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Photographer, scribbler, model maker, beer fancier, self confessed train nutter & general nerd.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A few new scenes around Polbrook Gurney Colliery

Currently I have Polbrook Gurney Colliery set up, not for any reason other than I haven't enjoyed it for a while. So what better than pointing a camera at it for some new snaps? Click on the photos below for bigger versions.

At the time of writing; Polbrook Gurney Colliery's next out will be at the Rochdale Model Railway Group Exhibition 11/12 April 2015

Littleborough Coach House
Lodge Street,
OL15 9AE

Saturday & Sunday 10am to 4.30pm
Admission - £3.00
Under 16s accompanied by an adult - Free
Layouts, Refreshments, Free Car Parking

Glowing in the morning light like jewel, a spankingly clean ex-works 'Class 33' is captured shunting around Polbrook Gurney Colliery and halt. September 1965. The engine will have a very light weathering when I have a spare moment. This is the view along the track that eye cannot normally see from a normal viewing angle. The vogue these days it get get everything in to focus, this breaks that.

 D2298 on loan to the NCB trips some internal wooden wagons down the 1 in 25 grade from Polbrook Gurney Upper Colliery. September 1965.

An 'Austerity' 0-6-0 tank 'Radstock' carefully works its way under one of the screens at Polbrook Gurney Colliery. Note the ancient side tipping wagons and 'Crompton' on the main line.

D2298 shunts wagons between the colliery and halt sidings at Polbrook Gurney

An Austerity 0-6-0 tank 'Radstock' propels a short rake of empties up the steeply graded line in to Polbrook Gurney Colliery. Note the ancient side tipping wagons

Monday, 26 May 2014

Railex 2014

Photo: Buckminster Ironstone, seen from the staging/fiddle yard end taken at the little layout's outing to Railex over the weekend. The loco, which was a visitor courtesy of Paul Marshall Potter, is a tweeked Hornby Sentinel. These inexpensive and very useful small engines are great runners. You can 'Like' Paul's Facebook Toy Chuffer page here. . Click photo to enlarge.
This weekend was Buckminster Ironstone's first outing. The show of choice being Railex in Aylesbury - a superb and fabulous showcase of some of the best modelling.
The tiny layout only has one point, so visual interest was enhanced with actual loading of wagons. Real crushed ironstone was considered, however it tends to produce are large amount of dust as well and clogging up the hopper. A workable alternative was chosen in the form of fine sand, which had been sprayed with a little red primer to give it a reddish hue. This flowed well through the hopper, and with the inevitable spillage, there was the risk that it would get in to locomotive mechanisms, but I was prepared to take the risk, which in the event was not a problem. The sand was washed prior, this might have removed any elements such as salt or mud which could make sand grains stick to loco wheels and maybe work up in to mechanisms.

Finally, I must thank Graham Muspratt for giving up his Saturday to play trains, and for Paul Marshall Potter for giving me several well needed breaks on the Sunday
Disclaimer for precious or nervous types; If you want to mix sand and toy trains; don't take my word for it - run a test if you want to try this out for yourself.
Photo: fine sand caught in action dropping into a hopper wagon. Click photo to enlarge.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Model Rail - April 2014 (194)

Issue on sale March 13.
Reviews, including Farish 'Jinty' 0-6-0T and second batch Heljan Class 128s
News: Latest new product photos from ModelRail Scotland, Model of the Year Results
Layouts: Seend BR/WR (OO), Deesdale Road (Modern Image, OO), Leeds Central BR/ER (OO)
Get the best from grass mats (PM)
Interior revamp for a Heljan AC Cars railbus (CJL)
Build a model of railbus LEV1 (JS-W)
How to build a quarry layout by Chris Nevard
How to install low reliefs and backscenes (CJL)
Modelling 60099 in N (BA)
Feature: Where next with Maunsell coaches?

Regulars: Q&A, Show & Tell, Backscene, plus George's Diary.

A major revamp of MR195 means that some articles shown in the 'Next Issue' advertisement within issue MR194 may be deferred (notably the 'Merchant Navy' article). Apologies for any inconvenience this might cause.


Thursday, 30 January 2014

How many would do this now?

Click photo to enlarge..

Back in the autumn a good friend was having a clear out and passed a few lovely wagons my way.
This loco coal wagon I thought was from a kit; however Tony its creator has put me right - I wonder how many go to these lengths now? It was built around 40 years ago and still looks sensational I hope you agree.

Over to Tony;

'I found the shot of my GWR coal wagon which you thought was a kit.  It was scratch built other than the hardware on the under frame.  The Rounded ends were moulded over the edge of a heated plate warmer found in a cottage in Sussex where we were staying.  Dashed off the Chichester for a sheet of 20 thou Plasticard and a scalpel and Hey Ho job done.'

Tony doesn't do much modelling these days; but he's always out snapping the current railway scene - his photography every bit as good as his modelling http://www.railpixtc.co.uk/

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A New Year, a New Scale...

Click above to enlarge
I finally managed to extract myself from the holiday spirit of putting things off to erect the next project.

Taken with a bit of light through the window and a bit of Photoshop to hide the houses on the other side of the road seen through the window; here we have Scotswood Road which was originally built by Ian Futers the well known serial layout builder. My job is to tidy up this elderly O gauge layout which I believe dates from the 1980's by using current scenic techniques, textures and colouring etc. When complete the layout will be heading for Scotland to be used at home by its owner as well as appearing at various exhibitions.

Scotswood Road, which will have a new name in due course will be serialised in Model Rail magazine as my next major project.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Uke by Rail Through 'Catgut' Burtle

Click on the photo above to enlarge....
In the days before motorways, oversize loads were taken by rail. This often involved temporarily moving lineside equipment and anything else that would have got in the way. This sort of traffic generally happened on Sundays to reduce the impact in the every day running of the railways.

Disclaimer: the over sized load here is of course just a model - squeaky-voiced-finger-pointing-middle-aged-still-living-with-mother-matter-of-fact-types, please note this is not a serious photo! As far as I know there has never been a concert sized Ukulele this big in real life (if this was the real full sized world of course), and if there had been, the wagon consist might not be quite like this blah blah...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Wednesday Photo

Click above for a bigger version
4631 puts on the brakes for Catcott Burtle; note the WR chocolate and cream liveried Mk1 inserted into this short train. The narrow gauge engine on the low loader in the siding on the right has recently arrived for the preservationists to use on the nearby peat tramway at weekends.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Proper 'Old Skool' Modeller

Click on the above photo to enlarge
A good friend of mine Tony Callaghan, revealed recently that back in the 1970's he was a P4 (1/76 in 18.83 exact scale) modeller. Then more recently due to a house move clear out very kindly gave me his stock that's been in boxes since the late 1970's, 1979 to be precisely -that's the date on the news print everything was wrapped up in!

Here's one of the many wagons, it's built from real wood, it's from pre-laser cut days so probably from scratch! I don't model P4, so swapped out the wheel sets for OO (but keeping the super fine exact scale wheels safely should I ever suffer a flangy aberration).

More wagons here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjLG1BU6

Tony, whilst he has not dabbled in toy trains for 35 years, is a fantastic photographer of the modern railway scene - check out his online gallery here http://www.railpixtc.co.uk/

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Longevity of Digital?

Click on the above photo to enlarge
'On a gorgeous early spring day, GBRF 66716 'Willesden Traincare Centre' is seen here passing Addlestone Moor, Chertsey with the 4Y19 Mountfield to Southampton Gypsum, Wednesday 15 March 2006.'

Mamiya 645s / 80mm Sekor. 1/1000 f4. Fujichrome RDP100.

Funny thing is that I think these transparencies (positive film) like this will still be around way after I've lost all my digital photos due to drive/file/CD failure or not paying the bill with cloud storage etc. I reckon than 30 years from now, less that 0.1% of all digital snaps taken this weekend will still exist. We'll just be able to rescan the old film, as long as we don't let it end up in a skip, go mouldy or fade.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

LBSCR 8 ton Goods Van

A cheeky little Pug shunting and LBSCR 8 ton Goods Van S.R. Dia. 1434 out of the trap siding designed to catch runaways on the gradient up the Polbrook Gurney Colliery. Wagons like this, apart from maybe on the Isle of Wight where all sorts of railway oddities survived, were usually tuned into firewood well before WW2, but in industrial private ownership they could survive far longer. This is one of the reasons why I like freelance industrial scenarios, almost anything goes.

The tatty box van was made up from a Smallbrook Studios resin kit and sits on a Dapol wagon underframe; you can see it along with some other unusual and interesting kits here: http://www.smallbrookstudio.co.uk/#/products-new/4569521214/LBSCR-8-ton-Goods-Van-S.R.-Dia.-1434/3738787  

Pug Power

Click on the photo above for a bigger version
L&Y 'Pug Power', as the little beastie stands by the entrance to the colliery sidings whist performing a shunting move. Hold on, is that the Evercreech goods in the background? I hope it all doesn't end in tears!

The Hornby (ex Dapol) model still looks good with a little work despite its age. They run OK too, as long as the wheels and track are kept clean. For OO users widening out the wheel back to backs help a little too, setting this one up for 14.8mm to suit my track keeps the waddle to the minimum.

This is the view from the fiddle yard on Polbrook Gurney Colliery, and if you want to see this layout for real, it will be at the excellent Wycrail in High Wycombe on Saturday 2 November http://www.hwdmrs.org.uk/wycrail/

Friday, 18 October 2013

Combining Interests and Hobbies

It's Friday, so a nice light hearted one, but then I've never been very serious about anything:

Combining interests and hobbies -
Firstly photography (taken with a camera, not a cell/mobiletelephony, 1/100, f16, 800 iso if you really want to know); then on the left, some apples that didn't make it in time for my trip to the cider making co-op down the road, so will most likely end up in pie and crumble.
Followed by the guitar, something I'm learning to play rather badly still, but I can perform chords ACDEG one after the other without looking at a book now, and then toy chuffers of course as seen here. They're all OO, but if I'd used an EM gauge hopper wagon followed by a brake van in P4, I'd have had less of a problem with them falling in between strings 2 and 4. The smoke; just because I can, and I love Marmite.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The View from Mother's Bedroom

Click photo to enlarge!
That's Ivo Peters' Bentley in the foreground, taken from the upstairs window of the Pendant & Armchair pub. 'Mother' lives in his room, she rocks to and fro in her armchair for up to 18 hours a day. Rumour has it she has not left the room since 1952.

From that position she can 'keep and eye on her boys' coming and going with their jam sarnies and lemonade, whilst making sure they bring no 'gurls' back... "ohhh no no no no, nothing will come between me and my boys"...

See Polbrook Gurney Colliery at Wycrail on Saturday 2 November - but without 'mother' though....
More info here: http://www.hwdmrs.org.uk/wycrail/

Thanks to James Finister for sending in this link; should you not have seen his post below:

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Polbrook Gurney Colliery at Model Rail Live - this weekend!

Click photo for a bigger view!
A scene from the mid-1970's at Polbrook Gurney Colliery; a class 31 by Model Rail's George Dent arrives with empties as Austerity 0-6-0 tank 'Polbrook No.2' by David Warwick prepares a full rake.

This photo is not manipulated, other than the use of tools to extend the depth of field, content wise including the sky and lighting, it is all real and not meddled with - what you see, is what you get for real.

This layout will be at Model Rail Live this weekend  - www.modelraillive.co.uk  - see you there?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Model Rail: Sepetember 2013 (issue 187)

Contents for this issue by Chris Leigh
Layouts -
Sanatorium Road OO
Annedale Town (2mm)
Glen Gillie OO

Reviews -
Bachmann 4F 0-6-0
Farish J39 0-6-0
TMC modified horseboxes

Features -
Model Rail Live preview
Signalboxes masterclass
How to use plaster cloth
Pro Grass applicator review
How to install point rodding
Improve Hornby's '72xx'
Make buildings smoke
Improve a 'presflo' wagon

Plus all the regulars except 'Backscene' - as I was in Canada, George stood in with his Diary. 

Paul Rolley's Sanatorium Road - click to enlarge! Photo: Chris Nevard/Model Rail

Saturday, 7 September 2013


Click to enlarge!
Here is a trio of RT Models Contractor's side tipping wagon previously seen a week of two ago here before painting. The wagons, apart from a little weathering on the wheels are to all intents and purposes complete, and I think looking quite at home on this little Ironstone project I currently have on the go.

The yellow load is real Colsterworth iron ore from the South Lincolnshire; and with my toy-train-land-fiction destined for calcination - which is not something suffered by chronic armchair modellers and moaning pontificators, but an industrial process to drive out moisture from iron ore and other such minerals. The main reason for the process is that calcinated ore is much lighter - a significant thing when transporting by rail which charges by weight.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Workbench: RT Models Contractor's tipper wagon

Click for a bigger view!
On the workbench; an RT Models Contractor's tipper wagon kit. The white metal wagon is seen here before finishing and painting. For this photo the wheels will are borrowed from another wagon, the still to be bought split spoke wheels will have the pin points ground off flat. Note the 16 tonner it's parked next to for size comparison.

Full build review in Model Rail magazine shortly. www.model-rail.co.uk

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Great British Model Railways!

I've been waiting for the announcement of this for some time, having in the early part of the summer escaped the heat to trawl through well over a 3000 images of mostly unpublished photographs of wonderful layouts, photographed for Model Rail for this well overdue celebration of Great British Model Railways... 

The official press release....

Introducing Model Rail's exciting new publication: Great British Model Railways, Volume 1. 

Published on August 15th, it's a pictorial compilation celebrating some of the country's finest layouts and master modellers. 132 pages of top quality model railways and stunning photography for just £4.99. Available from WHSmith and Model Rail stockists from August 15th.

Yours for peanuts, OK, maybe that plus the price of a pint of foaming, all just for £4.99!

PS. It's on really nice paper too!


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Joy the Great Outside & Analogue days

Click to enlarge
This time of year I spend as much time outside as possible, and whilst for many the hobby pauses during the summer months, the advantage of a small layout is that it can be taken outside and popped onto the garden table allowing to continue. You also have to advantage of no electronic toys sitting on the desk in front you to distract from the job in hand.

Another advantage of working outside is that you don't have to be quite as tidy as you would indoors, especially when messing about with scenic materials like static grass and coloured ground foam flocks, because a little dropped onto the lawn of not going to upset most people. Of course you don't want to drop anything that you might want to retrieve, because it will have almost certainly been swiftly thieved  by a league of marching ants. Yet another advantage of working outside is great light, which can make those fiddly jobs just a little less tiring on the ageing eyes!

The recent warm weather also has the bonus in that the chore of ballasting sets quickly, with it only taking around an hour or so for the diluted glue and ballast to go off. With this ironstone quarry project, the high summer sunlight caused the rails to get really hot, in fact too hot to touch! A good test though, and hopefully one that has given me confidence in the track will not buckle in a hot smelly exhibition hall - should I take this mini-layout out on the road that is.

The above photo shows that the ironstone quarry project is looking pretty complete, and to the sceptics that think all model railway layout photos are just 'Photoshop', in this shot there is none - the backscene being a wrap around print which runs right around the rear of the layout in a large arc.

There is still some detail and a little scenic work to do, and I also need to mess about with some suitable wagons and maybe locos. As part of the operation, the plan is to load the empty wagons via the loading hopper with real loose iron ore to add to audience interest - or more likely amusement. The lighting rig also needs to be built, for this photo I used my studio lighting, but the plan is to have the same quality and colour of light as in the photo.

Linking back to the opening paragraph, regulars will notice that I don't blog here quite as much as in the past, the reason being that I'm often too busy doing real life things rather than sitting in front of a computer which can be very unproductive. I call these computer free-periods 'Analogue Days', I enjoy these because a lot of model making can be carried out, which very much proves what slaves we all are to these useful but dreaded machines, which can be like blotting paper to spilt ink.

For this same reason these days, I keep away from model railway forums like RMweb and others apart from the occasional flying visit to one of two of the smaller ones, being careful not to dwell too long. I now just treat them like a visit to the pub when you have to drive (which as a beeroholic no fun), a quick coke sufficing rather than an oh so fun boozy all afternoon session with nothing to show for it. I mention this forum bit, because people/forum flies increasingly ask me at shows why I'm not seen on forums much these days. The same people also ask me how I get so much model making done....

Unlike hanging around on forums , I do still like to go to the pub to enjoy a few ales, without the car of course, but I certainly won't be using the 'Free Wifi'.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Ironstone wagons

A couple of free wagons from Model Rail's Peter Marriott. These will be ideal for the ironstone project after a little work. Not all will know that the current Bachmann offering dates back to Mainline of the 1980's. The current version (brown) has much better chassis tooling. The old one will need some fettling to match. I think I have some white metal brake rigging castings that can be spliced in. Of course I could buy a new one. But that rather defeats The object.

Photos of the Ironstone Quarry Project http://www.flickr.com/photos/nevardmedia/sets/72157634128967801/ 

Previous BLOG post on this project http://nevardmedia.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/vobster-high-dykeironstone-quarry.html

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Vobster - High Dyke/Ironstone Quarry

Narrow to standard gauge transhipment. Click to enlarge
A few weeks ago I posted Vobster, a little mini-layout to make use of Polbrock's old diorama case, baseboard and backscene. I possible idea was a quarry off the Highbury Railway near Frome, but after a visit to the High Dyke area of South Lincolnshire known for its now defunct rail served ironstone quarries, I have settled on a little known part of the Buckminster system off High Dyke. 

A couple of weeks ago having a good poke about in the area and  I even found some iron stone in what was Colsterworth Quarry - much of which has been smashed up and sprinkled everywhere on this little scene here. The hilly landscape south of Grantham is not too dissimilar to the backscene inherited from Polbrock (the little GWR halt that used to be here having moved into Polbrook Gurney - "confused? You will be"), though I will need to add some shrubbery to hide Cornish Engine on it!

The loading/hopper is a Wills Coal Loader that's been kicking about on my bookshelf and was in need of a home.

Usually the narrow gauge tipplers would have been tipped straight into the standard gauge wagons, but my excuse is that the occasional use of taller ex-LNER 20T hoppers required this installation. The plan at shows will be to actually load wagons with loose mineral - probably simply spoon fed from above the hopper/loader.

External link: One of the various ironstone quarries off the High Dyke systemhttp://www.nvr.org.uk/sites/default/files/d10201-001.jpg

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Larkrail: 'A Light Railway and Branchline Modelling Miscellany'

Polbrook Gurney will made a rare visit to the Bath area on Saturday 20 July at Larkrail.

Larkrail will take place on Saturday the 20th July 2013 at the New Oriel Hall in Larkhall on the east side of Bath.
Opening times 10.00am to 4.30pm.
Admission fees £4.00 to everybody, accompanied under 16s free

Be sure to visit the dedicated web page http://www.titfield.co.uk/Camrail/Camindex.htm

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Model Rail August 2013 (MR185) Highlights

Photo: Model Rail August 2013 (MR185) Highlights
News: BBMF Class 91 update. 
Bachmann BR Mk1 sleeping car
Bachmann 'WD' 2-8-0 revised
Dapol yellow bubble car and NBL TYpe 2 in green (N)
Noch Grasmaster 2
New Hey (EM)
Law Junction (N)
Deeping Lane Depot (OO)
Segmore Sidings (OO)
Space saver using the Noch segment turntable
How to paint animals
How make a cobbled street
Scratchbuild a water tank in plastic
Make a water tank wagon
Fit sound to a Graham Farish 'Scot'
Build a resin EMU kit
Make code 100 track look good
Model third rail/install Peco third rail
Masterplan: A spare room branch line (Lymington Pier)
Exhibition Diary/News
BacksceneModel Rail August 2013 (MR185) Highlights
News: BBMF Class 91 update.
Bachmann BR Mk1 sleeping car
Bachmann 'WD' 2-8-0 revised
Dapol yellow bubble car and NBL TYpe 2 in green (N)
Noch Grasmaster 2
New Hey (EM)
Law Junction (N)
Deeping Lane Depot (OO)
Segmore Sidings (OO)
Space saver using the Noch segment turntable
How to paint animals
How make a cobbled street
Scratchbuild a water tank in plastic
Make a water tank wagon
Fit sound to a Graham Farish 'Scot'
Build a resin EMU kit
Make code 100 track look good
Model third rail/install Peco third rail
Masterplan: A spare room branch line (Lymington Pier)
Exhibition Diary/News