Wednesday 24 November 2021

Small OO gauge layouts?

I'm convinced that we all get a basic idea of what we want from model railways and that stays pretty much fixed for the duration. Although I'm a scale tart, that is really only the sauce and salad, the size of the plate remains the same. My excuse, should one be needed, is that I don't have a large team of helpers, a large vehicle or a large house.  This defines what and how I build things. Of course this is utter bollocks as plenty of people shoehorn large layouts into small properties, I could ask more people and I could buy/ hire a bigger vehicle; but I don't.

Yesterday I dropped things down just about as far as they can can go and I noodled around with a Futers' Fork in 6'. As he has explained in numerous articles, this works really well, especially if your main traffic flow is multiple units. In essence you are just following the prototype in that respect. Does this satisfy? Well it did. I'm not sure whether it is an age thing, or whether my hitherto non-interest in bigger rail subjects is now being forced though reading layout/prototype articles for hours every day. I sense the later. Whichever it is I now find myself still liking the essence of small layouts and their intimacy, but it's missing something. I'm not happy with just shuffling back and forth, it needs to represent something closer to reality. The cop out of easy freelancing feels almost childlike now, even if it can't be perfect I feel as though it has to look, or at least feel, slightly more serious. Whether I can do this is another matter and small and fast may reign for a while yet.


Sunday 21 November 2021

Book links


A little housekeeping on here. I noticed that a couple of the click-through links to books were blind so fixed to a point now. The Small Scales volume above seems to be o/s with Waterstones, but is available in other places and appears to be on its second printing - I shall investigate further on that. If that is the case that means that it has shifted in excess of 1,000 copies. I'm happy with that considering, I'm not in the Parker/Nevard/Dent fame bracket.

The Crecy title at the top is a mystery and has still not appeared, though the website states otherwise. I can only assume that this was designed to tie up with the third series of the Great Model Railway Challenge which of course got pulled because of Covid. In which case it's questionable if either will resurface.

Saturday 20 November 2021

Portsmouth exhibition

Shows coming thick and fast now. This week down to the seaside in Darkest Hampshire with the South Hants MRC show. Like the Uckfield bash this leans toward finescale and arriving a little early I observed the queue: 50+, balding, rucksacks, sensible coats, no children. I don't want to repeat everything I said a couple of posts back, needless to say this applied again. The only 4mm layout that had no problems when I was watching was Copper Wort (code 75 Devon-built small radius points, said with no bias). The showpiece P4 was scoring a 50%+ derailment rate. Beautiful pre-group stock, big watching -the -trains -go -by scene, but mostly bumping along the sleepers... not good. And this is not just a snapshot, I was there for most of the day.

Jerry Clifford's 2mm, stunning. Kinmundy (below) fascinating scenic effects, and Simon Challis' Cheddar got my votes for best of the day, and the 2mmFS Lighterman's Wharf is fantastic. So certainly not under-inspiring.
The food is weird. Shutters come down at 13.00 sharp and that's it. If you want a cuppa after then it's outside to Macccy D's. Why?
The scores:
Show: 7.5
Catering: 5 (would be 9 for quality)
Rucksacks: a finescaley 7
Covid prep: 1 Really packed in the morning and most in masks as a result.


Friday 19 November 2021

Baseboard painting

 With Half Acre more or less done bar some final detaily work, it was time to paint the baseboard. There was a couple of inches of black paint left in the tin - probably just enough for this and the fiddle yard. The tall trestles were recovered from Mr. Hill and were slung up in the garage; a much better height for painting. It's not really a good time of year to get paint to dry in an outside atmosphere, but all seemed to go to plan. There's a final piece of MDF to add to the fiddle yard board and the pros-arch to make up to drop onto the uprights here. Then we're just about there.

Monday 15 November 2021

Tolworth Showtrain

Sunday morning and into the dark zone inside the ring of death - OK turning right from Junction 8 and inside the M25... same thing. 
After some malarky with road closures and a scrambled detour, Tolworth was reached. Not much to write home there about except possibly the full-on Southern concrete art-deco station which is worth a look. The show is a familiar one and post lockdown not much has changed. Maybe the aisles were wider, maybe not. The fire doors were open and that seemed about it. Mask wearing was on the low side. 
Catering was teas only and no food,  so a visit to the caff a couple of doors down which was perfect. I'm not sure I'd be so happy if it had been pissing down though.
Always a good balanced mainstream event; not too finescaly and not aimed at families ether. Perhaps for 'the average modeller'. That would make a good magazine strapline...? OK maybe not. 
Not really any duffers in the show and definitely something for everyone, even a Chinese layout which was new to me, but which I have on good authority will be in CM in the future. My winners for the day were these two for completely different reasons. 
Regulars will know my liking for 1960s-vibe modelling and Woking club's Millford fitted the bill beautifully. Card kits to the fore, but all subtly altered. Nothing remarkable apart from the way that it had been done with a constant finish. 
The same could be said for Outwell Village. Exquisite modelling and instantly recognisable with a range of mainly kit built stock. 

The scores as is now traditional.

Show: 9

Catering: 1 (though what was there was perfectly acceptable with the cafe)

Rucksacks: 0

Covid prep :2

Hand stamping to get in and out so we all looked we'd been to a rave: 10!


Friday 12 November 2021

Film Friday 21st century Hornby Dublo

Working on a HD layout article today and noodled round with some internet research for a history panel. This came up. It almost feels as though he's cracked the best of both worlds: the reliability of die-cast locos and 3-rail pick up, and the convenience of the DCC technology. Clever stuff.

Monday 8 November 2021

December Railway Modeller

 December RM out this week. Couple of notable bits aside from the England in 009. The archive is definitely worth investigating giving you some 70 years of material in the click of a mouse. Some of it has not stood the test of time particularly well... 'Sink mat to station roof' please take a bow, but there is some cracking stuff in there. The Monty Wells diesel articles were way ahead of their time and the Keith Allen pieces on converting Airfix minerals are still relevant now. Noticably more modelling going on pre 1995. The other nice thing for me is that this was my pick for the cover shot, even a bus on the bridge... I thank you. Goodnight.

Thursday 4 November 2021

Coal merchant's lorry in N gauge

One of the requirements for Half Acre was a coal lorry for the yard. I searched the ranges of Oxford et al, but nothing suitable for a middle weight trader's vehicle of around 4-8 ton. Almost at the last knockings of last weekend's Eastbourne show I spotted this cheap Chinese plasticy item, which I picked up for £2. The box on the back came off easily enough, but it was a little too leggy for what was in my head. A slice with a razor saw, a new cab sheet from 2mm Slater's planking sheet and some planks scribed into the floor brought it a little closer to what I wanted. Touching the edges in with some red paint and topping it with a part load of Ratio N gauge sacks and some grey washes turned it into a Commer/Bedford-esque post-war workaday machine.
Needless to say I get more fun out of this sort of thing than any new 200 quid Bachmann RTR loco...