Detail hunting at Didcot



Books are good, but there are some things you only notice in real railway environments. Here's a selection of detail shots from my recent quick visit to Didcot. I know that preservation isn't the same as the actual railways, but there are still things to learn from and be inspired by, I think.



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Lubricated points... I don't recall seeing that modelled, but maybe I haven't looked hard enough. It would be easy to replicate, but would it look odd in model form?



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Track keys. First time I've had a chance to study them in close-up since I began dabbling in hand-built track. Before that I was happily indifferent to this sort of thing!



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I wonder just how perfectionist gangers were back in the day. Was a rotting key like this commonplace, or would it have been replaced before it got to this condition?



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The key on the right is centered, thus breaking the right/left pattern. Maybe to make up for rail creep?



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A ballast wagon to dia P15 of 1936. I see Cambrian have a kit for it. A couple of these would make a nice little project in case I decide to do a 1940s shunting layout at some point.



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Peeling paint, but of a very subtle kind. How to model that? Slice up the paintwork with a scalpel, maybe? Then again, that sounds like something that could go awfully wrong!



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Can of worms! Two P15s in different liveries. My knowledge of GWR PW stock liveries is very sketchy. As far as I remember, there is a debate about black vs dark grey, but the details evade me. I remember reading a piece about this on-line recently, but can't for the life of me find it now. Can anyone help?



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We never get to model wagons that are actually braked. Would be nice to do one in model form. A small removable diorama at the end of a siding with a wagon being unloaded. And the brakes on!



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Close up of the DC3 (I think?) hand brake. Jim Champ has done a nice intro on GWR brake types



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Loco Coal to dia N34 of 1946. Another interesting wagon to model, I think. Either scratchbuilt or a modified version of the (incorrect) Dapol Loco Coal.



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Note the cobweb here on the N34. Now that would be a modelling challenge :-) Strings of glue maybe? Problem is, once you go down that route, everything about the wagon has to be the same level of detail!



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Morton handbrake lever on the N34. Note weathering on the brake lever.



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My first "live" Iron Mink. I do like them. My first "live" Iron Mink. I do like them. I have one of the old ABS kits in the pipeline for The Depot (1900s).



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Very nice attention to detail here. These little things are what makes a preservation scene come alive.



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I assume the lighter colour on the Iron Mink doors is a temporary measure, but the question arises: Did this sort of thing also happen on the real GWR at times? Or was the painting process too standardised/systematic for that to happen?



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Looks familiar, doesn't it? Anyone who ever had trouble with transfers will recognize this. I don't recall seeing this kind of thing in prototype photos though. Were transfers ever used for numbering GWR wagons?



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The little imperfections that make it real: A bent step. Don't get me wrong: I find the standard of maintenance very high at Didcot. The question is, could we model this sort of thing and get away with it?



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Again: The everyday wear and tear of things. Ideally it would be an interesting challenge to replicate in model form. But the irony is that it would probably just look like sloppy modelling!



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Foot crossing with more room on inside of rail, to allow for wheel flanges I assume.



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Point levers with newly replaced boards. A nice little bit of detail to model.



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More replacement wood, this time inside the loco shed. Wish I'd done something like this inside "The depot". Maybe next time. Lovely copper cap, eh? :-) 

Comments

  1. A fascinating gourmet selection again this time. I love the idea that the staff at Didcot are doing what we do, trying to recreate atmosphere subtly without turning the place into some kind of GWR toy railway. Amongst the many things to note, the fine-ness of the ash ballast...quite a job to replicate. It just shows that close observation of the prototype is the key, literally in this case!

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  2. Some lovely reference Photos there, Mikkel. I know what you mean about the bent steps and suchlike. If a model had a set of bent steps, it would look like it had been knocked or damaged rather than made to look bent on purpose.

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  3. A lovely set of photos Mikkel, I found those featuring the track, buffer and point lever especially interesting.

    Thanks for posting.

    Geoff

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  4. You have a marvellous eye for detail, Mikkel. How do you find hand building track? Is it something which requires a lot of patience and perseverance or can it be done by mortals?

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  5. Hello gents, nice to know others find these details interesting too. As someone was saying over on RMweb, some of them would require a move up to 7mm og Gauge 1 to model properly!

    But some things can be done in 4mm. What the visit to Didcot really brought home to me was that "weathering" is not just about colour, but also about things being bent out of shape or not fitting together or rotting away etc.

    All of you are already doing that to perfection, but it was good for me to see some real examples for myself :-)

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  6. Chas, so far I have only tried building plain track. I have yet to try a point. It is perhaps questionable whether my handbuilt C+L track makes that much of a visual difference from the ready-made C+L track, once it's all been weathered etc. However,I have enjoyed the work so far.

    I've done a couple of blog entries about it. Dunno how to post a link in these comments, but they can be found in the r/h menu.

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  7. I've just been reading a MASSIVE thread over on RMWeb about one chap's dilemma about track, I don't know if any of you have seen it, it's the Greenfield layout built in a shed. It's one heck of a layout with some truly stunning stonework, but the guy just keeps ripping up his track, ballast,cork and all down to plywood and starting again. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not a "Trackkie" and have neither the time, nor the money to bother with hand built track - just the idea of pointwork gives me nightmares. I think I'll stick with the random assortment of set track and peco code 100 flexi that I have...

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  8. I know the thread. The builder sometimes uses his full real name on RMweb, so it will not upset him if I say that this is none other than Mr Larry Goddard himself. In other words, a master of perfection!

    But I know what you mean. Modelling requires persistence sometimes, but what keeps me going on a particular project is whether I get some kind of satisfaction from it. So far I've enjoyed building track, but I'm not entirely sure I have enough interest to keep at it on other layouts also. Time will tell.

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