Author Archives: Grasslands

About Grasslands

Tom Haynes is based in Swindon, Wiltshire (UK) and works in Newbury (Berkshire). Tom is a full-time professional ecologist (wildlife surveyor and researcher), drone pilot and Managing Director of a nature conservation consultancy. He has spent the past few years surveying the UK coastline while also being involved in various other wildlife projects across the UK and Europe. In his spare time Tom records music as 'Grasslands' and as part of the electronic band 'No Side Effects'. Tom is also a fiction writer and is a member of various writing groups. In addition, Tom is a keen model maker and builds models and commissions as GrasslandsModels Websites: Grasslands Music: www.Grasslands.bandcamp.com No Side Effects Music: www.NoSideEffectsMusic.com NatureBureau: http://www.naturebureau.co.uk Grasslands Models: www.GrasslandsModels.wordpress.com

Commission 1 is go!

I am pleased to announce that I am building my very first commission model. Which is… wait for it…. A large model of Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbird 3.

I have the kit on the work bench at the moment and I am about to start cleaning up the pieces. I’ll keep you all updated as I go.

Oh and in other news – Grasslands Models is now on Facebook too 🙂

F.A.B

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Gotham needs the Bat-train

I’ll be updating the website soon to include some non-train projects too, so as a nice transition piece, I thought I’d show you the Bat-train (yes, Batman has a train).

This model is from a series of Batman vehicles made by Eaglemoss called the Batman Automobilia Colection and is pictured in the dark of night on Brewery Pit.

Visit to: Swindon Railway Festival , September 2016

Today I am going to take you on a retrospective adventure to the Swindon Railway Festival, which I visited on the 11th September at Swindon’s STEAM – Museum of The Great Western Railway.

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I had just returned from a trip to somewhere or other (as I often do) and I was not sure I had the energy to go to the event, but in the end I’m really glad I made the effort.

With Swindon’s ongoing celebrations as part of Swindon 175 there was a strong emphasis on GWR heritage across the full breadth of the GWRs history, including South Wales coal lines, Cornish branch lines and, of course, the surrounds of Swindon itself.

Stand out layouts at the show included Porth St John; a beautiful depiction of Cornwall in the 1930s. I loved the representation of the mudflats beneath the elaborate blue bridge and the fishing nets.

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Photo by Sumita Majumdar

Ynysbwl Fach was also fun to watch and a rarely modelled example of a private coal yard. I think it is maybe the first exhibition layout I have seen that is based on a South Wales colliery. I was even treated to a pronunciation demonstration of the layout’s name (I was close with my first attempt, but didn’t quite get it).

Swindon Model Railway Club’s Fisherbridge was also in attendance with its new collection of 1980s N Gauge rolling stock.

Here is a video from the day:

Model Rail Magazine to produce Wisbech and Upwell J70 Steam Tram

Rumours from Warley National 2016 indicate that Model Rail magazine are considering commissioning a Wisbech and Upwell J70 Steam tram,  famously associated with Toby the Steam Tram from The Railway Series ( and the Thomas and Friends TV series).

Model Rail are requesting feedback on livery options and whether to produce a version with opening doors, sounds and removal sideplates!

I know what I’d choose (all of the above).

These models will be more than welcome on Brewery Pit, so I look forward to hearing further news. Pictured below are my J70 and Y6.

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Visit to: The National Festival of Railway Modelling, Peterborough

Last weekend I visited a model exhibition I have been wanting to go to for years: The National Festival of Railway Modelling in Peterborough.

Finding myself with a weekend with ‘no plans’ I thought I would take the long drive from Swindon (not actually as long as I thought) and take a look.

The first layout I looked at was the N-Gauge ‘Grange-Over-Sands’, with its well represented saltmarsh habitat spanning the front of the layout. I spend a lot of time in my day job studying saltmarsh habitat, so I paid special attention to the little creeks and different patches of vegetation.

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I think ‘Oulton TMD’ (OO-Gauge) was one of my favourite models at the exhibition. It was such a large model and I liked how it was a busy layout, but didn’t look cluttered. I could have spent much longer looking at that one.

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‘Ludlow’ was probably my favourite layout of the show. An N-gauge layout with plenty of sprawling landscape and an assortment of traffic running through the valley on the main line. I really liked the track plan of this layout and it has given me some ideas for a future N-gauge project.

‘Up The Line’ was a very interesting WWI layout built in 16mm narrow gauge. The sound of the distant thump of bombs added to the ambience of this model. I particularly liked the ambulance train (ambience and an ambulance in so many words).

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Another N-gauge model I really liked was ‘Barton Road’ set around London somewhere in the late 60s and included plenty of west country stock (my favourite). It is built in a fascinating ‘T’ shaped arrangement with the off scene fiddle yard placed in the centre of the ‘T’. This allows trains to run off scene at two ends of the ‘T’ and then stock cassettes are swapped to each off-scene area. I really like the arrangement, but, for me, it might need a bit too much concentration to control at a show.

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I also have to mention the BRM Magazine project layout Ruston Quays, what a lovely little model. It shows how much you can do with limited space.

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I got the chance to see a couple of DJM models that had passed me by in my months away from modelling. I saw the Class 71 and would like to keep telling myself I don’t need one in my life, but it looked and sounded great. I also saw the new J94 Austerity which also looks like a brilliant model. There is a nice yellow NCB one that was previously an RMweb exclusive and is now being sold by Kernow (it would look great with a bit of weathering).

So all in all, an enjoyable show. It seemed that every time I filmed a train it cast a curse on the tracks and things would crash or stall, but with a bit of editing I managed to get a decent film out of my footage. Here it is:

Remember me?

Hi, remember me?

This is my first blog entry in quite some time (apart from a few reposts from some other websites I manage). I’ve had a few queries about progress on some of my projects and a few questions about the lengthy silence from me.

It is safe to say that 2015-2016 was a difficult period for me and life took somewhat of an unexpected turn and put model making firmly on the backburner for a while.

What was the last thing I did on the model blog?

– Tom scans back through his own blog (a useful memory deposit, don’t ya’ know) –

Ah! Modelling At Speed (day 4). That was back in July 2015, only a few days before everything went a bit crazy.

Apologies for the delay, but you haven’t missed anything, apart from Brewery Pit’s attendance at Modrail 2016 which was covered in this article for Swindon Model Railway Club. I have some video I will upload soon. Oh, and another show, that I will report on later.

I also have an interesting new project I am working on for Swindon Model Railway Club, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

You’ll hear from me again soon (hopefully it won’t take over 12 months this time).

P.S. If anyone is interested in some of the non-modely things I’ve been up to in the past year, you might want to check out my music site: https://grasslandsmusic.wordpress.com

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