Tuesday 30 January 2024

Eastleigh show

Like Goldilocks' porridge this is just right. The Southampton club have a reputation for turning out a good show and this was no exception. The exhibition manager has changed since my last visit, though if I didn't know that I wouldn't have noticed. The usual medium to high quality mix of layouts with a lean toward the finescale on one hand, but enough to keep a general family audience entertained. Trade was a good mix with not too many pure box shifters. Good to see a stand of ABS bits back on the scene and the ever expanding H&A Models who took a little money off me.

Strangely my only issue was with food, but because the servings were a little heavy handed, and not because of quality, and the staff in this area were super friendly... unlike a rival show just down the road (maybe it's a scummers and skates thing. If you know, you know).

Show 10

Catering 8

Rucksacks 2


Sunday 21 January 2024

Squeaky bridge

 One of the boxes to tick on the Peco epic (I must settle on a name) was to make it generic and yet as un-generic as possible; and that it would use the brace of FR RTR that is now available. One of my pet peeves is the current crop of what are essentially narrow gauge GWR branch lines but running all the RTR small Welsh stock. If it was going to be an FR inspired layout, it had to look as though the loading gauge demanded the stock's styling. This meant some drastic chopping and would definitely preclude all the 'large Welsh' stock that will undoubtedly turn up, not to mention the Heljan L&B locos. The longest stock would be the Peco FR Bowsiders; here some pre-production items from the hand that designed them.

Some testing  with a Bachmann Dolgoch which just scrapes under the loading gauge and the FR coaches. All looks well thus far. What will be required is some proper stock for it.

Saturday 20 January 2024

Back to the 009

 Various other life issues have slowed the return back to the Peco 009 layout build, not to mention a rush brace of book review that were requested for the same company. It's like I never left. Some serious forward planning was required and with a couple of things jotted down, I settled on getting the tunnel mouths installed. These are the Peco NR15 humped bridge sides which will in fact allow for a FR Bowsider to clear even on a 9" radius curve. As opposed to the proper curved tunnel mouths in the same range which cut in too much at the foot. Kudos to Dick Wyatt as always for using these on Dovey Valley and pointing the way. The problem was that they were too bridge-y, so some butchery with a razor saw and a Stanley knife got them into constituent parts and with the addition of the matching stone sheet a squat square portal was created. 

Wednesday 10 January 2024



On Monday night almost everyone in the known universe (or so it seemed) had an email from Hattons. This in itself was not unusual, but the information contained in it was a bit of a surprise. I'm not in the habit of perusing RMweb and the like, but I can imagine that the people who buy lots of stuff will be up in arms and scrambling for an alternative pusher.

Interestingly, included in the reasons given on the website are 'changing demographic' and Brexit. Or are we at peak price now and people are saying 'I really think that £300 for a DMU is too much?'

Quite honestly a toss I do not give. It's a shop. The population as a whole would say toy shop and if you really dig down deep they'd be absolutely correct. Disregarding the history (and there is a little of this over on Phil's page) they have been of late the king of box shifters with a token shop front bolted onto a warehouse full of racking. So let's flip this around for a minute. In recent times, and by this I mean the last 20-30 years, people have endlessly bemoaned the demise of the local model shop and that wonder word... service. But then, happily pick up the phone to save £5 and order the item they desire from Hattons/Kernow et al, the ones with the big ads in the magazines. Result: these do well and the one-man-band local shops disappear. Will this change things? No, because this business will be picked up by Olivias/TMC/Cheltenham/Kernow and it will all be the same next month. The losers as ever will be the smaller retailers and the magazine advertising receipts.

Keep calm and carry on. Maybe Railmatch will return.

Thursday 4 January 2024

January thinking


And so to opening again. I closed for the usual annual oh no it's not season. Either no one comes here anymore or everyone sussed this and (this time) didn't moan about it. TBH I did consider closing for good, but after six weeks of not touching a keyboard I needed something to get my fingers moving again. 

So what now? Primary is to move quickly on with the Peco 009 build. This has laid moribund for the period and I now find myself wondering what the hell I was doing before the break and what it was that I'd planned to do next. The secondary is a more general thought pattern of what comes after that. There are only two shows this year (100% up on last) but one of those is more of a weekend away with mates with a 009 Society members day shoe-horned into the middle, so may not count. Much of this centres around June, nicely halfway and the forward thinking is for beyond that. Bisecting this is the WRG bash in March where Svanda will spring into life with upgrades by Mr. Hill (10 weeks, no pressure). All that aside, there is the usual day-jobby things of hitting bits of plastic and a little teaching. 

The forward thinking post June is a recycled idea and ties very much to the questions in the post below this. The idea is remarkably similar to a certain local gentleman's past efforts and while I am sharply aware of this, I am also aware that I lack his outside box design thinking so there will be considerable differences.
With fingers woken up …. onward.