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James Makin
Wells Green TMD

On My Workbench Archive, May - June 2007


Friday 29th June 2007

Engineering works

Before the destruction..!

It's time for another update, yet again on a Friday! I do try to update the website whenever I can but I'm getting behind - this is what I was actually up to yesterday, today I enjoyed wonderful trip to Didcot Parkway but I will save the photos for the next OMWB update folks!

Ever since the layout's construction there has been a small portion of dodgy track, part of the diesel fuelling road, close to the right hand end of Wells Green TMD. Over the last couple of years this has caused numerous locomotives to stall, most frustrating now the DCC Sound locos are in use, with stalling more noticeable. So, with new overhead wires going up in the near future and the old ones being ripped down it seemed the perfect opportunity to carry out some track replacement!

Cutting the wires down was easy enough, now the big task is actually not being lazy and making sure I re-position those gantries and refurbish the structures and install the new wires (made from guitar string). More on the OHLE upgrade will follow in the not-too-distant future but its all change on Wells Green TMD - I won't bore you with the details of the 'knitting' right now!

Here it is! The offending piece of rail was ever so slightly too high in profile and a tiny bit out of gauge so it was quite satisfying removing this with a big pair of pliers! The rail was poorly fitting due to a lack of forward planning, with track sections laid before giving thought to the location of the original DC isolating sections. So when the rail was cut (at the top end of the photo) for the section, it left only a small lump of rail which was not totally secure and over time this proved a problem!

To ensure that there were no more odd sections of rail left, I replaced about eight inches worth in total. Initially I was worried that I'd have to dig out the whole bit of track, complete with sleepers making a huge mess, but the new bit of rail has gone down pretty well, and things actually work smoothly over the track, which has got to be good!

On My Mp3:Lily Allen - Take What You Take



Friday 22nd June 2007

Scratchbuilt Ford Focus

Here's something I have kept under-wraps but have actually been tirelessly working on since the end of April - scratchbuilding a model of my pride and joy!

Car numberplates in all the photos, real and model have been edited to attempt to protect it's identity somewhat!

Last October I'd purchased my dream car, a Mk2 Ford Focus Zetec Climate in Aquarius Blue and since then I've scoured the market for a model of the Mark 2 for use on Wells Green TMD. With no models in anything smaller than 1:43 (Minichamps do an excellent model for all you 'O' gaugers by the way!) I thought that since I spend so much time building trains and rolling stock, I ought to take a break and actually create something unique!

Although it would make perfect sense to do a 4mm scale 1:76 model, the real reason behind wanting the model was for positioning on the layout, which uses 'HO' 1:87 vehicles throughout, as I prefer the quality of the smaller albeit more expensive plastic moulded cars from the continent. As I'd rather keep all my vehicles the same scale, the Focus was built to exactly 1:87 scale.

With the prototype sitting on the driveway there was no excuse for not obtaining accurate measurements, even if it did mean getting some strange looks from neighbours! Ford do, of course, publish many of the key dimensions on their website and promotional material although when starting from scratch there are many other measurements you need. In the effort to get everything accurate I do have to admit I now know many obscure dimensions of panels, grilles, distance between various lights, angles and so on... all rather sad really but who knows, I suppose there may be one day when a question pops up in a pub quiz or whatever!!

Built entirely from sheets of plasticard laminated together, this Focus has taken over 2 months to complete to my satisfaction - when I decided to build it I was certain that I'd aim for a reasonably accurate model so it has taken a lot of filing, sanding and cutting to get a piece of plastic which vaguely resembled Ford's creation.

The photos do appear quite cruel but I am reasonably pleased with the overall body shape, although as you might expect there are areas which don't quite match the prototype as much as I'd like, but this is as good as I could do!


How it all started...

I began by cutting out some rough car-shaped sides, and then filling in the area between them, creating a very 'boxy' basic shape. More and more layers of plastic were laminated onto the outer sides of this shell as you can see below. Because a lot of the shape was made by filing into plastic, it was necessary to have thick sides and ends to allow the structure to remain strong whilst large chunks of plastic were being removed all the time!

Eventually, the car started 'appearing' from this block of plasticard, and here the distinctive curve of the rear roof and tailgate has just come out of the plastic, whilst a start has been made on profiling the ever-so-slightly curved but mostly angular side body profile of the Mk2 Focus. As you can see the bonnet area has not yet been touched!

Moving on considerably, the shape looked more or less OK to me at this point, so I started marking out the actual panel lines in pen, which helps to gauge whether your careful measuring and filing has actually worked out and you've got a realistic model or you've actually made a huge mistake on the dimensions somewhere!

Fortunately everything seemed in proportion and a start was made on removing the material where the clear windows will be. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that compared to this and the next image, the bonnet profile has considerably fallen, being way too high up in the first photograph.

With the window openings cut out, and starting to capture the look of a new Focus, I made a start on adding vital details such as the door bump strips, headlights, faux-spoiler, door handle recesses, fuel filling cap cover, fog light recesses and the beginnings of the front grille. All the time this was happening the model was subjected to severe reshaping wherever I thought that the profile needed changing a little!

Coming to the end of the major plastic reshaping stages, attention shifted to ensuring the bodywork was smooth and true, and accurately reflected that of the prototype, so layers of grey primer were applied and rubbed down three or four times to smooth out the surfaces.

The painting stage - up until now I had strived for 99.9% accuracy in the model so I was determined not to go and spoil it all with a dodgy coat of paint! A trip to Halfords was made to locate the exact shade of 'G3' Ford 'Aquarius Blue' to stay faithful to the prototype. It was just my luck, as Halfords don't seem to have the more recent shades ready mixed in aerosols, so I had to pay £12 to get a huge aerosol mixed up specially just for the little car, though I can only hope I will not need to use any touch-up Aquarius Blue on the real car!!

So with the paint dried, it was then time for three coats of acrylic car lacquer to attempt to get the ultra shiny look of the real thing, and of course stop any of that expensive aerosol paint coming off while handling the model! The next task was to paint in the plastic and rubber trim around the various areas of the car where needed, and when dry, it was all ready to fit windows.

Curved glazing was cut from old plastic drinks bottles and whilst this took an age to do, I am quite impressed by the fit of the windscreen in particular, despite a couple of attempts and getting very annoyed with it, I think things have worked out in the end!

For the headlights I ended up using Liquid glazing to create the complex curves, having tried to cut little pieces of plastic, that just did not work for me! The tail lights were cut from the same plastic drinks bottle, but had the red and silver bits painted on the underside of the plastic, leaving a 'glassy' look to them whilst still being straightforward to make. Windscreen wipers were constructed from etched brass leftovers, and the car aerial is actually a toothbrush hair!

Overall, I am extremely happy with the model, although I've never spent so long working on something so small, it does feel rather satisfying to have created a model of a car currently unavailable in that scale, completely from scratch. I can't quite believe it was just bits of plastic stuck together and sanded down - one of the main reasons I kept this secret was because I totally believed it was going to look nothing like the prototype and would be quietly disposed of!!

As a finishing touch to the car, I've modelled myself in the driving seat and have my window down a little bit, with just a touch of left-lock on the steering wheel as well, perhaps all I need now is a mini set of speakers for the car stereo!

On My Mp3:Sugababes - Easy


Sunday 17th June 2007

A bit of advertising

After quite a lengthy time with no updates I have to admit that I don't have a great deal of modelling to show for it!

However the model bus commission is coming to an end with the transfers applied, and the model awaiting a final coat of varnish and number plates to complete it. Phil Clarke wanted some 'local' advertising (local for the Warmington layout, based in Sussex) for both the sides of the bus, so I opted to make some decals advertising my home town!

Luckily I did not have to have the tricky task of attempting to take photographs of the town looking beautiful (or maybe use Photoshop to remove the graffiti and make the sky blue!!) because the council's website rather conveniently had a delightful 'banner' on the tourist part of their website, needing only to be scaled down in size and turned into transfers.

On My Mp3:Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Down With Love


Sunday 3rd June 2007

To Showcase and back

Yes, incredibly it's that time of year again and another excellent DEMU Showcase has passed, this time superbly organised by the East Midlands Area Group who put on a brilliant show, although I understand a considerable number of biscuits were consumed during the planning process!

One of the main attractions was Phil Eames' Calcutta Sidings making its final exhibition appearance at Showcase, being replaced with a new version of the same layout at a later date!

Phil was brave enough to let me play with his trains, being allowed to take command of the front sidings for a little while maneouvering some VBA and VGA vans with the two resident class 08 shunters, which was most entertaining. I'm very keen on viewing layouts mounted at a decent height from the floor with tall backscenes but operating them is another matter - I could hardly see the lines on which I was supposed to shunt!

Meanwhile Brendan Walsh's Anderstaff Yard was being operated in the Dove Room, as usual Brendan's excellent selection of weathered stock was on show, along with the very realistic road vehicles.

No show would be complete without one of George Woodcock's layouts present, this time the superbly-modelled Bedlam Heath, based on Lenham, Kent in 1980.

This was the first time I'd seen Steve Grantham's beautifully detailed micro layout Heavy Traffic, portraying a modern industrial park in the 1990s. Steve has crammed a huge amount of details into such a small space, with even the grim reaper making a guest appearance!

Of the 2007 DEMU Small Layout Competition to build and exhibit a version of the 'Minories' trackplan, the layout 'Birmingham Moor Street' (P4) by the Scalefour Society WMAG won the award.

Birmingham Moor Street was up against some stiff competition though, with other quality layouts such as Westonmouth Central (above) by Adrian Full and Ripper St (below) by the DEMU Thames Valley Area Group amongst others.

Dave Tailby also brought along his lovely (?!) Saxlingham layout to Showcase and as you can see Dave has actually expanded his rolling stock collection from his single BR green class 31! Rather interestingly we can see that both Dave (left) and spectator Paul Wade (right) have both got 'As seen in Railway Modeller' signs covering their faces!

And then it was time to head home, and here's Pete Hollman eagerly heading back to the air-conditioned environment of his Astra, after a long hot day! Also rather interestingly we came accross no less than four of the lovely ASBO-Orange Ford Focus STs throughout the journey, mmm!

On My Mp3: Theaudience - A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed



Wednesday 30th May 2007

Staying the night at Wells Green TMD!

Pack your sandwiches, notepad and camera, we're off to see what we can find at Wells Green TMD this evening!

66006 basks in the Summer evening sun with class mate 66076...

...whilst 90018 can be found stabled in the reception roads. 90018 is notable amongst the Wells Green '90' fleet in being the only semi-passenger loco, retaining full coach gangway rubbing plates, in addition to having Oleo buffers and opening doors, unlike the the other freight '90's modelled so far!

Later in the evening, 66076 can be found lurking outside the depot building, possibly awaiting a 'B' exam.

Fully locked and secured, and with pantograph lowered isolating it from the network, 90031 The Railway Children Partnership is all ready for work to commence early the next morning when the parts arrive.

A lone 'VAA' van in the form of tatty Railfreight-liveried 200140 waits to be moved, having earlier been tripped to the depot delivering a few vital spares.

Meanwhile, Police work still continues late into the night, fortunately for EWS, permission has been given to commence running trains again. With the 86's bright white headlights illuminating the undergrowth, the driver can then be seen changing ends in preparation to leave the depot.

Just three of EWS's 250-strong class 66 fleet can be found filling the shed roads awaiting attention, with Wells Green TMD host to 66076, 66008 and 66006 this evening.

"Hang on, this working wasn't on my sheet of 'gen'!" - the two new Network Rail 'Load bank' locos no. 86902 and 86901 make a temporary stop at Wells Green TMD.

Soon to be withdrawn, the elderly 86228 Vulcan Heritage lights up the night, before heading back to Longsight depot.

Here we can see 66241 negotiating the pointwork whilst 66010 is booked in for refuelling. Better get out of the way before we're spotted by the driver!

On My Mp3: Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Catch You


Friday 25th May 2007

Bits and bobs

Here's the transfers for the bus project, featured in the last update, kindly printed by Pete Hollman on a laser printer. They've been done on the old Supercal decal paper, using both clear and white-backed papers so I can get the best out of each image depending on the darkness of the background onto which the image will finally lay.

Also rather amazingly, I have managed to model in 'OO' gauge/4mm:1ft for over 10 years, build two layouts and numerous items of stock without ever needing a back-to-back wheel gauge or track gauge!

So I thought it would be a good time to get one, before the time comes where I really do need one and haven't got one to hand!

On My Mp3: Sophie Ellis-Bextor - New York City Lights


Monday 21st May 2007


I just couldn't resist a pun at the top there, sorry folks!

Last September I was commissioned by Phil Clarke of the Erith MRC to give one of his EFE buses a quick 'spruce up' for the club's layout Warmington. The layout is based in a fictional town on the South Coast, so Phil asked me to come up with some local adverts to plaster on the side, along with a 'Warmington Buses' logo and various bits including numberplates and new destination panels.

As you can see, the bus is halfway through the process of being worked on - the damage at the top is where the old advertising was removed, ready to make way for some more appropriate branding, whilst the destination panels have been blanked-out ready for some 'Rail Excursion' transfers to be applied following Phil's specification.

The maroon lining on the bus was looking rather faded so I decided to give this a new coat of maroon from my stock of paints - and as a post-privatisation era railway modeller can you guess which shade of maroon I had most of in my collection??

Yes we have what is possibly the world's first EWS red bus!

On My Mp3:Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Me and My Imagination


Thursday 17th May 2007


No real modelling to report about as such, but I've given the website's OMWB pages a good 'going over' and split the recent updates down a bit more to hopefully reduce loading times when looking at the main 'On My Workbench' page!

On My Mp3:Sugababes - Hole In The Head


Thursday 10th May 2007

A bit more remotoring!

Having got back out of the usual exhibition-preparation process, it's back to doing some plain old modelling again, and catching up with the on-going projects that remain to be finished. This time it is 90040 The Railway Mission receiving more work as part of the remotoring project being undertaken on this loco. I started work on this at the 'Ally Pally' show but other commitments stopped me spending as much time as I'd like on it, so its now over a month later and I think I'd better finish it!

Later in the Summer I will purchase a few more Heljan 'Hymeks' to do the remaining Ringfield-motored class 90s, but for now this project uses up the last of the batch of Heljan chassis I purchased last year. Remaining work to be done to 90040 includes extending the driveshafts and modifying the bogie retaining clips to stop interference with the flywheels and then it's all ready for the installation of the Lenz 'Gold' decoder.

On My Mp3: Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Mixed Up World


Sunday 6th May 2007

TVAG Mini-Showcase

The DEMU TVAG organised an excellent show yesterday, a small but extremely friendly and informal exhibition, well worth attending! Manager Nigel Spate brought together a lovely selection of layouts including George Woodcock's Falworth, Clive Mortimore's Hanging Hill and the Maidenhead club's Shirebeck-in-Emswell, amongst others.

Operators for the day were myself, Pete Hollman, John Holmes and Martin Browning. Pete and I did get slightly lost on the way to the show as it happens, I ended up driving past the venue twice before entering, mainly as at the time the DEMU stewards were putting up the signs on the lamposts and couldn't see which direction the signs were pointing!

I also mentioned beforehand to Pete and the others that we would be 'spanking it up the A24', causing much laughter down at the club, though as it happened I ended up making a wrong turn en-route and then decided to go via the M23 instead so we missed most of the opportunity!!

Andi Dell kindly let me play with his model of 86246 Royal Anglian Regiment, yes, that's the one with the DCC-operated raising and lowering pantograph! As you can expect, we had much fun using this feature and it attracted much attention on the layout - though I'm not sure I will be able to upgrade all my 86s, 90s and 92s to match!

Here's a long exposure photograph of 86246's pantograph in action:

Keeping with the guest loco theme, we also had one of the most unusual locomotives, from none other than D&E enthusiast and operator Pete Hollman! 92220 Evening Star is one of the latest Bachmann '9F's, and Pete likes the loco so much we're thinking how we could use it on a railtour on the club's Loftus Road layout!

Fellow operator John Holmes is also very pleased by the appearance of the '9F' on Wells Green TMD, as you can see!

Martin Browning brought along some of his locomotives to make guest appearances on the layout, firstly in the form of a Hornby 59005 KENNETH J PAINTER in revised Yeoman livery...

...and secondly the ARC 59102 Village of Chantry which definitely looks rather striking!

Here's George Woodcock's Falworth, operated by both Richard Coleman and George on the day. Serial layout-builder George is planning yet another layout, this time a post privatisation model with a Scottish theme!

Diesel and Electric Modellers United are doing another small layout competition, this time based on the 50th anniversary of Cyril Freezer's 'Minories' design, and here is the developing TVAG competition entry Ripper Street, which is taking shape rather nicely, ready for DEMU Showcase in June!

Clive Mortimore's Hanging Hill layout was wowing the crowds with his scratchbuilt 'Baby Deltic's and other plasticard creations, representing an Eastern region depot set in the 1960s.

Andy Jupe and Pete Hollman watch as Clive shunts in the depot and shows off his nice variety of stock!

And finally I couldn't resist this photo, too good an opportunity to miss!

So overall, it was an amazing show, not just in the quality of other layouts but also the large number of DEMU members in such a small space, it was nice to meet you all!

On My Mp3: Tears for Fears - Mad World


Thursday 3rd May 2007

Packing up and going away

It's that time again! The next exhibition for Wells Green TMD is this Saturday at DEMU's Mini-Showcase organised by the Thames Valley Area Group held at Knowl Hill Village Hall, Knowl Hill, Berkshire, RG10 9XB. Apparently the location is four miles west of Maidenhead but no one I've spoken to has ever heard of the place!! Luckily I've got Pete Hollman as my 'navigator' so hopefully we won't get lost!

So naturally the main task now is gathering up all the bits and bobs laying around and packing everything away and making sure everything works too. I've also cracked open the black paint to give the fascia a quick spruce-up so the layout should be looking pretty tidy and just like new!

As usual, if you're coming along, please do say hello!

On My Mp3: Paul Hardcastle - 19


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