My layout was sadly lacking a crutial (for SR south western) piece of equipment... a class 33/1.

I have accrued a stack of photos of the real thing in various guises and after a lot of measuring and trying, the production of a realistic 33/1 from scratch was surprisingly difficult - not so much the jumble of EP "bagpipes" and multiple jumpers, but the sockets and brackets. Adam Warr (Electra Railway Graphics) told me that Taylor Precision Models do a set of replacement front-ends for the standard Farish ones - the price is great too!.

They arrived and I set about the task... The resin mouldings are exquisite. The flash is so soft you don't have to file or cut the stuff, just rub it with a burnishing file (or the wifes nail-file) and it results in very clean sharp edges. Very happy. My enthusiam for the jumper pipes & cables was more restrained. Where as they are very accurate, they have a flat appearance (being etched brass sheet) and are *VERY* fiddly to fit. Instead I found some telephone wire which has a core of 0.3mm - just right. I consulted my pictures again and modelled the pipes from this. I left them quite proud (see pic) so as to give them a good coat of matt black, when this had dried, I pushed them home into the tiny holes and glued them rear and bottom. After this was dry, I touched up the fronts with matt black, painted the tops with a splash of yellow, a light dusting of Precision Paint's "roof dirt"... and finished - what I consider to be a very convincing replica of the prototype. I won't be weathering it as the era I model, these animals had just started to emerge from Eastleigh after conversion and so would have been fairly pristine.

I have a few bits to deal with; finishing the black on top of the rubbing plate (between the buffers) requires a great deal of care so as not to muck up the yellow on the base of the cab front also, on the left side hoses, the matt black has bled into the super glue a tiny bit, this is in quite a jumble of detail and so doesn't notice. Still have to do light detailing - the vents on the cab cowl nead to be picked out for one thing, live-wire warning flashes are another... It is worth mentioning, that in the assembled photo below, the right side pipes appear to have a conjealed mass of glue behind them - this is not so, it is a trick of the early moring light and the shadow of the pipes on the riser castings behind - my gluing is virtually imperceptible :o)

I'm quite chuffed with this, the first of 2 such conversions to be done.

Here's a delightful shot of the two different front ends together in real life, sort of 'before and after' at East Grimstead. For me this single shot epitomises these hard-working locos. They really were adept at everything they did... Reserves of power meant they were able to handle reasonable passenger trains (in this case Bristol - Portsmouth) over quite some distance and remain within recovery margins. The other is standing ready to leave with a mineral (chalk hogging - used in road building) train. Their longevity is a testament to the pretty much fault-free working lives. And look at that chalky heath with Gorse and Birch... it is just sooooo SR south-western! :o) This photo alone, could easily be the basis of a cracking layout. Look at the way the left hand line has a white stain up it from the chalk trains. Brilliant! Mimicking details like this can be make or break on the realism stakes. Next time you are at an exhibition, look at the colour of the ballast. It is surprising the number of really good layouts where the ballast is all uniform, even in stations where it is usually oil-stained.

Photo (C) David Wainwright

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