Posted by: aj427 | July 18, 2016

NER diagram 196 Horsebox – complete

IMG_0931 - Copy

Modeled on an ex-NER diagram 196 horsebox, it’s been a long time in the making but the project is now finally finished. The project has been dogged with problems and as a result it’s been sat in a box over the winter. It has required several reprints and redesigns. Some of this was down to inadequate strength in the rather too intricate design of the underframe which has resulted in a number if compromises and some was down to poor printing. Most of the prints have had warping or drooping to the body part (but never in the same place). Even the final print has not been without problems with some warping of the end part.

I’m fairly happy with the underframe part now – it’s reasonably robust and has survived some manhandling. The roof also is good, being the only part unaltered from the original print. The problems are mainly with the body. As well as the warping the panel details have proved difficult to clean and sand adequately; a little too much paint has been applied to disguise this.

IMG_0932 - Copy


Most of the holes are preformed and just required re-drilling in places to clear out the wax from printing. Holes were drilled in the communication cord tell-tale equipment and brass handrail wire inserted through here. The curved handrail itself was formed around a tin of modelling paint and fixed at the top with short proprietary handrail knobs. Steps on the end are by my usual method of transparent acetate sheet cut into strips and slid into the preformed slots. The vertical communication cord run was formed from some fibre optic cable I had – any thin metal wire would work equally well. I formed the door handles from thin brass strip but proprietary examples are available such as from Wizard models (Comet Models C6). Lamp mountings are staples cut to suit. Glazing is acetate sheet.

The roof handles are again brass wire and the vents are 3d printed as separate parts with the model. Sprued 3d parts are also provided for the buffers. These have printed very well but I’ve used 51L/Wizard models cast/turned metal ones for additional robustness (51L NERC028). The brakes are a 3d printed separate part (the early examples were part of the main print and kept breaking). These are glued in place with superglue. The wheels are Alan Gibson 14mm 10-spoked (4015) running in brass top-hat bearings. Additional weight has been added in the body compartment on top of the underframe with some lead sheet – plenty of space here. The model runs nice and smoothly.

IMG_0930 - Copy

As far as I’m aware there are no decals for this diagram so I’ve used Modelmaster’s 8085 decals for the Parkside PC83 LNER horsebox, modified to match a photograph of the prototype. Finally, the model is finished off with a groom – actually a ‘gentleman’ from the Dart Castings range.

I’d have to conclude that this has been a step too far for affordable 3d printing. The detail required has compromised strength and is very difficult to clean/sand satisfactorily. I still have the CADs so if another more suitable process/material comes along I can revisit this project for a better outcome. Therefore, for the time being, I will not be releasing this model on my Shapeways store. However, if you really, really do want this model please contact me here to discuss your requirements.


Posted by: aj427 | January 13, 2016

Hornby J50s for Bowling Street Goods – A Review

Hornby J50

I finally received my first Hornby J50s – a brace of J50/3s – last week and had the chance to have a good look at them last night. In due course they will be renumbered to Bradford Bowling shed locomotives for use on Bowling Street Goods (and beyond). I wouldn’t have minded a J50/4 but there’s no evidence these were used in Bradford or on the Queensbury Lines. There are plenty of reviews regarding the general build, robustness and slow speed running of these models so instead I’ll concentrate on the accuracy and faithfulness to the prototype.

Hornby J50

The overall shape is well captured and manages to convey the slightly brutal and heavy look of these tank locos. In terms of detail Hornby’s ‘design clever’ ethos of a few years ago seems to be well and truly a thing of the past (more on this later). All details are present and well represented including the blower rod, cocks on the smokebox front, reverser rod (hidden in the tank recess), raised tank filler caps, sand boxes with angled steps and undercab injectors (these are very fine, a long way from the old J94 for example). Just the rear lamp irons are moulded onto the body. Parts such as the coal rails and front steps are by necessity slightly chunkier for robustness but still look pretty fine. The guard irons are part of the cast chassis and as such are slightly on the chunky side. A rather nice feature is the wheel boss which is set further out than the wheel rim as on the prototype with the spokes curving outwards towards the centre.

Hornby J50 cabThe inside of the cab is also very well detailed with individually coloured parts. It’s well hidden but one of the best I’ve seen and includes the cupboard at the back above the bunker. As is usual a detail pack includes the brake rigging. Unusually it also includes tension lock couplings as these are not fitted to the model by default. This suits me just fine as I’m not using them but I would imagine there will be some who bemoan this ‘feature’!

Hornby J50 topI do have a few small criticisms and most of these would be applied to the top of the model. In fairness to Hornby there are not many photographs that actually show this detail but the picture of Bradford Bowling shed in the LNER engine sheds book illustrates this area very well (the picture shows mainly J50/1 and J50/2 but there are a couple of J50/3s). The curved plates that form the joint between the boiler and the tanks are a little undersized to my eyes and lack any edge detail or rivets in contrast to this and other photographs. Some locos also seem to have the blower rod recessed into the plate immediately before the cab rather than completely exposed as on the Hornby model (note that I’ve never seen this on a picture of a J50/4). Also there should be a distinct band front to back under the raised safety valve cover to the first boiler band. Finally the exposed fronts of the frames above the front buffers should have holes in for lifting. I imagine this would be an easy modification.

I’ve seen some criticisms of the number of lamp irons (modelled as built to GNR practice) but I personally think this is a case of Hornby being damned if they did or didn’t and trying to cover all eventualities. There’s plenty of photographic evidence to suggest that a number of the class kept the full compliment into the BR-era. If you do need to remove them for your chosen prototype/time period, the front ones are easy to remove, the bunker ones less so.

Hornby J50 R3324

No.635 (R3324) depicts one of the first batch of J50/3s and as such features GNR buffers. These are well done and hopefully Hornby will release them as spares as they’re better than the Alan Gibson ones in my opinion. The loco is depicted as built in 1926 with the safety valves straight on the firebox top and open coal rails. Likewise the livery matches this mid-late 1920s time period with the fine red lining and LNER letters and numbers particularly well applied and looks smart. The full compliment of lamp irons is correct for this particular loco (on the front at least) until at least 1950.

Hornby J50 R3324

Hornby J50 R3326

No. 68971 (R3326) depicts one of the second batch of J50/3s in the post 1956 BR-era towards the end of its life. This batch featured group standard LNER buffers. I’ve not checked to see if these are the same as ones used on any other Hornby models such as the B17. The safety valves correctly sit on the raised cover and the coal rails are plated. The small rear cab windows are also correct for this time period. However, the full set of lamp irons is incorrect for this particular loco at this time.


Although there is little evidence of the ‘design clever’ ethos in the detail, there certainly is in the construction of the model. Essentially what we have here is a clip together kit of interchangeable parts. Whilst this causes some slight issues – the joint between the body and the cab sides is quite noticeable and would benefit from some filler – it means that Hornby (or indeed the end user, using multiple models) can easily swap, change or add parts do many of the variations associated with this class. One of the announced 2016 models is J50/3 68959 (R3407). This Bradford based loco featured quadrant rear spectacle plates in the BR-era so I will be interested to see if Hornby model this feature with an alternate cab back.

All in all I think Hornby have come up with a cracking model of the J50 capturing its quirky looks and details very well. It’s also a useful loco with a wide geographical range that should make it a good seller and whilst the early LNER liveried model may not be that useful to many modellers the smart livery will certainly attract casual purchasers and collectors.

Hornby J50

Posted by: aj427 | August 24, 2015

Hornby J50 Decorated Samples Break Cover

Hornby’s Engine Shed News thread is now showing decorated samples of all three of the forthcoming J50 models. Due for December release they really do look superb models. I had assumed that the LNER version would be of a late-LNER livery but it’s shown here fully lined. I’d also assumed the BR J50/3 version would display the early BR crest, also not the case. So it will be out with the T-Cut and then a new set of transfers. As far as I’m aware the J50/4 type with the built-up bunker did not venture to Bradford or the Queensbury Lines (I’ve certainly never seen a photograph) but I’m tempted to get one anyway for completeness.

Posted by: aj427 | August 11, 2015

Bowling Street Goods – Ballasting

Painting of the track work and the top parts of the coal drops has begun. A task I really wasn’t looking forward to doing however, was ballasting. My previous attempts in the past had resulted in a mess. I’d tried the traditional brush ballast into place then soak with glue route as well as the brush on glue and sprinkle on ballast method. This was no exception – at least to start with.

My first mode of attack was the paint on glue (Copydex) and then sprinkle on method. I found it difficult to get the glue where it was needed and not where it wasn’t needed. Also it was tedious beyond compare. Fortunately, once dry the latex can easily be pulled up along with the ballast. This was duly done and back to square one.

I went back to the traditional method next. The scale depth Exactoscale sleepers helped here, allowing a good space for the grains to sit and not be brushed away too easily as seems to happen with the standard C&L sleepers. I’m going for a fairly compacted ash ballast effect here as it’s a goods yard and I’ve used a random mix of Woodland Scenics fine and medium Cinders. There is a tendency when brushing/tamping for the ballast to sit and build up beneath the rails which is something I wanted to avoid as I wanted to preserve the daylight beneath the bullhead rails. After some trial and error I found it best to work with small quantities, larger grains first, building up gradually over a few inches at a time and then adding the smaller grains last. This avoided the build up. So far so good (and I was actually finding it quite therapeutic). Now for the glue.


I’d heard good report of folks using Klear (or other acrylic based floor polish/varnish equivalent) but I was concerned with the long term durability. With a little experimenting, a mix of Klear and PVA was chosen, about the consistency of milk. After spray misting the ballast with a water/IPA mix the Klear mixture was applied from a syringe working along the edges and then between the sleepers. At this consistency it dribbles out just with gravity and has practically no surface tension. A drop or two between each sleeper is sufficient and the mixture soaks through easily without dragging the ballast with it. I found the drying time to be quite quick and adjacent areas could be tackled safely and cleaning up of stray ballast could be undertaken after around an hour. I would imagine that complete drying would be a few hours so I would recommend leaving overnight to be fully dry. I found for larger areas, a second application of the Klear mix may be prudent. This should be applied only once the first application is fully dry.


Also making an appearance here are the recently weathered ex-PO wagons. These have been finished off with powders to give some variation. Just couplings to do on these now. I think I’m going to go back to the Sprat & Winkle type for this and future projects – 3-link look great but are just too fiddly for my liking.





Posted by: aj427 | July 20, 2015

NER Horsebox – initial report

At the weekend I was able to clean up the print further and check out the fittings. After thorough cleaning an initial coat of primer was applied. This highlighted that one side of the model was crisper than the other. Sanding was rather difficult, as was to be expected due to the panelling. I found it best to work with short thin strips of sandpaper for these parts but inevitably the model is going to be a little rougher than I’d like (also the primer has not atomized very well which hasn’t helped).

A little filing was required to enable the roof, body and chassis to fit properly. The interior detail parts were removed and checked for size. I’m quite pleased with the roof vents. The model is designed so that alternatives can be used but I’ll be using the printed vents rather than the cast metal ones I have which are incorrect. The buffers have printed well also and the only real reason not to use them is robustness. I have some 51L NER buffers sourced from Wizard Models. The images below show both buffers used.



The brake shoe part is a complete failure however. It’s very flimsy and did not fit into the pre-designed slot without a lot of filing. Both sets were broken in the process. I’ve already considered a better solution for this part. Also several parts of the chassis were further victims of manhandling including another spring hanger, both brake lever guards, part of one of the door springs and one of the steps. All of these parts will need to be reinforced if possible. I’ve been asked if I can do a modular version for compensation/P4 by several parties but I’m afraid the answer has to be no as the parts are barely strong enough printed as a whole and some of the parts will be too small to print as sprued items.

So, back to the drawing board for the moment.

Posted by: aj427 | July 16, 2015

NER Diag 196 Horsebox – Printed Prototype

Back from Shapeways yesterday was the prototype horsebox model…

The roof arrived in a separate bag so I’m not sure if they’ve printed it like that or if they removed it or it became detached from the sprue during cleaning. It’s not a big deal and this is what it should look like after printing:



And with the parts separated and placed loosely together:



The small add-on parts are tucked away inside the body for safety during transit – the lamp/plug items need some modification:


I’m very happy with how the detail has come out, especially the underframe. It is however, very delicate – I’ve already managed to snap off a couple of the spring hangers just by looking at them! I’ll be looking to try and beef these parts up a little. As usual, it’s a fine line between detail accuracy and robustness.


Of some concern at the moment is how the parts fit. It’s too tight to fit the chassis on one side and the roof is a little warped at one end. This all may just require cleaning and a little filing so we’ll see how it goes. This was after the first cleaning session and already the fit is better:


Posted by: aj427 | July 8, 2015

NER Diag 196 Horsebox – 3d Model

Inspired by this photo at Wilsden on the GNR Queensbury Lines my next 3d printed model will be an ex-NER Diagram 196 horsebox.

E NER Horse Box Diag 196 behind N1 at Wilsden - Copy

The model is at an advanced CAD stage and will soon be sent for a test print. It will come in three main parts; chassis, body and roof with additional detail parts tucked inside for transit. These will be buffers, roof vents and brake shoes. The model will also allow for alternative metal buffers and roof vents supplied by Wizard Models.

NER Diag 196 1a

I’ve based the model on the Peter Tatlow vol.3 drawing. The roof detail is somewhat sketchy – I have only two images showing this directly and both are very low res. The Peter Tatlow drawing is based on the as-built design and the roof is definitely different in the LNER/BR-era. Also the tumble home is shown as quite curved on the drawing but photographs show it to be much more shallow (compare it with the coach behind in the above photograph).

The model will be available in Frosted Ultra Detail only and the price should be around £55 (inc. VAT) plus delivery at the current exchange rate.

NER Diag 196 3a NER Diag 196 2aNER Diag 196 4a


Posted by: aj427 | July 6, 2015

Bowling Street Goods – Summer Progress Update

A little less obvious progress these last few months as work gets more detailed and focused.

Bowling Street July 2015-06

A pleasant diversion on my work bench has been a handful of Parkside Dundas LNER hoppers to compliment the new Hornby BR ones. These are at the painting stage now. Also a number of private owner wagons are in the process of being re-badged to early BR.

Back to the layout and much more work has gone into the coal yard including the weighbridge and a scratch-built building. It started off as the Wills coal office but in the end I’ve only used the door! Most of the cobbling is now laid and painted.

Bowling Street July 2015-04Bowling Street July 2015-05

Next up the small embankment has been in-filled with paper and overlaid with paper strips. A hanging basket liner was used as a base ground cover before static grass applied with my home made applicator (electric fly swat meets metal sieve). The grass is a bit lurid at the moment and will be toned down with earthy colours supplied by airbrush.

Bowling Street July 2015-03Bowling Street July 2015-02

Finally card mock ups of the two goods sheds have been knocked up to work out the general feel and clearances. These will be used to create more accurate drawings so that etched windows can be sourced (or custom etched if necessary). I’ve started modifying the Hornby resin shed to give it a more GNR appearance.  Next I will mock up the rear retaining wall that carries the elevated and graded running line and the office in front of it.

Bowling Street July 2015-08Bowling Street July 2015-07

A note on the Redutex cobbles – these were fixed onto plasticard to raise them to the correct height. Probably cork or card would be better as in the heat of the last few days the plastic has expanded creating a buckle. On the plus side this has created a nice camber on the ramp! Hopefully this will settle again but could lead to problems long term.

Posted by: aj427 | May 24, 2015

Closure to Passengers – 60th Anniversary

Saturday 23rd May was the 60th anniversary of the last regular passenger train to run on the GNR Queensbury line. The anniversary has been marked by an exhibition at the Keighley & Worth Valley railway’s Vintage Carriage Trust museum at Ingrow organised by Mark Neale. Mark has been a great source of inspiration and information in my own research of the line and so I was honoured to provide a couple of my models for display at the exhibition. N1 69434 & J50/2 68933 are both locos known to have traversed the line. The display also includes ephemera from the line such as signal box diagrams and name boards, survey equipment, block instruments and tickets as well as two vintage GNR carriages typical of those that would have been used on the line in its early days (and probably well beyond).

S160 'Big Jim' displays 'The Economist' headboard

S160 ‘Big Jim’ displays ‘The Economist’ headboard

Mark Neale with the replica headboard

Mark Neale with the replica headboard

For the official opening ceremony on Saturday we were lucky to have Alan Rhodes and Susan Trip, both descendants of the Woodiwiss family whose company, Benton & Woodiwiss, built the line (not to mention much of the Settle & Carlisle line). A special service train on the KWVR this weekend was hauled by S160 ‘Big Jim’ and carried the ‘The Economist’ headboard as carried by the last passenger train on the line in 1955 and also on the final day of goods traffic. A final acknowledgement was the blowing of ‘Big Jim’s’ whistle at the site of the GN junction with the Worth Valley between Ingrow and Keighley.


The exhibition runs until Autumn.

Find out more about the Queensbury Lines on the Facebook Page here

Posted by: aj427 | April 9, 2015

Bowling Street Goods – Spring Progress Update

Time for a long overdue update on Bowling Street Goods. All the track work is now in place including the turnouts and all is wired up and tested for DCC. Turnout control is by the tried and tested wire-in-tube method (in this case using GEM components) and my now usual copper clad stretcher. The turnout control cables are buried in the foam sub-base and run back to a box on the left where they are actuated by electrical switches. These also change the frog polarity at the same time. The control area will be hidden inside the warehouse with access from the front only.

I’ve now started work on the all important coal drops using a balsa framework onto which stone sheets have been added and now painted. A visit to the Shipley MRS Exhibition last September provided some good tips on preparing Wills stone sheets from the owner of the excellent Hebble Vale layout which features coal drops inspired by those at Halifax. I also undertook another survey of the scant remains of the Dryden Street drops as well as the largely preserved L&Y drops at Mill Lane. The adjacent Mill burned down recently allowing an unrestricted view. The resultant drops include elements of the two. The buffer stop is a Dave Franks (Lanarkshire Model Supplies) L&Y type. I would have preferred a GNR ‘C’ type example but this is very similar. Work has now also started on the coal yard below.

Bowling Street Overview-5070

Also of interest at Shipley was the RMLectronics range of scale lighting. These are by far the best items of this kind I’ve seen and a handful of yard lamps were duly purchased for use on Bowling Street.

The yard Entry ramp has been created along with the associated stone walls shown here still under construction and part painted. The cobbles are the Redutex textured stone setts sheet. The jury’s still out on these.

Finally some ‘work’ on the rear shed. This building is intended to be a former engine shed, converted to a goods shed. The inspiration for this is the original Adolphus Street engine shed that was converted into a carriage shed.  I hadn’t intended to use any ready to plant buildings on this project, however, I then noticed the more than passing resemblance between Hornby’s now discontinued R8637 resin engine shed building and my intended prototype. The building stood until the early 70’s and is quite well photographed so clearly Hornby must have used this as inspiration. One was duly purchased and has been shortened, ready for detailling and painting and will be modified with double doors to the left door and right doorway blocked up.

D Shed '70   R8637

Bowling Street Stack 1J50/2 68933 shunts the coal drops. This is a kit-built example purchased at a quite reasonable price on ebay a couple of weeks before the Hornby announcement. The model was well built but the details were somewhat generic with elements of J50/1, J50/2 and J50/3 so it has been re-detailed and renumbered as a J50/2 (which Hornby are not doing).

Bowling Street Stack 6

Bowling Street


J50/2 68933 waits whilst a Scammell Scarab trundles across the tracks and down the ramp.

Bowling Street Stack 2

Bowling Street Stack 3L&Y ‘A’ Class 52452 enters the yard with a trip working. This is one of my 3D printed bodies on a Bachmann ‘C’ class chassis.

Bowling Street Stack 4Bowling Street Stack 5

Older Posts »