Wednesday, November 29, 2023

My first garden railway


Garden railway

Digging through some old photo albums, I found this shot. It shows my first garden railway. 

The track, Peco SM32, is laid on a bed of pea gravel sitting in a trench. I think there are short wooden posts bashed into the ground every couple of feet, and the sleepers are screwed to these. 

A Mamod loco, built from a kit, is posed with a set of Coopercraft wagons. It's not running with them because the somewhat excitable speed control on the loco would yank them off the track. 

I'm pretty sure I still have everything in this 30 year-old (at least) photo. The track is in a cupboard. The loco stored safely with the rest of the 32mm stuff. The wagons are on the bench, awaiting a little cleaning and renovation. Even the hut, made from a solid bit of wood, is in the garden railway bits. 

One day, thanks to my greater knoweldge and experience, all this will run again. For now, the line slumbers...

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Goodies from the IPMS show

Now, it would be rude to go to a plastic kit show, and not come away with at least one box, wouldn't it? 

Well, I wasn't rude. I also know why I have a 35 litre rucksack. 

Starting with the big buy, a kit I don't really understand. It's a sort of walking robot suit, that a pilot sits in and operates. More than that I do not know as all is in Japanese.

My guess is that this is from a Manga cartoon of some sort. I'm not into manga, but I just love the idea of the model. It looks fun, and that's what the hobby is about. It's also as far from toy trains as you can get, and still be making models. 

If anyone can enlighten me further, I'd be fascinated. 

Thunderbirds kits

These three were proper bargains. Dug out of a box of similarily packages models, I eshewed the Japanese robots, I haven't built last years purchases for a start, aiming for Gerry Anderson pastiche's. The exciting thing is that the two CD-Boy kits include sound chips. What is the sound? No idea, but for four quid each, I'm happy to find out. 

OK, there is one Japanese robot, but he's from the same box of water damaged (so I'm told, hence no boxes, but a saving of six pounds in the TB4 kit) stock. It turns out there are two robots in the kit - one is a pendant for the SciFi robot loving love of your life presumably. 

TB3 is just because that's my favourite Thunderbird. I think there was a CD-Boy version, but someone snaffled it just before me, such is the scrum around these boxes.Boo. 

Kate - I'll be right there, is a kit I've been meaning to buy for a while. Purely because the main character in our excellent novels is called 'Kate'. She doesn't look much like the plastic Kate, but I think I can fix that. The model is from a range called "Dangerous Curves". I leave investigating further to you. 

The gladiators were two quid from the Bachmann MCC stand. I can't resist a bargain, and feel they might one day be made into a model of the people discussing things on a popular web forum. 

Something a bit more sensible now, a set of graduated sanding sticks. For the moment, these will be kept for best work (yes, I do some!) especially the really fine ones. 

The bookazine has Daleks in it and some behind the scenes stuff, and was three quid. I'm not flicking through a mag for that price, I'll take the risk on the content being interesting. Get me. 

Finally, a Bond Bug, to replace the one I messed up. This has been a tough kit to track down, it's been such a good seller that all the retailer are out of stock. Possibly one of Airfix's best sellers of recent times. 

And the SR-N1. Well, it's another kit I've always fancied, but not enough to shell out eBay prices. 

All this probably looks very profligate. Just north of £100 blown on plastic kits, that I might never get around to building at my current rate of progress. I don't care. This show has been on my calendar for a long while, and I was determined to enjoy myself. Part of that is buying interesting kits, and dreaming I will one day get around to building them.Maybe it could be said that I left with a bag full of dreams...

Monday, November 27, 2023

IPMS 2023


"I've seen some photos, and it doesn't look that busy." said one of the great brains on Facebook. He was pretty quickly corrected. The show was well back to pre-Covid levels of attendance, both visitors and traders as far as I could tell. 

Walking around the mainly trade area on Saturday morning was difficult. Getting into those second-hand kit stands was difficult. And it stayed a lot like that until late afternoon. I know that because I got in just after 10, and left about half past 5. £23 for severn hours entertainment. 

As usual, I largely ignored military models and stuck to things I liked. Even doing that meant I filled my time. Apart from at lunch, when by chance, I ended up chatting to Chris Sandham-Bailey, who designes the transfers for Airfix, over a rather nice burger meal. 

Yes, I bought some stuff. You don't go to a show like this and NOT leave without at least one box. Well, not unless you are dead miserable like the guy on Facebook, and I'm sure he wasn't there, and just wanted to rubbish to show to make himself feel superior. 

Well Mr Facebook, you missed some amazing modelling. But, we need to let the photos do the talking, so head over to my Flickr album and enjoy


Sunday, November 26, 2023

Artisan and Reenactors Market

Artisan and Reenactors Market

Since lots of people will be at the biggest model railway show in the UK today, let's look at a decidedly non-toy train event. Sacriledge it might be, but I enjoy a trip to see something different occasionally. 

Held at the Warwickshire Events Centre, the show supplies those who like to spend weekends pretending they are living in a different time. A bit like those who write in to my local paper for whom the time is always Georgian, and anything new is BAD. But I digress. 


Like model railways, there are a lot of cottage industries involved, although they seem to manufacturer some impressive clothing and hardware. The helmets above are all hand-made, and the ones I spotted cost less than £200. That seems a bargain for a bespoke item. Costumes will come in at quite a bit more than this if you want something top-end and Elizabethan, but there are cheaper options. Not that this matters, if you take pert on the sort of recreation that involves hitting each other, you'll be buying armour or at least chain-mail, no matter what the cost!

As well as costumes and weapons (three bow and arrow makers in the hall), there are cooking materials, eating and drinking vessels, coins (I bought a replica Roman coin, and a real one, both for the price of a coffee), materials for making costumes, food and drink. After writing this, I'll be supping a session bottle of mead. 

Just like model railways, there's a lot of detail to consider, and I can see the pleasure in getting involved with all this. I still don't fancy going away and role-playing historical people, but as a break from modelmaking, it was well worth the £4.50 to go in. The costumed stallholder and even attendees made it worth that.

Steampunk gun

Mind you, some of the protective wear could be useful at Warley...

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Saturday Film Club: SRN-1

To celebrate the arrival of the re-issued Airfix SRN-1 hoercraft kit (yes, of course I have one) a couple of videos showing this interesting machine.