Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Good Omen.

The three model figures arrived this morning: I put one next to the Growler as soon as I could, and it seems that the loco isn’t far off. As G1 was built using a mixture of Oe loading gauge; woolly maths and guesswork I was quite relieved about this. As the lighting was marginally improved this morning I took some pictures while I was there. The figures fit the door well, although the driver's desk will need cutting down a little. The size of the beastie shows this isn’t a little critter out of the backwoods: its scale size is comparable to a British Railways Class 08, and this is just a shunter. Who said narrow gauge was small?

More images in the Flickr Gallery

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


In what fortunately turned out to be a false alarm, our youngest (3 months) was ambulanced to an emergency room at about seven this morning after we found him under his blanket and he didn’t want to wake up. It turned out that he just had a virus and the blanket was no problem to him, we were back home by 0930

It’s remarkable how this sort of thig leaves you rattled though. I’m giving up all thought of work today so we can get some family time. Some more bits have arrived and I may take some pictures later.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Modern Railway Modelling asked me to write an article last year and they seemed to like it, as it’s in their spring 2007 edition, and the editor has asked for more material. Specifically they are interested in reviews of models not available in the UK. I have a agreement with a local model shop to take pictures, but as it's several kilometres away I'm trying to get a small portable photo studio together... Anyone with ideas, let me know...

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I’ve got a new camera at last, actually something I was planning to do long before the old one broke down. I was testing it after it arrived this afternoon, and of course I had to try out the macro function. So here is a progress picture of Growler one, warts and all, and just waiting for its driver to arrive from Omen.

If it looks a bit shiny, that’s because I used a gloss varnish, I’ll see how this looks but it’s likely to be painted over with matt after the next visit to the Baumarkt (DIY/Hardware store)

No, it's not on the track, it isn't even on its chassis, but don't tell anyone...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Spending money.

I’ve finally taken the plunge and ordered bogie parts and wheels, ater a lot of kind assistance from various persons on forums and Alan Gibson. All I need to do with G1 now is put on the lacquer and finish or replace the roof, possibly put a number on it and install a driver. I've had a look at my modelling budget and ordered a few bits and pieces, like some Y25 and Gloucester bogies from Cambrian models, and I’m hoping to build a van and a container wagon to run on them, and when I've built up my courage, some sort of driving trailer. This would be partner to the as yet still mythical railcar.

For building all this I’ve also ordered some plasticard (from Slater’s in Matlock: I know there must be somewhere that sells plasticard in Germany but Google can’t find them) and three figures from Omen. Now to see if the doors on G1 really are the right size...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Invisible Progress

I am still working on Growler 1, honest, it’s just that our digital camera has decided not to work for some reason so I can’t take pictures. If I could, you’d see that the glazing is in, and the cab completed. I’m not totally happy with the joins on the corners, but apart from that it’s come together well. The project was intended to be a learning experience rather than a fine scale model anyway, and the beauty of this scale is that I can always build another body to fit on the chassis later as my skills improve. Hopefully.

I’m also hunting down bogies for the next project, which I reckon will be some bogie freight stock. I’ve found some kits but I’ve now got to find some wheels with bearings. It’s a far cry from my teenage modelmaking and getting everything ready to run in a nice red box, but there’s no way I’d want to go back...

Blog info

I've changed to the new Blogger, as much to avoid their repeated "This would be much better in beta" messages whenever I logged on. What they don't tell you is that Beta only works with Windows 2000 or later, as I discovered when I tried to log on with a computer using Windows 98. On the other hand they have a far easier interface to put links and stuff on to the template so I've finally been able to link to those people who have linked here and a few more besides. In the side bar there is now a link to John Teals models, usually in the Garden but at the time of writing indoors hiding from the cold. John Sharp's "It's just playing trains" shows what can be possible if you brave the elements -and have the courage to buy a lathe. (Incidentally, John's Journey in to sound blog is also worth a visit if you like folk music.)

My modern railways bias shows in the blog of Nigel Burkin from Scotland, who is building a large log cabin in his garden to house his railway, and Paul Smith's Photoblog of Widnes Road, a pleasantly simple diesel depot set in North West England during the 1980's, about the time I was growing up in the area. Lots of inspiration, and it almost makes up for the lack of visible progress on my layout...

Now to go back to what I should be doing... Sorting out my tax forms for 2006...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Busman's Holiday

Back home after a long overdue holiday flat sitting for a friend who lives near the french border. Mind you, I've been doing a bit there as well. Spurred on by the article that was published, I spent a day with Stephan, my oldest son, travelling around local stations and taking pictures for future articles. I’ve now got a small pile of films to be developed. The apartment where we were flat-sitting was owned by an ex-locomotive driver, so I ended up in a lot of long conversations which gave me far more material that I thought possible, and which improved my German as it was all given in “Elsaßich”, the local dialect in the region.

We returned on Tobi’s second birthday, and missed our train. Fortunately in Germany this just means you have to catch another train, and in our case we ended up going through the Black Forest, which took longer but gave us some awesome views, and then we met a very friendly driver who not only let us go in the cab but allowed Tobi to sit on his seat as a birthday treat. Stephan and I then travelled in the cab for about half the journey home, which Stephan loved and which gave me enough information to start yet another article...