Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Warehouse Wednesday: Overgrown huts

Overgrown huts

Spotted in an odd bit of land near me that is surrounded by a housing estate. According to a planning notice, this and the bungalow next door, will soon become a 2-bed house and some self-build plots. 

These odd corners are understandably becoming rare and it's worth keeping an eye out for them. In model form, overgrown huts like this (are these Nissen huts? Surely they are too small?) make lovely, atmospheric scenes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Newspaper solution

 Last year, I pondered the right sort of papers to appear in modelling magazine photos

Nothing too political, or with anything titilating on the picture front. You don't need controversial storeis appearing, or murders. In fact, it's probably best to avoid people's faces. 

But, the solution has arrived wrapped around yesterday's plastic kits - Japanese newspapers!

How cool will I look using thse when I need to protect my scenery from messy work, but need to take a photo?

Monday, January 17, 2022

I know I said "no more kits"...


In my defence, I ordered this pile before Christmas, and they have only just arrived. 

It's all TV engineer and motorbike racer Guy Martin's fault. In his latest epic, he built a racing Piagio. Liking the look of this, I did a little web searching, especially for the fun looking radio control version I'd seen in the past

In the results, was a photo of a Mazda T2000. I wanted to know more. Don't look at me like that, I'm not the only one to fall down an interweb rabbit hole. It's got 3 wheels and can carry a 2-ton load! A proper workhorse of a vehicle.

Another search and I spot a plastic kit. From the excellent Plaza Japan

"That looks fun", I think, and before you know it, I've clicked the magic buy button. Well, it's not much more than a fiver. 

Of course, there are other similar kits, as the same sort of price. Might as well make the order up a bit. 

Then I spot some cartoon Thunderbird stuff. And of course I fancy a model of FAB1 with Lady Penelope and Parker. 

And that is how I ended up £30 worse off, but with four more boxes of things I want to build. If nothing else, this is a stone, cold bargain. Any one of these kits would cost half that in the UK. And I'd still be tempted by one.

And I also own a complimentary little model of Mount Fuji - how good is this?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Lamenting the modeller I used to be


Digging through my stash of bits'n'pieces for something that wasn't there, I couldn't help wonder how the pile of packets had come about. 

Loads of buffers, wheels, detailing components. All solid gold to the right sort of modeller - the sort of modeller I used to be. 

I'm going to be controversial and say, the best era for railway modelling was 1993. 

Iain Rice's book Detailing and Improving Ready to Run Wagons had just been published. RTR models were improving a bit, but serious types needed to tinker with them to add better brake gear and modify the bodies. You weren't aiming for perfection, just a few gentle improvements that would raise your layout above the herd. 

A few extra bent bits of wire for brake safety loops, perhaps even ripping off the plastic bits and replacing them with metal bits from Kenline would do the job. 

All this was within the grasp of a reasonably capable person who really wanted to have a go. 

Nowadays, RTR has pretty much reached perfection. Even the most basic four-wheel wagon has brake shoes inline with the wheels and often all the rods and stuff you should find under there. Generall, the quality will be amazing. 

I miss those days, and I miss that sort of modelling. While I can do my best to spread the gospel of tinkering with RTR models, I know I'm fighting a losing battle. The world has moved on.

Rice's efforts in his enjoyable books would be laughed at by the finescale talliban. You can't be cutting things out with a knife, you MUST use a laser, or better still, 3D print it. Why use a scalpel when you can sit in front of a computer? 

A sensible person would consider unloading all this stuff to clear space. 

I am not a sensible person. 

One day, I will hide in my cave and gradually upgrade old RTR models. I'll build Parkside kits. My layouts will be a bit better than those I created in the 1990s, but not much. And I will enjoy building them. On the exhibition circuit, I'll claim it's all retro, or ironic, but really it will be because I enjoy doing it. And that's all that matters.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Saturday Film Club: Secret London microcar stash

Jonny Smith visits an incredible private London car collection full of the rarest custom and bubble cars. Like most classic car fans, I have a fantasy garage, and while I wouldn't fit in many of them, micro cars have always fascinated me.