So. What have I been up to at work this year? Too many projects to list here, but let's have a look at some of my favourites.
Early in the year, Graham Langer at Accucraft, offered me the chance to build one of their new kits for a 16mm scale, live steam, Peckett. The idea was to show that a non-engineer could assemble the model.
I'll be honest and say, no project has casued me concern like this one. This isn't a cheap kit, and I was going to have to build it in the full glare of publicity. In fact, that publicity was one of the conditions for the kit coming my way! Knowing how generous the offer was, I promised plenty of coverage in the magazine. All I needed to do was make a good job of it, and be entertaining for the readers along the way.
Ultimatly, and thanks to a few friends I chatted to about building steam locos, the model was finished, and has turned out to be an absolutely superb runner. With the regulator cracked open only slightly, it trundles around smoothly and slowly. To say I am pleased is an understatement.
Now, a "sensible" person would go an by this loco RTR. It's not that much more than the price of the kit after all. But if that's what I'd done, I wouldn't feel so proud of the loco. It's a pride that only someone who have built a model can really understand. Someone asked if now the project is completed, I'd be selling the loco - my answer wasn't particually polite, but can be summed up in a single word - No!
This isn't the end of the project. I fancy radio control and know how this can be achieved for the regulator. It also deserves a run at the NGRS on the "Layout in a day". After that, well, it will hopefully be my loco of choice to take out to other lines for a run, partly so readers can see and talk about the model they have seen in the magazine.
Layout in a Day
Sticking with the Garden Rail theme, back in June I built another layout in a day at the National Garden Railway Show. Ever keen to make each version bigger and better, this year we had two circuits and it looked so good that I want to repeat the design in 2023.
One lesson though - on a hot day, the tweed jacket isn't a great idea. I was absolutely knackered by mid afternoon, with the prospect of packing the whole thing in the back of the car to come. Despite this, people really enjoyed my efforts, and that makes it all worthwhile. Once I'd recovered that is.
DAHPR Wagon works
At some point in 2021, I had asked the BRM team if we needed another project layout for the magazine. The answer was yes, and somehow this became yes, and we need it to debut at Ally Pally show.
With a short deadline, I kept things reasonably simple with a modern (ish) take on a wagon repair works along the lines of the one at Long Marsdon. The concept worked, and thanks to the generousity of West Hill Wagon Works, the modelling looked good with loads of thier excellent 3D printed accesories to be found.
After Ally Pally, the model made an appearance at Gaydon, for the Great British Model Railway Show, and on our new-look stand at Warley. I'm pleased to say, people really liked the model and there are photos on many, many 'phones out there.
Layout in a Box refurbishment
Another quick project, rapidly following on from DAHPR. With wories about the cost of living in mind, I reworked my old "Casket Yard" project. The scenery was scraped off, and replaced with a selection of warehouses from JS Models.
A major transformation was completed with a new lighting rig and facia to finish off the model, things that weren't required in the original version.
A simple build this one, but the results were good. The moment I spotted Metcalfe Models "Ramshackle workshop" kit, I knew I wanted to have a play with one and perform a few upgrades. A design full of character, a little tickling up would really pay dividends.
Project like this take more work than you really see on the page. Three hours of scribing stones appear in a single photo, but I know this and do my best to factor it in when suggesting the project.
Once on the page, it was great to quickly recieve photos from three different modellers who had carried out their own take on my project. This makes it all worthwhile - if I can inspire someone to build a model, then I'm doing my job properly.
There are, of course, many more projects from this year, but these are a small selection that stick in my mind. All being well, next year will see ever more models added to my pile. With a bit of luck, some of these will start to appear on future BRM stands too. With this in mind, if there are any you would like to see "in the flesh", let me know ahead of the event, and I'll see what I can stick in the car.