How to build a new version of a railway model

How to build a new version of a railway model

We received some interesting tips from David O’Dowd on how to build new railway models based on existing models.

Many railway locomotives have been planned by Micromodels but never realised. One of the reasons is the similarity between those models and already published models.
As an avid builder of the micromodel locomotives, you eventually run out of subjects to build. You can re-make models by changing the livery or only some small details to create a new model. Many of the subjects in the PG series wore different liveries during their lifetimes.

With the aid of a printer/ copier it is not difficult to realise this. For instance the PG I Brighton Atlantic can be changed from Umber brown to Southern Railway green and then to British Railways Black thus creating three models.

But how do you change colours or other details of a model? Well this is how David O’Dowd realises it:

” I enlarge the original model 200% . My printer is able to enlarge 400% or reduce to 25% . I then cut out all the coloured parts and glue a sheet of paper of the new colour behind so it shows in the cut out spaces. You can buy sheets of coloured card and paper from art shops. I then use a fine brush and thin strips of coloured paper to add the detail. When I am happy with the result I reduce the copy back to micromodel size.

Some small items have to be enlarged 400% in order to paint in the detail but the method is the same. It would be very difficult to hand paint at the original size. I inherited a lot of railway books from someone who was a steam enthusiast. Insignia can be cut out from photographs and sized in the copier to apply to your new model.


The Caledonian Single 123 model was announced in the 1949 catalogue as the 8 ft. Single but it was never produced probably because of the similarity to the PG IV Dunalastair. The Caledonian coat of arms on the splasher of the Dunalastair model was cut from a photo, then reduced to the required size. It is a bit time consuming but the results are very rewarding.


This is the change of color of the PG I Brighton Atlantic to Southern Railway green. The paper is A4 size. The lining out is thin strips of white paper glued on. The word southern is cut from a photo, reduced in the copier and applied to the tender. The number is hand painted, it is also copied and reduced to the original size.”