Friday, 16 August 2019

Peco bug boxes

The big news for 009-ers in the last week or so is the announcement of two Festiniog items - or groups of items to be more accurate. The second wasn't a surprise to me as I'd caught a glimpse of the CAD in process under the hand of Peco designer David Malton. The above FR bug boxes (although purists will call them  'Birminghams'; bug boxes being a post preservation term) are now at the test print stage and should be out soon.

If that wasn't enough, the announcement last week of  a tie up between Peco and Kato on an England 0-4-0 RTR model to be followed by a Farlie did come as a surprise.
These two announcements show some joined up thinking and mean that it will be possible to build an FR layout straight off the shelf. Whether you think that this is a good thing or not is another question. No prices are available yet, but looking at past practice I think we could assume that the Birminghams will be around £25-30 apiece, the Englands around £150 and the Farlie £200+ so not a cheap game by any means. However that is the way that it is now leaning, and looking at the way the Baldwin has been received and how it has sold, I think they will be exceptionally popular. How many ACTUAL Festiniog layouts will spring from this is another question, as most will run in 'freelance' guises. Interesting times.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Peco figures

Planting a few details on the platform of Hopwood. Time was pressing, so a look at the new sets of 4mm passengers from Peco/Model Scene. All pre-painted which suited me fine and less work than my usual Airfix/Dapol method. The only modification was a light touch with a file to flatten off the soles of the feet - theirs not mine.  The whole layout is starting to take on the air of something built in the 1960s albeit with plastic sheet rather than brick paper.

Incidentally, the layout is pencilled in for a few shows already: DEMU showcase and Global Rail in the late spring and the WRG show a little earlier. Dates when I get them myself. Though it may sneak out before that; again details to follow.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Hopwood almost there

Down to the fiddly stuff on Hopwood, as much of a set of choices about what to put on and what to leave off. As usual I could carry on adding things, but that's not the brief. This scene has now had the gaps filled and the main things are now on it's down to populating it and signs.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Zoella? Pah!

I'm over the line now, well over the line. The last couple of days have been spent closely examining the youtube shape - how it works and why. Instead of putting stuff here I'll mix and match between the two. Step learning curve.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Hopwood progress

I've just about got down to the piddly stuff. I need figures and some running in boards. It's the final details that are taking the time.
The code 100 looks remarkably NG here.

Friday, 9 August 2019

youtube rambling

Firstly thanks to the handful of people who got in touch asking if I was OK as I hadn't put a post up for a couple of weeks. 1. I've been away and 2. there are outside family issues, not that I've not been busy on Hopwood or any other modelling.

Something I've been looking at recently is the video question. A while ago I ran a short vid on the workbench here and got a lot of negative comment vis-à-vis the 'rush to video'. I took that on board, but I'm starting to think that that may have been wrong. I'm not exactly going to become Zoella, but I do think it's worth examining further.
I returned to my youtube channel  here a couple of days back, which has been sitting there since 2012, and dug around in the analytics. Here's what I found:

  1. I have 151 subscribers. So what, you maybe thinking. However, there are also a shed load of youtube vid's out there on 'how to get to your first 100 subscribers' - I didn't realise I had them, I was just throwing a few vid's of stuff I'd filmed at exhibitions purely for my own amusement.

2. The age group of these people  (not surprisingly) is over 45 and 80% is over 55.

3. More than 70% of them have signed up from one particular item, this one . Which is about wire-in-tube point control. Most of the other videos on the list are layouts at shows and a few preserved line items. In other words what most of us would point a camera at.

This leads me to conclude that even though the traffic isn't high compared to some, it is a point where people are interested, even without me pushing it or even digging below the initial layer of interface - I'd never really thought to bother. The audience is middle aged male (ahem) and the item which is most popular isn't choo choos running. but a constructional piece with me droning on (no one likes their own voice).

Someone who I trust implicitly recently described me as 'a communicator'. I laughed, but after all nearly 10k of you kindly turn up here every month when I'm posting regularly and I do get grabbed at exhibitions and am genuinely flattered when people say they read this. I shall give this some further thought.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Another fine mess

I had a bag of bits about my person that were left over from the Peco offices to station building conversion. These were the walls that would nave been used at the rear if it had been view-all-round and and the windows and doors for same. I'd earmarked it for a mess hut to drop in between the exit bridges.
The four walls fell together and the roof is simply some 40 thou with strips of 20 thou much in the style of the same company's station building toilet block.
Another highly boring utility building.

Friday, 5 July 2019


There is a train of thought that suggests that modelling (especially when working to a deadline) should be done with a certain amount of planning and forethought. This of course is bollocks and the only way to do it is to start with a basic idea, a load of bits and see what turns up. Therefore everything in to picture save the Peco track and the sheet of card is a new thing to me. In other words, to some extent,  I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Jacking a station building up in the air requires a certain amount of knowledge to get it right. I'm just playing around and some card and a set of Hornby piers that came of a second hand stall. Making a walkway out of not quite enough Ratio footbridge is another case in point. What I have so far is a set of aircraft steps and somehow this has got to be bashed into something logical. It'll work in the end.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Metcalfe kit

I'd pondered previously about the interior of the Airfix/Dapol box - it seemed a little extravagant to buy the Ratio pack at double the price of the main kit for something that can barely be seen. Box interiors are funny beasts: without looks bare and wrong and with is hardly noticeable. Phil Parker suggested that I took a look at the Metcalfe card kit. At six quid it's a cheaper option.
What you get is two card frets with bits that very gently push out. The table and chairs are delightful; I've tried scratch building a table before and believe me, this is a better bet. The stove is a fold-up with a wrapped paper pipe. I discounted this as too much faff and used a carboard cotton bud tube instead. The levers are a fiddle and are a bit chunky and there is no proper instrument bridge. That's not a problem though. What we are aiming for here is visual suggestion. These are all unpainted as yet and with a gentle selection of colour there's more than enough to fool the eye into thinking that there is more going on than there actually is. Definitely worth a look.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Hopwood board two

Gradually moving along. with board one complete save a few packing case type details and onto the join with board two.
The bridge has been pre-built so unusually I had the foresight to ballast underneath first.  The arches unit went in. The was a slight bow (2mm) upward, but it could have been a lot worse considering the seven end-on butt joints - a little standing and holding both ends down while the glue went off was in order. The bridge slots over the end and once this had been waggled around to fit and stuck down, the facia was cut and was glued on. All seems OK at this juncture so board one can come down and board three can go up. There's not quite enough room to walk around if all three are up at once.
I feel a whole lot of ballasting coming on.