Thursday, 3 March 2016

Remembering Steve Sykes

I've recently heard of the sad passing of Steve Sykes, who was a group member until he moved away from the area some years ago.

Steve's forte was in scratchbuilding wagons, particularly of pre-grouping prototypes and he was often seen on the 2mm association demo stand at exhibitions working on his latest wagon using his trademark cream plastikard.

He was always willing to share his skills, and we start with a picture from the archives from 2006 of Steve demoing his techniques at a Pennine Group meeting when we used to meet in Todmorden -

One of Steve's trademarks was that when building the wagons he used cream plastikard for wooden-bodied prototypes, on the basis that it was a much closer colour to wood than the usual white plastikard generally available, or the kinds of plastics used for injection-moulded kits.

Here's a few of his wagons in their unpainted state, with the ironwork made from white microstrip -

He also used a fine 'scrawker' to scribe out the planking, which he marked out on by pencil on the plastikard prior to cutting it much in a similar manner to lino cutting. The result was a technique that was able to accurately model a wide variety of prototypes with a great degree of fidelity as often the initial marking out could be done using either drawings or photographs of the prototype.

He also had great skill in painting and finishing the wagons, which were often hand lettered, as the next couple of photographs will hopefully show.

His choice of prototypes was quite cosmopolitan, firstly this is a set of SE&CR wagons - 

..and this is an older photo from 2003 of some Metropolitan Railway wagons -


Hopefully this short retrospective of the photos that I have of his work will serve as a tribute to Steve.
He will be missed by many of us in the group, and our condolences go out to his family and friends.


  1. I wish I'd got to meet him - exchanged quite a few e-mails over the last few years and had a shared love of the Furness - but not to be.

  2. A really nice guy had several email conversations with him. At expo Oxford he showed me the most fantastic wagons condolences to his family.

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