The very first model locomotive I owned was a second hand Triang 3F. This model did many miles around my train-set, nattily painted in maroon with a brass dome by my Dad who thought I wouldn't really want a boring black engine.
By the time the insulation around the axle gave way several years later, I was well on the way to being a proper anorak. Along the way the loco was repainted into an unexpectedly weathered black and gained a crew. I still have it somewhere.
Anyway, when Bachmann released their 3F, I just had to have one. It's a lot more accurate than Triang's effort and will look great on any layout. Despite the advances of the past 50 years, it's still not perfect. The tender brake shoes are in the wrong place for a start.
Fortunately, Brassmaster sell a detailing kit which covers more modifications that I can see the point of. Thus, the guide covers giving the 3F a light working over. I've taken the opportunity to renumber the new model to match my old one and replace the BT badge with the words "British Railways", partly as this 3F was scrapped early but mostly because I think this "sits" better on the tender beading than the crest.
So there we are. 4 1/2 years of Parker's Guide. Over 50 projects. One bookazine. When Mike Wild invited me to writer a column, I was incredibly flattered and happy to take the job on. Over the years I've built many fascinating and enjoyable models. Both on-line and in person I've been proud to meet many modellers who have followed my words and produced their own versions. Trust me, it never gets better than seeing something someone has built inspired by you.
Anyway, there's one more chance to have a look at my Hornby Magazine projects. This weekend it's the first Great Electric Train Show and as you read this, I should be setting up Clayhanger Yard and laying out some Parker's Guide projects for your enjoyment. Please come along and say hello.