16 Oct 2016

GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (2)

The GWR 1854 ST is now done. To recap, this is a much modified Finecast body on a Bachmann chassis.

29 Aug 2016

A shed and a lock-up

I’ve scratchbuilt some more buildings for Farthing.

4 Jul 2016

The Biscuit Shed

I've been working on the “Biscuit Shed”, the first of the buildings for my new Farthing layout. It is inspired by the “beer shed” in the GWR Goods yard at Stratford on Avon, which was used as a loading facility for beer traffic from the Flower & Sons brewery.

17 Jun 2016

Rising from slumber

After a quiet spring things are moving again on Farthing. The Slipper Boy story is featured in the June 2016 BRM, which seems a good way to mark the end of work on this layout. Many thanks to BRM for featuring the story. It’s all just a bit of fun of course, but while studying the court case that inspired the story, it did occur to me just how much scope there is for modelling particular historical incidents on the railways.

7 Jan 2016

The honourable slipper boy - Part 3

This is the third and final part of a story based on a real incident on the Great Western at the turn of the century. It draws on the transcripts of a court case at Old Bailey. The story is narrated by Dennis Watts, a slipper boy in the employment of the GWR. The story began here.

Having produced their damning evidence, Detective Benton and constable Walmsley rounded up the four thieves and took them to court. I was the star witness at the trial, and made sure to tell the story well. Based on my testimony, Alexander and Penny were convicted and put away.

2 Dec 2015

The honourable slipper boy - Part 2

This is the second part of a story based on a real incident on the Great Western at the turn of the century. It draws on the transcripts of a court case at Old Bailey. The story is narrated by Dennis Watts, a slipper boy in the employment of the GWR. Part one is here.
As I stood there, surrounded by thieves in a dark corner of the goods yard, I thought my last hour had come. Luckily the moon came out, which seemed to unsettle them, and so they let me go.

30 Oct 2015

The honourable slipper boy - Part 1

This blog sometimes tells some pretty tall tales, but this one is based on a true story. I recently came across a fascinating account of a court procedure at Old Bailey, involving an incident on the Great Western at the turn of the century. I decided to re-enact the incident, with Farthing as the setting and a little, ahem, modeller’s license. Dennis, will you take it from here?
My name is Dennis Watts, that’s me on the right. I’m a slipper boy with The Great Western Railway Company. I scotch trucks. They pay me 10s. a week. Here is my story.

11 Oct 2015

Andrew Stadden 4mm figures

Line dance, 4mm style. I’ve been painting some figures from Andrew Stadden’s excellent new range of Edwardian 4mm figures.

3 Oct 2015

Fire iron hooks

Here's a little photo series to show how I made the fire iron hooks for my GWR 1854 saddle tank. Nothing revolutionary - the important thing, I found, is to bend the angles before doing the u-curve.

24 Sep 2015

Shiny domes and safety valve covers

Oooh… shiny! This is the dome belonging to SECR No. 592 on the Bluebell Railway….

20 Jul 2015

GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (1)

I’m building a GWR 1854 class saddle tank in 1900s condition, using a modified and detailed South Eastern Finecast body kit on a Bachmann 8750 chassis.

4 May 2015

LSWR stone wagon

I’ve always been fascinated by this old photo, which is reproduced in Matthew Bagnet’s “The Railways of Farthing” (not sure about copyright, hope it’s OK).

12 Apr 2015

Small crates and tea chests

I’ve been making my own crates and tea chests from printable veneer. Today I installed them in the goods depot at Farthing.

11 Mar 2015

Progress on "The sidings"

The management is pleased to report that there has been progress on the sidings.

12 Feb 2015

What really happened in the Cuban missile crisis

Farthing, 1904. With a rising sense of panic, Goods Porter E. Sparkler stared at the pigeon baskets he had just knocked over.

5 Jan 2015

SDJR Road Van

Last year we had a discussion about SDJR Road Vans over on RMweb, which brought some interesting information to light. Contrary to what one might think, these vehicles travelled well

17 Nov 2014

Barrels, baskets, bales

I’m still working on the goods items for my goods depot. Here’s a selection of various items I've been working on recently. Apologies for getting a bit long-winded with this, but I enjoy learning a bit

16 Oct 2014

Fun with crates

I’m detailing my goods depot, something I’ve been looking forward to. As the layout is designed for close-up viewing I’ve been searching for goods items that could pass muster at a reasonably close
range. To begin with, here's a variety of crates. First up are these rather nice crate kits from US-based Rusty Stumps (above). The kits are laser cut plywood and come in various types – these are for horizontal crates. They are HO but quite large. The instructions are very good and the kits are easy to build (I used wood glue).

20 Sep 2014

Four o'clock blues, ca. 1902

Goods checker J. Peerybingle was tired. It had been a long day in the goods depot, and his feet hurt.

5 Aug 2014

Wagon propulsion

I've been testing the trackplan for “The sidings”, and got a bit carried away! Jokes aside, there is

6 Jul 2014

Traverser testing

I’ve been testing my somewhat "under-engineered" traverser, and made this little video to show it in operation. It continues to work well, and I now have some faith in the basic concept. I’m in the process

18 Jun 2014

LSWR 10 ton sliding door van

The LSWR was the biggest of the GWR's neighbours at Farthing, so I thought I'd better make myself some stock from that company for my 1900s goods depot. Last night I finished my LSWR sliding door van, to SR diagram 1410, built from the David Geen whitemetal kit.

30 May 2014

MSWJR 3-plank dropside wagon

I’ve been building some “foreign” stock for the goods depot at Farthing. My 1900s period is before the “common user” arrangement, so most of the goods stock at Farthing would have been the GWR’s own - but there should be room for a handful of foreign vehicles, especially from the companies close by. This included the MSJWR, which crossed the GWR's Berks & Hants line at Savernake, not far from Farthing.

18 May 2014

Flight of the bumblebee

I’m building a traverser of sorts for the fiddle yard of my little goods depot layout. From an engineering perspective it’s a bit dodgy - yet somehow it works, so I’ve dubbed it the bumblebee. My original plan

21 Mar 2014

Third bite: "The sidings"

I’ve slowly started work on the next layout in the Farthing series. To recap, “the sidings” are inspired

3 Feb 2014

GWR horse-drawn trolley

Here’s another horse-drawn vehicle for my goods depot, this time a scratchbuilt light trolley in the GWR’s “Birmingham” style. The model was built from styrene and bits in my spares box, with wheels

5 Jan 2014

GWR 5 ton horse-drawn vehicle

There was a time when men were men and horses weren't lasagna. I’m currently building some horse-drawn vehicles for the little yard behind my goods depot. I began with Langley’s whitemetal kit for a

1 Dec 2013

Shoulders of giants

I’ve been reading Patrick McGill’s “Children of the dead end: The autobiography of a navvy”. McGill worked as a navvy in the 1900s and became known as the “navvy poet”.  It’s a fascinating read, and it made me realise how much we owe to the men who built the railways, canals and towns. Talk about standing on the shoulders of giants!

So instead of the usual progress report, I’ll let the navvies do the talking this time. The lines are excerpts from McGill’s poem “Have you”.

19 Sep 2013

Scratchbuilt one-planker (2)

I've managed to finish my early GWR one-planker, built mostly from styrene. Just to recap, the prototype is one of the 18ft types with wooden solebars, originally built in the 1870s. We don't hear