Andy Denny’s OO Scale Hot Metal Cars
One of the things I like best about being a steel mill modeler is seeing the
work of others. Web sites, modelers meets and magazines are providing an ever
growing number of opportunities to view how the hobby of modeling steel mills
has caught on, and how it continues to improve.
Being a train shop owner I get to see all the scale model railroading magazines
and I am always on the lookout for photos and articles that relate to the steel
industry. But I only see the American magazines and I have a tendency to forget
that steel mill modeling has a following in Europe.
So it was a pleasant surprise when I received a thick envelope from Britain
containing a copy of the June 2006 “Model Rail” magazine and a brief
note from Andy Denny, the author of an article entitled “Hot Metal”.
four-page article is loaded with excellent color photos of the various steel
mill “wagons”, for his OO scale layout. Much of his equipment has
been modified from US HO scale kits made by Walthers, Rix, and State Tool and
Die. Changing trucks, couplers and adding buffers allows Andy to get a good fleet
of cars for an otherwise neglected part of the British OO scale model railroading
But what sets Andy’s work apart is his sense of color and texture. Andy
captures the look of hard used equipment that has seen its share of rust, grime
and hard knocks, but his forte is the representation of hot metal in his ladle
If you have ever looked down into a ladle of molten metal your immediate reaction
(after you jerk back from the blast of heat!) is that it doesn’t look like
a soup but a stew. It isn’t uniform in color or texture. The top surface
is cooling rapidly and a black crust is trying to form. A brilliant orangeish
stew with a black crust is the best way I can describe it.
rendering of this is the best I have seen. Here is Andy’s technique in
his own words: “To represent a cargo of freshly poured hot molten iron,
the ladle is half filled with a 40/60 mixture of sawdust and Polyfilla that
had been mixed together using orange poster paint and this was then dry brushed
with fluorescent orange paint and highlighted using matt black.”
I read the article and found it a bit confusing regarding “Polyfilla”.
Andy and I exchanged a couple of Emails, and as best as I can understand it,
Polyfilla is dry wall compound or latex patching compound.
This makes sense. The drywall compound or “spackle” as we call it,
allows for easy mixing of the sawdust and takes paint well. Dolloping it into
ladle cars presents no problems, and cleanup is with water.
taken a few of his photos from the article and inserted them into the web page.
The reproduction doesn’t do his work justice. Scanning a magazine half
tone into a digital form tends to make the image a bit coarse looking.
My thanks to Andy Denny for sending me the magazine and to the publishers of
“ Model Rail” for allowing me to reproduce the photos and portions
of the article.
For further information on Model Rail you can call: 44 1858 438 820 or visit
To contact Andy directly you can Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org