Thursday, 9 May 2019

Learning Curve

Model Earth Design Wagons


My adventure into 7/8ths scale over the last few weeks has been surprisingly exciting.


It isn't like I'm new to garden railways, having built my first line in 1980, and first having played around with 7/8ths in 2000.

My old Outline Simplex, which went "missing" in a house move
But this time around I'm finding it not only exciting, but fun and ..well I was going to say challenging, but encouraging might be a better word, because, to be honest, it is is too easy to be challenging.

The new production techniques being exploited by small manufacturers are incredible compared to say, the original 16mm Association GVT coach "kit" or the Archangel ones that didn't even have the planks marked on them.

But here is the odd thing, because the kits are essentially simple it means I'm spending more time thinking about how to finish them. So some very simple Model Earth Design resin wagons have been subjected to a  new to me weathering technique of misting on basic rattle can paint.

Other models, from North Pilton Works, Bole Lasercraft and Resurgam are being subject to a range of wood stains and finishes designed for full-sized structures.

After a cryptic phone call from Accurcaft, the Wren is now en route to Matt Acton for lining out.




Just for old times sake, I've built a 16mm kit, one of Matt Nunn's excellent range



On top of all that I'm getting a crash course form James Hilton on modern R/C technology.

I haven't had this much fun since, oh around 1980!

Monday, 29 April 2019

Springing Forward






The combination of poor light in my current office/workshop and a cruel wind around the Eaugate Light railway's engine shed means modelling takes a backseat until mid-Spring. Early Spring is dominated by gardening, but the 16mm show at least kickstarts the thinking process.

This year's thinking is dominated by 7/8ths scale, and the workbench is littered with work very much in progress on the rolling stock front, whilst the loco fleet is on order. I'm particularly excited about one of the locos because it is one of the ones I wanted many many years ago, but for now it will have to stay under wraps.

I've also settled on a temporary site for the 7/8ths line, although in the long term it will fall foul of the expansion plans for the Eaugate Light Railway.

A side issue is that changing my mind about where the 7/8ths will go frees up some space for a 16mm line, though 16mm is very much on the backburner at the moment. Well apart from the loco and wagon that are also WIP on my desk, but they are intended for another micro layout.

Talking of micro layouts, Rails Round the Garden took a major step forward yesterday.







Saturday, 6 April 2019

Another year, another 16mm show

Yes, it has been quiet here.  Not that nothing has been going on, but little of it has involved modelling. Since moving to the country again I've realised I need Spring and Summer light and late evenings to get modelling.

So the 16mm  AGM, on my doorstep, seems a good place to kickstart the thinking for future plans. Not in 16mm though, since I've started selling off my 16mm  stock to finance a move to 7/8ths scale.

It is a shame in a way, because having spent years complaining that too much 16mm rolling stock was built to a variety of scales, none of which were actually 16mm it is probably true that we are in a golden age for the availability of true 16mm rolling stock.

The catch is it just doesn't seem to suit the current garden. It isn't easy to articulate why. It is something aesthetic about the difference between seeing a railway in a landscape and it getting totally lost, combined with something practical about a garden where even the 7 1/4" gets derailed by nature, as well as being vandalised by chickens.

It isn't my first foray into 7/8ths, that was many years ago and unfortunately, my nascent line got nicked in one of the many house moves when I had things in storage.

So a little while ago I ordered the new Accurcraft Wren in green.





It might be 7/8ths, but it is still relatively small

I've got it booked in for lining and detailing, and I think this is the livery I'm going for:


Beacon Down was on the Heritage section, which this year had the theme of previous show award winners, and there were some gems




I got to the show quite early this year, and even when I left the Model of The Year competition table was sparsely populated, and, as in previous years, hard to photograph because of the light from the windows.




Needless to say, the other display stand that caught my eye was the 7/8ths scale one


The disappointment this year was the layouts. Indian Hills was as entertaining as always

But too many others seemed toy-like in conception and featured high-speed trains. Tony Hills' electric.

 Melin Llechi stood out as always






And for some reason, I have a soft spot for G3



The Garden Railways Magazine layout, built by Phil Parker in a day with support from the local Notcutts garden centre deserves a special mention. It might not be everybody's cup of tea, but the children at the show seemed to really appreciate it being at their level.