Platform Benches

Any major airport railway platform will need benches for passengers, this diorama is no different. The model is set in West Sussex in the 1990s, so some bright red Network SouthEast benches will help place the scene. Thankfully, Ten Commandments produce modern platform benches and a pack was purchased in kit form for £2.50.

The first task was the bend the benches into shape.


The next stage was to bend 0.030″ brass rod into the same shape contours as the benches, this brass rod forms the legs.


The legs were then fixed onto the bench with super glue. As the kit is brass, paint will not hold well on the surface alone, so the benches were given a coat of primer first.


Once the primer had dried and set, the benches were given a coat of Tamiya red spray paint.


I’m happy to be corrected, but to have red Network SouthEast benches on the Gatport Airwick diorama may actually be incorrect. Research through my own limited photo collection of the real location during that time period, shows the majority of the platform furniture to be grey, suggesting the airport station was never under the control of Network SouthEast, but probably more likely Intercity Anglia and Gatwick sector or the airport owner at the time.


Platform Lifts

Lift access between an airport terminal and platform level is very important, especially as many passengers passing through will have lots of luggage with them to carry, making use of stairs and escalators rather difficult, the Gatport Airwick diorama will feature lifts between airport terminal and railway platforms.

I have chosen to scratch build the lift building using brick embossed styrene sheet, but first a square building shape was formed using plain styrene sheet to give the structure some added strength, with a hole made for the lift doors.


Some brick embossed styrene sheet was fixed on top of the structure with two spaces for the lifts, one open and one closed.


The model was then given a coat of grey primer. After the primer had dried and set, the model was then given a coat of metallic silver over the lift door area.


The lift door was then masked off using strips of Tamiya masking tape.


Once the masking tape was in place, the whole model was given a spray coat of Tamiya dark yellow, then allowed to dry and set.


The brick effect was the next part to add, this was achieved by dipping a cotton bud stick into Tamiya dark brown paint, letting the cotton bud absorb the paint slightly, then lightly pushing the bud across the top of the brick embossed styrene sheet. This process has some very similarities with airbrushing/spraying, in that this process requires a lot of patience and its better to put coats of paint very lightly and build them up.


After the Tamiya brown paint had dried and set, I then removed the Tamiya masking tape from the lift door to reveal the metallic coat which was applied first.


Work then started on building the lift interior. Many lift interiors now feature mirror panelling, possibly to reduce the effect of claustrophobia I guess? Four pieces of mirror effect reflective card was cut out and fixed in place around a styrene sheet base, painted a murky floor dark yellow colour.


A couple of extra details may be added in the future such as lift buttons and floor displays. The structure is missing a roof because it will be covered by the platform canopy.


This photo shows the lift interior, just need some passengers with luggage trolleys to finish the scene.


Western Comet Part 2

The second stage of the Western Comet project involved adding the driving area detail and the name plates.

When the Western Comet operated on the Brooklands Miniature Railway, the driver sat in a small area cut out from the locomotive roof. In order to make an N gauge model look less like a 2mm scale locomotive and more like a miniature railway train, I opted to add a 7mm scale driver, some research into miniature scales refers to this as ‘On15’ scale.

An old second hand, unpainted seated driver (by S&D Models) was purchased and given a coat of primer to help the paint hold as the model is made from white metal.


After the primer had dried, I began to paint the figure in various clothing shades of blue.


After the driver was painted, work started on the drivers control area for the locomotive. A box was scratch built from styrene sheet with two folds or lips on the edges that hold the box in place when placed through the locomotive roof cut out. Some very small wing mirrors were added using reflective card, fixed to brass rod which was connected to the inside of the box.


The driver was added to the box and the box was placed into the cut out section of the locomotive roof.

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The name plate and works plate was the final part of the project. However after researching the name plate style on the book about the Brooklands Miniature Railway by author Graham Lelliott, I realised that the nameplate was not in the same style and format as regular ‘Western’ nameplates, so a design closer to the original was chosen.

Luggage Trolleys

A vital piece of equipment for the quick hassle free movement of passengers around a airport terminal is the luggage trolley, so this diorama will need to display a couple. After purchasing a packet of luggage trolleys from Ten Commandments, I set about building the kit.

Firstly, this kit contains lots of small components, so care had to be taken removing them from the etch brass kit without damaging parts.


The rest of the etch brass kit was discarded and the pieces laid out separately.


It is sometimes difficult to know where to start with a small and complex kit like this, I opted to start with the ‘basket’ part of the luggage trolley, folding the net using a ruler and pliers until a box basket shape was formed.


This picture shows the net for the basket folded up and ready to be secured onto the rest of the trolley with some super glue.


Next, a start was made on the main frame of the trolley, making two obtuse angle folds to begin bringing the shape of a luggage trolley together.


The third stage was the most fiddly part, folding the wheel components together and gluing them in place.


Finally, the wheels and the luggage trolley basket were bought together with the main trolley chassis frame and fixed into place.


Because the luggage trolleys are made from brass kit, to allow paint to hold onto the material, the trollies were given a coat of primer first, once the primer had dried then a coat of metallic silver was sprayed onto the luggage trolleys.


After the base coat of metallic silver had dried, the trolley handle detail was highlighted out with white and grey paint, along with the wheel casters being highlighted in dark grey shades. The luggage trolley kit was easy to build, its just fiddly due to the nature of the finely crafted kit components, these are now ready to be added to the diorama. picture78

Windscreen Wiper Upgrade

For upgrading windows on the Hornby Lima class 73, the existing glazing features windscreen wipers moulded onto the transparent plastic, which get discarded when replaced by the fantastic Laserglaze components. As a result, new windscreen wipers need to be fitted onto the windows, I chose to use the double arm windscreen wipers by Extreme Etchings.

The first task was to coat the wipers in grey primer, I allowed a full day for the primer to dry before adding a coat of Matt black to the wipers, all this was done whilst the wipers were still fitted to the sprue.


The next part of the project involved drilling into the locomotive body, something you really have to get right first time, this is a good opportunity to study photographs of the real thing to make sure everything is positioned correctly, some locomotive windscreen wipers are patterned |/ \| some are patterned \| |/ or |/ |/ or \| \| some are mounted above the windows and some are mounted below!


A 0.35mm hole was drilled between the window and the rain strip, this gave the wipers a solid push fit installation. I think this upgrade brings this twenty year old model up to today’s standards.


Western Comet Part 1

‘Western Comet’ was the name given to a 10.25″ gauge replica Class 52 Western locomotive, built by engineering firm Severn Lamb in 1964. The locomotives home for more than forty years was the Brooklands Miniature Railway on the Sussex coast between Lancing and Worthing. A detailed study about the Brooklands Miniature Railway and its trains by author Graham Lelliott can be found via Amazon.

This project is in effect a miniature railway of a miniature railway, I chose an N gauge model to use as a basis for this project, although not strictly accurate, it’s the best that can be achieved.

I bid for and won an N gauge class 52 Western locomotive on eBay. The difference with this project is that instead of adding detail to make the model look realistic, I would actually be removing detail from the model to make it look realistic for a miniature railway.


The first part of the project involved separating the locomotive body from the chassis, model battery boxes and glazing.



The next part of the project was to cut a hole in the roof of the model to replicate the driving cab area which will feature a 7mm scale driver, seat and locomotive controls, dials and gauges.

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The glazing was then painted in the style of the Brooklands Miniature Railway ‘Western Comet’ with white windows and black window frames.

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The battery box and cowlings were painted Matt black as per the prototype model. The locomotive body was then given a coat of grey primer and allowed to dry for a day.


The locomotive body was then given a few coats of red Tamiya spray paint to represent the livery on the real miniature locomotive. The Brooklands Miniature Railway Western Comet features a white roof, so Tamiya masking tape was fixed to the roof to add this part of the livery.

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In hindsight, I should have applied the livery the opposite way round by giving the entire body a coat of white first, then masked off the roof to apply the red livery last. I also made a mistake during spraying the white paint and got a bit on one cab end.

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This meant I had to mask off the white roof livery with masking tape to give the cab end a new coat of red paint.


All of the components were then brought back together and fitted. Buffers were painted white and detailed as per the prototype. The next stage of the project, covered in part two, will feature the addition of a driver, the drivers controls and nameplates.


Airport Terminal Transit Building

An airport diorama based on the real location in West Sussex wouldn’t look right without an terminal transit building in the background.

Starting with square shaped embossed styrene sheet, a half relief building was constructed with space at the front to install glazing and space at one side for the terminal transit tracks to be connected. The building was then given a coat of black primer and allowed to dry for a full day.


After the primer had dried, the building was then carefully given a lot of coats of blue mica spray paint from the Tamiya range, allowing plenty of time between coats of paint for the previous layer to dry.


Trick glazing was then added to the building by fixing transparent and black styrene sheet into the window spaces on the building, to which white strips of styrene sheet were added on top, to represent the window frames. This was a very delicate part of the project as any glue and fingers on the transparent styrene sheet would have caused frosting and ruined the model.


To finish the model off, corrugated styrene sheet was added to the top of the model to represent the roof detail, this was given a coat of primer, allowed to dry for a full day, then given a coat of metallic spray colour for he roof effect.


Brooklands Miniature Railway Carriages

A popular recreational park on the Sussex coast is Brooklands, between Worthing and Lancing. Amongst a number of attractions at Brooklands, is a miniature railway that circles the parks lake. The railway is 10.25″ gauge and about 1000 yards long. During the 1990s the railway featured a miniature Western Comet locomotive and carriages, all carrying a red livery, it is this time period that is going to be reproduced in this project.

Firstly, a couple of cheap second hand N gauge American outline wagons were purchased, purely for the chassis only.


The wagon (gondola) bodies were then separated from the chassis and discarded, the bogies were also separated from the chassis but set to one side.


New miniature railway carriage bodies were constructed using styrene sheet and glued to the wagon chassis.


The wagons (carriages) were given a coat of grey primer and allowed to dry out for a day.picture43

The carriage floors were then masked off using tape and the whole carriage was then given a coat of Tamiya red spray paint, allowing to dry for a day.


After the red paint had dried, the masking tape was removed and the floor was given a coat of grey and the bench seats hand painted in brown, both paints from the Tamiya range.


The carriages were next given another day for the paint to dry fully, the next stage of the project was to start work on the locomotive, Western Comet.


A detailed study of the Brooklands Miniature railway has been published by author Graham Lelliott and the book can be purchased via Amazon