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* Building the LMS Stanier Black 5

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In The Garden

See here how to make DIY Buildings from scratch.

The Railway Station.

Regardless of what you run, there has to be a railway station... Take the length of a bogie carriage to be 1m, this means that a branch line loco could pull four carriages into the station -but the platform would be around 4m long. On an elevated railway this a structural item. How you make your platform is up to you but I have used 150x25mm treated timber edged with 75x25mm using 50x25mm cross braces. I would suggest that you make up your main buildings platform and passenger platforms as modules based on standard 4.2mx150mm lengths of timber. You will not need more than three modules as the available building kits produce a very "thin" building.

The German Options.

If you are using PIKO or POLA 'G' scale building kits then you will need to think about four modules wide as these tend to be more "chunky". These will also look rather more larger than scale but are in fact true to it. PIKO also produce variations of the same building with differing colour schemes and supply building parts for self experimentation. The names translate very well into English and it may be easier to use the English Names.

  • MuhlDorf -Smallville.
  • Rosenbach -Rose Brook.
  • Neustadt -New Town.
  • Tiefenbach -Deep Brook.
  • Sonneberg -Sunny Hill

The PIKO range are unique in that all the models with the same starter name are designed to be used together as they are of similar style. The other main company in this area are Vollmer. Vollmer kits tend to be really really good but this is reflected in the price which can be really really high... German kits are well supplied compared to their UK made counterparts, as they will contain self coloured parts and glue along with a VERY detailed assembly sheet. For some reason every German kit gives you a few more parts than are required. Importing directly rom Germany is often quite cheaper than buying from the UK distributer. It is quite easy to turn a Tyrolean station into one from the UK by "pruning" the typically German parts or adding parts that are typically UK.

The Rosenbach range consists of a station building, a signal box, an engine shed, a signal bridge and a watermill all in a Tyrolean style. Muhldorf station is the same as the Rosenbach one but with a totally different colour scheme and exists only as a single item. The Neustadt range is more modern and grander! It is typical continental or gothic look. The range has the station, a footbridge and a platform with canopy. Additional models in the Neustadt range are not available in the UK but can be imported from Germany. Tiefenbach is a station that could be called a double Rosenbach and exists alone. The Sonneberg range has a signal box, a goods depot and a loco shed. These are in a more Germanic style with some obvious twists...

Preisler sell mostly figures. But there are quite a few of them to choose from. They even sell "DIY Frankenstein" kits of arms and legs to glue onto bodies with a choice of heads. The kits can be "clothed" with epoxy putty and this then sculpted to the required look.

The English Options.

The British Outline Buildings (BOB) and Yarwood models ranges as sold by GRS are very good and highly detailed. BUT due to their use of resin based moulding are fragile until assembled. They need assembling using epoxy and the corners strengthening using glass fibre putty such as P40. The British outline buildings are supplied unpainted -but the colour of the resin is that of mortar. You can apply the brick colour with a sponge -but I prefer to paint each brick. This enables me to vary the colour of the bricks. London Brick is a pure red colour, (they add "dyes"), whilst Wilnecote brick is anything from brown to blueish purple. Remember to paint the damp course dark blue! Being made of resin the BOB models are quite heavy. I use masonry paint from Dulux to paint them. The roof can either be corrugated or tiled. If it is corrugated then you have the choice of iron or asbestos. The Iron will have to look rusty, and the Asbestos will have gone a pale green due to oxidation and lichen growing on it.

Yarwood models make some very nice resin kits. They are a little on the flimsy side compared to the PIKO ones. The first step will be to reinforce the sides with applied wooden laths of strip wood which you then plaster over with P40. This produces a VERY strong piece for you work with. Once you have finished assembly the entire model should be washed in soapy water to remove any remaining grease. Spray the model lightly with standard car body grey. You can now add the masonry paint.

Penfro Models also produce a range of signal boxes and other building.

There exist quite a few "polymer clays" under various names the most familiar of which will be FIMO and Sculpy. These are like small sticky blocks of plasticine which can be assembled or mashed into the correct model. These require BAKING at 80C for 45mins before they are usable. The model will shrink by about 10%. Once baked they may be classed as lumps of rock as they are very hard. If you need to, embed wire to form an armature frame with. You may bake the same piece with more pieces added and continue in this manner until you are finished.

You can purchase "Jigstones" moulds to cast your own bricks; it is advisable to use grouting cement in the mix as this is finer.

The site below is in German but there is an English language option on the Home page. sites)

This is an instructional PDF in American English. sites)

The Shed.

Call it what you will, but this is the place where the locos and rolling stock get fettled and serviced. What is near your shed will depend on the era and "position" of the railway. A water tower or tank will be needed for a Steam loco, whilst a diesel tank is required for a Diesel loco. Not all Steam locos burned coal and a few Southern and GWR locos burnt oil. You may need a coaling area and a coal loader system. A coaling tower is for the dedicated! Normally this would be a yard crane and sledges full of coal to tip into the bunkers. There would have been an ash pit for "dropping the fire" into. A turntable at G3 scale is massive and would occupy 117cm for a 90foot turntable. Add to the fact that you must have some method of rotating it and the load on the central pivot or rim wheels then you can see this is not an easy option. A loco shed long enough to house a loco is another matter. A diesel loco servicing shed would be about 1m long and should span a double track and you can have your diesels run into, out the other side, get replenished and then back into service. This does mean that your service bay are will be a minimum of 2m long. It should also be a a "comfortable height" to prevent too much bending and lifting. Remember that G3 locos are not lightweights in all respects...


These are very nearly a "must have". They are easy to produce for an elevated railway and the sight of your loco leaping a pond is a visual spectacle. How you make your bridge from the thousands around is up to you. But there are really only four types.

  • The Arch.
  • The Box Girder.
  • The Trestle.
  • The Girder Frame.

The Arch

Arched bridges require a level of pre-planning. The most common way is to produce a concrete former from plywood and then cast the concrete in that. Alternatively you can produce a ply wood arch and brick lay the arch with heavy duty mortar and wire.

The Box Girder

This is a more modern looking bridge and is perhaps the easiest to build. As the name suggests this relies on a central rectangular beam that spans the gap. The track base then sits secured to this.

The Trestle

This is the hardest one to build... It is a classic American bridge but there have been UK installations, notably the "Fan" bridges of Brunel's GWR. The basic principle is one of triangular reinforcing angles on four uprights.

The Girder Frame

With a little thought these are quite easy to make. I would recommend that you use aluminium angle and a pop rivet gun. The top runner is secured to the bottom runner with diagonal pieces on alternate sides.

The Scene

These are the touches that bring a collection of bits to life. In a period setting things that would have been found quite normally help set the scene. These can be a chocolate machine, a set of station scales or a laden trolley. The problem is that they are small and delicate. IMP models produce small white metal figures that are robust and do not get blown about by the wind. A country station might have a cattle dock attached to it. The Early Learning Centre sell small plastic animals that are of a suitable size.

One of the major problems of our scale is the fact that there are no real station signs etc for the period of our railway. The solution is normally a Bespoke request to one of the suppliers. I have had a nice set of 1960's LMR British Railways signs made by Sankey Scenics for the not unreasonable price of £12.50 for two A4 sheets. They have produced my station name and all the standard British Railways signs of the period.

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Page last modified on April 01, 2018, at 11:37 AM