Saturday, December 10, 2016

Peterborough show seen by normal people

Most videos of model railway shows are shot by enthusiasts. Because of this, they tend to be heavy on the trains and don't really capture the essence of the event. 

This promo film by Warner's video people (the same ones who make the BRM DVD) is interesting precisely because it hasn't been shot by enthusiasts. Instead it shows people enjoying themselves and to my mind, catches the feel of visiting a show if you aren't a hard core model railway nerd.

It makes visiting a show look just as much fun as it really is. And yes, I can be seen in the background towards the end, but watch it anyway.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Sanding sticks

John asks:

Just a small question, if I may? Having read your article on BRM article "Horse Power" I see that you used a interesting abrasive stick (sanding stick) and I wonder where you may have obtained these. I have not come across them at Shows and I wonder if you use a particular trader.

This is embarrassing. I do my best to ensure that all the tools and materials I use for magazine articles are easily available, or that I can point people in the right direction to buy them. My sanding sticks came from a trader at the IPMS, and when I go looking for their details, I can't find the sticks on their website. It looks like these are a show-only product.

My initial suggestion to John was to try any abrasive stick from Boots - the sort sold for filing nails. I know John well enough to know that he probably won't have of these to hand, preferring a professional manicure at an exclusive high-class establishment.

But, At Warley, I found a suitable alternative. Albion Alloys sell a range of abrasive products including these rather nice sanding sticks. Each is 165 by 20mm, double sided and covered with a variety of grades of abrasive. They aren't as padded as the sticks I've used in the past so should go into small (3mm+) gaps as well. Less tearable when you accidentally sand a screw head or slightly exposed nail too.

Packs cost £5.00 and are available from model shops and trade. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

A big station, barns and little lorries in BRM

Stanford East Model

It's time for a new major project for me in the latest issue of BRM. A few months ago, I was introduced to a 4mm scale model of Stamford East station which had arrived in the magazine stores after being turfed out of the local museum when it closed. 

My task is to take the model and turn it into a layout. This isn't as easy as it sounds - first, this is a popular station with both OO and N gauge versions currently on the exhibition circuit. Second, it's half a metre long and really needs a 15ft long layout to do justice to the real trackplan. 

Like most modellers, my space is limited, in my case to around 6ft. What can I do to fit the model in this space AND make it look different from others people will have seen? You'll have to read the mag to find out.

Old stone barn

Staying with buildings, a project I've wanted to do for some time has finally come to fruition.Skytrex's excellent derelict barn casting is lovely as supplied, but what would it have looked like when new? And how did it end its life?

I've taken the model and built it four times - once when new, a couple of examples as it falls down and finally, a Grand Designs inspired barn conversion. 

Ruston Quays Road vehicles

Finally, I'm looking at the road vehicles to be seen on Ruston Quays. I'm a bit old skool in that I don't think the only place to acquire little vans and lorries is the diecast section of my local model shop. Nor do I think they should be left in fresh out of the box condition. I've shown how you can build an interesting selection for the layout, which will hopefully encourage others to do the same. 

Over on the DVD, I'm sitting out in the garden doing a bit of modelling. This time it's assembling resin buildings for garden railways. Just the job for winter!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Warehouse Wednesday: The NEC

Hall 5

One of the features I look for in this part of my blog is usefulness to modellers. One thing that is helpful, is to have a building so large,it forms a backdrop to a layout, saving the modeller from a 2D backscene. Large warehouses count, and so does the NEC.

Opened in 1976, the National Exhibition Centre can be found sandwiched between Birmingham International Airport, the M42 and Rugby to Birmingham railway line. As such, it's huge halls can be seem from the train.

Hall corner

The first halls were boxy affairs with concrete lower levels and gaudily painted corrugated steel sections above. A particular feature are the numbers with mock shading effect. 

Later halls, added in the 1990s, such as the one above are a more streamlined design with far cleaner fonts. Detail fans will like the use of vents painted red. There's quites a lot of pipework on the building and rather than hide this, they have made it almost sculptural, perhaps inspired by the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Access doors

Modellers will need to concentrate on the rear of the buildings rather than the public frontage. That means large entrance doors and lots of parking. None of this is difficult but it would be worth checking out some of the maintenance vehicles scattered around the site. Cherry pickers of various designs are popular, as are golf buggies used by staff to move around the site. There is even a fire station, although this isn't visible from the trains.

Hall 9

While a fair bit of compression would be required, I really could see this on a layout. Either scratchbuild the structures, they are plain enough to make this easy, or use some of the modern Wills kits intended for model shopping centres and industrial parks.