Monday, May 20, 2024

Stamford 2024

Cato Inferno

Regular readers will know of my enthusiasm for loco model railway shows. Get a good one, and the layouts on display will be punching well above the weight of the event, and so it proved at Stamford. 

I'd gone along to photograph Harbourne St Mary for a future issue of BRM. While there, the Market Deeping club, who run the show, had asked me and my boss to judge the best layout competition. 

Comparing one layout against another, when they are all so different is really difficult. We got the list down to six, and over tea, decided to award the prize to Daisy Lane, a 4mm scale MPD with some really nice detail in the buildings (no roofs, so you can see this) and a set of weathered stock. Part of my reasoning was that I've seen MPDs done so often with weathered buildings, and stock straight from the box, it's nice to see things done properly. It's also a modest size, the sort of layout people can realisticaly aspire to building. 

And yes, I have got a photo shoot booked in later this year. It definitely needs to be on the page. 

Essex Brick

So many other layouts stick in my mind though, such as the 3D printed Essex Brick. Not realistic, but with a real Steampunk vibe going on, and it all works automatically.

Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter achieves something that again, I've seen tried, but rarely as successfully - a monochrome layout. Sat in the hall, it really stands out with it's grey colouration. Sadly, the baseboard is so packed, it wouldn't work on the page, but if you get the chance to see it for realy, don't miss out. 

Trade was good, but not brisk thanks to a well-publicised stunning day outside. The sort of weather that makes most people head for a pub garden rather than an exhibition hall, even one with excellent cake. I felt for the show manager. As he said, you can't control the weather. 

Anyway, there are more photos on Flickr. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Llangollen 2024

Main hall

The weather was kind. Too kind for me to consider wearing the official Garden Rail tweed jacket to a garden railway show!

The venue was, as usual, nice and spacious, and light inside. Not problem with photography here. Which doesn't explain why I mainly took pictures of the less serious models of course, that's just the way my mind works. I blame buying a steam loco early on, it jumbles my brain. 

Anyway, what I did get the chance to do was chat to a lot of the trade, and some of the visitors. The general concensus was thet the NGRS show had been successful, with plenty of money spent. Happy trade means no problems rebooking them for next year, so a happy exhibition manager. 

The layouts were nice, and we had the chance to see some vintage models running, including a Sgt Murphy.

Sgt Murphy

It's interesting to see the rise in interest in these older models. I'll admit, they fascinate me, and I suspect there is a meths powered loco in my future...

Anyway, you can look at the full set of photos over on Flickr.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Saturday Film Club: Build a Dune buggy

I've always wanted to build a kit car. Probably a dune buggy. 

Of course, it's very unlikely I ever will. And even if I did, the mean streets of Leamington Spa aren't the idea home for it. And I'm not nearly cool enough to drive one. 

But it doesn't do any harm to watch the film and dream...

Friday, May 17, 2024

The cheap way into Roundhouse ownership


This is my new toy. A Roundhouse Lady Anne. Bought at Llangollen garden railway show last Saturday. 

I'd normally say I hadn't planned to buy this, but in truth, there was an inkling. Right at the end of Ally Pally show, I spotted that Footplate had a green one on the stand, for very modest money. I asked what was wrong with it, and the answer came that it was a bit scruffy, but otherwise OK. 

Now, if I'd seen that loco at the start of the show, there would have been a lot of pondering. A Roundhouse loco was a hole in my collection. I've toured the factory and seen the quality of the work. But there was no way I could justify the outlay to myself. Even the kits (which I'd stilll love to build) end up north of a grand by the time you buy all the bits. Excellent value for money, but still a big chunk of cash. 

Anyway, having seen Footplate at a couple of shows since, and the stand being devoid of loco, I assumed I'd missed my chance. Not to worry I thought. 

But at the garden railway show, the green loco was back. And joined by a black one. Each for £600. I asked, and was assured the loco had steamed. It felt OK when I turned the wheels, and was pleasently oily in the right places. I took a deep breath and handed over my credit card. This may be a bargain, but it's still not something I'd planned or saved for. 

Back home, a chance posting on Facebook about the Paul Perryman estate sale allowed me to start digging into the models history. From the serial number, Roundhouse told me it was built in 1999 by Harry. I have now comunicated with the first owner, who sold it to Paul. I also know it has been run with 40-50 wagons on the back relatively recently. 

Now this might be a bargain, but there is work to do. The boiler moves slightly. It's greasy and dull. The loco was once red, but repainted black after falling off a table and becoming scratched. This also explains the very slight lean of the chimney - not something I spotted until it was pointed out. 

The first job is to steam the model. From that I'll get an idea of the work required. Being Roundhouse, all the bits are available, and the model can be taken apart using hand tools if required. 

Assuming it's as good as suggested, then after 25 years, this thing was excellent value for money. It's not like it's never been used after all. 

Anyway, the adventure starts here. I'm looking forward to this one. Quite chuffed with my new purchase.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Bus stop, ballasting and dry-brushing in June's BRM


Bus stop

I've gone Old Skool with this month's main project - a steam era bus stop diorama. It revolves around using some materials that many modellers will hav forgotten about for the greenery in the background. There's nothing wrong with them, but others have come along. 

 This also inspired my BRMTV feature this month - dry-brushing brickwork. 


A perenial topic we have to cover is ballasting track. Yes, you've seen it before, but not everyone has, so I've covered the basics in four steps. Partly because I needed a 009 photo plank...

My camera has been out again: 

The Viaduct in N gauge. 

Longmorn in OO. 


And Foxbury in TT.