Sunday, January 17, 2021

Missing Ally Pally Model Engineering Exhibition

Alexandra Palace view from the organ

My TV is full of snooker, which tells me that today, I should be driving in to London for the Model Engineering exhibition. It's always fun to see the tables of baize in the foyer of the exhibition centre. Quite an eye-opened for me the first time as I'd never seen a full-sized table in the flesh. 

I've never enjoyed driving in the capital, but by using the M1 rather than M40, and travelling on a Sunday, means it's not too bad. Getting back is slightly trickier as the satnav aims at the M40 but I like to keep the North Circular miles to a minimum. 

Anyway, the London ME is my favourite of the breed. There's less engineering and a wider selection of model-making disciplines on show. It tends to have a wider audience too with families enjoying the show. That's probably why there is Lego, Tamiya trucking and even steampunk. The "Imagineering" kids engineering section would have appealed to a younger me. 

For grown-up Phil, there are plenty of boats and some garden scale railways to enjoy. I like the engineering, but you can see the same models several years running with little progress in between. Mind you, I often find I've photographed the boats more than once too!

Hopefully, this time off will see some new exhibits appear if we are ever allowed out again. Since the engineers are largely at the top of the list for vaccinations based on age, maybe they stand more chance of a show than most?

If you'd like to re-live those heady days in the past, my blog posts and photos for each year can be found here:








Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday Film Club: Britain's oldest trains retire


2020 saw the last trips for the Isle of Wight tube stock, nicely filmed here. Had we not been locked down, I'd have been tempted to make the trip for this. My one visit to the island saw me stand on the station, but not see any trains. I did travel by hovercraft though, a win in anyone's book.

Looking at the countryside scenes, I'm wondering if there is an interesting moving diorama to be built with an EFE Rail train, shuttle unit and chunk of countryside. Nothing too long, but an attractive moving picture.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Trent Lifeboat

1:16 scale Trent Lifeboat 

A new addition to the Parker fleet, albeit one with a sad reason for it's arrival. It's no surprise that with model boaters tending to be on the older age of the hobby, that vessels come up for sale within the club due to illness or even death. 

The owner of this lifeboat passed away very shortly after his models were sold. I like to think that knowing they had good homes within the club will have been a tiny consolation. I know it would be for me. Admittedly, he wasn't a builder of models, but that doesn't mean you don't want to see them go to people who will appreciate them.

1:16 scale Trent Lifeboat 

The model is a beautifully built 1:16 scale Trent from the Model Slipway range. At three feet long, it's at the top end of the boat sizes I want to deal with, but look at the detail that comes with a big (to me) model!

 1:16 scale Trent Lifeboat 

The hull is fibreglass and superstructure plastic with castings. Railings are metal and cleverly slot into each other to allow the top to be removed for access to the interior. 

Power is from a pair of brushed motors independently controlled via Electronise speed controllers. The handset allows for these to be run as a pair, or at different speeds. The jelly cell was a surprise, but a big boat needs ballast to get the hull to sit properly on the water and we should see plenty of operating time.

I'm not one for buying RTR models, but this was just too good an opportunity to pass up. If and when our water reopens from Covid restrictions, then I look forward to sailing her. 

Looking closely, there are a few personalisations in my mind - the switches can only be operated with the superstructure removed so I'll move them to somewhere more accessible. Taking the model apart at the waters edge isn't a good idea. 

We also need more crew. A Trent should be manned by six people, so this gives me the chance to add figures, a pleasant job. 

Whatever the reasons I now own this boat, it proves the value of a club. Members know how to find homes for valued models and will normally pitch in to help. I'm sure this is appreciated by anyone looking at a collection that meant a lot to a recently departed family member, wanting to do the best with them, but not knowing where to start. Otherwise, they can be given away for nothing.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Is that Henry Greenlys' bridge in Garden Rail?


February's Garden Rail includes a piece on a historic model railway bridge, designed by none other then Henry Greenly. You don't turn one of these up very often and it reveals a very different world of large scale modelling to the one we know today. Unless you are able to get your staff to do the hard work that is...

We also take a look at Lost'n'Bodge works in all its various guises, build a Leeds tram (another bit of interesting history) and a Fish'n'Chip shop where you could swear you can smell the vinegar.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Diamond Dotz - or 16mm scale rivets?

For Christmas, mum received a "Diamond Dotz" kit to produce a picture of a gecko. She sat for hours, happily picking up little hemispheres, and sticking them to the self-adhesive background. Following the instructions, she's produced a very attractive picture, and thoroughly enjoyed herself doing it. 

Included in the kit is a plastic funnel-tray that looks a lot like those used for pills. This allows you to pour some dotz (Yes, I know. It's Amercian. Nuff said.) back into their little packets once you've finished dotting. 

To apply the plastic pieces, there is a tool with a hollow end. This is poked into some wax supplied for the purpose. It grabs the dot, assuming it's the right way up, but lets go once the dot is on the sticky picture surface. 

This is all very neat, but there a lot of dotz left over, and I'm wondering how useful they would be as fake 16mm scale rivets? I've seen people use tiny "jewels" for this job. The dotz are 3mm in diameter and 1.3mm tall. They aren't hemispheres, but slightly faceted. Not enough to show under a coat of paint I suspect. 

I might get the chance to try this theory out as it looks like there will be more of these kits arriving in the future, and that means more leftover dotz!