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Whatley Quarry in 4mm OO Finescale 1988-92


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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Some really nice shots there again Robin. Very interesting to see the early photos of Pride of Whatley. I've got a Judith Edge kit that's been sitting on my workbench for the past 10 years that needs making up. The only problem is that this loco is unique and has some considerable detail differences from the other Steelman locos that I'd like to reflect in the build.


There has been so much on my workbench over the Christmas period, I don't really know where to begin! There has been something of a Yeoman 'take-over' on Whatley recently so I thought I'd start with what is currently on the workbench and then work backwards.

I know that there is an impending release by Dapol, but I thought that I should finish the Intercity Models JHA that I have had kicking around the workshop for the past year or two. I bought a stack of Intercity Models kits from a fellow DEMU member a couple of years ago and I got the main body completed on one of them back in 2019.

The first thing I will say about the kits is that they finish up into really lovely models, as attested by the finished example that you can see in the photo below that was assembled by DEMU member Jeremy Davison. Looking at the Dapol model (which is superb in many ways) I'd say that the level of detail is definitely comparable and probably better than the Dapol model in several areas (especially around the hopper doors). That said, there are also shortcomings of the kit (but not many!) most noticeably the recessed D-shaped panel with the handbrake wheel is not deep enough.




The reason that I bought the kits initially was to try and get a bit closer to the process of etched kit construction and hopefully to learn a bit more about etched kit design in order to be able to feedback to my own projects (e.g. the PGA PG013E kit I am developing that you can see a styrene version of in the pic below).



Well, what have I learned?

By the time that this kit is fully finished it will have taken me close to 100 hours of modelling time. Sadly, as much as I have enjoyed it, this is just too much for a single item of stock that needs to run in rakes of 20-odd vehicles. It's fine for a shunter or one-off item but for mass-produced vehicles it isn't going to work. This is the principle reason why I have switched to Styrene and 3D printing for the PGA kit. The speed of assembly is just much, much quicker.

The second thing that I have learned is that when joining two plates together, whilst through-tab construction is strong, it requires so much cleaning up that I don't think there is any advantage to it. In most cases you can get away with a half etched line on one part, that the edge of the second part slots into and a fillet of solder can be run along the join. There is no way that I would now design a kit using this method of construction. Especially not one that needs making up in bulk.

And finally, the last thing that I have learned from this (which I probably already knew) is that whilst it is possible to fabricate absolutely everything using etched brass it is not always desirable. I cite the bogie as an example of this. It's absolutely beautiful with loads of separately fitted brass bits and bobs. But it would be so much better if it just had cast cosmetic side frames on a working sprung 'inner' (as per Stenson Models excellent range of brass bogies). It has taken me a full weekend and two evenings to assemble the pair from all of the bits and after all of that I found that the instructions call for you to 'prise apart the sides and insert the wheelsets'. Of course, the soldered up bogies are far too rigid to do this without distorting them. It was then very difficult to 'fettle' the running without further recourse to distorting the shape. Yup... lots learned about how to engineer a model bogie! I think the key point is that function is sometimes more important than form and having a bogie run well and that can be reasonably easily disassembled for fettling is more important than having one that is engineered as per the prototype.



So why bother? Well, I had gotten far enough with the kit that it seemed sensible to finish it off and have a pair of outers that I can run with the forthcoming Dapol release. To that end, I will attempt to colour match to the Dapol wagons which might require me to re-paint and finish Jeremy's excellent model (I feel really bad about this as he has done such an amazing job on it). It will probably require me to sort out a set of transfers for the wagon as well as I think the Fox ones have the wrong blue (too light). I think I have most of the artwork that I need though from the transfers that I did for the O&K boxes for this though.

Phew, that was a long update. More to follow on the other subjects soon.


Edited by lyneux
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  • 3 weeks later...

Can’t wait to see this develop. Only seen the layout once at Stoke mandeville some years ago, but wow guy just wow. I’ve got 25 ARC pta’s and a Dapol DCC sound 59 on order if you need a spare operator in the future

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  • 4 weeks later...
33 minutes ago, LaGrange said:


Doesnt matter - trains on the living room floor is always fun :)


Laminate/tiled floor is best - less fluff to worry about.

Waits for Guy to mention his pussy

And it is hard on the knees when doing some shunting....

Edited by newbryford
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  • 1 month later...

This layout is fantastic, I've seen some pictures on the PTA thread but i've only just found this and look forward to following progress. This is the era i model and just how i remember it when stopping for a look whilst on the way to Westbury. Unfortunately i didn't take many photos and these examples are not the best quality but are hopefully interesting anyway, taken 13th April 92.



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  • 4 months later...
On 25/07/2021 at 17:54, dj_crisp said:

Great video Guy!

Love the intro Railfreight Today theme tune and the layout is looking fantastic 




I agree, a great choice of theme tune. Can I ask how you managed to find it, or was it simply recorded off the programmes?





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What a superb layout, I has to look thrice to see if it was a model or real. Superb work, I remember my dad taking me to Westbury in the mid 80s to see the Foster yeomans as I called them. We saw all 5 that day. 

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Thanks all for the comments!


The intro music is called Sporting Chance by Zach Laurence. Thanks to this thread for the reference: 


I managed to find a copy online and added it as the sound track. I think they get royalties through YouTube for using it as the YouTube software seemed to identify it as a copyright 'hit'.


After being busy with work, thing are finally quieting down and I have some time to focus on the layout this summer.... phew!



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