Sunday, 7 February 2021

Saturday Ramble

Following the news yesterday I'm in a pondering mood about modelling in general. My comments yesterday about Pete Bossom were very much my reaction to him as a human being, but of course I wouldn't have known him if he hadn't have been a prolific modeller. I you visited exhibitions south of London it wouldn't be long before you bumped into him, not only because the scale that he modelled in fitted into the exhibition manager's tick box of 'other', but because he was so damn good at it. There's a reason for this.

As far as I'm aware Pete didn't model in any other scale than 3mm, or TT as it would have been known when he started, shifting to the finescale 14.2 gauge for the later layouts. This is key and I've written about this numerous times before; the scale tarts like me and the narrow gauge freelancers bounce from one door to the next, always with a new scheme or scale/gauge combination. Some, like Pete stick doggedly to the ideal, the shifts are subtle, almost invisible. Building and exhibiting something as MRJ worthy as Hoath Hill and to still be exhibiting Thunder's Hill with it's roots firmly in 1960s TT is quite a trick to pull off.  Pete did appear in MRJ and unlike Phil Parker I never saw him in a tweed jacket. It was the dogged sticking to it that was the magic.

If I swivel 180 degrees from where I'm sitting now I can take in in two OO gauge layouts, one 7mm layout and the seeds of the next Railway Modeller project in N - this is not dogged stick to it; far from it. And if I open the door on the cupboard even more possible possible layout scales and gauges come tumbling out. Some of this I now have to do; somebody pays me, but I'm increasingly drawn to the dogged as things will change, or may have already changed.

I'm not generally negative, logical realism is where I sit on most things: what will be the likely outcomes be, whether it be pandemics or available parking spaces is my usual mind set. The latest (calendar wise) exhibition cancellation that I'm aware of is the REC Woking show in September. That's creeping quite close to the Warley finishing point. Forward planning is he issue in most cases and the elephant in the room is hotels. The bit that most punters probably don't consider. Exhibitions (especially the bigger ones) need lots of single hotel rooms. If these are either not open or are full of people isolating it doesn't mater how the rules on public gatherings have changed, the show cannot go on. With my logical realist head on, I can't see mid to large exhibitions coming back until at least 2022 and for some people that will mean never. It's not just one rule change, it's a raft of shifts that would have to take place. At this point being dogged is a good place to be. We have to close the door and become modellers again. This is not easy for a lot of people I know, but close the door we must for a while at least.


  1. I was very sorry to hear about Peter. Last time I spoke to him, 18 months or so ago now, he was hale and hearty. A fine modeller who knew his own mind, he will be badly missed.

    On the other subject, I wander through scales and gauges quite happily. There's so much to model out there! I know I won't get it all done but I'll have a damn good try. And hopefully, literally, die in the attempt.

  2. Indeed Peter will be much missed. Standing infront of a layout and suddenly hearing a quiet comment about "another layout", followed by a delightful conversation about current projects or an exchange of possible approaches to a "challenge" posed by some part of a new model or approach. He was always willing to spend time in a conversation and free with advice when asked. Sorry to hear such news, indeed one of the nice guys, a superb modeller, and exhibitor.
    Andrew Knights

  3. I see, even on a different machine, I am still "Unknown". Hey Ho.
    Just like to say that bridge certainly looks the part, even if it was constructed from "left overs"
    Andrew K

  4. I'm sure you're right about Peter not having modelled in any scale other than 3mm Chris, I certainly don't ever remember him mentioning anything.
    One story from way back when he told me was of exhibiting at a G&DNGRS show at West Greenwich House in the days before ExpoNG, after the show there was curry and beer and he ended up sleeping under the layout!
    I'm trying to remember when I first saw Thunders Hill...must have been in the early 1980s. It and Bulverhythe are probably the reason that whenever I see a prototype photo of the SR with large wagon lettering I associate it with Peter.

  5. I remember Pete annoying me intensely - he let me operate his layout for a while and I realised how well an LNER Y7 in 3mm scale could run. And how well my version didn't.

    I think the key is that his layouts were the same sort of thing you might do in other scale, just in 3mm scale, and very well executed. There wasn't anything ticksy, no cramming more into the space because you could.

    And don't knock the tweed!

  6. Peter will be very much by myself and the Society, a fine modeller and a very nice man to boot, one of life's characters. I believe but stand corrected that he did build a Colonel Stephens railmotor in plasticard for Martin Brent's 7mm Arcadia layout.