Under Construction - Birmingham UK

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New Member
Hi Jim,
This has probably been tried before, but would a standard white smoke generator with some blue lights from above the platforms work? I haven't tried this out myself, as I don't happen to have any blue lights lying around the place.

I think the prototype made use of an English Electric Type 4 smoke generator (a.k.a. Class 50) to achieve the same effect.
Worth an experiment I think Andy.

The standard smoke generator tended to be the good old Leyland Albian unit (DMU engine)

With a train every 3 minutes on the cross city line alone there was always a DMU available.

On a side issue you got the 400th post to the thread! Thanks to all who have stopped by and offered comments and advice.



Lab Rat

19 and crazy
what do the zig zag lines mean on the road.
and i remember seeing in many othr pics of the tracks what are the little orange bars running unde the tracks for
Hi Jim

Most of ours are similar although the colours depend on the area. These ones are left overs from the industrial revolution when Birmingham was regarded as "the workshop of the world" or the "city of a thousand trades".

I know this looks like something out of 28 days later or something but a bit more progress. I wonder if during the 60's Birmingham had a job lot of triangular concrete stuff? Not that the stuff on the walls to the left match the sizes of those used in the signal box - that would be too easy.


Construction of these walls uses a card base overlaid with Balsa. The tops were cut to shape with a scalpel once in place (there is the same structure on the other side of the wall). This is then sprayed with a couple of coats of Games Workshop rough-cote (I needed the texture to be rougher than the texture on the roads). And light dustings of tan, light grey and black as per the 'Nevard method'. The wide angle shot makes it look bigger than it is, the end of the road being a shade over 4 feet away.


Hi Jamie

The zig zag lines mean no perking in the vacinity of the crossing. The double yellow lines also mean no parking.

The orange pipes are used for transfering cables under the rails. They are bright orange so that track crews know not to tamp the track in that area.



Ok whats all this then? This picture was taken just after 87009 ('City of Birmingham' naturally) became the first loco to run from one end of the station to the other under its own power. :D

My car port acts like a big soft box so I took a pic of the walls and hut I have been working on recently


Back in August 2008 the layout looked like this


This is how it looks now




Peak and coaches for scale - to save you counting the peak has 12 on.


Hi All

Theres not a huge amount of opportunity to model rough ground on the layout but there is a small patch on top of the wall at the London end. Having never modelled this sort of stuff before the following is sort of winging it and ultimately might not work but I thought I would invite you along on the journey to see how I go.

Starting of with some fortunate timing this thread led to the work of Emannuel Nouailler. I was intrigued by the way he uses foam board for the texture of his buildings and wondered if it was something I could adapt for rough ground.


This picture shows my piece of foamboard cut to shape with the top layer removed. By working fairly roughly and tearing at the surface you get a very uneven texture, rubbish for Emannuel's buildings but great for this application.


A quick coat of 'espresso' emulsion and already I think it has potential - its a bit flat, colourwise, though


By waiting for the emulsion to dry (actually 24 hours) I then wet the surface and worked in black, white and a bit of yellow artists acrylic with a stiff brush to give the surface colour a bit of variety.


Once that was dry (and last for now) I collected some dust from the drive (sweep a clean area) and gave the surface a coat of Klear before sprinkling the dust onto the surface. I also sprinkled on a little bit of fine ballast while I was at it.

So far I am pleased with how its going.




Fleeing from Al
Jim, those are some great progress photos of the layout. You've done a lot in less than two years. The foam board and emulsion combination make a very convincing patch of rough dirt when combined with driveway dust. :)
Hi All

Further to yesterdays efforts a spot of greenery. Woodlands scenics and noch doing the honors


Tomorrow i'll give the area a coat in dullcote and later a blast of very dilute grime colour to hopefully bring it all together. While I am quite enjoying getting agricultural its not grabbed me like a good building does. I think theres little danger of me wanting to do a 'pretty' BLT layout.




Fleeing from Al
The greenery addition looks good. I don't know if the area near the right of way in the UK looks like it does in the USA, but you might consider adding a few old tires and other assorted junk into the mix as well.
Thanks Jim

The bottom of the picture is next to a public wall so cans and stuff could make its way over into the area - I was never that good at throwing things but I will have to see how far an empty can goes!



Hathaway Browne

Intrepid Adventurer
^Sorry I missed it!

Congrats on making it in one of the magazines! I opened it up and though "that looks awfully familiar!" then I saw your name credited.
Hi All

An ongoing project. The Daimler Fleetline bus as seen here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/8050359@N07/2209000168/

I need lots of these but alas nothing is available off the shelf so...


A couple of likely candidates off the shelf. Atlanteans from Britbus (left) and EFE. I decided the Britbus effort was closer.


The britbus one stripped down along side a resin kit for the actual fleetline. For the money the resin kit is poor so I plan to stick with the die cast ones for the layout. I will finish the resin one anyway now that I have it.

Since I need a lot it made sense to draw up an etch for the parts I need to convert the model. Of course I can use these parts to improve the resin bus too.


My etch



Front and rear views. There were a few mistakes in the etch but thats what test etches are for aint it?

After the fleetlines have emerged from the paintshop. Still preferring the ex britbus.


What follows is a before and after picture with my brummy fleetline alongside the Britbus Atlantean it started out as.





Active Member
Jim, top tier work.

Perhaps you can take your bus model build and make separate thread out of it?


Fleeing from Al
Great work as usual, Jim. That Britbus looks just like one of our GMC fishbowls with an extra body welded on the top. :) I've often wondered why double decker busses never caught on over here. I know there were some in NYC in the early 20th century, but the idea never took hold anywhere else. It has to be cheaper to buy and run a double decker than buy and run two separate busses to get the same capacity. I kind of miss the old red doubles I saw running when I was in London though.
Hi Jim

Don't you guys make much more use of overground cables than us? Having said that Your trucks look much bigger than ours anyway. Perhaps its more to do with commuting habits? Most UK cities don't have anything like enough roads and parking in them. It was actually better in the 80's before a lot of roads were pedestrainised.



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