Station buildings, past and present

   Over the years I’ve adapted and changed my modelling methods as new ideas, materials and techniques have appeared. During the early 1970’s I frequently experimented with  ‘Pyruma’, a type of fire cement once sold by many model shops. The idea was to cover the shell of a building, wall or other structure with it, and once dry to scribe stone or brickwork into its surface. These days ‘DAS’ modelling clay is a more agreeable alternative.

Iain Robinson built these lovely models of Fairford station building and signal box many years ago. By luck an article on their construction just happened to appear in the Railway Modeller as I started work on building a layout based on Fairford. However I couldn’t master the art of applying, and scribing ‘Pyruma’, so I took the the easy option and used some pre coloured, embossed ‘Faller’ card sheet instead. My model wasn’t exactly a success, nor was the layout which just didn’t live up to its early promise


Penhydd station building followed next, which was based upon the old ‘Prototype Models’ card kit of the building at Chalford. I scanned and copied the kit components onto plain card stock, then cut them out to use as templates, thus saving myself  a lot of measuring and marking out, and as a bonus I was left with  the original kit for another day.  I think it was the combined roof and canopy that attracted me to this particular building, but true to form I didn’t model it accurately. Instead I made a few minor changes to suit my needs and the space available. The real building was built from brick and the kit follows that faithfully, but I wanted a stone structure. So the walls were overlaid with Slaters embossed stone sheet. Windows and doors were built up from styrene strip, and the roof was made from Wills slates. The rainwater goods also came from Wills material packs, and the little detailing bits and pieces from a variety of sources.


The end for Penhydd came on the 11th May 2013, but the old building still survives. The small details such as the weighing, and chocolate machines, seats and fire buckets were salvaged and eventually found their way to Llangunllo.

Llangunllo Mk1


William Clarke provided the inspiration for the original Llangunllo station building, after all the one at Presteign had been built to his design. So it wasn’t unreasonable to think that the same style of building might have been used further up the line. Barry Norman suggested that a model of New Radnor station building might suit the bill, and he certainly had a point. However when I made a card mock up, the size of the building took me by surprise, it was huge and looked out of place. So the idea was dropped and I returned to my original plans. With the benefit of hindsight I should have adjusted a few of the buildings measurements and  its basic proportions. A lesson that was put to good use when I came to rebuild Llangunllo. As a matter of interest Paul Marshall-Potter paid a visit to New Radnor, and recorded the scene as it is today. You can view some  photos,  and read all about his visit, and some interesting ideas on modelling the station here.

Gerry Beale had written an extremely interesting article titled ‘The Standard Buildings of William Clarke’, which appeared in the ‘British Railway Journal No.8’. Included within its pages were plans for Portesham station building, and that is how I came to build my version of it.

Llangunllo Mk2


Having experimented with ‘Pyruma’, card and styrene sheet I broke new ground when I came to model my version of ‘Limekilns’ station building. My old friend Iain Robinson whose name keeps cropping up within these pages can be blamed for that. For not only has his architectural, and general model making skills inspired me over the years, but he also introduced me to ‘Palight’ foamboard. Now I had heard about this new model making medium but had bought an inferior brand which was far too soft, and didn’t take scribed detail cleanly, it also had a tendency to dissolve in front of your eyes if it came into contact with any solvents. However the samples that Iain sent me were completely different, looking and feeling just like thick styrene sheet.


Superglue is the recommended adhesive for joining foamboard but I’ve found Bostick all purpose clear, used slightly wet works fine with ‘Palight’ and ‘Foamex’. Styrene detail such as the plinths, quoins, sills, etc, etc are easily secured with Butanone. Any gaps and joints can be filled with Milliput, then sanded flush and scribed if needed. Once the walls were complete I sprayed the whole model with Halfords white acrylic primer. Painting can then be carried out in the normal manner with enamels, acrylics and even emulsion. The actual colours used were my usual mixes of Humbrol light and dark earth, over an undercoat of ‘Oatmeal’ emulsion, which gives a good representation of mortar. Individual stones were picked out by dry brushing variations of the same enamels, and finally the building was given a dusting of talc to blend everything together. So ends my tale of constructing station buildings.











march 22 2016 end of llangunllo

4 thoughts on “Station buildings, past and present

  1. Iain Robinson’s work has always caught my interest and imagination, I too recall that same article and it’s in my hard copy cuttings. I’ve never tried the scratch building route but recently have been getting into using plasticard and pre-formed sections. This is a timely reminder to give it a go!


    1. I think you would enjoy the experience Paul, I started off kit bashing and as my confidence grew I turned to scratch building. You’ve got form with plastic modelling so should find working in Plasticard comes easy.

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    1. I’m told its good to leave your readers wanting more 😉
      Seriously I have a piece on building construction lined up, but as you said yourself in a recent email people just want to open boxes these days, which begs the question who will read it?


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