Sunday 12 November 2023

HR d.9 Coach in 7mm scale.


HR 6-wheel 4-compartment Luggage First/Third composite coach.

My recently completed Jones d.9 33' 3" 6-wheel composite coach is built from a Lochgorm Kits etch with added refinements, the most noteworthy of which is the double-skin. This allows the glazing to slip into place between the inner and outer walls of the coach and adds to the realism of the model. The inner walls, along with the transverse partition walls are cut from 0.4mm brass sheet and add weight to the model so the coach tops 600g on the scales. The axles run in brass inside bearings, so there's more friction than would be the case with pin-point axles, obviously this is not a coach for a feeble engine.

 I intend to run a typical Highland Railway branch-line mixed train, consisting of two 6-wheel coaches (I only have two) along with a goods van and a 4-wheel passenger brake van, on my next visit to the club layout in Carlisle. Tests on my track in the studio suggest that my Passenger Tank is the engine for the job though all my branch-line engines proved up for it. 

The coach relies on a Cleminson system of suspension, which allows the leading and trailing axles to steer into or out of curves, which should ensure a smooth passage round tighter than prototype curves and wayward sections of trackwork. The Highland Railway in fact didn't employ this system on its 6-wheel coaches, relying instead on a small amount of side-play on the center axle, a system which would probably work well in model form if enough side play were employed.

The coach was painted using Revell SM 363 Dark Green with the addition of matt black to taste, transfers are from Fox, castings from LGM and Invertrain. 

Detail of the step end of the D.9. The coach is a First/Third class vehicle, Second Class having disappeared in Scotland the early 1890s.

The center axle employs a different type of spring suspension to the outer axles. Springs are brass castings from LGM. 

The double-skin of the coach can be seen in this view; only a modest amount of interior detail has been included. The figure is my own sculpture, available from Invertrain MR.

Friday 15 September 2023

7mm scale Drummond 20-ton goods brake van in LMS livery.

Peter Drummond's 20-ton 6-wheel goods brake van entered Highland Railway service between 1909 and 1913, there were 16 of these 20 foot long vans, built with wooden under-frames. These original vans can be identified by the thickness of their wooden buffer beams, later 20-ton vans of this type were built with steel under-frames with characteristic "[" shaped buffer beams. Though the original design did not feature ramps to the roof lookout these were added to many of the vans quite early in their service by the HR so the guard did not bang his head when stepping up to the lookout. When the LMS took ownership they made few alterations other than fitting disc wheels and changing the livery. This involved moving the central lamp-iron upwards so the letter "M" would fit just under it, a subtlety that I noticed only after I'd painted the model and came to put the transfers on!  Photos of these vans in LMS days show that the continuous lower foot-board was cut away in front of the axle boxes, presumably to improve access, forming four separate foot boards each side, though my van has not as yet undergone this refinement.

The model is constructed from a nickle silver etch, one of my own "aids to wagon building". The ramped lookout seen here is a change I made following the drawing in Peter Tatlow's "HR Carriages and Wagons" and is quite different to the one the vans were originally provided with. 

Full construction details are to be found below in the March 2022 blog posting. I used Railmatch 611 freight grey as the base colour of this LMS version of the van, transfers are HMRS, couplings from CPL and  lamps from Slater's, with added brilliants.

I have a few etched sheets still in stock at £25.00 + postage if you'd like to add one of these vans to your collection, a great project for the modelling season ahead. 


7mm scale 20-ton 6-wheel goods brake van LMS d.12

Gauge 0 Drummond 20-ton 6-wheel goods brake van, LMS 294018

Monday 11 September 2023

Portrait of a sheep van in 7mm scale.

8-ton double-deck planked sheep van in LMS days.

My recently completed portrait of 294528, was built from my own resin castings or "Aids to Wagon Building", it is based closely on the well known photo reproduced on page 169 of Peter Tatlow's "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons". The van suits the early LMS grey livery, which accentuates the relief detail even though the ironwork is not picked out in black as it was in Highland days. Below you can see how much detail has been achieved using state of the art 3D printing for the masters and a high tech. resin casting process for production. 

I still have a few sets of 7mm sides and ends left  if you'd like to add a sheep van or two to your collection of HR stock. See my earlier post below for details of ordering.

The sheep van is also available as a 3D print in 4mm scale, see post below.

Detail of the brake lever and pin rack 

A high level of detail has been achieved in the resin casting process. 

Sunday 14 May 2023

HR 8-Ton Double Deck Sheep Van in 7mm scale... Painted.


Built from one of Pete's recently released cast resin aids to wagon building, this example portrays a double-deck sheep van in Highland Railway rich red-oxide livery with the iron-work picked out in black. I've not come across any photos of these vans in HR days so the insignia is based on that of a cattle wagon on pg.164 of Peter Tatlow's "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons". The wagon number, 1478, is taken from the tables in the book and is the best I can come up with. The 7"sole-bars are too narrow for the standard Highland wagon plate, so this feature has been dispensed with, identification is by means of the number painted on the lower plank.

I painted the wagon with Phoenix P436 Caledonian Wagon Oxide and picked out the iron-work with matt black, though this was brushed with a soft brush when dry to enable a slight sheen. The small number transfers are from HMRS sheet 20. The Society's own range of 7mm water-slide decals provided the 9" Highland insignia which adorn the top boards, ref: HRGS1. The roof, which can be removed for access to the interior, is painted off-white with talc added to the mix. Working screw-couplings are from CPL and have been chemically blackened.     

Photos of planked sheep vans in LMS days show that the ironwork was no longer painted black, the company's grey livery is applied all-over, including the buffer housings, though the brake gear and all below the sole bar is black.

Sunday 23 April 2023

HR 8-ton double-decked sheep van body in 4mm scale.

HR 8-ton double decked sheep van with planked sides.

This is the 3D printed van body with the festoon of ingates and runners removed, it takes about a quarter of an hour to do this carefully with side cutters. You need to be careful with the delicate vertical rods that support the planks midway. Detail is remarkable as this is scaled down from my 7mm version. The floors and roof need to be added from Plastikard and the wheels and other components below the sole-bar sourced from the trade. Peter Tatlow's drawing on pg. 168 of his "Highland Railway Carriages and Wagons" should be used as a guide along with the photos on the following pages. Mark Tatlow tells me that he can supply an etched underframe for the wagon.

This is what you get...

The 3D print as it comes off the printer.

The sheep van is supplied as seen in the above photo with ingates and runners still attached. 

The van body is available now and if this format proves acceptable to 4mm modellers more HR wagon types will follow.

Price per wagon body is £10.95

Postage is £3.50 for 2nd Class or £4.20 for 1st Class, if you order more than one it's still the same. It won't go in an envelope so it'll have to go in a box by Small Parcel rate.

Contact Pete on...

07342 637 813

017687 71302


Monday 17 April 2023

HR 8-ton double-deck sheep van with planked sides in 7mm scale.

Pete's new addition to his range of aids to scratch-building provides resin sides and ends for a Highland Railway 8-ton double-deck sheep wagon d.17. Parts from the trade, such as the W-irons, buffers, springs, axle boxes and couplings are easily sourced (see below). Additional items such as brake gear, roof and internal floors can be cut from sheet metal or Plastikard, so in a round-about way a multi-media kit is assembled to each individual modeller's choice. 

Price is £22.50 plus postage at cost £1.60 1st Class or £1.15 2nd Class.
Buy 2 or more and postage is Free.

Contact Pete on...
017687 71302
07342 617 813

This is what you get...

The openings are filled with a thin membrane. Hold to the light to identify the openings and push out the membrane with the back of a scalpel blade, it only takes a few minutes. The resin ingates (with holes in) are cut off with a fine coping saw and the bottom of the castings filed flat. 

In addition you'll need...

Slater's 3' 1" wagon wheels ref: 7120
Slater's 1mm Plastikard, 7mm planking and 1.5mm strip for battens.
W-irons from Slater's or The Highland Railway Society.
Springs, axle-boxes and buffers from Invertrain.
Couplings from CPL Products.
Horse hooks, brake lever guard and collarless hand rail knobs from 62C Models.

Close up showing the fine detail of the resin castings after the openings have been cleared of membrane. Horizontal bars are made from 0.6 nickle silver or brass wire glued into slots behind the openings.

The upper floor sits behind the horizontal midway strut and serves to brace the structure. The roof is made from 0.4mm nickle silver sheet, rolled to shape; Plastikard would provide an alternative solution.    

 Plastikard planking, with 1.5mm battens to provide a footing for livestock, overlays the 1mm thick lower floor. Note the interior detail and the horizontal wire glued in slots across the openings. The ends of the planks marked with an X have been trimmed slightly to seat the end.

View of the rocking-axle, coupling and buffer shanks, which run in slots behind the solebars. The floor under the axles has been built up 1.5mm with Plastikard sheet to provide the correct ride height.

The upper deck of the van is split in half along its length to allow it to seat in place; an overlay of battened Plastikard planking sits on top of this. The planked floors show up well in good light, even with the roof in place and are worth the effort of detailing them with battens.

 An additional, though optional detail, is the chain which holds the pin which locates in the holes in the rack to hold the brake lever down. 

Brake shoe and brake lever are fabricated from nickel silver sheet. Springs and axle-box are cast in white metal from my own master patterns in my workshop.
The sides and ends are glued together and 0.6 n/s wire is fastened behind the opening in slots provided; which may need enlarging a little. The ends of the horizontal planks need trimming slightly inside, to allow the sides to seat in place.

A short length of square section tube has been fashioned to make the brake lever hanger, this is glued into a shallow slot cut in the sole-bar.

The horizontal handrail is held in place by collarless handrail knobs which locate into holes in the uprights. The handrail is soldered to the knobs in situ then the assembly is removed, the wire bent to fit the outer holes and replaced.

The van is weighted up to 150g and runs superbly. Note the brake lever guard set just off-center on the sole-bar. There doesn't seem to be much room for a cast number plate on the narrow sole-bar, perhaps sheep vans made do with numbers painted on the lower horizontal boards.  

Monday 27 March 2023

HR Wagon Plate Transfers in 7mm scale.

I think you'll agree that the number plates shown in these pictures set the wagons off a treat. Pete has produced a set of HR wagon plate transfers to complement his growing series of wagon sides and ends, these are available to modellers now. The transfer strips measure 180mm x 16mm and provide water slide-transfers for 10 different pairs of plates to suit the following wagons...

8-ton ballast wagon...2525, 2530

16-ton loco coal...2773

Jones 4-plank open...1462, 1470

Swivel cradle wagon... 908, 910

8-ton double-deck sheep wagon with planked sides...1477, 1490 (sides and ends to be released 4/23)

Drummond 8-ton 4-plank coal wagon...950  (sides and ends to be released soon)

I have mounted the transfers on the flat back of Lochgorm Kits' etched wagon plates. These were painted black, then I used Humbrol DecalFix to help fix them and added a coat of varnish. When dry I trimmed the edges with a scalpel and glued the plates to the wagon. I also tried fixing the transfers to 0.4 brass sheet and cutting the plate to shape with the transfer in place and this worked well too. Plastikard would also provide a suitable backing plate.

It is possible to change a digit by using a scalpel and substituting one of the small numbers from the HR Society's wagon transfer sheet HRGS1, which should widen the usefulness of this sheet.

Price per set of 10 pairs of transfers is... £6.00 plus postage at cost 0.75 for 2nd Class or £1.10 for 1st Class.

tel/text...07342 637 813

7 Ton Swivel Cradle Wagon, detail of number plate.

Swivel Cradle Wagon built by the author from one of his own aids to scratch building.

8Ton Jones 4-plank open wagon, close up of number plate.

General view of Jones open wagon with wagon plate. Built from one of Pete's sets of sides and ends, which provide modellers with a useful aid to scratch building.