This page shows some of the models that have been through the Rhos Helyg Locomotive Works recently.

Latest additions appear at the top of the page.

Please see the Gallery page for more finished models.

You may click on the pictures to see enlarged views.

DJB Engineering Lynton & Barnstaple Railway 2-6-2T EXE

As well as supplying their Lynton & Barnstaple 2-6-2T locos in ready-to-run form DJB Engineering also supplied them in kit form, and this loco is one of those. Cosmetically it was in rough condition when it arrived here but the paint hid a multitude of sins.

First job was to strip all of the paint, every last bit of it. Fortunately, no expense had been spared with the etch primer, in that there was no expense on etch primer and none had been used. Most of the paint had become detached from the brass and visibly moved when pressed with a thumb.

Bodywork construction was poor with many failing joints and fastenings and with some odd features which only left me thinking "Why did you do it like that?". A myriad of repairs later turned it in to a solid body that was square and not falling apart.

Painting then followed, in the rarely seen scheme used by the L&B between 1903 and 1913 and incorporating lots and lots and lots of lining.

Association of 16mm Modellers Victory 0-4-2T VICTORY

The initial email from the owner of this 16mm Assocation Victory asked me simply to repaint it from grey to satin black, and sort out the valve timing. He had bought the loco second-hand and was not responsible for its construction or choice of colour. Satin black is the colour I spray the most so it was not an issue to fit it in the other work going on at RHLW. However, I did ask the owner to strip the grey paint, which he did. When it arrived here the body was in bare brass but every piece of the etched brass detailing (rivet strips, beading, etc.) had detached and was loose in a box of bits. Enquiries with the owner revealed they had detached during the paint stripping process. I began to smell SuperGlue.

First job was to dismantle the body completely. What little solder there was - a few spot welds - was some odd stuff that my soldering iron would not melt. The rest was welded together with SuperGlue and several joints had failed. A few minutes with my big gas torch soon had the body returned to its component parts. It was then cleaned of all solder and SG residue and rebuilt from scratch using solder as the only adhesive, including for the detail parts, followed by a repaint and some simple lining.

The chassis needed more work than expected too, with various parts loose or not fixed correctly. The poor performance reported by the owner on this radio controlled loco was corrected by replacing the manual regulator for one designed for radio control.

Roundhouse Engineering Festiniog Railway 0-4-0ST LINDA

Hunslet 0-4-0ST LINDA arrived from the Penrhyn Quarry Railway (PQR) at the Festiniog Railway (FR) in July 1962. At first it ran in pure PQR form, but it was inevitable that the FR would make some alterations to improve its usability on their railway. Oddly, one of the first alterations was to the cab back with the upper half being removed completely, presumably to ensure that the loco crew always got a good soaking when running in reverse. The well-worn PQR livery of black with blue and red lining remained for a while.

The model loco shown here, called LINDA, started life as a Roundhouse Engineering CHARLES but it was modified to look like its younger sibling. First thing to go was the upper half of the cab back. Next thing to happen was the changing of the cab front spectacles from square to circular. You can be assured, dear reader, that the first of those two events enabled the second to happen. Next job was to replace the rectangular sand pots and their operating levers with cylindrical equivalents, kindly supplied by Roundhouse.

All of this was followed by a repaint in to PQR livery and some weathering to represent the loco as it appeared all those years ago.

Roundhouse Engineering Billy 0-4-0T

The owner of this Roundhouse Billy asked me to paint the major parts of the kit he was building and kindly sent me a picture once he had finished assembly of the loco. (Photo by Colin Last)

Regner Willi 0-4-0 HOOTON

The owner of this Regner Willi had had problems with keeping the gas burner alight. It worked fine when first lit but soon started to splutter and would eventually go out. He also reported seeing water leaking from around the burner housing once the loco got warm. After examination here it turned out these two events were not unconnected. The boiler used on Willi is a remarkably complicated fabrication, bearing in mind the simplicity of the loco it powers. It has seven bushes, four vertical tubes and a burner flue that is blocked at one end. The latter is soldered to the inside of the boiler barrel at its blocked end. Removal of the boiler from the loco allowed me to do a pressure test and that soon revealed that all was not well with that flue joint, allowing water in to the flue which extinguished the burner. A call to John at Shawe Steam Services confirmed what I thought already: The boiler was not repairable. Options for a new boiler were explored and fortunately Regner dealers Garden Railways Limited in Bishops Stortford had one available for immediate purchase at a very reasonable price. Immediate purchase followed, and it arrived here the next day. It was then a case of swapping the wooden boiler cladding and all the fittings from the old boiler to the new to return the loco to full working order.

Roundhouse Engineering Katie 0-6-0ST No. 35 ENYO

This Roundhouse Katie was converted from an 0-4-0 to an 0-6-0, giving it a very chunky and workmanlike appearance. It was also fitted with upgraded radio control, lamp brackets, Accucraft couplings, doors on the lower half of the cab back and a canvas back sheet on the upper half. All of this was followed by a strip and repaint in the customer's stealth livery of satin black with blue and red lining.

Roundhouse Engineering William 0-6-0WT No. 22 ERIS

This Roundhouse William lost its tender, the dummy doors on the cab sides and the intermediate boiler bands. Losing the tender meant that there was no water supply for the loco so a dummy well tank has been fitted between the frames with its filler in front of the smokebox. It was also fitted with upgraded radio control, lamp brackets, Accucraft couplings, doors on the lower half of the cab back and a canvas back sheet on the upper half. All of this was followed by a strip and repaint in the customer's stealth livery of satin black with blue and red lining.

Roundhouse Engineering Festiniog Railway 2-4-0STT LINDA

The owner of this loco asked me to modify and paint it as Linda appeared from its 2001 repaint until 2004 when it was taken out of traffic for boiler repairs. Having been heavily involved with the 2001 repaint myself made it a bit easier! Modifications included adding the front frame extension, a representation of the front pony truck (Linda has been a 2-4-0 since the early 1970s), an oil fuel tank in the tender and moving the smokebox handrail from the front to the top. All of this was followed by addition of Penrhyn-style blue and red lining.

DJB Engineering Emma coal-fired 0-6-0 JEAN ANN

The owner of this coal-fired DJB Emma was not happy with the original cab so it was rebuilt with new sides with a Hunslet-style look. While here it also had attention to its axle-driven water pump, repair of tender and bogies, attention to valve gear and running gear and fabrication of a tender coal space that could actually be used to store coal. All of this was followed by stripping of all paint and a repaint in Deep Brunswick Green with yellow lining. My grateful thanks go to Paul Bailey at DJB Model Engineering for his assistance with the axle pump repair.

Roundhouse Engineering Darjeeling 'B' Class 0-4-0ST No. 1001

There is nothing I like more than using photos of full-size locos and creating a model representation from them. Such was the case with this one but in this case an extremely unusual prototype was chosen: Darjeeling & Himalayan Railway B-Class No. 1001.

1001? But surely the highest numbered B-Class is 806, isn't it? Well, yes, that is correct. The original batch ended with a former Raipur Forest Tramway loco which was numbered 806 when transferred to the DHR in 1943. I knew of 1001's existence but information about it is scant, to say the least. I have yet to find a picture of it on the internet. Fortunately I have David Churchill's excellent book The Incredible Darjeeling 'B' Class to hand and there is a picture of 1001 on page 18. In addition, the owner very kindly lent me his treasured copies of Terry Martin's Iron Sherpa books and the ultra-rare Volume 2 contains much useful information.

1001, and sister 1002, was assembled (I am reluctant to use the word "built") at the Golden Rock Works (GOC) in Tiruchchirappalli in 2004. That it was built on new frames with a new boiler, tank and body is not in doubt, but opinion seems to be that the rest of the working parts were sourced from the stores and wrecks at Tindharia Works. It was oil-fired from new using the tried and tested system used by the Festiniog Railway but GOC managed to not make it work. David Charlesworth of the DHRS tells me "As far as we know 1001 never made it beyond Sukna or even New Jalpaiguri, and 1002 did not even manage that. 1002 disappeared very quickly, never to be seen again - we think it was eventually used to create a new plinthed model.". This and the various other incantations of oil-firing all failed and the project was abandoned. 1001 was converted to coal and renumbered 01. In this form it seems to have at least worked: there is video of it working on YouTube!

The owner of this model wanted something different from a normal B-Class and chose 1001 as it does look quite different from the earlier locos. The basis was, of course, a Roundhouse Engineering model and the modifications included:
 - Piston rod tail pipes (thanks Adrian!)
 - Larger steps by front handrails
 - Smokebox door dog catches instead of dart
 - Smokebox door handle
 - Smokebox steam pipe covers
 - Balance pipes in smaller size
 - Larger and taller saddle tank
 - Main body with smooth sides (no ribbing, few rivets)
 - Wider spectacle rings
 - Smaller cab roof
 - Reprofiled dome
 - Replacement headlights
 - Replacement dummy Whistle
 - Oil tank in bunker with lifting eyes
 - Oil gauge on tank front
 - New handrails
 - Cab coal retainer removed

It was also converted from manual to radio control.

The dome on the full-size loco is an interesting thing. Rather than being spun and formed as is the usual practice, this one appears to have been made from a cone with the point removed for the top and a cylinder for the main section with a strip welded around its base.

The plain welded main body does not do much for the loco's looks and it is sad to see that some of the older locos are now receiving bodywork of this type.

Paintwork and lining is as per the full-size loco with, of course, a black boiler.

This was an interesting project and I am grateful for the opportunity the owner gave me to do it. There is every chance that his model will, in time, cover more real miles than the full-size loco ever did!

This page was last updated on 19th June 2021