Iain Rice

It is with great sadness that I heard that Iain has passed a way after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

He was, among many other things, President of my local model railway club-The Launceston and District MRC. He was instrumental in the development of our previous layout, Lakebank, and also recently was the inspiration about our new layout based on the North Devon Clay company line from Marland to Great Torrington.

His encyclopaedic knowledge of all things railway was phenomenal as was his musings in all the various books and articles he has written.

I am sure there will be plenty written about him and I leave it to more eminent modellers.

A new blog following the development of the North Devon Clay layout can be found at http://www.northdevonclaymodelrailway.wordpress.com

Milk Train

I have been working on the branch milk train as part of the sequence for Tinworthy.

The make up is based on a picture of the branch milk train from Launceston to Plymouth where the milk tanks would have been added to others from various places along the line from Penzance to make up the long milk train for London.

Here are the vehicles;

An LMS built milk tank allocated to the Western Region. This is an old cast whitemetal kit, probable originally made by BEC.
A Great Western dia O38 milk tank. This is built from a 3mm Society etched kit designed by Andrew Thomas.
A Great Western Hawksworth designed Full Brake. This is a Brynkits etched brass kit produced by Brian Golding. It is missing the various handrails which are still to be fitted.
Great Western dia DD4 Cordon multi gas tank wagon. This is built from a very old Jidenco kit reduced from 4mm to 3mm with a lot of extra details added.
The complete train hauled by a 45xx Prairie tank.

There is hope for us yet….

Recently a member of my model railway club brought in a copy of Model Boat magazine to show us an article written by David J Powell OBE in which he postulates that because of the variety of handicraft skills and concentration involved in model making-especially railway modelling-the incidence of dementia is reduced. In 2015 he interviewed over a 1000 modellers from 20 model railway clubs. The average age was 65. He found 4 possible cases of dementia compared with the experts saying he should find 40 in the general population.

Well, with building locos, coaches, wagons, buildings and scenery as well as getting my head around computer programs such as Trax (for signalling) and Templot (for track planning) and now the intricacies of electronics and MERG, not to mention the lathe and the model traction engine I’ve been building for 20+years maybe I might go on a bit longer!

As Bruce Forsyth might have said, “keep modelling “

Final resting place!

Yeoton Wharf

Yeoton Wharf has now been installed as a permanent but non operating exhibit in the museum of the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh. The museum curator was looking for something to demonstrate the difference between the old 7 ft Broad Gauge and the standard gauge to complement having the Broad Gauge locomotive ‘Tiny’ in the museum. If you are in the area go have a look.

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Lananta Quay- finalist

Wow! I have now been informed that Lananta has been selected as one of six finalists in the Model Railway Journal Cameo competition.

I shall be at Railex in Stoke Manderville in May when the final judging will be done. I feel honoured to have been selected even if it doesn’t win. I am ‘flying the flag’ for 3mm modelling and for the Broad Gauge.

Also notice that I have added ‘Quay’ to the layout title to better describe the scene modelled.

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. 

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 https://p4modeller.wordpress.com/author/p4modeller/ 

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.