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GWR Bird class - finishing touches

Barry Ten




Bullfinch is just about done, apart from some small but enjoyable final touches such as crew, glazing and some suitable lamps. Here it faces off against City of Truro!  The plates are from 247 Developments and It's numbered for the post-1912 numbering scheme.


The kit has been terrific fun and while the end result is more impressionistic than anything else, it does look different enough to the City to represent the small-drivered 4-4-0s and is certainly a nice runner.


I can't remember if the City was sprayed with a rattle-can or airbrush, but it would have been done using Railmatch's later shade of GWR green, whereas for the Bird I opted for Precision's 1906-1928 shade, and applied it with an airbrush. The black bits were then brush painted with Lifecolor "weathered black" which dries quickly and is a very matt, almost dark grey shade. I've still to give the tender a good going over.






There are a few things I'd do differently if I was building another one. My rivets are rubbish - must try harder - and the boiler bands are a bit on the heavy side, albeit matching the ones on the Airfix firebox. A job I might get around to sometime is moving the cranks in-board a bit as they don't need as much clearance as they've got here. However, I'd be loathe to alter the quartering so that might be a job that waits until there's some other reason to take apart the chassis - hopefully not for a while!


Of course I would like a curved-frame Bulldog but I have to be realistic and say that I'm already at capacity with GWR engines - not that there aren't a few more in the kitbuilding queue, including such lovelies as a County Tank, 2021 class, Armstrong goods, a De Glehn compound and a few others. Better get cracking!


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  • RMweb Gold

Bullfinch looks splendid and very much at home running through Kings Hintock:)

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  • RMweb Gold

I completely agree. Am very envious! It's been informative to follow the build Al, thanks for documenting it so carefully. 


They were lucky at King's Hintock, with all that loco power :D

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks, chaps - good to have the thumbs up from two GWR modellers I hold in such high esteem!

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I just love that photo of the City and the Bird together. It harks back to the 1920s era that i model - just brilliant.   I really do admire the work you have done and the results you have achieved from what is a pretty ordinary starting point.


If you combine these two with the Aberdare and Armstrong Goods, you have a bit of real GWR!


Wonderful stuff, keep it up.








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  • RMweb Gold

Just surfacing from a work deadline to say thanks again for the kind comments, John and Craig!


I'm really happy with how the Bird came out. Although I do enjoy the plastic side of such a project, the main thing

is that the Branchlines bit are well designed and don't need much if any fettling - it all just works.


I think I achieved a slightly better overall finish with the City, but there was much less hacking about the body

needed in that case.


Oddly enough the one slight snag I hit was with the tender brake gear, where the long pull rods didn't have holes

etched in them properly , not even partially. I tried drilling them out but that didn't work (lots of swearing and 

broken drill bits) so as a dodge I just turned them sideways and soldered them onto the cross bits, trusting that 

when they'd be painted black, no one would notice that they sat "below" the cross bits, rather than exactly in

line.  I then thought - hmm, I wonder what I did with the same bits on City of Truro - turned out I'd done

exactly the same thing 12 years ago! I don't know what that proves, but it certainly doesn't show that there's

been much evolution in my modelling!

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Really nice build Barry.  Really looks the part, and impressive layout as well.   Your scratch built parts and modifying the original kit components certainly worked. Interesting about the Branchlines chassis as well.

Great stuff!

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  • RMweb Gold
14 minutes ago, Barry Ten said:

I then thought - hmm, I wonder what I did with the same bits on City of Truro - turned out I'd done

exactly the same thing 12 years ago! I don't know what that proves, but it certainly doesn't show that there's

been much evolution in my modelling!


Look at the bright side. I think it proves that you are as creative now as you were 12 years ago :)

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Another fine looking locomotive from the Swindon stable.


Being slightly controversial, and having hit similar problems I made a model many years ago using the Branchlines etches with the Airfix C of T kit.

 I am reliably informed that many of the etches were never test built by the owner prior to being marketed hence some fettling was required.


That said I was slightly naive about etched chassis builds back then but managed to get a good running model, and considering it was many years later before anything resembling a City or Bulldog became available it was certainly a bonus.


My De Glehn is still part built mainly the thought of doing those rivets in 4mm scale on that interesting motion !


(I think I'll stick with 7mm )



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  • RMweb Gold

I opened the box of the De Glehn earlier in the week, shuddered, and closed the lid again!


My kit came with Ultrascale wheels and - I think - 00 axles. If so it'll be my first kit with non-Markits wheels, which may be "interesting". I'm not sure I'll tackle it for a while, though. I've got a few less challenging locos to look at first.

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Hi Al, A bit late on this, but I'm only a very amateur "Rmweber". I was wondering how your Bulldog turned out. It s a cracking model and captures the look well, nicely painted and lettered too. Looks great on the layout and a clever mix of components. 

Good luck with the De Glehn when you start it.




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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks, Jon - glad it hits the spot!


I didn't fancy tackling the De Glehn right now so I made a start on a simpler loco, a DJH SE&CR D1 class 4-4-0. So far so good although being white metal, it's much more nose-heavy than the Bulldog.



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