Welcome to the Blog for Eastsidepilot – Colin Dowling.
I am a professional loco and rolling stock builder working in 7mm/1ft scale prefering to build to S7 standards, I will build models to F/S standards bearing in mind that there are some compromises to be made in that standard. I shall aim to cover all the projects on my workbench for your entertainment (see “On Shed”). Please come for a look every now and then, and if you have any queries or would like me to quote for a project please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please take look at my website at www.eastsidepilot.com
When I first set out to build a model, wether it be a locomotive or rolling stock, I will research the subject as thoroughly as possible as I like to build models as accurately as is possible. I like to know in which era the model is to be based and condition that it may have been in at any particular time. If it is a locomotive I will always ask my customer for a specific number of the loco as this helps with researching the details. So my time spent is not just in the build of the project, as I will purchase books and drawings that will have the info I need if it is not already in my own library.
The photo above gives some idea to the amount of detail I like to build into my models.This example is the chassis for an ex GER T26 2-4-0 tender loco, later known by the LNER/BR as class E4 “Intermediate”. It has fully working inside motion, using components from Laurie Griffin’s castings, scratch built motion plate and detailed cylinder block with drain cocks and operating linkages, detailed ashpan, brakes and sanding gear.
With regards to powering a model loco I like to fit high quality gearboxes such as supplied by ABC Gears mated to a Canon or Mashima motor, these gearboxes give far superior running but if the customer has a particular preference then this will be discussed at the outset. However I will not fit an etched fold-up type gearbox as I consider these to be out dated now and a waste of good building time.
Any model built to Scale 7 standards will be fitted with sprung axles, on locomotives in particular that will include any bogie and pony truck axles as well.
If using a kit as a basis to building a model there are some excellent ones on the market, and there are also some manufacturers kits that are absolute rubbish, that are not only inaccurate in their dimensions, but also so badly designed that they will not go together without resorting to a hammer and saw. If there is not a suitable kit of merchantable, build-able, quality available then I will happily quote for scratch building.
So please don’t be offended if I turn down the use of a specific kit that I know will waste not only my time and your money because we end up throwing 90% of it in the scrap bin.
A high level of detail is important to the final finish of any model and I always find it a disappointment to see a model superbly painted and weathered only to notice that there are no oil feed pipes running from the lubricators or half the fittings missing from the cab, especially on tender loco’s where it open for all the world to see. This is where some of the research comes in, studying the drawings and photo’s in books and magazines, getting the fine details just right.
Ex GER T26 “Intermediate” 2-4-0 in 1950’s BR condition.
Now I don’t know about you, but if we are to build our models as close to the prototype as we can, with every conceivable detail, let’s finish it in a realistic way. Personally to see models of loco’s and rolling stock finished in a high gloss paint finish does nothing for me, showcase models we call them, unrealistic I call it.
Railway locomotives and rolling stock do get very dirty and grimy due to the nature of their environment. From the track ballast and brake shoes a layer of dust will build up all over the bodies of coaches and wagons, swirled up by the slip stream, made worse in bad weather by pounding rain and wind. When steam loco’s ruled a constant layer of soot covered the upper surfaces again spread by the weather and slipstream, and it was not much better with diesels. Things get slightly better with modern-day electrics but still there’s that layer of grime gradually coating every surface. In the steam era when loco’s did get cleaned it did not last long for it only took a few days out on the road before they started looking grubby. When the bunker got filled with coal and the dust would go every where, the tanks filled with water, and as the bag was taken out of the filler it would splash down the sides creating water staining mixed with soot and coal dust. Where drain cocks and valves released steam there would be more staining. and as time went on between services leaks would start to appear in pipe unions sometimes mixed with oil creating even more grime to the general mix. Added to this as loco’s got to the end of their working life rust would start to corrode the sheet metal around rivets and welded seams. When they went for repairs and /or repaint especially in BR days, unlike the pre grouping company’s, the old paint would be scraped off where it was flaking and then painted over again, no filler like the old days mate !. Perhaps the only engines getting special treatment being the top flight expresses etc. but the humble shunters and general work horses, patch ’em up and get them straight back out.
When coaching stock got a clean the dirt was still in the corners and edges of the beaded panels and door jambs, along the foot board, around windows and it seems the ends of the bodies never got cleaned. As for goods wagons, never.
So it’s this atmosphere that I like to create in my models, as close to the real thing as I can get.