Monday, December 31, 2007


J50 on crossover
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker.
It’s the end of the year, just the time for a little rant I’ve had kicking around for some time. So sit back and let it wash over you…

In the picture you can see my J50 traversing the station crossover on Flockburgh. It’s a nice model that went together well but just occasionally we can have problems with the compensated chassis. Normally these are minor and happen at the start of the show when the locos have been sat in a box and bounced up the motorway for a few hours, got hot and cold and been generally unloved. A bit of running frees everything up normally.

Anyway, at a recent show the loco fell off on this bit of track. Since the only crowd was a single person who had already claimed to be a 3mm scale modeller I persevered with the loco knowing it would be OK in a few minutes. Of course it would pick this opportunity to take quite a few minutes to settle down so there were a few more niggles.

“Huh. I would just change the loco on my layout.” The audience said. Now I wasn’t at my best as operating a layout that is misbehaving (we had a sticky point motor at the time) annoys me so being lectured by someone whose total modelling abilities revolved around buying second hand Triang wasn’t going down well. Besides, since the models on Flockburgh are hand built I don’t yet have a huge stock of them to replace iffy ones with. It’s easy if you only have RTR, spare stock only damages your wallet, not eats your time.

Also what would be the point of swapping out a Triang Jinty ? They made them on a production line, if one works over a bit of track then they all will.

Anyway, he lectured me some more on other topics and I manfully resisted jabbing him with the sharp end of the doofer. Then he started to move off and noticed our request for suggestions for the content of our scenic extension board.

“Oh, I better help out with this”, he said.

“No, go away and look at another stand”, I thought.

After a few minutes consideration he came up with a blinder. We should have a lake.

Yes a lake. All of 10 scale feet from the sea, a lake.

Perhaps, I suggested, we were a bit close to the sea for a lake ?

“Oh is it supposed to be near the sea ?”, he asked looking a bit bewildered, “you should make it look like it is”

I explained I thought the giveaway was the beech and beech huts under his nose.

“Oh, I didn’t notice those” – what the hell had he been looking at for the last, what seemed like a week ? “What about some fishing nets or similar on the station ? “ Obviously I have failed to notice all those prototype pictures of station buildings covered in stuff from the back of a trawler. Silly me.

So, here’s some handy hints for visiting a show:
The people behind the layout really like to talk but don’t lecture us.
Please look at the model. We’ve spent a lot of time on it and it is what you paid to see.
If you notice something not fully in accord with the prototype, please do not tell us in a tone of voice you normally reserve for your lowest ranking servants.
Things go wrong sometimes. They do on your layout too. Live with it.
We are not getting paid to do this, we do it for fun.
We have a myriad array of sharp and hot tools to hand. Even if you have just made a purchase from the tool stall, you are out-gunned so behave yourself.

Happy New Year.

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