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James Hilton

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James Hilton last won the day on August 14 2010

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    Narrow Gauge! Anything less than 4ft8/1/2inches...

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  1. Thanks Adrian! Winter arrived early on the tramway at the weekend, with some sleet on Saturday that actually ended up sticking a little. The line was impassable at the top end, and pretty treacherous down at the wharf so no trains ran and supplies at the quarry were running low... However come Sunday and with blue skies and bright sunshine the snow had gone, so the Simplex 40S was called upon to deliver fuel oil, which gave me an excuse to test out the new brake van! I wanted to make sure it ran smoothly through the track and pointwork being propelled up the tramway and am happy to say it did, and the lovely layered finish, achieved through three layers of paint and subtle weathering looked great in the low autumn sun. On board a dolls-house step ladder, a pair of Talisman track gauges and mallet went for a ride... Ideally I'd like a guard for the van too, so I will see what I can rustle up. The low sun allows photos like this, you can't get them with such crisp shadows in the summer, but it was very cold! Back at the wharf and parked up, the moss is taking hold nicely in this area, and to finish, a wonderfully atmospheric shot up the tramway to the Berywns in the distance. More soon...
  2. It's always a surprise when you open the box of a model you've not seen before, and the Hattons P class took my breath away. It's a very cute little engine and the detail is very crisp and fine. This Bowaters liveried example arrived with me for renaming and weathering... My customer had commissioned Narrow Planet to produce the plates, although I can offer a complete service and do this for you if you wish. These were cut from their fret, straightened and the edges smoothed and polished to remove any trace of paint as this can easily spoil a finished model. They were attached over the printed names using a line of small dots of gel superglue. Once dry I set about the weathering - this example uses my standard 3 stage approach (rather than the deluxe 4 stage) but still produces wonderfully layered and believable results. The first step is a wash applied in various locations and mixed as I go from Humbrol 98 and 33. I also added a few patches of neat paint and tiny streaks around rivet and bolt heads - in a deluxe 4 stage process this 'detail painting' is repeated later as well. The second stage is to apply a coat of dirt from the airbrush - this tones the wash down and blends the edges, and I use the Martyn Welsh mix of Humbrol metalcote gunmetal and leather. Leaving this to dry overnight the final stage is using Humbrol 53 to dry brush burnished edges and wear to the metal parts such as handrails, buffers and footsteps. This particular model was then finished with a load of real Welsh steam coal in the bunker. If you'd like me to bring your 'out of the box' model to life, contact me for a no obligation personalised proposal matched to your requirements. More soon...
  3. The tramway brake van has been on the back burner for a few weeks whilst I got to grips with the last of the Hudson Hunslets amongst other small scale commissions, as well as preparing for and attending ExpoNG... As it is, now things are calming down a little (although Warley is only a few weeks!) I've been priming and starting to paint the brake. The seats now have latches fitted, before the whole model was sprayed with Halfords grey primer. The roof was covered in a sheet of A4 paper soaked in PVA to simulate a canvas covered affair, before being primed and then a first coat matt black applied. With the paint hard I decided I'd better give it some running trials out on the tramway. I have added some weight to the chassis, which has improved it's performance, and after a quick tweak of the back to back of the Slaters wheels (the Peco set-track points seem quite tight for them unless you ease them out a little) she ran well and looked the part. The Simplex also has become my new favourite, after I replaced the PDF worm driven custom chassis with one of my own design, modified from the Hudson Hunslet concept. The plan is for an olive green body, with the wooden end panelling weathered quite a lot, along with a dark grey chassis. We'll see how that pans out in the coming weeks... More soon...
  4. It has turned decidedly autumnal here in the Dee Valley as the tramway burst into life earlier in the week. The Alan Keef K40 was seen with a short works train to check over the line before possible running at the weekend... Seen down at the wharf (note the foliage behind is in need of trimming in the next few weeks, and the back wall repairing as a result!), the 3D scenic items like the barrel and tank need bringing in over the winter, and may need a little restoration after a hot summer. Off up the line, the recent foliage cutting doesn't seem to have damaged the track anywhere which is good news... ...although up at the quarry the bush behind has grown a lot and needs cutting back again. I'm pondering adding some more track work in this area, to allow for more stock to be stationed on the line. There isn't much room for more at the wharf unfortunately. On the way back down the line, the gates are closed behind the passing train... ...before filling the diesel up with fuel before it's next turn of duty (the small shrub to the left has turned into a wonderful little tree. I've got quite a few projects on the go for the railway over the winter, it will be good fun to see them through to fruition in the coming months. More soon...
  5. The Dyfrdwy Tramway has until now operated without any kind of brake vehicle, and the workforce were expected to walk to undertake any work on the line, as well as the quarry and mill staff not being able to be transported... I had for sometime wondered about building some sort of man-rider vehicle, initially inspired by the Hare Crag vehicles. These would have been constructed on skip chassis, with simple wooden ends, bench seats and canvas sides. However it was actually a photo of ISABEL on the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway that spurred me into action. ISABEL is a brake van built onto an old Simplex chassis... I decided to copy the idea, but sketched out my own ideas on layout and construction. The model has been built around the same chassis that is under my Simplex 40S, but without a motor this time. The 20/28 straight frames were assembled from plasticard cut to size. This is much longer than the 40S but the wheelbase is the same. I designed some suitable axle boxes and had these printed by Shapeways, these are now available in my EuroNG store on Shapeways if anyone else is interested... Bodywork was started with angle iron forming the corners, and enclosing the guards seat. I envisaged the original 'build' had half height panels but due to the weather this was enclosed later with metal and windows around the guard, and then later still some timber added to cut out the adverse Welsh weather. The chassis top was enclosed with styrene to mimic the arrangement of a Simplex and then infilled where the engine and gearbox had been removed. Rivet and bolt details were added, along with some bench seats, which will be modelled to look like they have hinged lids shortly. Handrails are thin styrene tube filled with 0.9mm brass wire and bent to shape. The roof was a stumbling block until I visited my friend Steve and we discussed options and how it would have been done in real life. Until that point I'd scratch built the body, but the only real option for the rolled angle in the roof was to resort to the laser. Some 40 thou was cut in curves, and then 30 thou bonded to this to create L girders, then glued to framing down each side. End plates were added and cosmetic rivets to these, this means that the roof can remain removable, but positively locks in place. The brake man seat, from Model-earth was fixed in place on plastic angles assembled from bits in my scrap box. The roof was then formed from a piece of 40 thou styrene that was scribed to plank width. Each plank was then bent to form a crease and this 'curved' the roof and allowed it to be glued in place. This gives a lovely appearance both inside and outside the roof - the outside will be coated with tissue paper or similar to give the effect of being covered in canvas. The model is very small actually, despite being quite wide, shown here with the existing 'Dalmunzie' style open coach. Next up I'm awaiting some parts from Model-earth including Simplex buffers and a brake wheel stand. Then adding the roof, fitting some brackets to secure rolled up canvas sides before priming... it shouldn't be too long before I can give it a test run on the line. More soon...
  6. I've been busy beavering away on the rest of the Hudson Hunslet batch now since the Llanfair show, and they're all progressing well, with 4 working their way thought the paint shop together at the moment. This is the next to be complete though, a Trefor cabbed example on 32mm gauge... The model has been finished in a faded and patchy green, achieved by spraying black pre-shading, and then building up the green in several coats, getting a touch lighter each time, which gives a worn patina that is difficult to achieve in any other way. Once dry, the engine was picked out in grey, pipework in gunmetal and the axle boxes and couplers in dirty black (mixed from 98 and 33). A white '9' was added to the cab sides and buffer beams with a Posca paint pen before being sealed quickly with a waft of dull-cote. The weathering is then added, starting with a dirty wash around the engine and letting this pool slightly on the running board, as if oil stains and pools. A wash was applied to the chassis and body sides, wiped off vertically and repeating until a well worn but patchy look was achieved. Whilst all still wet some darker spots were added with neat dirt (33 and 98) and then dragged down in a vertical motion with a bit of sponge. Gunmetal (53) was drybrished over the cab control handles, cab handrails, worn edges and axle boxes to give a lived in feel, the small glint of metal particles bringing the edges to life. The model was left to dry, and looked good, but a bit 'flat'. I decided to risk spraying a mist of clear lacquer over the paintwork and this instantly brought the finish to life, once dry, dull-cote was applied to the roof, chassis sides and buffer beams which toned things down a touch. Finally, the glazing was added using Humbrol Clearfix, the driver fitted and the roof placed on... ...seen here posing on the Dyfrdwy Tramway, looking very much at home and definitely telling me that I need to weather my own 'home' locomotive as it's far too clean at the moment. I've another three HH's nearing completion so will share these separately. A second batch of the diesel is planned for 2020, if you're interested in reserving one then please get in touch, or if you'd like me to build you your own unique model in any scale of gauge then I'm happy to prepare a no-obligation proposal. More soon...
  7. Hi James, tried to use website to get a quote but for some reason the message will not send.

    Here was my message.

    Wondering if you can give a quote for a light/medium weathering to a OO guage Heljan Class 26 in Trainload Coal Livery. Trying capture to coal/dirty effect.

    Detail pack (pipes/ploughs) also to be fitted to one end only.


  8. Earlier in the year I created a downloadable and printable Poster of the Bachmann 64xx to 74xx conversion I undertook. It received some favourable and encouraging comments. Having just completed work on a new identity, detailing and weathering of a DJ Models Austerity this seemed to offer another good candidate for the same treatment... (download full size here) This model has been a joy to work with, finely detailed, especially the lovely wheels that capture the distinctive shape of the prototype and with such fine flanges for OO scale. There are compromises, but it's a very convincing model out of the box. This one was LNER black however, so has seen a makeover into a NCB style machine, using pre-shading and my favourite Humbrol 131 as a base before varied weathering techniques. If you're interested in the model itself, then I can give you a personalised proposal to bring your own model to life with a customised and professional service, matching your requirements and budget with prototype photos and many years of model making experience. Get in touch via the contact form on my website, Facebook page or the forum messaging services. More soon...
  9. It is a small 12v N20 with stacked gearbox from eBay. I normally use the 6v ones from MFA in the UK, but this model already had a 9.6v battery pack so I needed the 12v rating and MFA don't do one... https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/N20-DC3V-6V-12V-50-2000RPM-Speed-Reduction-Gear-DC-Motor-with-Metal-Gearbox/273915570626?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=573785193839&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 I think I got the 12v 100rpm, but if I got another I'd go for the 200rpm one I think, this one is fine, but a touch slow, though that does make it lovely and controllable.
  10. I've been working on a 'forestry commission' train now for nearly 12 months, and today I was finally able to test something out on the line... A few months ago I finally finished the first of a pair of bolster wagons based around the Model-earth budget skip wagon chassis. I designed parts in 2D CAD and had them laser cut to allow a precise and accurate bolster to be constructed. However, I had forgotten to cut a second set of parts so work stalled! Earlier in the week I visited Steve and we cut a second set out on his laser - and this morning I stuck it together to allow me to load it up with logs and see if it worked in the garden. Obviously real logs are pretty heavy, this set of three were cut last autumn and look perfect loaded up, but their weight certainly was a good test. They worked perfectly, and followed the contours and curves of the tramway with ease. It was also a test for my Simplex, which has been re-chassis'd with one of my own design having grown frustrated with the worm drive of the original on the steeper sections of my line. The new micro motor and gearbox, despite it's small size, seems to have BAGS of torque and handled the load both up and down with no problems. I need to finish it off now, and find some turnbuckles to allow me to use chains to tie the logs down rather than elastic bands... and then I can get on with the new brake/crew van over the winter. More soon...
  11. This pair of coaches have appeared on the blog on and off now for quite a few months, they've been a lovely commission to work on, given the chance to work on something from concept sketches to finished model, with a lot of agency within a creative brief... They were passed on to their new owner at the Llanfair garden railway show, and he was very pleased with them and they garnered a lot of lovely comments from other people as well. The models went from sketches to a rough mock up in 3D CAD, that was used to produce some scale side elevations for my customer to check with his other stock. These were worked into 2D CAD for laser cutting, before assembling into sturdy and robust bodies and chassis. The models have some other custom designed elements, including the decals with a logo I designed and had printed as transfers, and the lamp tops, which were drawn in 3D CAD and printed by Shapeways. The finish is a deep Lancashire and Yorkshire railway 'Blackberry black' with Humbrol 41 'Ivory' panels, several coats over sanding sealer and then red/white primer, rubbed back each time. This goes a long way to sealing and smoothing the MDF finish, although it still gives some natural relief in the finish rather than a pristine plastic based coach. If you're interested in commissioning me to produce you a dream model, custom to your railway, then do get in touch for a personalised proposal, either via the contact form on my website, Facebook or the various forum messaging services. More soon...
  12. Great to see that you've started this now Paul, I've still got some more in stock, available here: https://paxton-road.blogspot.com/p/components.html
  13. The first pair of Hudson Hunslets to be 'finished' are shown here on my garden railway, and I'm really proud of them both... What I love is how two near identical models can take on such different personalities, different again from my own cabless model. Not just the cab but the paint work and finish, showing that despite buying a 'production' model from me, my customers truly get unique models. The first here is a 'Hare Crag' cab finished in yellow. My customer originally specified yellow all over but I suggested a black chassis and wasp stripes. The yellow is three coats of gradually lighter yellow to achieve the faded look, and the models been weathered with washes, dry brushing and detail painting. I particularly like the subtle scrapes with fresh rust staining - and the rust edges picked out with a touch of metal. If this was a 32mm gauge model I'd be loathed to let it go as it just looks so right on my tramway. The second is a Trefor cab, finished (at the moment at least) in out of the works condition - although I think it may have a little 'lived in' dirt and dry brushing added. The more traditional maroon crimson colour really looks great on the taller cab, and the red buffer beams look very smart indeed. I particularly like how the tall cab is accentuated by the round porthole windows, flush glazed with precision laser cut windows. Both models will shortly be at their new homes, making way for the next pair in the paint shop and time to crack on with the rest of the 45mm gauge batch. I am considering a further run of the model in 2020, alongside the new Ruston Proctor (in 7/8ths) and the 24hp Hudson Hunslet (in 16mm). If you're interested get in touch via Facebook, the contact page on my blog or one of the Forum messaging services. More soon...
  14. Over the past few weeks holidays I've managed to slot in a few smaller jobs, although this O scale model isn't small, the weathering work is more easily completed in short bursts, and here it is ready for returning to it's happy owner... The model is well detailed and has real presence compared with the standard gauge OO models I'm more used to from my own collection, and it has been fun working on it. The model was finished with reference to some prototype photos of the real 08173. The weathering combines several techniques including washes, detail painting, dry brushing and finally airbrushing that pulls it all together in a coherent overall finish. It isn't just a variety of techniques that bring a model to life, as important is the study of prototype photographs and careful observation of the accumulation of dirt, it's colour, texture as well as corrosion, streaks of dirt and dust. With care these can be easily represented in miniature. I use Humbrol enamels in a relatively neutral pallet, mainly 33 (matt black), 53 (gun metal), 98 (matt chocolate) and 133 (satin brown). If you'd like me to bring your own model, in any scale or gauge to life, with a realistic and well observed weathering then get in touch either through the contact form on my blog, Facebook or the forum messengers. In the meantime, more soon...
  15. It's not all large scale narrow gauge commissions here, I've mentioned this wagon before on the blog, but thought with recent progress it deserved it's own post... The wagon, a LMS 21t 10ft6in wheelbase iron ore hopper has been somewhat a labour of love. Despite reading a copy of Geoff Kent's excellent article in Model Railway Journal, as my customer required a OO version I've driven my own way and trodden a path between fidelity and character that hopefully matches that of my narrow gauge modelling, whilst resulting in a believable and well finished model. A Parkside chassis has been lengthened and strengthened and a 15 thou styrene hopper body fabricated, measured from a scale drawing. Side strapping is micro-strip and the rivets have been painstakingly added with resin rivet transfers. A representation of the door operating mechanism has been made in styrene from rod and offcuts of 15thou sheet from the bodywork. The model here has been primed so show where needs a little work - there are a few obvious things to remedy, before a second light spray of grey. Once I'm happy I will then make a start on the second of the pair! If there is a model you'd love in your collection that is not readily available I am happy to scratch build a model in any scale or gauge. Get in touch for your own personal proposal and unique price. More soon...
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