Welcome to the Chronicles of Penhydd, I hope you enjoy your visit and gain some inspiration for your own modelling projects.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The End of The Chronicles

I've taken the decision to close my 'Chronicles of Penhydd' blog, at the moment you can still view all the content here but over the coming weeks I will be starting to publish the most popular posts on my other blog   Once the transfer is complete the old blog will be deleted, by having all my modelling content in one place it will be easier for me to manage and hopefully easier for you to view.

Thank you for supporting 'The Chronicles'


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Penhydd after Beeching

                                                            THE END

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Turning back the clock......

If truth be told then a Dean Goods is a little out of place in the location and era that I model.  Though they were not unknown on the Kington Railways in earlier times.  But it's my model railway and one of my favourite engines so I make no apologies to the purist amongst us.  At times I think we modellers take ourselves far too seriously and forget that our hobby is for relaxation and enjoyment. 

2538 will have worked all the way from Leominster dropping and picking up wagons at the various goods yards along the way.  Inspiration comes from the Oswestry - Newtown pick up goods which were more often than not hauled by the last Dean Goods before their withdrawal and in the case of 2516 preservation.
These days I am more than happy to operate the branch with just 2538 and 1455 with 4678 kept in reserve.  All three are smooth reliable performers and I would rather have a small fleet of engines that I can rely on than an extensive stud, the argument for less is more strikes again !

This photo just goes to show how small the Deans were, the fireman is no doubt going to have some explaining to do seeing as he left the lamp on the rear of the tender !

Journeys end as 2538 rumbles over the bridge and draws into Penhydd, hopefully the weather will stay fine for the return journey, it can't have been much fun running tender first.
 Last of all a photo of the Autocoach taken from the end loading dock, the model is now almost finished save for lettering, passenger door handrails and weathering.  The addition of Laserglazing and the Dart Castings detail kit really transforms this old 1970's model.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Dean Goods Pt, last !

Well here we are at last with the final instalment covering the Dean Goods, progress slowed somewhat due to other jobs being given priority.  I also find that with less daylight in the winter months my modelling grinds to a snails pace.  Artificial lighting and myself just don't get on and so most of my modelling is currently done in the early morning light
Another delay was caused by building a second chassis for a friend, however he asked me to build his in rigid form as he wanted the simplest option.  It will be interesting to see how my fully sprung chassis compares and if the added complications of springing are worthwhile ?

This is the second chassis but built in rigid form, apart from the lack of sprung hornblocks the spec. is the same.
Note the wire sand pipes, the old Airfix plastic ones were used as patterns for these.  The chassis has since been weathered and the missing balance weight attached to the leading driver,

The body didn't need much work doing to it, the first job was to tidy up the parting line which runs along the firebox and boiler top.  A few passes with a three sided scraper and a final finish with wet and dry paper soon sorted things out.  The smokebox door dart and the lamp irons which are moulded on the left hand side of the firebox were carefully carved away and the surfaces made good.  A new turned brass smokebox dart from the Mainly Trains range replaced the original and new lamp irons were made from brass strip.  An extra lamp iron was fitted on top of the smokebox just in front of the chimney, another centrally on the buffer beam top and two on the front of the sandboxes.  Some members of the class had all three lamp irons fitted on the buffer beam but this was not the case with 2538 so check your prototype !  A new vac. pipe was bent up from wire and etched screw couplings from the Roxey range fitted to both engine and tender. 

In the end I decided to finish 2538 in a rather run down condition.  If you look carefully you can just see one of the lamp irons mounted on the front of the sandbox, the turned brass smoke box dart makes a huge difference to the face of the engine.  As usual I made the number plates from Martin Finney's etched components.

The cab being open also benefits from a little work, first of all I replaced the grab rails with .45 brass wire.  Next a planked floor was added and a couple of tip up seats were made from plastic card.  I was surprised just how much detail was present on the moulded backhead.  Pipework was carefully picked out in copper and the fittings in brass.  The regulator and brake handle being picked out in red and then the whole lot was toned down with a wash of dirty black.  Last of all the cab spectacles were glazed with a dab of neat PVA which was drawn across the apertures with the tip of a cocktail stick. 

The cab is very well detailed considering the age of the model and a little time spent picking out the detail is well rewarded.  The planked footplate was made from scrap brass suitably scribed. 

Extra detail in the form of a tarpaulin and half cheek seats for both driver and fireman round off the cab detail.
The tarpaulin was made from tissue paper soaked in epoxy and rolled to shape, the securing loops.are made from split pins.

When it came to painting the model I did consider just toning down the factory finish because 2538 was often used on railtours and thus kept rather clean.  In the end I decided against such a plan and modelled her in weathered condition.  Along with the chassis frame areas of the body were picked out in light and dark earth with a touch of rust here and there.  Washes of dirty black and light earth  followed with some areas cleaned away with cotton buds so the rust and dirt showed through.  Finally a mix of soot, ash and light rust weathering powders were applied whilst the paint was still tacky.  This has the effect of drying out the paint and leaving a slight textured finish, it also helps blend all the colours together.
The chassis frames were treated in the same manner, as for the brakes and pull rods, they were painted in a dirty black / light earth mix then dry brushed with light rust.  Coupling rods were painted with a mix of oily steel and light earth.

The new tender chassis and removal of the excessive coal load make a world of difference,

At this point I expect you will be wondering if the springing was worthwhile and to be honest I think it has a slight edge, well it damn well should do ! But on the other hand I was surprised just how well the rigid version ran. In short if you take care assembling the frames with Comets own jigs and have good quality track work then you will end up with a sweet running chassis whichever option you choose.

So there you have my conversion of the old Airfix / Mainline model and I am more than happy with the result.  If you want a Dean Goods in 4mm scale then your only other options are to track down an old K's kit or spend mega bucks on one of Martin Finney's excellent brass kits.  Now just watch Hornby retool the old model into a loco driven version !

What next ?  Well I hope to complete the Autocoach before Christmas and then I will be taking a break until the New Year. There might be another update before then but if not thank you for following The Chronicles which today reached 75,000  hits !

                Wishing you all ........... 
                                    A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Flush glazing an Autocoach

Thanks to the generosity of my friend Paul Marshall-Potter a set of Laserglaze for my Airfix Autocoach arrived in the post the other morning.  This is the first time I have actually seen this product and I am most impressed.  

This is a pre production example, each piece of glazing is pre cut and just needs the minimum of cleaning up around the edges with fine wet and dry paper.

My old coach was one of the very first examples produced, being bought way back in the 70's and over the years it has seen many makeovers but until now decent easily fitted glazing had been a problem.
Having dismantled the model I decided to glaze the front windows first and then work down each side over the coming days.  The first job was to gently scrape away any old paint left in the window openings then each piece of glazing was tried in place and checked for a good fit.  It didn't take long to have all three windows glazed and this is the result so far.............

I removed both the roof and underframe prior to fitting the glazing hence the unsightly gaps.  Doing so makes the job much easier and helps prevent any accidental damage.  I think you will agree that the face of the coach has been transformed  thanks to the glazing and it now captures the look of the prototype.
Until Laserglaze became available and if you wanted flush glazing then it was a case of either cutting out your own from clear styrene sheet or using the old flushglaze.  Having in the past tried both methods I can tell you that this new product makes the job so much easier and looks superb.  It goes without saying that if you take both care and time fitting the glazing you will be rewarded with a superb coach and the addition of a Dart Castings kit will lift the model even more.

Those of you who read MRJ might recall the cover of No.182 showing Dave Dornom's lovely 7mm Autocoach and his article within titled ''The Big Freeze".  Dave's coach though a different diagram to the Airfix model provided much inspiration for the actual weathered finish that I hope to achieve.
Furthermore if you can get your hands on issue No.9 then you will find an article by Mike Clarke and Mike Jolly on converting the Airfix model to diagrams A28 and A30.  Their article contains plenty of photos, drawings and sketches, in fact everything you need to know about those two diagrams of Autocoach but were afraid to ask !  
A lot of people knock the Journal for all the wrong reasons and whilst the wonderful modelling within it's pages might be beyond most of us it doesn't mean we cannot aspire to creating better models for ourselves and trying our best to make our next model a little bit better than the previous one.

Anyway having got that off my chest lets return to the model.  I had already fitted a Dart Castings detail kit many years ago but have added a few more details such as the handrail behind the cab windows.  This is a simple piece of brass wire bent to shape and super glued in place before I fitted the cab glazing.  I also wanted to replicate the planked partition between the drivers cab and passenger saloon.  Finding a suitably coloured piece of card, planks were drawn onto its surface using a black fine line marker pen and then it was glued to the old plastic partitions. 

Additional detail from the Dart kit such as front cab steps, grab handles, lamp irons, not to mention the controls in the cab can all be seen in this view.  Full pipework, auto control linkages, cab and passenger door steps can also be seen.  The passenger door handrails will be fitted once the body is reunited with it's underframe.  During the coming week I hope to add the remainder of the glazing and can't wait to see the finished model.
Suffice to say that if you have an Autocoach then a set of Laserglaze is a must.  It is available now from   and should you buy some you will not be disappointed.

All we need now is a pack for the ex GWR Railcar !


Sunday, 2 December 2012


My collection of Bradford Barton albums have provided me with endless pleasure and much modelling inspiration over the years, so when I decided to model a Dean Goods I knew just the volume for helping with my research.  This delightful book by the late Geoffrey F Bannister is just one of several similar volumes he put together covering country branch lines.  He also shot a lot of film in the West Midlands and Wales some of which is now available on DVD in the Branch Line Byways series.

The real 2538 is seen here at Middle Hill on it's thrice weekly trip down the Mule Gorge from Kerry to Abermule.  The date is April 1956 and four weeks later this branch of the Cambrian Railway was closed.  The old station house at Kerry is now a private residence and the station yard at Abermule a small industrial estate.

There are plenty of photos of 2538 in the book which came in very useful when adding the small detail such as lamp irons, the position of which varied between members of the class.  At the moment, though complete my model is in the process of being weathered.  But knowing some of you have been waiting a long time for an update here are a few photos, a more in depth conclusion of the build will follow.

2538 was used for railtours before being withdrawn and so was kept reasonably clean. Some areas of the tender, frames and cab have already been painted with a dirty black wash with a little dry brushing of rust around the ash pan and rivet detail.  It is surprising just how much detail is revealed once the factory finish is toned down. 

This cruel enlargement shows the cab interior, there is a wealth of detail which can be brought to life with some careful painting, the red regulator and brake handle have yet to be toned down.  Seeing as the cab is so open I have fitted a planked footplate and have made two small tip up seats which have not yet been added.  The rather heavy moulded cab handrails have been replaced with .45 brass wire and brass number plates have been made up from Martin Finney etches.

On a different note most of you will be aware that my presence and post on the various forums have become few and far between.  In future I will only be posting here as it's free of politics, unsavoury characters whose behaviour spoils the experience for the decent members who post and pointless froth.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Autocoach glazing........

I have known for some time that my friend Paul Marshall-Potter had been working with Shawplan to produce a set Laserglaze for the old Airfix / Dapol / Hornby Autocoach.  So an email the other evening saying that it would be available at the Warley Show was very welcome indeed.
It was way back in May 2011 when my own model was nearing completion that I first heard whispers of such a development and so I shunted my Autocoach into a siding together with other near completed jobs.  After all there was no rush to complete it and I was more than happy to bide my time until some quality glazing appeared.


Anyway with a set of this very glazing coming my way my old model is back on my workbench.  I had already fitted a Dart Castings detailing kit and the addition of proper flush glazing should really lift the model to the next level.  Well put it this way if it doesn't then I will only have myself to blame ! Naturally I will tell you how I get on and an update showing the completed model will follow soon

Paul has been busy fitting some glazing to a brand new Hornby Autocoach and so you might find this of interest............

But it doesn't stop there because Shawplan will have a few more interesting items on sale at Warley which can be viewed on their website.........