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  1. My next build is something of a departure for me - well actually if you know me at all you'd say that for most of my builds as I tend to build whatever takes my fancy and fires my imagination, be it a WWII aircraft, bar-armoured recce tank or piece of Sci-Fi ingenuity. However for this build I'm coming down to earth with a bump - or rather a "ding ding hold on tight please"! Back in the dim and distant past that was the 1970s I used to take the bus from my home village of Swanscombe in Kent to Gravesend to attend Gravesend School for Boys. The bus I invariably caught was a 480 whose route took it from the eastern side of Gravesend, Denton or Valley Drive all the way along the busy industrial North West Kent roads to Dartford and Erith. This was an ara of heavy industry, paper mills, printing factories and most of all cement factories. Blue Circle had the biggest cement factory in Europe on the banks of the Thames in Northfleet and Swanscombe also had its own cement works, in the shadow of whose chimney I grew up. So, I hear you ask, what has this got to do with anything apart from me indulging in a little nostalgia? Well its because the heavy industry had a major impact upon everyday life in this area - it was filthy! If the wind blew in the wrong direction (which it did frequently) the emissions from the cement factory chimneys would float down through the air like snow, covering everything in a grey white ash powder and turning what would have been pristine clean buses into this: Phoarrr, look at the weathering on that!!! Overdone? I don't think so! Thus instead of building another of the very pretty and shiny red London buses we've seen so much of over the last year or so (lovely as they may be), I will be attempting to produce a replica of RML 2343 from the early 70s period with the yellow London Country logos... in fact this exact bus: Now doesn't that look a pretty bus? Look at the paint loss, dents, dirt and general squallor!!! I won't be doing it with the jacks and wheel off, but I will be doing it with that livery and adverts (or lack of them!) Here is another shot: The model now - well of course its the old favourite Revell London bus: I won't bother with the sprue shots as they've been shown numerous times before, but I will talk about the decals. The kit decal sheet is enormous, mainly due to all those seat decals: However, I'm going to need some custom decals and here is what I've drawn up: and a close up of the advert: I had to create that from scratch in Photoshop, although I was able to reshape the one in the photo above to act as a guide. The most difficult part of that was getting a decent image of the Invicta horse symbol of Kent! The destination decals were created using a scan of the kit decal sheet and using that as a guide to build these over the top of the originals. Similarly, the London Country logo was created using the London Transport logo of the kit as a guide for the font, size and spacing. The yellow used is an approximate match - does anyone have an exact colour for the yellow used? On to building then! First off is the engine. I'm using the earlier Leyland engine and I added some details and changed some of the pipework around to match photos I found in the Haynes Routemaster manual and online and then of course I dirtied it up... Did some wheels, which still need to be dirtied up: The lower deck was next which started off like this: and ended up like this: Then there are the seats, lots of seats... The sharp eyed amongst you might notice that these seats are not perfectly smooth - if you had ever ridden in them for any legth of time you would have found that most of the seats were worn, sunken and grubby to say the least. So the Dremel came out and added a bit more realism to the seating. Then there are the handrails and seatbacks. These were invariably shiny chrome, so this seems like an ideal opportunity to try out the Alcad I spent so much money on back in November at Telford. I must say they turned out quite nice... Finally for this update, progress on the driver's cab: I always remember sitting behind the driver, admiring the big red indicator switch. As a little boy what could be more exciting that a BIG RED SWITCH that worked the indicator lights!!!! Its almost as if the designers were tuned in to what would appeal to small boys and make them want to grow up to be bus drivers!!! Now in a further departure from the normal Routemaster builds I've seen on the net, nice though they might have been, not a single sign of a passenger or more importantly the driver and conductor!!! Fear not, I aim to rectify that! A quick purchase of a group of resin 1/25 scale figures from Hong Kong will sort that out! The seated man whose originals arms were held in his lap almost as if he was in prayer has had them sanded off and another of the standing gent in a suit has sacrificed his arms to replace. These figures are rather tall so a bit of drastic surgery was required to get the driver to fit in the cab: the bend at the knee had to be increased and the legs shortened by a few millimeters, the torso had to have about 5mm cut out to bring it down to size and of course the arms have had to be remodelled: At this time, the uniform would have still been green, again I'm not sure of the exact colour so this is an approximation. IT also will mean having to scratch build the conductor's ticket machine, ie one of these: and here it is - although I'm afraid the flash has overexposed it its made from milliput and will have extra straps etc added along with a scratch built money pouch: That is the progress so far... I was intending to start doing the seat decals this evening, but well frankly I couldn't be arsed I'll update further when there is something more to report...
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