Monday, 29 September 2014

Not the Scaleforum News

This was going to be a photo-report on my first trip to Scaleforum.

Unfortunately cumulative flight delays to and from Amsterdam meant that by Saturday there was no way I could face another day of travelling. I was beginning to feel a bit brighter on Sunday, but so was the weather which persuaded me both to clean out the garden shed and to re-visit the saga of the baseboard legs.

Fairly quickly it became apparent that what I thought was a design fault I'd built into both pairs of legs was actually a constructional fault that only affected the one pair and which was quickly rectified with a hammer and a screwdriver.

That still leaves me with the problem of adding stability to a high and narrow baseboard that needs to be assembled around existing furniture in my home office, and which can standalone without the baseboard in place. I suspect I might be on a fools errand, though I have a couple of ideas to try out still.

I also found the time to assemble the Tim Horn laser cut baseboard kit I bought with the tramway layout in mind. Not that it needed much time, it just fell together with minimal effort on my part.

Now the baseboards I've already built for the Art of Compromise are OK, but I'm beginning to think Tim's might be a better bet for long term use, if only because they are deeper and the alignment between boards is so well thought out. My tramway plan might also need a bigger board if I adopt the plan so that the trams never need to reverse, avoiding the trolley pole and the driver position being out of synch.

The reason I built my own boards in the first place is because my slight variation on the design meant the turnout to the coal staithes siding would be right over a baseboard join if I used 3ft long boards.

But having rethought the design I think it works best as Roy first drew the plan, which means that 3ft boards aren't an issue. The trouble is that means returning to the arcane universe of Templot to make the revisions,

The photos feature one of my Airfix 14XXs. The good news is that the Ultrascale EM gauge wheelsets for it arrived last week. 

The bad news is today an email arrived from Mainly Trains to say they no longer stock the 14XX detailing pack, or the chassis to fit the GEM Cambrian 2-4-0T. 

Both bits of news are a very serious blow to my plans.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

An Afternoon in Cloud Cuckoo Land

Along with some quite serious discussions going on amongst the modelling blogs I follow I'm also having to get rather serious about work at the moment. In a good way, I should stress, because it is largely the result of some major successes, but serious all the same. So Friday, for instance, saw me heading off early in the morning for a trip by train that took in Manchester, Leeds, Middlesbrough, York and Birmingham,

I was really ready for some relaxation today, but work managed to intrude into the weekend as well. I did, however, find the time finally to visit the Emett exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Since the show closes tomorrow I really did leave it pretty late to go, but it was well worth it.

Other than in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the last time I'd seen many of Emett's creations was at the old Birmingham Ideal Home Show at the long gone Bingley Hall. It was great to see how happy they were making people with adults and children all enjoying the unadulterated fun of it all.

For some reason known only to myself not only did I forget to take my proper camera, but I also forgot to clean the lens of the one I did take. This was unfortunate because somehow I'd deposited massive great fingerprint on it. Oh well.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

"For The Dsypraxic Modeller"

There have been some interesting debates going on in the railway modelling blogsphere, or at least that part of it which I frequent, It is clear that many of us worry about the standard of modelling that gets promoted in the mainstream magazines, but also that we have different perspectives on what we should be trying to achieve. The one common factor, perhaps surprisingly, seems to be that many of us see the railway as ancillary to the big picture.

What seems to be underlying the debate is a desire to aim for the best possible visual outcome, and that to achieve that  outcome we need to challenge a lot of conventions, up to and including the premise that Pendon can do no wrong.

Which is great, and I 100% agree with it , except for the small but significant point that I'm dyspraxic.

What does that mean in practical terms? Well basically that I'm not practical. Simple things like cutting a straight line between two clearly marked points are incredibly difficult for me.

Building a point? You have no idea how many times I have to read the instructions, and how I struggle to combine different sets of guidance to achieve the same end.

Typing this blog? You might have noticed the number of typos, because quite literally my right hand doesn't know what my left hand is doing.

So is this an excuse for mediocre modelling?


Absolutely not.

Almost the opposite.

If you knew how much I struggled to carry out the most basic modelling activity you would understand how I feel about people who are lazy modellers.

I feel guilty that I've skirted around this issue until now so I'm going to be explicit about it going forward.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Kings Lynn

Over on Odd's Oracle Martin recently posted a rather fetching picture of an 04 at Great Yarmouth that just cries out to be modelled You can see a rather larger version of the picture here, along with a similar sort of scene from Dowlais that I suspect some of you will find hard to resist.

I think the Great Yarmouth scene has great potential for a boxed diorama as it stands. However it also put me in mind of two other layout plans I've seen.

One is based on Great Yarmouth itself and appears in the Model Railway Planning and Design Handbook. The other is a design by my fellow Apa Box modeller Ian Holmes and is based on a real location in Kings Lynn, though one that was never served by rail.

It is, of course, a complete and utter coincidence that I persuaded my beloved yesterday that there was nothing she wanted to do more than to visit Kings Lynn for lunch.

So here are some pictures of the location Ian had in mind.

And finally a gratuitous weathered warehouse door that was a little further along the quays

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

More on Hales

Since the shots of the OO9 layout seem to have been well received here is a little bit more about the layout.

Hales was effectively three dioramas that could be assembled into a single layout.

This didn't happen very often because for most of its existence the station and fiddleyard were in my flat in Bracknell whilst the other two boards were in the house in Herefordshire.

Ah yes, the "fiddleyard." The first thing about it which is obvious from the plan was that it was in the middle of the layout. What you can't tell from the plan was that it was actually a Dapol turntable. With the short trains on the line this worked better than you might think.

The layout was very firmly set in the Welsh borders. The station was supposed to be a mix  of  Llanfair  on the W&LLR and the Tanat Valley. The other boards were more heavily influenced by Roy Link's Crowsnest Tramway and were intended to be a mineral extension.

Given my miserable rate of progress evident on this blog it will shock you to learn that, whilst construction of the three boards was spread out over some time, each of them took just a weekend to build. One reason for that was that I had all the bits and pieces readily to hand. The house in Herefordshire had a large workshop that had originally been used to make musical instruments - the mandolin played by Mike Oldfield on Tubular Bells was made there - and that certainly speeded things up compared to today when it can take me an hour to unpack the things I need for a half hour modelling session.

The other aid to rapid construction was that I was using techniques that I knew inside out. Perhaps its age but every time I come to do something now it is like I'm doing it for the first time again. In those days I would build a rake of OO9 wagon kits in an afternoon.

I also had the motivation of needing somewhere to run those lovely Paul Windle locos. They might not be up to finescale standards but at the time they were a revolutionary step forward. Using plasticard meant they were much crisper than the lumps of whitemetal we were used to, as evidenced by the Chivers Bagnall, and he managed to convert the Bachmann dock tank chassis into an effective outside framed chassis.

Passenger and freight stock was the usual selection of kits available on the market back then. not in any photos is the solitary coach, which was a Parkside Dundas VoR bogie coach, and the larger wagins which were mostly from the W&LLR.

The engine shed was scratch built, but the goods shed was the standard Wills store with an added canopy. The station building was, I think a Heljan kit but I've never been able to find another one since.

Scenery was dreadfully conventional and the only point worthy of mention is that across the whole layout I tried to use a very limited palette of colours. Track was Peco, the last time I used it before starting to build my own.

Sadly the locos got "lost" in one of my many house moves around 14 years ago, and the boards themselves ended up in a skip at around the same time.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Turning the Corner

My to do list and my in box both look awfully full at the moment . Someone has just sneaked a quick trip to Bangalore into my diary the week before my holiday and I suspect I should be panicking about it, as well as looking forward to the prospect of another week when I get to spend more than 24 hours in a plane.

On the other hand I finished off the bulk of my Australian work on a call in the early hours of this morning and it does feel as if an immense weight has been lifted off my shoulders. So much so that I can actually contemplate doing some modelling for the first time in months.

In the meantime I dug out some old photos of my OO9 layout. It is odd but having worked in OO9 for years I currently don't feel any desire to model in it again.