Tuesday, October 10, 2023


It's been over seven years since I first bought the Bacmann Thomas & Friends model of Skaroley with the intention of turning it into a passable representation of Talyllyn, the locomotive Skarloey was based on. A lot has happened in those seven years (two children for a start) but I've now finally finsihed the model. I've put together a video discussing all the changes and challenges which you can enjoy; probably quicker to watch than if I wrote it all down and you had to read it!

I also took a couple of photos showing the before and after; given I bought two models originally it seemed a shame not to comapre them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Ivor the Engine

It's been six and a half years since I was first given the PH Designs kit to build Ivor the Engine and while the build process hasn't taken that entire period it has been long and involved. There have been a number of frustrating setbacks but I'm so glad I stuck with the kit as I'm over the moon with the finsihed model. Hopefully my enthusiasm comes through in this video looking at the finsihed model...

Monday, July 3, 2023

Lining Ivor

After all the fun with the large 16mm scale Hudson Hunslet I've switched back to doing some work on Ivor.
Since we last saw the model I've added the chimney and water filler cap and painted in their brass sections along with the brass window surrounds. Having added those I sprayed the model with a gloss varnish (specifically Vallejo Mecha Varnish 26.701) using the airbrush. While I don't want the model to have a gloss finish this was so that I could have a nice shiny surface to paint on the lining.

Doing the lining has been the most difficult part of the painting so far. The lines are etched into the model and I was hoping I could just flood the lines with yellow paint. Unfortunately that didn't seem to work, mostly as the yellow paint was almost transparent and so didn't show up. In the end I mixed yellow and ivory paint together to give a thicker more opaque paint. This was then painted, fairly roughly, over the lines with the excess then wiped away using a wet cotton bud. I did have to do some of the lines a couple of times to get enough paint into the lines; mostly as some of the lines were quite shallow due to a build up of the green paint.

Looking at the model I'm really happy with how the lining has turned out. Clearly it wouldn't be appropriate for most locos, but for Ivor I think it's perfect, as the colour in the originals varies in both hue and intensity along the lines and between different shots and I think I've managed to capture that quite well.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

As Seen In.... Garden Rail

Some of you may remember that back in February 2021 I finished building a 16mm Simplex loco that I painted orange. At the time I didn't give a particularly detailed description of the build. That all changed with the publication of June's issue of Garden Rail (it's actually been avilable since the 10th of May I believe) as that contains four pages of my waffle describing the build process, focusing on all the extra details I designed and added to the basic kit.

Friday, June 2, 2023

By The Devil, It's Big!

If you remember back a few months the initial motivation behind the 16mm scale Hudson Hunslet model came from a request to simply "scale up" the 4mm scale version I'd previously built. Well now I've finished it we can have a look at the two models side by side...
As you can see the 16mm scale version is an absolute monster in comparison! Either that or the 4mm version really is ridiculsouly small. To be fair I think both things are actually true.

If you've not been following along over on YouTube then there is a 25 part playlist documenting the iterative process to go from the 4mm version to the 16mm one which you might find interesting if you want all the gory details. If you just want the highlights then enjoy...

And if you want to build your own 16mm scale model then I'm making the 3D printed parts and the metal cowl available as a scratch aid kit. Full details are in the video and there is a link to a contact form in the video description where you can register your interest in one.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Ivor's Buffer Beams: So Many Options

Having, put a base coat of green on Ivor I started looking thinking about painting the buffer beams. A quick glance at my standard reference work for this project, my childhood story book, and it quickly became clear that I had some decisions to make. The problem is that Ivor's buffer beams aren't coloured consistently throughout the book. From a thorough flick through it looks as if there are two options for the front and two for the rear.

If we look across those three photos then you can see that.... for the rear buffer beam it's either red (as you might expect) or painted green the same as the body. For the front, you can see that while the front and sides are always red, the top surface is sometimes left green. Looking more closely I think the more common options, across the whole book, are for the front to be all red but the rear left green so that's what I've gone with.
Of course it's also the easiest option as it meant I didn't have to try and get a perfectly horizontal masking line on the rear of the loco as there is no line in the etch between the back of the coal bunker and the buffer beam.

Designing Wagons and Vans

A bit more of a catch up on the "I've finsihed..." videos this time looking at rolling stock rather than locomotives with a flat wagon and a gunpowder van both of which I designed: