By Matt Towell

In this Model of the Month Matt Towell scratchbuilds a Ffestiniog Railway “bug box” as a birthday present for his Dad.


Every once in a while you find yourself in need of a project. Nothing too simple so as to provide little to no interest; but equally nothing so complex that it would be impossible to finish the project in your chosen time frame.

It was on one of those days – when I was full of a cold, off work, and sat wondering what I could do to stay sane. I recalled my plan at the beginning of the year to build a bug box for my Dad’s birthday present. As I had already got all the materials for this project but hadn’t actually done anything with it, I figured I’d give it a go.


I began by looking at some of my dad’s old “Work in Progress” bug boxes and the drawings and plans/ sketches that were available to me. From here I began producing templates for the floor, the ends, and the sides of the bug box.

Once I had the templates made I built a basic flying bench. The seat is marked out from the floor template (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Basic flying bench assembled

Sides and ends

Next stage was cutting the sides and ends. I made the side template with window cut-outs for the outer frame. These were cut out as per the template. I then used the same template and used a highlighter with a wide tip to draw around the inside of the window cut outs. When I cut to the inside of this line I now had my droplights ready to reinforce the sides. The ends were cut out as per the templates and then it all got glued together (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Sides and ends assembled.

Beading detail

Now I had a basic box with a seat and windows all on wheels. It needed some beading to add the detail. Experience has taught me to fit all the vertical strips first and to keep a square to hand (nothing worse than wonky doors). All the horizontal sections were then marked up on the model and cut to fit piece by piece (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Beading detail added

Painting and finishing

Now all that remained was to apply paint. Due to the construction of the model I knew I was going to brush paint it so my natural choice of paints were the Citadel range available from Games Workshop (ex staff so I use what I know). I found a picture of coach 5 (Figure 4) and went for it. The results are shown in Figures 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Figure 4 Prototype inspiration – Coach No 5 on the Ffestiniog Railway.

Figure 5:Completed model

Figure 6:Completed model

Figure 7:Completed model

Figure 8:Completed model


I know there are learning points and things I could do differently, but for a first attempt I was happy enough with these results. The model has now been given to Dad (his birthday was only 3 months ago…..oops) and hopefully he still has some transfers to put that final touch to it. All in all, a happy modelling experience and a much needed distraction.

Matt Towell