Monday, 7 November 2016

The Mystery of Magnificent Modelling (2)

But It Is An Old Man's Game!
And a wealthy old man at that! An off-the shelf locomotive with working lights, "genuine" sound (it sounds like the real thing!) and DCC control (don't ask) will set you back about £200. OUCH.
Even some of the coaches about to appear on the market are at ridiculously high prices. OUCH again!
Birdcage? The "normal" way the guard would observe the moving train was by looking through a sticky-our window on the side of his van.
But some railway companies added a lump to the roof ...
... which became known as a "birdcage". The guard could observe the line fore and aft much better from his perch and play with a hanging mirror as well (?).

Buying second hand on-line is a good way of saving money IF your supplier is reputable and has a realistic "returns" policy.

All this makes the large layouts on show at exhibitions quote breathtaking and wallet breaking. As a slight mitigation of the national-debt levels of finance requited, most big layouts are funded by a group of modellers. To avoid cluttering up their scenery, trains are usually hidden "off stage" until requited in a "fiddle yard".
Each train then chugs or rumbles through the scenic bit in turn to the obvious delight of the visitor and the unhidden pride of the modeller.

But such luxuries are just too much for fbb, so he looked more realistically at the smaller layouts. At last Saturday's Thormcombe exhibition there were several to note and enjoy. Here is one that didn't do a thing. It just sat there as a model railway piece of art.
These "dioramas" are an excellent way of (a) saving money (as "dead" engines can be cheap) and (b) learning all the skills needed to do something better. The purists might challenger a line operated by a Scottish diesel with a former Southern Railway lineside hut.
But who cares? It is a very pleasant model.

Equally natty was this little line.
Two independent "ovals" of track, purporting to be industrial lined serving a quarry and some sort of stone crushing plant; the whole model have a "footprint" not much more extensive than a large tea tray. It was to OOn9 standards. The models are 4mm to the foot as in a standard OO layout, but they are narrow gauge and run on "N" track with a gauge of just 9mm.
Peco makes a range of track and pointwork specially "unkempt" for such a model.

One model (possibly fbb's favourite?) was a meticulous model of a small (goods) yard.
Owners of such "shunting" layouts often enjoy setting themselves little puzzles. Each wagon has an index card; the operator shuffles this "pack" and deals out half a dozen at random. The puzzle is then to work out how to assemble a train that includes these selected trucks and send it off to oblivion "behind the scenes".

This particular beauty was special because it was owned and operated by a young man (shock horror) ...
... and a very non-committal non-pretentious name!

And finally, fbb recognises that even dyed-in-the-wool expert modellers can have a laugh and not take their hobby too seriously. The small layout at the model club that fbb attends (currently sporadically) is called Penhaven Quay.
John's model of the Penhaven Village is of proze-winning quality; but towards the end of the day, when most visitors had finished visiting some very strange trains rolled in to this tiny industrial branch!
Ever heard of a one-car pacer? Of course you haven't - it doesn't exist. The model was a cut and paste "imagining" and a joy to behold. Well done Terry!

But the last train to visit the branch was daftness in the extreme.
Yes, that's a Eurostar channel tunnel express passenger train which must have taken a wrong turning somewhere in the Waterloo area! Quite how the train managed to get to Cornwall with no electrical power is not explained.

But it was an enjoyable silliness and an example to refute the idea that all railway modellers are boring old **rts. Really, they are not.

Model Railway Exhibitions are held in great profusion all over the country and a visit will always entertain, amuse and generate wonder.

Why not pop in to one. You don not need to wear an anorak.

Tomorrow we return to reality - or is it?

 Next Stratford-upon-Avon Blog : Tues 8th Nov 


  1. Rules of this Model Railway layout
    1 The owner will run what he wants
    2 Refer to rule 1

    I always read your model railway blogs as I am both a modeller and bus enthusiast

  2. No doubt fbb saw it closer up- but the 'Scottish'loco looks as it could be a D63xx Type 2(i.e. diesel hydraulic rather than diesel electric) which would have been a common sight on West Country branches - many of which were inherited by the Western from the SR in 1963.

  3. You may be right, Dennis. I did not have time to look closely due to my onerous duties at the secondary pay desk.

  4. Andrew Kleissner7 November 2016 at 18:56

    Anyway, those lineside huts seem to have got everywhere - not only on the SR.

  5. The 'strange' trains that arrived at Penhaven Quay actually got through a portal in space-time located just inside the tunnel under the town..........quite easy really!