Since 2021 has been a year with more modelling for work than for leaisure, I thought it would be interesting to look at some selected highlights from the last 12 months. This isn't a comprehensive list of all the projects I've completed, but some of those I'm especially proud of.
Starting with BRM, In the Spring issue, I took one of the then latest Metcalfe Models card kits and treated it to a little bit of an upgrade. Scribing the walls, sorting out the corners and tiling the roof made a big difference to what is a really nice kit to begin with. I think this is a step up from the manufacturer in terms of decoration, and with work, could find a home on most layouts.
In April, I tackled a kit that has been on the shelf for year - Duncan Models road roller in 7mm scale. At the time I tried to provide an insight into working with whitemetal for those who have never encountered it before in their modelling - a larger group than it would have been 20 years ago when we all cut our teeth (figurativly, don't put whitemetal in your mouth kids) on the stuff.
We stay with road vehicles in May, with a look at using Mr Hobby mud on a tractor. A new product to me, it's one I will certainly use again.
In the same issue, there are a couple of signal boxes - a reworked Oxford ready to use version and a laser cut kit from Dexter's Cove models. A nice, sharp kit as I recall.
One of the biggest kits I tackled is in June - a JS Models canal lock. Working on this taught me quite a bit about real locks, always a valuable part of the modelling hobby.
In a normal year, August is holiday time for many, and where better to stay, than a modern camping coach? Taking one of the new Hornby generic models as a base, and then throwing a lot of it away, I built a reasonably accurate model of a coach you can currently rent out.
Most projects are over and done with in a single issue, but a layout build can take a bit longer. My little OO and 009 diorama was just such a project. October saw the basic model with a full range of Geoscenics products and was followed with a detailed build of the engine shed in November.
That wasn't the end though, and the spare space in one corner was soon filled with a weighbridge made from Intentio products. I also interviewed the company owner for our November Virtual Show.
There were also several layout shoots, more than I've carried out in previous years, but thanks to Covid, we had to pack more into a shorter period than normal which meant I needed to be out on the road.
Ffaquar Juntion was built by none other than the Rev W Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine. Aside from the interest in the man who built it, the model is a time capsule showing how model railways were built over 50 years ago and (to me) all the more interesting because of this.
Copenhagen Fields will need no introduction to most railway modellers. Around the exhibition circuit for 25 years, it's a massive project that I was able to visit in its London home. This allowed me to bag some interesting new views not normally available to photographers at shows. They were very good about me plonking cameras in the scene...
Over in The Collector, I must mention the maddest diorama I've built.
Inspired by the Basett-Lowke Steampunk range, a different take on a locomotive turntable, but on an alien planet!
I'm also pleased with the way a VW dealership came out.
Adding LED lighting allowed me to take some really interesting shots and turned the build into something more than a straight assembly task.
There have been some fun videos produced. Sticking with the Steampunk theme, I built of of the "Brickpunk" kits, and ate some cake.
They say never work with children or anmials, but as far as kids go, my sidekick Erin in this review of the Hornby Playtrains range is a little star.
Finally, for Garden Rail, a picture of the "layout in a day" built for the National Garden Railway Show.
Now, that one really WAS hard work!
Obviously, this isn't all I've done, there are loads of videos not mentioned, and a few interesting days out too, but looking back, I've not been idle!