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Sunday 8 February 2015

Febex - Alton MRC - 2015

I visited this show for the benefit of my little brother (age 59). He only recently opted to become one of us and still has a lot to learn. He is keen to use DCC and since there was a lecture on this at the show I suggested we should attend. Thinking the lecture would only be about half an hour I said I would go around the stands and dip into the canteen whilst he went to the lecture. Well, it lasted an hour, which I guess highlights the complexity of the subject, and I found myself kicking heels and spending more time than usual studying the layouts.

One in particular drew my attention -  Harton Gill, an 18.83 P4 scale industrial scene. A fictitious location with expertly crafted industrial buildings that could be mistaken for copies of the real thing (or maybe they are, I'm not sure). Our own Thornycroft layout is an industrial scene, which is another reason I was attracted to Harton Gill. The thing about heavy industry is the amount of clutter that it generates around the complex. Every inch of Harton Gill had details worth examining, which reminded me that we have some way to go in this for our own layout.

Just look at the work that has gone into clutter at Harton Gill. No wonder it won best in show and is my personal choice too.

A nice aspect of Harton Gill is the elevation. The track work ran over three levels but the height between levels are small allowing gentle track gradients, nothing abrupt, which made it quite realistic. It is a good ploy because it lifts the layout into the Z plane making more interesting viewing from front to rear and would work well for a layout that is even deeper.

Two more layouts that appealed to me were Nine Mills, N gauge. Another layout with many fine details to hunt for, this time spread across open countryside.

Leavesden, 7mm modern image. I feel intimidated by 7mm  because of its size. If you are used to working with a magnifying glass in the smaller scales then O or 7mm can be a bit overwhelming. You cannot get away skimping on detail in the larger scale as weaknesses here will be noticed. Leavesden passed scrutiny in this respect.

Trade was disappointing again in not fulfilling my needs. So, it was off to the well renowned Alton Model Centre nearby, an emporium of great variety, were I came away with the Peco N chassis kits and 12 bicycles to complete a couple of projects for our Thornycroft layout.

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