Thursday, May 06, 2021

Reconnecting the track


I'm not sure why there was a section of curve disconnected from the garden railway circuit. Nor do I know where the space rail clamps had gone. 

A quick order to and another packet of clamps was mine. Then a quick tidy up of the ends, some Piko conductive paste, and the circuit was complete again. 

Looking at the rest of the line, the clamps fitted last year have worked perfectly. Nothing has moved, so getting the line running didn't involve clambering around sliding rail back into fishplates. 

The battery powered Piko track cleaner quickly found itself trundling around, shortly followed by steam power with Willi. Track power can wait for a bit as there are plans to move the mains powerpoint, just as soon as we can find an electrician who will actually turn up and do competent work!

All this highlights the plight of the station area. I didn't clamp this, partly for looks, but mostly because the things are so pricey. However, it's obvious that this is money well spent, so more have been ordered. As soon as the weather plays ball, another chunk of railway will be lifted and relaid. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Book Review: Phone Kiosks of the Isle of Man

Let's not beat around the bush - there are few books more calculated to get me to hit the "Buy now" button that one that combines my twin interests of the Isle of Man, and telephone kiosks. 

I might be a niche market, but it's a very comfortable niche. 

The book tours Mona's Isle with a selection of captioned photos of various kiosks and their surrounding scenery. 

The author has looked beyond the classic K6 box and includes some of the modern(ish) KX1000 range. With these being very much under threat, it's only fair that they get a look in before they are also only a memory on our streets - after all, when was the last time you saw a Mercury kiosk?  

Most excitingly for 'phone box nerds, the island is home to three K8 boxes!

I'll admit, this book looks a lot like my photo collection. At least two scrapbooks full of similar photos exist on my shelves, and countless files on my computer. The thing is, photographing a 'phone box is a great way to learn composition. It's a standard item, so the skill is making each one look its best. Great fun!

For me, this is a great way to look around the Island's lesser know spots. Some I'm familiar with. Others less so but I'll look up if and when we can travel again. 

Production is very good. Photos are well reproduced in colour. The captions are long enough - after all, there's not that much you can say each time!

It's nice to see many boxes being repurposed as defibrillator holders or mini libraries. Our streetscape would be poorer without them. 

I bought my copy from the Lexicon Bookshop in Douglas.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Rocket waggons in the Hornby Collectors Club magazine


No, not wagons with rockets on them. Not even a train for the Battlespace Turbo car, but loads for the waggons (note the extra g) sold to compliment the Hornby Stephenson's "Rocket". 

The pack of three flats is interesting and took a little digging to work out exactly what should be on the back of them.

Contemporary illustrations are pretty much useless as artists seemed to have no concept of drawing what they saw - the results are almost cartoons that bear no relation to reality. 

Not to worry, I found a historian who could explain, and then went away to build the models. 

I think the results look the part and aren't particularly difficult to make. There's even a model boat used for added variety. 

Hornby Collectors Club. 

Monday, May 03, 2021

Vote Cakebox!


It's the last day of voting in the latest BRM Cake Box challenge competition. 

All the entries are terrific, and the result of some serious hard work on the part of those builders responsible. If I'm honest, I don't think I could pick a favourite, but handily, I don't have to!

You can see all the models, and vote for one here. 

Please have a look, there is a lot of cracking modelling to be found. Who knows what you will be inspired to do yourself?

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Millimetres are here to stay, get over it.


Catching up with the May issue of Model Boats magazine, there is an expanded letters page where the newish editor gives space to all the worst moaners. Since taking up the post, she has shaken up the magazine a bit (IMHO, it needed it) and of course, not everyone is happy. 

Much like Internet trolls, the writers of these letters don't expect them to make it into print. When they do, and I've done the same trick myself, they get a bit of a shock. 

The overall theme is "curmudgeonly"

Basically, there are some old blokes who extrapolate from themselves to decide what should appear on the page. 

I can't work out which is the funniest beef:

"There's too much Navy" - in a model boats magazine? 

"Since our club has only one steam boat in it, we don't need all this steam stuff" - then you need a better club mate. Ours has several boats and even offer a boiler testing service.I would suggest that we aren't alone judging by the number of steam boats on show on engineering event boat club stands.

But I think the prize has to go to:

"Another gripe I must make is why do we have to put up with metric measurement? Our own way was by far the best and as an old guy get totally confused with metres." 

Now, I'm half a century old and was only ever taught metric at school. Imperial got a mention, but if I want to measure accurately, it's metres, centimetres and millimetres for me. I'll happily say something is 15 feet away when estimating, but when the ruler comes out, I remember I have 10 fingers. 

So, in over 50 years, the writer hasn't worked out how to count to ten. That's not a huge problem, as there's no reason not to quote both, but to demand that metric is ignored because he's too lazy to look at the other side of the ruler? Hmmm

Of course, I am assuming he wants imperial measurements. When he says "our own way", he might be thinking hands, cubits and licks. Or perhaps he wants to go back to the days when a foot was 11 1/42 inches long? After all, isn't that more traditional?  

If any hobby is going to continue into the future, there's no point denying the present. I'm uncomfortable with 3D printing in some respects. I'm no fan of DCC control - but I know these and other developments will continue to occur and we might as well live with them and enjoy the benefits.

If you want your hobby to die with you, and I think there are people in every hobby who wish for this, then carry on refusing progress. No-one is forcing you, personally, to move with the times. Your boat can use canvas sails and a self-steering mechanism instead of radio control. Just don't try to force this on everyone else.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Saturday Film Club: The river Thames in 1959


Time to don the rose tinted glasses and take a super-saturated trip with the Look at Life team, along the river Thames. In those days, the Port of London was still operating with cargo ships in sight of Tower Bridge.