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Neil Phillips

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  1. I found MLI issue 174 on the private builder prototypes while browsing in WHSmith in late 2008 and was blown away by the content. Since then I have collected all of those relevant to BR First Generation motive power and they have now largely replaced my earlier collection of Brian Haresnape's 'BR Fleet Survey' series as my go-to reference for modelling purposes (although the latter still has its uses). The tabulated information on build/withdrawal dates, renumbering and naming/renaming has been informative, sometimes puzzling and on occasion explanatory! CJM did state in issue 200 on the Western Class 52s (April/May 2013) that he had reached 'semi-retirement' status but he found reason to keep the series going for longer than I for one had expected. I also would like to thank Colin for his considerable efforts in compiling this gold mine of information over the past decade plus, and wish him all the best for the future, whether that is a feet-up retirement or a 'working' retirement ("I've got nothing on today so I think I'll do a bit of research......!") If I had to nominate a favourite picture in all of the issues I possess it would have to be the 'shed-on-wheels' Southern Railway No 49 (BR 49S) on page 12 of issue 222 on Departmental Locomotives. Knew nothing about it and it existed for 20 years!
  2. Straightaway I also thought 'St Agnes', post its 1937 rebuild. Often thought about doing this one myself, I like the unusual but compact layout and the scenic block overbridge at one end. And unlike Perranporth which has totally disappeared, the station building at St Agnes still exists, AFAIK, if this would be helpful. If the prospect of running china clay trains through St Agnes sounds appealing, you could apply a healthy dose of modeller's licence and bend history. Page 12 of the Late Summer 1992 issue of 'Great Western Railway Journal', which was a Special Cornish Issue, has a May 1935 photo of St Erth station with a china clay dry located inside the curve onto the St Ives branch. The caption says, "The clay drys.........had belonged to the Porthia China Clay Co. but the clay industry never really got established in West Cornwall." One could pretend that it did get established and due to main line capacity issues clay trains were routed onto the less busy Chacewater - Newquay line to link up with other clay traffic at St Dennis Junction. This would assume that Blackwater and Tolcarn Junctions had remained complete triangles.
  3. The D600 and Hawksworth were not my first experience of MTK kits - in 1973 I purchased a Peak kit from the Kings Cross model shop, together with the recommended tube of that new-fangled superglue.........except that it didn't work because it required the parts to fit perfectly! So I switched to Devcon. This was double-motored using Tri-ang Hornby units, weighed a ton and wasn't exactly a smooth or silent runner. It was painted blue as 163, although since etched plates wouldn't fit between the grilles I had to make my own illegible versions. Later on I did fit etched plates by removing the small boiler compartment grilles but the consequent patch-painting never looked that great. I should have done D151 instead...... Next up was a Class 119 DMU powered by T/H Hymek motor parts in an MTK-supplied black plastic frame (I still have a couple of those), this required the worm gears to be shifted closer together on the armature shaft. It was finished in blue/grey livery using MTK's own transfer sheet and totally against expectations it won the Bridgend Cup for best kit-built locomotive at the 1975 Bristol Exhibition! Perhaps the painted-in orange curtains swung it......or just recognition of sheer perseverance! Many years later I replaced the motor and bogies with Lima items for freer running and sold it on to the Bentley MRG in Calne, and AFAIK it is still on their Highbridge Road stock roster. Shortly after the '119' I bought a Class 25 kit and powered this with another Hymek bogie - just the one, fitted with scale wheels. Unlike the Peak it was a very smooth quiet runner. I finished it as 5180 in blue, representing Cornwall's first Class 25 (just as D151 had been the first Peak). I also bought the MTK kit for the Class 121 & trailer to go with the '119' but the Lima Class 117 put paid to that and they never got built. The Hornby '25' and Mainline Peak had also transplanted the two MTK locos before the 1970s were done.
  4. To go with D601 on my Cornish layout I also built this MTK Hawksworth SK. It has a pre-formed brass body shell, aluminium floor, cast ends and underframe trussing. It was supplied with Mainline Collett bogies, I added Lima corridor gangway connections left over from a DMU conversion and an interior from a scrap Mainline SK. There were no rainstrips 'rolled in' so these were plastic strip superglued in place (that was fun!) After priming I hand-applied white around the window area and masked off the lining with strips of Alfac masking tape as sold by Howes (I really miss the versatility of that stuff!) Other colours were hand-painted and the whole thing satin spray-varnished. I've considered an update by repainting a Hornby model but the flush glazing is so tight-fitting these days I can foresee problems when refitting it - and that assumes I could get it out in the first place!
  5. Here is D601 Ark Royal built from an MTK kit in 1993. It runs on a pair of Tri-ang EM2 bogies salvaged from a wreck purchased for a fiver in the mid 1970s in case I ever got around to building a D600 (it took 18 years!) Within that time I was fortunate to locate a brand new armature for the motor. The motor bogie (which looks ripe for a repaint!) is fitted with Milholme turned brass wheels, the trailing end has Romford wheels running in Peco brass bearing cups and additional pickps. The original cast roof sections were heavy and stood way too proud of the much thinner cab roofs so to resolve this and lighten the load on the single motor bogie a Tri-ang Mark 1 roof was shortened and reprofiled to fit between the cabs - the roof profile is therefore a little too flat (similar to those early Heljan Class 33/0s!) but has etched fan grilles - correctly offset - and exhaust ports with other features scratchbuilt. The upper side radiator grilles were smoothed and scribed vertically to represent the later type, and the double central pair of grilles reduced to single on one side, as per prototype. The headcode boxes were formed from plasticard. The front gangway doors were A1 Models Class 26 from my bits box, and the buffers, bogie air tanks and lamp brackets came from their Hymek detailing kit. The single coupling hook is deliberate!
  6. The five members of Class 48 used to amuse us spotters in the late 1960s as their allocation regularly alternated between Tinsley 41A and Stratford 30A - they were that "popular"! Conversion to Class 47 finally enabled them to spread their wings - a near ex-works blue 1704 reached Penzance on 20th October 1971, I saw it at Truro on up train 1M23 and attempted a photo but it wasn't my Instamatic camera's finest hour.....
  7. Perhaps I was just lucky but I placed the order via email and waited for Brian to find it - it took him 3 days because he had been out all week having been "called in to work". After that it took just 4 days to receive the order. A long-standing acquaintance running a small-scale model railway manufacturing and retail business explained to me more than once that he runs it mainly as a hobby as it doesn't generate enough income to live on. Paying the bills still required a main occupation, so attention can get diverted. We should be patient if the 'one-man-band' proprietor is still below retirement age! I realise that Modelmaster is the subject of another thread but I also placed an order there on 18th August for steam plates, one red diesel plate and one transfer sheet. The order took 25 days to arrive (last Friday) but their website does state 2-3 weeks and red plates can take an extra 7 days to prepare, so it's about right. The point is, patience is a virtue (all modellers should have it in abundance, right?! )
  8. Valid point IMO.......... since few modellers appear to care that Bachmann's early Class 25 in blue and later Class 25 in green have incorrect exhaust ports (with exceptions) I've often wondered whether Heljan should have turned a similar blind eye and produced their 'Slim Jim' Class 33/2 in green livery - if they were that reluctant then perhaps Hatton's missed a trick and should have commissioned Heljan to do these instead of gloss D6517 & weathered D6526 (I think) using the original class 33/0 tooling with later exhaust a few years back. Too late now I think as expectations have moved on and it wouldn't be acceptable in these hi-fi times.
  9. They certainly are still trading - having FINALLY decided which Warships I want to model I placed an order for various plates and detailing parts on Wednesday 2nd September and received them exactly a week later, i.e. three days ago. Very happy with the service and the excellent products.
  10. Yes indeed FC, I have my copy of the 1967/68 Trix catalogue in front of me (Lawson's of New George Street, Plymouth stamped on the front cover, anyone remember that shop? I certainly do, I bought a Tri-ang L1 4-4-0 there in the late 60s, it cost forty-two shillings and eleven pence of my hard-won farm work earnings!) : Item No 1170 - Brush Type 4 in green syp [illustration, I believe based on a photo of D1730] Item No 1171 - Brush Type 4 in blue fye [photo of D1959 in original blue with cabside arrows/bodyside numbers] And on the inside rear cover, "STOP PRESS - New!" : Item Nos 1906/7 - Mark 2 TSO [b&w photo + illustration] Item No 1933 - Pullman Parlour Car, 1st Class [b&w photo] Item No 1934 - Pullman Parlour Brake Car [b&w photo] Item No 1935 - Pullman Parlour Kitchen Car [b&w photo] Interestingly the Western diesel could be had with twin motors, and this loco, the Warship and the AL1 electric were available as 'Footplateman' kits (same as 'CKD' in Tri-ang Hornby-speak). 'Coachbuilder' kits covered all available coach types apart from those decorated as Class 124 Intercity DMU trailers in green. There was even an interior lighting kit available (Item No 1451 2-rail/1452 3-rail), a strip with what looks like three bulbs which fitted into the roof........52 years ago but looks familiar!
  11. Since the cantrails grilles were modified to standard at rebuilding, surely Heljan's standard tooling would cover these. The clue is in the running numbers......
  12. Back in 1987 I repainted a Hornby Western into Inter City colours. It featured in Railway Modeller, I think I did it to mark the tenth anniversary of their final demise. One of the reasons I decided to do it was because I had a set of plastic name and number plates from a Trix Western and could change the number to 52004 using Slaters moulded numbers which I also had to hand. Don't you find that some things just beg to be done like that?! I still have the bodyshell in good order and the plates, and if I can find a cheap donor for all other parts I may yet put it back together. Previously contemplated Warship in NSE livery (as if still on the Wateloo - Exeters) and Hymek in Railfreight Red Stripe colours are now unlikely as it's not my era so I don't have the paint or transfers (I was lucky with the Western, a friend asked me to repaint a couple of Hornby Class 47s in IC and ScotRail colours and provided the paint, so I 'borrowed' some......!)
  13. These look like Romford wheels to me. I have used these in the past to rewheel Hornby Dublo vehicles (Presflo cement, Traffic Services tanker, Fruit D & SR CCT) with the stamped metal bearings, in the manner described by cypherman. I think some required a rub with a file on the domes to allow the axles to fit between the axleguards. I found that the two parcels vehicles required the 12mm diameter wheels to comfortably fit between the brake shoes and keep the couplings at the correct height. These dome-ended axles could be used with Peco brass bearing cups in kit builds. Sadly the manufacturer's first attempt to give these wheelsets pinpoint axle ends resulted in something halfway between the two, so the Peco cups were still necessary.
  14. I've had issues with soap in the past so prefer to use a kitchen cream cleaner of the Jif......sorry, I mean Cif kind (showing my age there!), supermarket own brand is perfectly good, scrubbed in with a toothbrush and then scrubbed/rinsed off with plenty of water. Being white you can see any still hiding in corners. If such treatment would dislodge details then careful cleaning with white spirit or thinners on cotton buds will do, but beware of stray cotton fibres left behind (same with tissues). With this preparation I have never routinely primed models if I thought there was no need, but it does depend on the colours and materials involved. When I started modelling in the 1960s I never cleaned anything before painting, nothing got primed and I used ordinary clear sticky tape for masking (sliced up on a piece of Perspex which partly killed the adhesive, not that that was the intention, I simply needed smaller pieces!) In the 1970s I built a few whitemetal & aluminium MTK kits in much the same blissfully ignorant manner and had very few problems. In retrospect I put this down to luck and what I perceive to be far better quality enamel paints back then. These days yellow drives me bananas....... Right, I'm off to the shop to buy some Opal Fruits and Marathon bars.......
  15. Probably not of much help to anybody now but when I was putting a wagon collection together in the 1990s I standardised on the small Airfix coupling, which I picked up in bulk anywhere I found them. Airfix and Dapol (mainly BR standard vent vans) were easy of course, but many Mainline wagons (e.g. 16-ton minerals) and Hornby Dublo steel opens and a 'Mica' van had underframes swapped with any cheap donor Airfix wagons I could find (which wasn't hard at the time) and the unwanted combinations sold on again. Unlike the original Mainline underframe the Airfix item was a neat piece of moulding with decent buffers and brake shoes in line with the wheels - Mainline eventually had to up their game. Some conversions such as Mainline bogie vehicles were not so simple but I always found a way! The hooks were steel (apart from some very early models which had brass hooks) so I could use a magnetic shunter's pole. For simplicity under exhibition conditions I removed the hooks from one end - this meant I could fix them rigidly where they didn't have integral moulded side spring 'whiskers', another great simplification. I was particularly pleased with a Hornby Dublo ICI white chemical tanker on the longer Airfix underframe, with soldered side bracing. I talk about these in the past tense but I still have them all as they still look pretty good to me!
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