Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bonus Time

It is serendipitous that my birthday falls at the same time that my annual bonus is announced, allowing me to treat myself. As usual though I'm last in line to spend it behind the taxman and the various demands of family life.

This year I'm in a  bit of a quandary.

My photography has hit a bit of a rut, primarily because the DSLR increasingly feels like an encumbrance whilst my compact cameras are beginning to feel comparatively obsolete and battered from over use.  They are great for throwing in the saddle bag for a cycle ride or a briefcase for a business trip but they struggle in low light and aren't ideal for taking photos of the dogs.  I've also got some big trips planned this year, to Australia, India and Cuba .

The minimalist original Sony RX100 is a strong contender for a pocketable camera, but then I'm tempted by the Fujifilm XE-1 which is currently available with a free additional zoom lens and has a 27mm pancake lens available that makes it an option for street photography.

Neither of these is a cheap option, but being last year's models they are both available for several hundred pounds less than when they first came out. With the lens offer the XE-1 is effectively half price I reckon to get three years of intensive use out of a compact digital camera and five to six out of an interchangeable lens system. I don't think that represents bad value for money

Any of those two is obviously going to be fine for any model railway photography I do, but what about treating myself to something specifically for the model railway itself?

I've still got a longer than expected shopping list for the current layout, but the end is in sight. A few more track components, point control  and four or five wagon kits are really all I need for now.

So the question is what to invest in for long term use?

I've never owned an airbrush and I can see that one could be useful as my focus moves on to rolling stock. The Neo for Iwata range looks good value for money. I've also been following the RMweb discussion about the Cameo Portrait cutter with interest. Another option is the Hold and Fold jig. They get expensive as they increase in size so I would probably buy a smallish one and supplement it with some bending bars. Are there any other tools I should consider? I think the Hold and Fold is the current best option.


  1. I own a couple of hold'n'folds and don't get nearly as much use out of them as I thought I would. The square ended plier from a pound shop see 50 times as much etch brass action.

    I'd got for a Badger 100 airbrush, or if you care to be radical, try the Revell basic set:

  2. I've just bought a 4" hold and fold and have already found it very useful for bending a number of brass parts. While I agree with Phil that square ended pliers are great for quickly bending small parts they don't work so well on larger parts. For example, I've just added the lip to the edge of a cab roof using the hold and fold without any problems, and I can't imagine any other way of doing it as quickly or as accurately.

    Next on my tool list is either an airbrush or some rolling bars, but as yet I haven't made up my mind, but the pointers in the blog post look helpful, thanks!

  3. Despite its modest size my 2" Bug Hold & Fold gets used a lot for etchy work, not just for bending but also as a small vice usefull when filing off cusp and modifying parts. I've also a 5.5" one which doesn't see as much work but is still very usefull.
    As for airbrushes don't forget to factor in a compressor, which usually cost more then the 'brush itself. My 'brush is a Badger 150, which I'm happy with although if buying again I'd be looking at the Neo for Iwata as they get consistantly good reviews and they're relatively cheap.

  4. Thanks chaps. I'm beginning to think a smallish hold on fold will do the job, mostly being used for fiddly bits, and use the money saved for some bending bars for the longer parts. I used to have some from Mainly Trains but they went missing in a house move. The reviews of the Neo for Iwata have indeed been exceptionally good, but for what I want that Revell set looks a good choice - especially since it now seems to available for around £80

    1. That Revell set does indeed look a good choice for what I want as well. So good in fact that it should arrive from Amazon tomorrow. I'm sure there will be a blog post or two once I've given it a whirl.