Friday, 29 September 2017

Old farts, sit on their Pub bench like book ends...

On Tuesday evening I went to a meeting of people from the local O gauge group, who, as far as I knew had started meeting up for a friendly chat every week instead of waiting every month for the main club get togethers. I assumed it was also because the monthly events are usually at members' houses and in their gardens and not everyone is into garden railways. I certainly am not. Why model in a scale that suits scenery and then make it run through throroughly un-scale scenery. So I don't go to the monthlies any more.
I had a few questions and thought a Tuesday nighter would be ideal. For many reasons I haven't been for a couple of years and so I thought an email to someone who always went would ascertain the continued habit.  But no answer came, so I went anyway.  I poodled over in the newly reducing daylight and seemed to be one of the only ones there.  I bought a customary half pint of something that looked interesting and went to sit at the table where we always sat. But, after a long time away I thought a polite "is this the model railway people?" would be in order.  A mean faced little man then made every pained expression his permanently tight facial muscles would allow in an attempt at protest, but he managed "well you're here now, not much I can do about it".  He interrogated me about my likes in the hobby and why I hadn't attended very often.  If my beer had been of a lesser quality and cheaper, he'd have been wearing it.  He then went into a diatribe about somebody having caused problems and nearly caused the end of the meetings, so disruptive was he and so now it was all only by invitation.  He neglected to explain how anyone might be invited.  He said how they only liked about 6 people to attend.  As the 9th one arrived I fell into conversation with a chap who clearly remembered me taking a particular model when I last went and he had a very good answer for the problem I had with it.  Exactly the point of the meeting I would have thought.  But the mean little man constantly looked around like he was losing control of things and boy, he didn't like it. He didn't like one of HIS friends sitting at the other end of the table and insisted loudly that he move to a spare space at the "top table".
THEN.....the man who apparently had caused all the trouble 2 weeks earlier turned up.  Suddenly, the mean little man went quiet. A burble went round the table. Somebody was volunteered to "say something".  Something was said, awkwardly. The man said he attended other things at the venue and didn't know what the fuss was all about, but the offended ones insisted that he leave or they would all cease to meet there, which would cripple the sports centre (Ha!). I could no longer stand the tension, so I said clearly they would all be happy if not only the miscreant left but me too.  Outside I met the lady who runs the place and told her of what was going on in her establishment.  She was very annoyed.  I opined that perhaps they'd kicked out the wrong man. She said she kicked people out, not them.  There was also a chap who'd been told to remove his noisy child by one of the old farts and a separate barney had kicked off over that.  I can only hope that I helped to cause sufficient trouble to ruin their evening and any to come.

Their actions were so much those of Old Farts that I felt like a 20 something for just a while there.  If I ever become like them, shoot me.  I drove home in my drophead Peugeot and left them to their Honda Jazzes and Mondeo estates, poor old fools.

I shall now do my models entirely alone away from these turds and their petty squabbles, their kitbashing and their damned illness swapping conversation. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Summer is a-going out...

That's it, a bit of bad weather, a change in the day lengths and light style and out comes the buildings and set-pieces, I start looking at the scenery and railway forums and FB pages.

Of course, every year I notice changes to the hobby.  More and more RTR stuff, even in O gauge, more and more 3D printed crap, more and more quite impressive laser cutting and laser engraving.  A bloke doing kits for Great Eastern buildings!!  How esoteric is that? what cost?  Said buildings are bloody expensive.  How many wealthy people are champing at the bit for some out of the way Great Eastern Railway buildings that nobody ever heard of?  Or a £45 lineside hut!!

The one thing you can't get away from is that almost no proper modelmaking is being done. What people like to call scratchbuilding.  A few smaller buildings perhaps, but nothing of any note or importance.  Great Eastern's all very well, but where's the Somerleyton or Maldon stations?  The ones we remember.  Made in card or ply or Foamex.  Nah, forget that.  I don't know if my chum Iain Robinson  is still making buildings for his clients or if he's jacked it in with his blog, which I miss badly. There were some others who made stuff on commission, but they are always held up as some sort of modelmaking Gods, when really all they are is examples of the kind of modelmaker we all were when there were fewer kits available or when we just couldn't afford the silly prices being asked.

We naturally set to with a sheet of nickel silver and a Skinley blueprint and started cutting and soldering. It really isn't difficult to cut and even with the most expensive kits you still have to solder, so why bother?  Learn to cut and save yourself 300 quid to start with.  Not much we can do about the outrageous cost of wheels, but all else is cheapish still. Motors, gears, metal.....not too bad on the whole.  These days finding drawings is the problem as none of the mags publish them any more. Unless you want to do narrow gauge and then the old Roy Link mag, the Industrial and Narrow Gauge Review, Gawd bless its lovely layout and highest standards.  I haven't seen the MRJ for a while, so can't say if they still have the odd drawing of any use, but the comics don't.  They are just running catalogues for RTR.  By the time you've finished making a branch line to their standards you could start a packaging company.  All out of boxes.  Even the O gauge guys now have endless RTR locos to choose from.  250 quid and up, right up, to 4 figures and beyond.  When you consider the average age of model fans these days, you have to wonder what kind of pension deals these old farts were on.  They can't all have been senior civil servants and teachers!  I know a chap who went to a large model show and was relieved of 500 notes for nothing in particular. Not a loco or a major purchase,....just stuff!  Lucky old him. That's what I might spend on a car if I needed one, but my hobby?

Oh well, back to my brass, my bench and my bashings.