Thursday, January 26, 2017

21 Pages

Some of you may remember that way back in July of 2015 I started work on a small diorama depicting a disused railway bridge. I built the model as an entry into that years Dave Brewer Memorial Challenge held at ExponNG at the end of October.

Over the roughly three months I spent working on the model I learnt an awful lot of useful and interesting techniques, and while I'd documented them on the blog I thought that, even though I'd not won the challenge, an article on the building of the model might be interesting to a wider audience than this blog enjoys.

Having written for Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling REVIEW before I ran the idea past the editor, Roy C. Link, who agreed it was an interesting topic for an article. My original plan was to put an article together fairly quickly by pulling text and images from some of the blog posts I'd already written. Clearly things didn't quite go to plan as it took a year before the article was finished, but it finally appeared in the most recent issue (109) of the REVIEW.

It wasn't that I was particularly slow in writing the article, in fact as I hoped it would it started to come together quite quickly from the posts I'd already made. What happened was that I decided to include a little more of the history of the bridge and the railway it was part of in the article and once I started to do some research things kind of snowballed.

What I discovered was that the line over Duchal Moor was one of only two railways in Scotland, the other being at Dalmunzie, that had been built to aid access to grouse shooting moors. So my research expanded from a derelict bride to two entire railways and as such took a lot longer than planned. It also resulted in more details emerging than would sensibly fit in an article that was predominately about a small diorama so it became two articles; one on the modelling of the bridge and one entirely devoted to the history of the two lines.

Given that both lines were closed or abandoned over thirty years ago and neither were ever open to the general public tracking down enough information to produce an interesting article took some time. I was very fortunate that requests for information in a couple of places turned up people who had either visited one or other of the lines, or had useful photos and documents which they were willing to share. The result was a 12 page article including a detailed history of the lines and rolling stock, maps, and a number of previously unpublished photos. Of course these 12 pages are in addition to the 9 page article on the bridge model, hence the title of this post as issue 109 of the REVIEW contains 21 pages of my work. Viewed another way, assuming my maths is right, about 45% of the magazine is stuff I put together, so hopefully people will enjoy both articles; it's worth buying for the other 55% alone!

If you are interested in reading the articles then you'll have to pick up a copy of the REVIEW as I can't simply repost all the material here (you should be able to get issue 109 as a back issue shortly) but I do have one thing to share with you all.

When researching the line at Dalmunzie I came across an old cine film which had already been digitized and uploaded to YouTube. The entire film is made up of a number of reels shot over a number of years and shows life on the Dalmunzie estate. While the whole film is interesting if you are only interested in the railway then there are three clips at 8:30, 29:50, and 30:40.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ivor the Engine

As I predicated in the previous post I've not really had much time for modelling over the last thirteen weeks. I've no idea when this will change, but when it does I'll have another project to start on...

Obviously Toby isn't old enough to be choosing Christmas presents for people yet, but Bryony and I thought it would be nice if we each had a present from him at his 1st Christmas that wasn't at all baby related and that would give us something fun to do when we eventually have some free time for hobbies again. Bryony got a very nice hand turned yarn bowl and I got a kit to build Ivor the Engine.

I've fancied building Ivor for a few years ever since Paul pointed out that PH Designs did a kit for a 7mm scale model. Since then they have also released the kit in 4mm scale; actually two kits one for OO gauge, which I've got, and one for EM/P4 for those who like a more accurate track gauge.

What you get in the "kit" is the etches and a sheet of transfers leaving you to source wheels, motor, gearbox, and boiler fittings; not really what I'd call a kit. To make matters worse the recommended motor is the Mashima 1015 and Mashima motors aren't made any more, plus the instructions don't list a specific gearbox as far as I can see. Finally there aren't any wheels that are a perfect match so those suggested in the kit require cutting up to produce the correct number of spokes, and therein lies another problem.

As you can see I've been collecting together some prototype reference material ready to help with the build. This includes the storybook I've had since I was a child and some stills taken from the DVD of the complete series (all the colour episodes anyway). It turns out that the book and TV series are a little inconsistent, especially when it comes to the wheels. In the TV series Ivor appears to have wheels with six spokes, whereas the wheels clearly have eight spokes in the book. It gets even more confusing as some shots, in both the TV episodes and the book, show balance weights on the wheels while some don't.

So while I'm sure it's going to be a fun build, when I eventually have the time, it's clear there are a few issues to sort first, namely which motor, gearbox, and wheels to use. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions I'd be grateful if you left a comment.