Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Little Further Along

So yesterday I posted a photo of the J21 tender which I've been building from the Dave Alexander kit and today is how the loco is currently looking.

The chassis is from 52F Models and for the most part is very good - although this is intended for EM rather than P4, so will be a tad narrow but I knew that when I started. My only concern is how prominent the gear box is - hopefully once the splashers are in place this will be much less noticeable. Hopefully this will be worthy exchange for the smoothness which the drive train promises!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Tender Moment

Just a little teaser...

I've been off work this week - it's only the second time since I left uni and started working in the real world that I've been off work (the Tami-flu incident doesn't count - that was people panicking more than anything else!). During this time I've managed to get on with on of the locos for Botanic.

Based around a Dave Alexander J21 kit and a 52F Models chassis kit, it's come on in leaps and bounds this week! I sometimes think that whitemetal kits can look a little plain and, almost, simpler than brass alternatives in their unpainted forms. Even, perhaps, very much appearing to be the poorer relations, but the ability to quickly erect a superstructure does have much appeal. And Dave Alexander's castings are very good and can be built as they come with few problems, but if you spend time preparing the castings to make full use of their potential, the can form the basis for something really special.

And if you have whitemetal kits to build, it's worth getting a copy of Iain Rice's book Whitemetal Locos: A Kitbuilder's Guide. It's still an excellent guide to how to get the best from whitemetal locos.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The 'New' BRM

British Railway Modelling has a new look! However, the new look appears to be the same look which Model Rail has had for a while...

The original announcement was made on RMweb, and it didn't exactly go well... A lot of people have a real loyalty and affection for 'BRM' and this was made clear with their views and how they were expressed. I was accused having a "(very) predictable 'anti' approach". I am clearly very 'anti' BRM, with a complete collection of the magazine stretching back to the first issue from 1993!

But leave aside the attitude of one of Warners' staff members, the 'new' BRM is little different from the old BRM. A few more bright colours which remind me of old GCSE textbooks have been added - along with 'FACT FILE' boxes and other similar things. The cosmetic changes are very obvious, but the content is very good overall! Phil Parker seems to be a great addition to the magazine. Anything aimed at getting people actually modelling cannot be a bad thing! These articles are very well presented - I hope that BRM will develop the idea to taking the basic kits a little further. Personally I think they need to bring back Ian Fleming to write about modelling wagons, which could take the article on wagon building by Phil Parker even further!

Only a couple of negative points. I still feel that many photographs within the magazine, are too heavily processed which can lend a rather un-natural look to models. The other problem I have, and to me this is a major one, is the choice of font. It's terribly thin and hard to read. I'm dyslexic, and for the most part I can get by (and this blog was originally to force me to 'write'!) but when thin, condensed typefaces are used it can be very difficult. And where this type continues over photographs it can be almost impossible to read. Which does spoil the experience somewhat...

If any Warners staff read this I would urge them to review their choice of typeface in future BRM issues.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Scaleforum 2013 - Postscript

I'm rather proud of myself - my model of 31171 won the Locomotives class in The Chairman's Cup at Scaleforum. A model which was predominately RTR bits, was considered alongside kit and scratch built steam locos. It shows how far diesel modelling has come along and how it's now regarded. When I put a class 37 (a hugely modified Lima body with correct tumblehome and a chassis which used Hornby class 50 bogies with a new motor, etc., etc...) in the competition (around 2005 I think), it was only allowed into the modified RTR category, not the full locomotive one!

I certainly think that The Scalefour Society is very much moving in the right direction and is a very relevent and vibrant group which supports good modelling regardless of the subject matter.

There's more about the model here - Project 31.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Scaleforum 2013

Scaleforum has moved; Aylesbury is now the venue for The Scalefour Society's premier show after many years at Leatherhead. For those of us who travel from the far north it means we no longer have the M25 to endure!

The new venue is undoubtedly different from before – Leatherhead was quite cramped in many respects, but this lead to quite a distinct atmosphere. Much like Burton-upon-Trent's Town Hall has for DEMU Showcase over many years. However Stoke Mandaville Stadium allowed much more room which at first made it seem much quieter but in reality it was that there was just more space for everyone. This didn't result in quite the same almost 'electric' atmosphere as before but it was refreshingly laid back. The space also meant you weren't likely to knock someone balancing their food and purchases while you tried to move from the layouts to the demo area!

Despite being the Scalefour Society's main show, a guest society always adds to the mix. In some years this is a scale which is some way removed from 4mm finescale. However this year, the inclusion of the specialist interest which is P87 (exact scale H0 in essence) provided quite a nice way of looking at a standard not too far removed from members' own interests. And I'd even go as far to suggest that the Danish P87 layout was one of the best layouts to appear at the show! Geraint Hughes' Obbekær is simply superb. The concept of the layout is quite simple; a rural station in a small space. But despite the small area which the model occupies, it appears much larger and very spacious thanks to the subtle colouring of the scenery.

A more conventional subject was Blackgill - BR transition in the North East. I think it was the three and a half hour journey on its own! Quite a substantial layout with plenty of big engines hauling quite long trains! The whole scene is very railway-like and shows quite an everyday scene; no glamour and no twee-ness. I particularly liked the signal box.

And speaking of signal boxes, the signal box on Allt-Y-Graban Road was superb! It's a hideous structure, a type the Western Region favoured as it had the ability to be re-erected in another location. The style of the building does make a lovely subject for a model.

A wonderful part of the show was finally meeting one of my 'modelling gods'. I've admired Iain Rice for a very long time and have, I think, the majority of the books which he has written. His style is very readable and has inspired a generation of finescale railway modellers. And thankfully, he was a nice bloke too! And this is always a worry when you meet someone you've long admired as years of admiration could be destroyed in an instant! Thankfully this wasn't the case at all!