This months picture…

Fisherton Sarum by Graham Muspratt. Photographed for Model Rail, 13 February 2013

Drummond T14 class No. 30461, built from a NuCast kit, is turned at Fisherton Sarum whilst Bulleid Merchant Navy class 21C14 ‘Nederland Line’ built from a Millholme kit, heads to London with the up Devon Belle having taken over the train at Wilton.

Originally announced back in April 2012 the SR USA 0-6-0T Tank commissioned by Model Rail Magazine has now arrived. The gestation period although appears long, due to a number of factors including switching the manufacture from Dapol to Bachmann, researching and checking all the variation differences but boy has been worth the wait, I am also pleased to have been able to play a small part in this process.

Model Rail USA Tank MR-102 No 68

Model Rail USA Tank MR-102 No 68

MR-104 No 30064 in Lined Green livery Picture copyright and courtesy A York

MR-104 No 30064 in Lined Green livery Picture copyright and courtesy A York

A rear 3/4 view of No 68

A rear 3/4 view of No 68

Model Rail Magazine originally announced 4 variations:

  • MR-101 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery
  • MR-102  number 68 in Southern Black livery with Sunshine lettering
  • MR-103 number 30069 in BR Black livery with early emblem
  • MR-104 number 30064 in BR Lined Malachite Green livery with late crest (Sold Out).
    They later also added a further six versions:
  • MR-105 number 300 in Longmoor Military Railway blue
  • MR-106 number 30071 in BR Black livery with late crest and weathered finish
  • MR-108 number 72 in Keighley & Worth Valley Golden Ochre livery
  • MR-109 number 30067 in BR Black livery with Late Crest
  • MR-110 number DS237 “Maunsell” in BR Departmental Green livery

To a certain extent it is the number of variations being produced and the tooling differences required to cover them that has added to the complexity and time taken to produce the models. I am now the proud owner of two MR-102s one will stay as number 68 and the other will become s64 with British Railways in Southern ‘Sunshine’ style lettering on the tanks. The models have captured the looks and  fine details extremely well including; a multitude of separately applied hand rails and pipework, a detailed cab interior, well applied cab glazing.

The other side of No 68

The other side of No 68

The chassis with its fine and complex looking walschaerts valve gear is powered by a powerful and well geared 5 Pole Motor giving excellent performance with pick ups on all wheels. The die cast chassis gives a weighty feel and ensures good haulage capability.
The Bachmann and Model Rail Magazine team have managed to incorporate all the slight variations that existed between the relatively small members of the class that includes cab window styles, coal bunkers, steps, cab ventilators, handrails, pipe runs, smokebox doors and lamp irons etc. (although there has of course to be a compromise in some cases such as with smokebox door U shaped hand rails being present and single not twin lubricators on 30064).

A further view of 30064 picture copyright and courtesy A York

A further view of 30064 picture copyright and courtesy A York

An excellent new style of information sheet is included with the model, which I believe is to become standard with future Bachmann releases, also shows the positions of the additional detail items included with the model for owners to fit such as buffer beam pipes etc.

If you have have not ordered yours yet, then do so here, although I know MR-104 has already sold out and I am pretty sure others will do so soon! 

As a comparison MR-101 in original 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery and condition

As a comparison MR-101 in original 4326 in United States Army Transportation Corps livery and condition

The Southern Railway purchased 14 (plus one extra for spares) of these powerful, short wheel based locomotives from the United States Army Transportation Corps in 1946 for use within Southampton Docks. They were modified at at Eastleigh works to suit SR use including: adding steam heating, vacuum ejectors, sliding cab windows and larger front square windows, additional lamp irons and steps and new cylinder drain cocks. Once the locomotives started to enter traffic, large roof-top ventilators were fitted, British regulators to replace the US-style pull-out one,  extended coal bunkers, separate steam and vacuum brake controls and wooden tip-up seats. Six of the class were later transferred to departmental stock and could be found at locations such Guildford shed and Meldon Quarry. They were eventually replaced at Southampton by the Class 07 diesel shunters. Withdrawal of the class took place between 1964 and 1967. A number have entered preservation.



I am about as far from a horticulturalist as one can get, my own green space outside my home is more of a nature reserve and home to local wildlife than a garden! The nearest I get to green fingers is when the Woodland Scenics scatter material has stuck to my fingers. This post is an attempt to describe how I undertook some of the flora on Fisherton Sarum, although perhaps the photographs speak more than the actual words. Specific flora, especially when flowering, of course will vary depending on the time of year and as with many layouts I have set Fisherton Sarum somewhere between the spring and the end of summer so it is possible that certain plants should not be in flower together, but hey if I can model a time period of 1946 to 1949, a few months here and there flora wise are not really going to matter. As with most areas of modelling whether it is rolling stock, buildings or scenery referring to the real thing is always the best starting point.

Try to focus on the embankment and its textures rather than the T14 passing by

Try to focus on the embankment, its textures and flora  rather than the T14 passing by

Firstly; Embankments, railway embankments are rarely just green grass and certainly never all of the same colour and height. If you look at many roadside verges and embankments the longer grass can be in excess of 3 to 4 foot tall. I have attempted to include a variety of colours and textures accordingly. Once the general form of the embankment was made using Modroc plaster bandage over a lattice card former that painted brown I glued, using PVA, teddy bear fur (no actual teddy bear was harmed during the making of Fisherton Sarum) fur side down with the backing uppermost. Once the glued dried I cut / tore / trimmed the backing off leaving random lengths of the fur sticking up to represent the yellowed / dried longer grass. I then added different textures and colours of other grasses / ground cover plants using a mix of grades and colour tones of Woodlands Scenics ‘Grass’ and ‘turf’ scatter materials.

The embanks and ground cover can bee seen between Maunsell's finest

The embanks and ground cover can bee seen between Maunsell’s finest

An alternative to the teddy bear fur these days would be to build up layers of ‘static grass’ (but please go for the more yellow colours rather than the bright greens) to give variations in height before adding the other textures which are still required as I feel that static grass alone is too uniform in texture. There are various applicators and static grasses on the market such as the applicator and grasses that I now use from War World Scenics.

A further view of the embankment and its flora along with some of the tress on Fisherton Sarum

A further view of the embankment and its flora along with some of the tress on Fisherton Sarum

Once I was happy with the overall effect of the embankment flora I turned my attention to adding a few more specific plants specific plants.
I made Foxgloves simply from individual strands of sisal string dipped in PVA glue then fine green scatter material, followed by some fine purple scatter material to represent the flowers.
Lady’s bedstraw is the commonly seen yellow plant on verges and embankments was planted in clumps, I cheated here and used readymade and coloured plants from the MiniNatur range that is available from a number of UK retailers.
For brambles I used rubberised horsehair teased out dipped in PVA glue followed by once again fine green scatter material. As a material it has been around longer than I can remember and was often used as the basis for hedges etc., but I still think it makes the best brambles.

The tress (including the dead one) at the rear of Fiosheron Sarum

The tress (including the dead one) at the rear of Fisheron Sarum positioned to appear to tower over the terraced houses

Finally; Trees, I made these using wire armatures that I then covered in Woodlands Scenics foliage teases out over the branches, although I have left one tree devoid of foliage to represent an unfortunately dead tree. I used this method for all the trees on Fisherton Sarum as they were all generally individual trees, for denser wooded areas then less complicated armatures can be used or alternatives such as sea moss, or actual twigs etc.as the basis for the application of the foliage materials.

The house nestles amongst carefully positioned tress

The house nestles amongst carefully positioned tress of various shapes and sizes. Brambles can bee seen to the right hand side

Pretty basic stuff really but there are few things to note with trees (take a look at the real things when you are next away from your computer screen reading this): a) the bark is rarely brown and is usually more of a grey colour, especially so when viewed from a distance, b) the shape of the tree and density of the foliage does of vary between species and c) a lot of trees are quite tall and mature trees are more often than not taller than houses.
I have tried even with a relatively small number of trees to include a variety of shapes and sizes and careful positioning so give the trees the prominence they deserve.

As flora and fauna is usually associated together I have not forgotten the various fauna that is also on Fisherton Sarum and will be the subject of a future post.

Further to my recent post on a number of SR / BR(s) related products that have arrived in 4mm scale this post catches up on recent 2mm releases. These are the Graham Farish Bulleid 3 coach sets and from Dapol the SR Class V Schools 4-4-0.


The Dapol Class V Schools calss 30926 'Repton' in 2mm scale

The Dapol  Schools class V 30926 ‘Repton’ in 2mm scale

The Dapol Schools Class V  4-4-0 was first announced back in 2012 and since then I have been assisting their development team, via Richard Webster,  with some of the finer details and variations of this locomotive class. The first versions have recently arrived with the retailers.
Dapol have included within the tooling options for the correct cab variations (as 900 to 909 had lower cab side lookouts) and also those fitted with the Lemaitre multiple jet blastpipes and larger diameter chimneys by Bulleid. When looking at the picture left of 30926 ‘Repton’ remember that it is in fact an N Gauge  model!

As I advised in my recent 4mm update postDapol have also recently  announced (05/08/16) that they have Merged with Lionheart Trains. Richard Webster of Lionheart Trains has already been working closely with Dapol on the development of new models in all scales including this 2mm scale Schools class.

Graham Farish

Graham Farish also announced in 2012 their intention to produce newly tooled Bulleid coaches in N Gauge the individual coaches arrived towards the end of 2013, They have modelled the later versions of the Bulleid coaches built post nationalisation and therefore have the deeper 15″ window vents.

Graham Farish 3 coach Bulleid set 830

Graham Farish 3 coach Bulleid set 830

Earlier this year a three coach pack, comprising of two semi open brake thirds and a seven compartment composite, hit the retailers in the shape of Graham Farish reference 374-911. They are correctly numbered (s3971s / s5848s / s3972s ) for Set 830 and also have the set numbers on the ends of both the Semi Open Brake Thirds. Set 830 was the part of a batch 830 to 837  introduced in reverse numerical order between March and July 1950 for use on the South Western Section.
Although technically not latest news as I have not featured them on this blog before and now have received one these packs I thought I would give them a mention.

Some say that Southern modellers have never had it so good. Over the last couple of months a number of SR / BR(s) related products have arrived in 4mm scale (a future post will catch with recent 2mm releases). These have included: from Hornby the Class 71, ex LSWR 0415 Adams radial tanks, ex LSWR Maunsell rebuilt 58′ non corridor stock and Dapol SR style signals. I am also pleased to start with be able to provide an update on the next Class 24 release from the Sutton’s Locomotive Works.

Sutton’s locomotive Works Class 24

In my post about the launch of the Sutton Locomotive Works (SLW) Class 24 here I highlighted not only that the BR Derby built, Type 2 diesels, Class 24s played an early role in the initial modernisation plans for the Southern Region, but also that their were some details variations among the initial members of the class.

Class 24 as D5016 with ‘Athermos’ axle boxes n the condition that it worked on the Southern Region.

Class 24 as D5016 with ‘Athermos’ axle boxes n the condition that it worked on the Southern Region.

The main differences were that ten of the initial batch of 20 locomotives D5010 to D5019 and therefore nine of those that worked on the Southern Region, were fitted with the distinctive larger but experimental ‘Athermos’ axle boxes, rather than the SKF roller type that became the standard.

Philip Sutton the man behind SLW advised me at the time of writing that tooling had been produced to this variation in the future.

A view of the SLW D5016 on non ETH fitted Bulleid stock one of the reasons why they were needed on the BR(s)

A view of the SLW D5016 on non ETH fitted Bulleid stock one of the reasons why they were needed on the BR(s)

Philip paid a visit to me on Fisherton Sarum at the Barnstaple show at the end of last month with a ‘hot of the production line’ SLW catalogue number 2403 as D5016, with the ‘Athermos’ axle boxes along with extra bodyside air intake grilles, original exhaust and front end doors in all over green livery.
It goes without saying that I took the opportunity to take a quick snap of the D5016 on the main running line of Fisherton Sarum. I can also confirm that the running quality demonstrated was as good as all the plaudits elsewhere have stated. I must congratulate Philip Sutton on his attention to detail and model design with these models.


Hornby’s output of new models over the last few months has continued at pace and for Southern modellers we now seen recently the arrival of the Class 71 Bo-Bo electric, the Class 0415 Adams 4-4-2T Radial and within the last couple of weeks the ex LSWR 58ft Maunsell rebuilt non corridor coaching stock.

Set 45 comprising of a Dia 418 Brake Composite and and Dia 99 Brake Third

Set 45 comprising of a Dia 418 Brake Composite and a Dia 99 Brake Third

The latter coaches have been developed with the assistance of friend and Southern rolling stock guru Mike King and splendidly and exquisitely (insert any other positive adjective here) represent the 58tft stock converted in 1934/5 from ex LSWR 488ft stock to Diagram 99 and Diagram 418 Brake Third and Brake Composites respectively that made up 2 coach lav Sets 42 to 46 and also the diagram 31 all third and diagram 99 brake third that were mainly used as ‘loose’ coaches. They capture the prototypes very well including the characteristic timber weatherboard that ran the full length of each coach at floor level owing to the new standard SR underframes being slightly wider than the ex LSWR bodies.

Diagram 31 all Third

Diagram 31 all Third ‘loose’ coach

Although sold as individual coaches the Dia 99 and 418 coaches have been correctly numbered, including the central end set numbering, to make up sets 42 and 43 in unlined SR olive (as introduced) and BR crimson liveries respectively. See my original Hornby 2016 announcement post here for the relevant Hornby R numbers.

Diagram 98 Brake Third 'Loose' coach

Diagram 98 Brake Third ‘Loose’ coach

These coaches were seen on the Lyme Regis branch, so are therefore a perfect companion for the ex LSWR 0415 Adams Radial  4-4-2 tanks, but also these coaches were seen on both branch and local services on across the South Western section of the SR / BR(s).
These continue the standard set by Hornby with their recent coach releases such as the Maunsell stock. Fine details include separately applied hand rails and grab handles, a representation of the grills behind the luggage compartment doors, very well detailed bogies,  fine livery application including window smoking signs.

A close up of the end of the Dia 418 Brake composite showing the exquisite detail

A close up of the end of the Dia 418 Brake Composite showing the exquisite detail

These coaches did gain SR malachite livery followed by BR style lettering on malachite (heavily varnished so slightly darker in appearance) in addition to the unlined Olive and BR crimson so far released so Hornby have a few more livery options up their sleeve. The 2 lav sets did not make it into post BR(s) Green although it is understood that a small number of the Diagram 31 and Diagram 99 coaches did.

For those wishing to fit Kadee buckeye style couplings, I can confirm that the Kadee number 18 medium length fit nicely between the coaches, bringing the sprung buffers together and should also enable the coaches to be able to be propelled OK on 2nd radius and above trackwork.

Going head to head:  both the Class 71 and the class 0415 Adams radials are going head to head with other manufacturers with the former up against the DJModels class 71 that is yet arrive and the latter with the earlier released Adams radial from Oxford Rail.

The Hornby 0415 class Adams Radial as No 30582

The Hornby 0415 class Adams Radial as No 30582

I do not currently have a Hornby Class 71 as I have preferred to wait for the DJM version which I feel is likely to be the slightly more higher specification and detailed version, however having been able to get a close look at the Hornby pre-production samples of the Adams radial last year I decided to wait for the slightly more expensive but overall in my view more accurate (taking all the slight detail variations between the locomotives at different times in their lives), and finer Hornby version, pictured left. Mine will soon be backdated to 1946 guise as 3520 in Bulleid post war black ‘Sunshine lettering ‘ livery.


Dapol SR Rail Post signals

Dapol SR Rail Post signals

The Dapol working upper quadrant Southern Signals available as Rail Post (for some reason named by Dapol as ‘Ladder post’) in both Home and Distant styles and a short lattice post platform Starter (some might say dinky) have now hit the retailers.
I have had previously heard mixed reports about the reliability of the previously issued Dapol signal due to their mechanism, along with the rather odd control single pulse to change control method (which does not make it easy to know which position the signal is in from the switch). It does seem anecdotally that those signals that have been controlled by a DCC accessory decoder appear to fair better than directly via push to make switch.
It is my understanding that these release utilise the same mechanism as the previous releases.

Dapol have also announced (05/08/16) that they have Merged with Lionheart Trains that will see much of the Lionheart Trains range of 7mm 0 gauge come under the Dapol brand. Richard Webster of Lionheart Trains has been working closely, (with a little assistance from myself) with Dapol on the development of new models in all scales.

As I said in the introduction above a round up of some of the recent 2mn releases will be the subject of a future post soon, so what this space.


The Bachmann Europe team met up this week with the model trade press to update the market on the latest developments and progress, a full report can be found on the RmWeb forum here and I take this opportunity to update ion those items of a Southern / Southern Region interest. Although no new announcements were made  it was indicated that the next catalogue and product announcements are likely to take place  earlier next year, probably at some point in January. Although Bachmann have experienced delays in both the design and production arenas over the last couple of years tit is good news that they appear to starting to catch up a bit during the last twelve months or so of consolidation as had been previously promised.

The first EP of the ex SECR 60' Birdcage Brake. Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachamnn

The 1st EP of the ex SECR 60′ Birdcage Brake composite (Dia 2432). Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachmann

The item of most interest for Southern modellers was the first images of the first Engineering Prototypes (EP) for the ex SECR 60′ Birdcage stock Trio ‘C’ 30 sets, (SR set Nos 567-570, 575-589,  602-5 and 612-8) announced back in March 2013. These compriise of aBrake Composite to SR Diagram 162, a Composite to SR Diagram 315 and Brake Third to SR Diagram 160. These sets pretty much remained intact throughout their lives until withdrawal between 1956 and 1958.

1st EP Ex SECR 60' Birdcage stock composite. Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachamnn

1st EP Ex SECR 60′ Birdcage stock composite (Dia 2315) . Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachamnn

As can be seen from the pictures, copyright and courtesy of Andy York and Bachmann, the first impressions are very favourable with a high level of detail, although I have not had the chance to see them up close and in the flesh (plastic) yet.

Ex SECR 60' Brake Third EP (Dia 2431). Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachmann

Ex SECR 60′ Brake Third EP (Dia 2431). Picture Copyright and courtesy A York/Bachmann

Also the ex LBSC H2 class Atlantic, announced even earlier in August 2013, has now also progressed to tooling for the engineering Prototypes and we hope to see these EPs soon.

Delivery of both the Birdcage stock and the H2 Atlantic is expected in May 2017.


The Model Rail USA Tank as No 68 in SR livery

The Model Rail ref MR-102 USA Tank as No 68 in SR livery. Picture copyright and courtesy Kernow Model Centre

The SR / BR(s) USA 0-6-0 tanks being produced by Bachmann for Model Rail magazine are imminent to arrive at Bachmann’s Barwell HQ, before being shipped to the Kernow Model Centre for orders to be despatched, this could take a few weeks to complete due to the shear column of orders so be patient.

The South West Trains class 450 Desiro 3rd rail units, based on tooling changes to the previously released 350 class units are now ready to enter production although delivery was stated as being likely to be February 2017,  while the class 414 2 Hap units announced earlier this year are still at the design stage. Although announced back in march 2015 along with the Class 450, the 45 ton Ransomes and Rapier steam crane is still at the design stage prior to CAD work taking place, so is some way off yet.

Keep an eye on this blog in the next week or so for further updates on both released and imminent Southern / Southern Region relevant models form other manufacturers.

Firstly I would like to thank all the readers of my little corner of the blogosphere whom took the time to enter my little competition to win a brand new Hornby R2620 Urie N15 King Arthur Class number 746 ‘ Pendragon’ in Bulleid post war malachite green livery. The competition set in my post here in conjunction with Fisherton Sarum’s appearance at the Barnstaple Model Railway Club exhibition last Saturday, and celebrating ten years of exhibiting Fisherton Sarum,  asked the question “where has Fisherton Sarum has so far made its furthest west appearance“. The answer as many of you correctly deduced was its appearance at the Wadebridge show in 2008.

My Mum draws Jon's name from the hat assisted by Daniel

My Mum draws Jon’s name from the hat assisted by Daniel

The lucky winner whose name was literally drawn out of a hat, by my own mother ably assist by another long standing Fisherton Sarum operator Daniel (who operated at Fisherton Sarum’s first exhibition when he could hardly see over the top of the fiddle yards), at the Barnstaple Model Railway Club exhibition on Saturday was Jon Summers of Devon who advises me (being a man after my own heart) that malachite green is his favourite colour! Well done to Jon, the locomotive is winging its way to you by Royal Mail (unfortunately not 21C3).

Secondly; the Barnstaple Model Railway Club exhibition was a pleasure to exhibit at and it was as ever great meet up with old friends, make new ones and put faces to names with whom I have communicated with either on here or via other online means.
If you have you not visited this show before then all I can say is try and make it next year, it really was a superb line up of layouts and humbling to have been included among them. I can confirm that the date of next years show will be Saturday 29th July, Richard, the exhibition manager, and his team at the Barnstaple Model Railway Club are rightly gaining a reputation for putting on a quality show and I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to anyone who can get there.



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