Avalon Line Semi Open Coach Plus Roof

The roof of the coach was one of the easiest things to do. A ready-cut, ready curved roof is supplied with the kit. All I did was spray it with Humbrol primer. I like the grey colour and I will leave it like this.

The roof isn’t glued in place yet. There are a few steps to do before I finish the coach. I want to add some decals, then passengers to the coach. Then I will varnish the coach and, finally, add some windows.

I haven’t used decals for over 30 years and I need some practice before I apply them to the coach. So, the model will go back into the drawer while I experiment with different ways to apply decals.


Avalon Line 09 Semi Open Coach – The Test Run

I finally plucked up the courage to get my Avalon Line O9 coach out of the drawer. I sanded down the rough paintwork and repainted the outside of the coach as carefully as I could. I’m pleased to say the outside is looking a lot better. This has encouraged me to carry on with the build.

The bogies are very simple. They use Peco wheels and the axles slot in very easily. The underside of the bogie is the perfect mounting height for Greenwich narrow gauge couplings. I ‘tacked’ these lightly in place with a small amount of superglue.

When I mounted the bogies on the chassis I discovered the bottom of the foot wells were very close to the top of the rails.

I found some small washers in ‘bit box’ and placed these between the chassis and the bogies. The washers are too large in diameter really and they are rather ‘sloppy’, but they are the smallest size I had.

The washers increased the gap between the base of the coach and the top of the rails.

I decided to test the coach. Click the image below for a video of the test run.

I was very pleased to see it runs well.

The next job is the roof….

Avalon Line 09 Semi Open Coach

A few months ago I brought two Avalon Line 09 coach kits and I’ve just started to build them. This is the Semi-Open coach. It’s a nice kit, there’s a little bit of flash, but that is very easy to remove with a sharp knife.

The first step was to add the foot wells to the chassis. They have to sit flush with the top of the chassis so I turned the chassis up side down, pushed the foot wells into place until they were touching my cutting mat and glued them from below.

It’s clearer to see when it’s the right way up.

The seats are four separate mouldings, and were very easy to position. I found I had to remove a small part of the seats at each end to enable me to to mount the bolts for the bogies through the chassis.

The next step was to add the body sides and coach ends. The parts aligned well and this was very straightforward. After that I added the truss rods to each side. This was a little more fiddly because the parts are very flexible and I needed lots of fingers to hold all the points of contact in place while the glue dried. I was pleased, after a small number of steps, it definitely looked like a coach!

Next step was the primer. I used Citadel Corax White, which is a very pale grey.

I started to paint the coach. Here it is partly painted. It was then that I realised I had a problem.  The paint looked very rough, rather like a low quality 3 D print. For some reason the primer had created a rough finish and when I applied the paint this magnified the effect and made it very visible.

I was disappointed and I put the coach into a drawer for several weeks while I figured out what to do. I hated to admit it, but there was only one alternative. I had to sand down the paintwork and repaint the coach…


Royston Rail 2017

Last Saturday the Royston and District Model Railway Club held their annual exhibition. The Royston club exhibitions are always enjoyable. They have a good selection of layouts, strong trade stands and an excellent book dealer.

This year, to add the icing to my cake, the exhibition had several narrow gauge layouts. I spent an enjoyable few hours exploring, talking to people and taking some photos using my mobile phone. Here a selection of the snaps.

I saw Mers-Les-Bains for the first time a couple of weeks ago at ExpoNG. It was great to see it again so soon. Look at the lovely teak coaches at the top of this blog.

The atmosphere Peter Smith has created is superb.

This time I managed to get photos of Peter’s tasty tram locos.

009 was very well represented. This is Butley Quay by Peter Rednall an imaginary narrow gauge line set in East Suffolk.

I like the railcar Peter has built.

Coleford by John Wilkes is based on a real railway in the Forest of Dean. John has imagined that the original 3 foot 6 inch gauge line has be regauged to 2 feet and serves a more diverse range of industries including gold processing, fashion clothing and a chocolate factory. It is great to see a layout set in winter.

Unfortunately, the fly tippers have arrived in Coleford…

John has created some very interesting trackwork.

He made this by modifying two standard points and merging them together. Nice! (This is my snap of a photograph on John’s display board – I hope you don’t mind John).

Paul Sutherland was exhibiting his H0e model of the Mariazelbahn in Austria, called Gusswerk. This layout is set in the winter too. However, as this is Austria there is lots of snow which Paul has modelled very effectively.

The Chelmsford MRC were showing ‘That Dam Railway’. This is a very large and impressive layout. They were even running a ‘Thomas’ special! More photos of this layout here.

Moving from the very large to the rather small, here’s a layout in a suitcase.

Roland Bourne’s Strathbogle has lots of operating potential. He normally fits a three track fiddle yard on the side as well.

Orford Quay and Wickham Market is a layout that I haven’t seen before. It is a fictional line that imagines the Great Eastern Railway opened a narrow gauge line to compete with the Southwold Railway. Brian Bassington has captured the atmosphere of the east of England very well.

My favourite part of the layout is the middle sections that linked the Orford Quay and Wickham Market termini. (I wasn’t fast enough to freeze the train!)

I thought the river scene was particularly well modelled.

It was a pleasure to see Scrubs Lane and the Maltings by Ken Paul again. This is the Scrubs Lane section, depicting a small industrial yard in the 1930’s.

This is the quay section where the goods transported by the railway are transferred to the ships for export.

This layout has lots of lovely scenes throughout. This country lane really appeals to me.

Three standard gauge layouts caught my eye. I liked two of them because of their attractive backscenes.

This is Eastwood VT in OO scale by Andrew Knight. Many layouts have a single line of low relief buildings as a backscene. In some cases the buildings are very shallow and lack depth. Andrew had taken a different approach that I thought worked very well. He created three different layers to the backscene: low relief buildings, thin card board cut outs of buildings, then the backscene.

This approach created a real sense of depth to the scene behind the railway.

In Koln Westbahnhof, Brian Silbey used quite deep low relief buildings, a silhouetted city skyline and a very dramatic red sky. It’s a very unusual approach and I thought it had worked rather well.

Regular readers (both of you 😊) know I like small industrial layouts. Bob Vaughan’s 00 gauge Gas Lane uses a very simple track plan to create a compact industrial layout with lots of operating potential.

The aerial view doesn’t do the layout justice. When you drop down to eye level the magic kicks in. Who could resist a scene like this?

It has a real sense of depth. Nice modelling!

The Royston exhibition is my last railway outing for this year (unless I decide to go on a Santa special – which is unlikely!). Instead of going out, I had better get on with some modelling….


Repainting a Secondhand 09 Wagon

As part of my spending spree on secondhand 09 models I brought these two wagons. I like both of the wagons but I don’t really like the grey livery. I decided to experiment with repainting one of them.

I chose the flat wagon, gave it a coat of Humbrol 160 German Camoulfage Brown, and then dry brushed it with a wide range of browns and black. When I dry brush models, I dip the brush into the paint, wipe the brush on paper until it leaves virtually no trace of paint and then run the brush over the model.

I thought the headstocks looked rather plain.

I added some Grandt line rivets to each end. It’s easy to do. You drill a hole and push the ‘shank’ of the rivet into the hole.

When I used these rivets for the first time I tried to put the glue on the shank before pushing it into the hole, or I added the glue into the hole using a small pin. Neither of these approaches worked very well. The glue tends to spead out of the hole when you push the rivet in and the glue spreads onto the model. It is much easier to apply the glue on the inside of the model and let it be drawn down the shank from the inside. Obviously, this isn’t always possible but in this case it worked well.

Here’s the completed model with the rivets painted and a coat of varnish.

I prefer this to the original grey colour, but I’m not ‘wowed’ by the model. It still looks rather plain. Perhaps, adding an interesting load will help.

I am going to wait for some more inspiration before touching the open wagon.




It’s Always Sunny on The Bure Valley Railway

On Saturday I joined the Norfolk and Suffolk Narrow Gauge Railway Modellers on an outing to the Bure Valley Railway. I left Cambridge on a grey, drizzly day and arrived in Aylsham to sunshine, blue sky and warm air, very uncharacteristic of November.

We were due to get the 11am train. As it was the 11th November the BVR held a two minute silence at 11 am, which I though was very respectful. Afterwards, everyone got onto the train and it left a few minutes late, but nobody minded. The N&SNGRM are a very friendly bunch and myself and several other guests had a very socialable ride down to Wroxham and back. The photo at the beginning of the blog shows Mark Timothy receiving some oil at Wroxham.

Back at Aylsham, after a very tasty sausage and chips in the railway’s cafe, we were given a tour of the workshops and yard by Andrew Barnes, the MD of the BVR. The reserve engine for the day was Blicking Hall. She was holding about 100lb of steam in case she was needed. I do like the Great Eastern Railway blue livery of this loco.

The BVR are relaying a lot of track again this winter, including extending the passing loop at Brampton to allow it to take longer trains. There was a very interesting Permanent Way train waiting in the station.

There are definitely some prototypes worth modelling there!

Afterward the tour we went to a meeting room, the N&SNGRM team set up their test track and various layouts and we ‘played trains’.

I particularly liked Graham and Caroline Watlings venture into Gn15. “Longstone Maintenance Shed” is a test piece so Graham could get used to new materials and Caroline could practice large scale scenery. Graham called it a ‘working diorama’ but with two points and lots of operating potential many people would call it a micro layout.

It is very nicely modelled. (It doesn’t slope like that in reality, it’s the photograph!)

The BVR has an excellent second hand bookshop at Wroxham (featuring all genres, not just railway books!) and a very well stocked model shop at Aylsham. Naturally, I succumbed..

It was a great day out. Many thanks to Richard Doe who organised the trip and Andrew Barnes for being an excellent host.

Diesel Driver Duo

I have three 09 locos, but only one of them has a driver. I am not ready for driverless vehicles, so something had to be done.

These two figures are by Monty’s Models from Dart Castings. On the left is MGV11 Seated Workman and on the right MGV10 Seated Diesel Driver. Both figures have at least one moveable arm which was very useful because I was able to position them as I wanted. The seated workman normally has a mug in his hand. I cut it off with a scalpel and smoothed the hand with wet and dry paper. The photo above shows the figures with the arms attached and mounted on matchsticks to make it easier to paint them.

Here are the painted figures. I must admit I do enjoy painting figures. I got stuck in and forgot to photograph them until I’d finished.

I mounted the ‘seated workman’ on the red loco.

And the ‘diesel driver’ in the brown Hunslet loco

I am pleased with the drivers, I think they have added the ‘finishing touch’ to these two locos.