2017 – Cwm Prysor’s Time!

Firstly, a belated Happy New Year to everyone.

You may have noted things have been rather quiet around these parts. I have decided to cut down my online presence as I felt I was saturating my work by posting on the FB page, modelling forums and here. It seems best to focus on one place, and those that are interested will find me here, on the blog. I also needed the Christmas period to rid myself of some demons, so it’s fair to say 2017 feels like a real fresh start.

So, to kick things off…. those of you that read the model railway magazines may have seen I had an article in this months Railway Modeller on the goods stock for Cwm Prysor. It was an interesting article to write and I can’t thank Steve Flint and Railway Modeller enough for giving me the opportunity to share my ramblings. What is nice is that this article, and the subsequent two I’ve written, are all gearing up for the big one…’Cwm Prysor’ which will be appearing in the Modeller (probably next year).


As for Cwm Prysor, I took a break from the layout over Christmas, but since the New Year progress has been coming on well. The platform is now in place, the landscape is fully formed around it and we even have the shelter in place (courtesy of Geoff Taylor). The station area has had plasticard added so there is a nice flat base for the station building, plus a seamless join into the level crossing.

Recent work though has seen the dilapidated snow defences put into place. I’ve seen a photo from around 1910 where these sleeper defences are all standing in place, neat and proper. By the 1950s though, they were really uncared for and that is how they are represented on the layout. Special thank to Tim Horn for supplying the laser cut sleepers.


Finally, I’ve begun work on the over bridge at the Blaenau end of the layout. Tim kindly laser cut the MDF pieces for the buttresses to my specifications. The bridge itself I have no photos of it, so I’ve based it on the one further down the line at Capel Celyn. The girders are by plaststruct with 20 thou plasticard on top. The railings are from Geoff Taylor’s etched range of building accessories. These need shortening which will be done tomorrow, before I primer the girder/railings and spray satin black. The buttresses will be coated in Das modelling clay, and then a few weeks later the stone work will be scribed.


Everything is coming together nicely, I’ve ordered the scenic bits to do the lake and stream and all the grass work is here for when it’s needed. So there is lots going on at the moment!

2017 is Cwm Prysor’s year!

‘Dad and Lass’ courtesy of Modelu – forever on my layouts….



Cwm Prysor developments….

Since the last update, with the layout now wired, things have continued to move in a positive direction. 🙂

The track has been painted, initially with a coat of Grey Primer and then secondly with a coat of Halfords ‘Camouflage Brown’, as recommended by Jim Smith-Wright. The results of which are very pleasing and have just the right look for a basic coat. Plus it blends the SMP and  timber sleepers together quite nicely. I’ve now painted the entire landscape to the rear of the track, just to give a good earth texture before scenic work begins.



I have also been doing some ‘Ballasting Experiments’ which have proven interesting. I initially tried the method of adding PVA first, then lots of ballast before hoovering the excess up. The results were not great, with the ballast sticking and bulging out between the sleepers. I therefore went back to the conventional method of diluted PVA sprayed before hand with water with a drop of washing up liquid. The results were far better as can be seen below. I have been trialling two ballast types, Woodland Scenics ‘blended gray’ Medium and Fine. I already have one I prefer, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.



I was originally going to begin ballasting the layout next, but I have decided it’s going to be best to start landscaping the front of the layout….that way the modrock stage is done, without effecting the ballast work.

Next weekend I head up to North Wales again, this time to stay for a few days as a sort of mini break, which will involve be taking in the delights of the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways. What I am looking forward to though, is meeting up with some friends, one of which being the ex signalman from Bala I have mentioned before. We are going to have a bit of a sight seeing tour with a look around Capel Celyn, Arenig…..oh and possibly this place for some reason! 😉


In other news, I have just finished writing another article for Railway Modeller on ‘Goods Traffic for Cwm Prysor’ It has been an enjoyable experience once again to be writing for the Modeller and hopefully will be published the beginning of next year. Tony Wright has kindly taken some lovely studio photographs of my stock which should look very nice in print.

That’s all for now! 🙂



Mineral Wagons – Part 2 ‘BR 16T’

Over the past week, my hobby time has been spent working on the Bachmann BR 16T I repainted in my last update. This was a project I had initially been dreading, as steel bodied 16Ts have a particular look, and many models I’ve seen just do not look right.

When it came to adding the ‘rust effect’ I did keep going back to  Ian (windcutter) Fleming to see what he thought, who offered suggestions and advice which I appreciate. On something like this, I think it’s always good to have another set of eyes on the project.

Several days later, and here are the results.



The chassis was treated with a mix of Revell 84 and Matt Black (another tip picked up from Ian’s blog). Further treatment with powders made the finishing touches to the chassis. The interior was painted with the same paint mix as the chassis, before being finished with powders which has given a rather pleasing effect. I didn’t feel the need for the airbrush and I feel it’s always good to broaden ones techniques.


I am aware that the Brake push rods have been fitted the wrong way around, something Bachmann seem to have a habit of doing. It’s not the only Bachmann model I’ve seen in my fleet that has also been fitted the wrong way around. I had looked to swopping them around, but sadly they are only detailed on one side. For the moment they will stay and will be possibly be replaced at a later date.

As a conclusion, I think the most important aspect of this weathering project was preparation. I’d spent some time thinking how I was going to approach this wagon, consulted modelling friends, prototype photographs and Geoff Kent’s excellent volumes on 4mm wagons.

I also took the opportunity of good sun light (yes I know…don’t fall off your chair at that prospect) to photograph 7428 outdoors, still very pleased with the finish on her.


I’m near to finishing work for Easter, so I’m looking forward to starting work on a 1950’s ex PO. York Show next weekend where I will be stewarding and a trip down to the Llangollen for their Spring Gala. Plenty to look forward to!

Cheers for now!

74XX in the making

Without sounding like a GWR expert (which I am really not!), the 64XX has been a welcome model for GWR modellers, and with Bachmann’s forthcoming Hawksworth Autocoach, is going to look rather nice trundling up many GWR branch layouts. Of course, as I’ve said before, the Bala-Blaenau line wasn’t your typical GWR Branch. There are no records of 64s being used as the line wasn’t served by auto coaches. However the very similar 74XX class were utilised heavily on the branch.

The main visual difference (as can be seen in the two links below) between the 64XX and the 74XX, other than auto gear fitting, is the cab and bunker arrangement. The straight edged join between bunker and cab (plus no cab lip at the front or rear) was introduced to the last 10 64s built, and the whole of the 74XX class.

64XX drawing

74XX drawing

I was left with two options. I could wait and see if Bachmann produce a 74XX. The likely hood is high as a 74XX is basically a subclass of the 64XX. The other option is to do some modelling and make a 74XX from a 64. I have gone with the later! 🙂
The way I see it, Bachmann’s new 64XX has only just come to market, so it’s going to be at least a year (more like two) before any more are announced. Even if a late 64XX design, or 74XX is announced, with what appears to be supply issues from Kader, it could be three or maybe four years before said loco arrives on the shelves. Of course this is all guess work on my part, Bachmann might not even bother to do the later cab!

So last night I made a start with the scalpel. As can be seen below, we now have a nice right angle join between cab and bunker, and the cab overhang has gone.

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In removing the curved join, I was now missing the lip that runs around the bunker top where it joins the cab rear, so I filled this with some microstrip and filed to a correct profile.

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I’ve removed one of the battery boxes on the chassis (74XX only had the one) plus the Auto conduit cable that runs behind the rear buffer beam has also been removed.

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Auto gear from the front and rear has been removed, the holes will require filling and patch painting. Although the smokebox dart is a full separate fitting and is finer than the offering on the 57XX, I decided to replace with the finer Markit’s dart, which I think looks that bit better.


I would suspect I have the difficult stuff out of the way now. The rest of the detailing is pretty much what i have done previously on my 57XX (running plate hand rails, masokit lamp irons and screw links). I was rather apprehensive regarding the cab mods, but they have turned out better than expected.

I certainly think I’ll be doing another 74XX with this method! 🙂