Monday 16 October 2023

Another 3 months between posts!

Oh dear, the number of posts on this blog is definitely going down. Mind you, it is fair to say that a lot has happened in the last 3 months.

We finally moved house in August. We now live in Port Solent, which is a marina complex on the South Coast (well it would be on the coast, wouldn't it) and we are loving it. Here's the view 2 minutes from the house. On a summer's day it is glorious and the sunsets are something else. A kayak is on the buy list for next summer.

I did start my business, STModels, and went to the 009 Open Day in Pewsey and also to the Welshpool Gala where I sold a few items and got the name out there a little. It will never be a big source of income but it was fun and I hope to fill a gap in the market for those who still like to build their own rolling stock. 

As I already mentioned, I took Melin Dolrhyd to the Welshpool Gala, this time with Matt as my second operator. It was an extremely enjoyable few days and I hope to attend next year. Looking ahead, I have confirmed bookings for Melin Dolrhyd for the Southampton show in January and SW Herts show in May. Hopefully there will be more. I am also hoping to take my STModels trade stand to the 009 member's day in Ilton in January.

So what to personal modelling. A new house means a new modelling room. I have taken one of two rooms in the loft conversion for the railway room. There was another option in the house but this room has the best light and does have an 11 foot straight wall. Here's an early days picture as everything was being unpacked (come to think of it, it isn't much tidier 2 months later!).

Of course, nothing works out as expected. I have two bookcases and could only fit one under the eaves so that has reduced the 11ft run. I had expected to keep Melin Dolrhyd up here somewhere but the final stairs to the loft conversion are narrow and I cannot realistically get the main board up them so that has to find a home somewhere else in the house. I really like cameo layouts but they can be bulky and so need more storage and manoeuvring space.

In terms of actual modelling I have 2 areas of focus going forwards. The first is engines. Another good friend, Andy, has built my two Golden Arrow chassis for the Welshpool Beyer Peacocks, they now need finishing ahead of the next show. I also have a Sir Drefaldwyn, and another Sierra Leone locomotive to build. Joan also needs a rebuild and detailing. There may be another Welshpool preservation engine in the stash that I have forgotten but that's enough to be going on with! 

The second area of focus is a new layout. Here's where the big problem lies. What do I do next? I had planned an Ashover based layout. I have a long term plan to do a Bowaters based layout and I am keen to do another Welshpool layout. The problem is that the motivation isn't there at this time to start something that uses multiple boards and handbuilt track and has a high degree of authenticity. Modelling something realistic takes time, a lot of it and I am just not enthused by the idea.

I recently went to the Hayling Light Railway 20th Gala and they had a small model railway exhibition where I saw an 009 layout that was a small roundy roundy layout which offered the potential to be a single board layout that can be chucked in the back of the car and taken to shows. It won't run most of my stock but it will run my Baldwins which were ready for Ashover and I do have a surprising number of 009 Society kits of RNAD vans and Hudson Toastrack coaches that can be quickly built and used. 

It's going to be a complete anathema to what I would normally do but has the advantage of being able to be done relatively quickly. The rough plan is going to be something like this which will allow a train to run round whilst some shunting takes place.

It's not realistic, how could it be with those curves on either side, but it will offer the opportunity to try a few things, play trains, and generally not take modelling too seriously over the winter. 

I need to get on with it. I no longer have a garage and all woodwork needs to be done in the car port which will only get colder so timber was bought and cut this last week and a start has been made. Even though it is supposed to be a quick layout on a 4' by 2' board, I still couldn't bring myself to have a straight front!

I have no idea for a name so answers on a postcard please!

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