Monday, December 09, 2019

Crochet tree

Crochet tree

One of my favourite features on The Great Model Railway Challenge TV show recently was the forest of trees on the Loco Ladies layout, all created using crochet by team captain Carol. 

I know judge Kathy really didn't like these, but they are innovative and unusual. I've never heard of anyone knitting their layout before. As such, when the team announced they would be sold off in aid of breast cancer research, I was determined to get one and texted my boss to see what she could do. 

Later that day, I received a picture and have now picked up my tree.

Not a massive plant, it's 7cm wide and 5.5cm tall. Not sure what sort of tree I have, but it's lovely, and a bit of fun.

Anyway, this seems to have set a trend, as look what I spotted at the weekend. 

A crochet Christmas tree! Maybe this is the future. Will there be P4 knitting needles on sale soon?

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Who needs a "proper" camera?

Farm cart

You know what's special about this photo?

Or this one?

Pendon Cottages

Both were taken at Pendon, on my mobile 'phone. And both are really good. 

Unlike my "proper" camera, the phone has made a good job of the white balance. There's depth of field too thanks to the small sensor. 

It's not even a really good camera phone either, a Samsung whose model number I can't remember. No fancy iPhone or Hauewawi (I can't even pronounce it) for me. I know I have used 'phone photos in Garden Rail in the past, but how long before this becomes the norm? 

What happens to all those "proper" cameras? When do they become obsolete? And when will people lugging DSLRs fitted with wopper lenses at shows realise they are wasting their time?

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Saturday Fim Clubg: Leek & Manifold Railway

A short feature this week showing some running on the Leek & Manifold Railway in the 1930s. The highlight is right at the start showing the loading of one of the lines wagons for transporting standard gauge wagons - I've seen photos in the past but never moving pictures. 

It's strange to think that these were once everyday scenes. 

Friday, December 06, 2019

Peterborough this weekend

All being well, by the time you read this, I should be at the Peterborough Arena for The National Festival of Railway Modelling.

I'm there early for meetings and a layout shoot but Saturday will see me helping out the Market Deeping model railway society with their demonstrations. The team are building a layout for a local children's charity which promises to be an interesting and innovative design.

So, pop along and say hello.

The National Festival of Railway Modelling website.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Supermarket, signal box and soldering in BRM

It's all the S's this month in BRM.

First, we have a supermarket diorama. Starting with a selection of Gaugemaster buildings and road products, I've assembled a scene common on the sides of our railways, or at least it is in Leamington where the local Morrisons provides an excellent location for trainspotting.

The main kit is really interesting as I've been able to use the self-coloured plastic without adding paint and it looks good. OK, some parts are supplied pre-painted but I'm very happy with the result.

After all that plastic, it's on to a card kit from LCut Creative for a signal box. A nice model and economically priced, perfect for the 4mm scale lineside. 

Finally, soldering, or in this case desoldering. 

Inspired by learning how to use solder wick, I've covered how you get solder off when it's in the wrong place. Dealing with mistakes is as much modelling and putting things together. Many people assume "experts" don't make mistakes. That's not true, it's just that they made then and learned how to fix things afterwards. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Waterborne Wednesday: Northern Star

Northern Star

Back in 2014, I enjoyed a couple of stopovers in Hong Kong as part of my Australia trip. On the second one, I was determined to visit Hong Kong island itself to rise on one of the famous double-deck trams and that meant a trip on one of the slightly scary ferries. 

I'm sure these things are safe, but they do look a bit top-heavy to me. In rush hour on a stormy day, the short trip must be "interesting". With 70,000 people carried a day, I assume there's not much sinking involved anyway. This boat's been sailing since 1959, which I find reassuring.

What it is is cheap, the token to travel costs pennies and just in case, I kept one as a souvenir. 

Model-wise, I found a diecast model, but nothing bigger sadly.  

In case you wondered, I did get a tram ride. 

Hong Kong Tram

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Tornado Books and Hobbies - Birmingham

The loss of Ian Allan was bad news for modellers in Birmingham city centre, but all is not lost. One of the managers has stepped in to fill the void with Tornado books and hobbies.

Situated beside the Law Courts and beside a multi-storey car park, it's only 3 minutes walk from the nearest Wetherspoons pub so not great problem to get too once you know the location. OK, it's not right in the town centre, but pretty close.

Inside, the place looks like a cut-down version of the old shop. There are plastic kits, transport books, a good range of paint (Humbrol, Tamiya and Viello), Woodland Scenics, magazines and glues. Not bad for the early days.

I came away with some Tamiya paint, but will be back in the future.

Tornado Books and Hobbies website.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Wot I bought at Warley

Internet law tells us that after you have been to Warley, posting photos of the stuff you have bought on social media is essential. ESPECIALLY ON N GAUGE FORUMS WHERE YOU HAVE TO POST IN CAPITALS AND GET VERY EXCITED!!!!

So, here we go:

Narrow Gauge Album 1965-1985 - I have the previous volume and it's basically a book full of really, really good quality photos of narrow gauge lines. Easily one of the best picture books out at the moment because the shots aren't all pretty ones.

I bought it, and the earlier one, because there are some cracking Isle of Man pictures inside. This scores an added bonus for the rail blue chuffer on the front. £25 well spent.

Ye Olde Huff N Puff HO scale boxcar kit. Part started, but I only paid 4 quid for it and I thought it worth that just to have a proper poke around in the box.

The pre-painted sides look interesting and it's made of wood. The manufacturer doesn't appear to exist any more either. One for my "one day" American backwoods layout.

Finally, no surprise to anyone who spotted this story I posted on World of Railways.

Rivarossi has re-released the old Lima Leopold rail gun and while I'm not into military stuff normally, it has enough novelty value that I'll add it to the collection for £25. There's a plastic kit for one of these bought from Derby show many years ago in the stash, but when I built it, I'll go for a simpler livery!

The biggest surprise if you read the story is that I didn't get a rail crane too, but even for £30, I couldn't think of anything to use it for.

Apart from that and a couple of booklets, my Warley spending was minimal. Not that I wasn't tempted, but I don't need any more toy trains and anyway, there wasn't time for moping around with shopping ideas rumbling in my head.

Oh, and I didn't even buy cake, by Chris took pity on me and tossed an M&S crispy thing my way.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Warley 2019


Warley this year nearly didn't start for me. Arriving on Friday afternoon on the train, I walked across the bridge connecting the NEC to the station. Passing through the security scanner, I set off the metal detector.

Not a real surprise, I've usually got metal things on me so I opened my bag to show the guards the collection of cameras and stuff I was lugging. All went well until they found my penknife.

Oh dear. It seems they had confiscated one earlier in the day.

I wasn't about to give it up. For a start, I bought this in Canada. It's a long way to go and get another.

Besides, it wasn't like I was going anywhere where sharp tools were rare.

Plan A formed. I could nip back to Wh Smith, buy some stamps and a jiffy bag and post it to myself.

Plan B. Just walk around the hall and go in the big doors.

Plan C - They radioed for someone to come and escort me to the hall. It seems that there was a kids event taking place, hence the enhanced security.

Anyway, once in the hall I met lots of people and did lots of chatting and took photos of models.

And I did the same on Saturday. Lots of chatting, and even more product photography.

On Sunday I processed all my photos and wrote many stories for World of Railways. With a Warley roundup newsletter going out on Monday, I needed to come up with at least 6 pages - I managed more than this!

All of which means I didn't see the show. At a guess, there is at least 1/4 of the hall I didn't find at all. There's a layout and 2 significant traders I missed entirely for a start.

So, all the photos I took were pretty much in passing. You can see them on Flickr.

Except, one job was to find some weird stuff - and you can read all about this here.

At least it wasn't an expensive show. I'll tell you what I bought tomorrow.