During the planning for November's BRM, we'd had the idea that this would be "the build issue" with the balance of article tilting in the direction of practical features. As part of this, we decided to kick off a new challenge for readers and since I'm the practical guy, I came up with "The Cake Box challenge".
Basically, readers have a year to build dioramas that will fit in a standard 8-inch square, 6-inch tall cake box. You can read fuller rules and a discussion on RMweb.
Anyway, I had to make the first example and chose to produce a slice of film history - shooting the famous road roller vs train section of the Ealing comedy, The Titfield Thunderbolt.
Digging around on-line, it was surprisingly easy to find behind the scenes photos and film clips which gave me a pretty good idea what the thing should look like. OK, I've used a Langley Models film crew because they are available, but the mirror and modifications to the track are all based on research.
A few months ago, I built a 7mm scale signal box kit from Polak. It looked a bit empty and talking to Andy from Severn Models, he was just developing the solution - a brass kit for levers and other bits. Needless to say, the instructions are good that I didn't need to provide a step-by-step, instead of covering the basics of handling etched brass. It's a material that scares people so I've done my best to demystify it.
Out with my camera at Llanfair, I shot most of the photos of Tony Hill's 16mm layout Melin Llechi. It's a lovely model, unusual in that it's a scale model in a large scale rather than the more normal cartoony efforts you find. Digital issue readers get 90 seconds of video of trains running shot by my Dad while I was busy doing something else that we'll look at another day.
Finally, I've written a slightly contentious Tail Lamp piece explaining that no-one is born with railway modelling skills, we accrue them through practice and getting things wrong. I've illustrated this with a Midland 6 wheel coach I built earlier this year. The lining certainly didn't happen overnight!
On the DVD, I'm fixing the GMC truck shunter for Overlord and giving a few hints on fault finding for model locomotives.