Monday, 19 December 2016

It had to happen...

Not good 3D printing...that was obvious.  But my ready acceptance of it when I finally saw good stuff, done by a hobbyist, affordably.

I went to the Christmas bash of KLOGGIES, the King's Lynn O Gauge Group people, only to collect an old book from Bob Pearman, who was selling a lot of books for the widow of an ex member.  The list had been published and I spotted Miniature Landscape Construction by John H. Aherne.  I have his other two minimum opii, Building and Locomotive, but had missed out on the third all these years.

So I get to the Social Club at Runcton Holme and the place is jumping. I got the last space in the car park.  I knew they were having a dinner later, but I didn't expect a mini exhibition!  There were dealers, shops, various emporia and displays.   One display had a couple of Wisbech & Upwell tram engine bodies on the table.  I looked at the 7mm, guessing this would be 3D printing and sure enough, though the detailing was excellent and very complete, the finish was the usual spotty, dotty powdery rubbish demanding so much clean up you could scratchbuild it from nickel silver just as quick.  Shame, it really was nicely modelled.  But then the friendly young chap showed me the 4mm version.
To say I was blown clean away is an understatement.  It was done by the original system of resin, laser hardened, layer by layer.  This technique was demonstrated to me years ago, decades in fact, on the very machine that the BBC used on their programme, Tommorrow's World.  Stereo Lithography they called it.  Before 3D printing was even dreamed of and here it was, (isn't justice wonderful?), being used to superb effect in a rigid Acrylic material with every rivet on every hinge of every inspection hatch on the side skirts. In 4mm scale, smooth as a baby's bum showing up conventional 3D printing for the messy con that it still is uness you re-mortgage your house.

"Of course", said I to the chap, "you were trained by your company in CAD".  No, he said, got it off Youtube.  What!!  I can't bear to listen to all the boring turds telling the world how it works on that channel, but he learned how to use something called Blender to the extent that here were models missing absolutely nothing, better than any I've ever seen AND needing no more clean up than you could do in 5 minutes with a thumb of wet'n'dry, in a lovely hard, smooth material.  Clearly this was not a young man who would consider for one moment paying more than necessary for his hobby, so here was the confirmation that time was short for conventional modelmaking.  If the 7mm had been done by the same method as the 4mm, I'd have bought it from him straight away.

I might have a few customers left, but if just one young blade like this one decides to do cars, I am finished and so is every other modelmaker.

It had to happen...

Friday, 9 December 2016

Fancy Tools?....come on, guys...

A recent post on a blog I look at was going on about sanding sticks.  Now, I have seen these mentioned so often on forums, especially those where plastic kits are the main subject matter.  People sanding back new shapes from gouts of fillers, usually entirely unsuitable fillers, too.
Now come on chaps, man up a bit, eh?  Use files!  For Heaven's sake that's what they're for. Removing stuff you don't want. And the main thing is that being hard and generally flat they are completely controllable.  THEN, if you've cocked up a bit and who doesn't, sand the scratches off with a bit of wet'n'dry held in your thumb and forefinger (very controllable) or if you must be a bit finicky, stick some to a bit of styrene, cut to a shape to suit you.  It costs nothing, rather than a Fiver a pack from Albion Alloys!  If you don't want to invest in files, get some of those file shaped things with diamond dust all over them from Lidl's for a few quid a pack. They're very good on plastic as there's no pattern of toothing for the plastic to steer where you don't want it, which can happen to files, even fine ones if you're not concentrating like you should be.

And if you need to fill anything, get some Milliput in there if it's a biggish gaff.  Otherwise use a filler in a tube which is similar to cellulose putty. Perfect for all scratches.  I nicked some from Volkswagen's when I worked there in 1997 and I still use it. And please, don't use that ghastly white stuff. Yellow-Green Milli is all you'll ever need. It polishes to a glass-like finish for vac-form patterns so why do you want to pay more for the stuff that never goes off properly and chalks in your fingers?

And for plastic kits, guys, that is all you'll ever need. No fancy, pricey, trendy, forum led tosh, just good honest stuff you can either get for pennies or make yourself. The only other thing you need is a bit of acquired skill, experience (always helps) and common sense.  Not even patience. I have none whatsoever, which is why I don't torture myself with kits.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


I can't remember who it was had the album of that name but it always rolled nicely off the tongue.
I also was and still am a huge fan of the band Caravan AND I've lived in three over the years, so I have a bit of a soft spot for them.
So when the idea of using a caravan as an extension to the rather small cafe I've made for Lantern Yard I was keen. I started to have a look online at suitable styles, then recalled making a really old fashioned style job for a "critter" in O9.  Never finished it though, but I liked it. It had an Austin 7 Ruby grille on the front and a verticle exhaust.
  Easily pried off, the auto bits are now elsewhere and the marks repaired and repainted, although I liked the buff shade of nothing muchness that it was before and the matt finish. Caravans do that if you don't polish them.  Especially old ones which were probably painted in early cellulose.  I liked the clerestory I'd worked into the thing originally, too.  Faded elegance everywhere.

I cleared a space for it at right angles to the caff and made a rectangle of Foamex to represent a new concrete pad on which the 'van, sans its wheels which were shot to hell anyway will sit.

Apparently an old showman had originally given the 'van to a friend who was told that he could use it on a preserved Colonel Stevens Heritage line, what was to be one of the first, following on from L.T.C. Rolt's efforts on the Talyllyn.  Work had begun using matey's old Austin 7 Ruby, but then he was informed that it wouldn't "do" for the railway to have such a thing   This was one of many duff choices on the part of the committee of old farts who ran the thing and it soon folded for ever.  Tom Rolt heard of its fate and offered storage for it, which seems to have saved it, for, a few years later when it came up for sale, the blacksmith bought it as a project.  His wife was not best amused at news of its imminent arrival, but took one look and just knew what she had to do.  The Austin bits were knackered and partly robbed anyway, so the blacksmith took them all off, re-skinned the front, ripped the insides out and fitted it with simple bench seats.  The concrete pad was cast and wide of the mark to allow a small sitting area.  The addition to Lantern Yard's vernacular collection was an immediate success with all concerned, although the Saturday morning meet-ups with the local biker boys proved an especially popular event.  They had nowhere much to go and here was a pleasant ride out, no Police, good grub and and endless tea and coffee.  Now there was no squeezing into the hot, steaming caff space.  You got your grub and your mugs of tea and carried them off to the 'Van for a peaceful session of chat with the lads or a corner with the new bird.  You could leave your bike outside with no fear of anyone messing with it.  If they tried it they'd go for a swim in very short order!

Realising the caff was a bit too close to the railway, they permanently closed the side door and instead opened up a new door in the end.

The lock gates have been shortened, although they will be sitting on top of a 3mm sheet of Perspex.  Here you can see that I've laminated sheets of Foamex to the tops of the lock sides as I needed it to be firmer and carvable without the filler falling to bits.  This is a big improvement.

I went to town to buy a micro-pot of Humbrol's worst matt black for the roof of the workshop and the lock gates and whilst there, noticed they had weathering powders.  I laughed at the silliness of having pots of stuff you can make yourself for pennies and said as much to the woman.  She informed me that the pots of powders were no less than £4-40!!!  Yet across the shop was a packet of chalk pastels for 45p!  She had no idea that any of those and a spare bit of old sandpaper was all you need to make the stuff in the hugely overpriced tubs of weathering powders.  
I have a pack of oil pastels bought in error thinking they were chalk, so I wondered if they would respond to white spirit.  They did, very subtly and so I lightly weathered the caravan by drawing a few lines of pastel on a spare bit of styrene, then softening it with a very fine brush dipped into a very small amount of white spirit.  I am well pleased with the results.  Weathering can be very overdone and usually is in my view.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Lock gates and other wonders...

I came to an awful conclusion this morning.  I had made my lovely lock gates too narrow all those years ago!  How, I can't imagine, but they wouldn't do as they were, so I had to extend them.  Not so easy as I had built them exactly like real ones, i.e. morticed and tennoned.  Not easy to take apart. But I wiggled them all free eventually and made new cross-pieces and added a few millimetres to the cross/balance beam on each gate.  By using superglue I was able to file the beams down to one size and engrave dummy shakes in the timber across the joint which will make spotting the mod. very difficult.
I also cut the walls of the lock to take the gates and then found they were too long, so that was an easy cut down job.  They now fit a treat and will benefit from the lock walls being built up around them.
The lock gates, too long.

Still too long, but cut in so the pivot side is in position.
On the other side is one of the locos I made the masters for, for N-Drive, a Ruston ZDH  in O9.  I'd made the angle iron, corrugated and wooden engine shelter a little too high so resoldered the cross bar about 10mm lower.  It has four small pins soldered into the lower parts of the angle which fit in holes in the wharf side walling.  I've also made the corrugated iron roofing from pie dish in my little plastic press and this will go on tomorrow, before the post lady brings more serious stuff (I think).
Also seen and newly made is the little cafe. I made the Lantern Cafe first and it's just too big so will be used on the Southwold set-piece and this much smaller, kind of part-timer will be used. It's made entirely in Foamex, including the brickwork being impressed.  The correct bond for a building like this wasn't available as I wanted it in common bond.  That's a course of headers and four courses of stretchers, so queen closers and three-quarter butts are required and shown.  I'm thinking that the door leaves too little room between caff and engine shelter, so will open up a new door in the end wall and make the side door look a bit more permanently closed.  I like this kind of fake history to a piece.  The caff is run by the blacksmith's wife and is also where the railway and wharf workers go for their orders, or used to be.  She used to run that, too.  These days they mostly know what's to do for a week or so in advance, so the caff just sort of grew, out of a need more for sustenance than direction.  At the weekend it has become something of a meeting place for the local "grease".  A term that refers to the local lovers of all thing motorbike and the few who actually have one.  It'll never become the Ace Cafe because it's too small, but the installation of a small caravan might cater for any expansion plans, if it can be hauled across the railway into the yard to be "lost" against the rock wall.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

I only went out for a paper!...

But, as things do, the fact was, I had my camera and I was in a mood to run around a bit and give the car a few miles, so it naturally happened that I took a few pics of local places of interest.  Not the sort of interest that gets a place in the Batsford Guides, you understand, but my kind of interest. Vernacular architecture mainly.  Take this, for instance.  The Church Hall.  It's closest to the church, of Emneth's three halls, but could, I suppose be the Central Hall.  As to where the Jubilee Hall is, I have no idea!
There is rarely an occasion that I pass by here and the lights aren't on and cars are in the car park.  I used to take my sons to SlotStox racing here when old Cyril ran it all.  He sadly died recently so I don't know if Monday nights are still race nights.  Keeping an all wooden building like this in good order must be a pretty full time job for somebody.  And who'd want the job of painting all those windows?
Very nearby is the place where Emneth's famous son lived and wrote Thomas the Tank engine, Rev. W. Audry.
The Old Vicarage

Locally are a lot of wonderfully simple bungalows, built between the Wars.  A fifth of an acre, 4 rooms, grow your own, buy on an agricultural wage or in some cases rent from the council.
Of course, many have been extended forwards, backwards and sideways or had hideous plastic windows added, but these two at one end of a well known row are pretty much original and this old, old garage is almost a thing of the past now.  Big enough only for an Austin 7, Morris 8 or Ford Y, this one is a little longer than most, but no wider.  I asked the dear old lady in the bungalow if I might photograph her garage and she told me that she was 92 and had been at the place for 60 years and the garage was there when she arrived!  In which case it's done amazingly well, apart from the bow in one side.  I doubt that it's seen a car for a long time, if ever.
I sneaked a pic from inside the car of the bungalow next door so you can see what they're like if not messed about.
Probably an original pattern door, if not the actual door, tiny panes in the fanlights, still wooden frames, concrete (pseudo stone) lintel, zinc flats over the bays, original 
chimney stacks, one each end...lovely stuff.
Another whole row of them, but showing how some pitiless souls have transmogrified the poor little places.
A view soon to be lost as the land on the left has sold in no time for development, a euphemism for the crowded building of typically unimaginative new-builds squashed in at about 15 per hectare instead of the Essex Design Guide's more sensible 8-12.
Further down the village is an example of what was built centuries ago before bungalows were invented...VERY low rise 2 story cottages.  This really is a tiny house.  Very unfortunately extended to the side and rear behind that hideous flank wall, but its essential character is still there, just.  Following the local regional fashion for not using front doors, this one has actually been blocked from use.
The chimney stack has been removed, probably in preference for central heating or a wood burner with a flue at the rear.  This is at least 4 feet shorter than the already small cottage next door.
And so we purchase our paper at the local stores cum Post Office and return home.  I never use the big Spar shop as it is run by an unpleasant, shorts-wearing, wheezing South African.  Few things could put me off a person more than those dubious four qualifications.  He overcharges too.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Moments grabbed...

In these odd moments when I'm not expected or able to do much else thanks to weather, other demands on my time, etc. I have been carrying on with Lantern Yard.  Now with a little matt emulsion added to pathways and yesterday some green to the lint grass.  I also found a source of Perspex for the long lock section and some for the wharf section.
The hole in the baseboard is to take the full hull model of Heather Bell, an historic wooden ex-working boat that we used to own and live on.
Here are the beginnings of it with its bottom boards below "water" level.  Especially at the stern end where the weight of the big old Lister JP2 engine overbalances the empty hold.

The workshop has had some initial paint and I sign wrote Ray's Motors on the end.
The vertical  corrugated sheets that top off the end wall were made from Turkey foil, 2 layers glued together and then pressed in my little plastic press tool I made a while back..  Also made the window frames and fitted the windows.  Found an old sheet of adverts so I cut them out and glued them to brass shim for a bit of bulk and then glued some others inside for a bit of atmosphere.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Noticeable changes on Lantern Yard...

Having nothing else to really fret about, I decided to get a bit more done on Lantern Yard.  I have loads of 3mm thick Foamex, so cut that to act as a foundation for buildings and glued down some Peco narrow gauge track that I was given.  I hate the stuff, so will be happy to bury it all under filler and leave just enough rail to run on.
I also got a pot of tester emulsion from B&Q's and painted the areas where one might expect a well packed 'oggin, so a sandy shade was selected. It also acts as a sealer, but then my chum, Lloyd, said he'd painted dilute PVA all over his scenery.  Why didn't I think of that?

Anyway, here's the board as of earlier today.
I made the point using some cheap PCB sheet which I cut into strips on my mini circular saw.  I have another to make for the other end.  Easy enough job, but I have no idea where to cut the grooves in the copper or how to wire the thing.  I've made track before, but never used it.

The white building is the blacksmith's house and workshop and the black one is his son's workshop.  I have widened the approach slope.  The cafe will go this end or may end up on my Southwold set-piece as it's shiplap.  And fishermen rarely ever eat fish, so they'd need a bacon butty with their cocoa of a chilly morning.
Also new is the hole in the canal which is to take the narrowboat rear end so the bottom of the boat appears lower than the water and the back of an empty boat is well down at the starn end.  
More as it happens.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

You can almost smell the sea...

I have always been an estuary and small seaside fan.  But something that always put me off modelling same was the apparent impossibility of reproducing lobster pots. Some call 'em lobster traps, for that is exactly what they do.
What I need to reproduce is this sort of scene.
Especially those pesky orange netted things...and quite a few of 'em too.  I didn't want them in orange or the also common (these days) blue, but just that manilla-ish hemp looking affair on a slightly barnacled framework.  Something sufficiently plausible to be stacked, as they usually are, about the place near harbours and sheds.
The main problem was finding a mesh small enough to represent the netting.  A very fine thread making a mesh of about 0.75mm. was called for.  If I could find that, I could then make a framework from brass or nickel silver wire, soldered up and then glue the mesh over it.
To my surprise, after only a short while thumbing through ebay, I found what looked to be a very usable mesh in white. I ordered a chunk, which came with free delivery. How DO these companies do that!?  Everything I send, even second class costs a bloody fortune these days, yet there are those who send something worth less than the cheapest postage free of postage fees.  I'm almost embarrassed to do it!  Almost.
Sure enough it turned up in a couple of days and seems to be exactly what I needed.  Trouble is, my worktops are both white.  And I cannot see this stuff when it's on white!  That's how fine it is.  I shall have to organize a bit of black stuff to make lobster pots on.

Now I have never had the slightest luck with superglue since it first appeared, except for gluing loose bits of set Milliput filler back onto masters or gluing broken polyurethane resin mouldings. Both of these things it does very well, but anything else?  Forget it.  Including, it seems, model lobster pot netting, which said glue completely ignored.  The only other stuff I had was some 151 clear glue, a bit like UHU, a bit like Bostik. Of these two I would always elect to try UHU and so this was pressed into use and blow me down with a battery fan if it didn't work straight away!   Even stayed on well enough for me to use a pair of scissors to trim the bottoms and ends back to the wire frame and then to cut and trim the end panels to the correct shapes.  This, then, gave me what I have tried to do for so long, a half decent, plausible looking lobster pot, a couple of scale feet long and proportionately high and wide.  Three sticks of wire were glued to the outside according to pictures and the whole thing painted with Vallejo flesh coloured paint to represent the sunbaked, sea-washed netting.  I shall make another one today, so I can say I have made a stack of pots.  All two of them.  I should also say that I have no idea howto photograph them!  But you get the idea.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Tar your wherry...

And paint your house every three years, they say.

Well, this shed at Southwold was very recently refurbished and tarred.  But, black as tar can look when it's new, it's not a good idea to have it like that on a model. It just looks too black and too clean. Even on a recent tarring, there can be a hint of silvery wood behind the black and in order to get that effect I bought the micro pot of silver grey mentioned in the post above and painted the shed with that first, then, when that had dried, I used some back gouache from the palette, softened up with water and went over the silver, taking a little of the black off with a cotton wool bud.  Seems to have worked quite well.

I also represented the roofing felt with scale width strips of 1000 grit wet'n'dry paper.  Unfortunately the clear general glue I used in the absence of proper Evo-Stik as used to be in a tube before they changed the formula, refused to really work on the paper and is still lifting, so I may yet have to mask the roof from stray glue and poke something stickier between sheets.  However, the basic impression is good and I am satisfied with it.
All the shed needs now is it's door fitting with hinges and lock and painting faded blue and a window frame and glazing fitted.

I'm still trying to work out how to represent netting so that I can produce lobster/crab pots as I need a fair few of those.
I might have a bash at a rusty old winch next.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Humbrol...

Swarm over, Death...............with apologies to John Betjemann...

Really, though.  Why, after all these years, is there no regularly seen option to the above junk in toy/model shops.  Revell, in exactly similar tins, was no better either.
In the good old days I could stock up on Floquil, of blessed memory and infinitely superior quality, but that had its formula changed and was emasculated years ago. With the demise of Victors, the shop, you can't get it anyway any more.  Testors wasn't bad, but the importers no longer stock it and they were within toodling distance of me.

I NEED enamel to coat plastics used in building models as a first coat, then I can get away with gouache and watercolour overcoating, with powders as final colouration, but I would love to approach a stand, designed to be approached, not worshipped at on all fours, which has colour plates on the shelf edges that bear a slight resemblance to the colour on the tin lid and wouldn't it be good if the colour chart was anything other than emergency toilet paper?  But the main thing is that it would be nice if, every time I go reluctantly, to buy another micro-tin of this garbage, it hadn't increased its price by another 10p a tin.  It is now £1-90 for a tin, so small, that if you actually drank it, you'd barely taste it, much less do yourself any harm.

No doubt it's all part of the inexorable drive to force us to buy that water based crap called acrylic. Now I am of an age where acrylic is clear hard plastic, called Perspex.  Not paint for heaven's sake. So Humbrol's second display stand is little more than a huge paperweight to me.  Maybe somebody should remind them that their name is a contraction of the Humber Oil Company.  Oil! Not pissy water.

I have bought today a tin of silvery grey, which I did by completely ignoring the colour chart and a tiny pot of brick red, which, if I'd have bought a tin called Brick Red, would have been a vaguely milk chocolatey shade of Gawd knows what muck.

They'd better work and be completely matt, or, by God, I will fast become their worst nightmare and enjoy every minute of being so!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

More than before...

Having decided that even Facebook pages cause offence sooner or later, I have resolved to keep my posts confined to this blog, so there'll be more than before as they will not be thinned out across the pages of that odd format.  And, of course, I am no longer in any forums.


I have been mulling over the idea that if one might engrave or impress detail into the surface of Foamex, my new favourite material, there was no reason why shiplap couldn't be done the same way. I had already used thin card, as has everybody else, to represent planks of wood on a building, but it is tedious to do and without decent glues like the old tube Evo-Stik to rely upon, it was even more difficult to do.  I believe it still has it's place, especially where some dereliction is required, but the essence of a convincing group of shiplapped buildings is that some are almost pristine, amongst those that are falling apart.  A bit like putting German lakeside boathouses in France!  So card strip remains the way to do the derelicts, but my experiment with the smart shed was a complete success.  This little structure is entirely impressed, with only the corners, window cill and lintel added, in thin styrene.

The roof is also styrene, as are the barge boards and finials, but the lion's share of what you see is impressed Foamex.  I found that initially I was getting a rather rounded plank edge, so I cut the Foamex where the dip of the lower plank was to occur and this simple expedient allowed a nice sharp differential twixt upper and lower plank.  The actual impression being achieved with the sharp corner of a short, stiff steel rule.  The corner planks were then added, which disguises the fact that the box of the structure is just ends overlapping the sides.  In future I will probably make the corners mitred.  It's easy enough to control a decent knife at a 45 degree angle and gives a much wider glue area to the joint, making it look better and a lot stronger.

Finally the nails were impressed by one of my favourite tools, a 1/32nd scale model aircraft rivet embosser.
It came as one of a pair with lovely mushroom handles in beechwood, like the very best engraving tools, for a derisory few pounds from The Scale Model Company, an internet model shop.  With the lightest of dabs it puts a perfect tiny ring shape in the planks. Some have both nail heads showing, some (completely at random) have only one as the other will be hidden by the plank above.  A neat wee detail, I think.

With some hinges and other door furniture and glazing and framing for the simple widow, this will be ready for painting.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

But seriously folks...

Amongst the list of the blogs which I take a gander at from time to time there are, or used to be until I grew tired of them, a couple which ask terribly deep and meaningful questions about one's attitude to modelmaking, life, the Universe and everything.  The answer as we all know is 42, so goodbye and thanks for all the fish.

No, no, can't we have a few of our own?  One occurred to me today whilst idling a couple of hours away on Lantern Yard's substructure (the bit the meeces made lunch of).
Sonnie Boy's workshop

How should we approach the landscape which is the main feature of our model railways.  Or our model set-pieces, if, like me, you don't actually need a railway to make scenery.  I have put a small rail section in Lantern Yard, only because I made masters of O9 railway locos and wagons so I need somewhere to display them.  But it doesn't need it, because it displays an earlier form of transport...or use of the landscape, if you like.  It has a canal.  A wharf and a lock.  These would predate the little 18" gauge railway by at least 175 years astonishingly.
So, I got to thinking the landscape, then plant it, then build ON it.  Only in that way can the eventual model have a sense of authenticity.  No good putting a railway down, then building a landscape around it and buildings by it.
I suppose one could make a case for building INTO the planting, yes, there will be some of that on Lantern Yard, where the blacksmith just couldn't resist the sale of an old Nissen hut after the War, but had to dig out a fair chunk of hill behind him.  He did it, but was to be troubled by damp ever after, partly through too close a proximity to the digging and partly through the entirely predictable lack of sufficient drainage, but he would NOT be warned while the euphoria of acquisition was upon him and planning permission was negligible in those days and in those rustic parts.
So, this is the state of play at Lantern Yard. A justifiable small cottage and workshop for the blacksmith, a small wooden cafe with a brick extension for his wife to run and then the irresistible Nissen hut sections, which finally....... finally, he could use to set his son up as a mechanic and get him out of his hair.  He'd tried to get him a job on the boats, or even the railway, but he was warned that the boats had maybe 10 years if they were lucky and the railway couldn't sustain a full time mechanic.
The blacksmith's cottage, NOT in its final spot

Sonnie Boy had got himself quite a reputation as an expert in the strange little (mainly) German three-wheelers that were getting people mobile since the War and he could fit a couple in at a time to repair, do up and even, occasionally, sell.  As long as he didn't touch the canal boats, their engines and very occasionally their horses' hooves, a certain peace existed between father and son.  The old man even tolerated the railway, because its presence ensured some future for the wharf.

More of Lantern Yard as it happens.  A kind of Little Lake Woebegone in the Marcher country.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Winter is a comin' on...

And when it does, I get all scenicky.  Come Spring and Summer it's boats and gardening, but as the days shorten and the shed becomes too cold to work in I come indoors and set up to work in the warm.  The scenery is always couched in an apparent love of railways, but really they are just an excuse for my particular kind of bucolica.
This has always meant muddy creeks and boats, shiplap and black tar varnish.

Now nowhere is that more concentrated than at Southwold.  A sleepy Victorian seaside town on the Suffolk coast, once quite a port and a big fishing centre.  Its foreshore is a collection of fabulously assorted shiplap sheds, converted railway vehicles and smart new, but still tarred shiplap.  Dozens of them. Between them are boats old and new, rusty winches, slipways, rotten wood, lobster pots and general, but lovely decay.
Oh I love all this stuff.  And all the junk around it.
This is a Great Eastern 6 wheel coach which has been cut in half and brought in on a lorry presumably as the Southwold Railway was 3 feet gauge with an unusually narrow loading gauge, so couldn't have brought a standard gauge coach in, although the line ran just behind this scene all down the harbour to a weighbridge at the end, near the sea.

But how do you make a 7mm scale lobster pot?
See those buggers?  I've looked but I can't find any screedlike material that'll do that even if I make a wire frame.

Anyway, I started in 7mm scale to make the locomotive, Blyth, a 2-4-0 by Sharp, Stewart.

And the buildings, a smokehouse stall and a fisherman's hut.
These Foamex structures will be covered in strips of thin card to represent the shiplap so typical of the coastal shacks and sheds.

In between this I had promised a friend I would do him an Austin 7 Ulster for his new venture in slot racing and to help sell his new photo-etched 19" wire wheels.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Nah, nah, neeyah, nah, said the silly old model railway man...

Had to happen, of course.  I raise a thread on the 0 gauge model railway Facebook page, which had been friendly enough in the 2 days I'd been joined up to it, when some busy body starts crowing on about how wonderful Guy Williams was.  This geezer claims to have known him. In fact he claimed a lot of things I think he couldn't possibly know, but why on my thread about my cock-up with some nickel silver sheet, because I was rushing it.?
So I joined in with my assertion that the late great Geoff Pember was the finest model railway practitioner I'd ever met.  The interloper then launched into a very offensive tirade against me, because I wouldn't agree that his hero Guy Williams was the finest modelmaker ever without equal! Now that's a bloody stupid thing to say, because there are modelmakers who would run rings round him AND, at a pinch, Geoff Pember, push come to shove.  But neither of us would know who they were.  Modelmaking is a broad church.  Far more so than most hobbies and I have seen model railway locomotives made to a standard that my man would have trouble matching and Williams couldn't come close to.  I sat in his workshop surrounded by full sized loco drawings and some very fancy machinery, yet I couldn't now tell you who he was. He was youngish and did it for a living from his Mum and Dad's bungalow in Neatishead, Norfolk (which I recall him saying as "Neatston").
So, what is the point of playing "My hero's better than your hero"?  This silly old fool is clearly no youngster. He really should know better, especially as the thread was nothing to do with him.

I've seen and watched Williams' locos at Pendon and thought how the railway itself there is the very least of the exhibits.  Every time I've seen it.  But then a) I hate the GWR and b) I'm no fan of 4mm scale model railways.
Whereas...I am a fan of the Great Eastern Railway and I am a fan of 7mm scale and I have met, chatted to and closely studied the work of Geoff Pember and it was immediately obvious that he was a modelmaker of rare ability and a gentleman to boot.  Now maybe Williams was too. Dunno, never met him and probably wouldn't have liked him as he was a teacher, which, of course, gave him plenty of spare time to make toy trains, whereas I believe Geoff Pember worked for a living!

I recently got some magazines with articles by Geoff.  Just take a look at these....2 locos made at different times.  The darker one was started in 1928!!  He MADE the motor!
That's what a home made motor, done before the War, looks like.

Then later.
The chassis on both are made exactly as the real ones and the bodies have angles inside which are actually rivetted together!  The lighter loco has working inside valve gear as well.  The gearbox is home made and is ballraced with special thrust bearings.
I could go on.  Guy Williams?  Er, I don't know. I never held one of his models, but I very much doubt any of his GWR stuff could hold a candle to Geoff Pember's work.  Geoff also made superb lineside buildings and structures and wrote many books of learned research into the Great Eastern Railway.

Also in this batch of magazines I got hold of, was an article in appreciation of the great J.K.(Jack) Nelson, who was another early mentor of mine.  He ran the Ilford Junior Model Railway Club from his flat in South Park Avenue, Ilford, Essex.  My Dad, as a worried parent, checked him out and came home having spent an evening discussing hi-fi, Jack's other passion.  Jack made dioramas of the LNWR.  And I mean dioramas, not the more common but always miss-named set-piece.  A set-piece is a scenic piece to one scale. A diorama is a viewed scene using false perspective intended to be viewed from one position only.   
Jack made a diorama which could be 7mm scale in the foreground and end up at 1.75mm scale at the back.  Every Friday, I used to sit next to this very scene.
And others
Jack gave me my first piece of nickel silver sheet and a Skinley drawing of an LNER V1 to make with it, which I did at school using the Myford and Boxford lathes instead of that pointless waste of a lad's time, P.E.  'Tis my proud boast that I never did one PE lesson the entire 6 years that I tolerated secondary school.  But I did make a lot of boiler fittings!

Thanks, Jack, for believing in me, when I was just 13.  I've done it ever since.

Monday, 17 October 2016

With a name like that?...

You have to wonder why, don't you?
I mean Bummer...come on!  And a background at a Public School, well, I mean...

W.S. "Bummer" Scott was a racing driver who knew Sir Malcolm Campbell. Well enough to buy a 1927 Delage 1 1/2 Litre GP car from him, ex-works almost.  That was the car with possibly the most beautiful engine ever built.  Never mind the Italians. They don't come close. Nope, the Delage straight 8 and the Amilcar straight 6 1100cc were staggeringly lovely bits of engineering/styling.
This only 1500 ccs. A straight eight, too!

And the Amilcar 1100

Anyway, old Bummer had one and he turns out to be a distant relative of an old client of mine.  He wanted a model, a one-off, to celebrate that fact, with a brass scale chassis and a front motor, so here it is.

Bummer liked to paint his cars black with an emerald green chassis and wheels. A dull as dishwater scheme if you ask me, but you ain't, I'll warrant, so I'll tell you anyway.

The body came to me as a shapeless mis-cast blob of resin off ebay somewhere, so had to be completely remodelled.  Then the chassis was made in brass and soldered up.  The funnel thing around the radiator area was made in very thin brass shim and the driver was an amalgam of three with some Miliput remodelling.  The wheels are a set of RS Slotracing's new skinny 19"s, which I designed for just such a model.  For too long slot racers have not had pre-War cars for want of a decent skinny 19" wire wheel.  And, what's more, they've needed not just some spindly thing for Austin 7s, but a selection for everything from that A7 up to an Invicta, with Amilcars and Delages in between.  So, here, at last after being messed about by a Scottish etcher, is an example of the 48 spoke wheel.  A7's, GNs, etc. have a 36 spoker and the bigger boys have a 60.  £15 a set of four seems to me to be the best value since Woolworths'. £20 with tyres, as seen here.

Tomorrow, this goes to its new custodian along with a Brabham BT33 F1 car.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Could it really be?...

When one is facebooking, there are little ads for other peoples' pages, some of which are intriguing enough to click on, some you merely gloss over.  I was quite pleased to see there was a reasonably subscribed-to page about finescale O gauge model railways. I clicked and had a gander and it seemed really quite good, so I joined and, so far, have had a surprisingly good banter with a widish selection of model people, some keen amateurs, some even doing it for a living!

I thought I'd risk it all with a typical one of my questions, asking if anyone actually scratchbuilt anything any more. I said that I didn't mean a difficult kit, but real "get a Skinley drawing and a sheet of nickel silver, an Antex, a piercing saw and a pot of Fluxite and actually make summat from nuttn.

After all, I'm a man who still regards John Ahern's Miniature Locomotive Construction as a bible.  I met, several times and learned a lot from, the great Geoff Pember.  I was a member of Jack Nelson's Ilford Junior Model Railway Club.  Les Hoffman was a member of the Ilford and West Essex and nobody did EM LNWR stuff like Les. I've crawl-shunted one of his Coal Tanks for an entire weekend exhibition without the slightest failure. Entirely scratchbuilt, including the wheels and home-hobbed gears!

Well, bugger me if I didn't get a very pleasing response from a goodly number of scratchbuilders, WITH pictures in many cases, one even showing his Skinley.  Amazed I am.  And, of course, delighted!  Blimey, I thought they'd all died out and gone to kit bash land, but no, we are not an entirely dead race yet. Of course the terminally tight wads like me are truly one-offs, nearly all the scratchbuilders also doing kits, but it does show that some COULD, when pressed, actually fashion something with their own hands. Praise de Lord!
The big problem is the outrageous cost of wheels!  Ye Gods....over 20 quid for a pair on an axle. Over 15 notes for a pair of bogie wheels!  That means that if I wanted to do my favourite M&GNJR 4-4-0 tank I would have to shell out 72 quid for plastic spoked wheels!  A few quid more if I wanted the much nicer steel ones from Walsall Model Industries.  Add I suppose about £6 for a gear. That, I suppose, is the price you pay for doing O gauge and not the wee ones for which there is a much larger choice at less money.
I have motors coming out of my ears. None of the modern things, of course, but lovely old open framers, like Romfords, Zenith, Pittman and KTMs of all sizes.  I have K's too, but they're earmarked for slot cars.  I won't use Jap cans if I can possibly avoid it. If I can't I'll use a Mashima as I know they're hand made, but in an O-Gauge model loco they're not necessary.

But the wheel costs?  That may stop me doing anything. I don't really want to approach my modelmaking in terms of what my widow will get for every little item!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Went the day well...

Isn't it good when , up fairly early, you have a leisurely breakfast while doing e-mails, fewer than most days being the weekend.
Then, a nice poodle over to a quality garden centre for a few packets of seeds and some stuff to equip the new greenhouse.  It's possible to spend a lot of money at this particular garden centre because next door to the gardeny bits is a food hall. I'd completely forgotten this. I had thought it was just more garden stuff, perhaps the smaller kind of thing, but no.  Every kind of posh nosh you could think of.  More little jar covers of red and blue gingham than you could throw a pair of pinking shears at.  Fortunately in some ways I had gone in wearing my driving glasses which ensured that I couldn't read a damned label for love or money.  Money probably being the operative word.  But even I couldn't miss the deli.  The meats were of a quality you never see in a supermarket, but the cheeses?  Oh, Lordy.  I settled for a piece of Harlech. I have been to Harlech many times and like the town and its castle.  The cheese has a fruity almost wine-like finish and lingers. I am looking forward to a piece more on some crackers for supper.
Also of interest to a fan of Woodforde's excellent ales, an area where large barrels, cut into shelves contain local brews.  Woodforde's have their own. I chose a bottle of Wherry (of course!) and a bottle of Norfolk Nog on a two for a fiver deal.

Back home, via a local centre, for lunch. At the local place we saw hanging baskets that were perfect for us. We have two brackets on the front of the house, but until today had nothing hanging from them.

Then back to our old residence to pick up more garden and greenhouse goodies, which I spent the rest of the afternoon installing.  Cleared up just in time for dinner.  A very good day.

This gardening has got us hooked for sure.
It has its paraphernalia, like fly fishing.  Whilst I have always liked gardens I have never had the slightest interest in actually doing fishing of any kind.  But as a kid I had a book called Evening Rise, which described one man's attitude to his pursuit.  I read it over and over, still without any interest in doing it.  I had a wonderful leather book of finely tied flies, which fascinated me.  When I bought my barn in Suffolk, there was a pair of Hardy fly rods in split cane in the storage end and a wooden Hardy reel. I sold them to a chap who mounted them all on his downstairs loo wall just to look at and admire when on the throne.  Paraphernalia you see?  Can't beat it.

And so, the greenhouse is full of propagators, mesh shelving rescued from a soft skinned greenhouse that a Fen wind shook to pieces.  A proper hang up thermometer, trowel and fork with nice ash handles, a packet of wild flower mixture, seed packets kept in a nice biscuit tin.  I even replaced yesterday's rough bench tops with some wood from the rebuild of our old canal boat. Clean, smooth oak planks.

Now it's up to my wife to do her stuff. She has the wherewithall.  Sweet Peas and Garlic bought today needs a-planting.

Friday, 30 September 2016

It WILL go, it MUST!!!...

The last time I mowed our reasonably sized lawns (nothing like yours, James!) I used the electric cylinder mower.  Now if I were to cut them every few days, I would be fine with the lack of grunt from the electric, but I'd still have to put up with the damned cable dragging around and catching on the plants, taking the flowers off them.
So, I resolved to get a cheap petrol mower. It had to be a cylinder type because I like my stripes and I find rotaries to be vulgar.

Well, I hunted around and was sent to see overpriced broken down things, or no price forthcoming or even rotaries when I'd specified cylinder, so I gave up and resolved to continue with the electric thing.
Then, a new chum rung and actually gave me a decent price for his.  It turned out to be an earlyish Suffolk Super Colt.  Not sure what's super about it, but it is all made in England including the little 78cc sidevalve engine.
I knew it needed a new petrol tap due to leakage from the old one, so I ordered a new one which is a better rotary style tap, rather than a push-pull. The new one comes with a sintered brass filter which sits in the tank and a couple of feet of clear pipe.  I also had to get a new exhaust gasket as the old one fell to bits when I removed the exhaust can for a clean.  Put all together, new fuel from a new can and pulled.  And pulled, and......then I realised I hadn't turned the nice new fuel tap on!  Did that and pulled.....and pulled.....and.....Ah, I haven't tickled the carb., so I tickled till it leaked and pulled and pulled and....Nothing, not a peep.
So I removed the plug and tried spark, the Suffolk complaint.  This requires removal of the flywheel to clean and adjust the points.  I have neither three hands or a flywheel puller.

So, I ring up son-in-law and ask for his help for half an hour.  No problem...heart of gold, young Ian. He brings a gizmo that lights up if there's any chance of a spark.  It didn't.  It stayed dark.  This is where the third hand came in.  Whilst Ian gave the removed and lightly re-fitted crankshaft nut a sharp crack with a copper faced Thor hammer, I twisted a stubby screwdriver in the convenient gap behind the flywheel. Pop!, it just tumbled off.
All reading on forums had led me to understand that the Suffolk engines used a coil and condenser. Knowing how unreliable those components had become these days, I feared the worst, but on removal of the flywheel we were faced with a large black blob with magnets sticking out of it!  We had a magneto.  The whole thing was satisfyingly clean, but clearly hadn't turned for a long time. Magnet shaped marks were on the inside rim of the flywheel and some powdery crud was all round the points. Using a feeler gauge to further clean the gap, after we'd ascertained the lobe that operates the points, we then slid a folded piece of 1000 grit wet and dry twixt the points and gently sanded this way and that.  Checking the admittedly rather tapered gap we decided that the average gap was, more than likely 20 thou. on the feeler gauge, so left it well alone.
Put everything back, tightened nuts and bolts, turned on fuel, tickled, choke on and pulled the cord.  It fired and ran!  In fact it nearly went off across the lawn on its own!  Very shortly it ceased to turn its cutting blades and then stalled.  We checked it for stiffness.  Much too much effort to hand turn things, so off with the guards and we found the chain from engine to cutters was way too tight.  We loosened it and oiled the chain and things felt much better. Started (no problem) and off it went, but kept stalling.  It transpired that my efforts to find a motor mower had resulted in the grass being a wee bit higher than ideal.  So we adjusted the front roller down and the machine finally trundled along cutting a beautiful fine grade of cuttings.

Problem is.....the engine needs maximum choke to run, then it runs fast, but won't answer the throttle. Close the choke and fiddle with the throttle lever and it dies.  Now, apparently this means that the settings are lean, potentially dangerous, so all that remains is for experiments in further, deeper cleaning of the carburettor and adjustment of it's needle valves until we have a smooth idle and some degree of control from the throttle lever.

BUT....we have a mower that now starts, runs and mows.  Once I can do the whole lawn it will look wonderful!  But before that, I have to pick all the mushrooms on the front lawn and carefully get rid of them without spreading their spores further still.

Older mowers, with English bits are a joy. The engines, once adjusted and looked after are bullet proof.  The rest of the machine will have been made of Sheffield steel and therefore will last forever.
Over Winter when, I assume, the grass will give me a break for a while, I will strip it and repaint, so it looks better than new, next Spring.

And then I will start looking for a British Anzani Lawnrider.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Super Colt or Lawnrider?...

It will, by now, be fairly obvious that I am more gardening than I once was.  Indeed, I wrote a long blog entry about our greenhouse only 2 days ago, but it has not appeared and I can't be arsed to do it again.  Up yours Blogger.

Today, a relatively new acquaintance delivered a petrol mower to me in his lowered, blacked out, re-mapped Transit van.  Don't yer love a lairy pensioner? A score (20 quid) changed hands and we barrowed it round the back for a look.  As far as I could tell, the leaky petrol tap needed replacing and after I'd taken the exhaust off it needed a new gasket.  Together I have shelled out all of 6 quid off ebay!  I await their delivery.  By the weekend, I hope to be mowing our considerable lawns with my 60s Suffolk Super Colt.

And whilst I am I try to find, and will continue to do so,a British Anzani Lawnrider. I'll settle for an Eezimow if I have to, but only as an eventual stablemate for the ultimate mower, previously mentioned.  I mean how could you NOT fall completely for this:-
Be still, my beating heart!
Turns on a sixpence, sounds good and will be the nearest thing to a Frazer-Nash I'll ever own.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Lantern Yard back on the horizon...

About 9 years ago, when we first came off the canals and back on the bank, I had a fancy for making a mini-layout.  I actually did 2.  One was a 1/32nd scale narrow gauge effort called Havengore showing a little fisheries supply line. I loved it, but it was going to be too big so I gave it to my friend, who then died shortly afterwards. I imagine his disinterested son-in-law burned it.

The other, Lantern Yard, was the earlier effort and was intended to show off some of the model cars and locos I'd made for various customers.
I have a strong dislike for 009, so was half disinclined to use 9mm track at all, but then I did rather like the 09 stuff I'd done for N-Drive and there was no getting round the fact that I'd done a large number of 0 scale model cars too.  I also like the scenic side of 0 gauge, so I knocked up a likely base to include a canal wharf and lock and a little bit of 9mm track, to be well buried, so no evidence would remain of its Peco Crazy Track origins, which is where I think my hatred of 009 began.  Also, I don't believe in "playing trains".  I.E., nothing moves on my layouts.  They are, indeed, set-pieces...little invocations of a time and place.
Ergo...Lantern Yard.
Bear in mind this is already 9 years old and damp has not been its friend!

Canal wharf on the left, then a canal lock, for which gates are already made.
The well buried track will be part of the foreground to the buildings, which are a workshop in corrugated iron and a blacksmith's house. At the other end is a cafe, already made.  The boat will be the all pearwood model I have half made of our old boat Heather Bell, working as it normally did, as a solo motor, saving me the hassle of making a butty to go with it.  
The fact that this is coming out of hibernation tells you that despite some unseasonably late hot weather, Winter is a-comin' on, one way or tother and that's when I start to have scenic thoughts.
In the years and damp a lot of the road surface has fallen off and the hot glued card strips which form a base for the contours have also loosened.  I normally epoxy coat them, but hadn't done that this time.  They need to be changed anyway as the buildings demand a different sub-base now.

More anon.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Hoary handed man of the soil...

I seem to have become one of the above, since moving to the bungalow.  We have two largish lawns and borders.  The borders out front had been treated like most old persons' places with annual plants. Grown in a greenhouse and planted at great effort in Spring to flower all summer and start to die off about now, only to be removed and replaced by winter plants which will need replacing come spring!
What a preposterous waste of time and effort!  How do those flowers get on in the wild?  Serried ranks of old biddies with little else to do never kept them going. They somehow came to us down the millennia all on their own, unaided by generations of old farts with more money and energy than sense!

We have just dug up all the red and yellas in over 60 feet of borders as they were showing signs of impending death and have replaced them with 24 lavender bushes and today, a selection of shrubs. Yes, I have, this afternoon, planted "a Shwubberwy".  Well 7 shwubbs anyway, some of which looked a bit wan if I'm honest, but at 2 for 3 quid, worth a punt, eh?

Then, not wishing to spoil the mood of amateur horticulture, I took the sticks of the aluminium greenhouse wifey had collected for free early last year and separated them into logical piles. Naturally, for instance, an 8 x 6 greenhouse will have 5  8 foot structurals at least.  2 base lines, 2 gutters and a ridge and bugger me rigid if that ain't exactly what I found!  Then some 6 footers, some angle ended members and flat braces.  Heavens it's almost built!  A brisk scrub with a very stiff brush and a handful of new 6 mil gutter screws and nuts and we'll be growing toms like Percy Throwup.

Then there's the reshaping of the side border out back, the raised beds area on the base of the old greenhouse that the corporate vandals pulled down and sold off and the sitting area where the same vandals demolished a perfectly good shed.  We got a free 5 foot diameter smokey glass and bamboo table yesterday from a house down the road that simply put it outside with a cardboard "Free" notice attached.  The ex owner even persuaded his excellent neighbour to reattach the trailer to his car and load up said table and me to hold it and crawl back up the road with us AND help get it round the back.  That is village life as I recall it when I enjoyed same in the county of Devon in my late teens.
The table is now on the lawn, pending its final positioning and is a very useful shelf for sorting the components of the greenhouse.

What strikes me about this gardening lark is how long it all takes.  I haven't seen the inside of my shed in 2 days!  It takes 2 hours to mow the lawns.  Another to trim and clear up.  And as for digging out the 6 month biddy specials, I lost count!  Then the soil has to be rejuvenated by hoeing, then you have to sweep up AGAIN and throw stuff in the composter AGAIN.
But it is strangely compelling, as I always assumed it would be and I can now quite understand why old people do it. It's a very easy way to pass the time.  Once the greenhouse is built, the weather, even, becomes an irrelevance too. In fact a well sealed glasshouse with a comfy chair is a very welcoming bolthole.  Warmed by a sun that you can't feel outside in the breeze and comforted by that tomatoey odour, I can easily see why Gertie can almost lose Bertie for hours on end.  By the time everything has been "brought on", "pricked out" and "potted", it's time for tea and Only Connect, a TV quiz to keep the brain lively as a fly.  A doze before bed and off we go again the next day.

Ye Gods is this my future?  It actually could be worse.....

Monday, 12 September 2016

Odder still...

Is the fact that, having fought tractors and traffic to get to Felthorpe last Wednesday I find that the relevant Tiger Moth has no cockpit green in it whatsoever!  Also, some clown had taxied the poor old girl into a perimeter fence in an attempt to turn it quickly and the port lower wing had had to be repaired.  Not complaining because it meant there was a wonderful whiff of Nitrated Dope in the air!

The framing is gloss black, the door inners are matt black and having recently been recovered the inside of the bodywork is bare unpainted fabric, a kind of pale beige-ish tint.  Control rods are all silver painted. Seats are black vinyl and headboards a sort of brick red.  So there, you HAVE to look at the actual aircraft you're modelling to get the right info.

On colours alone you wouldn't guess this is a Tiger Moth!

This will also be a bit of a test of my masking skills, or is it masking luck?  I've never been too sure how much of each is involved.
But the scheme is mid blue over sky blue with silver flying surfaces, lined in mid blue and black.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Some days are just ...odd...

Needing some cockpit green and Miliput I decided to simply pop into town to pick the provisions up quickly as we now live much nearer the model shop.  When I say model shop, it's mainly a toy shop. It's called Prams and Toys and, with a few kids' bikes thrown in, that is what it is.  Up one end are plastic kits, die cast cars, a few railway items and a few materials.  The fact that they charge way over the top for Milliput is balanced by the fact that the nearest cheaper supply is at least 3 quid's worth of petrol away. They also have balsa, hardwoods, K&S Metal Centre and EMA Plastruct stuff, so are actually quite useful.  They shut on Wednesday, annoyingly, even though there are at least 3 women staff there all day, every day. Surely a rota could be designed to keep the shop open on a Wednesday? I do find Early Closing a preposterous notion where a shop is staffed by more than one person.

I looked in vain for cockpit green.  Humbrol do what they call cockpit green and it is so dark and dull that it has no place in an aircraft, so I bought a tin of "Pastel Green", which, on the colour chart, looked bang on, but the tin lid caused me to search out the sunglasses.  I'm off to mix the twain into some semblance of what is in the Tiger Moth.

Oddest of all was that on the way in I saw an immaculate scarlet MG Maestro, a lime green Austin Princess, a brand Johnny Spankers soft top Lamborghini Ausfarht or whatever the latest one is stupidly called in bright orange and nicest of all an unsupercharged (as were most) 4 1/2 Litre Bentley displaying a wonderful patina of age and use, without being a rat, like so many are these days in some kind of fashionable idiocy.  He'd just filled up at Morrisons.  Bet he got some points on his card!
Where all these rare cars live in this largely rural community I have no idea, but they're tucked away somewhere!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Tram fiddlers turn at eleven...

Well, well, I certainly seem to have activated something in tramville!  I'm getting a regular stream of vitriol sent to me to publish on this blog by people who, whilst first accusing me of being a troll, nonetheless take me seriously enough to get all offended by my words about gauges and standards. You can't have it both ways, boys (and I use that word intentionally).  Either I'm an evil troll and so should be ignored, or I'm making a point that you know to be true enough to be offended by.

Either way, I believe the modern expression is something like "suck it up, baby".  I really don't give a damn.

Somebody today who can only half allow his name to be known (others have been fully anonymous) claimed that he has checked my work and reckons it is not to a professional standard.  He didn't mention which clairvoyant he used to see all the work that I never had the chance or thought to photograph and so isn't on the internet or anywhere else, but which, amongst other things, raised a family and paid a mortgage.  Something I doubt he and his tram fiddler friends could have done with their Superquick and tarbrush standards of model making.

I have never encountered a bunch of such touchy individuals before.  I asked a question, they took offence, so I hit 'em a bit harder with a criticism.  They have blown up over it.  Well from now on, whatever drivel they chose to waste their time sending me will not be published on here, good or bad, I really don't have the time or interest.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Tales from the new shed...

Well, I can't get much else in the space and so I had a bash at getting something done in the new shed.
It seems it works, too as I've managed to get a friend's one-off Delage GP well underway.  His great Uncle, it seems, one "Bummer" Scott,  (NO! Dutton Minor, stop that) bought a 1 1/2 Litre GP Delage from his mate, Malcolm Campbell and raced it in somewhat modified form at Brooklands, etc.
My chum had bought himself some lump of resin from an ebay seller some time ago and started to remove the exhaust, but had given up and so, decided to pass the whole job on to me. Not only to correct the body, but make for it a scale, brass chassis with all the necessary slot car bits on.  So that's what I've been at for a week or so recently.
Old "Bummer" enjoying his latest toy

The modified body and scale brass chassis.

The body on its chassis, with an aluminium cockpit and in the background the new Brooklands exhaust.

I have also managed to get some more planks on the Vanity model. We now have 4 a side, no thanks to epoxy glue tother day, when for no obvious reason the mixture failed and let the planks go loose!
So, much as I don't like the stuff, I had to scrape all the epoxy off and replace with PVA and get on with that.
Add to that some work on the lathe and we seem to have got ourselves comfortable in the new workshop.