BLOG: Details, details, details…


With the remnants of my diesel depot shunting plank languishing somewhere in the garage following a recent house move, my attention has turned to detailing some of the ‘OO’ locomotive fleet for my modelling fix.

I find it incredibly therapeutic to sit with a batch of models and consider what needs attention. As I have fairly diverse interests, I need to be in the right mood to immerse myself into the projects at hand, and so on this occasion I’ve been focusing on my BR Southern Region fleet (including the odd inter-regional interloper), with a plan to add buffer beam detailing at the very least. In addition, I like to add a driver to the cab and customise route indicator blinds on the Class 33s and 73s.

For this detailing session I decided I would work on three BR blue Heljan ‘OO’ Class 33s – 33004, 33049 and 33212, Dapol Class 73 electro-diesel 73102 Airtour Suisse in BR Executive livery and Hornby Class 31 31174 in BR blue. This latter locomotive represents the motive power I used to see at Portsmouth Harbour on inter-regional services to/from Bristol and Cardiff during my trainspotting days.

Having dismantled the Heljan Class 33s, I realised that one of the fleet – 33004 – was actually riding on a Class 33/1 chassis, which means there must be a 33/1 somewhere in my collection on an incorrect chassis too.

Once I’d located some of my ‘bits’ boxes, appropriate pipes and cables were set to one side with a mixture from Bachmann, Dapol, Heljan and Hornby – some pre-painted, some not. One of the 33s already featured factory-fitted bufferbeam detailing, while the rest didn’t.

With body shells removed, I then wrestled with the interior cab mouldings – with a little coaxing they came out without too much issue – although typically, a few windows dropped out of the shells too.

I had intended to use a batch of drivers I’d hand painted some time ago, but wasn’t able to find the box they were in. However, a recently purchased pack of Bachmann seated passengers caught my eye containing a few potential candidates for the job – they were smartly attired and I thought would look the part once in the cabs. Following a few spots of Plastic Magic on the driver’s seats, the figures were set in place and left for a few moments to dry.

Next I took the opportunity to change route indicator codes on the 33s – using a specific route on one end and white blanks on the other. Not entirely prototypical, but it works for me.

Bufferbeam pipework was next, referring to prototype books as I went, with small details picked out with orange paint where appropriate. This can be quite time consuming, especially when the tiny parts involved suddenly ping from the tweezers and catapult across the room – seemingly becoming invisible as they do so!

Once completed, body shells were replaced on chassis’ and this part of the detailing process was complete. Nameplates for 73102 have been ordered and will be applied before it is enters the next phase for weathering, along with 33004 and 33049 which also need toning down. 33212 and 31174 are already suitably attired- the latter featuring Hornby’s factory weathering, which may be tweaked in due course too.

I hope you enjoy the blogs and if you have anything you would like to comment on, drop us a line to

The new series of blogs from the Hornby Magazine Editorial team give you an insight into the people, the projects and more. Hornby Magazine Assistant Editor Mark Chivers next blog will be live on March 3 2017 and you can expect more from Editor Mike Wild’s on February 17 2017.

Posted in Blogs, Mark Chivers


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