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Tom's 7mm Workbench


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Hello there, my name is Tom and I have been a railway modeller since my mid teens and have modeled in O gauge on and off since 2010 after helping out an an exhibition where my local club 'Reading Society of Model Engineers' was running one of their layouts and since then my railway bug has gotten bigger.


My journey started off with the intention of modelling the LB&SCR during the Douglas Marsh/Lawson Billinton period. Whilst Billinton was all in favor of brand new and up to date locomotives, Douglas Marsh preferred to make use of the older models, and I wanted to make some examples where you could see the original William Stroudley/Robert Billinton locomotives that were given a much needed overhaul by Marsh himself. So far I have one LB&SCR E1 from Meteor Models that is meant to portray an example where the engine was given a new boiler but was left with most of its original Victorian fittings. The only difference I have made compared to the one in the picture below is that I did not include the plated coal rails, as other examples did not show to have them.



Photo (c) H. C. Casserley from Stroudley Locomotives by Brian Haresnape


Bare in mind for some reason I did take my E1 down a different route and instead painted it in a more vintage LBSCR Green livery rather than a brown or black. The plan now is to strip off the current paint and give it Marsh Brown colors.



Another intention of mine was to model some of the characters from the Railway Series by the Reverend W Awdry. Thomas being based on a Brighton tank seemed a good excuse to make him and to have him on a future LB&SCR themed layout. Right now I am using the Ace Products E2 kit to build him, and I will write a more detailed post about his progress once I have completed him. In the meantime I have made his two coaches 'Annie and Clarabel' Using the television models as a reference, even though they are both drawn as suburban bogie coaches in the books illustrations.



(c) Mattel from the Thomas and Friends Wikipedia


The kits are from Connoisseur Models in which I painted orange with a teak finish in hopes of being able to disguise them a little in case I wanted to run them on a non-Thomas track. 

The roof vents are a unique design, my friend Tom Jedski who is a 3D modeller helped to produce them on shapeways and I was then able to make multiple silicone molds in order to cast them in resin. The television models did not have foot boards so I have left those out, one big mistake I have made was I forgot to cut out the Front rectangular windows on both models.  These have been fitted with Slaters sprung buffers and Parkside Dundas couplings.






The interior seats were custom made using a set from a 16.5mm detail pack. I bought these some years before realizing they were too short for what I needed, found them again and decided to put my mold making skills to good use. Did not do a very clean job in cutting and joining the seats together but I think most of the obvious mistakes were hidden as were hardly noticeable in the resin copies.
















As for the guards compartment, I improvised making a brake handle using spare parts.






Now lets add some people :)




Its a shame Woodland Scenics didn't make more than two sets of sitting passengers, each coach uses both packs. I like to think that the man sitting in Clarabel with the green coat and glasses is non other than the Reverend Awdry himself making notes for his next book.














Although I am very happy with these, I do have plans to make another set of Annie and Clarabel coaches in the future.  The Annie and Clarabel used in the original Television Series were Stroudley coach kits from Tenmille. As you can see their models are four compartments where as mine have five making them almost too long. My later plans are to use the brass kits made by Roxey Mouldings to make them even more accurate.


The current coaches will be used to make up another train.






I also like to collect miniature figurines. Here I have put together my own custom Fat Controller using two different figures made by Andrew C Stadden which I then sent off to be painted so that he looks like he does in the Clive Spong illustrations. I have all my figurines painted by my friend Claire Hawken who is a very talented miniature fig painter, most of the people seen down below are painted to replicate the human characters from Thomas, with the odd exception of one or two being made to represent characters from other media. To see more of Claire's work please visit her instagram page. 






















Really hope you have enjoyed reading this, looking forward to posting more updates in future :)





Edited by BluePioneer
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Hi and welcome to the forum!


I've been meaning to try resin casting and actually have some seats to do.  What brand you use for the mould and the resin itself and does the latter come pre mixed so can be used even in small any quantities? 




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Hello Ian! Thank you for your welcome


I buy both of them from two seperate shops on Ebay, the silicone is from DWR Plastics whilst the Resin is from Mould Craft. Unfortunately no its both two part, and it does take practice to get it right. 








What I would recommend is starting with something small, just so you don't use them both up straight away. With the silicone you have to make sure you are pouring in the exact same amount from both parts otherwise your finished mold will either not be as hard, or you would end up making a very sticky mess. (Trust me I've made that mistake so many times)


As for the resin, I pour slightly more part A into my mix and then stir it for 30-40 seconds to remove any air bubbles. If your mixing it in a plastic cup you should feel the heat as the two products merge together. Pour the resin in slowly, and squeeze the mold every now and then as you pour it in to make sure it fills in any small detail aswell as to remove anymore air bubbles, and leave it for half an hour or so.


Hope this will become clear once you've tried it a few times :) 



Edited by BluePioneer
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This is very nice to see.  The coaches are brilliant as are the figures.  I'm not a particular fan of Thomas but I did enjoy it when it was proper models.  The new stuff in CGI leaves me cold.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi John! Thank you for your kind words, and yes I agree! Thomas hasn't been the same since it went into CGI. and speaking of Thomas here is a post I've written about the O gauge model I'm currently making of him, Its a long read but I hope most of you will enjoy :D


Thomas the 7mm and Friends

Have wanted to make a Thomas as soon as I started modelling in O gauge, I would have a collection of LB&SCR stock with at least one character from the Railway Series. And since Thomas was based on a Brighton tank he seemed perfect and if anyone asked why I could say he was part of the family.


The project started in 2012, I had bought the Lionel Thomas model with the intention of converting it from 3-rail to 2-rail aswell as modifying the body shell to look more like his Television counterpart as seen in the photograph down below. The plan was to scratch-build a new chassis that would take slaters wheels, strip off all of the unnecessary detail (raised stripes, whistles buffers etc) and give it a bigger boiler tube.



Lionel's Thomas model


The original G1 Thomas used in the Television Series was made from Perspex, whilst the chassis was sourced from a cut up Marklin BR 55. Other details such as the buffers and lamps would also be taken off various other Marklins. Thomas would later be made of Brass when it came to shooting the feature film 'Thomas and the Magic Railroad' in the year 2000 before the show later went into computer animation.


You can read about the G1 Thomas model here...




(c) Mattel, Image from the Thomas and Friends wikipedia



This is where progress ended


All change.....


In 2017 I became dissatisfied with it and lost interest in the idea of having plastic stock. (With the exception of wagons) I already had an E1 in the make and decided I wanted all of my engines to be made from metal. Also I wasn't a real fan of the toy-like appearance this Thomas had, and wanted a more realistic looking model to fit in with the real railway.  Thomas is based on the LB&SCR E2 with extended side tanks, and luckily there was already a brass kit available.


The Ace Products E2 kit also comes with additional parts so that the modeller can make a more authentic looking Thomas. It felt like a childhood dream come true in terms of O gauge, The parts included are cab sides with the smaller viewing window, and extended smokebox saddles. As the television Thomas was built from parts of Marklin engines I decided to replicate that feature into mine.






Here is a comparison of the Thomas smokebox saddle with the original E2 ones. Notice the peculiar shape as the Thomas ones don't quite match up to the ones on his television duplicate.







Nothing a file and metal cutting scissors can't fix




Thomas was also fitted with a pair of carriage buffers to replicate the Marklin ones. Also note the over scaled Marklin style lamp made via shapeways. 




The kit for some reason only came with one set of window frames, so I had to spray paint them over a sheet of brass so I could cut them out and replicate them.




During the build Thomas has been out and about. Here I have taken him to my friends house and placed him next to his G1 replica. The lucky boy has collected some of the props used in the original Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends series. Notice the gauge difference below. The track my Thomas is sitting on was altered for Narrow Gauge as the Skarloey Railway was made in O gauge in the fourth series.



Big Thomas, Little Thomas



Standing next to the original Dryaw station building used in the first series of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Originally covered in brick paper, it was later remodeled with resin bricks.





The same bridge used in the opening credits for the original Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, it was also used in various locations throughout the model era.



Shaping up now, or so it seems


All change....AGAIN.....


After alot of reflection, I decided I wasn't really happy with what I have done with him. In my eyes he just looked silly. And when your friendship group consists of Railway Series modellers, your modelling bug suddenly changes shape. If we were to ignore the book illustrations and the TV series model, Thomas should look more like this...





I made this Hornby E2 Thomas 10 years ago, unfortunately it no longer exists :(


Reginald Payne was responsible for Thomas's design, it wasn't anything like Awdrys sketches, but he accepted the change and allowed it so long as it was based off of a real engine.  What didn't make sense about Payne's E2 was the changes he made such as the raised rear footplate, Cab shape, the new style safety valve and the wheel splashers. Thomas's appearance changed so much throughout the first book, in one picture he would have an extra window in his cab, the next it was replaced with a red striped box. The design was finalized when C. Reginald Dalby took over from Payne and re-illustrated the book, keeping his unusual shape and making his smaller cab window a permanent feature.


And of course when Britt Alcroft wanted to turn the books into a Television series the model makers based the style of the engines on how they looked in the pictures, replicating the beautiful watercolor paintings and all the engines rather toy-train like appearance.


You can find out more about Reginald Payne and see scans of his original illustrations by clicking on the link below






Reginald Payne's first illustration of Thomas. Notice the missing side window has been replaced with a red box.



Thomas repainted by C. Reginald Dalby and he carried on as the official Railway Series illustrator until the eleventh book 'Percy the Small Engine'



(c) Mattel, photo taken from the Thomas and Friends wikipedia


Some theories believe that when Thomas came to Sodor he would have been just an ordinary E2, and later modified to resemble his current look, Hornby themselves have altered their E2 tooling so that their Thomas would match the pictures. These back stories were written in order to cover up the mistakes caused by the illustrator.





See if you can spot the differences. 


The point of modelling is to create an example of either what was, or what could have been. I've decided to part way with the authenticity Ace Products have produced and look towards making Thomas a regular E2 from the 1920s with no extras.





E2 cab built up with the correct side windows






Thomas now has his E2 smokebox saddle frames in place, and shorter buffers. The Chimney and Dome are made by @Knuckles AKA Sparkshot Custom Creations from his E2 cad, I plan to make whitemetal castings from them.




Really happy with the way its going now, can't wait to finish him.




Thanks for reading :) 




If you've already made a Thomas using the Ace Products kit please post your photographs in this thread I would really love to see how you have made yours :)



Edited by BluePioneer
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Thanks Gavin, and thanks for your help with the project too :)


This is a JPL Tanker kit, made from Whitemetal castings and a nicklesilver tube. This has been soldered together using 70% low melt solder and Liquid Flux from Roxey Mouldings. (With the exception of 145 solder for the tube)




The brass base was made to hide the mistakes I made to the underframes






The axleboxes were drilled out using a draper drill and were fitted with no bearings, the axles were so thick I didn't have any that fit.




Despite that it runs perfectly, still needs more work though




Click this link to watch my Dapol 08 Diesel shunt it




Have recently had more figurines sent off for painting and again very happy with Claire's hardwork.



William Stroudley and Robert Billinton



Michael Angelis (Thomas's narrator who sadly passed away recently)





A very young and mischievous Christopher Awdry



Jeremiah Jobling (Taken from the Railway Series story 'James and the Bootlace')





Stylish man in stripey chinos relaxing





A photographer, can't get over the detail she has put into his coat.



Mother and Child





To see more of Claires work click the link below






Edited by BluePioneer
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  • 2 weeks later...

Not sure if I am allowed to double post on here, if I'm not then I will remove this post.


Previously I said I was going to make whitemetal castings of @Knuckles's E2 fittings and here I am to show you the progress so far.




Creating a two part mold






Made using a heat resistant silicone




After many attempts and a second chimney mold later here are my results. Still alot of filing to do.






Very happy so far, first time casting fittings but this isn't the first time I have ever made things in whitemetal...


Years ago I wanted some weights to add to my wagons but I didn't want to stick obvious looking pieces of metal underneath so I went about making my own under frames. This is a mold I made from latex, it will shrink but as it is only an underframe it doesn't need to be completely spot on.






This is where they all ended up.








Thank you for reading :)



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  • 4 weeks later...

Small update


Thomas now has E2 accurate balancing weights that were 3D printed by @Knuckles. The LB&SCR E2s wheel weights have a rather interesting design, and they are positioned in such peculiar spaces, luckily even though they changed the engines design by extending the side tanks they kept the wheels exactly the same so it wasn't as if I had to look at specific photographs.








Here is my model with the balanced weights added, the rear wheel is slightly off but I have fixed that mistake since I took this picture. 








Will give them a few coats of blue soon :)


Another small update, here is my JPL Kits Tanker Wagon








Possibly one of my favorite kits to build, I will be making more of these wagons in future.




Edited by BluePioneer
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  • 1 month later...

Not a very big post today, have had so much going on work wise that I haven't felt like modelling lately. I have recently painted Thomas's E2 accurate wheels blue, and I hope to return to the project properly very soon!









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  • BluePioneer changed the title to Tom's 7mm Workbench

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