Something rather different

Posted December 12, 2014 by Night Hawk
Categories: 2014, aircraft

As mentioned in my last post I visited the model railway show at Bishops Cleeve last Saturday and whilst changing buses in Swindon on the way north I had time for a quick scoot round the shops. Or rather I had a look in the model shop window between visiting the cash point and returning to the bus station, but a seed was planted.

I’ve long loved the workhorse of the RAF transport fleet, the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, having watched them in the local skies all of my life. I see them less now they have moved from nearby Lyneham to Brize Norton, and sadly all the old K model craft have now been withdrawn, but still that classic shape is something special as it flies over.

But there is something new in the sky, something I have heard 3 times so far, but have yet to see. The new addition is the first of a fleet of 22 Airbus A400M aircraft which arrived at Brize Norton a few weeks back, and it was a plastic kit for one of these which got my attention in the shop window last Saturday.


With a long Christmas break from work looming, and following some internet research I am now the owner of two model aircraft kits. Arriving first was the massive A400M, followed today by the smaller (albeit to the same scale) Hercules. I chose the older C-130K Hercules, so technically its not correct to display that alongside the new A400M, but what the heck, the K was long part of my life, much as I think the A400 is set to become.


I have yet to settle on which to build first, I need to source RAF decals for the A400M, while for the Hercules I need to decide whether to go for the classic (but challenging) early 1980’s camouflage livery or the later drab mono-colour. But whichever way I decide to proceed, I am looking forward to something rather different on my modelling bench.


A grand day out

Posted December 2, 2014 by Night Hawk
Categories: 2009 12

I don’t go to many model railway exhibitions, but the few I do select to visit are much anticipated. The shows organised by Mike Walker in Cheltenham usually get my attention, although for whatever reason the usual autumn offering didn’t catch my attention this year. No criticism, just nothing quite fired my enthusiasm. But no worries, this year Mike has organised an additional show, and it’s on this Saturday. It looks like it’ll be an excellent one too!

It’s perhaps unfair to single out any particular layouts, there are a whole host there which I want to see, but the two “headliners” from my point of view are Abbotswood Junction


and Pixash Lane

Pixash Lane

As these photos readily show they very much pander to my Western Region hydraulic leanings, but they are excellent layouts which have an extra special something by running “oil-pushers”.

Another attraction of Mike’s Cheltenham shows is that I make a grand day out by travelling to and from by bus. Using a Stagecoach West “Explorer” ticket it’s cheaper than driving, and I can sit back and enjoy the view. Even better now that the 51 from Swindon to Cheltenham is run with coach seated Scania double deckers. I must remember to catch the D in the opposite direction when I get to Cheltenham as the show is at Bishop’s Cleeve rather than it’s normal venue.

Now I do want these…

Posted November 22, 2014 by Night Hawk
Categories: 2014

Tags: ,

It had to happen, sooner or later someone was going to announce that they had one in development. Unloved, slow, noisy, smoky, bland and apart from a late 1970’s version, completely missing from the ready-to-run model scene, the humble and humdrum BR Suburban DMMU.

But riding to the rescue, making that characteristic farting noise and trailing plumes of blue exhaust, come Kernow Models who have commissioned DJ Models to produce 3 car class 116, 117 AND 118 units.


Picture: Kernow Models, via RMWeb

The specification of the new model is certainly impressive from the details already revealed, and I am certainly looking forward to these being released.

And the timing of the announcement is excellent, as my money had been hovering over the APT-E and the Hattons King. Both will no doubt be excellent models, but neither have a place on any layout I own or plan, likewise the GWR steam railmotor, also announced by Kernow/DJ Models today (although that one might be too hard to resist) they would be pure indulgence. Nothing wrong with that, but how much better something which can run on one of my layouts!

So, what should I pre-order? Which class or classes? How many? And will they come with the blinds down behind the cab?


A very interesting project

Posted November 21, 2014 by Night Hawk
Categories: 2014

Having recently blogged about my purchase (OK, pre-order) of a model steam loco which I didn’t know I wanted here is a project which is of no interest at all to me. It’s the wrong scale (it’s N, I model OO), it’s the wrong era (it’s current, I model the 1970s) and I don’t even like the train they are modelling.

But it is a project I am following very closely!


Why? Well it’s because it is a “kick-starter” scheme, something new to the UK model railway scene. In essence rather than a manufacturer deciding to make a model, designing it, making it and then selling it through retailers, with a kick-starter any one interested pledges to buy 1 (or more) and if sufficient funds are raised the organisers go to their chosen manufacturer and say “make X thousand of these for us”.

If successful it could start a whole new direction for the hobby, opening up a whole new way of getting the models we want. I hope it succeeds.

To find out more, click here.


I never knew I wanted one…

Posted November 19, 2014 by Night Hawk
Categories: 2009 12

Sometimes something comes along which you just didn’t know you wanted until someone produced it. Rather like the limited edition 0-6-0STs which Hattons announced this week. Produced by DJ Models these retailer specials come in a whole host of tempting liveries, several of which are extremely tempting.

In the end I decided that the Austerity which would be joining my fleet would be No 7 of Littleton Colliery in National Coal Board lined blue livery, with light weathering.J94 BluePerhaps not the obvious new addition to my fleet, Read the rest of this post »

“Private and not for publication”

Posted November 8, 2014 by Night Hawk
Categories: 2014

Tags: ,

For some time now I have been working on a project to write timetable for Mortimore’s Yard. Obviously much of the background was thought out long ago when the layout was first conceived, but this project has meant that much more of the detail has had to be worked out, much more “history” written and “geography” mapped out.

I’m gradually approaching the conclusion of the project now, and will hopefully soon be running the layout to the timetable, with a purpose, rather than just shunting trains and wagons about on a whim, or at best a vague idea of where consignments are travelling from and to.

As part of this project I have been trying to develop a few facsimile working documents, based on those used on the real railway, documents which were always branded with the severe instruction that they are “Private and Not for Publication”

So here is an extract of the appropriate Working Time Table:


There is still some work to do, Read the rest of this post »

Dishing the dirt

Posted October 10, 2014 by Night Hawk
Categories: 2014

Tags: ,

I have a confession to make. Usually when I am weathering my locos and stock I go for a “generic” look. While you get over that shock, I should perhaps explain that I don’t go for the “general grot” often used by the RTR manufactures (but which is now seemingly being consigned to history). I will, of course, get a collection of photos of what ever type of vehicle it is that I’m working on. So, my class 50 is in the deplorable filthy oily state that was typical of them in their early years on the Western Region. I have removed the “D” from the number as is correct for 402, and the front jumper cables are in their dark grey (now thought to be unpainted casting) state. But I cannot say that 402 was ever in the oily state that I have modelled it, but I hope that it is typical of its type, and so it may have looked like that at one point.

There is a fine line, I suppose, between “right” and “wrong”. Take my two tone green class 47 for example. Read the rest of this post »