Station Building Pt2………….

The last time the station building appeared in these pages it had received a base coat of paint and was ready for a little weathering. That job is now complete with several sheets of corrugated iron having been dry brushed with mixes of Precision paints dirty black, weathered wood and Humbrol matt leather and dark earth enamels. Sap green acrylic was dry brushed where water stains might have formed around drain pipes, and along the bottom of the building. I worked the various weathering process up gently, doing a little at a time and then taking a step back to look at things again before proceeding. I’m not one for heavy weathering, preferring a more subtle approach which I feel looks far more realistic. Rainwater goods were painted in Humbrol chocolate enamel, and then given a dusting of talcum powder to create a weatherworn, faded appearance.

A stove pipe chimney was added above the waiting room, and a simpler one above the ticket office and store. Door frames were made from basswood strip, and painted with a mix of Precision weathered wood and Humbrol matt white enamel, most of the latter being rubbed away to create a weatherworn neglected appearance. As an experiment I made the window frames from styrene, rather than the self adhesive labels as used for the goods yard huts. I felt that something with a better defined relief detail was needed for a building that would take centre stage on the layout. I did take a look at various cast resin, and lasercut window frames but couldn’t find anything of the correct size. Three different sizes of frame were needed, two identical 4 pane frames for the front of the building, a slightly smaller one for the end elevation and an even small one of a completely different style for the WC.

The frames are rather flimsy until they are built up with the various overlays, but once the solvent has set they are strong enough to be cleaned up with files. Glazing was from clear PTEC sheet, glued in place with Canopy Glue.

With the window frames installed I took a selection of photos to see how the building looked prior to adding poster boards, and continuing with the weathering.

The S&T department has been busy preparing the building for a connection to the rest of the railway system. Once the scenery has been completed then the lines and wiring will be connected, to do so at this stage of the build would only result in them being damaged.

The corrugated sheeting has been deliberately distressed in hope of creating an air of neglect. Poster boards were constructed from styrene sheet to match the size of the Tiny Signs posters. The WC glazing was sprayed with ‘Testors Dull Coat’ to make it appear opaque. More grass and weeds are needed on the platform surface, I mentioned in a previous post how I see an unkempt hedgerow spilling over, and through the fence onto the platform. A couple of enamel advertising signs will appear on the fencing, along with some fire buckets which are currently being painted. Though I suspect the powers that be would be more than happy to see the building burn to the ground. Etched drain covers from MSE have been let into the platform surface below each downpipe, not that you can easily see them.

Both the doors and their frames have hardly any paint left on them. To be honest two dodgy tins of enamel paint was the cause of that. For despite plenty of stirring both doors ended up in a horrid, tacky, gloss mess, which still hadn’t dried after a week! Normally a light dusting of talcum powder would have acted as a matting agent, and salvaged the situation, but on this occasion the dodge didn’t work. So there was nothing I could do other than strip the doors back to plain styrene, and start all over again with a different type and shade of paint.

I did plan to return to working on the scenery next, but will be turning my attention to painting and weathering some goods wagons, and completing the platelayers hut.

The first train to call………………….

A quiet spell at an all but deserted Bleddfa Road.


Bleddfa From The Air……………….

I can’t say that I am a fan of the helicopter shot, so normally I would only take them for planning purposes. But following a recent request for a birds eye view of the layout I came up with these photos, which may be the last for a couple of months as I am about to start a course of radiotherapy for my prostate cancer. I was diagnosed with the disease earlier this year and am now halfway through my treatment. My problem was caught early and I’m told that I have a 95% chance of being cured completely. So guys please get yourselves checked out, it doesn’t take long and isn’t painful. Anyway having got that off my chest lets get back to modelling. The first two photos show how the layout has developed over the last two years.

Then and now, this was the scene on the 23rd November 2019, and this is how it looks today……………

The only change of plan was to replace the signal cabin with a ground frame, which for me, works far better. Following a few simple modifications the cabin lived to see another day as the goods yard office. The narrow cart track that leads up to the station, is very similar to one close to where I live. But my model cart track is in far better repair at the moment, but it will become increasingly distressed as the scene is developed.

Had everything gone to plan then I would have weathered the station building by now, and would have been well on the way to finishing the building off. But life, as I explained earlier has got in the way and slowed me down.

Another job to be put on hold is the telegraph poles, I couldn’t make my mind up between those produced by Duncan Models which feature a wooden post, or the Peco plastic kit. In the end I decided to use the latter as it is easier to construct different types of posts. I have been very impressed with the Peco 7mm kits, which in my opinion are light years ahead of their 4mm scale products. Dave Stone of Sherton Abbas fame wrote a very interesting and useful article on using the Peco telegraph poles which can be found here……………………..

The final photo shows what I have in mind for this section of the layout, and perhaps this time next year it will be all but complete.


Station Building Pt 1………….

Two years have passed since I drew up plans for Bleddfa Road’s station building. I liked the idea of model something cheap and cheerful, the sort of structure that might have been provided as a temporary measure. A corrugated iron structure like the one which once stood Llanrhaiadr Mochnant on the ‘Tanat Valley Railway’ appealed to me, but I was unsure if it would fit into the scene that I planned to model. The real building underwent many changes over the years, following the withdrawal of passenger services the ladies WC was replaced by an office. It is believed that an extra door was added to the main building at the same time. Liking a bit of artistic freedom I decided that my version of the building would feature the ladies WC, and the extra door.

Throwing caution to the wind I made the shell of the building from 3mm Palight foamboard and card. It was designed to fit into an aperture cut into the platform surface, thus providing additional strength and avoiding an unsightly joint line between the building and platform. At the time I was still feeling my way in 7mm scale, still am come to that, so I didn’t rush the model. But straight from the off I made a mistake, as there shouldn’t be a window in the side elevation that faces the approach road. Still it was easy enough to blank it out, and once the walls were clad in Slater’s corrugated sheet nobody would have been the wiser if I hadn’t mentioned it.

With the goods shed completed, and with the station building rapidly taking shape I began to get that all important feeling of place. Though this scene is far from complete I can imagine myself walking up to the station. The small structure is the ladies WC, and should really be attached to the other end of the building to provide a little more privacy. A small hinged flap was provided at the base of the WC for removing, what I assume would be have been an Elsan chemical toilet bucket.

I had always found rainwater goods to be a bit of a pain when modelling in 4mm scale and reckon I must have tried every method going. Then along came Alan Buttler with his new architectural detailing components. My examples were very nicely printed, and fitted together perfectly, I would certainly recommend them!

At this stage of the build the main gutter had been fitted in place, but the one along the end and its downpipe were only Blu- tacked in place.

The Modelu figure scales out at 5ft 6″ high (1.68m) and has proved invaluable throughout the whole layout planning process. One of the doors is panelled, and on the real building it was on the right, the other door is a simple planked affair as per the prototype. Both were made from styrene sheet.

With the basic building all but complete it was given a coat of Precision Paints Weathered Wood enamel. Some subtle weathering will follow and then the doors, windows and poster boards along with a few other details will follow.

Finally a view looking in the other direction, to be continued…………….


Slow But Sure Progress………

A couple of weeks ago I finally made up my mind as to how the old line to Llangunllo would disappear into the backscene. With the remainder of the branch on borrowed time, something cheap and simple would most likely have been used, so I thought a mound of spent ash ballast would fit the bill nicely. There would have been plenty lying around after the track beyond Bleddfa Road was lifted, so I constructed this……….

The base is DAS modelling clay which was pressed into the end of the track and gently moulded twixt fingers and thumb to blend into the surrounding scenery. Once happy with its shape the clay was removed and allowed to harden. The whole thing was then coated in PVA and covered in ash ballast, along with some clumps of grass, and odd bits of dressed seamoss, to represent weeds and other growth.

Here it is in situ, I still have some bushes to plant behind the water tower and buffer stop. The timber baulks have now been chained to the track, well glued to be honest. One advantage of this idea is that it takes up less space than a van, or buffer stop. So there is now enough room for a tender engine should one find its way down the branch. Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to offer ideas and suggestions as to how the line should end.

Wanting a break from modelling scenery I once again turned my attention to the goods shed. My aim was to create a building that had seen better days, one that had been roughly patched up over the years with whatever materials could be found lying around. I have come across several photographs of similar sheds which show the steps lying on the ground beside the shed, so those on the model are freestanding. Despite being constructed from lightweight materials, namely foamboard, styrene and basswood the model has a very satisfying, weighty feel to it. Having studied the finish of similar building, I discovered that the nuts, bolts and washers used to secure the sheet material in place were hardly noticeable under the thick coats of paint that had been applied over the years. So those on the model are nothing more than small cubes of styrene, which have been rounded off with a solvent laden brush.

At the moment the shed is still in the process of being weathered. The base coat is Precision Paints weathered wood enamel. Some panels have been painted with a mix of the same colour and Humbrol leather, or dirty black. The bottom edges of the sheets where rust normally begins to take hold have been dry brushed with my own mix of rust, namely light and dark earth Humbrol enamels and a touch of red. The doors were painted a light grey, then dry brushed with Humbrol natural wood, and the same weathered wood. I have been building the weathering up slowly, leaving things for a few days before adding more subtle tones.

Though there are several differences between this view, and the one of Llansilin Road in the top right of the photo below. I think it is plain to see where the basic inspiration for the layout came from.

My goods shed is loosely modelled on the one that once stood at Llanrhaiadr Mochnant, which is not only longer than the one in the photo but is also mounted on brick pillars. A feature that I prefer to the timber trestle style base.

Finally two weeks ago today 1455 was caught on camera whilst exchanging empty for full coal wagons. Next time I will be featuring the station building which is now well on the way to completion………..


Viewing Photos……..

Just a quick reminder that you can view any photo here on the blog full size. Just scroll down to the end of the post you are reading, and you will see a gallery featuring every photo that appears in that particular post. Left click on any photo and it will first appear as part of a slideshow. Look at the bottom right of your screen and you will see a circle with an exclamation mark within it. Click on that and the number of the photo will appear in the bottom centre of your screen. You will then see a tab marked view full size, click on that and Bobs your uncle. If you want to see how rough my modelling is then click on the photo again and you can zoom in.

Try it on the photo below which is in the gallery section of the post…….



When I first started off on this 7mm scale modelling journey I was given a very sound piece of advice. “If you intend modelling a railway in the landscape you are going to need as much width as possible, if you are short of that then keep any buildings and especially trees on the small side”. Those wise words have stuck in my mind ever since I started to construct the layout. So an awful lot of time has been spent on studying the real world, searching out small buildings and other mundane things that are so often taken for granted.

Sometimes I curse the camera for picking out faults and blemishes that the naked eye tends to miss. At other times it is a godsend, especially when testing out new ideas and composing a scene. I usually have a good idea of how I want things to look, but before committing myself I have a dry run. I then take a photo or two from different angles and weigh everything up. More often than not I will tweak things and take photos of the same scene again. Rarely do I get the look that I am after at the first attempt, and at times a complete rethink is called for. Moving a tree or building a couple of inches can make a world of difference, colour and texture also need to be considered. That was the case in the above photo, the creation of a slightly larger gap between the trees on the right, and the hedgerow on the left, opened up a pleasant view of the rolling fields in the background. Whilst the painted hedgerow on the backscene helps create the illusion of depth, the layout being only 21 inches, slightly over 53 cm at this point. As for the colouring, well I am rather pleased with how the backscene blends into the modelled scene.

I think the scene also works when looking from a different angle, sometimes you just get lucky.

It is no secret that an old iron mink van will mask the truncated line as it disappears into the backscene. However I am beginning to wonder if that is necessary, perhaps an area of undergrowth will work better?

I see the unkempt hedgerow continuing to spread behind and to the left of the lamp hut, with brambles forcing their way through the fencing to spill onto the platform. I’m not sure how I will model that but am thinking along the lines of using strands of rubberized horsehair and odd bits of seamoss. Whatever material I use needs to be fairly open, to allow glimpses of the fields and hedgerows on the backscene

1455 has returned from the paint shop after being given an overall coat of grime, along with some soot and ash stains. I’ll be adding a few more subtle weathering touches myself in due course. Like 7416 she awaits the addition of some tools, shovels, a bucket and crew. I also need to weather the 16T mineral, but won’t be going overboard as such wagons were relatively new in the era that I am modelling.


Grotty Tin & Wooden Huts…….

For the past few weeks I have been working on the goods yard huts, which like many similar prototype structures have been cobbled together from whatever materials were to hand. So my models are a mix of ‘Palight’ foamboard, Slater’s corrugated iron sheet and plain styrene.

The whole project has been somewhat delayed whilst I awaited the delivery of some moulded nuts, bolts and washers, to replicate those used for securing corrugated sheeting.

EDM Models supplied the nuts and bolts, they also stock some useful moulded rivets and other detailing parts.

The small hut is just a simple styrene box, the planking having been scribed onto the styrene with an ‘Olfa Cutter’ prior to assembly

All the bolt holes were drilled out to 0.45 mm, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. In fact I found it to be a rather relaxing exercise, but then again perhaps I need to get out more?

With the basic shell completed the wooden areas were masked off, and a coat of red acrylic primer from a rattle can was applied to the corrugated sheeting. Some areas of the roof were painted a rust colour, mixed up from leather, dark and light earth enamels, with a touch of red. Wet and dry papers of various grades were then used to cut the paint back in random areas to give the effect of corrosion. The same technique was used on the corrugated iron sides but with a little green dry brushed in random areas. Some of the nuts and bolts were given a dab of rust, which were then touched with a brush load of thinners causing streaks of rust to run naturally downwards.

All the wooden areas were painted in green enamel, followed by natural and weathered wood, both of which were dry brushed in random fashion. With the painting completed all the surfaces were dusted with talcum powder, which not only blended everything together but also gave a pleasing faded look.

Simple structures like this, that can be made from odds and ends are ideal as an introduction to scratch building.

A close up of the nuts bolts and washers, after studying the real things I found they were hardly noticeable from a distance, and think simple styrene cubes would have been just as effective. In fact I used some in various places to see if I would notice the difference.

One job I had been avoiding was the windows, in the end I decided to use clear PTEG sheet for the glazing and self adhesive labels for the frames. It is an old technique that can give good results. The frames are built up in layers, and are best painted in watercolours, which can easily be removed from the glazing with a wooden toothpick.

Once I was happy with the huts I bedded them into the ground, and I also worked up the yard surface a little more. The grass is a mix of Greenscene straw and summer static grasses. Some areas have been planted with individual grass tufts, very time consuming but well worth the effort in my opinion.

There is still plenty to keep me occupied in this area, coal scales and sacks, weeds and bushes, the list is endless.

The plan now is to complete the goods shed and more of the yard area, followed by the station building. That little lot should see me through to Christmas, though I’m certainly not working to a deadline!


Another Small Step………….

Several weeks ago I made the decision to have 7416 professionally weathered. Though I had always been happy enough to weather my 4mm scale models myself, I drew the line when it came to weathering my 7mm locomotives and carriages. To begin with I don’t own an airbrush, or the skills to use one. Furthermore I didn’t feel that a light covering of soot and grime could be applied to my satisfaction by brush painting alone. I did consider using weathering washes but I am still feeling my way with them. So I had a word with Steve Johnson, the proprietor of who has been offering a weathering service for a good number of years. I sent Steve a few photos to work from, left 7416 with him and this is what he came up with………..

I requested an overall subtle dusting of soot and grime, including the cab windows. The buffer beams needed to be toned down and the bright polished safety valve cover of the factory finish just had to go. There are a few touches of light rust around the steps and brake gear, not that my photos pick much of it out. The cab controls have been dulled down, there are a couple of scuff marks below the bunker steps and evidence of water being spilled from one of the tank filler caps.

I am not really a fan of heavy weathering, preferring the look of a loco that is in regular service, but in need of a good clean, a case of each to his own……………………….

Yes I know that lovely clean Modelu lamp sticks out like a sore thumb, I have a batch of them to weather when I get around to it.

Two views of 7416 before and after weathering, and no I still haven’t completed the 7 plank open.

On a different note I have completed the water tower, well I think I have for now. I will probably take a look at it again once the area surrounding it has been worked up a little more. In case you are wondering the ladder is a Peco product, and like others in their 7mm range I find them to be rather good. The handrails were formed from soft 30 gauge wire, the same as used for making the armatures of the various saplings.

The same scene from a different angle but in monochrome, which to me captures the look of the era that I am modelling far better than colour.

Finally with water tanks topped up 7416 heads back down the branch for Presteign and Kington, where more wagons will be added to her train before she departs for Leominster.


Hedgerows, Saplings & A Surprise…

For the past few weeks I have been working on an unkempt hedgerow that will run along the goods yard boundary. Rather than take the easy option and use clumps of horsehair covered in foliage, I decided to try Gordon Gravett’s methods as explained in his books and articles. Why do things the hard way, well I wanted the hedgerows to have an airy, open look. I also enjoy modelling scenery, and pushing myself to create something a little better.

I started off by making some basic armatures from strands of 30 gauge paper coated florists wire. The paper coating enables the strands of wire to be bonded together with a coat of PVA.

Once painted with a dark grey, almost black coat of artists acrylics, Woodland Scenic’s medium green foliage was teased out and applied over the branches. There are cheaper foliage mats out there, but they don’t seem to be colourfast, I learned that the hard way! Some long straw coloured grasses, with perhaps a few wildflowers will be added later as I continue to work up the scene.

The hedgerow from a different angle showing its open nature and how it becomes more dense towards the backscene. The idea being to create a shadowed area as the yard approach lane reaches the backscene, see the photo below.

An area of rough grass has now taken root around the rusted yard gate, which hasn’t been swung closed for years. A gatepost on the opposite side of the lane has yet to be added, along with some rusted railings behind the yard office, the buffer stop and water tower.

Whilst working in and around the goods yard, I was thinking about the proposed trees at the other side of the layout, and came to the conclusion that perhaps some young saplings would work better? My thinking being that the scene would look more open.

Early days yet, but I think the saplings work rather well, blending nicely into the trees painted on the backscene. The armatures were constructed in the same way as those for the hedgerow, and were covered with a mix of dark and mid green foliage mat. The undergrowth along the cutting has been worked up with coarse turf, which again is from the Woodland range.

The goods yard is now coming together much as planned, but there is still plenty of work to do. Such as adding a ladder, handrails and access hatch to the water tower, which also need weathering. Then the yard offices need finishing off, and the yard surface itself needs to be more overgrown.

On a different note AEC Railcar W26W paid a surprise visit to Bleddfa Rd. last week. Here she is waiting to depart with the late afternoon service to Presteign, Kington and Leominster. This is the new Heljan model, which looks rather at home in her surroundings.


Das Bridge……..

For the past month I have been busy making wire armatures for some trees and unkempt hedgerows. It is the sort of job that favours batch building, but before long my arthritic fingers began to ache and I had to take a break. So looking for a supposedly easier job I decided to cover the shell of the overbridge with DAS modelling clay, prior to carving stonework into its surface. You could be excused for thinking that I had swapped one tedious job for another, but I find carving DAS to be a rather relaxing. I also decided to experiment with a mirror in hope of creating the illusion of the line continuing into the distance beyond the bridge. I used the same dodge on my previous layout Llangunllo, the thinnest mirror that I could find at that time was 3mm thick, which made the job of blending the mirror into the bridge abutments rather difficult, due to the prismatic effect created around the mirror edge.

I use a couple of cake decorating tools for carving DAS, which fit nicely into my pin vices. In this photo the stonework is almost complete, the tree armature is meant for another location down in the goods yard, and is currently being coated in bark mix. A large Elm tree which is also under construction will be planted in this spot, and the Silflor grass mat that surrounds it will then be torn into clumps, and mixed with other scenic materials and static grasses. In case you are wondering the rail has been cleaned in certain areas prior to fitting fishplates, hence the shiny section in this view. How I managed to fit the 4mm scale equivalents is beyond me!

Stone carving tools as mentioned in the text

I had experimented with mirror card on Llangunllo, which can be found in any decent craft shop, but it wasn’t clear enough for the job in hand. Then by chance I came across an emergency car mirror repair kit.

These are designed to fit over a damaged wing mirror glass by using a self adhesive backing, best of all the material is only 1mm thick and can be trimmed to size using scissors. It all sounded too good to be true but nevertheless I parted with a fiver and this is what turned up in the post a couple of days later……..

The surface was just as good as the acrylic mirror that I had used on Llangunllo, but it does benefit from a card backing to keep the surface flat and prevent any distortion. Bearing in mind that any backing needs to be cut undersize to keep it well clear of the mirror edges.

The bridge today looks a bit different now that the stonework has been painted and weathered. I started off by painting the bridge abutments in different shades of grey acrylic. Individual stones were then picked out and dry brushed with Precision Paints weathered wood enamel. Then with the paint still tacky a blend of soot, ash and rust weathering powders were brushed onto the surface. The wooden bridge span was painted in the same weathered wood enamel, before being dry brushed with Humbrol 110 natural wood, and 64 matt grey enamels. A light dusting of Johnsons baby powder followed which gives a nice faded look. The tree is an old one from Llangunllo and not the elm that I mentioned previously. It has just been plonked there as an aid to planning the scene along with the grass that surrounds it.

Meanwhile down in the goods yard work continues on an unkempt hedgerow….

The wire armatures in this view have been made from 30 gauge florist wire, which has the advantage of being paper coated, so PVA can be brushed over the wire to bind everything together. Bark mix will be applied next and once dry it will be painted. Teased horse hair will then be fixed to the branches and foliage will then be applied. This is pure Gordon Gravett and very time consuming, but if I can capture the open airy look of Gordon’s hedgerows then it will be time well spent. The small trees to the right aren’t as open because I wanted to create an area of dark shadow to help disguise the yard approach as it nears the backscene.

Well that more or less brings everything up to date, thanks for reading.


This view appeared in an earlier post as a mock up, and this is how it appears today now that it has been modelled. The fence and gate have yet to be secured in place as they are awaiting a spot of weathering. They will be heavily rusted as will a gatepost at the other side of the lane.