Saturday, 27 September 2008

Scaleforum 2008

Today the East Yorkshire Area Group of the Scalefour Society made the 500 mile round trip to Scaleforum. A trip which was a very enjoyable one! And I didn't actually confirm I was going until late last night!

One of the features of the this year's even was the Society's Diesel and Electric Layout Challenge. The selection was very interesting with some excellent entries. It was quite nice to wander around and see my locos running on various layouts too! One of the locos has featured here recently. 37 501 can be seen at the top and and in the photo below - the latter is courtesy of Tim Easter and seen on Si Bendall's rather nice layout, Ravenscroft.

Nice to see one of my locos in its intended role!

Also on show today, on Brian Hanson's stand was a truly magnificent model, a Deltic by Chris Pendelton using Brian's bits and featuring his new bogies! This model, more than any other shows the direction in which D&E modelling should be heading. It also highlighted one problem with a number of the D&E Challenge layouts; far too many had locos which had simply been rewheeled and very little else carried out. Is this really in the scalefour or finescale 'ethos'? I really don't think it is.

One layout which was very much in this 'ethos' is Longcarse West by David Furmage. It's a wonderful depiction of a run down and rationalised yard.

The layout has some delightful little touches, especially with its permanent way. The removal of one of the yard's turnouts is a particular favourite of mine.

And finally, one layout whcih is bound to become legendary is Jim Smith-Wright's Birmingham New Street. This was the first time I have seen it 'in the flesh' and even the size of just a third of it is very impressive! Jim may be mad to attempt such a project, but it is very impressive indeed!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Getting Older

I think I'm starting to get old. I've found recently that I have spent a lot of what little spare time I have, often before bed, reading in the bath and other brief moments, reading books which cover the 'sectorisation' era of British Rail. In the same way my dad reads books about BR in the 'fifties and 'sixties, I too have found myself reading about what I remember from 'my youth'! In a couple of weeks I'm twenty five. Now for many who read what I post on here, I don't suppose that will seem old - it's not really I suppose, but a quarter of a century is a landmark nonetheless. I'm married and in my own house with a 'grown up' job! So life is pretty good! However, I do find myself thinking back to long summers and freight locos running around in many shades of grey.

To this end I have decided to satisfy this bout of nostalgia by building myself an RfD class 47. It won't be a high priority but should be something I can sort out and work on away from the workshop at home. I have a freshly stripped Lima 47 body all ready! For some, the use of a Lima model will, in itself, be a nostalgia trip!

It reminds me of one of the first diesel detailing articles I can remember, which appeared in ModelRail, before EMAP used the name for a totally different magazine... Andrew Donnelly was the author and he is responsible, I reckon, for so many people trying this diesel modelling lark. The articles were always well written and the models were superb. The other supplement in the photo was, as far as I can remember, the first article where I tried what was described in it!

Although the magazines are fifteen years old now, they are still a wonderful source of information for 'modern' modellers - of course when these issues appeared the subjects were very much current. There are, in some ways, 'of their time'. This isn't a criticism, but an observation, and very much a positive one at that. We are spoiled for choice with the parts we can get now - Brian Hanson's range of parts shows just how good we have it - but then diesel modellers were very much the poor relation and these articles show just how much was left to the modeller's own resources.

My 'nostalgia trip' 47 won't need too much in the way of extras, I will, however, make use of the Heljan Class 47 bits which can be had from Howes. I will of course update you when it makes any progress, though it will be taking very much a backseat as all things North Eastern are my current priority!

Friday, 19 September 2008


Life isn't always easy...

You may have noticed that I haven't updated my blog for a little while - it all seems to have been rather hectic recently! Someone ran into my car while I was waiting at traffic lights as I mentioned a little while ago. Accidents happen, but the other driver's dishonesty is making the process very slow (he gave false/inaccurate details at the scene but thankfully my insurers have traced him). Not having a car does make you realise how much you come to rely on them, especially with such irregular hours! Anyway, life continues, albeit in a slightly different way!

I've been catching up with a few things lately, one of which has been this -

It's based on the 'older' Class 56, a Dapol example in this case. It still requires handrails, windscreen wipers and couplings but we're just about there... The main work was the painting and weathering - something which can make or break a model. Very little is needed with this model, unless you want to rebuild the underframe details to add more depth.

I was very pleased with the contrasting roof panels, where the repaired panel's new paint stands out next to the loco's faded roof. Hopefully its new owner will like the result.

I find it strange how this 'old' model does far more for me than 'new' version which I described previously (though the 'new' model in triple-grey does look much better!). So maybe the old body on a new chassis would provide a nice combination with the right look and superb chassis and running qualities? Or perhaps I am just complicating matters?

Either way, there's still a lot of potential to assemble an accurate fleet of grids using bits from a whole variety of sources.