Model Rail (UK)
STEP BY STEP
1 The first step was to dismantle the model to ease handling and access, so the locomotive and tender bodies were unscrewed from their chassis. I flattened the slightly raised seams along the shoulders of the boiler with fine abrasive sticks, used wet.
2 After filing the moulded cab vent flush with the roof, while preserving the raised hinge section, four small holes were drilled within the footprint of the original vent. Work gently with the drill to avoid damaging any of the interior detail.
3 A fresh scalpel blade was used to cut away the waste material and create a rectangular aperture in the roof. A small square needle file can also be useful here. Again, take care with the interior detail and use fine abrasives to tidy up the roof.
4 A scrap of thin black plastic sheet was cut to the required size and test-fitted over the aperture. When I was happy that it was the correct size and shape, the corners were rounded slightly with abrasives and the vent was glued in the raised position.
5 The moulded twin front footsteps are a little shallow compared to the real thing, so small rectangles of thin sheet metal were cut and fixed over the existing steps. Fast-acting cyanoacrylate glue was employed, applied sparingly with a cocktail stick.
6 Overhead line warning legends were applied to the tender and sides of the boiler, in the form of waterslide decals. These locations were treated with gloss varnish beforehand, applied by hand brush. Another coat would seal the decals in place when dry.
7 No doubt as a cost-cutting measure, the safety valves and whistle of the ‘J27’ are rendered in black plastic. A more realistic brass finish was added using AK Interactive True Metal paint, with copper also added to the pipework.
8 A mix of acrylic black, dark grey and rustbrown was mixed with similar shades of dry pigment to create a slightly grainy, textured paint. Only a small amount of the dry pigment is required, although the amount can be tailored to your own tastes.
9 The textured paint was stippled over the chassis frames, working it into and around all of the raised or recessed areas. Note that the tender wheels have been removed – it’s so much easier to treat them separately.
10 The axles were also removed to allow the wheels and chassis to be treated. These parts were cleaned beforehand with Hobby Trax’s Loco Go fluid, decanted into a jar and applied with swabs. Loco Go is also great for cleaning the wheel treads and pick-ups afterwards.
11 While the chassis elements dry, a mix of the same paints (without the dry pigments) was applied to a section of the bodywork. Work the paint into all corners…
12 …before wiping most of it away with cotton swabs. Work predominantly in vertical strokes and switch to a clean swab regularly. Leave as much or as little of the grimy paint behind as desired. Enamel paints provide much longer working times than acrylics.
13 The paint mix was also applied to the locomotive, one section at a time, wiping away most of the of the pigment immediately. Deposits of ‘dirt’ were left in recesses and vertical streaks were deliberately left behind.
14 Acrylics do dry so much quicker than enamels, so they need to be removed quickly, but they do allow the project to proceed apace. If the paint refuses to budge, dip the swab in an alcohol-based acrylic thinners or isopropyl alcohol.
15 Using a mix of the paint and dry pigment, the smokebox and running plate were stippled with the textured coating using a flat brush. Once this had dried, I could ascertain how much texture was created before I decided to give it a second coat.
16 The upper areas of the tender were also treated to a couple of overall coats of the textured paint mix. The bulkhead area and toolboxes were also treated, working around the overhead line warning legends.
17 The model was left overnight before the airbrush was brought into use. Using Railmatch Matt Black, Weathered Black, Frame Dirt and Sleeper Grime, various shades were mixed, thinned and applied in very finely misted coats. Mask the glazing beforehand.
18 The various shades of enamel paint were airbrushed over all the individual parts of the locomotive and tender. Darker shades were concentrated into areas where natural shading or heavier deposits of grime would occur.
19 When the paint was fully dry, a rectangle of paper was cut to form the storm sheet and fixed to the underside of the roof. This wafer biscuit wrapper provided a thin, flexible material that could be crimped and folded easily without tearing.
20 The foil side of the paper was hidden as the sheet was folded over the roof and formed into shape, using prototype images as inspiration. By scrunching the paper, extra texture can be imparted. When I was happy, it was secured with cyano glue.
21 The paper storm sheet was then painted with various shades of acrylics, working darker tones into the creases. When dry, lighter shades were dry-brushed over the top to pick out the edges of the folds and creased texture.
22 Three ‘rust’ shades of acrylic were stippled onto the smokebox, having deposited most of the pigment onto tissue, in a similar way to dry-brushing. Building up the shades in layers creates a naturally random effect.
23 A footplate crew could then be fixed into the cab. I stumbled across these two whitemetal characters, from the Falcon Figures range, in my spares box and they fit perfectly.
24 After adding a load of real coal chippings, secured with Deluxe Materials Ballast Bond adhesive, the tender body was set aside for 48 hours. The fire irons supplied with the locomotive were painted and installed, along with an oil lamp and some extra tools.
25 The airbrush was used again, loaded with a thinned mix of matt black and Sleeper Grime. A gentle mist was applied over the storm sheet and rust patches on the smokebox to blend everything together seamlessly.
26 The finishing touches were added with dry pigments – a mix of a dark grey/brown and rusty shades (Lifecolor PG101 and PG107). A small amount was applied to the running plates and tender top, with excess removed with a soft brush.
27 PICK-UP ADJUSTMENTS One of the issues I found with the Oxford Rail ‘J27’ was that some of the wiper pickups did not maintain contact with the rear faces of the driving wheels. These are easier to adjust when the axle retaining plate to which they’re attached is removed. The pickup faces need to be cleaned after the weathering process anyway, using Hobby Trax’s Loco Go fluid and cotton swabs. Once this has been done, a little gentle finger pressure will push the copper strips outwards by a few millimetres.
Pop the retaining plate back into position and check that the pickups sit against the wheels’ inner faces, even when the axles are moved from side to side. There should not be excessive drag, just a steady contact. When you’re happy, secure the retainer plate with the screws and test-run the locomotive.