Sodor & Mainland Recreations

Sleeper Agent

Active Member
Third post in but here goes-

Usually go by Sleeper Agent around the forums (just Sleeper is fine for short). Plenty of things on the ol' wish list but without going down that route i'll state that my modelling interests centre around The Railway Series and the great thing about the books is the amount of lore that Wilbert, George and Christopher Awdry managed to build up over the many years they and the three companion additions were published.
For those not familiar with the railway history outside of the stories to summarise in brief the North Western Railway set up in 1915 absorbed The Sodor & Mainland (1853) , The Wellsworth & Suddery (1870) and The Tidmouth, Knapford & Elsbridge Light (1885) railways into a joint network that connects into Barrow-in-Furness.

Surviving as the North West Region and even as the North West Railway again with the end of nationalisation a very wide period is available to model but personally i've little interest with the later BR periods. Being bought up on the initial seasons of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends certain aspects of the show will also be bleeding into this thread and case in point are 'The Old Coaches'.
Old Coaches
Old Coaches/Gallery
These mysterious three appear to have been specially built for the 1983 pilot and were not seen after the few episodes of Season 1 they appeared in and so presumably binned there is little to go off unfortunately. From what I've deduced they were simply freelances made out of plasticard but do bare a passing resemblance to a number of pre-group 3rd/2nd Class builds from around 1880.
Anywho here's my first ever scratch build coach so far.


The elliptical GWR Dean style roof is going to be interesting to try and tackle (any tips?) but mostly i'm in need of some leaf springs to further advance. Still newish to G3 so beside Mike Williams's LNWR ones are there any other suppliers out there? I'm looking for quite dainty ones ideally and somewhere around 6ft long or just under.

Have tried to keep this opening salvo short but happy to answer any questions if curious.
All the best Steve.


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Sleeper Agent

Active Member
Has anyone here or on the G3 Forum built one of Walsall's GWR or Mike's 1850's third coaches? Given the lack of passenger kits in G3 you'd think I could find some examples online but keep drawing blank with search engines.....Basically wanting a better look at the leaf springs to see if they're close enough to the 'oldies' as I don't really want to go down the scratch route nor have I dabbled with 3D designing yet. Speaking of though Bowaters Models have agreed to assist with laser cutting my design and so before ordering a rake's worth thought it a good idea to get on with this recreation experiment to see what doesn't work!
The seats I think need a less transparent coat to help them blend in with the teak but otherwise the interior is about done for the level of detail i'm trying to achieve. Inspired by a Talyllyn/Skarloey coach kit I own by Brandbright the window and inner sheets are going to be left as removable to make painting (and future repainting if necessary) straight forward and to solve the slight bowing issue believe a metal length and two glued magnets in the central compartment will be sufficient.

Must confess the roof has been tripping me up. First attempt involved a boiling water technique I had tried in the past (I pre-warm the glass first to help avoid potential shattering) except due to the length I needed two bottles of plonk!

It did work but as this is an elliptical roof rather than a simple arc type found the plastic too thick for further manipulating the tighter radius along both edges.

For attempt two I tired 0.5mm aluminium. Originally I was going to try brass but once you go over the 30cm threshold sheet material becomes quite expensive! Anywho it's proved quite a malleable material with no 'spring back' and once i've got it fine tuned and reinforced the plan to glue a top layer over this base.

Bit of a long shot but does anyone know of any G/G3/16mm 'T' door handles that have a slightly thicker mid point compared to the ends? Not the end of the world to settle for a more plain casting but it would be nice to closer match the mystery ones that went into the show builds if possible.

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Western Thunderer
For springs, just shoot Mike Williams an email. He is a very helpful guy. Ive certainly given him quite a lot of my money mostly due to how helpful he is and how he always seems to have what I need.

For the roof, why not build it from strips across a frame as in the prototype? Then cover that in a fine fabric and youve got a proper railway roof.
Hello Sleeper

Rather like the two bottle method (hic) .
Re your coaches , the roof profile looks rather Great Northern and for that I would go with individual planks and a fabric covering , like Spitfire's idea . For the length they would look better as 6 wheelers to me . It's just I walk past a G.N. six wheeler every time I go into the Vintage Carriage Trust at Ingrow .
If you need or want bead widths or compartment sizes measuring let me know .
Re door knobs , have a look at Dave Smith at the Midland Railway Centre . He does some tapered G1 hand rail knobs which might be adaptable .

For springs, just shoot Mike Williams an email. He is a very helpful guy. Ive certainly given him quite a lot of my money mostly due to how helpful he is and how he always seems to have what I need.

For the roof, why not build it from strips across a frame as in the prototype? Then cover that in a fine fabric and youve got a proper railway roof.

Sleeper Agent

Active Member
Sorry for the delay Midnight, been trying to finish some typing up on another forum concerning the Sodor's second engine.

Aye the hot water bottle can do the hic quite nicely, it's just that the above failed as the material was a bit too thick to further manipulate a tighter radius on the sides. Regarding the individual plank notion I have done it in the past when provided with a kit but my results on tighter radiuses areas in the case of an elliptical roof has been wanting, particularly with the Ffestiniog's 'curly roof' and in the case of this scratch build I would also need to create a support frame which I'm less than keen on. Anywho having tried aluminium I think i've found my new favourite material as it's easy to manipulate, has no 'flex back' resistance to it and isn't outrageously expensive for oddball projects.
The roof profile I would actually say is a little closer to GWR Dean's if being pedantic and while the G1 show builds appear to be freelance if you combine it with say the bodies of the Great North of Scotland's thirds from around 1875 you do get something remarkably close :)

Regarding the length vs 6 wheels I know what you mean but whether through the middle wheel being removed or otherwise the GNR ran some lengthy 4-wheelers
Great Northern Railway 4-wheeled coaches. Part 1.
while the GWR also had some surprisingly long brake thirds (ideal for branch line corners apparently) so they're not completely outlandish, plus the idea of this experiment is to try and recreate a lost prop. Overall I do believe i've got the dimensions pretty close but am looking to make more realistic versions with some laser assistance from Bowaters Models and these will be a little smaller in L, W and H to better suit the period i've got them pegged out for. Thanks for the compartment measurement offer but i'm good as the above is based off a meticulous sprite plan that will simply be resized down from 29ft to 28ft.

I hadn't been aware of the Midland Centre site but trying it just now navigation is a little limited. I'll see what I can spot around the stands of Llanfair and Telford in a few weeks time and come back to them if need be ta, by the sounds of it though they might also be of interest to some G1ers in the Sudrian community.

For springs, just shoot Mike Williams an email. He is a very helpful guy. Ive certainly given him quite a lot of my money mostly due to how helpful he is and how he always seems to have what I need.

For the roof, why not build it from strips across a frame as in the prototype? Then cover that in a fine fabric and youve got a proper railway roof.

As mentioned just above i'm not a big fan of strip frames but will be seeking out a fabric of some sort on the proper builds if nothing else.
I've been in contact with Mike and Lez from Walsall now and they have/are going to provide some bits and bobs to advance things along thanks. Speaking of Mike we managed to arrange a meet up at Kidderminster for the LNWR Society's exhibition day where he also kindly provided me with some stagecoach type mouldings.

Bit of work to go shall we say but great to have a start on the S&M's first and second gen coaches!
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Sleeper Agent

Active Member
Unexpectedly came into possession of a GRS 02 kit recently (thanks for the heads up Mike) and looking for a little guidance as I can't seem to find any visual evidence of other builds here or on the Gauge 3 forum. Any photos in general would be handy for studying purposes but i've noticed the four part chimney is for a different prototype and so wondering if a closer G3 match exists, as the GRS and Walsall sites do not have anything particularly close.IMG_0603.JPG 017-2013-isle-of-wight-steam-railway-havenstreet-ex-lswr-02-class-w24-calbourne.jpg
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Sleeper Agent

Active Member
Steve, the person you bought the kit from had the very first one and I can't remember whether the instructions were complete at that time. Nonetheless, one of the pictures towards the end of the instructions is of No.65959 and the brake lever is cranked in a similar position to your model. If you want to alter it to match a different picture, then the lever is mild steel and surprisingly easy to straighten with large pliers and then bend again.


Hi, decided to move the convo over to my thread rather than continue to hijack Geoff's.
The early instructions have the odd flaw but nothing too bad. Found my Vol 1 LNWR Wagons book this afternoon which has been useful in terms of the picture quality and the diagram with the initial pattern V hanger. Hadn't really intended to buy this kit in all honesty but the price was good and I liked the unusual look of it. Reading up a bit further on the history of the D42 can see its pre-steel well life falls a bit short of the (2nd) North Western Railway coming into existence which rules out it guesting from St Helen's, so i'll paint it up as a Wellsworth & Suddery acquisition ;) Anywho running with that have carried on with the curvy hanger arrangement and straightened out the brake lever as suggested and the below deck area is edging closer to completion.

Last month started messing around with a James build having found a suitably sized tube from Every Exhaust Part Limited.
Every Exhaust Part Limited | eBay Stores
In retrospect the plastic sheeting glued on to close the diameter gap with the cladding added might of been a misstep but worst case I can peel it off and replace with brass if need be. Realised I was getting into trouble with the Belpaire firebox area so decided I needed to finally edit a plan!
James Class 29 to DA mk7.png
This Lancashire & Yorkshire '29 Class' design is primarily based on the twenty strong 85 Class built in 1912 but aspects from the the High-Flyers and some of the radical axle designs have been incorporated in order to meet up with James's bio in 'The Island of Sodor' companion book. The Belpaire is still going to be a challenge but the idea is to now make a practice running plate etc to try and ensure the width and other dimensions will all gel together.

Closer to reality I started on a GWK Mink G recently. The Walsall kit is testing my novice soldering skills but did get to the stage that the eight body sections could be joined up the other night!
Haven't actually been able to find evidence of anyone else building one of these here or on the G3 Forum but if anyone reading this has I wouldn't mind seeing a photo or two to supplement the instructions.

Oh ps the chimney in the above pic is actually for another planned project but it was designed by a friend who set up shop on Shapeways a while back. Unfortunately the firm have been steadily jacking up their prices so while he is happy to rescale most things to G3 scale for serious customers body shells will now cost a small fortune! Gavin has since bought a home printer and items of a certain size can be bought directly from him for significantly less and said chimney was lifted off a variant of his Furness K2 body shell.
FR K2 - Body - Freelance Variant V4 - WSF by Sparkshot on Shapeways
Basically if there's anything in his shop you can see that you might like in 1:22.6 (or G1 etc) then feel free to drop him a message and I'll vouch for the quality of his photon prints :thumbs:
Sparkshot Custom Creations by Sparkshot - Shapeways Shops
Knuckles on Twitter
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Sleeper Agent

Active Member
With lambing on haven't managed to do much modelling wise but think this print is worth a plug for anyone with Caledonian interests.
It's from Gavin's shop which he kindly blew up to G3 scale. Total price by the time postage and processing was added came to £593.50 but that's with the chassis unit as well and I suspect anyone here would be after making their own sprung version to fit underneath (plan is to see how it runs and adapt if need be).

Gauge 3 - 812 Tender 3000g Body by Sparkshot on Shapeways
Gauge 3 - 812 Tender Chassis by Sparkshot on Shapeways

No current plans for the locomotive half but beside the 652 class these 'M2' tenders were built for their 812 predecessors (of which 828 is preserved of course) along with the 30 and 34 classes.

Sleeper Agent

Active Member
Not the most productive year in terms of modelling but managed to make a start on Mike Williams+Tony Riley's NBR D77 wagon the other day. The easy method would be to assemble it as per the instructions and paint afterwards but as the body is wooden and the strapping etc comes separate I thought it worth trying for a (fictional) two tone livery that wouldn't require careful cutting in afterwards. To that end the interior was stained and then later masked in order for the exterior sides to be primed.

Had some greens I wanted to test match for a coach so that's what the exterior is going to be with just the final coat to go now but thought it would be a good idea to apply the interior strapping before assembling the body, particularly as i'll be using some rivets (Amati's are the finest i've come across so far) to anchor the components in place (the glue probably would do but with the surfaces painted already I can envision some never seen again bits coming away down the road).

Anywho i'm struggling to interpret the instructions concerning the floor rebate strips. Looking at Ashley's build in The Gauge 3 Society Newsletter (121) it looks like they've been glued vertically to the sides of the wagon body, is this correct Mike or anyone reading this that are in the know?


Sleeper Agent

Active Member
Thanks Trevor. Afraid I haven't done much with the kit since but the strips are glued down that way now :)
Been a while but currently working on a shell resized for me by Killian Keane aka 'Pugsy'.
Some feedback to go with it but for anyone interested it is listed here,
Small loco works by Pugsy - Shapeways Shops
while i've commissioned Slaters for some appropriate wheels and Silver Tay Models for the 50s build plate.
Neil Neilson buildplate to DA mk2 Final.png

Sleeper Agent

Active Member
Late response but thank you Arty, always great to have a reference photo or two :)
Been focusing more on researching and 16mm stuff so not really had much to post here but if it's of interest the Silver Tay Models plates came.

The main reason I'm posting now is to say a friend has just upscaled his Furness Railway J1 tank to G3 in time for Cyber Monday (no announcement for this one yet but hoping they'll be tweeting the usual 10% off code tomorrow).
13.5mm - Gauge 3 - Furness J1 by Sparkshot on Shapeways
13.5mm - G3 - FR J1 Chimney & Backhead by Sparkshot on Shapeways
Initially I was hoping to get the chassis unit as well but with the run up to Christmas the body shell along with the backhead & funnel attachment have exhausted the ol' bank account. Slaters haven't got anywhere with the Neilson wheel commission they agreed to in Jan far as I can tell so appropriate Sharp, Stewart & Co ones for this print aren't looking very likely currently, so while funds recover will try and see if the base of a G gauge prototype might instead prove a suitable donor for bodging a home made chassis.
With Shapeways price creeping the locos in Gavin's shop aren't really that wallet friendly for G/G3 proportions but he would be willing to rescale most things from his shop if anyone is interested in a prototype he's so far covered.
Sparkshot Custom Creations by Sparkshot - Shapeways Shops
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Good morning, could you tell me please what is that dumb-buffered brake van in one of the photos?

I love the etched maker's plate for the Neilson loco!



Western Thunderer
John, I'm sure RT won't mind me interjecting here - it looks like the Mid Wales Railway brake (or a variant thereof) produced by David Mills over in Anglesey (if I'm wrong, no doubt Richard will be along in a minute)...... :thumbs:
Wow! Thank you, all!

Might have to drop a hint or two to the GF, she's asked me three times what I want for Xmas!

It looks fabulous, especially with the LBSC ballast wagons, of which I already have three!