Wednesday 15 July 2020

16mm article

After a very gentle nudge from Lord Leamington I scratched out a short piece on the Houstoun Gate 16mm loco that appeared here a few months ago. Quite rightly, I'm tucked at the back like Junior Modeller. The piece describes the thinking, but doesn't detail the build - well I didn't do all of it.
A quick bit of fun and honour-bound I give it a plug here. I don't know if this is a typical issue, but it's all rather good and doesn't seem to take itself too seriously which is fine with me, but then what do you expect with a tweed wearing editor.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Bohemian wit

[Non rail post coming up.]
Seven years ago I moved from a small house in the country to a small house in town (unless you have the thick end of £1m to spend in the South East small is what you get). There were various reasons for the move after 13 years of being surrounded by fields, a minor one was the ability to stroll into town unaided by motor vehicle and sit. Not to do anything just laze for a while over a coffee and possibly read. In my head I would be like a character in a Graham Greene novel - oozing bohemian wit and conversing with like minded souls. I tick several of the boxes required: I've always written a little, painted even less, I'm generally quite lazy and I've been a working musician for my entire adult life. All I'm lacking is a fedora and a neckerchief. As you would expect none of this has happened; other bits of life don't allow it and I've possibly not polished my credentials enough. Those that know me would say that there is a lot of polishing to do. Putting aside the current situation, even where I live, which is considered to be full of history-filled liberal arty types, suffers from the standard southern England reserve and no one talks. On the other hand perhaps adding northern friendliness and flat vowels would destroy the image even further. The closest I've got was in the early 1980's when I lived on Jersey.  A trip to St. Ouens bay could generate an endless day sitting in the surf café watching the long haired blondes turn up in VWs and wait for the big rollers to hit the beach. It feels like another life.

Yesterday having needed to post a packet for Mrs. F., I partially fulfilled the ambition: the sun shone I perched myself in the window of the trendy café at the foot of the hill and waited. Aside from the delivery of the coffee by a slightly camp waiter person I wasn't approached by any fellow bohemian types and I read my book in relative silence. The café tries to portray a slightly Latin American vibe, which you would think would greatly add to my wish, but spoils it by playing bits of Maroon 5 amongst the Afro-Cuban backing track. Maybe I just have to keep doing it, but the summer is fading and I think you need to have flies buzzing around to complete the picture. As there hadn't been any rain, the road was fairly dusty, but Nissan Micra's screeching past Boots and the charity shop don't really replace a slow-moving '57 Cadillac.
The second visit to the post office revealed a smaller queue.

Sunday 12 July 2020

Train face masks

I suppose it had to happen. No information on purchase was given when this photo was sent to me yesterday, but I'm sure that those of you who wish to walk around with an Electrostar stuck to your nose will be able to find something on the net. I understand that there are other classes available.
If this mandatory wearing had been enforced in March we might not be in this mess.

Saturday 11 July 2020

Saturday Ramble - Price of model railways

It's all gone quite now the Spitfires have gone away. 
A conversation yesterday drifted to the new Bachmann 117 DMU. My opinions on Bachmann drive train engineering are a plenty, so glossing over that for a minute lets look at the price. The RRP is £314, though the dealers are all offering it for £267. To split the difference you are looking at a hundred quid a coach.  I'd like one of these in Blue Grey to go on the possible rebuild of Rhiw (see above) The 117s were solid South Wales units and a bit of a natural for this layout, but three hundred quid? 

I don't want to repeat Tim's review - pick up this months RM - but the detail is exquisite. However a huge inter-car coupling that makes the 1970s Lima tension lock look petite and there are switches to drop various electrical operations in or out. This is all very clever and may well appeal to a generation brought up on smartphones, but is this several steps to far? Operation of said DMU is thus: drive in - pause - drive out; are we into a sledgehammer and nut situation? There is also a 'special tool' required to release the inter-car couplers. Hands up the first person to mislay that at the end of an exhibition. I'm all too aware that I can sound like a luddite in these situations, but surely the very nice aesthetic mouldings driven by a quality set of gears (for experience says that this is likely to be the weak point) would please most buyers and would presumably reduce the price. Have we now got to the point where people will pay a substantial amount for stuff that goes flash-flash and chug-chug, but has the operational interest of a ping pong ball in a toilet roll?
A couple of people questioned me re the terminology used yesterday. There's not much on the net, but the initial search leads to here.

Friday 10 July 2020

7mm scale station sign

This is another of those posts where I struggle with paint. The terrible trio of non-coverage: cream, red and white. OK so I'm not exactly doing myself any favours here and this is one of those instances, although minor, where if you want to go there, you wouldn't start here. 
The hoped for end result is the running-in boards for the O gauge. Perhaps not surprisingly, I've changed the name. Regardless of that I need to knock up a running-in board. There are no doubt special 7mm scale kits for this, but being a lifelong tightwad I'm looking at a few bits of plastic and some Slaters letters that were lurking at the bottom of the scenic stuff box. So far so good, except that the layout has a GWR/light railway vibe and every GW running-in board is white lettering on a black or dark blue back board. The later is easy enough, but the letters are made from black plastic. Black paint over white plastic is OK. White over black ain't. 

Thursday 9 July 2020

New layouts

Apart from the fact that I'm still spluttering from the general welcome given to the Government's rescue package for the arts - it may be welcome to the (already subsidised) management teams of venues like the Royal Opera House who are employees, but the army of freelance technicians, light designers, sound engineers, actors, musos, dressers, set designers and so on won't get a penny.  These are the people who actually make it happen. If and when it all reopens, they will all have moved to other jobs. Completely misdirected.

Mr. Hill dropped by. Much chat about the current situation and how and what may happen modelling wise and the wider picture. What we agreed on is that it's hard to plan anything at the moment. Added to that there is no desire to build anything new or even revise anything old. The wholesale selling of stuff is looking more and more likely to create a clean slate and in some ways to try to kick start some forward motion. This is probably a bit drastic, but at the moment I'm unable to think of another way.
The above shows that the shed is done. The lack of detailed clutter is obvious and I need to fish around in the box to find some suitable items. The layout has now been broken down. This presented the opportunity to throw the layout that I started in 2018(!) up onto the empty trestles. Time and the building of two items for Peco now makes this look odd and I can't get my head around what I was doing and why I started it. It's strange how even such a relatively short period of time can alter the head space and oh so subtly change the perspective.

Monday 6 July 2020

Small O gauge goods shed

Small O gauge goods shed

The 'unlikely shed' is being installed today with the steps to the platform the only thing to finish. This is the unpainted platform which has since been grotty'ed somewhat. The whole edifice jars a little, but with the obvious lack of front to back space as the controlling factor, set against the need for some sort of vertical feature to break up the plain and immediate backscene. The reality of the whole picture at this end is simply a short length of track to mask the storage area. In 4mm this could be fully developed; here in 7mm the space is only a little over an inch in front of the track and little more than three behind - compromised have to be made. That said, on modelling terms it's not been an unpleasant exercise. Essentially here and in other areas there is just some infill ground cover to do and some smaller platform items to finish off. At that point, the major questions arise.

Friday 3 July 2020

Film Friday - Dury's Gap micro on video

I've probably put this on before, but I can't find it, so here it is... possibly again. 

Out of what remains this is probably my favourite.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Build your own shake the box kit

Southern Railway CCT

As a side project - which means it just sits on the bench for several weeks - I'm building a Parkside 4mm Southern CCT. I knocked one of these up for the book to your right. It's not a highly detailed kit, but will take as much polishing as you want, i.e. you can add a little extra peripheral brake rigging or you could go the whole hog with all the push rods. This time I've altered the build sequence. Beforehand the standard build-paint-decals routine was employed. This time I've taken the same idea as American shake-the-box kits do and I'm working the sides up with glazing and adding the decals on first before the body goes together. Whether this will be an improvement is yet to be seen.