April 24, 2009

"Deltic's First Day".

The fifteenth episode of The British Railway Series hits Youtube!

Who is the bright blue interloper? (No, its not Thomas)

Why is Gronk feeling so guilty?

Will the snow ever melt at Copley Hill?!

Tune into next weeks second part of...

"Day of the Deltic"!

April 21, 2009

"It's in the title!"

I thought I'd upload something for the fans of "The British Railway Series" - the completed opening titles for the fifteenth episode, "Day of the Deltic".

Until next time (friday, when part one is released!)

April 15, 2009

"Over Exerting?"

Every so often I stop and take a look at myself. One of the problems I've had over the last few years is dealing with difficult situations, and one of the solutions I found was railway modelling.

I find it amazing that around this time last year, I was wondering if I'd be around this time, this year to actually make a go of any of my "dreams" or reality. After months of hospital visits, several surgeries on various body parts and general ill health for well over two years, I'm proud to say I've come out the other side and still around to tell the tale.

But there has been a nasty side effect to using the modelling as the thing that kept me going, the thing that kept me calm, and comforted me in dark times. That has been to overreact on some occasions to things that otherwise wouldn't faze me (or is that wouldn't use to faze me?)

Recently I was quite vitriolic on a particular forum about one product and its absence from the shelves over the course of a year. There's been other mitigating factors, a related product which was a present for my father - delivered, and damaged badly in transit - the fact that other products from the new range have been delivered ahead of it - and couple that with my current condition (awaiting a knee operation to add to my complete list of medical "general overhauls"), the frustration simply got to me over the last few weeks, and it ended up with an outburst that, while unpleasant most certainly, was at the very least honest and to the point.

I got some messages from other forum members advising me of patience and basically a telling off in some respects. They are right, of course, but that does not stop me feeling infuriated to be singled out.

So why was I getting so worked up over the model in question? It actually doesn't make much sense now I analyse it. The model would make the filming of the final few episodes of a certain Youtube series much easier, with a few little modifications to the livery and nameplates/numbers allowing a character to be recreated in its twilight years - but I have proven, with this:

...and this:

...and, euh, this:

...that I can repaint models to a reasonable standard and particularly if they are in British Railways Brunswick Green - which this model in question is! So why don't I just buy a similar model and repaint it then...

The answer is, I didn't even think of it. Or perhaps it was laziness. Or both.

Truth be told, the two ends of the problem - the overreaction and the over analysing that comes with it is just not healthy, both for my enjoyment of the hobby and for others around me. It's something that has developed over the last two years - certainly while lying in a hospital bed, I've had far too much time on my hands to think things through, again, and again, and again, and again...and again...

A very wise Blogger, from the depths of time, once said to me that we take it all far too seriously as a hobby and that the sheer amount of "froth fests" we all indulge in from time to time wasn't worth our time or effort. He was - is - right. Today, I frothed and foamed and whinged and moaned, about a model train when (putting it in perspective), there are people dying out there from various political situations, there are countries like Zimbabwe where the exchange rate is 10,000,000,000,000 of their currency to a single dollar! There are kids and adults and families caught up in war, and there are lots of other, much more important things to worry about than the model in question.

A further problem is now the modelling - before, just done to appease my desire for a train set to watch trains whizzing round and round - is now being done for a purpose, and suddenly is begining to feel, hold the phones! Like a chore. I have found it a struggle to get any modelling done when its for one of the youtube films recently (a year ago the stories too, were a source of comfort in a dire situation), yet give me a competition to make a "fun" model in and all I've been doing is studying my chosen prototype, mixing up paint samples, ordering parts and then starting building a model which, actually, hasn't any value to the series or monetary value.

That then is the crux. The modelling which isn't being done to fulfill a specific role is enjoyable. The modelling which may not be every single rivet checked and modelled, but that which is simple and straightforward.

So the question I now have to ask is - where do I draw the line, and what can I do to get my modelling - the modelling I enjoy - back on track (pun intended)?

Perhaps I could start with chilling out and not getting so het up over:

a) Release dates of models
b) Releasing Youtube videos which are meant to be a bit of fun, not serious drama!
c) Turning the laptop off once in a while and having a beer instead (though obviously not become an alcholic in extremis while doing so!)

And d) stop over analysing everything and enjoy life a bit more without worrying about every little thing.

Until next time.

April 13, 2009

"Tampering with...the Blog"

As some of you may have noticed, I have been modifying the blog in terms of the look, the photographs which accompany it and some several useful websites added as well.

On the left, there is my The British Railway Series website for further information on the series. Above that is something very close to my heart - 60163 Tornado's website.

Below that, is a modelling forum I am particularly fond of - Andy York's RMweb is, for me, the definition in modelling forums, and particularly excellent in the modelling talents on show. Further, the wealth of information available is such that I have been encouraging members of my own Permanent Way gang (the forum below RMweb listed) to join up and learn from their elders and betters.

I'm a great believer in "every little helps" - and as such, if this blog helps the two forums listed, the A1 Trust and my own little Youtube series in whatever way possible - then it can only be a good thing!

I'll also be updating the "Eastern Region Connections" box with some useful websites for modellers - I find that the more you help, the more people are willing to help, so I would say that the morale today is, help your fellow modeller!

And if you're a Charlton fan like me, make sure that your hobby is high up on your agenda - it may help dividends in the weeks to come!

Until next time!

April 11, 2009

"Thompson Blues"

The above picture is what 60113 Great Northen Looked like before I took her along for inspection one week.

In my haste to make an A1/1 I had made a right catalogue of errors, the running plate, smoke deflector size...etc etc.

Well, she's now in bits, awaiting rebuilding - the first step towards being made, good and proper, into an A1/1.

I'd like to thank Tony Gee for the gentle nudge in the right direction - Isinglass drawings! Which, surprisingly, showed that while it is very inaccurate in many ways, it does have a few things right - placement of banjo dome, and the length of the locomotive itself.

This model will define me as a modeller, it has been said, and I agree - it's not going back in its box until I manage to make something of it. It has the potential to be more than it is - and one day it will be an A1/1, fully fledged, built, like Thompson, from a Gresley A1.

I'll leave you with this picture for now - hopefully when I next update the Great Northern Saga, it'll be a complete engine, and finished.

Until next time!

April 05, 2009

"Day of the Deltic"

The trailer for the fifteenth episode of The British Railway Series has been on Youtube for a few days. It's had a generally positive reaction, and I'm delighted that people are enjoying viewing it.

Kevin Macloed, the composer for the piece of music used for the trailer, is a gem and his piece, Face Off brought alive the ideas behind Episode 15: Day of the Deltic.

The story follows on from Episode 14: Silent Night quite closely, looking at Gronk's relationship with the other engines while introducing a character that is neither good nor entirely evil, but definitely flawed in terms of character.

Day of the Deltic
will be released sometime this Easter.

Until next time.

April 02, 2009

"The Super (Claud) Build"

You may recall that I've been working on turning this:

...into its shorter cousin. Yes, this is a Hornby B12 model - and I have been trying to make it into a D16/3.

It all started like this...the model was taken apart, and the chassis modified:

The body had a chunk taken out of the boiler to make it scale length:

The body was then reattached using GamesWorkShop's green putty to cement it, and polysterene cemement to fix it in place. The rear wheel splashers would later be re-used from the chunk that was taken off the body earlier:

Then, the detailing of the body began: the outside steam pipes, not necessary for our inside cylindered 4-4-0, were cut away and filed down with a scapel and flat bladed file:

Which, after painting the tender, got the build to this stage:

The next job was making the chassis work. A new motor was sourced from a Bachmann Junior 0-6-0 locomotive (bought 2nd hand), and it was soon in place with the new cog fitted to the front driving wheels. When the model was originally a B12, it had been middle axle drive - now it would be front wheel drive. The chassis was modified further with a new axlebox for the rear wheels in a more accurate (but not perfectly accurate) position:

The model would be DCC - the junior diesel gutted was DCC fitted, and it would be a waste not to use it. The chip was not able to go in the loco due to lack of space, however it was fitted in the preferred slot - the tender (which had to have its "sound box" removed to fit the chip!)

The model then recieved a few other little mods: the smokebox door was modified to look more GER like - with the silver ring around the outside and no smokebox door straps - the body was then painted plain black.

Finally, the connecting rods (a little rough at this stage - made purely so that the model and its mechanism could be run in) were fitted, and cabside numbers applied. The model's new identity is 62536.

And just to compare, here is a Hornby B12 standing next to the "Bachby" D16:

Notice the difference in length of the boiler - though the real things did share many components or elements of design style, the D16/3 model is by no means perfect. The wheels are slightly undersize, the smokebox is not quite round (one of the hazards of using the Hornby model - as pointed out by an RMwebber, they are flat at the bottom to allow the chassis to fit).

The wires to the DCC chip are obtrusive, but I think if I fit a fall plate and paint the wires black, it may not be so noticeable:

And for the moment - until its smokebox numberplate is fitted, and the lining out is completed - that is that.

I'm quite proud of it - the fact that it works, and runs is good enough for me at present. I'm still very new to modelling - two years in! And I think, given my little experience with a soldering iron these last few months with the chip and motor, that I'd like to tackle a small brass kit of something next.

That's after the A1/1, the Cathedral and various other half-finished projects I need to do soon...and after all that filming and editing, of course.

Until next time - I'll leave you with this pic: