Thursday 31 March 2016

The Ale Van Cometh

For some reason I've found an impetus to get going on some wagon projects that have long been in gestation.

Firstly, we have the aforementioned Ale Van - in this case a van seen in Don Rowland's book 'British Railways Wagons' which is a BR Meat van converted for Ale traffic by replacing the side vents with plain planks.

I of course like my beer so I thought it'd be nice to have one -

Many years ago I did model this in N Gauge using a Parkwood Kit and a PECO chassis, that though was sold long ago when Bachmann brought out their 12t BR vans, so a replacement using the Association kit has long been on the cards.

Sticking with the BR fitted theme is a 5-plank fitted High, this from a combination of a Parkwood kit and an association chassis -

It's worth noting that the bodies may appear a tad skew-whiff as they're not glued on yet. So the final 'unpainted' one is this plate wagon, based on a PECO body with an association chassis...

One of the other projects is a series of coal wagons using the 12 foot chassis suitable for Parkside kits, such as this where I replaced an old Parkside chassis with the association chassis - the reason being to both improve the running and the looks -

Now these are ready for the paint shop, there's more coming up, including a  Vanwide based on a combination of Parkwood and Association kit parts and more mineral wagons on the 12ft chassis and then some locos to finish off. So enough to keep me occupied for now.

April will see two Pennine Area Group meetings, the first one on the 9th, the second later in the month, possibly on the 30th.

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.