Sunday 31 March 2024

Grass at last

 It would have been stupid to think that this was going to be a quick project, but my inability to play the game and therefore not build things at they were intended or to take the easy road has slowed things to a crawl. This has not been improved by making the decision to drift toward mid-Wales styling and incorporating some slate slab fencing. I've done this before so no prizes for forward thinking as I know how time consuming it is. As I'd finished roughly 25% of it (visible here) a morale boost was needed and I thought I'd get the first section of open land up to the buildings covered with fluff of various types. This has been worthwhile and has given an indication of how the rest of the layout will look. The barn pictured is a case in point of how work has been added (and farmed out) with not only a new slate roof replacing the stone version included in the kit, but also bargeboards and guttering which weren't. Still recognisable as the Wills kit, but different. The centre area is undeveloped and will include the new Peco Tan-y-bwlch station building kit, but not as they intended (natch) and masquerading as a cottage which is basically what the prototype was/is. This is the last building to be done, that is after the row of stone cottages have been roofed. April on Monday; I have two months.

In other news: the usual hit rate for this page is still skewed after a week for huge amounts of traffic from Hong Kong. What this indicates exactly I don't know, but it's unlikely to be legitimate interest, so please go away.

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Monday 18 March 2024

East Grinstead show


Another free Sunday and with the M25 closed there was no way I was going to attempt going to Ally Pally... not that I wanted to. So just a hop and a skip up the road to East Grinstead. The website didn't look promising with the traders listed first (but then this is run by a trader) and no less than six narrow gauge layouts. I'm a long term NG fan, but this looked a tad unbalanced. No need to worry though as the vibe had been retained and there was some lovely modelling and plenty to buy should you have needed anything. Though a chat with an inside source suggested that while it was busy, people were keeping their wallets closed. This may have a knock on effect for next year, though I didn't really help matters that much with little more than the entry and tea paid for. All in all quite an inspiring couple of hours with a huge amount of chat and the usual onward discussions.

Exhibition: 8

Parking: 9


Rucksacks: 0

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Saturday 16 March 2024

Saturday Ramble

In a moment of madness I set Seething up  a) to give it a run, but b) to set the fiddle yard support leg which I'd forgotten to attach. This needed a couple of 6mm holes drilled which took minutes, but the ensuing testing session took a little longer and turned into a bit of a loco service trip, the way that these things often do. The quick set-up for the boards was on the floor; so not ideal, but I found myself feeling that I'd been here before. This was after running the Norwegian at the weekend so perhaps a little case of extremes, but here I was with a FY to BLT layout in 009 built because it was quick. This exercise threw up the usual questions.

As previously mentioned Seething wasn't planned but was the result of some arm twisting from two people. The positives are are few days with friends and the use of a couple of buildings that were in the cupboard. The negative (singular) is that here I am with yet another small 009 BLT. If you peruse the tabs at the top of the page you will notice that this is a worn route; so much so that I'm not sure that I want to do it either now or at any time in the future. It's done, stick a fork in it.

There is another side angle that niggles me and I'm not pointing any fingers, but while I've always tried for the believable freelance route there has been a vast upshot in RTR 009 which plays against this. So much so that the current Peco layout build is designed to only work with FR gauged stock - anything else gets the chimneys knocked off. The new RTR is so good that even the most ardent 'modellers' can't resist it and it's getting a little same-y. This in respect to the endless GWR BLT style layouts with slate trains, and quarry Hunslets pulling L&B coaches - you get the drift. The individuality has all but gone. There are many exceptions of course, but bulk of 009 layouts seen at shows in recent times fall into this style. Thus the above layout is purely kits and bashes - no RTR. This also means that I am probably ready to move on from 009 for good. and will start off-loading stock in due course. What will replace this? Well there are a couple of short term ideas and a concept in mind, but this may well lean toward some very backward looking activity.

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Monday 11 March 2024

Wealden Railway Group exhibition 2024

In an unusually rash bout of being organised, a few thoughts on the Steyning show. In short; excellent (no marking as I'm not hitting this from a punter angle). The general thrust is that of small personal layouts and steers away from the usual club epics and box shifters giving a very different feel. It's more about chat and ideas rather than the impressive 'don't touch sonny' that some exhibitions promote. No doubt that Mr. Campbell will provide some photos on his blog to your right in due course, as he was also showing with the gorgeous 009 Hexworthy. For me the highlights were possibly well worn - Giles Barnabe's Shellsea, and Pete Bossom's Bulverhythe (now under Paul Hopkins' stewardship). Both mostly for the buildings; Giles above for probably the best example of how to take a flat piece of thin card print and turn it into a wonderful heavyweight brick warehouse. Among the many chats across the layout was the (below) remarkable 3mm scale GWR brake produced by Mike Davey. Not  a commercial operation and in his words, he is still on the learning curve, but it shows what is possible and how it can open up a whole new vista for the modeller. 

Svanda performed in its usual near perfect manner, with only operator (mostly me) error causing problems. With two exhibition enquiries forthcoming, the 'different' NSB Nohab powered train rolls onward despite now being noticeably heavier than more recent layouts. 
The WRG shows driven by Andrew Knights (with visitors from Glasgow yesterday) are a bright light proving how how the hobby is not dying, and while the RTR wibblers that hang around the forums complaining may be down in the dumps, there is a real passionate undercurrent of actual modelling just under the surface unencumbered and unaffected by industry comings and goings. Long may this little piece of flag-waving for it continue.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Svanda goods shed fit

The new goods shed for Svanda all fitted and bedded-in. This has made a remarkable difference to this end of the layout by opening it up visually. Which considering that the building is 20% larger than the old one is a surprise. There is a casual refurb underway now with new road surfaces and hopefully the addition of some new trees and newer scenic covering. This is being fitted in around the epic Peco 009 build of which more in due course. In the meantime don't forget that the above will be at the below this Sunday.


Saturday 2 March 2024

Saturday Ramble: More death and disposal


One of the more controversial posts here of late has been the Swedish Death Cleaning proposal. Not only has this received a sensible number of hits, but has made me and others consider what we may be doing and in some cases it has generated a bit of a backlash. I suppose my thinking is for me (and suggest to others)  to question the what's and whys of where the hobby is going. This in conjunction with considering how we deal with this on a personal level.
This is all with the background chatter of the demise of Hattons and the Warley show shenanigans among other trials and tribulations. I'm far from saying (as some in the forum-sphere) that this is the end of the hobby as even of late the fairly buoyant atmosphere at the Southampton show would suggest that we are far from being on the bones of our arses. There is however a subtle shift in play and my own feeling is that this is not unconnected with cost considerations. So if that's the hobby as a whole, where does that leave me? Well relatively untouched it would seem; my actual modelling in the very short term is funded by someone else (although we are certainly into piper and tune territory) and I have plenty of things in the cupboard. And there's the rub right there; we are back to the opening sentence.
What I am definitely aiming for is an empty cupboard - well not so much empty as completed. The aim... is not to buy anything else, only in regard to finishing things off. Though the wheels may come off that point fairly quickly. The forward motion is very much one of a series of small-ish projects that would be easily completed and would be centred around using what is in hand with the afore mentioned 'only buying to complete' and not buying for a new project. These may form into an idea which has been well documented on these pages and is also fairly close to a certain local modeller's recent system. 
In a nutshell: use the general concept of the AotC (6 x 1' layout with a common new FY) and construct a series of home/exhibition pieces at the rate of one per year which would probably see me either retired or in a wooden box  - delete as appropriate. We are into the 'pills for life' gag as there are really only about five or so possible ideas. This is at present just possible forward move (there is much to clear from the bench first) I may just call the exhibition layouts and make sheds from Wills sheet from now on or build a proper train set.

Friday 1 March 2024

Dublo Minories


You know how I feel about this. There are two parts and a lot more behind it.