Old school 0 scale modelling in the U.K

kevsmith Feb 27, 2022

  1. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all

    Although I'm mainly known these days for my Z scale modelling and exhibion layouts back in the day I was in the forefront of the new wave of 0 scale modelling as interest in the scale grew rapidly in the early 1970s Shying away from the expensive and rare models made by people like Basset Lowke there was a push for affordable plastic kits.

    I'd been building wagon kits by a firm called 3H that were typical private owner coal wagons. A bit crude but effective but when Lima models from Italy dropped a bombshell and announced a ready to run LMS 4F 0-6-0 tender engine in 0 all systems were go

    It has solid wheel behind the spokes and was a bit toylike but it gave a great impetus to get something running and when they introduced the British rail Mark 1 coach and 16 ton mineral wagon we were up and running.

    This was one of mine after it has a full round boiler, scale boiler fittings and a milled brass chassis fitted. The firm of CCW who produced a white metal and brass 4F kit suddenly found themselves selling loads of Chimeys and steam domes!

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    The 16 tonners just needed a repaint and some weathering and could be picked up really cheaply. Seen on my Starkholmes layout. I'll come back to the 0-4-0ST later

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    As I said they brought out the Class Mk I. This one has had some work but the bodyshell is substantially the same as it came out of the factory in Italy

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    And then we started getting tricksy!

    Sides cut away, etched overlays fitted and finished in Intercity Blue and grey is this RMB Buffet car

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    This thread will rumble on for a while and yes, there will be some USA stuff including my dreaded Varney 4-6-0 a.k.a The bridge smasher!

    Kev
     
  2. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Back on Starkholes the Pug is hauling a rake of 3H wagons

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    Lima then introduced a starter set in 0 with an 0-4-0 freelance diesel with a 4 wheel chassis. Needless to say we started chopping them up almost straight away

    A firm called Highfield started making vac form body kits in 0 including a Great Eastern railway 0-4-0 tram engine that fitted the Lima chassis

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    Lots of added details brought this to life. These engines worked in East Angliade and had to have side skirts and a bell and cow catchers fitted

    never took a picture of it painted sadly

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    Another Highfield. The vertical boiler Sentinel chain drive shunter that used the same Lima mechanism

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    more soon

    Kev
     
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  3. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    So there were a lot cottage industries springing up centred on 0 scale and also a lot of clubs and groups. we started the Sheffield 0 gauge group very early on and started on making a test track to have 'run what you brung' club nights
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    Runningh on it is a Lima Class 33, another suprise when it came out. Hampered by having the same trucks as their French diesel that obstacle was soon overcome by a chap called Derek Ascott making a white metal detailing kit with the truck side frames shortened to suit the Lima mechanisms. These added some useful weight as well.

    I converted mine to represent a Scottish region Class 26 and this did a lot of running at Shows over the years

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    At the same time Etched kits started to appear, very rapidly in fact, and one of my favourites as David Parkins Class 47. Swine to put together though

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    His Class 56 was also a challenge. Looked a lot better when I put some radiators behind the grills so you could not see straight through it

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  4. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    The Class 45 'Peak' class was also etched Brass and white metal. Fitting the etched front screens to the white metal cab roof and nose top was a swine

    Never took a picture of it after I glazed the windows sadly. It was running on a very fine North Eastern railway which attracked some interest. When the layout boss went for his lunch we put the Peak on with 13 coaches running ar a scale 75mph. Next thing we had a huge crowd stood in front amazed that such a loco was possible 0

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    It was not all good news though. There were some truly terrible kits on the market. Leinster models in Dublin were one of the worst culprits and I fought for years to make their LMS Patriot 4-6-0 look good enough to show in public.Made from tinplate, heavy section brass and rather shapeless white metal castings my Z gauge 3D printed one looks better than this!

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    Now a friend of mine started to build a garden layout. He only lived two houses away and on the first running session I said " Dennis, Whats that?"

    It was a Lancashire and Yorkshire railway 2-4-2T Radial tank and it transpired it was an old Leeds Model Company tinplate bodyshell but it looked right. After some digging i found one and did some superdetailing and binned the three rail chassis and made a finescale chassis

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    So I decided to model the L&Y and started to assemble a fleet to run on my Starkholmes layout

    The main loco needed was the Aspinall A Class 0-6-0. MPD Introduced an etched kit which was a bit of a challenge but with a bit of effort including the complex lining out this was the first effort

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    More soon

    Kev
     
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  5. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

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    Lovely stock on a lovely layout! Thank you for sharing this. 0 gauge seems perfect for British outline models; I love my Dapol panniers.
     
  6. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    So I made a pilgrimage to Suffolk to seek out and purchase what was becoming the Holy Grail of 0 scale loco kits the 'Sevenscale' Pug A long trek for me coming down from the Peak District but I shelled out my hard earned cash and took it home

    So as it a bit of a background.. The L&Y Pugs were a modification of a standard Industrial 'off the peg' 0-4-0ST and were inroduced onto the Lancashire and Yorkshire to work Docks, tight yards in urban areas etc. Otern seen in Manchester street running around the Salford quays these diminutive locos survived long enough for two to be taken for preservation

    My dad caught them in action at the Goole Docks complex on the east coast back in the 1950/60s

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    Straight away from comparison to the wagon it is pulling its small size is apparent

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    When we were in the early days of preserving the Barrow Hill Roundhouse as a working rail museum we were fortunate to have the preserved 51218
    as a guest loco at one of our open days

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    So I opend the box and was undecided whether it was awesome, or daunting. Hundreds of superb castings, bespoke plunger pick-ups, Etched dummy inside motion, an etched, fold up gearbox-motor mount and etched spatectacle , properly swivelling front and rear windows. page after page of instructions, prototype info, It was stunning

    Kev
     
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  7. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    I'll be honest, It took a long time to complete. We've all had projects, I'm sure, where it went into a dark cupboard until we were ready to face it again (I've got a Z scale Alco RS11 that is in that category at the moment) but eventually I was confident enough to order the numberplates

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    The wooden 'Dumb Buffers' are real wood

    I loved it so much that when I found another half built one at a swap meet (Somone had obviously given up on it) I snapped it up

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    I wish I had never sold these!

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  8. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    My journey through scratchbuilding had begun. It was going to be the only way to get the Lancashire and Yorkshire locomotives and coaches needed for the layout and it turned out to be a mixed bag

    In real life the Hoy 2-6-2Ts were not much liked and did the track no good. Neither did my 0 scale model!

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    The Barton Wright 0-6-2T were a log lived design and one has survivied to this day. Not the most flattering photo

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    Looks a lot better here taking water on the 'Houghton' fine scale exhibition layout

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    The 'Rapid Shunter' an outside cylinder 0-6-0T with small driving wheels was still fitted with wooden buffers long after other companies had abandoned them for sprung buffers

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    you can get an idea of the lining and large numberplates

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    Kev
     
  9. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    So let us digress into 1/48th USA 0 scale

    Most of us in the early days were buying anything at all in 0. Lima, Pola Maxi, Triang Big Big train and of course Rivarossi (AHM) so I ended up with an eclectic mix of stuff

    The Wall of 0 in my bedroom at my folks house before I got my own house

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    In the foreground is the IHB 0-8-0 loco kit I'm sure you all know. There is a Lima class 33 on the shelf and two Llma FS (Italian) electrics in the back corner

    I had a few of the 0-8-0s and the last one finished up as a sort of Boston and Albany 2-8-0

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    Atlas F units were also common

    A CP repaint I did
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    and a Weaver FA that I never finished



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    So. The Bridge crusher!

    The infamous Varney B&O 4-6-0. One of the lads at the 0 gauge group spent a considerable amount of time building an exquisite wrought iron bridge from Plastruct sections which sadly did not survive the first passage of this cast bronze behemoth and promptly collapsed

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    More tomorrow on this beast

    Kev
     
  10. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice collection!! Very impressive work on the equipment also!
     
  11. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    I picked up a mixed bag of old schoool USA freight stock kits with the 4-6-0. mainly All-Nations

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    So the 4-6-0 was a basket case when I got it but the mazac castings were O.k and it was complete so it set about doing the best I could with it. Went together quite well but, My Word, it was so heavy! And the Amps the motor took I would have been better running it offf a welding set

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    It is looking a bit tatty now compared to this photo but Furness Models have expressed an interest in taking it off my hands so I think I'll give it a blowover with satin Black and tidy it up and get rid

    Back to U.K 0 and I was well into the swing of scratchbuilding

    The two coached in the foreground are Lancashire & Yorkshire examples with the characteristic panelling. The sheer number of windows caused me to make a punch and die to knock them out of 20 thou Plasticard

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    The little 2-2-2 was one of my wierder creations. It was the LNWR 2-2-2 Columbine with its 6 ft single drivers and Crewe type smokebox and cylinders

    it was built to use up a single axle of 72" drivers i had left over from another project

    As you can se there is almost nowhere to put a motor gearbox so I cheated and made the tender a 4 wheel motor bogie with an MRRC double ended slot car motor and a load of weight

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    We were doing a show at Belper in Derbyshire with our big test track and on Sunday we thought we would see what it would pull. 35 wagons! People walked past astonished to see this little beast emptying the yard by itself. Sadly long before camcorders so no footage

    Fame, of sorts. The Sheffield telegraph newspaper report circa 1978



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    More soon
     
  12. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    The Varney 4-6-0 was not the only loco I picked up that was different.

    i was at a show when a bloke came up and said " I've got this 0 gauge loco my dad built. are you interested?" It was an LMS 2-6-0 'Crab' designed by Hughes and given the nickname because of the ungainly position of the cylinders. It only had no valve gear on one side and no tender and the wierdest gear train from the motor but for £50 I though "Why not" It also weighed a ton!

    Lot of work later

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    These locos were due to be built by the L&Y but as a consequence of the grouping they were finished by the newly formed LMS. The early days of the LMS the locomotive department was dominated by the Midland railway chief enginer Sir Henry Fowler who insisted that the standard MR tender was put behind it. One, Slight,problem...The MR tender was 8" narrower on each side leaving a lethal looking gap!

    Hustling the Sheffield-Chinley Slow on Starkholmes

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    You can see the gap as it passes a British Rail Class 20 diesel. (GRP Body on scratchbuilt trucks, Can't remember who made that body I'm afraid)

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    In other news the B&O 4-6-0 is down in the workshop ready for some fettling!

    Just as an aside.

    As some of you are aware I was involved in the rescue and preservation of the Midland railway Barrow Hill Roundhouse in Derbyshire hours before it was due to be demolished and from very basic beginnings the team of volunteers built it up into one of the premier historic rail centres in the U.K

    We had 2700, The national railway museums' Crab as a long term loan exhibit. Definetely not steamable, you could see daylight through the boiler so we decided to do a prank.

    Merchant navy 4-6-2 'Canadian Pacific' was due to go past on a charter train one day so we hauled the Crab round to the mainline connection, hid the 08 shunter. Threw a smokebomb in the smokebox and waited for them to go past. There was some bafflement!

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    Kev
     
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  13. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    A LYR 6 wheel coach made from punched plasticard

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    I was getting asked at shows by people if there was a source of inexpensive starter locos for smaller layouts and it set me off offering a small range of scratchbuilt RTR tanks engines

    This little loco had an MRRC motor, HO gears and Slaters driving wheels and I made quite a few until my move into gauge 1 put and end to it
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    Other locos

    A scratchbuilt Midland railway 'Half cab' 0-6-0t in full Midland livery

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    And an etched kit of a BR Class 06 diesel switcher

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    In the next installment I'll describe some of the exhibition layouts

    Kev
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ha ha ha. I like this type of thinking! :LOL:
     
  15. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    So I was involved with a few 0 scale layouts.

    'Houghton' was Jack and Maurices North Eastern railway based exhibit and we did a lot of shows with it

    Jack was responsible for the scenery

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    Buildings and cobbled streets were done with foamboard

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    The layout was C shaped end to end

    The blue tank wagons in the background are Milk tankers

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    So I was elected as Chairman of the Sheffield 0 gauge group and it became apparent that the members, although they really wanted to build and exhibition layout, didn't really know where to start. At this stage Jack, Maurice and myself has probably done about 150 shows with our various 0 and Gauge 1 layouts so I sat them down and asked them if they would like me to design one for them.

    Once agreed various tasks were allocated and i decided that the prototype most suitable would be Wirksworth This was a Midland Railway branch line terminus set in the vast quarry area of the Peak District in Derbyshire

    Early days, with everybody motivated and getting on with it. Egos were banned!

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    First show. Where it proved it worked as designed and the trackplan created enough interest for the operators not to get bored

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    The hidden sidings are in the rear left corner and to get into the quarry the train engine has to run around and propel in. Passenger trains also have to run round


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    One of the things I stressed, based on our experience, was that presentation is key. Proper lighting rig with facia boards, Class 2 flame retardent drapes. A couple of signs with a description of what the public are looking at. Most importantly, Keep things moving. The public will only wait so long to see a train before they get bored and wander off. We designed most of our layouts so that the guy shunting(Switching) the front (i.e the quarry) operated from the front of the layout and was designated to answer the public's questions

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    The real Wirksworth back in the day

    An LMS 4F 0-6-0 with a stone train Circa 1962. A real mixed bag of hopper wagons

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    Uppingham, a Pecket 0-4-0ST of 1912 vintage was a magnet for railfans towards the end of steam working in the quarry

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    Thankfully it still exists today in preservation in Rutland

    And so does the railway. Now called the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

    Wirksworth station as it is now

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    Kev
     
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  16. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    So the pull of Gauge 1 was getting stronger and stronger but I still pressed on with my new layout which was going to be based on the Brecon and Merthyr railway in South Wales. I built loads of wagons, signalboxes and the slightly bizarre diouble framed 0-6-0ST

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    I also picked up sone welsh coaches from a guy called John Minnis

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    The 0-6-0ST ran really well but the layout was a dead end and was pretty much the end of my 0 scale career

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    Or is it?

    Look out for a new thread on the rebirth of the Varney 4-6-0

    Kev
     
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