Now on Facebook

I’ve now opened a new Facebook page with a view to reaching a wider audience. Please pay a visit via the link below and like if you have an account.


A couple of projects for friends are currently in hand and I’ll post photos here upon completion.


Black Fives

These are two Hornby Black Fives, currently being finished for a friend in Careworn mid 1960s condition.










“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man…
It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.
Once the element of comparison is gone, pride is gone.”

C.S. Lewis.

I have never been a competitive individual in my time; if you are too busy trying to get ahead of the pack, you miss the joy of the journey.
All of us have our own sets of skills and talents; how we use them is for ourselves alone to choose.
I get satisfaction from creating a model that looks like a living, working machine in miniature.
I get enjoyment when someone looks at a model I’ve created and comments to the effect that what I’ve created is exactly how they remember such things back in the day.
Yes, I enjoy seeing my creations in their own right. I take pleasure from the fact that perseverance and practice have brought my skills to their current level, but there’s something equally enjoyable about my work triggering a happy memory for someone.
That’s the sort of thing I enjoy about modelling. I like to create scenes I have no true memory of but hopefully to a degree that they look right and it’s the highest testimony when a viewer recognises something I’ve made for what it’s intended to represent.
I’ve built these talents and skills over a long time and I’m aware that I’ve developed them to a high degree but I don’t consider that this confers any kind of superiority over my fellow man.
One thing I enjoy is passing on my workbench skills and experience to others. If you have skills isn’t it better to share them among your fellow human beings so they too can develop and improve their own skills?
I would rather do this than sit on a lofty perch of elitism, looking down with disdain upon ‘lesser beings’ whose work still has room to develop.
I’d much rather help them up to my own level than dismiss them as talentless drones.
It’s a sad abuse of a gift conferred by fate.


It’s not all about dirt



One common misconception among inexperienced modellers and sadly even in some sectors of the modelling press and business is that ‘weathering’ consists of a gratuitous application of dirt.

I have seen such horrors as a GWR tank engine that looked like a caravan that had been abandoned under a tree for three years and a diesel locomotive with a front end that suggested it had been used at a bog snorkelling meet!
Now people have to start somewhere with their skill level and I wouldn’t like to discourage a novice from experimenting, but these were being passed off in the media concerned as professionally weathered and I found that a bit troubling.

That’s why I increasingly box shy of the term weathering these days and increasingly refer to ‘effects’ and ‘texturing’. It is about much more than a crusty layer of brown paint (or black if you’re into niche wetland sports).

The model above is intended to illustrate that. Here we can see a coach that has received attention from the cleaners and has a nice, relatively gloss finish.
In spite of that there is still dirt in the door recesses, nooks and crannies into where the reach of a cleaner’s mop and rag might not reasonably extend.
Underframes on hauled stock rarely get any cosmetic attention once they leave works except for safety critical maintenance, so layers of dirt, oil etc will naturally gather there.
Likewise, vehicle roofs which are exposed to every kind of atmospheric and environmental effect from exhaust to rain and sun fading.
Some horizontal surfaces like footboards and cab steps will be scuffed and burnished. Other locations such as axle boxes will be coated with grease or oil.
That means that unlike many modellers efforts, there will be few genuinely dull and flat surfaces.

So, if you’re interested in creating your own effects, look closely at real life effects on full size pieces of machinery and vehicles. It doesn’t have to be a train for you to understand how it works. 🙂


Lanky Pug





I’ve just finished this rather nice Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway 0-4-0ST for a friend.
The L&Y were noted for a real pride in the appearance of their motive power and this is the finish my friend requested; that of a machine that although well used received a lot of care and attention. In all probability it was assigned a regular crew who would have been more inclined to take a personal interest in the appearance of their engine.
Jon had already done a marvellous job equipping the loco with a new chassis and cab detail so the model deserved a special finish.
I’m hoping he’ll be pleased with this job!


Some mundane, run of the mill items

One of the most satisfying aspects of finishing models is the portrayal of the routine and mundane finishes associated with the hard-working day to day railway.
Here are a few examples;


The B1 are nice examples of workaday locos. Probably by the mid 1960s finishes were generally a fair bit rougher than this but you would still find locos that got that little bit more attention, even of not spotless.
Diesels too varied greatly but by the latter end of the decade with whole areas cleared of steam, they were less likely to rub shoulders with their predecessors, meaning the really grimy diesels seen circa 1964-5 were less common. Although South Wales based EE Type 3s largely proved the exception!



Freight stock generally had a hard life and even fairly modern equipment soon took on a tatty appearance like this mineral wagon and 21 ton hopper.


Lastly for today, I’ll finish off with a grimy loco typical for a St Margarets V2 during their last summer of freight work over the erstwhile Waverley Route in 1965



Welcome to Alba Weathering and Effects

A1 Class 60162 St Johnstoun as turned out from Haymarket Depot, Edinburgh, circa 1960

A1 Class 60162 St Johnstoun as turned out from Haymarket Depot, Edinburgh, circa 1960


This is the showcase for my weathering and general effects skills. I have been developing these skills for the best part of thirty years and I intend this blog to be a sort of portfolio of work I consider to be my best. From a pristine top link loco in steam’s heyday, through the last desperate steam years of the mid-late 1960s and forward through the age of diesel and electric traction, I have a broad range of interests and can replicate most finishes found.

Various media are used in combination to show the effects displayed here.

Just click on the images for a larger version.

I will add more examples as the blog progresses.