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A selection of recent commissions and other projects...

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Neath Riverside - A Slice of 1960s South Wales

Scale OO / 1:76
Click on images for a bigger view..

I've been working on this layout commission for much of the year alongside other projects. Itís a new build supported with some wonderful secondhand buildings salvaged from a layout by ace model maker Iain Robertson. The station area seen here is housed in a 6ft x 18 inch diorama case. It is the first of several scenes that link together.

The railway room that this destined to live in has grown significantly since taking on the commission, so a colliery and further rural scene are under currently construction. These will extend the layout by around 300%.... more to follow..
A watery scene - the tide is out, so probably a smelly location. No supermarket trolleys, they're more a feature of modern times!

A Western Region Stanier 2-8-0 trundles through Neath Riverside past a few coal bins. The trackplan is based on an Iain Rice design from the 1980s.
Looking towards the twin tunnel portals - this is in fact a junction - the Class 22 coming off a military line with a van train.

Shunting the river side yard. Extensive use has been made of the recent Peco Bullhead range, which creates that hand-built look with ease.

July 2020 Model Rail magazine features the first of a 2 part series on Neath Riverside explaining the construction in greater detail https://www.greatmagazines.co.uk/model-rail-july-2020

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Hotchpotch Rd & Little Smoke Junction

Back in the summer I built this little customer layout to fit in 3 of those popular plastic storage crates that are a little under 3 feet long and around 10 inches wide and deep.

I was supplied with detailed plans of what should go where by my customer stipulating buildings and track required. Due to his excellent planning it all worked a treat, as well as being great fun to build. I tip my hat to you sir if you read this post.

The build time of this fun little layout was 87 hours spread over a month or so.
A run around loop allows for a short train and small tender loco, the loco here being a Hornby J15. Much use was made of ready made items, this can be a more affordable option than scratch or kit-building for those on a limited budget.
Photo copyright Chris Nevard.

Looking through to the terminus - Hotchpotch Road.
Photo copyright Chris Nevard.

Both scenic boards - the scene here is around 5 feet long split over two boards.
Photo copyright Chris Nevard.

'The Smoke Junction' - the recent run of exciting ready to run smaller locomotives being ideal for a layout like this.
Photo copyright Chris Nevard. 

'Hotchpotch Road' - the buildings are from PECO and Ratio kits, the track is PECO set track. The wonderful laser cut sign on the signal box is from www.scalemodelscenery.co.uk
Photo copyright Chris Nevard. 
The layout can be stored in 3 boxes, the left hand box being used for the fiddle yard and storage.
Photo copyright Chris Nevard.
Polite Notice!
All photography copyright Chris Nevard. Unauthorized use may incur legal action. Apologies for posting this, but frequently I find my photography on third party and often commercial pages without prior consent. If you need to use an image, drop me a line - I don't bite, unless of course you don't ask.

Sunday, 31 March 2019


On the pick-up goods, Guildford shed's No. 33019 simmers in the goods yard at Porth Emmet Railway Station - click to enlarge.
Recently I was commissioned to build a traditional 5 x 4 foot trainset. I've wanted to build such for some time, so this build was going to be even more fun than usual. I have a feeling that even the most serious diehards of the hobby secretly crave a traditional trainset, though they might not mention it to their peers!
5 x 4 feet of roundy-roundy trainset joy. Operation is surprisingly fun, with much of the charm being to simply let a train run round and round and round and round and round and round.... Click to enlarge.
Design wise, seeing what could be shoe horned on to a dining room sized board without cramping things was going to be fun. With the sharp set track curves, I could have packed a lot more track in, but then I fear any lean towards 'realism' would have been compromised.

Part of the brief in addition to the set track, was to use as many pre-made items as possible, partially to keep the cost down (because I wouldn't need to charge for scratch building), but also to achieve a speedy build if to demonstrate that model railways don't have to take years. However, whilst all the tricks of the trade were embraced for rapid result, I wanted the scenic treatment to be at the same level as my more serious model railway builds.

The layout took just 11 working days, spread over a two week period. This layout will be on permanent public display at Kernow Model Centre's new Guildford store from May 2019.

Combwich look-a-likey

Iím currently building a OO Gauge layout based on Combwich for a customer. Itís using a mix of secondhand buildings and kits. Size is around 9 x 7 feet scenic in a L shape. The build so far has taken around 4 months. I hope to deliver and install it in its new home in just a few weeks. We have decided to call the layout Combwich West.
Combwich West Station , as a train from Bridgwater arrives. 
The morning service has just departed Cannington Halt and is passing the timber yard Sidings. 
Combwich West Level crossing
January 2019 update - a few highlights of recent builds

3 x 1 Plank

A personal quickie I worked on last week for me between commercial jobs, all on a 3x1 plank. The inspiration is the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway, a mostly unfenced railway that ran next to, or actually along the road in deepest Cambridgeshire through to the 1960ís. Give it a Google.

The wonderful town buildings were a lucky secondhand find, they just had to be used, they were very much the catalyst for this speedy project. The buildings are at least at least 30 years old and once lived on a much bigger layout which has since been broken up. Sadly I have no further information to hand. If you know of the layout or the builder, please comment in the comments section.

The windmill is an Airfix/Dapol kit knocked up in the spring, in reality such a structure would have fallen out of use a good century before the railway came. The rail served shed with door is a chopped up Bachmann colliery wash-house modified with pitch roof and doors. Its use is a mystery, maybe a paintshop for pumpkins or storage for pedantís ruck sacks. The other shed, another ready to plonk thing that had been gathering dust.

Track is PECO, ballasted with sieved grit from our local common. The cheapo quickie cobbles were created using the empty shell of a ballpoint pen pressed in to Das clay. All in all around 18 hours work, this project being more an assembly of existing bits than a true build.

It will link in to other modules in due course to allow through running. At some stage it will live in an illuminated diorama case to fit it with my other layouts. Track has been aligned so it can connect to my other layout Brew Street. Iíve Brew Street booked in to the Rochdale Expo In April 2019, so will probaby add this module.

Click on photos above and below for a bigger view...

85 Hours

A little customer commission Iím just finishing off. Scenic footprint just 4x1 feet (fiddle yard extra on left hand side still to be built). It depicts a Colonel Stephens-ish branch line terminus. A bit of a squeeze, but managed to get a run around loop in just long enough for two passenger carriages.

The motley selection buildings are a selection of well known kits and a grubbed up Bachmann wooden engine shed. Track is good old fashioned copper clad which allowed me to fit everything to the small footprint, not be restricted by ready made point geometry. The diorama case is Tim Horn laser kit. For the first time I tried out LED lighting, a mix of warm and cool strips. The backscene my own creation printed at the local printers.

Around 85 hours,  working on and off, beginning first week of last month. Iíve wanted to build something like this for some time, having a passion for olde worlde run down middle of nowhere.

Click on the photos for bigger views you can really zoom in to!

For my current customer project based on a Colonel Stephens style branchline terminus in OO (1/76 scale), I'm using the Peco Lineside LK 200 Wooden Station building kit, which for the price between £10 and £15 depending on where you buy it from is a steal.

Progress with my current commission. A OO Gauge (1/76) branch line terminus in a foot print of 4 x 1 feet. Exit left to fiddle yard.

Finally finished the tiniest layout Iíve ever built. Just 14x4 inches without fiddle yard. Designed to live in a small plastic storage box. Working in such a small scale and footprint definitely sharpens up my act, the camera getting a lot closer than the eye! This was a commission, the owner supplying the baseboard with a length of track pinned down - my job was to decorate it to make it look ĎWest Countryí. Iíll miss this one when it goes on Monday. Could such a small layout (if it can be called that) be a new sub genre #nanolayout ? Rule: 2 square feet?

Another layout in a box! A tiny N gauge depiction of the Kyle of Lochalsh for a customer - all designed to fit in to one of those plastic storage crates. The photo above shows it awaiting a proper backscene which is currently at the printers. Excuse the ropey mobile phone snap above - I'll do a proper shoot of it before handing it over. 

The owner, being deeply smitten with Pete Matcham's stunning 2mm fine scale layout, asked me to build something similar - but with my own slant - it would be wrong to build an exact clone. The baseboards were supplied with the track already laid, my job being to decorate it with buildings and scenery - the station building being a complete scratchbuild.
An N gauge 'nano layout' - just awaits a photo backscene. Click to enlarge

Kyle of Lochalsh in February - what a lovely backscene! Click to enlarge
Also on the work bench is a 4mm scale model of Gateshead fueling shed, a stalled project originating from a rather rough laser cut kit. It is  currently in the hands of miniature metalwork expert Graham Bone having some intricate brass work added to the roof - before coming back to me for completion. Here is is halfway through the build.

Gateshead Fuel Shed. Click to enlarge
A fun little job over the Christmas break was to depict the Bluebell Railway's Adams Radial tank as it arrived shortly after withdrawal from British Railways. The time worn loco initially had its BR numbering a logo painted over for a short while before being painted in to LSWR colours. The delightful Hornby model was used for this.
Adams Radial tank - in early Bluebell Railway guise. Click to enlarge

Below, some previous projects, follow the links for the proper stories...

Hazelbank - a Scottish Borderland beauty. Click to enlarge
Refurbishing layouts can be great fun - older scenery methods make a great base for contemporary materials. An awful lot of static grass was required for this 21 x 15 foot layout - along with over 60 bespoke trees. This job was spread over 4 busy days. More here http://nevardmedia.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/scotland.html

Great Coles Wood Halt
A layout in a box! http://nevardmedia.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/layout-in-box.html