Thursday, 17 November 2011

Landswood Park - More photos and it's own page

Landswood Park now has it's own page, which you can find from the links on the right. While I am at it here are some more photos which have come out rather well.

You probably won't be surprised that after such intense activity in preparing two layouts for EXPO, I'm enjoying a rest from modelling. However there is another reason too, we're having a new kitchen fitted and suffering the upheaval that goes with that, not least that both layouts are in storage! And while I am not fitting the kitchen myself, there are plenty of associated DIY jobs to keep me busy...
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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Boxfile Challenge

Finally I have got around to uploading the pictures of the Box-file layouts from the David Brewer Memorial Challenge at Expo. There were 11 entrants that made it to the show, a good turnout, and as always a variety of different ideas and scales. Most of them were finished too, which in itself is a challenge as it is easy to forget how much work is involved even in a layout as small as this! You can see pictures of all 11 here, but here are some of my favourites.

Eastlight (009) by Samual Eveleigh was awared a runner up prize, and I can see why as the scene is very convincing. Samual just 13 years old, but the quality of this model shows he has real skill and I'm sure he'll be producing superb "proper" layouts soon ...! He was also making a loco from tinplate, and making a good job of it.

Schrödinger's Cat (09) by Matt Wildsmith, also awarded a runner up prize. The name is a reference to a philosophical question, but being an Engineer I didn't get the point of the question! However I do see the point Matt was aiming for with the colouring, after all most pictures of old railways are in black and white aren't they? (yes, this is a COLOUR photograph!). The effect is better in the photograph than in reality, but it is very cleverly done.

Nine Wells Watercress Line (009) by Daniel Figg. Another young entrant, demonstrating the value of these sorts of competitions to encourage newcomers and youngsters into the hobby. Purists may scoff but the limitation of a container or size means that anyone can have a go, without the need for large budget, space, or time investment, and results (hopefully) in encouraging the builder on to greater things. Anyway, back to this model, the location and purpose of this line was obvious to anyone who has seen photos of the narrow gauge lines serving the watercress beds in Dorset, and that is an achievement in such a small space. A more suitable (small i/c) loco would have been nice, but they are very challenging in 009, even for an experienced modeller. The track plan is not the most exciting, but Daniel had it running on a shuttle module, I guess that saved him from going insane!

Little Hope Mine (009) by Trevor Street was nicely modelled and presented. Portraying a small mine working it is quite convincing, as small operations did indeed look as simple as this. I like the use of different levels to the scenery, and the spacious feel that demonstrates how much more the same space is worth in 4mm/ft against my own model in 7mm/ft!

Temple of Pfalocos (09) by Christopher Dack. Inspired by a photo of tracks used for moving stone blocks for the restoration of the Acropolis in Athens, this is another old ruin being restored with the help of a narrow gauge line. The idea was that a wagon would ascend and descend in the lift, with a loco to collect it at the bottom and a man pushing at the top. Sadly the lift refused to work smoothly! Still I love the concept and it was nicely finished, this being one of two models that used the box file in the vertical orientation.

I hope all the other entrants had as much fun building their box file layouts as I did building Landswood Park. And if that has got you thinking about building a small layout of your own, the challenge for next year has been announced on the EXPONG website, which will be for "pizza" layouts (circles) of up to 60cm diameter. If you decide to go for it, all the best - but I won't be doing another challenge. Have I said that before? Twice? Oh well...!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

EXPO-NG: The other layouts

I did manage a little time to look around the show, and as always there were so many superb and inspiring layouts it is difficult to pick out favourites. However here are a selection of my better photos, for the full set click here. EXPO-NG is also the place to find all the specialist traders for narrow-gauge modelling, but I didn't have so much time for shopping!

Charlie Insley's St Etienne-en-Caux is definitely a favourite of mine, even though French narrow-gauge is not something I take much interest in the quality and detail of the layout draws you in, and the interesting rolling stock adds to the character of the setting.

Garreg Wen (009, Matthew & Helen Kean) won one of the awards (The Reinier Hendriksen Trophy IIRC) and it is easy to see why, it looks so "right" for a moment I was wondering where in Wales the prototype was! Better lighting would have helped it though. The other award (David Lloyd Memorial) was won by Corris 1930 (009, Rod Allcock), another superb layout that was hidden by crowds much of the day - that and the fact that I have seen it twice recently meant I didn't get any photos.

Grossbierdorf was an 014 layout by the Group Escradrille St Michelle, set in East Germany just before the fall of the wall it had just the right care-worn appearance of an industrial line, while avoiding the overly-decrepit look. It was well detailed and ran well too.

I had been looking forward to seeing The Loop (0 and 0-16.5) by Giles Favell, after seeing photos on the NGRM forum. It is the careful attention to colours and textures - especially the ground cover and details - that make this layout feel so real when viewed close-up.

I has also been looking forward to seeing Peter Kazer's latest model, of Boot on the "Owd Ratty", in 1/4in scale, and as expected it was finely detailed and of the highest standard. However there was so little modelled beyond the boundary fence that it seemed to lack a sense of place, a little more depth of scenery would have made a lot of difference. Now I know this is being picky, and it was a great model - but for me Peter's model of Corris a few years back was the most inspiring of his work. Nonetheless, Peter shows that standards of Narrow Gauge Modelling can be as high as any, and it is great to see a serious model of an attractive but obscure prototype.