Friday, July 31, 2020

Book Review: The Crowsnest Chronicles by Roy C Link

I've followed Roy C Link and his Crowsnest Tramway for many years. As a fan of interesting, small space layouts, especially those in larger gauges, it's very much my sort of thing. While I only have a tiny percentage of his modelling skill, Roy's work has always been something I've aspired to copy.

Anyway, when I spotted he has brought the Crowsnest story together in a single volume, I eagerly sent my £9.95 off and a few days later received a package.

Even at a glance you know this is amazing value for money. The format looks a lot like a Wild Swan book. Same high quality paper for 96 pages and all the 174 photos are well reproduced. We even have plans for the locos, rolling stock and buildings.

The story starts with the first layout in 1973 and runs right up to the present day. I don't know whether you say someone is single-minded or bloody-minded to build basically the same model four times, but each iteration is a step on from the last, although some of use would be happy with the first attempt.

Much of the book is taken up with the final 16mm version and the construction is covered in great detail. There are many take-away ideas for materials for me. I've always fancied building something large scale and very detailed, so the ideas on scenic treatments, when flock powder and even static grass aren't quite up to the job, has given me something to think about.

While an odd-ball title, I know this book will find plenty of fans for whom there is pleasure in looking at high-quality modelling and enjoying the excellent workmanship. I'm no fanboi, and there will be a few of those, but I am a modeller and like to look at other people's modelling, especially when they explain how they do it. And yes, I would love to own a pantograph milling machine...

Crowsnest Tramway

As an aside, there is a helpful explanation of how I finally saw Crowsnest, in Canada. It seems that two versions of the model have been sold to a collector out there. Good news for me as I finally had the chance to view the layout in the flesh - even if I had had to travel a long way to do it!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Gaugemaster wheel cleaner

I didn't know what this was when I bought it, and neither did the stallholder who sold it to me.

However, I was curious enough to splash out 8 quid to have a look. The Gaugemaster badge at the bottom told me I was unlikely to be handing over my money for rubbish.

The blue/green plastic tray holds two long grey sponges with strips of clear plastic over the top. I guessed it was something to do with running locos and with a little fiddling, a OO model can sit on the sponges with the clear strips holding it in the middle.

Feed some power in and with a little initial prodding, the loco moves.

What witchcraft is this? Electrically conductive sponge? How can this be?

Not only does the sponge move electricity, if you hold the loco in place, it polishes the wheels too. Very clever!

It seems I bought a GM50 Locomotive Wheel Cleaner. Price £45.

Or £37 more than I paid, showing that even on the Sunday afternoon at a show (remember them?) there are still bargains to be had if you look hard enough. I've added this to my loco maintainence kit where I'm sure it's going to be very handy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday: Juan


I don't know anything about Juan other than the photo was taken in London in 2008.

The wood/white stuff (probably fibreglass) mix is attractive. My main thought though, is that it would be a nice radio controlled model. Arranging the wooden cabin to be lift offable for access to the interior electronics and drive mechanicals would be perfect.

It's almost like the designer had a RC model in mind.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Decal fixing

Old plastic kits come with old transfers, or decals as our American cousins call them.

The big H bands on the funnel looks like that have suffered over the years with some big cracks at one end. According to the Internet, Microscale Decal repair fluid is the stuff to cure this.

I don't have any Decal repair.

What I do have is some of the legendary Johnson's Klear floor polish. Someone on the Interweb said that will work, and since whatever you read online is always correct, I gave the transfer a couple of coats.

When it came to sliding it off the backing paper, the cracked end took a little more shifting then the other. I assume that the Klear had soaked through a crack and stuck it to the backing paper. Eventually it did move and I managed to get the thing on without the transfer falling apart and me having to assemble a web jigsaw.

You could still see the cracks, so I rubbed some black paint across them. This seemed to work but was matt, not shiny. No problem, I had planned to spray the funnel with satin varnish anyway and this took care of that - but while wet, emphasised the cracks again.

Dry, it looks better and sine I plan to weather the model, I'll just make the funnel nice and dirty.

My guess is the Klear added strength to the transfer and allowed me to place it on the model. I'm sure Decal repair would be better, and I'll pick some up one day. Another chemical to add to my collection.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Santa Tank complete

Christmas Tank
Job done - I'm ready for the festive season.

It's difficult to fault the Meng kit. Despite the comedy subject, it's an enjoyable build that is pleasantly involving. Taking care to clean up (not much required) and seat all the parts correctly is worth the effort. Some of the components are very small but generally locate well without glue.

If I've been a bit less glue-happy, perhaps the tracks would revolve on both sides, but then I'm not losing sleep over this.

Christmas Tank
I suspect that there will be some weathering experts out there who will go to town dirtying this model down with both grime and rust. The idea crossed my mind but I was enjoying the build so much, I just wanted to get on with things. Seeing their results will be a pleasure though.

Overall - an excellent and enjoyable build. You could happily point a young modeller at this as a less than serious project and I think they would have as much fun as I did. Model making doesn't always need to be serious and cartoon subjects done well, a challenging job for a designer, add a bit of variety for side projects. I could see many people making them the theme of a collection too.

At 7cm long and 9cm tall with Santa in the turret, the model isn't a big shelf-space hogger and at £17.99, not the most expensive kit in the world either.

A couple more kits from the range are now awaiting building, which tells you all you need to know.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Virtual show thoughts

A couple of weeks ago, I was up to my eyes in the World of Railways Virtual Show. Normally, I'd report back straight away, but decided to leave it a week as I was knackered!

First - the show was a terrific success. More visitors on the Saturday than we would see in a weekend at the London Festival of Railway Modelling. When I say more, I mean a lot more. That's what happens when people don't have to travel, or pay to get in.

When we first looked at the project, six weeks before it had to go live, no-one knew what a commercial virtual show would look like. We couldn't run the Facebook style event where you reply on whatever people decide to share. Warners is a commercial company and would be looking to sell advertising - so you can't expect lots of people to work for free to provide the content. Besides, when you sell an advert, the advertiser wants to know what they are getting.

So, we made layout displays from existing material with newly edited videos and extra photos. Freed of the constraints imposed by physical pages, extended versions of article were used, something that went down well with many of the owners.

I know we'd need a load of practical content and after looking at other options, decided a layout build would allow the greatest variety of topics to be covered and provide a common thread. The big difference from normal builds was that each step had to be committed to video.

There were also interviews via videolink and plenty of other features. By the time the weekend rolled up, we were going to post a new event on the timeline every 10-15 minutes through both days. That is a lot of content.

All this took a massive amount of effort, Remember, the team of four also put out two complete magazines, half-a-dozen newsletters and kept the flow of news on the website going at the same time. Long days were worked. Weekends were a concept, not time off. We pulled in favours from plenty of others, especially Jamie Warne and Lawrence of the MRC all of whom have our thanks.

At the end of it though, the feedback was terrific. People really enjoyed what we had done. All the positive comments on RMweb and in the follow-up survey made a huge difference to a group of tired, but relieved people.

I'm proud of what we achieved. As with any new thing, there are bits we'd do differently. Other areas could develop. New ideas are already being discussed.

All of which makes me wonder. Assuming that physical shows return one day, will virtual events continue to take place? Could the on-line show develop into an entity of its own and carry on at the same time as the "real" versions?

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Saturday Film Club: Fix your Crocodile

Lego recently released a kit for the classic Swiss Crocodile electric locomotive. Aimed firmly at adult fans, it looks great, but apparently, there are problems.

This video claims to talk you through fixing them. What amused me is that the fixes for a Lego loco are the same as for traditional models. The presenter even solves the "it's too expensive to motorise" issue with a trick that Kitmaster pulled off in the 1960s!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Hornby Rocket

Finally arrived at Parker Towers, the new Hornby Rocket set.

I've gone for the standard set, not the Tri-ang celebration version. Since there is a 1960s model in my collection already (although it eludes me at the moment, hence no comparison shot with the loco) I'd rather have the slightly cheaper normal for 2020 version. Not that 2020 is that normal.

The first problem is getting the thing out of the foam packing. It's not too tight or anything daft like that, but until you realise that there a finger holes to push from the back, buyers are going to be tempted to grab a delicate part.

Out of the box, the first impression is how delicate and detailed this model is.

While I couldn't find the loco, I did find a spare coach. Sitting side by side, it's like the new and old Mini's, with the modern coach being the Issigonis original. The older model (mine is from the 1980s re-issue) is at least 1/3rd bigger.

It's also a lot less detailed. A lot less. Mind you, if you are clumsy, it's more likely to survive your attentions as the very fine ironwork on the ends and roof, plus those plastic steps, will be easy to break.The designers have gone to town on the modern model. Both the coach and loco are tiny masterpieces of both design and manufacture. 

On the track, the model is smooth running but you're not going to get it hauling long trains. No real surprise there since two driving wheels with little space for weight over then isn't a recipe for haulage.

A brave move from Hornby is to abandon the tension-lock couplings in favour of moulded chains that clip on to hooks. The chain is solid to permit reversing of the train. If you only go forwards and have gentle curves, you could replace them with real chain. Chances are it would be easier to fit on the hooks as the supplied holes are a bit tight.

The only test layout I had to hand is Furness Quay and the train happily traversed the sharp point in both directions. It's going to demand reasonable track laying for reliable running, but that's the nature of the prototype, not the fault of the model.

Overall, I'm really pleased with this. For £179.99 the set, it's as cheap as a good OO loco and while destined to be a shelf queen for most people, I suspect will provide a lot of pleasure running alongside your APT-E and Wickham Trolley. Just be very careful when you pick it up.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Building the Santa Tank

Blimey, this Meng kit goes together well!

Designed to be pushed together without glue, I can't resist using both cement and solvent to make sure everything stays where it should. Something about building a plastic kit without glue seems fundamentally wrong to me.

Despite the designed ease of construction, it still takes around three reasonably leisurely hours to put everything together. This isn't a simple kit, all the bits you'd find on a real Sherman are present, just a bit cartoony. Then means each handrail and light protector needs to have the connection to the sprue cleaned up, and some of them are very small.

Only the hatch covers proved tricky. I need them to hinge properly so Santa can be lifted in and out, and one of the hinge pins broke. It doesn't seem to make a huge difference, and the big fella is probably going to spend most of his life enjoying the ride anyway.

In theory, the wheels and tracks rotate. Most of mine do except for the outer ones on one side, because I got glue in the wrong place. Never mind, I don't plan on pushing the model around anyway.

One appealing aspect of this model is the colour. For no reason I can understand we have several cans of Humbrol red spray paint, so the choice of colour is simple, red arrows red.

The two halves were propped up on sticks and Blu Tack and sprayed in the garden. I love this paint, it goes on in nice thin coats perfectly. I had thought about some weathering, but the finish is so good I'm going to leave well alone. I'm sure a military modelling expert will go to town on this model and it will look amazing. I'm just having fun.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday - Sea Guardian

Sea Guardian

A photo from my 2014 Australia trip. Moored in Sydney harbour, Sea Guardian is the last sea going, Solent class vessel of her type in the world.

Built in 1969 she started her working life as R Hope Roberts in Ireland, moved to Wollongong in 1993 and then St Helens in 1998, being retired in 2009. I'm assuming you take a lifeboat around the world on a bigger ship - sailing here there would be quite an adventure!

She retains her original RNLI bell.

Sea Guardian has a Facebook page, but it's very out of date. This page suggests she was heading back "home" before leaving for America and then back to Australia not long after I saw her. After that though, the trail goes cold. I hope she's OK and enjoying the sun down under.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Santa Tank kit

Silly kit time.

I spotted this Meng World-War Toons Sherman Christmas Edition a few months ago. It ticked me for being so daft, well designed, and also not too expensive. I placed an order and waited - for two months. In mid July the postman delivers, giving me plenty of time to have it ready for the festive season.

The kit finally appeared and it looks great.

Everything is nicely moulded and designed to be assembled without glue. Instructions and transfers are included.

There's even a painting guide for Santa!

The kit sat around for a day calling to me. I know that I really should carry on with some existing projects, but you know what, it feels really decadent to dive into a model as soon as the box arrives, but this one can jump the queue...

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hull painting

Look at that moulding line!

Time for proper traditional plastic kit modelling with a sanding session lasting an hour turning the top rail from a moulding to flat. It might only be half a millimetre to sand away with various grades of abrasive stick, but it didn't half make a mess!

After a clean up, I could move on to painting.

I'm following the box colours because I really like them. This might be a working boat, but that's no reason for it to look dowdy, quite the opposite.

Proper modellers would mask everything up and spray. I couldn't be bothered and did everything by hand. Three thin coats of the Humbrol satin green and brown. The black mostly only too one.

Everything was left to dry properly, so the job took several days, and the result is pretty nice. Spraying might have been a little better, but with my hopelessness with masking tape, I suspect I'd have been chasing around with a brush anyway.

Transfers name it after the horse in Steptoe and Son and I finish off with the light spray (from an aerosol) of satin varnish.

Not many words for a long job, but at least I'm well into the fun bits now.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Etch brass face mask

Weeks ago, when I anticipated that the government were going to make face covering mandatory, I asked my mum to make me a couple of cotton ones. At the time you couldn't buy a mask, and anyway, I wanted something fun.

She quickly produced a VW camper mask along with a Dr Who one, from old bits of material. It's not just modellers who have a scrap box!

The only problem is that when I breath out, my glasses steam up. What the masks needed was something to hold them tight over the nose.

My solution was a slide a piece of leftover etched fret into the top seam. The corners were rounded off to stop them poking through the cloth near my eyes.

Does it work? Yes it does. The metal hold the material close to my nose and my glasses stay steam free. I've worn my mask several times in shops (I'm not a fan, but can see the logic and don't see the need to wait for Boris to stop faffing) and everything is fine.

Since doing this, I've also read the suggestion of using a piece of pipe cleaner to do the same job. I'd want a long length in there, just in case it pokes thought, but can see how this would work.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Saturday Film Club: Düsseldorf Flughafen SkyTrain


 I want to go to Düsseldorf and have a go on this. That is all. I mean I'd like to go by train because I don't like flying, but apart from that...

Friday, July 17, 2020

Coal wagons and Isle of Man action in the August BRM

Three coal wagons 
Some classic kit building - three flavours of 16 ton mineral wagon. 

Handed a couple of Parkside and single Cambrian plastic kit, I've built and compared the models. None are perfect, but all offer a cheaper way to build up your coal trains than RTR models, if you are happy wielding glue that is. 

Presumably I've been bad, because they made me do some DCC stuff. This time it's converting a Tenshodo SPUD to digital control. 

Much more up my street was a trip to photograph the excellent Isle of Man layout "Manin Middle". 

To go with this, Andy has dreamt up a plan that includes four Manx stations and I've provided a load of photos from the island. Sadly, they didn't have space for all of them bause people would expect some other articles. I mean, I only sent over 300...

Finally, on the DVD, I'm making a classic Binnie tipper wagon kit up. These things are stupidly cheap for what they are and a great fun little plastic kit project. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Garden Rail - August 2020

Garden railways aren't just for the well-heeled modeller - if you are working on a budget then this is still the perfect hobby.

We start with a trip to the Treweek Siding built by Sean Cullen. This isn't a posh railway, far from it. Sean has used some unusual materials to give his model the feel of a less glamorous Welsh narrow gauge railway struggling to keep going and it looks great.  

Practically, we feature a stunning viaduct made from building materials and Plastikard. The result could grace any garden. Staying with buildings, how about a water tower based on a sweetcorn can? Or an amazing kit-built Gauge 3 signal box that Brunel would be proud of.

If your lineside needs road vehicles, Dave Skertchly provides plans and instructions for a 1920s delivery van that can be made out of plywood.

Of course, we all love a steam engine and Goeff Loynes takes a look at Accucraft's "Dolgoch".

All this plus the latest product news and vibrant letters page. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday: Isle of Wight hovercraft

Isle of Wight Hovercraft 

For the recent voiceover work I've been doing on my layout build videos, my pin mic (it's what I had, don't judge me) has been clipped to a ruler propped up in a mug. That ruler is a HoverTravel souvenir. 

According to the web, Island Express is a AP1-88 hovercraft - there's some info on Wikipedia. More by luck than judgement, I must have travelled and photographed it in its last year in service. As I recall, the ride was typical hovercraft, noisy and a little bumpy, but good fun. 

Much as I'd like a model, radio control hovercraft are all technical and no fun to build as far as I can tell. You spend all your time worrying about keeping the weight down and making things work. Even if your model does work, sailing (flying?) it is somewhat challenging. I'll stick to spectating. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Superstructure part 1

Working on the tugboat superstructure is a proper old-skool plastic kit building experience. 

Part fit isn't bad, but modern kits are so much better. I'm assembling all the big lumps first. These will be tidied up and painted before final assembly. 

One thing that does confuse me - why are the panel lines or gaps between planks raised lines? I'm assuming this was ease of mould making, you can make a grove easier than a thin raised line. Part of me wants to etch these with a scriber and the more sensible bit says to leave well alone as the subterfuge looks fine on a model. 

Putting all the bits together, I'm getting an idea how the finished model will look. Am I alone in dry assembling kits like this, just to see how the model is progressing? 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Sailing, not sinking

Back on the pool and this time the boat keeps the wet stuff on the correct side of the hull. 

I forgot to take some lead with me to balance the model properly, but a handy pebble worked well enough for this test. 

The smaller prop worked well too. Top speed is still a bit high, but I like that as it should let the model overcome winds and currents as well as getting out of the way of other models on the pond. 

Manoeuvrability is important. I well remember the day one of our club members was sailing his powerful model and because has was sitting down, couldn't see the boat in one corner of the pond. He decided to open the throttle and sailed straight through another model. Some people are idiots. 

Anyway, the other big check was battery capacity and again, I'm happy. Half an hours sailing with no slowing down. That's more than enough for this sort of boat. 

Now I can get on with the fun bits. 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

I just want to get on a train

After weeks of work on the virtual show, I'm faced with the first weekend for a long while where I don't need to get some work done. 

I can do anything I like. 

Except one of my favourite things - sitting on a train watching the world go by. 

I haven't actually been on a train for almost four months, probably the longest period ever, and I'm really missing it. 

Yes, I get that I'd need to wear a face covering and hand sanitise like crazy. There would be no eating cake and having a (non-alcoholic) drink of course, but at least I could read a book. 

But no. Travel on public transport is basically banned and will be for the foreseeable future. 

I snuck on to a bus this week. We all wore masks and sat nicely distanced from each other. The bus companies are making some move to get some sort of normal established. 

Train companies, on the other hand, are still being draconian. They night be running more services, but stations are still plastered with signs telling you not to get on board. If you want to go anywhere, go by car, or bike or walk.

The message is that train travel is dirty and dangerous.

If I were a cynical person, I might wonder if in a few months time, a government that isn't well disposed towards public transport (actions speaking louder than words) will be making noises about subsidising services that no-one is using. Then, since the economy will be very broken, withdraw all funding. After all, why subsidise a service that no-one is using? It's a difficult argument to make.

I think the bus guys have wised up to this, hence the efforts to get passengers on board whilst keeping everyone safe. Train operators, presumably haven't twigged. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Saturday Film Club: Tamiya Honda City Turbo build

I'm sure there is a Tamiya radio control car build in my future. It's probably the Sand Scorcher, but when looking at a RC website, I spotted the Honda City Turbo

This is a fun little car and digging on the web, I found a build video that makes the assembly look fun. The finished result isn't tiny either!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Fantasy GWR

Many years ago, I had the idea to build the Goblins & Warlocks Railway (GWR) using Games Workshop figures and accessories. Digging through the cupboard the other day, I found the rolling stock I built as an experiment. 

Both items are based on old Hornby wagon chassis. Bodies are Plastikard and a bucket load of modellers licence. 

Those oversize buffer heads are drawing pins. The wagon was probably missing one or two of the originals. They look quite fun though. 

I still think the idea has legs. I know we've seen one or two models in the fantasy genre, but they aren't common. Maybe I could still be a trailblazer...

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Lockdown Project - Tea caddy repair

Lockdown means more tea and our poor tin box from Yorkshire Tea has seen better days. One hinge has broken. A sensible person would chuck it away. I am not sensible. 

Like most of these things, it's cheaply made from pressed tinplate. The "hinge pin" is part of the pressing (quite clever really) and it's simply broken. 

My solution is to unroll the edge a bit by ramming a small screwdriver along the roll and slide some 1mm diameter steel rod in. Then roll the metal back to grip the rod. You could use brass, but I would wonder how long it would last with the tinplate rubbing on it. 

Job done. While I was at it, a couple of pieces of shim brass were epoxied over the areas in the lid where the metal was tearing. Hopefully, this will keep the precious teabags in good condition for many brews to come. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday: Coracles


I'm not a fan of canoes. The idea that you sit, trapped, in a narrow boat that is so easy to roll that performing an "Eskimo roll" is part of the "fun" doesn't appeal to me at all. 

Much as I like boat, I think I should be on top, the boat underneath and the water below us. Reverse that order and things have gone wrong. 

A coracle though - not sure. They should be nice and stable. Moving and steering with a single oar looks like a challenge, but practise should make perfect. 

I like the idea of making one quite a lot though. Mind you, a radio control model coracle would be a challenge!

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Stopping the water

Working out how the water was getting in to the hull didn't take a lot of thought. As I examined the join line between the two halves, I spotted that there were some tiny gaps at the back around the prop tube.

It might be that when I inserted the new tube, I didn't open out the hole as much as I should have. Whatever, I decided to go for a belt'n'braces approach to the fix.

A think piece of microstrip was laid over the entire join. Fixed in place with cement and then solvent, I pushed it hard into any gaps - even imaginary ones.

Them some cheap epoxy was mixed and forced down the back of the boat to really fill the problem area.

Hopefully this will sort things. By the way, apologies for the static grass on the hull - the stuff gets everywhere!

While fiddling, I've taken the opportunity to fit a smaller prop to the model. The large version was OK, but was going to provide too much thrust making scale speed sailing difficult. Hopefully the smaller version will be entirely submerged yet give enough go to the finished model. Once the glue dries and it stops raining, I'll find out.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Out on the pool (just)

Mechanical bits fitted. Radio bits temporarily installed. Extra weight stowed on board. Time for a trip on the pool.

I was keener than normal to do this as I'm not convinced the 4AAA cell pack will offer much duration and feel that the best way to find out how long I can sail for, is to sail.

On the water, it quickly became apparent that I had a problem. Water was getting in. Weirdly, not all the time though. The boat seemed to sit fairly dry and even blasted along, but then there was suddenly a puddle around the working bits.

So, I still don't know how long I can sail for, but think that battery capacity wouldn't be the main limiting factor right now...

Sunday, July 05, 2020

I luv playing trains


Who makes a teddy bear out of MDF? 
Who buys it at a show while exhibiting his layout?
Who thinks it really needs of of our badges?
Who feels that a miniature Antex soldering iron would be the perfect addition?

I don't know the answer to the first of these, but this bear has done many miles in our exhibition box over the years. Let's hope that one day he can go to the show again.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

App controlled Hong Kong tram

Since visiting Hong Kong year ago, I've been interested in their trams and every so often a model pops up.

This one, with rockin' soundtrack, is one of those "rip-off Lego" sets. Online, the price is around £128 plus taxes and shipping. Not bad for a big model with mobile phone control. But far too large for me to display at home - I keep telling myself!

Friday, July 03, 2020

World of Railways Virtual Exhibition

We can't go to "real" shows at the moment, so the BRM team has put together a virtual event instead.

Trying to work out what this should look like has been a bit of a challenge. Obviously we wanted to make it different from the Facebook and Twitter events. It was also important to follow the form of a real show where possible.

What we've come up with, after a massive amount of work, starts with layouts - just like at a normal show. We've got photos and have amassed plenty of video too.

The exciting thing though is all the extras. Every 15 minutes through the weekend, there will be another event - competitions, interviews, new product announcements, demonstrations. You could spend the entire time glued to the screen with over 10 hours of footage. Most of this is brand new too - after all, you don't want old product announcements do you?

Much like a digital version of a magazine, we are trying to do things with the digital show you can't do with the real thing, so we take visitors to a garden railway, or layouts that never leave home. We bring together people who live in different countries too.

All this is free for you, the visitor, to enjoy.

Thursday, July 02, 2020


I'm a bit of a tool junkie and have drawers full of stuff that barely see the light of day.

A couple of years ago, I picked up this Mig "Oilbrusher". It's a touch-up pen for modellers. If you've ever made tiny repairs to car bodywork you'll know the drill - a brush is fitted to the cap and lives dunked in paint. Unscrew-paint-screw. No need for cleaning.

To be honest, this looked useful but mostly lived o the shelf. Building Furness Quay, it came into it's own. Painting around masked off point blades, picking up missed bits of rail, in fact, thanks to the colour (Dark Mud) I suddenly found myself using it for all sorts of jobs.

While I don't' really understand the bright colours - this isn't the tool to use for painting the body colour on anything - a bit of dirt hides a multitude of sins. More importantly, it hides a multitude of bare resin or metal. The paint is quite thick and happy to stick to anything.

A useful addition to the toolbox in my opinion. Yes, I know I could just use a brush and paint, but sometimes, convenience wins.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Waterborne Wednesday: Falmouth Industry

Falmouth Industry

When I research the boats for this feature, I don't normally head to LinkedIn, but a quick search on this vessel took me to Andrew Baldock, who for 12 years, skippered "Falmouth Industry". According to his profile, the boat was responsible for "delivering fuel and fresh water and collecting waste oil slops around the Falmouth maritime area". Not a glamorous life then, but an essential and useful one.

"Falmouth Industry" (ex-Ulster Industry, and Humber Industry) is a Humber barge, built in 1961, with a gross tonnage of 257t and 420dwt. The vessel’s long history included a period when it traded across the Irish Sea from Liverpool. At some time in its history, the barge was cut in two and extended to install a freshwater tank in the new mid section.

It has now retired, a new fuel station being established on the refurbished Eastern arm of the docks, where a pontoon has been installed and diesel fuel piped from the land supply.

This lovely, colourful boat will presumably be cut up for tin cans, but maybe someone will build a model of it. You don't often see colourful working boats so there is an opportunity here.

Falmouth IndustryP9180081