"Better By Miles" - offers professional model-making services and bespoke commissions of bygone transport  
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Image - White metal 4mm to 1ft kit in production


"With impaired vision in old age I didn't want to risk assembling model kits myself, only to regret the consequences. So I called the undisputed expert as recommended to me by friends who had seen examples of his professionalism and devotion to duty."

~ Brian Thompson, Dorset


Contact "Better by Miles" for a free, no obligation estimate.




Model-Making Services

"Better by Miles" offers bespoke model making, kit-building, kit-modification, scratch-building and model painting and finishing services of bygone transport for UK customers.

Scales: Typically 4mm to 1ft (1:76, 'OO' gauge), 7mm to 1ft (1:43.5, 'O' gauge) and garden ('G' gauge) scales, although other scales considered.

Kits and materials: Models are typically constructed from either etched brass, white metal, resin or plastic kits. Selected kit-modification (kit-bashes) and scratch-building will also be considered where a ready-made kit is not available. Generally, customers are required to supply their own kits (and transfers in many cases), while "Better by Miles" supplies the ancillary materials and paint (however, other options can be discussed). Either single commissions or a number of models can be built at one time.

Kit construction: Brass and white metal kits can be particularly challenging to construct to a very high, professional standard and even plastic or resin kits often present their own challenges. With 35 years of experience in model making, "Better by Miles" has developed the techniques to overcome these obstacles, often even re-designing how to construct the kit to achieve an improved result. Below is a brief outline of some of the processes that are typically undertaken:

  • All kit components are fully cleaned, prepared and dry-fitted prior to any construction, ensuring that a good fit will be achieved in final assembly
  • Etched brass and white metal kits are soldered together where appropriate and subsequently washed to remove all traces of chemicals, while for resin and plastic kits suitable adhesives are used
  • Appropriate fillers are then used to perfect the finish and details are added to match the prototype (such as wing mirrors, exhaust pipes, door handles, hand rails, starting handles, etc.) using suitable materials
  • At this stage the model is in various sections for ease of painting (e.g. in its simplest form, the roof may be removable for accessibility) and is spray primered
  • All subsequent painting is a combination of air-brushing and hand-brushing, as appropriate, including all intricate details (e.g. lining out, fine details and any necessary sign-writing)
  • Once painted inside and out, transfers are applied
  • Customers can then choose to have either a matt, satin or gloss-varnish finish applied to the model, which is often sprayed. This will protect the paintwork and transfers and give a very professional finish.
  • Any glazing is then added using clear acetate (or for very small models, Kristal Klear)
  • The final stage involves the assembly of all the component parts of the model to produce the finished article.

See the gallery pages for examples of the finished articles, demonstrating their exceptional quality and detail.

Commissioning: The first stage is to contact "Better by Miles" to discuss your particular requirements and wishes - model(s), liveries and level of detail. A telephone conversation is preferable to explore the options typically encountered, but email is also acceptable. Please note that your budget may dictate the amount of detail that can be provided. Where possible, an idea of the cost of the work will be given at this point.

Upon deciding to commission "Better by Miles", you will need to supply:

  • the kit
  • transfers
  • copies of any prototype photographs
  • your contact details
  • clear instructions on your specific requirements for the model (e.g. internal and external liveries/colours, supplementary details, numbers, number plates, destinations, etc.)

All customers are also requested to supply an agreed deposit at the same time as sending a kit. It is recommended that the kit is sent via insured post. Please note that as the model progresses, you will be kept abreast of developments and contacted if any additional clarification of your instructions is needed. For larger projects, stage payments may be required.

Dispatch and payment: Once the model is complete you will be notified and final payment requested in the form of a Sterling bank transfer or Sterling cheque, which will include a charge for insured postage and packing to protect your investment. The completed model will be dispatched once payment has cleared, usually for next day delivery (which can be agreed to suit your availability). The model or models will be extremely well packed and protected to keep them as safe as possible during transit.

Image - White metal kit under construction
Image - Filler application
Image - Soldered construction of etched  brass kit
Image - Kit modifications
Image - Built model in primer

Copyright: "Better by Miles", UK