Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Soldering people

File this one under "Things most people probably do but it's only just occurred to me."

Needing to both assemble and modify a 7mm scale "Heroes of the footplate" figure, I decided to fire up the low-melt soldering iron and fix him together with something other than superglue. 

Why haven't I done this before? It's a heck of a lot easier than using glue - the solder fills the gaps around the arms and more importantly, it's very, very fast. Within 5 minutes, all the bits were in place, including the ones I'd broken off when trying to re-position the legs by clamping them in a vice and shoving the rest of the body hard. The joins were good enough that I could file chunks off the bottom of the feet for final fitting in place. With a coarse file.

A little filler around that leg and he is good for paint. Next time, I'll remember and put the glue away.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Looking for family members? Try a model railway!

I'm appearing in a new (to me) magazine this month - Family Tree Magazine is the read for those interested in genealogy and discovering who their relatives were.

My piece explains how while researching my model of the Hellingly Hospital Railway years ago, I made contact with many people who were involved with the line including both the driver and his grandson.

More recently, members of my local club are researching Kineton station and making real efforts to get out to meet people and track down as much local history as possible.

A well-researched model railway can be a historical document in itself. You'll even find that there is far more material than was used on the layout, I have a find of stories about Hellingly and asylums in general passed on to me by visitors to shows. Just the thing if you are researching your own backstory.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Doncaster 2017

Tool chests

Last weekend, the workbench moved to Doncaster racecourse for The Festival of British Railway Modelling. Rather than take a layout this year, my plan involved doing some modelling and showing off many of the projects I've built for BRM over the last year or so. Some of these haven't been seen anywhere other than on the pages of the magazine so it's nice to get them on a stand for people to have a proper look at, and occasionally , poke and prod.

As you've seen this week, I managed to stick a few bits of Wickham trolley together. Not much, but then that's the point. I was there to chat and I certainly did that! It was 3pm on Saturday before I got a few minutes break. Generally it all went pretty well. Perhaps the gent who landed with a thump on the chair in front and just stared at me obviously waiting for me to entertain him wouldn't have been missed, but mostly there was questions and discussions that we all really enjoyed.

Along the way I filmed a little chat with Paul Isles from Hornby which will appear on a future DVD. We talked about the Peckett and newly arrived Merchant Navy. Oddly, it was the former he was very keen to keep an eye on!

Cakewise, rubbish. I was prepared with a lunchbox filled with my mum's chocolate cake and pretty much proved you can live on it between breakfast and the evening munch. I need to try harder next year.


Elsewhere, the show was another good one. No space filling layouts and several that will be stars for many visitors. The final outing of East Lynn is a highlight and I've always enjoyed this S scale model.

Bishop & Sons

I managed to spend time with my camera and shot all the interesting corners of layouts that I enjoyed. It was a good year for detail and I spotted loads bringing the models to life.

Trade was also good. There are box-shifters but also a reasonable selection of specialists. Needing some 0.7mm wire, I had a choice of 3 vendors, not always something you can claim. Mind you, the first thing I bought was a 4mm scale resin model boat!

In a first for me, I left with less boxes than I arrived with. My O gauge halt diorama has now gone to to become part of the Polak display for future shows. Since most of the scenic material came from them, I'm pleased they like it enough to offer it a home. 

If you came along to say hello, and I know several blog readers did, thanks very much. Next time, bring some cake!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday Film Club: Hover Rover

I'm reading a very interesting book on the history of hovercraft at the moment. My Internet browsing history will reflect this as despite the respectable number of photographs, I still feel the need to find more on-line. 

One of the weirder machines shown is the Hover Rover - an unholy coupling of a hovercraft and Landrover. 

Apparently, despite the commentary on the film, the resulting machine wasn't a great success. Off-road, a standard landie is still better. Also quieter I suspect. 

The 3 machines converted were apparently returned to the factory, put back into standard spec and then sold. It's just possible some or all of them survive somewhere just waiting for an enthusiast to restore them back to interesting condition with a aid of a big hair drier or two...