Sunday, March 26, 2017

Larger Scale show 2017


Second show of the weekend, this time just around the corner from me and for those interested on O gauge and above. 

To be honest, this is an event you go to because of the trade rather than the layouts. Portable projects tend to be less popular in garden scales and this year wasn't a vintage event in this regard.

Double Fairlie

That's not to say there is anything wrong with the individual models you see, it's just that the emphasis is very much at the front of the train. This means loads of beautiful live steam locomotives to drool over. In fact it's the smell of methylated spirits that hits you when walking in the door. 

Tradewiese, it's not bad. Were money no object, I could have left with a Garratt from Brandbright at £3500 and also IP Engineering's new basic train which can be yours, loco and 3 wagons in laser cut kit form, for £110. Lovely looking model too. As it was my dad found some figures for a model boat he is working on so that worked well.

No cakes for lunch, but a nice fish and chips so no complains there. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nottingham 2017

Nottingham show wasn't on my calendar this year but when BRM acquired a new editor and he expressed a desire to go along, I offered to chaperone him.

Andy isn't from our slightly weird world, he come from among other things, the world of video games. Possibly the only group who might be considered "odder" than railway enthusiasts.To BRM, he brings skills at making excellent publications. For railway modelling info, he has a gallant team, including me, who are supposed to know about this stuff.

This doesn't mean he isn't keen to learn and the visit to Nottingham was part of this.

We arrived to a car park bursting at the seams. With incredible good fortune we bagged the last space as someone left. Had we ended up on the park'n'ride, arrival would have been later as the bus running the service sprang a fuel leak just as the show opened and there was a delay while a second was summoned.

Inside was quieter than I expected, but mostly because of bus issues. It allowed me to introduce my new boss to Ian Futers behind his layout Lochty Road. If you need a first exhibitor to meet, Ian is a pretty good bet as he's been doing this for years.

Part of the plan was to chat to the trade and for this I managed to arrange an introduction to John and Pat at Greenscene. Here Andy had his first go at modelling with a tutorial on static grassing. The results were good so I'll leave him those bits on the layout.

To be fair, I assume it went OK. I was distracted by the Gee Dee stand opposite who had the new Airfix Quickbuild VW camper on sale. When I stopped trying to buy (no card machine so cash was mentally reserved) a fuzzy green patch was in evidence and I took a picture.

We carried on around the hall in this way - N Brass, Dart Castings, Ten Commandments, Cheltenham Model Centre - all were happy to meet the new man and fill him in on the way they see the hobby.

It was also a first look at layouts in the flesh. He's been out to a couple of home models but now we had a huge variety of exhibition versions. There was a lot of N gauge on show and one favourite was Mills Bridge.

Mills Bridge

Very much under construction, they have managed to build in a proper northern haze through clever colouring. A roundy-roundy, once circuit is 2mm finescale, the other N gauge. Don't think I've ever seen this before.

Much smaller, but very inspiring was the OO Ashbourne Midland.

Ashbourne Midland

This is MY sort of layout. 6ft long but with plenty of operating potential. I could imagine myself enjoying building this a lot and it wouldn't be out of reach for a moderately keen beginner. Normally operated from the front, at shows, the owner stands behind in the conventional manner.

In O gauge, there was some ingenious wagon loading.

Wagon loading 2

And if I hadn't left my programme in Andy's car (Hint: Don't leave it in you back pocket or it falls out on the way back to the station) I'd give you a name for the model. There was a nice Ford Railbus on it too.

Red velvet cake
One thing Andy had to learn is that the most important feature in any show is the catering. More specifically, the cake.

And that I have to take photos of the cakes or you lot get upset.

Despite being a leisure centre, food was pretty good. A cheese and tomato baguette with Diet Coke and red velvet cake for under a fiver. Not to be moaned about.

 The other exciting feature of any show is of course, the second hand stall. Again, there were looks of concern when I pounced upon an absolute bargain - a Zero One controller, slave and two chips.

All for £2!

I'd have bought the Airfix GMR version for £3 as well if I hadn't been worried about carrying them both home on the train. All the DCC would can want for a fiver? Who says this stuff is expensive?

All in all, a good day out. Since he was still at work a few days later when I went in for a meeting, Andy wasn't scared off so perhaps we are less odd than we think?

Lots more photos over on Flickr.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Off to Ally Pally

An early(ish) start for me today as I'm bound for Alexandra Palace for this years London Festival of Railway Modelling.

My plan is to load up the modelling board and as I did at Doncaster, spend the weekend chatting to people and occasionally making something.

In a first, I'll be taking a car full of layouts and hopefully, returning empty. The N gauge project is due to be picked up by some eager competition winners on Sunday so I've been doing a little work to make sure it's in good condition for them.

The early start is because we are planning to film a few sections for the "Extras" section of some future BRM DVDs, and possibly even something for RMweb. I'm pretty sure I didn't think I'd be the new Paxman when I started this job, but it seems that chatting to people in a low-fi way is popular.

I know there will be a good few new goodies to see, and loads of top quality layouts so look out for a fuller report next weekend.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

News from the partwork world

A couple of interesting bits of news from the partwork world. First, DeAgostini are releasing a Build your own Thunderbird 2 mag.

The series has been running in Japan and the only report I found says it is pretty good - but then that's on a Facebook group dedicated to Space 1999 Eagles so people there love sci-fi craft from the Anderson stable. 

Completion seems to be the usual 100 issues so budget for £800+ for the full set. 

The finished model is 54cm long, 1:144 scale apparently, and includes pods 3 and 4 plus an assortment of rescue vehicles. I'm slightly surprised that part 3 includes all of Thunderbird 4. The iconic submersible could have waited until later in the series I would have thought. FAB 1 is also in the set - did this ever travel in TB2 or is this publisher licence? 

DeAgostini have also started to release complete kits - older partworks available as a full set in one go. 

If you want a Japanese D51 2-8-2 in 1:24 scale and have £799 going spare, it can be yours in one big box. A brass and steel kit, 88 cm long for less than the price of 7 Heljan 4mm scale 1361 class tanks. OK, it's a chunk of cash, but not as scary as it might be when you are looking at models in this sort of scale. 

Interesting move to sell kits this way. Presumably the plan is to mop up a few unsold models and satisfy the people who don't want to wait two years to complete a project. 

Cars, boats, planes and trains are available from the website.  Fortunately, my bank balance won't stand me adding to my unbuilt kits pile in this way. If anyone from DeAgostini is reading though, one of the cars or a train would make a great project for this blog!