Wednesday, 30 January 2013

What Have I Created?

At the National Railway Museum during term time, they have various railway themed toys for small people to play with - Thomas really didn't need any encouragement. In fact, he led me that way!

As with any sets of communal toys, much like in schools, not everything remains 'there' - so various Duplo engine chassis were about but only one complete set of fittings for a conventional steam loco. Thomas didn't allow this be a problem - two spare cabs and a chassis...

"What are you making Thomas?"
"I'm making a steam tram Daddy!"

I don't know where he gets it from...!

Sunday, 27 January 2013


Something a little different...

Following a request from my mother in law, in the space of two days an old Class 50, one of Lima's finest, was resprayed and lettered to provide the centre piece for a cake (which Suzi was baking and decorating - the lettering at the front took its inspriation from station gardens!) for her partner's fiftieth birthday! And what better loco than a class 50? Plus it must have scored a few brownie points too!

The body and frame were dug out of one of my boxes of bits, however the bogies were no where to be seen; however the same searching also secured a pair of Hornby class 50 bogies! A little bit of work saw new mounts fabricated for these - has anyone else fitted these to a Lima loco? Probably not, although with work the Lima model can look very nice indeed.

And here's one which I built a few years ago - given that this is a scan it must be at least eight years ago! The Lima body is very well proportioned and with work to correct things like the windscreens (which actually used the original drawings, befoe feedback from driver and union representatives, which changed the shape to improve visability when, I believe, buffering up to stock) it can really look nice. Underneath it was a pair of Lima 37 bogies which were converted to look like the cast type by labouriously removing the flanges around the frames!

Personally I think it's at least the equal to the Hornby model, visually speaking.

Friday, 18 January 2013


As with other parts of the country, East Yorkshire is currently covered in an ever thickening blanket of snow. It's a lovely site and makes for great photos but do spare a thought for those who have to get to remote locations so others may travel.

Passing Gilberdyke was a 158902 which appeared to be getting lost in a flurry of snow and DBS Class 66 covered in snow as it had begun to settle.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Future of the Hobby

If you've ever worried about the future of the hobby...

These two lads spent the best part of three hours on Gilberdyke station on the Hull - Selby line yesterday taking photos of everything which passed through. The one on the left is just on the ramp but I kept an eye on them and they behaved perfectly. While ever there are lads like these out watching and photographing trains, the hobby is safe! And who knows, in twenty years time maybe they'll be modelling 2013 and being all nostalgic about class 66s?!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Project 25

To kick off the new year, a new project!

It perhaps looks a little basic but what you see is just a starting point. And the heart of all this is perhaps very basic - Hornby's Class 25 dates back to the seventies and is very basic in terms of detailing. The key thing is that its overall shape and proportions are very good - much better than Bachmann's when it comes to the overall shape in fact. Maybe it's time for a brand new, all-singing-all-dancing as Bachmann's class 25 was one of the first of the new generation of RTR diesels when it appeared with its all wheel drive and pick up - and they do run beautifully, and this will be become more relevant below. However I believe the original design work for the plastic mouldings dates back to the days of Mainline. However, until such time that a new 'Rat' appears we are left to our own devices...

So with Hornby's lass 25 body in one hand we require a Bachmann chassis in the other. Previously I have used nearly a full Bachmann body with Hornby cabs for a Class 24 as the Bachmann bodyside grilles were right for the Class 24 but they aren't right for many Class 25s. I'm not going to go into detail of all the variations here - for further details I can do no better than recommend Diesels in Depth - Classes 24/25 by David Clarke. The books manages to cover the large number of variations which the class displays and is an excellent source of reference.

The body is dimensionally sound and is essentially just a detailing exercise - the chassis, although mechanically superb, leaves a little to be desired cosmetically. In full valanced form (as per the original Class 24 spec, the chassis moulding looks great and only requires work around the fuel/water tanks and battery boxes to really set it apart from the factory appearance. However without the valance (many locos had these either partially or fully removed and later locos didn't even receive them) the chassis moulding's shortcomings are significant as the underpinnings have a frames of, in simple terms, H/I section beams without a conventional carriage and wagon style solebar which the model unfortunately displays. Mass producing this wouldn't necessarily be that easy without pushing the price up but we can deal with this! Jim Smith-Wright has already written about this - see below for a link.

In order to fit the Hornby body a tiny section requires removal at either end, and to achieve this I have removed the ends which were beyond the bogies and will fit these to the body permanently as the project progresses. But even at this very early stage, reducing the width of the buffer beams will instantly improve the front end appearance. And to finish off the 'middle' will be a lovely resin moulding from Brassmasters - more can be found here too.

What may be worth mentioning is that if you don't mind the Bachmann body, and in either full BR green or green with a small yellow warning panel the discrepancies aren't too noticeable, then work around the chassis is still worth undertaking and it will still have an enormous impact.

You should be able to see the finished result not only here but also at Scalefour North in April.

Further Reading

Diesels in Depth - Classes 24/25, David Clarke published by Ian Allan Publishing 2006
Rail Express Magazine, November 2004 - Peter Johnson revamping Hornby Class 25s Click here for Back Issues
Class 24s and 25s - various models on Keir Hardy's wonderful website
DEMU Update 48 - Modelling Class 25s by Jim Smith-Wright, also available on Jim's own website