Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Mystery of Magnificent Modelling (1)

fbb "Out and About" at Thormcombe
Thorncombe is in Dorset, but it is nearly in Somerset and nearly in East Devon. Every year the village "Rail Activities Club" holds a model railway exhibition where fbb was on duty yesterday. The old man was "at the receipt of custom" taking admission money. fbb has only been a member for two years, so is not yet qualified to handlr the big crowds in the splendid village hall ...
... so takes the dosh from those who start off in the village school round the back.
Trade is not brisk, so fbb can trot off and observe the exhibition and its visitors.

Now, occasionally in the past, readers of this blog have admitted that they do not read the model railway pages (shame!); but hopefully this post will look at wider issues.

It is very true that a majority of the customers were gentlemen of "mature years" ...
... but there were notable exceptions. Two ladies walked past the desk discussing excitedly a small but beautifully built tram layout.
Three trams whizzed round an oval pf track stopping and starting automatically but immersed in some exquisite houses and village appurtenances. The ladies were impressed.

They then moved on to another richly glorious model based on Halton Quay near Caltsock on the River Tamar.
These days, the real Halton Quay is a bit of a non-event.
The modellers have taken the quay today, bereft of activity ...
... and re-imagined it as a busy mini-harbour with a small industrial railway carrying limestone to (or from?) waiting boats. The two "lady modellers" were, once again, impressed ...
... as they eagerly consulted their exhibition guide. Disappointingly, when they chatted to fbb, they revealed that they were there to support their respective "better halves" who were exhibiting; "but they models are really very good," they advised before moving on to the rest of the show.

This lad ...
... was helping to operated a 2 millimetre "fine scale" layout called "Welton Down". For non-modellers the 2 millimetre bit means that each foot on a real full sized train is represented by 2mm on the model. Everything is tiny!
The little blue diesel shunter is barely 1½ inches long. But the layout is huge, with dozens of long trains in operation; the complete opposite of Halton Quay. (click on the pic for an enlargement)
The young man in question later visited the rest of the exhibition pausing to smile at the poster for November's talk to the club. It turned out that the young operator's chum bore the same (real) name as the pseudonymous fbb! Anyway, No 2 lad was wearing a British Rail staff work coat and he kindly modelled it for the camera.
"Yes," said lad no. 2 with obvious pride, "and if you turn it inside out it is then hi-viz!"

It was.

"And I have quite a few pieces of railway clothing," he vouchsafed with not the slightest touch of nerdiness. A genuine railway modeller!

Another grandfather had brought his two grandsons, the older of which explained to your aged author that he had bought two wagons, one of them being an ancient Tri-ang drop sided truck as featured in a previous fbb blog (read again).
This youngster (aged 8-ish) was unimpressed when fbb explained that the model dated from the late 1950s. But the boy did explain that his layout was not run by electricity just push-along; and that grandpa was building a "garden room" and he would be helping granddad with his new layout.

One layout impressed fbb very much indeed.
It was called Marsh Junction. Was fbb impressed with the working lights? Was fbb impressed that the locomotives were fitted with realistic sound, lights and DCC control (don't ask!)?

Not at all. It was the "rubric" attached to the boards. It said "we have started late in the hobby and this is our first attempt at a layout; it is far from perfect but we have had, and continue to have, great fun. We have learned a lot."

This "less than perfect" layout was attracting some of the largest watchers-on at the show and it certainly encouraged el chubbo to persevere in his Bodgitt and Cobble style of modelling.

And very few of the visitors wore anoraks!

More on the modellers' skills tomorrow.

There is one interesting building on the shore at the full-sized Halton Quay (and not on the model!).
The local history of the quay has its origin in religion, as it was here in the 7th century that Irish Saints Intract and Dominica landed and brought Christianity to the area. In  commemoration of this there is a small chapel on the quay, where open air services are regularly held in the summer months, at the instigation of  the local parish priest of St.Dominic.
A small hut on the model stands in roughly the same place.

 Next model blog (plus) : Monday 7th November 


  1. In the absence of any other comments, I thought I would mention that I enjoy your model railway blogs as well as (most of) your bus blogs. Regarding the 2 ladies who were supporting their better halves ( I wonder if that was their actual description!) that is indeed an achievement - couldn't get my "better half" to come to a bus event even if I promised her a world cruise.

  2. Andrew Kleissner7 November 2016 at 18:58

    I'm intrigued by (and very much approve of) the presence of Lisbon trams in the model!