Sunday 31 May 2015

Friday 29 May 2015


Stepson No2 is in the RAF. We went to see him for the day. 'I'll show you round', he said. So self, Mrs F. and he piled into his Y reg Citroen Saxo - the one with the exhaust alternately hitting the road surface and the bottom of the car and drove round the base. After a while the road becomes the perimeter taxi-way. 'Are we OK to be driving on here?' asks Mrs F.  No2 Stepson produces a blue card from his pocket. 'Of course, I've got full runway clearance.'
After a minute we come round a slight curve with trees on, to be faced with a Hercules trundling straight towards us down the taxi-way - not fast, but with a certain amount of purpose. At this point I would have pulled into one of the escape lay-bys and waited. He with the 'full runway clearance card' panics and does a U-turn right across the taxi-way and drives back the way we came with the Hercules chasing the Saxo with self and Mrs F whooping and waving out of the windows.
No2 Stepson sweating slightly swings the Saxo into a maintenance yard.
 'Boy am I going to get a ring-whipping from traffic in a minute.'

Monday 25 May 2015

Saturday Ramble

Probably two of the best shows of the year have been squeezed in in the last fortnight. ExpoEM was a treat with probably only one layout that I thought was below standard. Rye Town is always worth a look and scratches the Light Railway worm that wriggles in my head. Mr Lamacraft's Hemyock is just perfect and shows that you can't cram a GWR terminus into 6'... you have to do it justice; and so he has. Everything ran, everything looked logical and no silly freelancing to make it more operable. The highlight was Leighton  Buzzard. I'd missed this up until now, but isn't it lovely? The fact that everything is hand-made gives it instant charm. It is in the purest sense a model railway, not a model of a railway. I'm occasionally accused of being a bit of a Luddite and a dinosaur in being a little down on some of the commercial operations, but this is why. If we could all just stop pissing and moaning on forums and worrying about finicky detail and just build things from near enough the raw, no matter what the quality, the world would be a better place.
Railex was just as good. An early start to make sure we could sit in Morrisons for breakfast and stand in a queue. Maybe not quite the wow-factor of ExpoEM, but again setting a target to aim for in terms of sheer modelling quality and far too many things to spend money on for upcoming projects.
The resolution for the rest of the year is to spend more time just making things.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

SR brake van

I need to get that muscle working again.

It's been quiet again here of late. Don't fret, this is not an accurate indication of what's been going on. There are two quite large projects on the horizon which have had me squirrelling away in writing and planning mode, apart from one siding, the track is down for the AoC layout, plus there's been a little kit building as above.
This is (or will be) a 15t SR brake destined for Nigel Hill's planned Souther Region essay from the Cambrian kit. Slightly odd design in places and certainly not a fall-together kit, but it's got the fingers stretching a bit.

If there are any MTI subscribers out there, could they get in touch via the profile page.

Sunday 17 May 2015

Works Plates

Works plates for the two 7mm Barclays on Morton Stanley have turned up. Stunning job from Narrow Planet as usual. Here cruelly enlarged to about 12x the size. I've just dropped a little red paint on and polished it off the top of the etch. A final clean up need once they are off the surround plate.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

A strange state of affairs

RM hit the mat this morning. Hmmm...
A few weeks ago I read Steve Flint's leader with some amusement. I thought it was a kite-fly or a joke, but now it seems that I was hasty The news that H***by are to go to pure internet sales through their own web site has been greeted with a howl of horror. RM have printed a selection of responses (all negative and not countered by Peco in the heading photo caption) and what I predicted a few weeks ago has happened. The Hattons ad which used to fill most of the mag has shrunk and  H***by items are almost absent. In other regular shop ads they are entirely absent. This seems utterly crazy.

I can't remember the last time I bought a new H***by model - quite a while ago anyway, but if I were to buy one today I wouldn't go online to do it, I'd wander up to the Hobby Box or get it from a dealer at an exhibition. That way I can feel the goods and test it before leaving. And in this point alone I'm far from unusual.

Second point, as we are continually told, the hobby is full of old men. A lot are online, but not all. Who has the cash to lash out £100 plus apiece on locos? 13 year olds? No...old men with a small pension and low outgoings. Where do they do it? Shops.

My view a few weeks ago was that RM looked scared. And so they should be. Not because the 'free' review models are gone, that's irrelevant, but because of advertising which is their biggest earner. No models= no shops= no ads=no revenue. It's a circle and if Bachmann et al follow suit, then the days of 29 pages of Hattons ads are gone and your copy of RM is £8.40. Is this a bad thing?

The other thing to note is that there is a review model on the cover. Now I've been getting RM since 1976 and I can't remember there ever being purely review samples on the front. Inside the news that the company in question - Locomotion Models - now have Simon K. on board as Manager. This is the same Simon K that left H***by a while back.
Do I deduce some sort of link between these two things?

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Happy birthday

For one reason or another I've been spending time looking at magazines this week, mainly for aesthetics. I picked up MRJ No1, which of course wasn't the first, that being the preview No 0. Then I noticed the cover date - Spring 1985. My schoolboy maths makes that 30 years ago. Hands up who remembers this being the brave new dawn of modelling? On the face of it it's changed very little and certainly less than the others have in the intervening years. It's mostly in colour now, but the basic design has remained the same. It did lose it's way for a while; the whole issues dealing with one etched kit were a low point, but on the whole the classic feel of it has stood the test of time quite well and thank goodness it didn't go down the dumbing down process of having lots of pretty coloured boxes that all the others have. The hobby has changed a bit since 1985 and many of the torches that early MRJs carried have now become mainstream expectations Others though have not. The second article in this issue by Monty Wells complains quite strongly about kit component quality; something which has changed little in some quarters, but how many of today's similar pieces would be allowed to say so? Everything is rosy now - even when it's not. Is MRJ still the one true independent voice amongst all the pretty coloured boxes?
BTW I owe Richard a prize.