Tuesday 11 October 2022

What did Iain Rice ever do for me?


Well quite a bit really.

Unlike many others on the net in the last few days I'm not going to regale you with all the deep conversations I had with Iain, and there's good reason for that... there weren't any. Sure I espied him from time to time at some of the finescale type shows, but that was it. The influence (and it is a huge influence) was via the writing...plus one.

This one was at the much missed Heathfield shows. Not being brought up with the Constructor I didn't know who he was, but he was billed to give a talk with Bob Barlow (also not known) on light railways. I'm not usually drawn to talks. However this one I sat through and was completely inspired and fascinated. I was one above track mat level at that point, and in 40 minutes it changed everything. Seriously everything. I bought books, found these magical light railways, discovered narrow gauge and started modelling in 009. 

I bought the 1990s layout design book, swallowed it virtually wholesale, and was still using the Ullysses design of board support up to Wood End in the early 2000s. Then there were the wagon books: both RTR and kit built. Sensible pragmatic advice on how to improve things. Then MORRIL which was a bit hit and miss, but with Rice-ian writing that engaged and drew you in.

Would I have ever been the modeller that I am? Without Iain Rice? Completely and categorically no.

1 comment:

  1. My modelling and the way I think about it has also been influenced by IAR although this began in about 1979/80 with some of his articles in Model Railways (the former Model Railway News), along with those in the same mag by Martin Brent (Arcadia/Winchelsea Road/Rye Harbour). I was probably pretty indoctrinated with light railways by then anyway; visits to and membership of the K&ESR (aged 6!) with my Dad and articles by Les Darbyshire in MRN saw to that.
    Iain's series on Bringewood Chase, which came a little later, got into my head with its detailed historical rationale behind the concept of the layout as well as all the constructional details and by the mid-80s there was MRJ too.
    Like you, I met him at Heathfield (showing Woolverstone) where he signed my copy of "Plastic Structure Kits". I can't remember the talk, though it may not have been the same year. I do remember him clocking the HMS Arun crest on my sweatshirt which led to a natter about the RNR which I was in at the time.
    One of his books which perhaps has slipped under the radar a bit is "Railway Modelling the Realistic Way", it dives surprisingly deeply into practical details for what is a general model railway book.