down and the brakes removed and replaced along with some extra details. Then we have a Hornby Dublo banana van mounted on a red panda chassis kit. Not much more to say about this really other than to direct you to Ian Flemming’s blog (click here). Likewise the last van, an Airfix body on a Parkside chassis.

More vans starting with the Slaters 8 ton van kit. In reality it’s too old for the layout but I liked its antiquated look and have assumed that it’s an internal user for the steel works. Next along a 12 ton van from the Cambrian kit followed by a shock an and LMS brake van both from Parkside kits.

Finally a Cambrian single plank wagon (left) and an older Parkside open. The load is based on a picture I found in a book or magazine somewhere. I wanted a tarpaulin covered load as being an older kit there was no interior detail at all. Quite why the end of the wooden beams weren’t covered over is a mystery. Next to that is another Parkside kit for a wooden open and the famous Airfix 16 ton mineral. Surprising to think I’ve been into model railways for my whole life and never actually built one before. Finally a Ratio 5 plank open which I’ve depicted as sold off to the steel works due to its age.


A little engineers train

I’ve always liked engineers trains (what do you mean, we know?) so a short one for Brettell Road was always going to be on the cards. I’ve shown you my build of a gannet before but now it’s painted.
Shown here with a Cambrian starfish ballast open.

From one of thier old kits to one of thier newest, the recently released herring ballast hopper. There were 2 very different designs of ballast hopper given the herring title. One of them was closely related to the mackerel and of the catfish ilk (walkway one end, single hand wheel).
The Cambrian kit is for the GWR design and it suffers from the same problem the gannet had, that being to discharge the ballast a track worker had to stand by the side of the wagon, right next to where the falling ballast is going to be. It’s a diminutive little wagon and features a one piece hopper and a one piece chassis, the latter being a big improvement on the catfish and dogfish kits. For such a small wagon there’s a lot of details to be added and the underside shows a nicely pleasing complicated look. Of course most people probably won’t notice so if you wanted a rake you could probably miss a lot of this stuff off but having said there nothing that’s really tricky if you take your time.
I swapped the buffer heads for MJT ones and drilling the shanks for these proved a bit tricky with the sides ending up really thin. I didn’t spring them (never do) but think the metal heads are a worthwhile improvement.
Some of the smaller parts had quite a bit of flash on them which was a bit of a surprise as most Cambrian kits I have built recently didn’t have any. That’s the only negative of what is a nice little kit.
I have a couple of Tunnys still to do and I might throw in a catfish too but that’s for another day.

The origin of species.

Whilst Charles Darwin might have thought he was on to something BR had a slightly different idea on the subject. For those new to all this engineers wagons are generally named after things that live in the sea and some of those names are quite inspired! Whale for the largest of all the ballast hoppers and shark for a ballast plough which does kind of look like one, or at least the ploughs do. This is where BR and Mr Darwin deviate a somewhat as to BR the shark was an evolution of the…erm…Oyster! It’s obvious now I’ve said it isnt it? (what do you mean no?)

Sharks and oysters look very similar and the main difference is that sharks are vac fitted and oysters are unfitted (although some were later vac piped). Wanting something a bit different for Brettell Road and given that the oyster was an LMS design anyway I tracked down a cheap Cambrian shark kit and set to work.
Starting with the body the verandas are 1 plank shorter each end and the van body is 2 planks longer per side. So the side was cut into 5 parts with a scalpel (don’t use a razor saw as you will loose the width from the planks), a plank removed from each end and 2 pieces of 80×60 thou evergreen added in. The handrails were removed as was the extra detail around the doors and the brackets from the ends under the opening. (Use a masking tape mask to protect the planks you need to keep.)
Turning to the chassis the oysters had different w-irons and no full length lower step. I used some MJT w-irons I had lying around and given the short wheelbase (only 9ft) I just used them rigid. The springs and axle boxes are also from MJT. The plough’s edges were thinned down as supplied they look quite thick. The rest of the van was built up pretty much as per the instructions with the usual extra brake gear gubbins.
After paint and still not with the roof finally fitted. My last stage of Brettell Road weathering is still to be added, that being to make the model look wet. Below compared with a ‘normal’ shark
The oysters lasted quite late and some were rebodied with shark style bodies. The only real difference visually would be the w-irons and brake gear if you fancied an easier version.

Volvo FL6 part 3


Well that’s another lorry all but finished.  I was quite pleased with how this turned out considering the castings that greeted me when I opened the box.  You sometimes get a better sence of achievement building a poor kit than one that just falls together.  Still to add are the windscreen discs, a driver, number plates and the mirrors.

Volvo FL6 part 2

I have to  admit I’ve quite enjoyed getting to grips with this.  The beauty of a white metal kit is that you can tweak it with low melt solder used as a filler.  You don’t have to wait for it to dry and it doesn’t break away when you attack it with files and filler.  I decided to do a solid sided box and do away with the windbreak in the end.  I also replaced the marker/indicator lights and added the rainstrips from wire. The front panel, below the windscreen was filled with solder, sanded smooth and the panel re-scribed so that it was the same height at both ends! Below is where it is now.