Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review: Kit Building for Railway Modellers. Vol 2 - Locomotives and Multiple Units by George Dent

It's a good start to read the first few words of any book and completely agree with them. The author opens with this passage:

Pride may be one of the seven deadly sins, but there is little to match the hubris of watching a kit-built vehicle moving smoothly around the layout under its own power. Better still if it is finished to a realistic standard, perhaps with a descent weathering job or carrying some intricate detailing that wasn't part of the the original kit. And if it's something grand such as a steam engine, with working connecting rods and valve gear, then it's hard not to let the sense of achievement overwhelm you.

All of which pretty much sums up my feelings toward kit-building model locomotives. I know it looks scary but once you master it, there is no better feeling in our hobby.

Unlike most books covering locomotive building, this one kicks off the practical side of things by looking at plastic and resin kits. We don't see any metalwork until chapter 7 - 74 pages in. This reflects the way the world has changed and possibly also the more pragmatic stance taken by someone used to writing for model railway magazines aimed at the less-skilled audience. Far better to ease them in to loco building with projects that don't require a soldering iron then scare them off.

Of course we can't escape metal and a couple of chapters cover the basics including the dreadful black art of soldering. Each area of the model is examines - chassis basic, bogies, trucks, motors and gears, power collection, waggly bits and testing.

Finally there is painting and finishing. Although some of the later has been covered in the authors other books in far greater detail, it's nice that we get the whole process in a single volume. Every step is well illustrated with colour photos, much in the manner of a modern model railway magazine.

Well recommended, even for those of us veterans of many kits. For those looking to dip a toe in the water, this is £19.99 well spent.

Kit Building for Railway Modellers: Volume 2 - Locomotives and Multiple Units at Amazon

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