Building an Avalon Line 09 Closed Coach

Recently, I made an Avalon Line Semi Open Coach. When I build kits I often assemble them, then paint them. I’d found painting the completed semi-open coach rather fiddly. So for my closed coach kit I decided to paint the parts and then assemble them. First of all I sprayed all the parts with primer.

I want to fit some 7mm Narrow Gauge Association coach door handles.

I drilled holes for the handles and test fitted them. They look good. Perhaps a little big, but I like them.

Next, I masked off the places where I would have to apply glue to assemble the kit, and I painted the interior of the coach.

Then I assembled and painted the chassis, foot wells and seats. It’s a bit rough but it will be hidden inside the coach.

I masked the interior of the coach with masking tape…

…trimmed off the excess masking tape…

…and sprayed the parts with Macragge blue from Citadel. (Sorry for the blurry photo. I got excited by the blue).

I even managed to spray part of the garage floor too. Oops. I’m glad I like that blue 🙂

To paint the solebars and head stocks I masked off the edge of the blue paint and splashed on some Humbrol dirty black.

When I stripped off all the masking tape, things were beginning to look good.

Then it was a pretty simple job to glue the sides and ends to the chassis assembly. I lightly tacked one end and side in place with very small amounts of super glue. Then I repeated the process with the other end and side. It only took a minute or so for the glue to dry and, luckily, everything was looking good. Finally, I reinforced all of the joints with some expoy glue. I find this much more durable than superglue.

There are a few jobs still to do: applying decals, adding windows, painting some passengers, weathering and varnishing. I will get round to these at some point in the future. For now, I lodged the roof in place and took a photo. Looking good!


Merry Christmas !

A very Merry Christmas and an enjoyable, and model filled, New Year to everyone reading this blog.

The picture shows the Bernina Railway, a metre gauge line that runs over the Bernina Pass from the German speaking to the Italian speaking parts of Switzerland. It reaches a height of 2,253 metres (7,392 feet), runs over gradients of up to 7% and is one of the steepest adesion railways in the world. What I like most about this picture is that it is a mixed goods and passenger train, oh.. and all that snow 🙂

At times this year I have felt that my modelling has been making slow progress. Browsing through my blogs from 2017 made me realise I’m being rather hard on myself, I’ve done a lot, including many things that were totally new for me. I started modelling in 09, finished my first soldered brass kit, started scratchbuilding in plasticard (wagons and a bogie coach), made my first resin kits (a box van and a coach), refurbished two secondhand 09 locos and converted them to DCC. My 009 layout went to the Beccles exhibition, was featured in 009 News and had it’s fiddle yard approach re-laid. On top of all this I visited nine exhibitions, the Bure Valley Railway, the Leighton Buzzard Railway and the Yosemite Sugar Pine Mountain Railway and I even met Peppa Pig. It’s been quite a year!

Perhaps, the Bernina line trains feel they are making slow progress up those gradients and when they get to the top of the pass they see what they’ve achieved. A quiet moment of reflection at Christmas has made me realise I shouldn’t always look at the detail, but should step back and look at the bigger picture.

Have a great Christmas!

Many thanks to David Gubler for the original photograph used under a Creative Commons License

Spot-On Models and Games, Swindon

My work took me to Swindon this week. I arrived early so that I had time to visit Spot-On Models and Games. It’s very nice to visit a well stocked model shop, it would be great to have a shop like this near to me.

I brought some primer, paint, brushes and a couple of files. Plus, I couldn’t resist this very nice 1:43 scale Morris LD150 van. I love the colour. Now, this has to find it’s way onto a layout……

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….