Friday, November 15, 2019

Book Review: "OO" Minature Railways Handbook and Guide 1953/54

If you believed in Father Christmas back in 1953, you'd have been hoping for a train set. Back in those days, RTR was new, exciting and incompatible. No problem as GH Lake has produced this handy 24-page booklet trying to help. 

Inside there is a brief history of OO followed by a listing of the Principle British Periodicals dealing exclusively with railway modelling. 

Next, there is a run-down of the various producers of fixed track systems - Hornby-Dublo, Trix, Tri-ang, Rivarossi and then the same for flexible track formations; Graham Farish. We then look at pickup systems: Tree-rail, Two rail and stud contact. None of this is exhaustive with only a couple of paragraphs for each. Two pages cover the interchangeability of various OO-gauge tracks. 

By page 10 we start to get useful numbers showing the BRMSB standards followed by details of where to fit studs for that contact system. 

Page 18 lists the Principle Suppliers of OO-gauge equipment. It's not a long list with 16 entries but includes such names as Peco, Romford, CCW and one I'd not heard of: Bradshaw Model Railway Products. 

Finally a quick Q&A and then a few pages of adverts. 

The book came from Kanga Models in Colonade Passage in Birmingham. The passage itself was demolished in 1961, but a little digging on the web tells me that the shop was run by a Mrs McQueen. and eventually moved into Burlington Passage, just around the corner from the Ian Allan shop (RIP). They appear to have been a general model shop as I've found adverts for Kanga Aerodrome as well. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Glendale Rocket and light up station furniture on Garden Rail

The festive issue of Garden Rail hits the shops today. This means a light-up tree on the front cover and the designer insisting on my manic looking Elf-hat wearing headshot on the Editorial page. 

I suppose you might find the largest Product News section for a while useful if hinting about presents, there are a lot of options. Even with 6 pages, we held some over to the next issue and shoehorned the rest in. 

I'm particularly pleased to have a piece on motorising the Glendale Rocket in. Many modellers have a plastic Postman Pat loco on the shelf, but not know what to do to make the thing work. It turns out the job is easier than you might expect. 

Illuminating your station platform also turns out to be simple, if you follow the ingenious techniques described on the page. Another project beckons. Mind you, there are a couple more in here that also tempt me. That's the trouble with this job, so much you'd like to do and so little time!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Waterborne Wednesday: Sydney Ferry


My subject this week is Michael Portillo's fault. Watching his latest series of railway journeys through Australia, I caught the Sydney one and he ends up at Circular Quay. That's where I stayed a few years ago on my trip and while there, made much use of the local ferries. 

These catamaran boats zip in and out of the various quaysides all day and fascinated me. The locals treat them as buses and this translates into some very slick sailing. Boats nose into a berth and then back out again just as fast to head to the next stop. 

In my pile of souvenirs is a card kit to build this boat - something firmly on the "one-day" pile. I'd love to build a larger RC version too, although there is a lot of detail to add to bring it alive and the tricky hull to build...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

J72 Brake gear

Time for some sacrilege.

I don't think the brakes on this J72 chassis are very good.

For a start, when hung, I don't think the centres of the brake blocks are a good match for the centres of the wheels. The pull rods aren't long enough by quite a long way either. I bodged them with some scrap fret and they look OK to those who know no better, and fine to those of us not that bothered because you can't see properly when the loco is on it's wheels.

Finally, the brackets at the top of the hangers are designed for the wider EM and P4 chassis, and therefore too short for OO. Maybe someone decided that OO modellers wouldn't care? Another bodge, this time with bits of Microstrip.

It will all look fine with paint, but unless I've screwed up (perfectly possible) this isn't as good as the finescale maffia would claim it to be. Still, paint and dirt will hide a multitude of sins and I quite enjoyed the remedial work.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Pendon and the Madder Valley

Gammon Worthy Halt

A few weeks ago, RMweb Gold members were invited to a special private event at Pendon.

We were given tours of the main scenes which included a trip inside the Vale scene and plenty of time for photography with the protective glass folded down out of the way.

I was a bit cheeky and also managed to get myself inside the Madder Valley display where I bagged a few photos from angles you can't normally get to - a terrific way to appreciate the modelling and inspire me to get the cardboard out and have a go myself!

WTC Loco