Monday, April 30, 2007

Halfway Point

I’m about halfway through this time in Japan, and I’m starting to twitch. I really want to get back to building models.

I’m filling the gap a bit by reading the current issue of “Narrow Lines”, the bi-monthly issue of the 7mm Narrow gauge Association, and “Model Railways on a Budget”, which was written a long time ago by C.J. Freezer. Some of the ideas may seem a bit ‘dated’ like the suggestion to use Post Office relays (Remember those?), but to be fair that’s not a fault of the book –it was published 20 years ago after all. It remains a useful item for those of us who have to really consider every expenditure and besides I’m a bit of a dinosaur with technology and naturally warm to suggestions like using bicycle spokes for point control.

I picked up my copy in a second hand bookshop on the Wensleydale Railway in the UK for an appropriately miserly four pounds. I don’t know if a similar book has been printed since- it would bee an excellent idea, and a good antidote to the style I see frequently in Germany, where everything is available off the shelf and model making is known as the rich man’s hobby. I was able to start again because I had just enough knowledge to keep my costs down, but anyone walking into my local model shop in Stuttgart would get the impression that you need to mortgage the house and have a handy spare barn to make a decent layout -which cannot be good for the future of the pastime. Hopefully there will still be a few of us bodgers who follow the less well travelled paths and are willing to compromise on perfection in order to have our ‘own” railway at an affordable price. Bicycle spokes and all…

Perhaps there is a “Low cost model making conspiracy”. Come to think of it, “Model Railways on a Budget” is a small red book. Is there a subliminal message here?

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