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Wednesday 16 April 2014

GBL Southern Schools 'Stowe'

Reports about the authenticity and quality of the 'Great British Locomotives Collection' part work issue 5,  'Schools' locomotive model are very encouraging so I decided to look out for one in the shops tomorrow.

I was not hopeful that my local village 'One Stop' shop would have it as I had not seen the previous issues there, apart from issue 1. However, I popped in this evening and was amazed to see one copy tucked away on the bottom shelf. It is now in my possession.

I had previously looked into motorising this static model having priced up a full chassis kit, wheels and motor and reckon in the end it may cost about the same as a good second hand  r-t-r model. So, the only reason for doing this is the pleasure derived from building a kit.

I planned to fit the Hornby tender drive unit from their 1980s model but the coal stack is much lower than the Hornby model so the drive unit will probably be too tall.

As soon as it was out of the packaging I set about disassembling it to see if a motorised chassis could be fitted. Despite removing the fixing screws the loco chassis would not come off and seemed glued in. So, to avoid damage I'll wait to see if someone else reports how to take it apart. The tender chassis was loose enough to remove.

For the time being it will be retained as a static model with a view to conversion later, if ever.

It is a very good model with fine detailing that would not look amiss alongside current r-t-r models but, there is one glaring fault. The smoke box door has been fitted 90 degrees out of kilter!

It has been lightly glued to the body. It can be prised off with care. What you need to do is locate the tip of a scalpel in the join and gently twist to break the seal. You may need to try a couple of places around the rim to find an area that is not glued.

Once the scalpel is in you then move it gently around twisting to release the entire door, which should pop off without damage.

The door can then be refitted correctly with the cosmetic hinges in the 3 0' clock position. (See photos in the accompanying magazine) There are two pips top and bottom on the body and two grooves on the door that need to be aligned, as shown with arrows in this photo.

A spot of glue needs to be applied to the join to stop the door falling off.

By the way, in this photo we can see the yellow lining does not line up where the two boiler halves meet. Just one of several very minor faults that cannot be criticised considering it is only £8.99, including an informative magazine about this locomotive class.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Crawley MRS Expo. 2014

Bit of a stretch to visit this exhibition in Horsham but with family living nearby the opportunity was ceased to pop in. A smaller number of traders and layouts to what we see at Basingstoke and Aldershot but still a good mix of gauges, eras and locations.

My favourite layout was Alton (00) because it was BR Southern Region Steam, is based on a real location and nicely modelled.

In reality railways are a thing of length. It is length that is compromised when building a home layout but here on Alton not an issue at all. It is very long with the countryside each side of the station being longer than the already long station complex. This resulted in prototypical long express and goods trains that took some time to traverse the layout. For the visitor It was like looking down on a real landscape from an aircraft. A single photograph cannot do it justice but here is one anyway.

Another favoured was a very small 009 layout mounted on a coffee table. It is called 'The Trench', a supply railway set on the western front during World War 1.

It is closely based on historical fact and whilst small was entertaining because of the approach taken by the owner in interacting with the public. He was keen to present, unprompted, the documented evidence for what he had modelled, drew our attention to cameo scenes on the layout and explained his techniques for scratch building just about everything including the modification of proprietary model people into different poses. Because of his interactive approach his layout attracted an enthralled audience who lingered a little longer than other small layouts may have experienced. A lesson for other exhibition layout operators perhaps?

Traders were a bit thin on the ground for variety of stock and I only obtained one of the items I needed, 12 x N gauge bicycles. I may eventually need 50. Why I need so many will become clear shortly on our other Blog.

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