The only modelling I’ve done in the last few days is to weather a couple of Autocoaches for Nigel’s Unnycoombe layout. One in Carmine and Cream livery, and one in Maroon. Where possible I’ll use photos as a general guide and most of the colour shots I have of the mid sixties period show fairly clean sided coaches with dusty underframes and grimy ends. However on this one, once I’d done that, I just kept going, making it absolutely filthy. I fear it may now be over-done, but it’s difficult when looking at something in isolation away from the layout that it will be displayed on. I’m also finding the wash technique that I’ve used for years on larger scale models doesn’t work so well with N gauge. There is an underlying surface-tension in the paint which annoyingly doesn’t scale itself down to suit.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Have we been sold a puppy? I’m suddenly aware of how much RTR models cost and that relative cost compared to a few years ago. If I want to buy a new Bachmann Peak it’s going to cost me up to £74.00 (or £171.00 as the RM review states. In error I hope). My at a glance judgement would suggest that that’s around a 20% increase in under five years.
What have we got extra?
Better motor? Well no. The motors in the newer stuff actually seem lower quality if anything. The transmissions have improved, but as far as Bachmann is concerned that is a simple transfer from their U.S. models. What it appears to me that we’re getting is chips. And what are chips? Cheap. And do we want them?
A decade or so ago I built an American layout. Stocked with Athern, Bachmann and Atlas locos, none of which cost more than forty quid. They ran... faultlessly. No chips. So they’re not there for the running quality. Do they improve the appearance? Err... no. What is happening, by stealth if you like, is that we are being sold a new operating system. Why? Quite simple... there’s more money in it. There was a glass ceiling above which models wouldn’t sell. This way they will.
But the vast majority of us don’t need it. Most of us build reasonably simple one-man operated layouts that can be run prototypically (with a couple of exceptions) with existing wiring techniques. Exceptions might be independently running the original train engine out of a terminus immediately behind the departing stock. And when was the last time you saw that move carried out on a model?
This wholesale rush to DCC worries me slightly. It’s a system that can’t easily be repaired by the user and most of us don’t need it, but there is going to come a time, possibly in about fifteen months where every RTR model will be pre-fitted whether we like it or not.
I’m off, back to the three-rail with my head in the fire-bucket.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
The title of this being like something out of 009 News in 1978. Well.... it probably was, for this is just one such project. Bearing in mind that Garn has 1.5 exhibition outings in 2010, I thought it wise to build-up the motive power base a little knowing how shows can quickly wipe-out 009 locos. A few years ago I started picking up Egger/Jouef stock partly for a retro-layout and partly for a continental tramway idea. Therefore there have been several (5) locos in the loft awaiting attention. Knowing full well that the first idea probably won't happen I made a decision to convert a couple to run on Garn. This is the first.
Monday, 26 October 2009
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
The more I move on and the older I get I realise that I get most satisfaction from the things I make myself. The huge range of commercial items is all well and good, but...
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Cruelly enlarged- the 2mm scale watercrane just painted ready to put onto Unnycoombe. Standard Ratio kit, slightly adapted using the photo on the back of Stephen Williams GW Branchlines Vol2. i.e. no brazier. This makes the look a little lighter and less cluttered. I think it's always important to stand back and look and decide whether something looks OK visually rather than what SHOULD be there. The two don't always fit.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Note also the hand-carved postbox mounted on a matchstick. I find it better to just add one or two little details like this to catch the eye rather than cram a layout with all the MickeyMouse flashing-light extras. Less is more.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Monday, 21 September 2009
Wood End petrol station
Scary to think that this was built 10 years ago. This was the tiny filling station based on the one still standing at Rodmell in Sussex. Rather disappointingly a photo of this never appeared in the RM article in 2004. All that remains is this snap probably taken in 2002 and scanned in on a slightly problematic scanner, hence the hazy reproduction.
Using kit parts
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Hornby VDA van
The first small project for the proposed new 'modern image' layout. The out-of-the-box Hornby wagon is a little too high. Here it is at the first stage having been lowered by a couple of millimetres. This done by grinding the top of the trucks down until there was nothing left holding the central pivot, then welding the whole lot back in place with solvent as square as I could get it.