Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Right on track...

In the last post (and apologies for the paucity of posts lately) I mentioned my scenic bits and bobs going on my slot track.  Well, I tried to lay out a track in Airfix sections, but it wouldn't connect properly, so I tried with Scalextric, but that was rusty and the joints wouldn't make good contact, even after a clean, so I made the decision to rout a track in MDF and make my own.

I bought a sheet of MDF and divided it into three boards that would run round my shed walls. Then I laid out a reasonably interesting track in pencil.  The joints between the boards were strengthened by having a kind of tongue and groove affair built in the ends.  Then the fearful job of routing begun. In fact, it went smoothly, using templates made from left over MDF and even some 5mm Foamex, so all the bends were progressive, rather than geometric.  Nothing on a slot track is worse than a bunch of geometric Mickey Mousery on the corners. None of that here, thanks.

Having routed the three boards, I dug out the emulsion paint tester pots and painted the slots, to seal them, then the main track areas, blending the cream colour with the still wet grey for a bit of visual texture and finally detailed round the edges with a broken white line, grassy areas and a bit of good ol' mud. This is Britain and a race track. There has to be mud!  A few asphalt repair patches were put on in black.  The idea is to recreate one of the sprint courses that we have in England, where there are no pits or fancy facilities, no grandstands, just a control caravan and a few marshals' posts, a toilet/wash block and maybe a cafe hut.  The odd hedgerow and maybe even a tree or two, but few people.  An old breakdown truck just off the track in case of a slow speed crash. Nuttn' happens wildly fast on a sprint track.
Somebody saw the photo and said it looked like the club circuit at Brands Hatch. I never realised, but any track going round three walls of a shed will tend to look like that.

I have all the electrical bits ready, but no idea how to connect them all!  Somebody will set me straight.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Go where you're welcome...

I can't help it. I tried to be nice to them, honest, but model railway people...Jeez. Fussy farts, kit snobs, Mummy's boys. That's what I found on the whole with just a few exceptions and so, finally, I gave up on them. My scenic bits will be done just for me when it's raining. The rest will go on my slotcar track.  Caffs, marshalls' huts etc.  I have a lot of slot cars to build and the people involved are so much friendlier. And let's face it a blast round a track is so much fun.  Then there's the developmental side. Trying to design and build a chassis that works better than another.  I spend a lot of my time making stuff for friends and myself, to be cast by friends, so it makes sense to just stick to the one Winter hobby and maybe keep a few boats for the Summer.

I currently have all sorts under way.
The wee Peugeot 206CC, the real one of which we have just swapped for a more practical Suzuki Swift. A Lloyd Lewis re-pop from a diecast.
Lola Mk 1 by AA Bodies after I'd remastered it for him
 I was asked to turn an old but very excellent Jaguar XK 120 kit into a FHC, so I made a new "lid" for it and my son, Bazz (Monster Racing) cast some in resin.

And so it goes. LOTS and lots of slot cars to build. Every time I do a pattern I get at least one copy which has to be done as a slot car.  Fortunately I've made space in the shed for a small track so I can test them all.

More anon.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

A day or so away...

As the Sun comes up, early morn, over a mirror still, mist shrouded Deben estuary, one has to wonder just how many less than attractive, dark blonde, pony-tailed, thirty something, fat-arsed females can be mustered to action in a small Suffolk town better known for its boutiques and coffee shops.  Hordes of these almost clonelike, sometimes reluctant looking, sometimes just plain knackered looking victims of fitness fashion came by at around 7 in the morning. Bright, but chilly was the day.  They, almost all in tip to toe black relieved by trendy shades of grey on the leggings, hauled over lumpy shapes were universally unsmiling. Some with heads back so far they must at some point bump in to things. Arms studiously cranked into their sides.  But some appeared to have legs which had no need of knees, so stiff were the strides.  Some must have watched old films with matrons yelling "high knees rising" as they dashed along like dressage horses on acid.  All of them, sporty-looking, reluctant-looking or just plain bloody laughable were, it seems, engaged in laps of some unknown circuit of pain and discomfort.  Maybe they go out so early, so that can still get out to Sainsburys in their BMW Bird Boxes later, while their spawn are at dance/Judo/horsey/Rugby lessons.  Maybe their (obviously forlorn) hope is that they will improve their appearance to keep hubby away from secretaries.  No chance.  Does that backside come with running or is it the main reason FOR the running?  They all have one.  Large and lardy, it really should be hidden from view, not squeezed into unflatteringly tight black (why, always, damnable black?) gym clobber.  Oddly they will also then be seen with David Beckham-style gold trainers or whatever the latest term for their footwear is.  I notice ancient cyclists wear shoes so odd they appear to be plaster casts of someone else's feet!

In Tesco's, where there is, horror of horrors, a gym, a 24 hour gym (can it get any worse?), while decent folk shop, a steady stream of fat, ugly, sweaty women clutching a bottle of water in one hand and mobile 'phone in the other, slop through the shop, leaving a foul mistral of unnecessary effort in their wake as they don't shower till they get home, so their Bird boxes must be rank by now.  Why, if you are that podgy and that well, just simply ugly are you wasting money joining a gym?  Nobody's looking, love. Get showered, get changed and get out so that ordinary unshowy folks can fill the pantry. Unnoticed, not in anyone's way and not, above all, waving some slab of envy around with a selfy of their fat backsides installed as the latest wallpaper.  How I wish some jester would have injected their precious water bottle with a powerful laxative or nemetic, just to teach them a lesson.  Something to smear on the leather seats of their Beemer Bird Box, efficiently spread about by two large cheeks of flesh, barely constricted by acres of Lycra.
If you want to shop, woman, SHOWER in the gym first!  Don't push your way between nice folks with your Klevafone waving before you. NOBODY WANTS TO KNOW!!!

Friday, 8 February 2019

Or, alternatively...

You could make it in brass!
A while back, I made the 1/6th scale master pattern for the Vincent Black Shadow.  I decided because of its "sculpted nature I would make the engine cases in Ureol, a plastic modelling board now beloved of pattern makers. As it's plastic of a sort, it would need to be put in low temperature silicon moulds with no pressure.
What I eventually got back from Griffin Moulds in Birmingham was a bag of Ureol dust with some bits of brass and photo-etching.  No e-mail, no apologetic phone call, no letter of explanation.  Instead they actually sent me an invoice!!!  I told them, naturally, to go to Hell. Whether the client paid them I don't know.  But I have had to remake the model.  And in brass, so there is no crap about which moulds to use.  All I asked for was that they used a deeper than usual silicon mould for the Ureol parts. This they clearly never did, but just stupidly banged the plastic into a high temperature, high pressure, vulcanising black rubber mould.  And never found the guts to admit it.  They instead got their female apologist to contact me for money. 
Now I am very anti violence to women, but if a woman agrees to do a man's job, I'll treat them as a man, so don't get all defensive on me love. If your stupid company fuck up and you defend them, I will treat you as a stupid man.  I've heard nothing since!

It turns out that with little exception I could approach the model in brass, as essentially plates and wrappers with some detailing parts.
And so, 15 hours later we are here and all is doing well.  With luck we should meet the launch date of April as planned, no thanks to the incompetence of Griffin Moulds.  It's a shame, as Griffin had done some good work for Slot Rally GB, for whom I did all their masters, but suddenly they screwed us badly.
Here's the right hand side replacement, prior to clean up:-

Monday, 4 February 2019

You can go your own way...

Sang Fleetwood Mac.  Well sometimes you just can't get your customers to agree with you on what needs to be made, so you have to just do 'em anyways and then send them off to be cast as "freebie" masters as long as you get 3 or 4 back for nuttn'.  That's the deal I worked with some of my favourite cars.
It started with the achingly sweet little Amilcar CG6. I'd always loved this tiny racer since I first saw the drawings in Model Cars magazine in the 60s.  1100cc, twin cam, supercharged straight six, I mean, come on, what's not to like!

Then there was the too gorgeous Morgan SLR.  That's away on the to do pile already.

And recently I sent off to the same chum, for resin casting, the following, which I'd had kicking around for years and finally decided to finish.
The Piper GTT and the Trident Venturer.  I had the real ones, so I had to have a model of each, didn't I?

So, I suppose that'll keep him busy for a while and might even earn him a few bob towards resin costs, if other people show the same great good taste as me.   Meanwhile, I'll be getting some freebies to turn into various versions of "Cars I have owned".

Just as I started sending these last bits off, my younger son decided he was going to have a bash at resin casting, by moulding some old bits of mine he found, which I thought had got chucked out!  These included yet another I did because I happened to like them, a Mallock U2 Mk 18 Clubmans racer.  So now I have one of these arriving from him soon.  And he has taken to this lark like a duck to the village pond.
                                     The mould is damaged, but he's offered to re-mould it once I've cleaned the moulding into a nice new master.  What a good lad!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

All for me...

Although I still make some patterns for people to keep my hand in and top up the Rainy Day Tin, try as I may, I can't persuade them to commission the kinds of models I like.  So, I have just made them anyway and as long I get, say, 4 freebies, they get to use the master for nothing AND put the model in their own range. Now I can't say fairer than that, can I?
So, a while back, I made the Morgan SLR and sent it to Colin at RS Slotracing and it's on his "to do" pile. 

Now I've finished the Trident and Piper GTT too. I've had these two kicking around for years and nobody has shown interest in either despite the Trident being released as a TVR Prototype originally as "The Most Beautiful Car in the World" in the centre spread of the Daily Mail. I decided then that I wanted one and eventually I sort of got one, albeit a Trident Cars version, a Venturer, not the TVR as that company had had one of its many financial shakedowns in the interim and a flyboy from Ipswich had somehow (to this day nobody really knows) got hold hold of the TVR Trident project and started knocking them out as his own with GRP bodies on initially Healey and later, lengthened and plated TR6 chassis. The Venturer had a 3 Litre Ford Essex V6, the Clipper had the 4.7 litre Ford V8 and the very rare Tycoon had the 150 bhp Triumph straight 6 from the TR6, because Ford were on strike and only the Triumph engine could be had new.

The Piper I had was one of the first three made and was all A-series running gear, hence it was called either a GT or a GTA. The bulk of the cars had Ford running gear and were called GTTs. Later a longer version with the ghastly 2 litre Pinto engine was called the P2.  They also did a couple of LM cars, the later one, the GTR LM '69 I have also done in 1/43rd scale and 1/32nd.

Here's the Trident, waiting for paint.  The Piper is in the background as is a rather sweet Peugeot 206CC that my friend Lloyd Lewis re-popped in resin from a 1/43rd scale diecast. As that is the car I now drive every day it gets to be done under the "cars I have owned" theme as will the Piper (DOO 695G) and the Trident (ERP 129K)

Next, in this indulgence will be the Rejo Mk VI, as pretty a front engined sports racing car as ever was.

Monday, 31 December 2018

All life is here...

We now shop at Tesco's. Mainly because Morrisons had started going low on stock which is just laziness.
So, much as I despise Tesco as an organisation, it is the only place that has all we want, although we still check out the very well priced Lidl's every so often.

One thing that Tesco have here, which nobody else does (thank Christ) is a 24 hour gym up one end. This means that having ridden up either the travelator thingy or, as increasingly, the lift, because OTIS can't make a reliable travelator, you end up only feet away from the gym's entrance, where (usually) brutally ugly women stand around as if mesmerised by the light or noise or something, invariably staring at a mobile 'phone, having shoehorned their lumpy limbs into the most unsuitable, but equally ugly hosiery and wearing the kind of tops that leave their cellulite ridden flabby stomachs exposed to the vomit that I always wish I could project onto them.
I suppose there is some achievement in carting around the exercise machines the extra weight of eyelashes that would propel a small boat across the Atlantic if the rower lost his oars.  Make up so heavily and insensibly caked on that they appear to be mutated dolls from a singularly incompetent workshop.  Eyebrows that Graucho Marx would have been proud of and lipstick that looks like they've just eaten a Ferrari.
With all the exercise, they still have backsides like picnic tables and knock knees, bottomed off with pigeon toed feet that must catch on each other as they walk.  Why do these stupid females spend their precious time and money trying to look better when they are ALL hideous!?

Their shopping list will, of course, be on their mobile 'phone, so that they can stumble round the rest of the store staring at it, in the unlikely event that anyone will have sent them a message of any import whatsoever.  But they live in hope and so stare at the stupid contraption in case some misguided fool thinks them at all important or worthy of attention., thereby bumping into displays and people who are sufficiently well organised to have a small piece of paper between two fingers of the hand that pushes the trolley, containing all their needs for the expedition.

Fitness women...UGH!!!

The younger men all wanna-be hipsters. struggle round in jeans so tight, their balls have all but withered away, but their knees will be free to open air being stylishly cut at the factory by Chinese children who are paid specially for that particular and peculiar skill.
They will have visited the barber's shop which is squeezed incongruously along the vestibule of anger where we jostle twixt non working Otis travelator and lifts. In there, grown men have the kinds of hairdos that as small boys I and my friends were already grown up enough to fight against. The short back and sides which was all the carve up merchant at Austin's barbers could ever do.'s considered a special skill. It's what my Grandfather called a "tuppeny all-off"  "All ponsed up like a pox doctor's clerk" he would smirk at the merest whiff of hair oil or male grooming.  It's what I laugh at and call a Tesco's hairdo.  They're like droids in a row, as are the snip joint wallers doing it to them. Clones, sheep...Baaaaahhh!

With very few exceptions I hate people!!

Happy New Year