Saturday 18 November 2023

Saturday Ramble: Swedish death cleaning

 Stuff: Age: Ratios: Probabilities: Individually meaningless, but combined they create an interesting set of questions. I'm not yet in the bracket of old, but there is a lighter significant birthday in the near-ish future and this does push this combo into a sharper focus. This alongside watching our Mr. Hill's frustration in clearing the effects of a deceased relative with a lot of things that may have come in useful one day, but now certainly won't. This is not an entertaining watch and the heated moments relayed to me solidify my thoughts on this matter. Particularly when there are items such as lathes and pillar drills which I thought would be snapped up but appear to be useless. 

The forth of my keywords; probabilities, is the hardest to define. The third, is the end result. How much of this stuff will we ever use? You know, the one day things that we can't bear to throw out. My worst should but can't is the set of American stock that was bought at low cost in the 90s and which would be astronomical to replace at current prices. Is there a plan for it? No. I can't settle on one that makes me actually push the go button. The ratio is the time expected/stuff in stock/desire. Even if I continued at the current build rate and enjoyed the physical ability to do so, I've probably got 15 more layouts to build. That's the maths. The probability is a lot lower, as is the storage capability for these. So I'm building to sell. Is that what it comes down to? Building things just to dispose of them to build more purely to use the 'stuff' up. There must be a better way as that doesn't sound very enjoyable.

Much of this is down to the fact that there is no grand opus - I'm not that sort of modeller. One wonders how much 'one day' stuff Peter Denny had in stock when he popped. Is this just the butterflies like me or do the one man/one project bods also suffer from this problem?

The title of this post is intriguing (look it up) essentially the idea is more about clothing/drawer contents and the like that lifestyle TV is so fond of. We are in a similar, but wildly different game as there is much more emotion tied up in modelling than a pair of M &S trousers. How do we keep doing what we do for as long as possible, without any excess at the end for others to clear and dump in a skip? Think that won't happen? Think again. Your prized work is going to landfill and there will be nothing you can do about it. There's a way to square all this, but I've yet to work out what it is.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Let's go railway modelling...

I'm hesitant about this, but it would be easy to let it be the elephant in the room. I wrote the main text back in 2019 and the whole gist of the project was for it to be a general book that would appear in bookshops, not just via the model trade and obviously to tie up with the Channel 5 Challenge series. Events move on, as do characters, and I only realised that it had been relaunched when the phone and emails arrived last week as it appeared on the RM editorial. So here it is with me grinning stupidly and wearing the spare specs. I have to admit I prefer the  more subtle original cover below, but note that the AotC makes an appearance on both. Of all the layouts I've built...

It is of course a team effort and most of the work was done by Tim Rayner, young Craig and Steve Flint, graphically steered by Adrian and the art dept. chaps. At the time of writing I have not seen a copy so I can't comment further, but of course, do rush out and buy one from Smiths or wherever.


Tuesday 14 November 2023


'Check the ULEZ compliance.' This was a new pre-show trip question. Easy enough, you just punch your reg' number in to the website and you get a yes or no. Interestingly the exit onto the A3 post show was no easier and there seemed to be no drop in traffic whatsoever. Draw your own conclusions.

Tolworth is a regular trip both as exhibitor and punter. Well organised and without glitches. The FOH cafe is limited and we had previously discovered a great 'caff' around the corner which has become part of the day... in fact we went there first. 

I wonder if I have become a little jaded. The layouts were in the med-high bracket, on a par with Farnham a couple of weeks back with a good mix, though low on N and continental, but nothing that truly inspired. I understand that is more about me than the layouts. One complaint (again) was not the quality, but the complete nonchalance  when it came to operation in many cases. The above, being run mainly by junior club members was fast and slick and gave a real lineside feel. On the flip Kensington (two down and essentially doing the same thing) was absolutely stunning, easily the stand-out in modelling terms, but I don't think I saw one train leave or arrive without breaking or derailing. Heartbreaking stuff. If you've put that much effort into the very high class modelling then...?? One thing I did take a closer look at was Roy Hickman's scenic stand which for once wasn't crowded. Old school and reminiscent of Mike Gill's work in RM in the '70s and '80s, but was almost my 'ping' moment. 

Show 8

Parking 6

Rucksacks 4

Catering (off-site) 11.


Friday 10 November 2023

Rhiw running session

 A decision was made to have regular running sessions for the current exhibition animals. This rather than the last minute check before a show. This week Rhiw came out of the box and some of the new stock was introduced, the short wheelbase picking up a couple of bumps in the industrial part of the FY that had been quickly laid with scrap code 100 in the spring. This can be rectified in comfort.

Class 121 (from a Lima conversion) stands at the platform awaiting custom.

Monday 6 November 2023

Parkside vac-braked minerals

The weekend saw a push to get a rake of vac-braked 16 tonners painted up. These representing what must have been the last use of these on scrap traffic. With four left to do it was a case of looking at Paul Bartlett's excellent wagon photo site and drawing some inspiration.  Nothing fancy involved; Parkside PC19 kits built more or less as per the instructions and painted (mostly) Games Workshop Morfang Brown. One got a wash of Humbrol 33 before the ModelMaster transfers went on. Then two greys and orange dabbed on with a cheap brush with the bristles cut down.  Proper Saturday afternoon modelling. Couplings to add and we're good to go.


Sunday 5 November 2023

Seething station

 Only a few details and some scenic patching to do now, all well ahead of the deadline of Beccles on June 1st. Most of this scene is either s/h junk or other peoples chuck-outs. I bought a bag full of tatty trees off a club stand and refurbed a couple with some fluff to finish the corner. The figure is again club stand fare and is the obvious Airfix (there are two tobacco tins worth of various Airfix and Slaters bits to work through and this reduces the pile by one. The Wills station building is a chuck out from Greg Dodsworth. This was disassembled and rebuilt with a lamp room extension and my now favoured black plasticard glazing. The slightly unlikely sited post box is from the same source and is from the Dart range. Added here purely to add a splash of colour to catch the eye. 

The greenery is again a chuck out, mainly from the bundle of stuff given to me by John Wright when he gave it all up and moved back westwards. This comprised of static grass, flock and the Wills cottage kit that appeared  (and indeed still exits) on Tal-coed. The layout now sold means that the cottage has effectively followed its original owner to Somerset. Hedging is cheap scouring pad covered in flock and bushes are horsehair treated in the same fashion. In short: a few friends generosity and some careful purchases mean that (including track) this scene cost time and about £20. My answer to all those bleating about how expensive it's all become, is that I totally agree, but it's more about how you approach it, more than how deep your pockets are.

If you've enjoyed this waffle,  show the love.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Scandinavian filth

A shuffling of trestles and stock boxes saw Svanda set up and run. It needs a little bit of a clean and there was a conversation about upgrading the scenics.  Running wise there were no major issues (or none that we weren't aware of) and it enters its twelfth year; well into secondary education now. The reason for the flurry of activity is that it is lead layout for 2024 and will be appearing at the Steyning show in March (first and not the last plug) so a good looking at is required. The goods shed has been removed and the area is due for some redevelopment. Mr. Hill has never been happy with this so photos have been studies and a new shed is on the way.

Some quick phone shots were taken of the running...

... and then there's this. A clue for possible new projects.