Monday, 10 August 2015

Tribute to J F Rimmer

 Model railway blog postponed from yesterday 
 due to extended coverage of the Mendip Mule 

No! Not That Rimmer
Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie) from Red Dwarf

It all began when fbb and Mrs gave a lift to their neighbour and cat-sitter who was working part-time in bus-less Colyton on a recent bank holiday. The fbb's, rather than using precious fossil fuels to dash home for sustenance, decided to partake of luncheon at the Tramway caff.
Freshly cooked to order ...
... ham egg, chips and a mugga served to stave off the pangs of hunger for an hour or so. Whilst idling away a few minutes until pick-up time, fbb poked his nose into the former milk shed.
Here were displayed old magazines on offer for £1 each as a donation. And what did fbb espy, but some vintage Railway Modeller magazines. See "Hornby, Trix, Triang and Bricks" (read again).
From the mists of antiquity, 56 years ago, fbb's agile mind remembers an article by J F Rimmer. Basically, Mr Rimmer embraced the newly introduced Airfix range of model railway building kits with a passion that induced near hero-worship in your 14 year old blogger-to-be.

What JFR wrote about was how to take various bits of Airfix kits and glue them together to make something quite different from the originals. In this edition he used a filling station, bits of a signalbox, a section of station platform and some railings from a control tower ...
... to make ...

Well have a guess.

Another Rimmer project which fbb remembers was to use several station kits (six, possibly) ...
... to create a three storey Lowryesque woollen mill. fbb and chums were wont to joke about Mr Rimmer's predilection for chopping and gluing along the lines of, "J F Rimmer's taken a church, two cottages, a water tower and a footbridge kit to make an 00 scale gents loo." Chortle chortle.

Actually, you can buy an 00 scale gents loo in painted resin ...
... for only £13. Only!

In fact the Rimmer projects, which seem ludicrously cheap at 2/- (10p) or even 3/- (15p) each kit, were actually quite costly in those pre-decimal pocket-money days.

But in his wealthy old age (you must be joking!), fbb has returned to his childhood roots and built a carriage shed using five Airfix (now Dapol) platform canopy kits ...
... two chunks of plywood and a lots of extra bits and pieces. For the record, the platform canopy kit now costs not 15p but £6.45. That's £32 quid for a start!

The tale of this example of Rimmeresque kit-bashing creativity will be told in a later blog (bet you can't wait?) but for now fbb can reveal what the kit-meister fantastic made with the bits listed above.
A coaling stage. For those too young to remember steam railways, you pushed some trucks filled with coal up a ramp, then used some sort of crane to transfer the pressure-crushed ancient treen into the coal bunker of the loco, parked helpfully at a lower level. Clever, eh?

The bulk of the model was rwo wiggled service station kits ...
... with platform kit (obvious?), plus steps from a signalbox (OK?) and railing poles from the control tower. It made a mighty expensive and not terribly realistic model. This is what a real coaling stage looks like.
Or you could have the basic cut-down version at the end of a country branch line.
Or the even more basic version as here on the Bala Lake Railway!
It would seem likely that the plastic promoting progenitor of such delights may well have shuffled off this mortal coil; but fbb salutes the inventive spirit that inspired many a railway modeller of the late 50s and whose influence has encouraged fbb today.

Let us now praise famous men, Rym-Ah and his generation. 
He hath wrought great glory through his magnificence from the beginning. 
Such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power,
and endued with their wisdom, shewing forth the beauty of air fixed, 
And guiding the present people, and by the strength of wisdom
instructing the people in most careful words. 
Such as by their skill created magnificent artefacts,
by published  learning in the scrolls.

The above quote, from a little-known version of the non canonical Book of Sirach chapter 44 verses 1 to 5 (written c. BC 145), aptly prophesied the 1959 oeuvre of the great man.

 Next bus blog : Tuesday 11th August 

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