Sunday, December 11, 2016

Slot car swapmeet

Minic roadway

Back in the 1960s, my dad was a car racer. Specifically a slot car racer at the Luton slot car club. At the time, he helped them build a 120ft long 6 lane track and then enjoyed racing converted Airfix kits around it. Sadly, the club lost its premises and the track was dismantled. He them moved out of the area and never raced again.

Spotting a flyer for a slotcar swopmeet at a recent show, we went along out of curiosity. I know there is a bit of a hobby left, but didn't really know very much about it, but it's fun finding out.

The event at Coventry Transport museum was mainly trade, but there were a few operating tracks.


Minic RoadRailer

First I found some Triang Minic on which there was the rare operating Road-Railer unit. The owner tried to give it a run for me but it wasn't playing. He did explain how the ingenious chaps at Triang made the thing work as the prototype does. He also showed me the double gearing fitted to the steam lorry to make it trundle slower than the rest of the traffic - clever stuff.

And yes, a bit of me thinks that Minic Motorway would be a nice adjunct to the Triang working models collection, but I must resist.

5 lane Mini raceway

Next door was a rare 5-lane racing circuit. Triang sensibly tried to jump on the slot car racing boom of the time with a 4mm scale (ish) version using the same mechanisms.

Pit lane

In another hall was a full sceniced model based on Silverstone. This was new to me and while nowhere near the quality of a model railway, it looked good and there were a lot of scenic accessories available.

Sadly, there isn't a slot racing club near Leamington, but if we could find premises, I think there are a few people around here who might be interested in starting one. Maybe I might build a racing Beetle or TR7 after all one day.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Peterborough show seen by normal people



Most videos of model railway shows are shot by enthusiasts. Because of this, they tend to be heavy on the trains and don't really capture the essence of the event. 

This promo film by Warner's video people (the same ones who make the BRM DVD) is interesting precisely because it hasn't been shot by enthusiasts. Instead it shows people enjoying themselves and to my mind, catches the feel of visiting a show if you aren't a hard core model railway nerd.

It makes visiting a show look just as much fun as it really is. And yes, I can be seen in the background towards the end, but watch it anyway.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Sanding sticks

John asks:

Just a small question, if I may? Having read your article on BRM article "Horse Power" I see that you used a interesting abrasive stick (sanding stick) and I wonder where you may have obtained these. I have not come across them at Shows and I wonder if you use a particular trader.



This is embarrassing. I do my best to ensure that all the tools and materials I use for magazine articles are easily available, or that I can point people in the right direction to buy them. My sanding sticks came from a trader at the IPMS, and when I go looking for their details, I can't find the sticks on their website. It looks like these are a show-only product.

My initial suggestion to John was to try any abrasive stick from Boots - the sort sold for filing nails. I know John well enough to know that he probably won't have of these to hand, preferring a professional manicure at an exclusive high-class establishment.


But, At Warley, I found a suitable alternative. Albion Alloys sell a range of abrasive products including these rather nice sanding sticks. Each is 165 by 20mm, double sided and covered with a variety of grades of abrasive. They aren't as padded as the sticks I've used in the past so should go into small (3mm+) gaps as well. Less tearable when you accidentally sand a screw head or slightly exposed nail too.

Packs cost £5.00 and are available from model shops and trade. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

A big station, barns and little lorries in BRM

Stanford East Model

It's time for a new major project for me in the latest issue of BRM. A few months ago, I was introduced to a 4mm scale model of Stamford East station which had arrived in the magazine stores after being turfed out of the local museum when it closed. 

My task is to take the model and turn it into a layout. This isn't as easy as it sounds - first, this is a popular station with both OO and N gauge versions currently on the exhibition circuit. Second, it's half a metre long and really needs a 15ft long layout to do justice to the real trackplan. 

Like most modellers, my space is limited, in my case to around 6ft. What can I do to fit the model in this space AND make it look different from others people will have seen? You'll have to read the mag to find out.


Old stone barn

Staying with buildings, a project I've wanted to do for some time has finally come to fruition.Skytrex's excellent derelict barn casting is lovely as supplied, but what would it have looked like when new? And how did it end its life?

I've taken the model and built it four times - once when new, a couple of examples as it falls down and finally, a Grand Designs inspired barn conversion. 

Ruston Quays Road vehicles

Finally, I'm looking at the road vehicles to be seen on Ruston Quays. I'm a bit old skool in that I don't think the only place to acquire little vans and lorries is the diecast section of my local model shop. Nor do I think they should be left in fresh out of the box condition. I've shown how you can build an interesting selection for the layout, which will hopefully encourage others to do the same. 

Over on the DVD, I'm sitting out in the garden doing a bit of modelling. This time it's assembling resin buildings for garden railways. Just the job for winter!