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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Book a Bargain

I have been researching the Surbiton-Okehampton car carrier with a view to recreating this unusual and short lived train. This will be featured on my model railway website very soon.

During my research I was directed to the book 'Southern Branch Lines' by Martin Welch, which has a colour photo of the carriages at Okehampton. I was not inclined to buy the book just for one photo. But, this all changed upon visiting my local Garden Centre!

Like most large garden centres they stock much more than garden stuff these days and it is not unusual to find a bargain book stall there, quite often with a few generalised railway books. I was amazed to see there on the shelf the above named book. A single copy of this specialised publication marked up at less than half price!

Well, I thumbed the pages to find the photo of interest. I could have made a mental note of the details in the photo and left the book on the shelf but this 120 page book is filled with rare, high quality printed colour photos of scenes on Southern Branch lines from Kent to Cornwall, a god send for modellers who want coloured photo references so, I bought it.

Two points of note here. Firstly, be amazed at what you can find at your garden centre and secondly being able to browse a book in a shop before deciding to purchase beats what the Internet shops offer and yes, the book I bought was within a few pence of the Internet's best price.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

BNHMS expo review

rowlands castleJust returned from the BNHMS model railway show, which runs until 4pm tomorrow. The exhibition is spread over 5 large school rooms interconnected by a rabbit warren of corridors. I completely missed one of the rooms at last years show because of this, despite having a floor plan to hand. This year I made sure I found everything.

Trade stands were in abundance, especially RTR stock and kits. It only lacks the more specialist traders seen at shows like expoEM. I'm in the process of changing my Lima Mk1 coaches for the finely detailed Bachmann versions and managed to pick up a new MK1 SO in BR Green at a bargain price. Especially pleased about this as Bachmann themselves are currently out of stock!

As for the model railway exhibits there was a wide range of gauges, countries and historical periods on show. As a southern fan and partial to finely detailed landscapes the layout I most wanted to see was Rowlands Castle and it did not disappoint. Wartime Britain with military activities much in evidence. Finely detailed landscaping with military models including soldiers in various poses undertaking military manoeuvres.

Very few layouts were well lit and styled for display. Most were open with backscenes not much in evidence. One that stood out for public display was the EM layout 'Cornwallis Yard', viewed through its black proscenium arch with intense stage lighting. At each end the railway tracks exit stage with an unlandscaped, wide, circular sweep meeting at the rear open fiddle yard. To some extent they unfortunately dwarf the scenic model - more scope for landscaping there I feel.

The most surprising layout was the gauge 3 'Warton Road'. Not often do we see such large scale (half inch to the foot) for a table top layout!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Take a Length of Copper Wire

seatsThe platform seat on the right in photo. is a fair representation of an LSWR 9' bench commonly seen on stations throughout the Southern Region of BR in the 1960s.

The 4mm scale model was fabricated from thin copper wire hammered flat, each piece carefully formed with thin nosed pliers and soldered.

Holding it in a vice as each piece was added acted as a heat sink so that previously soldered parts were less inclined to desolder and fall off.

5 slats for the seat and three for the backrest with the topmost being deeper than the others. I feel that the front to back depth of the seat should be another mil. or two deeper.

Whilst I made this seat myself from tinned copper wire, you can buy an etched brass kit from this supplier.

The seat in front is an oddity. It can be seen in photos of Crewkerene Station from the 1950s to - well I photographed Crewkerne in the 1970s and it was still there! 5 slats for the base and 1 for the backrest. No arm rests and a less elaborate sub frame.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Retro Magazine Cover

february website coverModelling a historical period requires research and for me it has gone beyond the railway fence. I found myself studying early 60s clothes fashion when I set about making 4mm scale people and I looked into graphic railway poster design when I created my version of an 'Atlantic Coast Express' advertising poster of the period. My model railway website is styled in the form of a paper magazine so for March 2011 I changed the cover to reflect magazines of the late 50s, early 60s. My survey of model railway magazine covers was very disappointing. They seem to have completely ignored modern art trends of the time, being just a title and monochrome photo on a white or coloured background. Other hobiest magazines like woodworking or mechanics used artistic illustrations of the subject and it is this that I have mimicked for my website cover.
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