No self-respecting preserved railway that operates steam trains would be complete without a traditional watering tower. These were used to top up the locomotive tenders with water. Or in the case of ‘tank’ engines the panier or saddle tanks.

Back in the hey day of the steam era these would have appeared all across the network. Obviously water is heavy so there was a limit as to what could be carried. Consequently too much water meant a drop in performance. I was reading an article the other day that suggested Tornado has a range of about 110 -120 miles of mainline running based on it’s tender water capacity.

Many choices

As such a key item to the operation of any steam railway there are obviously many choices. Consequently this took a fair chunk of research and thinking about before I settled on an option I liked.

Considered options included a number of different white metal kits. I did actually purchase one of these and may install it as a redundant item that has been superseded in the operation by a bigger ‘better’ choice.

In the end I settled on a ‘ready to plant’ model from Graham Farish. They provide a number of excellent choices. However, a number of them got ruled out as though whilst stunning models they just were not size appropriate for what was needed.

Models such as the excellent 42-0018 ‘Small’ water tower were still too large for a single track preserved railway terminus.

The final choice

After much deliberation I ended up going for the chosen one. Graham Farish 42-037 Riveted Water Tank N Gauge was selected and purchased from the excellent KJB Models.

Much more size appropriate this is a lovely little model. As with many ready to plant models it is a bit too factory frash for my liking. Presently, it is awaiting it’s turn on the workbench for a bit of weathering.

The model could do with a coat of matt varnish all over as it has a bit of a sheen to it. And, although it does not show in the Farish ‘stock’ images the chains are very shiny.

That being said, the chains can easily be toned down with a couple of thin coats of Humbrol 251 or similar colour. This is one of my preferred paints for weathering. It serves to give a good weather beaten look. Bring out in the process the feeling of tarnishing and dirt on paint and metalwork.

One thing to note here, is that the chains are very fine. Consequently the weathering paint does need to be carefully thinned down to make sure none of the finesses is lost.

Prior to the weathering modifications I am just going to seek to alter the angle of the ladder. As supplied this is a truly vertical climb which is perhaps a bit too much for the volunteers on the railway. As such it will be detached with a sharp blade and just eased back a little. Any gap arising will then be filled with a small amount of Humbrol model filler applied with a cocktail stick, before being weathered to suit.

Once modified?

Once the weathering & ladder modifications have been done, it will then be treated to a couple of light coats of matt varnish from the airbrush as mentioned up page. 2 benefits arise from this. As well as toning down the ‘factory fresh’ feel it will also blend in the changes nicely. This happens from giving the model an even level of sheen all over so you can’t distinguish between factory paint and ‘Richard’ paint.