Thursday, 30 January 2014


GWR girder wagon set nears completion

As mentioned previously, I've been putting together a 3D printed wagon kit from Hazelwood Models, portraying the Great Western Railway's 'Pollen C' articulated girder wagon set. It's turning out rather well, with the surface looking very convincing after a few coats of primer and paint. Now it's taking on a weathered appearance, with a black undercoat giving the grey livery a nicely shaded aspect, especially around the various raised details.

As with 3D printing technology in general, there is constant development going on and I've just heard from the kit's maker that much of the kit has been further improved, making assembly even easier. At present, the kits can be viewed at Hazelwood Models' Shapeways store, but the models will be available from February, via Ebay. For more info, email:

Look out for a full demo on working with 3D printed kits in Model Rail magazine, issue 193 (out 13 Feb).

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


21st Century wagon kit takes shape

This impressive kit represents the GWR 'Pollen C' girder wagon set (also known as boiler wagons). Produced for Hazelwood Models by Shapeways, the twin-set is rendered as single-piece plastic units, printed in three dimensional form using the latest 3D 'printing' technology. A separate sprue is provided that includes the load bolster/turntable and a set of shackle loops. 

Things have been moving rapidly in this medium in the past few years, with constantly developing design, materials and processes meaning that there are some fabulous products out there. 

As will be demonstrated in Model Rail issue 193 (out 13 Feb), some careful preparation is all that's required to achieve an impressive OO gauge model. For more info about the kit and Hazelwood models, see:

Friday, 24 January 2014


New Bachmann Class 40 enters the workshop

I've been looking forward to getting my mitts on a new Bachmann Class 40 since a revamped OO gauge model was announced a couple of years ago. I quite liked the original version, mind you, and have four of them in my 1970s/80s BR fleet, albeit with each having been extensively detailed. But, having had a good look over this new model, I doubt I'll be doing much hacking about.

The all-important front end, or 'face' looks bob-on to me, with the windscreens being particularly impressive. The vertical frames are a little over-scale, but you can't expect a plastic model to get everything to scale without it falling apart. There's so much other fine detail to enjoy, with other highlights including the roof fan and grille, deep side grilles and overall quality of finish.

The only disappointment - and it's a minor one - is the shallowness of the bogie detail, especially the axleboxes hornguides. But, some skilful weathering should bring out what detail there is.

What I will be doing to this '40' though, is to give it a nice early 1980s faded blue weathered finish - not too mucky, but careworn and a bit greasy. Just how I remember them. How I wish I could be jogging along the North Wales coast or up the Settle-Carlisle behind one of these whistling monsters....

Look out for the article on weathering the new Bachmann '40' in Model Rail magazine later in the year...

Monday, 20 January 2014


Heljan '16' and SR van join the fleet

All has been quiet on the practical side of my job since Christmas, with lots of editorial tasks to get on top of. After a few weeks chained to my Mac keyboard, I'm getting itchy fingers and am looking forward to finishing off some 3D printed wagon kits this week. But, in the meantime, here are a few images of my latest material acquisitions - a lovely Heljan Class 16 and a spiffing Bachmann SR 'pillbox' brake van.

Neither are strictly applicable to main regional interests, but they're jolly nice all the same. In fact, I can justify both, just. Some of the '16s' worked around Derbyshire while on trial in the 1950s, with the workings up through Ashbourne to Parsley Hay and Buxton being of relevance to me. Indeed, a book I got for Christmas, 'Rails to Ashbourne' by Howard Sprenger, shows one of these machines at work on the ex-LNWR line. As has already been mentioned here, I'm a real sucker for small BR diesels and the '16' joins my Heljan Class 15 and 'Hymek' that I bought last year without a suitable layout to run them on. Not yet, anyway...

The ex-Southern brake vans, meanwhile, did tend to stray a bit across BR regions when working on ballast and engineers trains in the 1970s, so that's my excuse.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


Airfix Quick Build kit road-tested

I'd been curious about Airfix's new range of Quick Build assembly kits and it seemed a perfect Christmas gift for my little nephew, Joseph. Knowing that he's into futuristic jet planes and spacecraft, the F22 Raptor fitted the bill, looking very futuristic, especially compared to some of the other kits in the range, such as the Spitfire and Me109.

The parts have more than a passing resemblance to Lego, on the inner faces at least, with all outer surfaces being sleek and prototypical, although this obviously limits the versatility of the components (unlike the traditional style of Lego, where countless kits can be combined to build virtually anything), but then that's not what Airfix's kit is about.

Billed as suitable for ages 5 and upwards, 7 year old Joey found some of the parts a bit tricky to clip together, needing the help of my stronger hands. But, he found the pictorial instructions relatively easy to follow, with just a little guidance and I can imagine that kids more familiar with the prototype would find it simple enough.

Once complete and with the self-adhesive markings applied, the aircraft proved a sturdy toy and the display stand is a welcome addition. No glue is required, nor is there any painting required and, in theory, it can be dismantled and re-built as often as desired. Mind you, I think dismantling some of the parts may not be that easy.

For less than a tenner, it's proved good value and provided an hour or two of enjoyable hobby time over Christmas - and a break from Joey's computer game obsessions! Hopefully, this won't be his last Airfix kit and, as he gets older, maybe he'll want to try a kit that needs gluing and painting... we'll see!
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