Walter West passed away approximately two years ago and this category has been created to showcase his models that have been through my workshop, prior to the sale of many of them. For fifty years, between the mid-1950’s and circa 2005, he built O gauge model locomotives from scratch, the first in coarse scale, then all in finescale, until the last in scaleseven. The chassis of every model being very fine examples of engineering in miniature. In the main, of locos from the constituent companies of the LNER. He was for many years a close family friend of that master craftsman Bernard Miller, who built and painted models for famous layouts of Stanley Norris, Neil Corner and David Jenkinson. I am sure that Wally was greatly inspired by Bernard. Model making ideas and techniques passed from one to another, throughout their friendship. Jack Ray wrote in the March 1992 Gauge O Guild Gazette “No transfers were ever used by Bernard, every letter and numeral being done by hand – and shaded!” https://www.gaugeoguild.com/secured/gazette_archive/Vol11-10//offline/download.pdf
On checking with an eyeglass the lettering on some of the earlier models have indeed been painted by hand. In fact an invoice from Bernard to Wally dated 18th Sept. 1970 for the painting of “Yorkshire” has been found, confirming that Wally used him to paint his locos, until Bernard inconveniently passed away in 1980.
Wally was also very good friends with the other “Wally”, Mayhew. Much correspondence has been found from Mayhew to West and it is obvious that friendly competitiveness took place with Wally West building a GER Claud (Mayhew’s territory) and Wally Mayhew building a GCR Fish engine. In later years it is a known fact that Alan Brackenborough was his painter of choice, painting for him the Claud, one of the GCR Fish engines, the NER A class, Sprotborough and the two Tennants.
Having been asked by the family of Wally, to try to find buyers for many of his model locos, they are generally of such fabulous quality, it has not been a difficult task. All of Wally’s model locos on this site have been built using wheels turned from good castings, older models probably by Miller, Swan & Co. and the later ones probably by Alan Harris (AGH). The split axles and insulated spacers between the frames allow power to be collected, usually from the tender wheels, via sprung plungers mounted on the front face of the tender at drawbar level. When the tender is coupled these make contact with insulated faces on the back of the loco. the power is then simply wired to the motor. These sprung plungers also double up as tender buffers……what a great idea that is? All brake blocks are made from non conductive material to eliminate shorting across the brake rigging. All loco driving and tender axles have sprung hornblocks. All of these models are in fully working condition. At least five are over 50 years old, proving that Wally built his model locomotives to last.