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.

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