Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Book Review: Narrow Gauge Adventure by Peter Kazer

Wild Swan publish some pretty idiosyncratic book and this has to be one of their more unusual.

I've known Peter Kazer for years through a mutual friend for many years. Over this time, I've marvelled at the layouts he has produced of ever more obscure narrow gauge lines is ever stranger scales. Each model is to a standard I can only dream of achieving.

Admittedly, these models take time and so they have tended only to replicate things inside the railway fence. The last model to go beyond these boundaries was his masterpiece, Corris, and that took 10 years to produce!

Peter now feels that age is against him and has called a halt to layout production. This book is his modelling autobiography showing each layout and looking at the prototypes that inspired it. Additionally, there is a large section of "possible" models that he has considered, and in one case even started, but will never build. For me, this is the most interesting part as I can see the appeal of several of these schemes. Plenty of people will be measuring up for another set of baseboards after look at them!

For anyone planning to emulate the work, a discussion of tools, equipment and materials fills the later part of the book. I particularly like the insistence on calling "basswood" it's correct English name of "Lime" but that's probably just me.

A very personal book but one for narrow gauge enthusiasts. It's chock full of beautifully reproduced photos showing lines in their heyday. Even if you don't want to know about the model making, you could enjoy it simply as a picture book.

As I say, slightly oddball and at a very strange price of £26.95, but well worth a read.

Narrow Gauge Adventure from the Talyllyn Railway Bookshop

If you want to know more about construction methods, Peter's earlier book Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling is worth tracking down.


Stuart said...

Thanks for the recommendation. Really lookig forward to getting my hands on this. But, since you know the author, I'd be fascinated to know why he gave it the same name as the late P.D. Hancock's classic book on the same subject ?

Phil Parker said...

I wondered the same thing - At a guess, I'd say he and/or the publisher did it as a tribute. Next time I see Peter, I'll ask him.

Bill Luty said...

Not only a "Master Modeller" but very generous with his time and own researches. A true Gentleman.
Had I known about this book early enough it would have been on my Christmas list, like Parker's Guide, as it is it'll be on my birthday list for sure.