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James Makin
Wells Green TMD

On My Workbench Archive, July - August 2006


Thursday 31st August 2006

Slow progress

Remember that Bachmann POA wagon chassis I brutally chopped in half over a month ago?

Well, in the intervening time other projects have been and gone, with this slowly waiting attention. It will eventually end up underneath a scratchbuilt plasticard body to become 390195 - a lengthened MKA 'Limpet' wagon.

What a mess: this shows the MKA in context with the rest of the projects and stuff to clear off of the workbench - all the surrounding debris forms part of each different project being tackled currently, with the eventual aim of finishing my models and therefore 'clearing' the workbench!

In addition to the work on the MKA, I have been starting on stock construction for my next layout - a P4 model of Saltley Depot circa 1989 - 1991. The layout itself is a little while off, but there's no reason why I shouldn't indulge in a bit of sectorisation-era modelling every now and then!

First up is 47320 'CRUSADER' in original Railfreight Grey following prototype photographs from early 1992. The machine's external condition is quite appalling with numerous damages to the faded paintwork on the bodyside, and had gained a Tinsley painted name, too.

Only the sides of 47320 have been weathered so far - attempting to achieve the fading by applying coats of white and grey paint, gradually being rubbed away using cotton buds and enamel thinners.

The Tinsley painted name 'CRUSADER' and associated England shield will be created on a PC and printed on transfer paper. The Replica Railways range of Tinsley name transfers is rather limited and sod's law dictated that it did not cover my chosen locomotive!


Wednesday 23rd August 2006

Into service - at last!

After a very long and protracted overhaul, 86231 Starlight Express is finally ready to leave the workbench. Originally superdetailed in July 2005, the locomotive was experimentally fitted with a plastic Hornby pantograph from a class 92. While offering a scale appearance, the downside was the extreme fragility of the moulding and the pantograph promptly broke during the first few minutes of use at its exhibition debut.

Coupled with the loco's hugely disappointing running qualities, 86231 was sidelined whilst other projects took priority. However, due to the success of my earlier remotored locomotives (shown below) the '86' was dug out and soon had a Heljan class 33 mechanism installed. I am pleased to say that it runs superbly - such an amazing difference compared with the old Hornby 'Ringfield' motor bogie.

With the original pantograph reinstated the loco is now ready to turn a wheel on Wells Green TMD. All that is required is a Lenz 'Gold' decoder to be installed, so expect to see 86231 running at the layout's next exhibition in October.

Both 90027 Allerton T&RS Depot Quality Approved and 90022 Freightconnection have had their Hornby innards removed to be replaced with Heljan 'Hymek' mechanisms, and now 86231 has 'joined the club' I can run what I have always wanted - an electric depot filled with electric locomotives! The small fleet of class 92s run extremely well, so will not be subject to any remotoring programme.

The Heljan wheels are used in the remotored '86', with the Hornby wheels going to the scrapbox.

I've not felt brave enough to tackle a Hurst Models Brecknell Willis 'High Speed' Pantograph kit as would be most appropriate for 86231, so the original Hornby fitting has been retained, albeit painted grey and weathered!

Next on the list will be a model of 87029 Earl Marischal in Virgin Red/Grey, which will go nicely with 86231 Starlight Express.


Monday 14th August 2006

Class 90 heaven!

For my birthday last Saturday, I decided to meet my friend Keith Wright at Ipswich station for a day's photographing and the chance of some Class 47 haulage on the Summer Saturday 'one' services between Norwich and Great Yarmouth. Whilst the aim of the day was to bash the '47', it was also a brilliant day out if you are interested in the class 90s. Seemingly the entire fleet was zooming around East Anglia, much to my satisfaction!

Four of the former Virgin 90s were seen at Liverpool Street before departure on the Ipswich-bound train, at 08.38.

Ipswich Freightliner fueling point was awash with lovely GMs and several class 90s, too - enabling some really close up detail shots to be taken of the underframe. These will help with a future project to make an 'ultimate class 90'!

When the Norwich-bound train arrived at Ipswich, we boarded at the leading end, with the DVT up front. Keith and I were discussing the class 90s operating in the area, and I casually asked was the experimental Railfreight Distribution-liveried 90036 still on hire to One. Keith wasn't sure, but it was a nice coincidence to walk down the train after arrival at Norwich to find, low and behold - 90036!

It is natural for it to rain on my birthday, and 2006 was no different - despite it being a sunny day back in Worthing, it was pouring down in Norfolk. Soon after 47828 pulled away from Norwich the heavens opened. Still, I wanted to enjoy the experience of sticking my head out of the window and determined not to let the rain spoil the occasion, went ahead. Needless to say I got completely soaked!

Here's 'my window' where most of the soaking took place!

It's amazing to think that amongst the crazy enthusiasts on the train, there were actually real people who actually chose to spend a holiday in this dreary place!

Keith was looking rather soggy after attempting to photograph 47828 out in the open at Great Yarmouth, whilst most other enthusiasts retired to under the concourse shelter.

The rain had cleared up a bit in time for the return journey back to Norwich, enabling some pictures to be taken through the window. Here we see 47828 making a slow speed approach to the station.

It was a fantastic day out, having had the opportunity to see dozens of class 90s and even have class 47 haulage - something of a novelty nowadays. It was quite thought provoking when seeing the sheer volume of rail enthusiasts coming out to see '828 working - yet ten years ago it was merely just another class 47/8, with people turning a blind eye to it.


Tuesday 8th August 2006

Loftus Road

Realising that I've not said much about the club project Loftus Road recently, I've liberated a set of photographs from the Worthing MRC website, showing the layout as it was back in April.

The baseboards were in the process of being checked for correct alignment before we put on metal plugs to enable a secure and reliable join between the baseboards when set up.

Phase One:

We all look busy for the photograph, I'm the one on the far left, James Rann is in the centre and Pete Hollman is on the right.

Phase Two:

James and I disappear for a drink whilst the major woodwork is left to Pete.

Phase Three:

I reappear for the photo, James Rann travels back to his flat in Croydon, and project is complete.

Just thought I'd share those photos, in case anyone is interested! Currently the fiddle yard is now being worked on, having been covered in cork sheet, and all ready for tracklaying.

Attention has now turned to the curved woodwork where we need to cut four perfectly fitting, differently-shaped cork pieces for to connect the fiddle yard with the scenic boards.

Photographs courtesy of Graham French


Monday 31st July 2006

Lydd Rail Special Update

This photo probably best sums up Lydd Rail - a bunch of mad blokes playing trains in a garage!

Having got back late yesterday from a truly superb weekend at Lydd, I decided to leave it until today before presenting a selection of pictures taken from the event. Layouts attending included Clive Mortimore's Hanging Hill, Sean William's Yarmouth Vauxhall, Steve Farmer's Parkhouse and George Woodcock's new Bedlam Heath, as well as Paul Wade's Tonbridge West Yard being set up in the building next door.

Naturally, I made it my priority to play with them all over the weekend, in particular T.W.Y which proved great fun to operate - albeit unrealistically(!). Controlling the Yard section, instead of faffing around moving engineers stock wagon by wagon, I decided to create a monster train to clear out the yard in one fell swoop, using Paul's re-shaped Heljan 33004 as motive power.

At this point my lack of knowledge regarding train formations of early-1990s vacuum braked engineers stock became apparent to fellow operators, and Paul Wade was summoned to give me 2 yellow cards and a sending off!

Sean William's excellent new layout Yarmouth Vauxhall proved very entertaining to operate, based on the East Anglian terminus it featured services in the hands of class 153s and 158s under the control of sublime semaphore signals. Very nice!

It is traditional that every time I meet George Woodcock he is displaying a new layout, and this time was no different, with the latest layout Bedlam Heath based on Lenham in Kent, with plenty of 3rd rail action to be found.

Clive's layout was present as a "space filler" - and I was almost the only person who bothered to operate it over the weekend! On the Saturday evening, whilst Clive was viewing Paul Wade's slide show, someone came up with the idea to replace all the 1960s green diesels on Hanging Hill with a whole box-full of bogie-less Rail Blue 31s, 47s and 50s, with a Booths scrapyard sign added for good measure, much to Clive's surprise.

Accidentally leaving my 66951 on the bring-and-buy stand was not a good move, (even with the original £56 price tag on the box!) - luckily no one bought it. I'm not entirely sure what to make of that, certainly I'm relieved that it was not sold, but also slightly miffed that no one was interested in £56 for a 66/9!

Without a doubt, the highlight was 'The Games', held on the Saturday afternoon, featuring several different rounds to the competition. My entry was the ChavRail '92', as shown below.

First up was the speed challenge - race your loco against one other competitor directly into a brick wall, with points deducted if you slow down to lessen the impact. This wasn't too bad, as the only damage was to the '92's front couplings, but I was beaten at the last minute by Mike Fraser's green class 45.

Although initially taking the lead, the ChavRail '92' was overtaken by the '45' at roughly midway through the course.

Next up was the slow crawl - basically see how long slow you could get your loco to cover a distance without stalling. Mine stalled. Several others managed to do quite well, and the picture below shows Paul Wade getting to grips with his Lima 'Crompton' in Network Rail livery - numbered 33501!

Steve Farmer (left) adjudicates as Paul carefully concentrates on his locomotive.

After this, there was the speed jump, where locos are driven as fast as possible off a ramp, with the winner being the one to have the entrails of their locomotive scattered furthest away from Steve Farmer. Jon Hall took 1st prize in that challenge with his silver Class 21 breaking up a good few feet away from the ramp.

Here we can see Phil Eames' Tri-ang '31' about to hit the floor, and a few models in between.

The jousting contest then followed, putting two locomotives head to head, attempting to see how much damage could be inflicted and who's model would be the first to take the plunge to the patio. Extra points were awarded for bits breaking off your opponent's model!

Under the watchful eyes of Steve Farmer, Barrie Swan and Simon Bendall, both Phil Eames and Clive Mortimore psyche themselves up for the duel.

Keith Wright's Eurolump is beaten off the track by Simon Steven's class 39 (presumably this would be nicknamed a 'Hill' as it's not big enough to be a 'Peak'!)

Andi Dell and Paul Wilkinson prepare for their joust. Paul's success in The Games mainly relied upon the judicious use of gaffer tape, whilst Andi's entry was a Lima '33', but with the addition of armour plating!

Here we can see Andi's '33' in the process of falling off, perhaps it was the lead plating that finally tipped the loco off balance after having hit Paul's class 37.

My ChavRail 92032 more-or-less survived the majority of activities up until The Drop, with only minor superficial damage.

Finally it was time for 'the drop' - several patio tables were combined to create a nice big damage-inflicting fall onto the concrete below.

Paul Wade's Network Rail class 33 survived long enough to take part in the drop, and here we see him anxiously following the performance of 33 501.

Quite a crowd had gathered by now, watching the final round of The Games.

Clive's "Go Faster" HO Scale class 33 plunges towards Earth.

Andy Jupe/Ginge had to give his James Bond GoldenEye-style class 20 a final push to get it over the edge.

The ChavRail 92 exploded on impact, the bodyshell flying off to the right, whilst the remains of the white chassis landing to the left of the image. It was only when other locomotives landed on top of the debris did the real damage start to occur!

Richard Peddar and Clive Mortimore examine Rich's entry - basically a class 153 filled with metal and a small motor. Although only managing six inches movement at a time, the '153' escaped virtually unharmed - until Richard destroyed it manually using the traditional gold-painted hammer.

Bored that his Mini-HST (two cabs sitting on an '86' motor bogie) did not break up much, Jim Smith-Wright opted for the more direct damage method using that gold hammer.

End result: the '92' broke up into 16 separate parts and was accordingly presented with a prize for being the most damaged locomotive. Incredibly the axles were bent, with a couple of wheels falling off too! I am determined to rebuild this loco though, someday it will work a train on Wells Green TMD!

And here were my prizes - one for 'Best Presented Entry', one for 'Most Damaged Locomotive' and one for something else which I can't remember!

One of the funniest things was watching the annual Lydd Rail video, basically making fun of the hobby and the things happening within the last year, made by insiders working for a well known TV company using professional equipment and recognisable TV sets, complete with all the computer graphics, modified in the name of comedy. For example, a 'Deelya Smith' section with Barrie Swan's wife showing you how to chop up an ARC class 59/1, or Annie Clarabelle presenting the weather, complete with a map showing required camera shutter speeds for excellent rail photography for the week ahead.

Even a '999' video mock-up, demonstrating the dangers of getting caught in a fence when out spotting '66's in Kent, or the potential disaster of when things can turn ugly on Tonbridge West Yard by setting the points incorrectly. Brilliant stuff.

Food at Lydd Rail was pretty amazing, certainly the best I've had at an exhibition, with closet-chef Phil Eames creating a special finescale 'Spag Bog', and Simon Steven's awesome giant Wagon Wheel being served up for afters. Apparently the whole thing contains 13,000 calories!

Saturday night was the BBQ, it was quite a sight seeing Rail Express editor Philip Sutton serving up burgers! Keith Wright's mother made a brilliant American Lime Pie, whilst on Sunday superb Turkish-style tomatoes (served with meatballs) created by Ernie Puddick. Anyone who entered the kitchen around lunchtime would no-doubt find it difficult to move for tinned tomatoes piled up around the place, presumably Sainsbury's must notice an unusual peak in demand for them every July!

Hot water ran out by mid-day Sunday, just goes to show what a bunch of railway modellers can do to a poor Kent town!

From this to this in 2 days...

But not only was it the brilliant range of activities available to do, it was also a fantastic chance to meet many modellers who I'd not met before as well as chatting to old friends and making new ones. If ever you see Paul Wade at a show, badger him for an invite, it is well worth coming along!


Friday 28th July 2006

Pre-Lydd Rail

Every year, the kind Paul Wade hosts an informal exhibition at his home in Lydd, gathering together a few layouts and invites lots of people to come along and have a laugh. A major part of Lydd Rail is 'The Games' - basically a number of challenges involving model railways, and visitors are invited to bring along something to take part.

Events such as the 'Swinging Brick' and a drop are rumoured to be taking place, with the outcome being that your competing loco is eventually destroyed - presumably if anything survives then you are the winner!

A lot of the loco designs are often quite unusual, so for my first ever visit to Lydd Rail, I've prepared a Class 92 in a special livery. Going with the horrible vandalised theme on my layout, I opted for a Burberry patterned, baseball-cap fitted locomotive, with gold axleboxes and 'ChavRail' emblazoned on the side!

Numbered 92032, it is presumed to have been a redundant ex-SNCF loco bought out by an enterprising Chav-y millionaire! I'm fully expecting it to get wrecked tomorrow, so have taken a set of photos for posterity, shown here posing on Wells Green TMD.

I would be extremely happy if the just chassis survived, enabling future usage on my layout, but I doubt I'll be so lucky!

Thursday 27th July 2006

Monday was an excellent day out - Worthing to Doncaster and back with stops at Peterborough and London Kings Cross in between!

With loads and loads of freight to be seen, amongst the speeding HSTs and '225' sets it was really difficult choosing a select few pictures for this web update, but the few below are amongst some of my favourites. Enjoy the photos!


Sunday 23rd July 2006


Last Friday, Andy Jupe ('Ginge') and I made the trip North to Rugby, to photograph more of the excellent variety of stock that can be found plying the WCML. Whilst Andy's interests are predominantly biased towards recording wagonry (and in particular Freightliner flats) for the use of other modellers, for me the attraction was the opportunity to see more of the Class 66 fleet, as well as take the time to capture more detail images of AC electrics. These will hopefully come in handy when building more locomotives for my layout.

Freightliner's livery looks pretty spectacular when applied to a class 90, certainly I would like to model it in the future for Wells Green TMD. Sadly, Hornby's attempt at this livery on the '90' fell far short of expectations, so a full repaint would be needed to represent 90046 in model form.

"Is it a bird? Is it a plane?" proclaims the sides of 390029, decked out in full 'Superman' livery promoting the latest film release.

Shed-lovers would not be disappointed visiting Rugby, with plenty of action to be had!

The class 66s don't have as much of a reputation of being as see-through as the class 60s, but they are - here's 66601 The Hope Valley.

Notice the damage to the paintwork of 66506 Crewe Regeneration, where vandals have attempted to remove the nameplate with a crowbar, resulting in the breaking of the 'plate itself.

Ginge also has a slight reputation for regular farting, and this became increasingly noticeable as the day went on, the image below providing an account of the devastation caused!

Finally, for me the highlight of the day was seeing Fastline Freight's 56303 working a south-bound container train through Rugby. Here we see the loco pausing, awaiting a crew change.

I shot over 300 images on the day, so only the choice selection is shown here but it was an amazing day out with plenty of EMUs, DMUs and loco-hauled freight trains to keep even the most hardened enthusaist happy!


Thursday 20th July 2006

Oh dear!

Despite the odd looks, this model isn't in fact a modelling accident, but the beginning of a new wagon project. I'm modelling MKA 390195, which is a standard 'Limpet' - except it has a longer wheelbase than most, as well as extra ribbing along the sides. Rather than extending a Bachmann POA body, I decided it would be easier to scratchbuild the longer body from 1.5mm-thick plasticard.

The project was started this morning, following my usual slow modelling pace, this is as far as I'd got by 3.30pm. With a rather busy weekend coming up, I hope I'll finish off the bodywork of the wagon sometime next week (hopefully!). You only have to scroll down the OMWB page to judge how many unfinished projects there are at the moment, perhaps with any luck this MKA won't fall into that category too!

I'm off to Rugby tomorrow, followed by Doncaster on Monday, so I should also have a nice selection of prototype photographs to show off on the website, disguising the distinct lack of modelling going on!


Sunday 16th July 2006

47712 ARTEMIS spluttered into life earlier today, becoming the first sound-fitted locomotive to move under DCC power on Wells Green TMD.

This was quite an exciting moment, because previously the sound-chipped locos had only run on my Cornish layout (when testing the DCC wiring on Wells Green TMD it was felt best to use "cheap" £20 Lenz decoders to check things worked first to prevent destroying £100-worth SWD decoders!). There is a notable difference when running such noisy locos on a small layout, not least the echo around the reasonably enclosed area, especially in the depot buildings themselves.

It really did sound like a depot at last!

It is interesting to note that FM Rail have still to apply the promised 'Blue Pullman' wording to the bodysides, even though the locos were outshopped last December! Because of this, my model is not yet varnished, as I've been awaiting the addition of the branding. Knowing my luck the number transfers will fall off before I can 'finish' the model!


Tuesday 11th July 2006

A nice black 'Brian'

Hornby's class 31 in Fragonset livery has finally hit the shops - and what a stunner it is too!

I've long wanted to recreate a Fragonset '31' and considered buying Lima's effort when it was released a few years ago. Having then seen the quality of the Hornby model made me consider repainting one into Fragonset black and adding the high-intensity headlight. However, much to my delight Hornby announced 31452 MINOTAUR as part of their 2006 programme, and here it is!

My reasons for wanting this '31' have nothing to do with Wells Green TMD however, but in fact helps me towards my eventual aim of reproducing a model of Wessex Train's 16.57 Brighton - Cardiff Central locomotive hauled service 'top-and-tailed' by the aforementioned 31452 and Wessex pink 31601 The Mayor of Casterbridge. Someday I'll get round to modelling the pink Mk2 coaches and relivering the other 31, but that is a project for another time.

The livery appears to be well applied, although there were a couple of blemishes on the bodyside. For me, this is not critical - they will disappear under the weathering and coats of matt varnish that my models receive. A minor criticism would be that on one side, the printed pipework on the windows does not line up, yet on the other side it is perfectly straight! To correct this, I'll need to remove the windows and re-glue them in the correct position, happily not a major task.

Hopefully these pictures may help in deciding whether you are intending to buy one of these or not - but for me, my mind was made up as soon as I heard Hornby were announcing the model late last year!


Sunday 9th July 2006

Again, not a great deal of modelling undertaken in the last week or so - I've mostly spent the time thinking about the revised catenary which will be gradually phased in throughout the next few months, and into the Autumn.

It'll be a little bit different to the current N Brass Locomotives gantries, more akin to the actual catenary at Crewe IEMD, something which I've been keen on modelling but have put off due to the perceived complexity of carrying out such an operation. I'm starting off by constructing an isolating gantry, as seen outside many depots, enabling the power to be switched on for each track whilst a locomotive enters the shed, then switched off again once the loco is safely inside.

This should be installed by the time of the next exhibition in October, hopefully by then I'll have begun to work on a few more required masts and gantries. After installation of these, the old Sommerfeldt sectional wires will be taken down to be replaced with tensioned guitar string and the whole layout will begin to look slightly more accurate!

Rather interestingly, Hornby have now released their Class 31 in Fragonset livery (R2573), so as you can imagine, the wallet is about to receive another bashing!


Monday 3rd July 2006

Yet more remotoring!

Latest activity on the workbench has included the remotoring of 86231, as briefly mentioned in one of the last updates. Perhaps because of the hot weather, I seem to have become more relaxed so work on the '86' has been slow of late, but this is where I have got to. As you can see above, a Heljan Class 33 bogie tower is now firmly transplanted inside the Hornby '86' bogie frame, with plenty of glue and plasticard packing for good measure.

Meanwhile, the chassis has had the metal block removed, and the available space plugged with liquid lead, topped with plasticard. This is more or less the same method as used on the Heljan 'Hymek' to Hornby '90' conversions carried out a little while ago on 90022 and 90027.

This method is slightly simpler than the recognised "proper" method of remotoring as shown by many high quality modellers, usually involving chopping up large metal chassis blocks, or scratchbuilding new supports for the bogie towers from plasticard. This sort of heavy-duty work put me off the remotoring idea for several years, so I do hope that my showing of a simpler method will encourage others to take the plunge!

This month's sound additions

A package received from the nice people at South West Digital has now enabled sound to be fitted to 37886 Sir Dyfed/County of Dyfed, and 47712 ARTEMIS. I ought to ration myself when buying sound decoders, no more until next payday!

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