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

Friday, 6 July 2018

Mini Branch Line Terminus

Progress with my current commission. A OO Gauge (1/76) branch line terminus in a foot print of 4 x 1 feet. Exit left to fiddle yard.

I’m using traditional copper clad point construction here, one of the joys being that a track plan can be drawn to fit the space. Not a straight piece of track here for greater visual appeal.

Once the track is constructed, the foamcore base will be glued on to the plywood baseboard- a Tim Horn diorama case/baseboard. Laying track inside a diorama case would require the skills of a contortionist - this gets around that.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Nano Layout?

Finally finished the tiniest layout I’ve ever built. Just 14x4 inches without fiddle yard. Designed to live in a small plastic storage box. Working in such a small scale and footprint definitely sharpens up my act, the camera getting a lot closer than the eye! This was a commission, the owner supplying the baseboard with a length of track pinned down - my job was to decorate it to make it look ‘West Country’. I’ll miss this one when it goes on Monday. Could such a small layout (if it can be called that) be a new sub genre #nanolayout ? Rule: 2 square feet? 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Somewhere in Suffolk

A little fun in the studio, messing about with one of my photo planks, a grubbed up Hornby J15 and a recently built Airfix windmill. The background is a bit of computer jiggerypokery, because I didn’t have the time to build the entire scene. Recreating these mock ups, I find quite useful when planning layout ideas, if only to see what works, or not. Click on the photo above for a bigger version.

Later this year I plan build a small East Anglian themed layout when I have time between build commissions for other people. Knocking up all the buildings on weekends between my weekday commercial work is the way forward - the actual layout build can then be quite speedy.

Here is the original set up, just a couple of sheets on white foam board, simply lit with some natural window light. For budding photographers, I highly recommend knocking up a little length of grassy embankment with track. If you don’t want to mess about indoors with your camera, fun can outside with a real background.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

March 2018 Update

March 2018 update...

Since moving in to model making commissions the diary has been filling up nicely, keeping me nice an busy when not out on the road for Model Rail magazine. My photography often involves a lot of driving, so as a balance it's great to work in my studio at home - especially with the recent snowy conditions. Here is a quick precise of what's been going on....
An N gauge 'nano layout' - just awaits a photo backscene. Click to enlarge
Another layout in a box! My current project as seen above, has been to complete a tiny N gauge depiction of the Kyle of Lochalsh for a customer - all designed to fit in to one of those plastic storage crates. The photo above shows it awaiting a proper backscene which is currently at the printers. Excuse the ropey mobile phone snap above - I'll do a proper shoot of it before handing it over. 

The owner, being deeply smitten with Pete Matcham's stunning 2mm fine scale layout, asked me to build something similar - but with my own slant - it would be wrong to build an exact clone. The baseboards were supplied with the track already laid, my job being to decorate it with buildings and scenery - the station building being a complete scratchbuild.
Kyle of Lochalsh in February - what a lovely backscene! Click to enlarge
Working in N gauge really sharpens up ones model making because you get in a lot closer with a camera - highlighting any rough bits! I'll come back to this project shortly with some proper photographs once the backscene (currently at the local printers) is in place.

Gateshead Fuel Shed. Click to enlarge
Also on the work bench is a 4mm scale model of Gateshead fueling shed, a stalled project originating from a rather rough laser cut kit. It is  currently in the hands of miniature metalwork expert Graham Bone having some intricate brass work added to the roof - before coming back to me for completion. Here is is halfway through the build.

Adams Radial tank - in early Bluebell Railway guise. Click to enlarge
A fun little job over the Christmas break was to depict the Bluebell Railway's Adams Radial tank as it arrived shortly after withdrawal from British Railways. The time worn loco initially had its BR numbering a logo painted over for a short while before being painted in to LSWR colours. The delightful Hornby model was used for this.

Below, some previous projects, follow the links for the proper stories...

Hazelbank - a Scottish Borderland beauty. Click to enlarge
Refurbishing layouts can be great fun - older scenery methods make a great base for contemporary materials. An awful lot of static grass was required for this 21 x 15 foot layout - along with over 60 bespoke trees. This job was spread over 4 busy days. More here http://nevardmedia.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/scotland.html

Great Coles Wood Halt
A layout in a box! http://nevardmedia.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/layout-in-box.html

Pottendorf http://nevardmedia.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/a-german-commission.html

Friday, 5 January 2018

LNWR Webb Coal Tank

 A little bit of loco tweaking last Monday. A Bachmann LNWR Webb Coal Tank renumbered and weathered (washes and dry brush, sealed under a top coat of Tamiya Matt). It was originally in LMS livery. The smokebox dart needs to be swapped out for a later type, as and when I find something.
A crew still needs to be added along with some real coal

This useful little loco looks very at home on Brew Street. It's a very good runner too, ideal for a shunting layout this one.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018


In December I was as a commercial job invited up to the Scottish Borders to give a Hazelbank a scenic up and under. The layout depicting a could have been scenerio on the Waverley Route is 21 x 15 feet - so 3 whole days were spent messing about with static grass and around 60 assorted trees.

Fresh static grass was applied over the existing tired scenery, selecting suitable colours to depict a late summer/early autumn feel.

Left. This is a new view on Hazelbank, new trees add a whole new feel to the place - the model being a Scottish Borderland scenero.

In addition to trees and static grass, the the mountain river 'Gala Water' has been given a refresh too.

If you want to know more about Hazelbank (pre-refurbishment) follow this link www.sdeg.co.uk/layout-information

Drop me a line if you have a layout that needs a bit of TLC

Monday, 1 January 2018

Layout in a Box!

Brakevan rides today!
Happy New Year!

Apologies for the lack of posts here, I've been rather busy with photographic shoots for Model Rail magazine and more recently a few commercial model making commissions. Drop me a line

Enough of that, back in the autumn I was approached to build a layout in a box. I must admit to not really looking at plastic storage boxes to house a layout until then, but the owner needed to be able to store the layout under a bed or on-end in a cupboard when not in use.

Everything had  to be completely self contained in a foot print of 80 x 30cm - and being a fan and serial builder or micro layouts, I enjoy the challenge to see what can be squeezed in, whilst still creating a believable scenario so this was right up me street.

The scenario to be depicted was that of the early days on the Bluebell Railway, featuring a truncated railway halt for brake van rides - Freshfield Halt being some of the inspiration with the line running through a shallow cutting.
The layout is fully scenic, this end can be used as a fiddle yard.
Nice an tidy - just 80 x 30cm! There's scope for projects like this to be extended
In blatant commercial plug mode, I'm taking further modelling commissions for the spring/summer - drop me a line via the link at the top of this page or click here