Nicks workshop mutterings

Various railway orientated modelling projects in my new workshop/railway room.

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Now for something completely different!

As a departure from railway modelling I have been building a model of a trading smack. This will eventually be the centrepiece of a new, small layout I intend to build but more about that later.

The smack ‘Mary’ was built in Truro in 1875 and was designed initially for the South Cornwall stone trade. With her broad width, shallow draught and flat bottom she was ideal for coastal waters and getting up rivers and creeks. I found plans on a web site which unfortunately is now no longer on line and there are some good pictures of a model of her on the site of the Royal Greenwich Museum.

I was inspired to build her after reading Gordon Gravett’s article on building a gravel barge in Model Railway Journal issues 212 and 213 in 2012. His model is built to 7mm scale whereas mine is to my usual 3mm scale. I have made the hull with an odd bit of extruded polystyrene which after shaping was covered with planking made from strips of cartridge paper( similar to the method described by Gordon). The mast, booms and bowsprit are from cocktail sticks and kebab sticks. 

She has been modelled with a full hull as the plan is to have her tied up to a small quay and sitting in the mud as the tide is out.

This was fun to build and hopefully captures the look of a typical coastal sailing smack. 


50 Shades of Grey 

Great load of photos thanks

sed30's Blog

I had the privilege of operating Nick Salzmans 50 Shades of Grey at St.Albans exhibition yesterday.

Built to celebrate the 3mm Societies 50th year in 2015, Nick has now winterised the layout which given the weather yesterday was rather topical. I joked that he had left the roof off overnight!

It was amazing to watch people’s reaction and colour photos do not really do it justice so I suggested they take them in Black and White or even Sepia which some folk did.

I took a number of photographs from various angles some of which follow.

A true masterpiece.

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Culraine Station Cottage

i haven’t updated the blog for some time. As a break from other projects I have been building a commission for a model of Culraine  Station Cottage to go on Kyle of Sutherland, a P4 layout under construction. Have look at 

I have enjoyed the  project and only hope the results are acceptable. 



Bob Symes (1924 – 2015)

Sad to hear of Bob’s passing. My main memory of him is receiving a tankard from him for best visiting layout in 2000 with a previous layout “Wye Knot”

highland miscellany

In a rare departure from my general policy of ignoring of topics beyond strictly modelling, I thought I really ought to comment on the passing of Bob Symes at the beginning of this week

.Bob Symes3

To those in the UK of my age, you probably will have first encountered Bob as the presenter of the Model World TV series in the early 1970s.   This was a series of six (I think) episodes, each dealing with a different modelling subject; military modelling, ship modelling, aeroplane modelling and, of course, model railways.  You couldn’t see the BBC risking BBC channel 73 with a series on making models now, let alone a prime evening slot on BBC 2 which is where I think these were aired.  Most of the episodes are available on youtube (for example this one) and whilst perhaps the quality of modelling has come quite a long way in the…

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Cowleaze Farm finished

Having completed the stone walling around the orchard and inserted all the gates, apart from some small detailing, the tray is finished.


There is some detailing required around the edges of the tray but this will have to wait until it is installed in the scene.



All going well the tray will be returned to Pendon at New Year. That’s one project finished but a new one will be on its way soon I suspect.

50 challenge

I have decided to enter the 50 challenge to celebrate the 50th anniversary of tHe 3mm Society. This is in addition to continuing with Cowleaze Farm (see earlier posts), building extra rolling stock for Yeoton Wharf(see my other blog) and painting and lettering the stock for Lakebank(see earlier posts). Who ever said a male can’t multitask !

For the 50 challenge I have decided to make a small dockside shunting scene 50 cms wide and 50 cms deep. At the front will be a three masted schooner which I am recycling from a China clay wharf I built some time ago.
The layout has not got a name yet but it will be dependent on an experiment I am trying with the painting. More later………


Metropolitan tank progress

I have transferred this project to my blog on Yeoton Wharf as the locomotive is intended for that layout.

See the blogroll.

Lakebank mk2 scenery update

Progress has been made on the hill and banking at the back of the layout. Initially a framework was laid using card formers to produce the contours-‘eggboxing’.

This was then covered in a muslin stuck down using a standard glue gun;


This framework was then covered in strips of green paper towel soaked in and stuck of with diluted PVA. The strips were laid in a criss-cross fashion. Once dry it forms a firm shell on to which the various grass and vegetations can be stuck.


We have also been working on the road surface for the lane going over the plate girder bridge and up the hill.The base is card. This was painted with light earth coloured masonry paint. While still wet polyfilla was sieved onto the paint. When dry the excess was removed and then the surface is built up with washes of dilute acrylic paint.


Lakebank mk2

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been involved in the construction of a 14.2mm fine scale layout in my local club-the Launceston and District MRC. Over 25 years ago they made a start, under the auspices of Iain Rice on a layout based on the ex Furness Railway in Cumbria. The idea was to demonstrate the appeal of 3mm scale. Unfortunately with the loss of the clubrooms the layout was dismantled but all the buildings and the majority of the track work was retained together with all the stock that was under construction. A few years ago the club moved into new, but smaller, premises, at which point I joined. It was decided to resurrect the 3mm layout but in a smaller form. The plan was drawn by Iain Rice and is shown below;


We have been able to use the station buildings, goods shed, signal box and the steamer office from the previous layout. The location is based on the map drawn by Arthur Ransome in his well known book ‘Swallows and Amazons’. The buildings are from stations along the Coniston Branch of the Furness Railway. The engine shed which is under construction will be that which was found at Coniston.

All the track work has been laid and tested and a start has been made on the scenery. Here is an artists impression of what is planned


The pictures below shows the state that we have currently reached.

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2013-04-25 at 20-49-41      2013-04-25 at 20-50-14

Progress is slow, as is often the case in clubs. Too much talking and drinking tea!!

Maybe it will be ready for the 50th anniversary of the 3mm society in 2015

Winter time

The garden has been put to bed and the days have shortened so it is time to think about modelling projects.

I am a member of the Launceston and District MRC and we are constructing a 14.2mm gauge layout called Lakebank. This is a re-vamp of a project started over 25 years ago under the auspices of Iain Rice to demonstrate the potential of 3mm scale modelling. When the club had to vacate it’s premises the layout was dismantled but the stock, trackwork and buildings were all retained. The club now has new premises and the layout we are now constructing is smaller than the original but reuses the track, buildings etc. I will write further on this as we progress.

Coupled with the above layout I have started looking at building a LNWR 4-4-0 Precursor from the basis of a Gem kit which I kindly purchased from Ron Shuttleworth of the 3mm society as surplus to his requirements. This is a challenge to me as I have not modelled that company before. The scenery for the layout is also challenging as it is based in the Lake District on the former Furness Railway, an area I don’t know much about and have not modelled in the past!

Finally I have made a start on constructing a cottage for Pendon Museum. More later on this subject.

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sed30's Blog

Railways & other things

highland miscellany

My modelling musings on Portchullin, Glenmutchkins and anything else that takes my fancy.

Kyle of Sutherland

The epic struggle to build a model railway exhibition layout at 4mm to the foot