Thursday, 11 September 2014

The old ones are the best...

Pursuant to the last post, I have just received a couple of old (Nos 50 and 51) MRJs off ebay.
Both are Bob Barlow issues.
Both are generous in page numbers.
Both are a damned good read.
Both have articles by and for serious scratchbuilders inside.
More to the point, both knock spots off the current efforts and have models inside of truly marvellous quality, compared with the current crop.

Chee Tor in 2mm finescale, looking like the very spine of England has been modelled in its entirety.
Bramblewick, P4 standards, North Eastern Railway.  Understated, but magnificent quality. Lots of scratchbuilding.
And best of all and the reason I ordered these old mags...Ditchling Green by Gordon Gravett.  I have seen this layout and spoken at length with Gordon.  A delightful self deprecating gentleman. He was as complimentary about my masters for the vintage car kits he used as I was about the whole layout and we had a damned good old chinwag for some time.  For me, Ditchling is THE Gravett creation. I don't much care for Pempoul. Not enough of it and erm...French.  Although he and Maggie have captured that falling to pieces look of any French village I've been through.  One 2CV, one Renault 4 and a rusty Tabac sign on a closed shop.

Compared with the latest MRJ I bought and criticised below, these earlier issues are a joy.
I have never heard of the builder of Bramblewick, Tom Harland or the builder of the beautifully observed and executed Leigh-on-Sea farmhouse, Lionel Currie.
But if you have a copy of MRJ, No.51, have a look again at this superb set-piece.  And wonder, as do I, where all the truly great stuff is, by people we rarely hear of and similarly wonder why the same "flavours of the month" keep cropping up and getting more exposure than, perhaps, they deserve.


  1. Lionel Currie is a mysterious figure. He used to be a client of mine back in the late seventies/eighties and commissioned a stack of structures from me, while at the same time, being tutored by Allan Downes. Allan has never forgiven me that Lionel didn't buy anything from him, but I think it was just that I was a lot cheaper :-)
    He was a lovely chap, but seemed to have flourished only for a short while, building beautiful models, then he disappeared off the face of the earth...what a loss to the modelmaking world.

  2. Ah, thanks for the information, Iain. How very strange. This feature says that he was trying to replicate old Leigh in 4mm scale but it grew too large, so he kept bits of it as 4mm dioramas and started over again in 2mm scale. And the reason he bought stuff from you will have been that you're so much better than the Toymaker!. Clearly Downes didn't teach our Lionel to make trees as those on the farm house shot are superb.