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Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:59 am
by billbedford
Mark Tatlow wrote:I do, however, still remain concerned wiht regard to the thinness of the flange if the chimney/dome is to be seperate from the boiler. 3 inch scale thick flanges is one of my pet hates in white metal chimney/domes!

Sanding the base of a printed chimney or dome to get the correct edge thickness is a lot easier than forming the flare of a turned piece -- and much more likely to give a realistic outline.

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:51 pm
by Crepello
Mark Tatlow wrote:So it is back to the CAD machine to draw up a series of 3D masters; in the top view some piston rods/part of the cross head, rear sand boxes, clack valves (now the right size which is much much smaller) and some lubricator valves. The bottom view has some tank filler lids, front sandboxes and piston ends.


Mark Tatlow wrote:So, these are the masters all sorted and they will shortly be sent of for casting. I will be using lost wax again, as I much prefer this to white metal; although I do accept that the better white metal casters do do a grand job.

These are nice! Hope you will show us the resulting castings too. Is the plan to invest these printed parts, or to use them to create a mould for making waxes?

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:20 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Crepello wrote:Is the plan to invest these printed parts, or to use them to create a mould for making waxes?

Hi, sorry I missed this in the first instance. The intention is that they will be used as masters to create lost wax castings from.

If you go back to my posting on the 11 April 2014, you will see that I have done this with some signal finials and lamps quite successfully.

Also, in reply to Will's query in the last Scalefour News, it is my intention to make this kit available to others once I have got it cracked! That is not quite yet though, so watch this space!

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:43 pm
by Mark Tatlow
One of the items that I am really stuck for, being interested in the Highland in the early LMS days, rather than in the pre-group era is the locomotive names. One of the attractions is almost all of the passenger locomotives, whether tender or tanks, carried names. Almost all of the names had strong connotations with the local area - be this names of the Scottish clans, castles close to where the line ran and above all the nearby mountains. Come on; who can resist building a loco of mountains that you have actually climbed?

There is not really any great opportunities for using pre-made lettering although with some compromises it is possible to build the names up individually from letters but the compromises mean that this is not possible for the longer names (as the lettering is somewhat too big, the names don't fit!) and it is quite laborious. Well, it is time to confront this I decide and thus I have had a crack at doing this and I have reached the point where the final artwork is complete. This is what it looks like – hopefully it has covered all the locos you might fancy!

Highland Transfers.JPG

Also on the sheet are one or two other things; but I am less certain that these will work so I’ll keep these as a secret until I find out.

The intention is that these will be available in 4mm & 7mm scales; pricing to be confirmed but I am afraid they will be fairly expensive as the production run is not big and you 7mm chaps in particular eat the page with the size of the prints!

Once they come in, I will confirm whether they work and thereafter what sort of pricing it will be. If you are tempted in the meantime, pop me an email/private mail.

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:46 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Whilst my memories of the former HR’s line from the 1970s and early 80’s only ever had BR mk1s as coaching stock, there were occasional strays coming onto the line in the form of Thompson/Stanier full brakes and Gresley buffet cars. As I understand it, a pair of the latter were indeed the regulars on Glasgow to Inverness trains. So, wishing to enliven my passenger trains up a little on Portchullin, I thought that it was time that the punters had a buffet car to buy that notorious rock hard pork pie in!

Hornby introduced a range of Gresley stock some ten years or so ago and they represented a significant step forward in terms of quality of coaching stock generally and particularly in comparison with their predecessors. If I recall correctly there were some problems with the direction of the graining that Hornby quite quickly sorted out and the teak coaches look the part – especially as to do them oneself is a very challenging exercise. The only vehicle that they offer in blue/grey is the buffet and this is what it looks like.

This side is OK 3.jpg
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This side is OK 3

As with nearly all r-t-r models now a days, the finish is exemplary and at first glance it definitely looks the part, capturing the curves at the roof very well and it will stand out nicely in comparison with the remainder of the coaches on Portchullin. It is true that the panelling cover beads are a bit thick, which is not visible on the teak finished coaches due to the graining but is rather more visible on the grey here but as I am going to weather down this vehicle to a fairly battered condition, I am hoping this will fade to a lessor impact. Some commentators criticise the tumblehome being to slight and the bogies being slightly incorrect but I am struggling to see either defect so will ignore these points.

What I will not be ignoring, however, is the most significant problem with the model. These vehicles only made it into the 1970s because they underwent a fairly significant rebuild in the 1950s. Hornby have simply painted their LNER era model in blue/grey whereas the rebuild affected their appearance on one side quite significantly. Here is a comparison and you can see that three windows have disappeared altogether, the panelling arrangement on the near end is different and the roof vents were adjusted to accommodate the revised internal arrangement.

The offending side of the buffet.jpg
The offending side of the buffet
E9132 LNER Buffet @ Whitemoor 76-11-16 ´+¢ Paul Bartlett compress.jpg
E9132 LNER Buffet @ Whitemoor 76-11-16 ´+¢ Paul Bartlett w

I have seen moans on the forums about this error and even moans from people at the people who are moaning. I make no criticism of Hornby at all; it is obvious that the revised tooling that would have been necessary to correct this would have made the model uneconomic. Therefore, we have to either accept it is as it is or pick up our tools to correct it. I make model railways to do simply that, make them and I derive the greater proportion of my satisfaction from building or modifying things – thus I simply see this as part of the pleasure!

So my next project will be a bit of plastic surgery on an old lady, to get her looking proper! I do not propose to do a full respray so it is not that difficult to do, so to both the moaners and the moaners at the moaners, I would simply encourage you to pick up your knives to follow suit!

Thank you to Hornby for providing the base model and also for the use of the colour photos. The prototype photograph is courtesy of Paul Barlett.

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:49 am
by Philip Hall

I converted a full brake a while ago and whilst it had a better body profile than your buffet car, the one thing that stood out for me looking at the end of the vehicle was the gangways. They are too short (they should reach the domed end) and too wide, and emphasise the shortcomings of the moulding. I cobbled up a representation using a spare Kirk moulding, made slightly thicker and with a new end plate of the correct shape.

It is true that the mouldings are a bit adrift here and there, and the underframe is too wide, but I felt that as there was only going to be one Gresley coach, it would not notice too much as there was nothing correct to compare it with on the layout it was destined for. I was pleased with the result and couldn't resist one for my own collection!


Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:20 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Thanks Phil, I hadn't seen that but do now you mention it!!

I also note that the alarm gear is on the opposite end to the model. Hmmm; this build is getting bigger..............

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:37 pm
by Jim Summers
12-08-30 Ph 04.jpg
Not 4mm, but here is some 12" to the foot modelling I get involved in and seems somewhat relevant perhaps.The table lamps are an anachronism, I know, but they are removable.
No transfers were used for the lettering.


Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:41 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Boness, I presume? In which case is is the former 9132 which is the same vehicle I had in mind as I have some evidence of it at Inverness through the 1970s.

There are a number of the diners about, as they were about the last wooden bodied stock about so the preservationists were keen on them. Like this one, most have been converted back to their original form - presumably so that they can correctly be left in varnished teak. So the exact reverse of what I am doing to my model!

Thanks Jim, may I use your photo on my blog in the future?

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:02 pm
by Jim Summers
Yes, Mark. It is Bo'ness. The teak we used has quite a history - a trunk of teak was found un-manifested (i.e. smuggled) on a ship sunk off Ireland. It was found 70 years after the sinking, but it's good stuff, teak.
By all means use the photo but credit it to Dave Hall. I have dozens of my own, but his are better.


Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:41 am
by Andy W
"It was found 70 years after the sinking" amazing! What a beautiful vehicle.

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:11 pm
by Will L
Mark Tatlow wrote:... but as I am going to weather down this vehicle to a fairly battered condition...

What I remember about Gresley buffets in BR days is that the painted livery didn't stick to the teak very well and tended to flake off.

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:35 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Scrap Tank Test Build Part 9 – Finishing the Body

I have now had the castings back for the various fittings for the Scrap Tank; the masters being in part my own 3D prints and some turnings that I commissioned from Jeremy Souter. This is what they look like:

photo 6.JPG

I did not seek to do everything for the whole model as some parts are available from other suppliers and I did not want to duplicate their work. Thus, I needed to get the safety valve/safety valve bonnet from Alan Gibson, a smokebox door from Lochgorm, a whistle from Markits and smokebox door handles from Comet.

Once these, along with the remaining handrails, were fitted, the body is complete and it certainly appears to be taking on the character of the real thing so far as I am concerned!

photo 5.JPG

photo 13.JPG

photo 11.JPG

photo 2.JPG

So next up will be the cylinders, crosshead and connecting rods!

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:13 pm
by 45609
Looks very nice Mark. The castings seem to have come out well.


Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:27 am
by ScottW
I agree, Mark. It's certainly coming to life and looking good.


Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:01 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Whilst this posting was on my blog a while back, I seem to overlook transferring it onto here. So here is the next instalment on the Gresley buffet - entitled the cruellest cut!

The first task in dealing with ready to run vehicles is to work out how to get into them – not always as easy as it sounds! In this case, this is achieved by slipping finger nails between the sides and the underframe solebars; this releases four catches and the top pops off. The interior then slips out without bother but the glazing is a little more tricky as it is secured with some very gooey glue. Whilst this releases the perspex relatively easily, it was difficult to then remove the remaining glue – I found it best to do this by rolling it with a thumb and accumulating the residue on a scrap of paper but it was a pain getting it all off.

Prior to attacking the model with knife and blade, a sensible precaution is to protected all of the areas that are not to be cut with masking tape, which you will see I have done. This was effective but I did find that I dislodged a filler pipe when I removed it, so perhaps a slip of paper over these would be prudent next time.
photo 4.JPG

Then it was time to get cutting; I varied between using a razor saw and a scalpel to cut a grove by using parallel cuts but in both cases it is important to cut to the waste side of the finished line. I found that it was best to work to an existing bead line, even though when working to the saloon end of the coach the bead was the side of door jamb (this is where I found the knife best and I made sure this was one of the first cuts to be made) so that there was no stress on the thin piece of material. By the time the cutting had been finished the holes were quite big!
photo 15.JPG

Nearly all the cutting done now; but the last panel to the right did also get cut away

It pays to dress the sides of the opening with care so that they are straight and square as this makes the fitting of the infill pieces much easier. These should be cut fractionally over large and then sanded back by small degrees checking regularly to determine if it fits and taking care to ensure that the square/straight edges are maintained. Once it fits, I let it into the hole and secured with butonone and then left it to cure for a couple of hours so that I did not disturb it when I subsequently fitted the beading. This was formed with 0.2 * 0.2mm microstrip and these needed to be set out with considerable care – aided by the use of venier calipers – to get them regularly spaced and vertical. Even the most minor of inconsistencies detract from the affect.
photo 11.JPG

Replacement panels now in place, including a partial infill of the window by the door

Next up was the removal of the various roof vents and cowls as these too changed. I suspect that these were no consistent across differing vehicles and it is quite difficult to determine what goes where but I was assisted by some photographs from here. Utilising some of the vents salvaged from the Hornby model and also from Comet Models, the latter generally with their shields filed away as the roof views I have have straight flanges as shields – which I formed with brass strip as I though plasticard would be knocked off.
photo 1 (2).JPG

Roof vents in place, based on a photograph of the roof of 9132 at SRPS in the 1970s (as below). I also noted that the alarm gear on the roof was at the other end of the vehicle in comparison to the Hornby model, so this is going to need to be cut away and recreated at the opposite end.
Roof Image1.jpg
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photo with thanks to Donald on RMweb

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:57 am
by Tim Easter
Looking good there Mark! Gives me the impetus to do my own one at some point... One thing though: you might wish to turn the three rectangular vents round 90 degrees, then it might match the photo ;)

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:31 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Tim Easter wrote: One thing though: you might wish to turn the three rectangular vents round 90 degrees, then it might match the photo ;)

Oh; correct you are!!!

Few, I was going to paint it this weekend but built a turnout and started wiring things instead!

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:55 pm
by Mark Tatlow
I guess that it is pretty difficult for the RTR manufacturer to take a stab decent corridor connections because they have to design for toy train set curves and clumsey hands but it is a weakness of all proprietary coaches. Hornby's buffet also seems to have overly skinny corridor connections and most noticeable they are mounted too low - they should finish at the meeting of the roof with the ends.

Whilst it is possible to simply slice off the connections off and move them up, I chose to remove the and them with some produced by Comet - as this is an LNER vehicle, you need the Pullman type. The core of the operation of the corridor connections are the bellows which are formed with a pair of sheets of fairly stiff paper. These have slots cut to half their width and are then folded into a concertina shape, with the slot between the folds. Two such pieces are then offered up to each other, with the slots opposing and these then slide over each other as shown in the first picture.

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Thereafter, the etched end plate is attached to one face. Whilst not provided in the kit, I formed a second plate from plasticard and affixed this to the other end. it is important to ensure that no glue gets on the concertina sections of the paper, as they need to be capable of compressing with minimal effort to correctly operate without derailing the carriage.


This is how Comet envisage that the completed connection should look like but I felt that the bellows did not look very realistic, especially from above where the crossing point is all too obvious. In practise, the top of these connections had a fabric roof and applying this dramatically improves the appearance of the connection and has the added advantage of providing some control to the operation of the connections which do tend to expand out and look rather flabby!

photo 4.JPG

I dealt with this by putting the rain hood on the top of the connection, which is afterall prototypical (and makes a huge difference to the appearance as you can see). I did this in a manner that meant it acted as a restraint to the movement of the connection. I acheived this by only gluing it at the very back and front of the connection, so that the bellows could move unimpeeded but once they had moved to the required extent, the rain hood pulled tight and stopped them going any further. I found that doing this at the top was not sufficient as their movement continued at the bottom and they took on rather drunken appearance - however, this was solved by simply repeating this at the bottom.

Key to getting this to work was to use material for these restraints that was ultra flexible. I did think about trying silk but settled instead on the rather more mundale - plastic from a bin liner. This is remarkably thin but is still tough enough to hold the connections. A tiny dab of super glue at the front and back and then it can be laid onto. It is important not to sigh with releif for some time though - the stuff is so light that it blows away at the slightest. So this is what it looks like:

photo 1.JPG

I think that I have still allowed the connections to be too big and if there were two together this would definitely be true but next to a rather skinny Bachmann corridor connection, I think they look pretty good (and a big improvement on the originals).

photo 2.JPG

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:12 pm
by grovenor-2685
I chose to remove the and them with some produced by Comet

Are you sure Mark? I have used identical ones to that which came from MJT, and do come with an inner end piece as well.
Always tricky to find a good top cover, I'll have to try the bin liner.
(The gangway ends in the Comet listing are different)

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:51 am
by Colin Parks
Hi Mark,

The corridor connection looks very effective with the bin liner material as a top cover - great idea. I have had a go at such connections once before and in that case the two sides of the bellows were separate pieces of folded paper with a piece of thin film from the packaging of a Bachmann carriage used for the top (which looked like the tarpaulin cover used on the prototype being modelled).

The main benefit of working corridor connections is the improvement in the movement of the train, which will act as one unit rather than a string of loose-coupled stock.

All the best,


Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:22 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Colin Parks wrote:Hi Mark,
The main benefit of working corridor connections is the improvement in the movement of the train, which will act as one unit rather than a string of loose-coupled stock.

Largely agreed, but I also think taking away an Indiana Jones type leap from one carriage to the other for the passengers aids realism too!

Keith, I think you are correct about the source of the corridor connections but I don't have the packet anymore!

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:20 pm
by Andrew Ullyott
Very nice. I'll have to try the bin liner trick.

A Highland Miscellany - Gresley Buffet Finished

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:22 pm
by Mark Tatlow
…..but, before it was counted as finished, it needs to be doing the job it was designed for – buffeting. And that means it needs to be populated with people.

Regrettably few modellers, even finescale modellers, actually put people in thier coaches (and sometimes in contrast to platforms which are stuffed with them!). This is a shame as they do make a difference to even a fairly casual viewer. At a show recently, a dad and his son who were probably not modellers spotted the people in my coaches instantly. I’ll take that as proof of the point!

IMG_0251 (2).JPG

As is common with rtr coaches, the seats are moulded in place such that there is no room for the little peoples legs, so some severe amupation is required! In the case of Hornby’s buffet, the seats are also modelled pushed tightly underneath the tables – which has meant that the backs to the seats or the lip of the table also needs to be hacked away a bit. As all of this surgery occurs below the waistline of the coach, it is not visible from outside so your Dr Crippins’ tendancies will go unnoticed!!

Next up was to paint the exterior where the new plastic was cut in and here I had some problems. I was warned by Brian of Shawplan that I should paint the whole side when I repainted the new sections but I decided not to follow this advice – something I now regret!! So having masked up theadjacent areas and sprayed in only the affected sections i found that the grey that Hornby used was notably bluer than that provided by Precision Paints. The first attempt at repainting had the colours sticking out like a sore thumb and even on the second attempt, with a dab of blue in the mix is not perfect but is just ok underneath the grime. So, if you are proposing to do follow this build follow Brian’s advice, not mine!

Once a couple of new windows were cut into the reshaped windows in the kitchen area of the buffet car, it was necessary to weather the vehicle. These buffet cars were notorious for being really tatty by the 1970’s; partly because the paint supposedly was prone to debonding from the underlying teak but also because the automatic washers were not good at getting into the corners of the panelling. After an overall spray of dirt to tone down the colours and another to represent the brake dust and track muck, I used two techniques to represent the weathering on the panelling. The first was to spray the whole coach with a mist and once it had started to dry a stiff artist’s brush was dipped in thinners was used to remove the bulk of the paint. The areas that it does not come away from are the nooks and crannies around the panelling; the same areas that would have retained the dirt in the real things. I to find, however, that the margine between where the paint has been removed and not can be a bit stark, so I used a second technique to both hramonise this and also acceptuate the effect. Using a heavily thinned dirty black paint, run a brush over the whole of the sides – the paint runs to the corners and achieves the same effect. It pays to be brave with this as the wetting effect of the thinners makes this initially look much darker until the thinners have dried off.

And this is what the finished article looks like………

IMG_0267 (2).JPG
IMG_0255 (2).JPG

So thanks Hornby for supplying the model in the first place and the inspiration to do some plastic surgery. Whilst this write up may have lasted some months, actually this was quite a quick conversion – the basic surgery on the side was only 4 hours – so why not have a go?

Re: A Highland Miscellany

Posted: Sun May 15, 2016 10:25 pm
by Mark Tatlow
Over the last few weeks, I have been revisiting a number of model coaches that I have built in the past, typically quite some time in the past as most of these have been around since either my teens or twentys!

Over the years techniques have changed and I undoubtedly would not build most of them in the manner that I originally built them if I was confronted with doing them again. Having said this, on the whole my handiwork – especially in respect of the painting and lining was really quite good. I seem to have lost my lining mojo in particular, so I am not sure I could line as well as this now. This is something that I really must get to grips with this, as I still have a lot to do!

IMG_0862 compress.JPG
a pair of full brakes, the one to the left is a West Coast Joint Stock (from a London Road Models kit) and that to the right is straight LNWR (from a Microrail kit)

But the biggest area of difficulty with the coaches is that the bogies were generally formed around beam compensation units. These are OK for a couple of coaches behind a branch train but they impart far too much friction for a full main-line train as I aspire too. This is impossible to overcome whilst retaining the compensation units, the bar is the cause of the problem and it has to go!

To overcome this, Bill Bedford sprung boiges are being retro-fitting to all of my existing stock. These rely on separate hornblocks that secure a pin-point bearing in them – so rolling resistance is significantly reduced. The hornblocks are held in place by way of guitar wire and the effect is that they glide around the trackwork. They thus give the impression of weight and inertia that is much better than compensation (it is possible to get compensation that does not use the rocking beams that are the cause of the fritchion I am complaining about).

A Midland & North British luggage composite (from a PC Models kit) and a LMS (ex Midland) dining car (from a 5522 Models kit).

The Bill Bedford units are only an inner bogie and they still need to have some form of detailing on the outside. Some of these have entirely cosmetic outers, either of plastic or white metal but the two Midland coaches and the Highland TPO have something slightly different. On these, I utilised the original etched bogie sides and laminated them onto the Bill Bedford inners. This is very successful as it improves the Bill Bedfords notably by making them a lot stiffer and you get the crispness of the etching process.

IMG_0869 compress.JPG
This is one of my fathers, so I can’t claim credit for anything but the bogies. A Highland Railway TP (fully scratchbuilt). Obviously, no painting has as yet been done, so it does rather look like a ganster with gold teeth!

IMG_0873 compress.JPG
It is rather challenging to see how the Bed Bedford sprining unit sites inside the outer skins (from a Lochgorm kit) but this is what it looks like from the outside.
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If, by the way you fancy some Fox Pressed Steel bogies that are neatly sprung and look the part - and almost all pre-group modellers ought to - keep watching the space. Subject to a test build or two, there will shortly be one available on the market.

To test them, I took them and a few other coaches to ExpoEM to use their test track. Here we see a Barney with eight on – albeit a rather od mix for the train and there is a fair amount of painting and lining still to be done.

And to prove that they really do work and also to allow you to see how they glide, a quick youtube video: ...