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Garratt locomotive built (in brass) and finished in 1:43 scale (7mm to 1 foot) by Giles Favell


..... By Giles

After a break of 25 years, I came back to the hobby of model railways in 2008 with my first ever layout, THE LOOP. This was built to 7mm scale - 1:43.5, and to 16.5mm gauge on a 4ft x 2ft baseboard due to lack of space.


Following on from The Loop came some thoughts and frustrations on the limitations on model railway realism. There have always been some superb layouts with excellent scenic modelling but in some instances perhaps letdown in my view by having static vehicles on roads in situations where they should be moving - as the trains themeselves did - thus breaking the carefully crafted illusion. I therefore started exploring the possibility of converting scale die-cast model lorries to radio control, with a view to realistic movement and operation. This precluded convertion of toy R/C cars, as they were far too fast and uncontrollable, and I needed to develop a new approach to the problem. This resulted in the little Morris Commercial in 2010, which was at the time rather unique.
A layout was built for this little lorry to work on, which I think was the first of its type. THE END OF THE LINE was completed in 2012, and attended many shows - finally Warley, where it won Best 7mm Layout where it was passed on to a new owner, with whom it has gone on to work a further fifty shows.



The success and fascination of the lorries working on The End of The Line drove me on to see how much more I could convert, so over the next few years a plethora of 1:43 scale radio control vehicles have been turned out including a Bedford TK artic which has a 700mAh battery giving a two-day operating duration

a Mechanical horse

a fully working tipper lorry

a very tiny Austin 7

a fully functioning mobile crane, and a fully functioning self-propelled steam crane

These vehicles (or most of them!) worked on the third layout, DENTON BROOK which is a factory based layout where cable drums came out from the factory on the narrow gauge (0-14), and were transferred across to the standard gauge by means of a working over-head crane, or transferred onto lorry using either the mobile crane or the steam scrane. The Garratt (top of page) was built to operate on this layout.
Denton Brook won Best Large scale Layout at Warley in 2018, which was its last pre-covid show, having won some very pleasing awards on its way.


The next layout planned will be THE SPARROW - a harbour based narrow gauge layout - also 14mm gauge, 7mm scale. The centre-piece being an old steam Coaster, Sparrow, which will be loaded with ore brought in by the 2 foot gauge railway. The unusual side tipping wagons are scratch-built, and the locomotives are all radio controlled, with scratch-built chassis.

Sparrow not yet complete, but progressing well

Two of the five radio controlled locos that have been built for the layout.
Peckett (one of two)

and Manning Wardle Jubilee 1897


Other projects include 4mm scale (1:76) radio control vehicles. Converted from die-cast models using 3.7v micro gearmotors with Deltang 2.4GHz receivers, I have built four-wheel lorries, 6x4 lorries (with both rear axles driven) and an articulated lorry. My choice of the 60's period means the vehicles are significantly smaller than modern vehicles, and makes them a little more fiddly to convert - but the it is the working out how to do these things that is the fun of it!

These are the old 'Matchbox' size...... They have proportional Ackermann steering and working brake-lights

Again, 1:76 on a little scenic board I made up for photography, this little TK drop-side is fully functioning radio controlled and just over two inches long.

The smallest vehicle I have built or converted has been this little 1:76 Landrover.

If you want details on how I convert the small vehicles, then this may be of interest.....


Lastly, I have built a fully working traction engine in 7mm (1:43) with working top motion

And a Forklift Truck with two-stage mast, mast tilt and differential fitted to the front axle.

And a 'Walking Man' experiment in 1:43. (although I could make the machine operate at a different scale by printing a couple of different parts...)

THERE ARE MANY MORE BITS ON YOUTUBE IF YOU ARE INTERESTED........ my username GILESENGINEER

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