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About JDaniels

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    Model Railways (obviously), walking, gardening history and heritage.

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  1. There's nothing like a photo to embarrass and that's hom I felt about the photo of the Siphon C in the last entry. It hadn't looked too bad until I applied the Pressfix transfers. It's a good idea to use 3mm transfers, the 16inch GWR would then become 12 inches. as Mikkel pointed out, thye size is given in the Fox Transfers website and I think it was 5.3mm which equates to 16inches in 4mm. I had another look at the Pressfix sheet and noticed that for wagons, i.e. in white, there is a size that would be suitable. I've applied those and overpainted them in yellow. The overpainting worked well on the "W" with all straight lines, less so on the "G" but still acceptable. All Siphons never seemed to be cleaned and consequently became quite mucky so any yellow off the character will be masked. I also took the opportunity to address the wayward "10 Tons," just why do errors that you never notice looking at the model become immediately apparent in a photo? A photo of the revised model below: Dammit, the original large "G" still shows through the paint! Maybe that's realism as that wasn't unknown! Like many others, I like the Siphons but I'm not sure how relevant they are on branch lines post WWI. The railways lost a great deal of milk traffic after that war as large number of surplus Army lorries became available and were promptly snapped up by budding haulage contractors. The ability to pick up milk direct from a farm and deliver to a dairy or railhead meant that that traffic was the first the railways lost. Blagdon was supposed to have a fair amount of milk traffic but a photo exists showing it being manhandled into the guard's compartment of the branch passenger train. I'm sure that was how milk was treated on most branches, the main reason for seeing a Siphon on a branch was, I believe, if required for other traffic, the strawberry specials on the Cheddar Valley line is one example that springs to mind. I mentioned in my earlier entry about downsizing and Mrs. D and I have agreed that having lived in our present house for almost 34 and a half years we will move in 2021 after my daughter's wedding. Thinking ahead an 8ft by 2ft layout won't be accomodated so will have to think about where I go from there. The modular system as suggested by Mikkel has it's appeal, perhaps a couple of stations on the Golden Valley Railway. Downsizing might also mean having to dispose of some of my disparate collection of stock acquired and built over many years, What use do I have, for example, for two, not one but two, detailed Airfix auto coaches and a detailed Siphon H? These would never have appeared at either Blagdon or the Golden Valley Railway. I also have what must be 100 or so railway books, mostly concerned with the GWR as well as a number of official publications including several service timetables. As I said yesterday, lots of decisions and ones that will be painful to make.
  2. JDaniels

    Siphon C

    Many thanks for your comments, interesting to know what you have for breakfast. I'm a muesli man myself but like porridge when it's colder. I have made some progress and will be doing a Siphon C update shortly.
  3. JDaniels

    Siphon C

    This winter has been fairly aimless as far as modelling is concerned. I thought though it might be good to try and finish one old project, the conversion of a K's Siphon F to a Siphon C. (By cutting and shutting.) This has been attempted before and I referred to an old Model Railway Constructor for information. This advocated putting the body on a Ratio 4 wheel coach underframe but as I already had the Mainly Trains running gear kit as well as the Dean Churhward brake fret I thought constructing the chassis might make a better model. It also helped that the Russell book, Great Western Coaches, has several good photos. It's not been an easy task as to enable the body to sit at the correct height (and the top of the springs to sit on the solebar) meant having to cut out part of the Plasticard floor as the W irons protrude into the body. Using the Mainly Trains fret though meant I could use the correct springs, the ones on the Ratio underframe, being designed for a coach, are too long and it does show. The brake detail was taken from the fret. I'm not too concerned whether the layout of the gear is strictly accurate, I believe just having the rodding there and visible from normal viewing angles (no model is designed to be looked at from underneath) is sufficient. The truss rods were brass as was the stepboard, at least that won't break as inevitably happens with the Ratio plastic version. The body didn't require too much work. I added brass handrails, door handles and lamp irons. I also drilled the holes to enable access to the outside door handles if someone was locked inside. Why though did every door have to have a hole, surely one each side would suffice. The roof was an appalling fit, with the Araldite already applied I realised that it wasn't going to fit so frantically looked in my box of spares and found a plastic roof that fitted almost perfectly. No idea where it came from but even the rainstrips were curved for exactly the length of the body. In the photo below I haven't painted the roof as I want to find out how the gas pipes were laid out. It seems clear that there were two gas lamps and there must have been the associated piping. For bedside reading I'm going through my old British Railway Journals, interesting and somewhere there may be a helpful photo. What is painfully obvious is the problems I had with the lettering. As usual I resorted to my years old Pressfix sheets but fear I might end up scraping most of it off. Any film will disappear under a coat of varnish, it's actually not as prominent as in the photo, but I see no answer to the size of the "GW" branding. It's known that the standard size was originally 25 inch and then 16 inch but what isn't so well known is that the size would be further reduced if there wasn't the space. On photographs the lettering fits neatly in the appropriate space so it must have been hand painted to fit. I reckon it's 12 inches high, and is that available? Of course not. I may even advance it earlier in time so I can safely use the 25 inch letters which were on the louvres along with a ridiculously large number, which is on the Pressfix sheet. That may however compromise the either side brake handles which I've fitted. Incidentally the wagon is sitting on the trackwork I made last year. The wooden sleepers need further painting but actually look quite good. What is not so good is the gap between the bottom of the rail and the sleeper, inevitable as the rail is soldered to a protruding rivet. Finally, I understand there is an article in Model Railway Journal detailing a similar conversion. I gave up on that magazine at issue 60 as I felt, no I know, it was way beyond my capabilities and I was quite uncomfortable with the sniping and backbiting in the letters page which has to be seen to be believed. Not sure what I'll do next. I have a Stephen Poole 64xx 0-6-0PT body painted by Larry Goddard along with a modified Cotswold chassis. That requires a decent gearbox to get going although the body is not as detailed as the Bachman offering. There's also the M&L 2021 0-6-0ST which has sat partially completed for years. However as we're looking to downsize in a few years time I'm not sure whether it's worth doing too much as there won't be space for Blagdon Mark II. The points for which are shown in the photo. Decisions, decisions.
  4. Many thanks for your comments. Since I started constructing this model I've looked more closely at stone buildings and it's suprising just what variations in shade there are. I do wonder though whether when the eye takes in a building close up it tends to look at parts, not the whole, and the variations, whilst there, aren't so noticeable. Looking at a model the eye takes in the whole building and whilst the variations in shade are authentic, because the eye sees the whole building it may look a little overdone. The website Mikkel has highlighted has I think every photo ever taken of Westbrook. The one of the station in the snow shows that I haven't got the arrangement of the notice boards quite correct, I had this photo but overlooked it. I've now rectified this adding the small enamel notice at the end of the building. The photo also shows that battens were used as I guessed. The photos show ramshackle sheds tacked on to the end of the building. I've constructed these from Plasticard although the platform facing side does not appear in any photos so have had to make a guess as to the appearance, there must have been a door. I painted the sheds but stupidly used a Humbrol dark brown wash which dries to a gloss finish. The Golden Valley branch was an attractive line, most trains were mixed with a couple of mismatched four wheeled coaches. The 517's worked the line until the Collett 0-4-2T's came along and after a few new examples were used, 5818 settled down to become the Golden Valley loco. It was always kept in immaculate condition. Next job is the platform surface and a visit to Screwfix for aluminium oxide paper.
  5. I've now painted and therefore completed the station building. For the most part I used Humbrol acrylic paints and was pleased with how I got on with them. I've had problems in the past but I like the matt finish (unlike some so called matt enamels), the way in which you can mix the paints and the ease with which they dilute with water. I collected a number of greyish acrylics whilst I was at Gaugemaster at Ford but didn't realise that some are a satin finish, this is not shown on the container. As a result the first coat of paint was with one of these, my puzzlement answered by reference to the Humbrol colour chart. My conclusion is that acrylics are great for painting natural colours, for representing painted surfaces such as locos and coaches, enamels are best. I would have liked the underlying brown to show through a little more though. The results of my efforts: Photographs of the end without the extension seem to show a lighter patch of stone in the middle of the wall with darker patches either side. I had thought about trying to represent this but thought that if I did anyone looking at it would say that I got the weathering wrong! As you can see, I have added a couple of notice boards. Photos of the station show boards in the position I've fixed them although these disappeared in the "goods only" days. In part 3 of his series of books on modelling GWR branches, Stephen Williams suggested putting a raised border round the edge of the board to better represent prototype practice. The flat surface of the Tiny Signs boards are just that, flat. I didn't feel able to cut out a square in paper as he did so used the finest Microstrip instead. I also fixed the boards with two battens each, if I was presented with the job of fixing a flat board to a rough surface that's exactly what I would do.Also, as Stephen Willaims suggested, both boards were given a coat of matt varnish. I really must refer to the Stephen Williams books more,they are full of simple ideas that can make such a difference. The roof has turned out well, if a little irregular, but I didn't do too much weathering. We had Sunday lunch at a local pub yesterday, the service was slow and I found myself looking out at a house opposite with a slate roof. It had been raining and the roof looked new, pristine dark grey with no staining at all. We probably forget the cleansing properties of rain and the Welsh border country has plenty of that. I'm now looking at the edging of the platform. I recently visited an excellent little model shop in Salisbury and found a sheet of moulded Plasticard with a very small diamond pattern. This is perfect for bricks (or slabs) that formed the edge of the platform. If I had felt like it I could have scored the strip to represent the separate bricks but balked at the thought. The separate bricks are hardly noticeable and bearing in mind my complete inability to consistently measure the same distance each time I thought it would probably look worse. If anyone would like to see photos of the prototype Google "Westbrook station" and any number will come up. Take out the photos of Westbrook station in Canada, there's no mistaking them, and you're left with fewer than half a dozen and only some of these show the station building. It's a gloomy looking station overshadowed by trees but did have quite a floral display. With two trains each way a day (three on Thursday, Hay market day) Station Master Knowles had plenty of tinme to ensure the gardens were tidy.
  6. Many thanks Mikkel. I've replied with a PM.
  7. Thanks Mikkel. We'll see what the roof looks like when it's painted. I wasn't sure about the roof but the individual tiles do look better. I forgot to mention in the entry but I took the opportunity to put in a slipped tile, this quite often happened when the securing nails rusted. I've painted the walls using the photo of the bridge as a guide but it's very difficult. Weathered stone seems to take on a different hue every time you look at it. I manged to get Railmatch Light Stone (I was wrong above, it was the dark stone they didn't have) which looks very similar to the Precision Paint version of that colour I had used previously. I'm looking at the colour samples in the HMRS guide which were matched with Swindon samples and IMHO what paint manufacturers purport to be light stone looks very much like dark stone. Light stone on the colour samples is almost a pale khaki colour, quite unlike any of the model paints that I've seen which tend to have a reddish-brown hue. It's not as warm as dark stone, or stone number 3 to give it the official designation. In fact looking at the two colours it's impossible to say what is dark or light, the shade seems the same and it's only be referring to the text that we know number 1 is light and number 3 dark.Stephen Williams in his book expressed similar reservations about the shades used but given the manner in which the paint was prepared I'm not too concerned as there must have been infinite variations throughout the system.
  8. Thank you for your kind comments. I'm quite sure a model of Westbrook would be unique. I did get down to Gaugemaster yesterday and found they only had the dark stone paint. One of the frustrations of modelling! Still I was able to drool over the Dapol 'O' gauge models.
  9. JDaniels

    GWR 0-4-2T's

    Thank you. The Perseverance kit wasn't available for long. I remember getting it after seeing it advertised in an early issue of MRJ. The instruction book, and it is a book, is one of the best I've seen and an example to kit manufacturers everywhere. I think the next 48xx model I'll be getting is the long awaited Dapol 'O' gauge version, particularly so if it's the same price as the Terrier. I saw the Dapol 64xx/74xx in the flesh yesterday and it would make anyone an instant convert to the senior scale.
  10. I've now completed the station building apart from the painting. Unfortunately due to the weather it looks as though we won't be going down to Ford tomorrow (celebrating Mrs. D's birthday) so the light and dark stone I was going to get from Gaugemaster will have to wait. In my last entry I was about to make substantive progress with the roof. The jig I made to cut the tiles (in 5thou Plasticard) worked well apart from the odd occasion when I failed to notice the strip was firmly against the stop which resulted in a slightly narrower tile. Experience prompted me to make another jig (visible in the front of the building in the photo below). This was simply a strip of etched NS waste with a length of bullhead rail soldered to it. The distance between the edge of the waste and the edge of the rail is important as this will be the height of the tile visible. I made sure the first, bottom, row was in line and thereafter the other rows were laid by aligning the edge of the rail to the bottom edge of the tiles already laid. The next row was then laid with the bottom of each tile abutting the top of the etch. This ensured the row spacing was consistent and that they were all in line. As a check I ruled a few parallel lines on the underlying Plasticard base to ensure that as I went up towards the apex of the roof the rows were not sloping one way or the other which would have been disastrous for the appearance. Fortunately the template ensured this did not happen. In total I think I laid about 600 tiles but with a ready supply of pre-cut tiles and the jig in place I found I could lay a row of 21/22 tiles in 2 minutes or less. I just put some liquid poly on the base sheet and picked up the tiles with the point of a craft knife, in fact it was putting the cement on that was the biggest hindrance to quick progress. As the underlying tiles showed above the jig it was easy to locate the tiles midway over the underlying joint and against the strip of NS etch. I can say that without these jigs I would not have been able to do the roof, I find difficulty in measuring millimetres from a ruler and even the smallest variance in the size of the tiles would have been immediately noticeable. I thought the ridge tiles would be slate but photographs show conventional rounded clay tiles. This caused a little head scratching but I found a length of thick walled plastic tube of about the right diameter in my "plastics" box. (I also have a "metals" box.) I filed a flat along the length of the tube, actually exposing the hollow core. The core was further filed out which then enabled the length of tube to be fitted over the apex of the roof. I have only traced 4 photos of the building, 3 of those are taken from a roughly three-quarter angle looking towards the plain end wall and only one is taken, again at a roughly three-quarter angle, of the wall with the extension. This one was taken after closure. I have no photo looking directly at the front (or indeed back) wall. The plan did not show the extension or detail of guttering and downpipes although it appears from the photos that there was guttering along the front and back, as indeed one would expect. I still had a few lengths of fine plastic angle which, if the external right angle is sanded down, makes very acceptable guttering. I must try and get more of this as the back gutter is made up of 4 strips as I didn't have one length long enough. The downpipes were plastic rod which fortunately takes a little bending. There was no sign of the downpipes on the front face of the building so I had to assume they angled in and were fixed to the end wall. Such is the joy of modelling a prototype location but I don't think anyone alive can tell me that's wrong! One final complication was the chimney. The photo I used for reference showed the chimney lost in a haze but it was only after I looked at another photo did I realise the structure was a good deal higher than I had made it. It was also more elaborate at the top so I spent some time adding further layers. It is interesting to see how ornate chimneys could be when compared with the rest of a building. A couple of other minor points. The door handles are brass handrail knobs and the gap between the extension roof and the wall of the main building was covered by a strip of 5thou Plasticard to represent the lead flashing. I was quite pleased to see on a better photograph of Clifford station (the other on the Hay extension and with a similar, though larger building) that the lead flashing was prominent; I previously guessed it must have been there without any evidence. For those who don't know the Golden Valley Railway, it is worth mentioning that the branch originally ran from Pontrilas to Dorstone. The stations all had wooden buildings. Soon after opening the line was extended to Hay on Wye with three new stations, Clifford, Westbrook and Green's Siding. The latter was always just a halt but for some reason the other two stations were favoured with a substantial stone structure for the main building even though they contributed less traffic than Dorstone for example. I can perhaps now make a start on painting the stonework. I found by Googling a colour photograph of an existing bridge on the Hay extension which was useful in determining the colour of stone used. It is clearly made from the same stone as Westbrook station building as the blocks appear identical, and indeed very similar to those on the embossed sheet I used. The bridge is a light brown with what I thought was a slight grey tinge, again similar to that used for the embossed sheet. This type of research is one of the interesting parts of modelling a prototype location and it's always a good feeling to fill one of the holes in your knowledge of the prototype. This has been an interesting exercise and it's nice to be able to construct something from scratch rather than a kit. Now I have to think about what I do next.
  11. Thanks Mikkel. i've always liked those remote branches in the Welsh border country, more so than the "chocolate box" Cornish and Devon lines. Another station I'd love to model is Dinas Mawwdwy, much of which still exists and which I've visited several times.The Golden Valley branch book is well worth looking out for; the line seemed to have offered a personal service, if you wanted a truckful of cattle delivered to you, the staff would oblige with a special trip. I wonder if the GWR's accountants were aware! I haven't constructed a building in at least 15 years and felt it was time to do something that didn't involve locomotives and rolling stock. If I'm also honest, I feel a little jaded with the hobby and hoped that the change might resurrect interest. It has as I quite like problem solving and there have been plenty of those with the turnouts. I'll try and do something on the blog about the issues I've had with them Finally, yes every GWR branch line modeller should have the Stephen Williams books. He goes into impressive detail, including as I said in my blog, the size of slates mostly used by the GWR.He also has some very practical tips on constructing a layout so some of the content extends beyond the GWR.
  12. Many thanks for your comments. I should be able to amend the end tiles to a slate and a half. As for the colour, Stephen Williams used Davy's grey (actually made from slate) with white, and very small amounts of brown madder alzarin and veridian green. He warns against using blue which I guess would be the automatic choice for many. I've also just noticed that he has done the slates in strips with half cuts to represent the gaps between the tiles. That would be a lot quicker but then the station building at Farigdon is much larger than Westbrook.
  13. Underneath my Blagdon layout is another smaller baseboard with a representation of Westbrook station on the Golden Valley Railway. This prosaically named branch has always appealed to me and some years ago I laid the track and started the scenery for a model of Westbrook. Wanting a change from constructing locos and coaches I had a go at resurrecting this. I firstly stripped all the scenery off and cut the baseboard so that it follows the line of the track only. My intention was to mount this on a frame with the infill (the scenery) made from expanded polystyrene. My aim has been to reduce the weight without sacrificing the rigidty required for the track which still has a MDF base. I was dismayed to discover that the track had buckled in places so had to repair this. The running line through Westbrook was chaired track but the siding still retained the original flat bottom track. This is something very characteristic of many stations. I also rewired the track and fitted the socket for the controllers that I now use. The track was I think SMP EM gauge flexitrack with the point on the running line made from their components which use separate chairs. The siding was constructed from flat bottom track soldered to PCB sleepers. I repainted the track and generally improved its' appearance as best I could. I made a far more substantial platform from ply rather than the Plastikard I used initially. Having done this it was time to look at the station building, an attractive stone structure. Fortunately the book on the branch written by W H Smith includes a plan of the building. This, incidentally, is a very interesting book as the principal driver on the line kept a diary and was quite a keen photographer. The day to day operations of branch lines are rarely recorded but the book quotes extensively from the diary giving a real sense of how this long forgotten outpost of the GWR was run. The station building was constructed from Plastikard with the embossed stone facing. This seemed to match very closely the size and layout of stones used on the actual building. An additional complication was the quoins at the corner which, according to the plan, were of different sizes. The quoins on my model are also of different sizes but that was not the intention. The note on the plan was my get out clause! The walls of the building are several layers of Plastikard as the original building I made many years ago warped badly. The windows and doors were constructed as sub-assemblies fixed to the inside of the walls when completed. The big problem I could see was the roof. I consulted the Stephen Williams book on GWR Branch Line modelling and for slate roofs he suggested using thin writing paper cut to the size of each slate (the book helpfully gives the sizes of the slates most commonly used). I couldn't get on with using paper so substituted very thin Plastikard which of course fixes better. Cutting the slates is far harder that it seems as whatever size of slate is used, every slate has to be the same size. As, with all tiling, the slate / tiles overlap the join of those underneath and if the width is even fractionally out that overlap will be lost. Knowing that I was going to have to cut several hundred tiles (this is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby?) and realising that my older eyes weren't up to the job I fashioned a simple jig using a redundant frame spacer and two pieces of scrap etch. The frame spacer is bent up, the upturned sction will be the surface against which the strip of Plastikard is pushed against. A piece of the scrap is soldered to the base of the frame spacer against the upturned edge and at right angles to it; the edge of the Plastikard strip bears against this. To this piece is soldered, at right angles, a further strip of scratch etch parallel to the upturned surface of the frame spacer. This last piece of metal is the edge against which the strip is cut. The Plasikard strip goes under this last piece of metal and bears against both the upturned edge of the frame spacer and the scrap etch at right angles to it. All I have to do is cut along the last piece of metal, flick the cut piece out of the way and push the strip along ready for the next cut. So far it's worked really well. The height of the slates (the width of the strip) is less important as any discrepancies are hidden under the overlapping slates. I've described this in some detail as I think others may find it useful. Moulded sheets do not capture the appearance of slates at all. The photo of the station building also shows the jig I used for the slates. I haven't yet painted the walls and found that my tin of GWR Light Stone had gone off. The Dark Stone was a little better and as there isn't much woodwork to be painted I persevered with this; the Light Stone to be added once I get a nfresh tin of it. There is a lot of comment about the exact shade used but it's worth remembering that the colours were made by mixing burnt sienna pigment into white lead paint on the job. A colour card was provided (the HMRS guide includes a colour chart matched to Swindon records) but you can imagine how the foreman's sensitivity to colour, the lighting at the time and the dirt on the card can all affect the final shade. As the HMRS guide points out, there were doubtless times when the card was lost altogether. I'll update readers of further progress with the layout. I have also been working on trackwork building four turnouts for a potentially better model of Blagdon. These use wooden sleepers with rivets and Code 75FB rail Whilst the sleepers look realistic I'm not convinced that it's a quantum leap in overall appearance over PCB. I've also ignored some of the accepted practices of turnout construction and encountered a few problems arising from the use of FB rather than bullhead track. What I can say is that initial running tests show rolling stock passes very smoothly over the completed turnouts. If there is interest I can describe how I constructed these turnouts.
  14. I built a Wills (as it was then) Metro tank many years ago and updated it with the etched chassis. I like the prototype, a pleasant change from the 0-4-2T and they were, in their latter years, widely spread throughout the system. I also like the kit and it's nice to build a model that didn't have as many variations as the 517's. I wouldn't be too frightened about a compensated chassis. I have one loco using the CSB system, one sprung and all the others compensated.My Metro has the rear axle fixed with the compensating beam resting on the front driving axle and pony truck (not sure if that's the correct term). Kits that have provision for compensation are easier as they're designed with this in mind. The important thing is to ensure that the floating driving axle has no play within the hornblocks, time spent on ensuring this is well spent. Ignore anything you read about filing the bearing, I use grinding paste and moving the bearing up and down within the hornblock using the handle of a needle file. Also useful to scratch a "T" on one face of the bearing to ensure it goes into the hornblock the same way each time ("T" = top). The aim is to have the bearing sliding freely within the hornblock without any play. The rear bearings are of course fixed, the usual 1/8th inch bore top hat variety. It's also important to have the axle spacing jigs, these look like an extended 1/8th axle with the ends turned down. Put one of these through the fixed rear bearing, the other through the bearing and hornblock assembly (a spring is provided which goes over the axle in the middle of the frame to ensure the two hornblocks are firmly located against the chassis sides). Once you have done this, it can be a bit fiddly, fit the coupling rods over the extended axles on both sides and this will automatically ensure the bearings are in the correct position. Once this has been achieved simply solder the hornblocks to the chassis. This very simple jig ensures that the axle centres are exactly the same distance apart as the ccoupling rods. The compensating beam is simply a reasonably solid brass rod. The chassis should have holes showing where the fulcrum of the beam is located. I use a fine bore tube (Mercontrol point control tubing is ideal) and solder the compensating beam to this. The wire through the two holes in the chassis is threaded through the tube which therefore allows the compensating beam to pivot even though the wire may be soldered to the chassis sides. One final point, the holes in the coupling rods need to be slightly larger than normal to allow for the slight variation in the distance between the axles arising from the deflection. That in a nutshell is the way I compensate my locos. In many respects it's actually easier than a fixed chassis where the axles all have to be exactly in line. To my mind the improvement in running is worth the extra time. One point I forgot to mention, driving on the rear axle may mean the motor intrudes into the cab. I used a Portescap 1219 with the adapter (can't remember who did them) which pushes the motor farther back into the boiler. If you're confident with a soldering iron and have the few tools required an etched compensated chassis isn't too difficult.
  15. JDaniels

    GWR 0-4-2T's

    That's very observant. I hadn't noticed anything myself but you're right. The wheelbase (rear coupled wheel to trailing truck) is 30mm on 1463 but 33mm on the others. The K's kits have both got etched chassis from two different sources, I think 1463 is Perseverance whilst 4836 is Comet. I always say "never assume" but as with the smokebox door when you buy these kits you do assume that the most basic details are correct.
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