On my workbench


It’s been a while since I posted about the workbench, so here’s what’s been going on.

I’ve been battling—almost literally—with an LNWR motor train driving trailer, one of a pair of coaches which will be finished in the full LNWR livery of just after the First World War.

I ought to explain why it’s a “motor train”, I suppose. Branch line passenger trains would often be composed of a couple of coaches and a locomotive. To save the effort of running around the train so it could be hauled back up the branch, various companies built driving cabs into a brake coach, which let the loco driver control the regulator and brakes of the loco remotely. These types of train went by various names. The Great Western called them autotrains, on the Southern they were push-pull, on the Midland they were pull-and-push, and the LNWR referred to them as motor trains.

The coach here is a driving trailer, converted from a brake third compartment coach in the early 1900s. You can see the three windows in the end, and the extra pipework associated with the control system.


It’s been a bit of a struggle, if I’m honest. The coaches I got from the client had been part-built, so I’ve been trying to preserve certain elements, while making suitable modifications and additions to suit the particular period. I have had to make some new parts from scratch, as well as make use of a copious “Bits Box” (where the alternative parts in kits get stored as they often come in handy later—every modeller has one). Sometimes, parts already fitted fall off due to handling. It’s been a slow process, and I’ve still got the partner coach to start…



This is a view from underneath, showing the buffer springing and a lot of blobby soldering—some of which isn’t mine!

I really hope I can get these models moving now. They’ve been annoying me for a couple of weeks. Today I acquired some materials I can use to make the roof fit correctly, and I’ve been designing digital artwork for the interiors. This will be printed on decent paper stock, and save a lot of scratch building. I still need to scratch build the cab interior, acquire some suitable figures for both crew and passengers, and I haven’t quite worked out how to create the slightly complicated paintwork yet. I’ll get there.

In case you had forgotten, I am now a professional modelmaker. You can find out about my modelling services on my web site, and you can also “like” me on Facebook. Search for Heather Kay Modelmaker.

4 thoughts on “On my workbench

  1. If I ever find the time again, I may rework those and update them. Things have moved on since then.

  2. Hi Mike. I use the little Canon S100. It’s ideal for bench shots like this, because it has a fearsome macro and sensible light management.

  3. Hi Heather, very interesting article especially after what we talked about today. What lens are you using for the close ups? Good images as well.

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