Detailing Rolling Stock including RTR

An introduction to detailing and upgrading rolling stock

Course tutor – Karl Crowther


In response to requests from our modellers, professional modeller Karl Crowther will be working with both RTR models and kits to help you lift your rolling stock to a whole new level of detail. Ranging from simple RTR upgrades to more complex kitbuilding and reconstruction work, the course aims to enable you to add more detail to your rolling stock and make it look more authentic overall. Painting, lettering and weathering techniques will also be touched upon.

Aims of the course


Granted, today’s RTR offerings generally require very little extra refinement, but there is still plenty of scope for re-working of older products, plus a wide diversity of kits available – both to cover any gaps in what’s available ‘off the shelf’, or indeed simply to build for your own satisfaction.


For this exercise, the emphasis will be on working in 4mm scale. Please feel free to bring with you any projects you would like to work on (the preferred option and essential if you’re working in other scales). Also on hand will be some suitable Parkside kits and various detail parts for you to experiment with. Topics it is intended to cover include:

  • Adding various small details using range of etched and whitemetal parts (e.g. handrails, door springs, brake levers, ladders, new buffers etc.).
  • An overview of what parts are available from the trade.
  • An overview of available resources on prototype vehicles.
  • Construction and modification/upgrading of plastic kits – from simple addition of detail parts such as new wire handrails/buffers, to complete brake gear rebuilds.
  • Working with etched kits.
  • A look at various coupling systems (e.g. Spratt & Winkle, Alex Jackson, Dingham).
  • Re-wheeling to EM or P4.
  • Working with compensation and springing.
  • An introduction to painting, lettering and weathering techniques.


Karl will be on hand throughout the process to give help, guidance and encouragement as your work progresses.


Materials/tools suggested to bring with you:

  • Cutting mat
  • Craft knife
  • Files
  • Steel straight edge
  • Small engineer’s square
  • Small pliers & side cutters
  • Small tweezers
  • Glass fibre brush
  • Small drills (down to 0.4mm) etc.
  • Basic soldering iron
  • An assortment of styrene sheet and strip material – E.g. Evergreen, Slaters, Plastruct.
  • An assortment of nickel-silver of brass wire (0.3-0.9mm).
  • Suitable adhesives (e.g. MEK, superglue, 2-part epoxy)
  • Your preferred transfers, paints and brushes

We will provide some basic Parkside kits to work on and have to hand a range of detailing parts for you to experiment with, but please do feel free to bring along your own selection if you have any specific projects you’d like to work on.