Back in 2001 I joined The Scalefour Society. I can't remember exactly just what particular thing got me to join, it was more a general swaying towards the standard of P4 which I think got me to this point. Helped by seeing some excellent layouts in P4 at shows and, in particular, at Scalefour North. My initial ideas for my own layout were quite different from my thoughts now. Firstly there was an East London based based layout (supposing that the Great Northern had built a line East of Kings Cross - I had already made a start on this in 00 which has lead me to looking more closely at track and it's construction) and 'something' in the North East influenced by the Consett iron ore workings.
It was this latter project idea which gave rise to my first locomotive in P4. A simple conversation of a Bo-Bo diesel where I could use Gibson wheels (which would arrive by next day delivery!) And I would have a working loco in P4. And the conversation was very quick indeed! Quicker certainly than when I converted a Hornby 25 using Gibson coach wheels in 00! I had found a photo of D5103, one of the type converted for the Consett workings - the nose mounted air pipe being the most noticeable external modification. The locos retained these after they had ceased to work the Consett train and had been transferred to other areas.
Very soon I had a loco which could trundle up and down the short length of 18.83mm track I had quite happily. And in line with my other diesels, I started 'meddling'! Actually I probably took this further than I might have done normally at the time. I was now modelling in P4 after all! And yes I know that sounds a little bit smug, but it's not intended to be - i it was more the thought of pushing wheels and track meant I wanted to push other areas of my modelling. The Scalefour Society had, even in 2000, a very good website. Being completely honest, this was a big selling point. Being able to read about and see modelling on the society's site gave it an edge over The EM Gauge Society whose website was incredibly basic at the time. Did this swing me towards P4 rather than EM? Probably not as some of my main influences have been in P4 - Chris Pendlenton's North Shields in particular - but it did allow my fascination and desire to model in P4 to grow rapidly.
Around this time I was just starting to undertake commissions for various people, all diesel and electric locos, and the class 24 was used to experiment a little. So it had a chance to experiment. I had seen Paul Moore's class 25 in one of the various editions of Scalefour News I had received upon joining the society. So I scratch built the fuel tank and battery boxes - compared with my recent class 25, very basic but at the time I was very pleased! As the commission work progressed, the model of D5103 proved useful as it showed a mix of materials and parts being used so it remained unpainted. A levels came and went, as did University, life, girls and things and at the same time interests changed and it wasn't long before any sort of project based on the workings which fascinated me around Consett workings would require far more space than I had available. So the loco ended up on a shelf and stayed there. So what to do with it?
I do feel it deserves something - finishing perhaps as it stands. Or even benefiting from a few more recent parts but keeping at its heart the project which kicked things off fifteen years ago.
But it throws up an interesting question - since I did this, Phil Suttons' SLW company have produced a very decent looking Class 24. Does a new model make an old favourite redundant? With a new model available, is it even worth finishing a model which I know has major shape and fidelity issues? Time is always a factor but is it worth finishing a model like this after so many years of sitting on a shelf?