Thursday, March 09, 2017

An Introduction to 7mm Narrow Gauge Modelling

Thrust into my hand at the weekend, the latest publication from The 7mm Narrow Gauge Association - An Introduction to 7mm Narrow Gauge Modelling.

It's a free 12 page A4, full colour, magazine that reprints three articles by Howard ES Clarke.

The first introduces the scale - a good idea as many new modellers find narrow gauge nomenclature confusing. To us old hands, it simple - O scale models running on 16.5mm guage chassis to represent narrow gauge prototypes - but when I talk about this sort of thing to people at shows, it's a mystery to them.

This is a shame as O16.5 modelling has a lot going for it. You have all the advantages of the larger scale but can make use of RTR chassis often picked up for small change because of a damaged body. It's the perfect scale for those who fancy dabbling in scratchbuilding or just messing around and doing model-making.

The second and third articles cover wagons and coaches in the scale. It's all very general but then that's what you need in a taster publication like this. Someone in the 7mmNGA has worked out that you don't sign up any members if they don't understand who you are, and has been willing to put their money where their mouth is and publish this guide.

Rather than me run through the whole thing, thanks to the wonders of the web, you can download the booklet from the association website for free. 

And if you want to know more, head over to

1 comment:

Huw Griffiths said...

An interesting publication - to some extent, it reminds me of a booklet which the Gauge O Guild put out at shows, to get people interested in O Gauge.

This isn't the time or place to discuss the relative merits of different scales and gauges - but I've never been a member of any of the specialist societies that cater for them.

As a "lone wolf", I've also never had chance to find out exactly what these societies offer - and why I (or anyone else) should choose to join.

Might there be any value in doing some features in BRM (other magazines are also available) - allowing gauge societies (and also "skill" related groups, like MERG) to make their case to outsiders like me - and allowing us to find out a bit about what these societies do?

Perhaps there might also be scope for similar features about some model railway clubs - perhaps based on an open day or clubhouse visit.

My reasoning is quite straightforward - a number of people like me have never been a member of a modelmaking club (in my case, some members might regard this as a good thing). There might also be a perception of a "closed shop", with some outsiders feeling "locked out" of anything other than reading magazines, visiting shows and, perhaps, building stuff that nobody else gets to hear about.

Where it's possible for people to get to clubs - in towns where an inclusive club exists and the buses don't vanish the moment the clock turns six - I'd like to see clubs promote themselves.

Where this doesn't happen, I suspect this is where the "societies" and the forum websites come in - which brings me back to this booklet of the late Howard ES Clarke's writings.

I believe he was also known for building a number of "critter" locos - sometimes referred to as "yellow perils" - the sort of things that would present beginners with a straightforward entry to the world of building and modifying model locos.

Over the years, there have been a number of variants of this theme - including "pugbashes" and the like - in various scales and gauges - but sharing a common theme of people doing a number of (usually) not too difficult mods to "starter locos".

I wonder how long it will be before a society puts instructions / plans for a couple of simple conversions like these on their website (perhaps a steam and a Diesel outline "critter" - perhaps also a simple railbus, or even a "coffeepot" style railmotor) and encourages people to build their own versions and bring them along to their stand at a show - a sort of promotional "show and tell".