Category Archives: Locomotives

A day of modelling progress

Thanks to Mark Tatlow for hosting today, and to Oly & Chris for great company. I think all four of us made progress on various projects. Mark was making holes in the side of a nice looking Gresley Buffet, and had made them disappear again by the end of the day.

My own projects were to try and complete the build of the MERG DCC system for SLAG’s Bankside project. I had to cut a new support for one of the PCBs and jigsaw it all into the case. I succeeded at the first task! Re-assembling the boards (it is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle), I discovered one of the internal connections wasn’t mating correctly, so that will need replacing in another session.

Here’s one of the boards, captured to record which colours I’m using for connections (note to self: green: 0vDC, Blue, +5vDC):

PCB and wiring harness

This one replaces the buzzers the system uses by default to tell you when there is a short or other fault. By translating that information onto CBUS, we’ll be able to have buzzers or LEDs at any control station. Hopefully those will be more useful in noisy exhibition halls.

For the afternoon, I dusted down the Tornado chassis I’ve been looking at for a while, and assembled two more links for the Walschaerts valve gear.

Published in MRJ: Exactoscale Wheels for Tornado

Yesterday, I was pleased to see an article I wrote a few months ago make it into print:


Earlier this year, Paul Willis approached me to write this up, having seen the similar article I had written for the Scalefour societies newsletter. I was honoured to think something I was up to was worthy of MRJ, which is a magazine that sets an incredibly high standard for the models it features.

I don’t think Tornado will be ready for Scaleforum (this year), as I hoped when I wrote the piece, but progress is continuing!

Thank you Paul, and all involved in MRJ, for publishing my work! I’m very pleased with the result.

A Year Ago

Having started from a fresh kit, the first weekend of time I spent with Tornado was making some basic assembly decisions, and then getting started on the mainframe.

Given the kit’s design, the consensus of advice was to assemble it without the aid of a chassis jig. It is very carefully designed to fold up square and true. This seemed reasonable, but I certainly felt a bit wary getting started.

So far, the chassis seems to roll well as an 0-6-0, so the advice was sound!

After a weekend’s work I had:

Tornado mainframes, coupling rods and driving wheels

So far, assembled exactly as the excellent instructions suggested.

Class 20 rewheel

Popham Depot is sized to be at least a little different from a shunting loco + coal wagons minimum space exercise. As motive power, I have dimensioned the layout for the Bachmann Class 20 I have.

Last weekend I finally finished the job of rewheeling it for P4. I had dropped in the ultrascale wheelsets some time ago, but had been foxed by the brake rodding which fouled the new, wider, wheelsets.

With a bit more modelling under my belt now, a quick bit of surgery with a sharp knife removed the moulded on rods, and I replaced them with some thin plasticard. 20 seconds with some black paint, and a viewer is none the wiser…


As things stand, it’s really the same model that came out of Bachmann’s packaging. Next phase is to research a real loco, and detail this one to resemble it.

Tornado in P4

Not yet featured here, but a model I’ve invested a lot of time in is Tornado.

After my first attempt at chassis building, I wanted to move onto something more complex. However, there was a conundrum – most of my modelling is of the recent railway scene, and yet the well trodden path for complex chassis is in steam locomotives.

I therefore turned my mind to preserved locos, and then the ultimate preservation loco came to mind: 60163 Tornado. This is a truly modern loco, having been built over the last 20 years or so, entering service as a new build in 2008.

Fortunately, a well regarded designer of P4 chassis – Dave Bradwell – makes a suitable kit, and Hornby have a well regarded 00 RTR model. Combining the two will certainly stretch my skills, but seems within reach.

I started just under a year ago with this:

The start point for my P4 build of Tornado

The start point for my P4 build of Tornado

And a sense of adventure!

The Pendolino

Hornby Pendolino

I remember writing that life had got busy. At the time my largest customer was based in Birmingham, and I was spending a fair amount of time (as were many of my team) commuting up the West Coast Mainline. I became accustomed to the 8.10 from Euston, and I was usually impressed with the service. I’m sure I mentioned (more than once!) to everyone who travelled with me that I had grown up in a house that I could see the WCML trains from. When I decided to leave Symbian and take some sabbatical time this year, I was surprised to be presented with the Hornby model of the Pendolino I’d spent so much time on.

I enjoyed model trains as a kid, and as an adult I went along to the odd show, and procrastinated about building a layout ‘someday’. Laying the new trainset out on the floor rekindled my interest, and I’ve now spent the first few weeks of my sabbatical building that ‘someday layout’. I doubt that was the effect my colleagues expected, but thank you all, it’s been a blast!

Incidentally my picture doesn’t do credit to the model Hornby have created, which is a nice replica of the real thing – complete with great details like tilting around curves.