Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A few decades of modelmaking

Over the years, my main interest and, indeed, profession has been modelmaking.

I began with a model of a sand carrying barge called Peterna, which was made for a small Essex company and carried on making all types of models for collectors, companies and museums all over the world.

I never advertised, word of mouth being sufficient for all that time.Eventually I went to Germany to work on Prototype cars and Show cars, full size, clay and fibre glass.
I started with a passion for model scenery, particularly on model railway layouts. never having space for a layout myself, I made items for others or just as stand alone models
This is a model of my friend's country garage office. Soon it will be demolished to make way for housing and another fine old country garage lost for ever. the reason it can't make a profit selling fuel is that the government insist on too many tank tests and then have the gall to charge for the dubious privelege. They charge so much that it wouldn't be possible to make a profit if the pumps were running all day. No doubt this nonsense has emanated from Europe, where the mainlanders ignore every petty rule and we, the stupid English, labour under them to the letter! And so, for the sake of "being in Europe" a whole swaithe of our heritage and once pleasant land is swept aside. I'd say Tesco's had a lot to do with putting those rules in place. Soon, they'll be the only place a person can buy fuel and'll be charged at whatever they feel like. Choice having disappeared.

This little scenic set-piece was built in 7mm-1ft scale just to remind me of my beloved estuaries when I was unable to be by one.
It is based on my memories of the River Roach when I was a child. My uncle had a Dunkirk Little Ship moored in a mud rill and we would go there most weekends to take a trip out or work on the old boat, a Thorneycroft High-Prow cruiser with a Meadows 4 ED engine.
The photography worked out well as this little set-piece is only 9" square. The dinghy was made in pearwood veneer exactly as the real boats only with no nails! The oars are bamboo.
This place meant a great deal to me when I was growing up, but a storm one night carried away a lot of the scene, including an old railway coach which the Kimble family had used for generations as a longshoreman's hut for their nets and repair materials. Outside it, a brick area served as a careening shelf, where the boats would be cleaned off of barnacles and re-antifouled.

Now, it is difficult to see where we ever went for our weekends. The oyster beds are just discernable as are the last remains of my uncle's dinghy. Wherever I played as a child, samphire now grows, easy for the picking at this time of year.

The old sea wall was crossed regularly by rustic old stiles made from fallen ships' timbers.
Just down from here in another mud rill still remains the last of Darwin's ship, the HMS Beagle. She was used as a Customs point after Darwin's great journey and eventually just rotted away. I used to play amongst her timbers at low tide.
Old clay pipes could till be found amongst the mud.

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