Under Construction - Birmingham UK

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Hi All

Been building a simple phone box kit - Its a fair bit bigger in the pic than it is in real life. Note the impression of business cards on the wall. I also added the handset and a representation of a phone book.



Hi All

I thought a quick explanation of how I weather stuff might be of interest (other methods are available). The subject is a Hornby 50 which has had the usual treatment I apply to my class 50 fleet. That being replace the wheels with P4 ones that are the right diameter. Lower it on its bogies, replace the toy like opening bodyside louvres and replace the windscreens and roof fans with those from Extreme etches.

Once all thats done on to the weathering, I use 3 basic techniques and the first is washes. Using a picture of the real loco as a guide I paint the side in odourless turps substitute and work in tiny amounts of paint (enamels) in a method similar to the wet in wet method used for water colours. Its important to keep your streaks vertical unless your prototype pictures show different.


This loco was to be quite scruffy (for me anyway) and I was happy with how the washes came out so I left them there. Usually at this stage I wait 24 hours and then with clean thinners on a cotton bud, do my best to clean the loco (again keeping everything vertical). All I am really doing is replicating what happens in real life, Locos get dirty and are cleaned. The cotton bud cant get everywhere and you end up with build ups of dirt you cant get too, again much like the real thing.

When happy with all that and the loco is dry (best to leave it for a week or so) Its on to the next stage. Airbrushing. Again refer to a photo and check that your particular class doesn't have any weird effects but I usually treat this stage as pretty generic. Using mostly humbrol 110 first to airbrush on brake dust. Followed by a mix of metalcote gunmetal and 110 (with a touch of matt black) to pick out axle boxes and equipment in a sort of dirty grease colour. Finally a mix of Gunmetal and matt black is sprayed over the roof. Always try to think of the direction the dirt hits the real loco and try to copy it. Spraying the brake dust from about 45 degrees below the model. That brings me to the stage in the picture above.

This is OK on the underframe but its also a bit generic. Each class of loco has a characteristic way that the underframe gets dirty and to turn our model from a generic dirty to a model of the real loco we need a bit more work.

This brings me to the third stage, drybrushing. This stage is very subtle and you will think a lot of it vanishes. Again referring to pictures start with the gunmetal and dry brush the top edges of things like steps and springs. this will give you a really subtle glint to the underframe and help put back in a bit of depth that the airbrushing stage flattened out. Also look for places where oil builds up which on a 50 is the base of the axle boxes, parts of the compressor, the main tanks and the battery boxes. Dry brush these on with the gunmetal. Some build up is quite heavy and you can go over these with matt black to enhance them. By now the loco looks like this...


...which is nearly there. The last stage is to add a bit more sheen for which i use the old formula Klear (future) floor polish. You only need a few spots per loco where the oil is still wet, Don't overdo it. What you want is for all this work to disappear! You are looking for subtle glints and sparkles from certain angles that bring the model to life.


You can see a few highlights in this picture, on the compressor and the top edges of the tank. Thats really all you need but it will probably have taken you longer to read this than to do the dry brushing stage anyway so its not like hours of work that will go unnoticed by most people.

Finally a picture that goes some way to explaining the need for reference to prototype pictures.


My rendition of a gresley bogie under my class 304. I had no idea that the bogies get these dark streaks on the sides but they do and they are visible in pretty much all of the class 304 pictures I have. Its a characteristic I could have completely missed.

Hope people find this post useful.


Hi All

I have also finished off the retaining wall that goes over the London end tunnel mouth. This has opened up some angles for pictures that I didnt have before.


The newest trains on the layout will be my class 155's. These are modified Dapol models.


A peak waits for its next move while a 150 arrives. The 150 is the Limited edition one from Trians4u fitted with etched window frames.


A class 20 departs for Tysley with a failed class 120. The 120 is a Craftsmann conversion of a Lima 117 and the 20 is lima but fitted with Heljan Baby deltic sideframes (as recommended by my friend Shane)


45012 arrives from the south.



Steve B

Looking forward to seeing this in the flesh Jim when your out and about on the shows. Looking fantastic.
Hi Chris

It may not have over there, over here it did, it is now cloudy and doesnt work. Original bottles of Klear not go for high prices on eBay.




Well-Known Member
Loving your photos.

Sorry if this is 'beating a dead horse,' are your tracks and catenary handmade? How about your platforms?

FWIW, I have both an old Lima 4 car HST in the blue scheme, and a Hornby model of the APT, but in the red, yellow, brown, cream scheme. Plan is to run them as 'experimental equipment' when I get my layout up, over here.

keep up the good work!!

Hi Carl/Otis

Yes the track is all hand built using exactoscale components and the catenary is entirely scratch built. The platforms are peco sides (modified) with tops from 60thou plasticard

Hope this helps

Hi All

Been doing a spot of weathering on my track.


The sidings outside of the signal box - I use a base dusting of humbrol 29 (dark earth) and then a mix of gunmetal and black for the oily bits. The non running rails are chemically blackened with gun blue.


close up of one of the double slips



While I had the gunmetal/black mix in the airbrush I used a simple card pack and sprayed the fishplates as these are usually greasy.


Hi All


Something a little different. 2 shots taken for one picture. The upper one is an overall shot, with a single spotlight bounced from the roof. The lower one the only light source is an LED in the coach and a hand held LED above the station lamp. By combining the two, lightening up the lamp and darkening the sky plus some work with curves and a tiny but of lens flair (mostly rubbed out though) the end result is below.


G'day Jim

G'day Jim...Pretty new (couple of weeks) to this incredible forum..Going a bit overboard with my posts but as it's so much fun and massively helpful and enjoyable and....... see where I'm coming from... I'm in Australia , the coolest part...closer to the Antarctic than the rest , Tasmania... and I saw your posts...Looks awesome via your pictures... I use Model Railroader magazine "the bible" as I'm building a BNSF..layout ...it's like this forum, very helpfu but i also use A British magazine Railway Modeller for tips also...I notice you were interested in how British rail was perceived... I like it very much to look at but the amount of Aussie sourced ,equipment for modelling is just like our own , very limiting ....not so much online though.. To buy overseas all the time is cost prohibitive when postage is a major factor.. but here and there is fine.. Re USA HO.. I love it, the best part is it's diversity and availability and so many outlets ...and the US. has an incredible train system that I wish we had here... but....Britain is awesome history too...love the track weathering by the way...and go easy on us in the ten Ashes Test Matches coming up
We have too many ex pat..Poms here to bear the ribbing we'll get..
Best wishes and Cheers ... Rod..


Gandy Dancer
Jim, as usual your models are AMAZING! That word is overused these days, but doesn't even do justice to your skill.

The 2 photos of the falling rain and the puddles on the platform are incredible (Oh, another word for your work)!

Please keep sharing with us.
One of the most common questions I get asked when I tell people I am going to model the shopping centre is 'What will we actually see?' *So far I have had to try to describe that the intention is to leave off the rear wall of Platform 12 to give the viewer the impression that they are standing on the platform. *With work complete on all of the canopies for board three I can now just show you what you will see if you ever come to see New Street at a show somewhere.


This is the view from just under the roof at the Wolverhampton end, looking into the station.


The view from the middle of the platforms looking towards the Wolverhampton end



A few signs of life!

Hopefully these views demonstrate why I felt I have to have the roof on as it just wouldn't be New Street without it.


Well-Known Member
Jim, I'm not familiar with New Street, however I've always loved the idea of modeling an underground station. Suburban, in Philadelphia, back in the 1960's was my first experience with them. Penn in NYC is very similar today. Also liked 30th Street in Philly, with the expressway running right out side the lower level. Great modeling and photos!!

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