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Railway Modelling by the Spanish, shops, exhibitions etc...

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#1 71000

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 02:29

Railway Modelling by the Spanish, shops, exhibitions etc... 

 

Get ready for a few eye openers !

 

As the "International Liaison Officier" for the Mora La Nova Railway Museum in Southern Catalonia, with a long History in real railways and modelling (Check out my profile). I can say that railway modelling by the Spanish is severely limited. 

 

The (Spanish) Museum owner, himself an avid Spanish HO scale, LGB and 5 inch gauge modeller, stated this: 

 

Quote: "As the Spanish do not understand real Railways, or Railway Museums because railways still exist. There is little railway modelling outside Catalonia, and only a limited amount within. There is the additional problem that the Spanish have in the main never even heard of the existence of model railways, and even if they have, Railway Modelling requires a number of skills that Spaniards simply don't have." Unquote !

 

Spaniards it seems only believe in Museums for things that have ceased to exist such as the Roman Lead Mine Museum just a few miles up the road from my location. Even the authorities seem blithley unaware that going down a Roman Lead Mine Museum can't exactly be called healthy. Lead being a dangerous product even to handle, but in a trapped underground atmosphere........    

 

CLUBS

In Catalonia there are around half a dozen Model Railway clubs in and around Barcelona. There is another in Reus is southern Catalonia, and of course I have started one here in Mora. A couple more in Madrid, and certainly one in the Valencia area, and rumour has it a couple in the Northern Basque Region. However most of these clubs are primarily interested in larger 5 inch to 10.25 inch scales, as they do not distinguish between Railway Modelling and Model Railway Engineering. All the Catalonian Clubs mentioned do have HO and in most cases N gauge layouts, although not on the same site as their outdoor railways. It also appears, certainly in Catalonia, that outdoor modelling is bigger than indoor modelling, and this must be due mainly to the climate. 

 

SHOPS

There are a number of fairly good model railway shops in Barcelona, as I was taken on a guided tour of all of them. However I saw NO British outline at all. Mostly German ranges are stocked, in addition to the limited amount of Spanish outline. There is another shop in Reus, a couple in Madrid, one In Valencia and one in Alicante. However many of the small tools and DIY type parts British modellers take for granted are totally unknown in Spain. Indeed the Editor of a Spanish modelling magazine came hot foot to the Museum when he was told I was constructing a large British layout and building handbuilt points, signals buildngs etc. He refused to believe the rumours, and was therefore rather stunned when he arrived !   

 

However, I found the Hornby website listed lots of Model shops for Spain. But when I started checking these shops out, I quickly found 90% do NOT exist, or only stock Hornby's Scalextrix slot car system. There was only one genuine shop I found and he only stocked Hornby Electrotren, and had less than a dozen items in stock. 

 

Exhibitions

I have only been able to trace one model railway show in Spain, and this is the so called Spanish National Model Railway show every March in Lleida, Central Catalonia. There used to be a show in Barcelona, but now nothing. There might possibly be something in Madrid but I have not been able to confirm or deny this so far. Last years show had 37 Spanish and 2 French layouts, of which only the 2 French layouts could be called reasonable. All of the Spanish layouts seemed to be club layouts, some fairly large. But all bar one appeared to have horrendously badly made baseboards, and virtually no trains running on any of them. Whenever anythng moved it more frequently than not derailed at the first baseboard join, excepting one very nice N gauge layout, that it turned out had been professionally produced by a German layout building company in Nordhausen. The show also included oddball things such as a large WW2 battlefield diorama of Stalingrad. Trade was restricted to half a dozen shops (4 from Barcelona, 1 from Madrid and 1 from Valencia). And a whole host of secondhand stalls.  

 

Another odd recent revelation

Two weeks ago I was approached by one of the locals who had heard about my layout "Basingstoke" (details of this layout on RMweb in "Modelling real locations"). He encouraged me to pop into Mora's little exhibition centre to see his LGB "layout". 

 

What I found was an exhibition for "Playmobil" (the childrens toy). He had simply added a couple of circuits of LGB track to a temporary scene laid out on some table tops, and thought this was a model railway. What I discovered was that the whole show was for "Playmobil" and that it wasn't for children but for fully grown men ! He then went on to proudly tell me they were expecting at least a 1000 visitors (a very large number for a little inland town for any type of exhibition). He then went on to explain that "Playmobil" shows went on in virtually all towns and that the previous week in Ampollia (on the coast near Tarragona) 13,000 adults (more than the National model railway exhibition) had gone to that show. His explanation was fully and enthusiastically supported by a couple of other men who all agreed "Playmobil" was a big "hobby".  

 

The relevance of these incredulous revelations as far as Model railways go is this:

That the Spanish, as the Museum owner has said, have none of the skills necessary to do model railways. That in fact the simplicities of a childs toy is about their limit. When you only have to arrange your little toys on a table covered with sand. This being the method displayed all around the exhibition hall I was shown, by numerous men and some of their wives. 

 

At the end of the day, there is another problem which the museum owner has pointed out to me. This is that the limited demand for model trains in Spain, makes it a lot harder if you wish to model a specific place or a particular era, as he himself has been trying to collect suitable locomotives for a 1974 "end of Spanish steam layout" for over 10 years.

 

A Ray of Hope!

One bright note is that there are a handful of specialist one man band producers. We had just such a producer at our Museum Annual Festival this weekend (8 and 9th October). This Gentlemen produces very good quality Ready Made Spanish railway buildings from water towers to large station buildings. Each model is a mix of laser cut wood and resin, and sometimes the odd plastic part. I am adding a photo of one of these to give you a taster here. Prices started at around €15 for a water tower, and went up to a few hundred Euros for a medium sized multi-floored station building in either N or HO scale.

 

I have a number of photos of many of his buildings and I intend to Post all the information I have on this producer including contact details, in the next couple of days as time permits. I haven't decided which category would best help modellers here on RMweb yet, but I will post the information under the title: "Spanish Railway Quality Ready made Railway Buildings" .  I have no personal involvement with this business, but I was impressed with what he produces, and thought it a good idea to put it up on RMweb as it would otherwise be unlikely anyone outside Spain will ever come across these models.

 

Models Cut (01).jpg

         Above: Ready Made in laser cut wood, resin roof and plastic stairs, HO and N scale models of the Signal box at Mora La Nova station on the mainline from Barcelona (via Tarragona) to Zaragoza and Madrid. 

               


Edited by 71000, 28 November 2017 - 05:01 .

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#2 Nearholmer

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 06:25

Hmmm ....... not sure this tallies with my very limited observation.

I've seen some truly excellent diorama/military modelling in Spain, and there seems to be a significant subculture of model ship building, from some seriously detailed wooden kits that require a stack of skills. And, there is a railway modelling mag. So, I think there must be pockets of hobby craft skills.

Perhaps it's no completely beyond hope.

Kevin
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#3 Ron Heggs

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:05

From my location and perspective your observations are almost spot-on. It is a good job I scratchbuild almost everything, and virtually all my materials are imported from the UK, with notable exceptions such as Evergreen plastics which are cheaper in Spain than the UK, and there are very good discounts available on Redutex resin coverings. I have favourite model shop located in Torrelavega, Cantabria and who also have a good website

 

One has to work with what is available wherever you are, and wherever you can find models and modelling materials to meet your own requirements. Sometimes it works out fine, at other times it can be a bit of a pain, but we all push on with our projects regardless, because we are who we are

 

Happy modelling here in Spain in spite of the problems

 

Cheers

 

Ron


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#4 Horsetan

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 11:40

Does anyone model Iberian gauge?



#5 71000

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 14:14

Hmmm ....... not sure this tallies with my very limited observation.

I've seen some truly excellent diorama/military modelling in Spain, and there seems to be a significant subculture of model ship building, from some seriously detailed wooden kits that require a stack of skills. And, there is a railway modelling mag. So, I think there must be pockets of hobby craft skills.

Perhaps it's no completely beyond hope.

Kevin

Kevin,

Sticking with model railways, you first need Carpentry skills. Only available at University level here, I am told by such people as, the third generation family owner of the large local DIY store. Who doesn't stock normal saws, "because they have wobbly blades, and everyone knows they don't work" !

So obtaining a saw took a month, and a wood plain 5 months, as not even a big German Bauhaus store on the coast had ever heard of such things. 

 

Electrical knowledge is also necessary for model railways. But Spain can't even get International companies to pick up normal Electrical Franchises, because of the appallingly dangerous systems seen in virtually every town and village. So the Franchises exclude all towns and villages, except those built post 1995. The local Mayor has to deal with the local system in each case.

 

As I know from having given an LGB club based in Barcelona a talk on electricals about the simple benefits of "Cab Control" and "Common Return". All the members present looked at these simple diagrams and all of them insisted you would get a short circuit. So no the Spanish have a fundamental incomprehension about electricals, and this puts people off model railways. This is exampled by the fact that IBERTREN were producing three rail N Gauge until at least the end of the 1980's. Why? Because a three rail system solves the wiring problems of point frogs for the customers benefit.  

 

Scenery and its colour they are better at. Possibly the famous Spanish painters Picaso and Salvador Dali indicate an artistic flair amongst the Spanish but anything even the remotest bit technical is an enigma. It took 4 hours to get the first member I began training (a pharmacist in his normal life) just to hold the saw correctly. He insisted he lay the blade flat on the wood and use two fingers to pull it back and forth. He couldn't grasp the fact you need to use it at an angle and put some muscle into the process. The second person I trained works in the local Nuclear Power station. He grasped the use of the saw in just two hours, partly thanks to help from the first member I trained. I now have four trained, and we have moved onto screws and glue. Simple things like using a drill bit 0.5mm larger than the screw you wish to use, have to be carefully explained, or they will resort to a hammer and nails. Indeed one member brought in a Baseboard he had paid a professional Carpenter to build him, and the carpenter had used nails and no glue !

 

Having said all that, the guys are really enthusiastic to learn, it is just the fact that I have to start at real basics. But every one I train is increasing the number of model railway fans in Spain. Indeed I am hoping as my layout progresses, this will bring more new members, and the ultimate aim is of course to provide the Museum with another attraction, and boost the number of visitors. There now being two layouts under construction. My Basingstoke layout and now a Mora La Nova at the end of steam layout. (There are photos of both on my RMweb Modelling real locations - Basingstoke in "OO" 1958-67 pages).


Edited by 71000, 28 November 2017 - 05:02 .

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#6 71000

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 14:23

From my location and perspective your observations are almost spot-on. It is a good job I scratchbuild almost everything, and virtually all my materials are imported from the UK, with notable exceptions such as Evergreen plastics which are cheaper in Spain than the UK, and there are very good discounts available on Redutex resin coverings. I have favourite model shop located in Torrelavega, Cantabria and who also have a good website

 

One has to work with what is available wherever you are, and wherever you can find models and modelling materials to meet your own requirements. Sometimes it works out fine, at other times it can be a bit of a pain, but we all push on with our projects regardless, because we are who we are

 

Happy modelling here in Spain in spite of the problems

 

Cheers

 

Ron

Ron,

Indeed I'm extremely impressed with what I have seen on your pages. And I just wish you lived a bit closer. However I do know of another good British Railway modeller who lives in Denia. Indeed he was a professional Master model maker before retiring, working for a specialist company that is/was based on an old RAF Airfield in the West Country. Producing large scale model cars to extremely high standards for Boardroom tables. 99% of which were exported direct to the USA. When I last saw him ten years ago, he was well under way with an "OO" scale layout, built in his modern houses cellar. He was located high up above the town. Very pretty spot on a small estate of individually Spanish styled houses, which were surprisingly well built !


Edited by 71000, 28 November 2017 - 05:02 .


#7 71000

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 14:45

Does anyone model Iberian gauge?

Horsetan,

Now you are getting technical. Funnily enough just yesterday at our Museum Festival weekend, I was trying to explain the problem of modelling the Spanish nominal 5ft 6in gauge, using HO track, which is obviously incorrect. This arose out of the fact a Spanish modeller had noted that British models are 1:76 scale (OO), and must be wrong ! But he couldn't understand the fact that Spanish models are also wrong for similar reasons. So when I said British 1:76 should use 18.83mm track. And therefore Spanish 1:87 scale model railways should use 19.25mm track. He was baffled. He eventually got the idea, when the Museum owner came up and explained in Catalonian.  

 

I'm not aware of anyone who has modelled Iberian gauge. Spain and Portugal are not actually the same gauge, as for some inexplicable reason Spain reduced its gauge by 4mm some 30 years ago. Although this means Spanish trains can go to Lisbon (at reduced speed through pointwork) but Portugese trains can no longer go into Spain. This reeks of naughty politics of course.

 

In Britain I can only think of Dave and Shirley Rowe who built a very nice Catalonian Costa Brava coastal layout many years ago, although I'm sure they used HO/OO track. The layout was in a large showcase, with a canopy to allow the night time effects of all the housing, and the era was pre-1950 if memory serves correct.  


Edited by 71000, 28 November 2017 - 05:02 .


#8 Enterprisingwestern

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 16:54

I am in awe and admiration of your achievements, your observation on the practical capabilities of Spaniards is pretty much on par with mine, having seen the quality of the work put out by the building trades out here I either do it myself as I am ex trade, or get a trusted and recommended ex pat and wait accordingly, although some seem to get sucked down to the Spanish level eventually, prudence is the watchword.

Your trials and tribulations with your "pupils" would make a good comedy sketch, I'm imagining something along the lines of the 2 Ronnies, worryingly though, it is true!

I would like to come and visit the museum, but, even though you are close in Spanish terms, it still takes 7 hours on the train or 3 hours plus driving, I shall have to try and engineer a weekend out of it.

Thanks for the updates on the shops and exhibitions, such as they are.

How did the open weekend go?, you obviously got a few through the door so to speak, did it provide any fresh blood, or did most go away bewildered and shaking their heads?

Please keep us updated, it's difficult being a missionary!

 

Mike.



#9 Ron Heggs

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 19:46

Ron,

Indeed I'm extremely impressed with what I have seen on your pages. And I just wish you lived a bit closer. However I do know of another good British Railway modeller who lives in Denia. Indeed he was a professional Master model maker before retiring, working for a specialist company that is/was based on an old RAF Airfield in the West Country. Producing large scale model cars to extremely high standards for Boardroom tables. 99% of which were exported direct to the USA. When I last saw him ten years ago, he was well under way with an "OO" scale layout, built in his modern houses cellar. He was located high up above the town. Very pretty spot on a small estate of individually Spanish styled houses, which were surprisingly well built !

 

 

The Duke 71000 

 

That gentleman wouldn't be Gerald Wingrove by any chance?

 

Ron



#10 71000

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:41

SPANISH MODELLING & THE PROTOTYPE.

 

A Little update:

 

 

Further information and lots of photos concerning Spanish modelling and the prototype, will be found on my regular page:

MORA la NOVA RAILWAY CENTRE AND MUSEUM (Official English language web page for the Museum) in the RMweb category "PRESERVATION"

 

A Taster:

 

5 inch gauge (03).JPG

Above: 5 inch gauge in use inside our main Museum building during our Annual open weekend in early October.

 

Jordi, Ferran & James (03).JPG

Above: Down in the town centre our Modelling workshop is in the process of constructing TWO large model railways for eventual permanent exhibition at the Museum. In the picture a few of the Spanish members learning how to construct exhibition baseboards for the new HO scale "Mora la Nova" layout under my guidance.

The second layout is my own "Basingstoke" layout which is featured on my regular page in "Modelling real locations" under the title "Basingstoke in "OO" 1958-67".

 

P1015833.JPG

Above: Mixed traffic Class 241F 4-8-2 of 1949 "La Bonita" a 200 tonne monster, posed in the main platform of Mora la Nova station with restored 1950 coaches and "period passengers". Rolling stock from the Railway Centres collection. (Photo taken 15-10-17).   


Edited by 71000, 28 November 2017 - 05:02 .

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#11 petertg

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 22:54

I live in Cubelles, province of Barcelona, not too far from Mora la Nova, but at our age neither my wife or I would like having to drive there (we could take the train, but that involves changes), although I really would like to visit the place.

I agree with what is said about the dearth of model railway clubs in Spain. In the nearby town of Vilanova i la Geltru, there is a well stocked model shop (HO and N gauges, slot cars, and larger models, ship building kits, etc. and a good range of scenic material, so there must be modellers around, although the owner told me tha the only modellers' club he knows of made military models. For various reasons, I have imported most of the material for my 8ft by 4ft layout from the UK. I have also had the occasion to purchase material from El taller del Modelista en Torrelavega and from Zatatren in Zaragoza. I do have, though, both HO and OO rolling stock, although practically all the buildings are Metcalfe and all the non-railway stuff (cars, commercial vehicles, buses, etc) is UK.



#12 Allegheny1600

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 13:17

Hello, 71000,

I'm afraid I am somewhat in disbelief at your initial statement!

Although my own personal experience of Spain is limited to the years 1970-1983 or so, I do recall seeing model shops, selling model railways. This is not to say of course that they have not all disappeared in the intervening years.

However, there are still some domestic Spanish model railway manufacturers;

http://www.mabar.es/en/ - Fine quality models of 'brass' standard.

http://www.atfmodels.com/ - beautiful kits. I have an unbuilt kit of a lovely little 0-6-0T, now long out of production but beautifully prepared. Presumably deleted from the current range due to the RTR Electrotren model.

http://www.ibertren.es/en/ - decent quality RTR (not Hornby!).

 

Information websites;

http://ferropedia.es...otoras_de_vapor

http://historiastren.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Also;

http://www.pilentum....th-cab-ride.htm - a nice Spanish layout.

 

I hope the above information is sufficient to convince you that railway interest in Spain, while not as high as in Britain, Holland or Germany, it does still exist.

Cheers,

John.



#13 Pete 75C

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 13:30

Also;

http://www.pilentum....th-cab-ride.htm - a nice Spanish layout.

 

Thanks for that link, John. There are some marvellous cameos there.



#14 71000

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 07:40

I live in Cubelles, province of Barcelona, not too far from Mora la Nova, but at our age neither my wife or I would like having to drive there (we could take the train, but that involves changes), although I really would like to visit the place.

I agree with what is said about the dearth of model railway clubs in Spain. In the nearby town of Vilanova i la Geltru, there is a well stocked model shop (HO and N gauges, slot cars, and larger models, ship building kits, etc. and a good range of scenic material, so there must be modellers around, although the owner told me tha the only modellers' club he knows of made military models. For various reasons, I have imported most of the material for my 8ft by 4ft layout from the UK. I have also had the occasion to purchase material from El taller del Modelista en Torrelavega and from Zatatren in Zaragoza. I do have, though, both HO and OO rolling stock, although practically all the buildings are Metcalfe and all the non-railway stuff (cars, commercial vehicles, buses, etc) is UK.

Cubelles is south of Barcelona and on the mainline through which Barcelona to Mora trains run. No change is required if you catch one of these trains at Vilanova station, where I know they stop. They are usually formed of "Medium Distance" three car EMU's. Toilets and vending machines on board. These trains only run as far as Caspe, just over the border into Aragon. Journey time Vilanova to Mora is about 40 minutes, and the views down the coast to Tarragona, and then inland through the coastal mountains (complete with a long tunnel) are quite spectacular. 

 

You can simply alight at Mora station, and the Museum reception is there on the platform in the old signalbox. As the new main museum building is some hundreds of metres down the far end of Mora yard, we take visitors around by car door to door.  The model layout is however in another building in the town centre under construction. This can be added to your tour, if you give me some notice of when you plan to visit. Again we will take you there door to door by car, so no walking necessary. All part of the service. 

 

The Museum is officially open for visitors on Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Fiestas. 11.00 - 14.00 hrs and again 17.00 - 20.00 hrs. Simply because we rely on a small band of volunteers to look after the reception and visitors. However if you want to arrive on a specific train on any day, we can arrange a guided tour timed for your arrival. Just tell me when, and we'll roll out the red carpet. Lunch can also be arranged in our favourite local restaurant "Le Ferran" if desired, as the station restaurant is now closed !

      

There are at least four model railway clubs in and around Barcelona. They appear to be very wealthy judging by what I have been shown. They all seem to have both indoor sites for gauges N to O, and large outdoor sites with 5inch to 10.25 inch gauges. One having around 3km of outdoor track ! There are also around half a dozen model railway shops in the central area of Barcelona, and one or two more on the periphery. Again if I know when you want to visit the museum, I can pick the bosses brains and get the addresses for you. I think we may even have some colour brochures for at least one of the clubs in the reception area.


Edited by 71000, 28 November 2017 - 05:02 .


#15 71000

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 09:52

Hello, 71000,

I'm afraid I am somewhat in disbelief at your initial statement!

Although my own personal experience of Spain is limited to the years 1970-1983 or so, I do recall seeing model shops, selling model railways. This is not to say of course that they have not all disappeared in the intervening years.

However, there are still some domestic Spanish model railway manufacturers;

http://www.mabar.es/en/ - Fine quality models of 'brass' standard.

http://www.atfmodels.com/ - beautiful kits. I have an unbuilt kit of a lovely little 0-6-0T, now long out of production but beautifully prepared. Presumably deleted from the current range due to the RTR Electrotren model.

http://www.ibertren.es/en/ - decent quality RTR (not Hornby!).

 

Information websites;

http://ferropedia.es...otoras_de_vapor

http://historiastren.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Also;

http://www.pilentum....th-cab-ride.htm - a nice Spanish layout.

 

I hope the above information is sufficient to convince you that railway interest in Spain, while not as high as in Britain, Holland or Germany, it does still exist.

Cheers,

John.

John, 

There are currently around half a dozen model railway shops in and around Barcelona, including "Palau" with two branches. Their third just closed. These I have visited thanks to the boss taking me on a guided tour on a couple of occasions. There are also four clubs with both central Barcelona club rooms (for indoor scales) and I understand large outdoor sites with 5 inch to 10.25inch gauge lines. Their clubrooms I have also been shown. These clubs seem to include a number of wealthy Millionaires who splash out on some amazing models, particularly in larger scales. All built I might add by German model engineering companies it seems.  

 

Mabar a small manufacturer whom I have known for many years, are now leaning towards quality plastic products made in one of the regualr plants in Hong Kong and produced in small quantities in much the same way as DJ models in Britain. I met them most recently at this years Lleida Model Railway show. Ibertren have also recently gone more upmarket with small quantity production based again in Hong Kong. Hornby of course bought Electrotren, and this is produced in the Piko plant near Canton in China proper. Quantities are again however very small. Hornby's website incidentally showed a number of addresses for retail outlets in the region between Tarragona and Barcelona. All except one that I checked out turned out to be either fake, closed down, or to have never existed. It would appear that these addresses were more than likely made up by Hornby's wholesaler here in Spain. The one shop in Reus that does exist had just 5 Hornby Electrotren items in stock.      

 

ATF models in Madrid I only know of their existence and little more. But there are a couple more retailers in Madrid. There is also one in Alicante, and another in Valencia. The one in Valencia I am told is a general hobby shop not exclusively model railways.

 

The last item you give a internet link for: A model layout, is not built in Spain, but yet another of the layouts built to order by a German commercial layout construction company. In this case I think the one in Nordhausen. The layout seen on this link is far to good to have been built in Spain, and clearly demonstrates a commercial business approach.

 

I have a growing list of layouts built to order by various private persons, vineyards, Model shops (now closed) and even Museums. All of which have been built by one or more German model railway construction companies. In much the same way Betram Otto (based in Beaulieu Motor Museum in the New Forest) used to produce for Beatties shop windows, famous TV personalities and the such like.    

 

From the visits to the Lleida show, which claims to be the Spanish Model Railway show. Possibly because there are no other shows in Spain. At least none that I have yet been able to trace. I have therefore most likely seen the best layouts Spansih clubs and individuals can build. I would say therefore that the best layouts in Spain are my own Basingstoke. Ron Heggs' Manchester layout (also shown here on RMweb) and a layout built by the father of a good friend of mine who was a qualified Master Model Maker from Britain now also living here in Spain.

 

The lack of layouts and railway modellers in Spain I initially assumed was a result of the rather hotter climate. "Who wants to be indoors when you can frollock on the glorious beaches".  This proved incorrect as I was taken to the Lleida model show both last year and this. On both ocassions the best layouts were: In March 2016 a German layout built by Germans living in Barcelona, and running their own little club. And a large French HO steam era layout from a French club somewhere near Tolouse. In March 2017, two nice French layouts from Perpignan, one based on the narrow gauge third rail line in the Pyrennnes. Also a Spanish N gauge layout that seemed to belong to a small private group. This it turned out had been built by one of the German layout construction companies to order. And rumoured to have cost in excess of €100,000 ! The other 30 odd layouts at each show from Spanish cliubs and individuals, a few of which have appeared at both shows, were to put it bluntly so badly built they wouldn't have got into a British scout hut Jamboree. Even though at least some had reputedly had their baseboards built by local carpenters (for a price).

 

This was all perplexing as it is obvious there are modellers about, although in smallish numbers. However as I was asked to teach a number of model railway enthusiasts within our own Museum Association I have stumbled on the real problems it appears. This is, that not a single member I have so far met even knows how to hold a saw, let alone how to cut a piece of wood with it. The boss bought ten members to see progress on the layout, and they all told me the same thing. "You can't use that, its got a wobbly blade and everyone knows they dont work, use that thing" (a power jigsaw). I had to show them a power jigsaw will never cut a straight line, like a proper saw, by demonstrating the fact. The problem gets worse. The boss then turned up a few weeks later with the President of a Barcelona Model Railway Club, and the Editor of a Model railway magazine. Neither had ever seen such advanced methods of woodwork, and I was asked if I was a professional English Carpenter. They had never even heard of the possibility of handbuilding your own track. And even worse many of the modelling and carpentry tools I had lying around they had never ever seen, and were constantly asking what this or that was for !  Schooling I have since discovered is limited as school kids go to school from 9.00am till 12,00 then its siesta. Then they return from 3.00pm until 4.00pm. You haven't got time to teach kids many subjects at four hours a day. So subjects such as woodwork, metalwork, and Technical drawing are all taught only in "Universities" I am told !          

 

If that is not bad enough I stumbled on something that beggars belief. An acquaintance of the Museum owner, was in the restaurant we often use. He had been told I build layouts, although he hasn't seen what I am building yet. He invited me across the road into the little exhibition hall here in Mora. What I discovered was an exhibition of "Playmobil" the childrens toy. The man who spoke fair English and his twenty year old son who was virtually fluent in Enghlish then explained that the displays were all provided by "Playmobil enthusiasts" Not children but grown men ! More terrifying was that they expected 3000 visitors to this local weekend show, again adults not children. More than we could hope to get for our museum open weekend here in Mora. They then proudly went on to tell me that "Playmobil" is a big hobby in Spain with shows every weekend. The previous weekend down on the coast in Ampolia (a small coastal town) nearly 13,000 people attended a show they said. Again primarily male adults. 13,000 means that Playmobil show attracted more visitors than the National Model Railway show in Lleida. The answer to this riddle is now fairly plain to see. The Spanish are effectively totally unable to deal with anything even the slightlest bit technical, simply because they have no familiarisation in school. Only advanced "University" level training is available. So the majority who obviously never reach University, stick to simple and more artistic type hobbies, which has to include "Playmobil" it seems.

This also explains the total inability of the few clubs around to even build their own baseboards. And the ones I was told were built by carpenters were not much better. Shuttering ply nailed to 2 x 1 from what I could see, and no hint of any PVA. 


Edited by 71000, 28 November 2017 - 05:03 .

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#16 Allegheny1600

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 11:41

Dear Duke,

You certainly have my sympathies!

I must admit, I only really knew Spain prior to it's joining the "Common Market", I well remember people driving around on/in donkey carts and the like. Then, the Japanese(?) opened a steelworks factory somewhere down south, nearish to Algeciras (could be wrong about this location), Spain joined the CM/Eurozone and almost overnight everyone seemed to be driving around in nice new cars! Okay, it probably took a couple of years but it was a quick transformation.

Spain certainly has a fascinating and long history and railways certainly played their role in helping to build the country, I'm glad there are museums and I wish you well with your work there.

I'm bemused at your description of how Spanish schools operate, how do children prepare for university? Do they have to go to school for more years than other countries kids do? I know they must have plenty of graduates as the city of London would struggle without them!*

Best regards,

John.

 

*A potential can of worms that I'm making no further comment upon!



#17 Enterprisingwestern

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 11:54

I'm impressed that Spanish carpenters can make any sort of rudimentary baseboard give the quality of wood that we have over here.

I bought the best quality ply and strip wood that the newly opened Leroy Merlin had to offer to build a lightweight small shunting plank, no more than 4' x1', as a diversion to Wibdenshaws reconstruction.

Using the standard "British" methods of construction, PVA and screws, clamped until dry etc, I might have well have been making bows for Robin Hood, as it all warped in x, y and z planes within a week of completion. It is currently being used as a shelf system whilst an order to Tim Horn is submitted.

 

Mike.



#18 Ron Heggs

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 13:18

I'm impressed that Spanish carpenters can make any sort of rudimentary baseboard give the quality of wood that we have over here.

I bought the best quality ply and strip wood that the newly opened Leroy Merlin had to offer to build a lightweight small shunting plank, no more than 4' x1', as a diversion to Wibdenshaws reconstruction.

Using the standard "British" methods of construction, PVA and screws, clamped until dry etc, I might have well have been making bows for Robin Hood, as it all warped in x, y and z planes within a week of completion. It is currently being used as a shelf system whilst an order to Tim Horn is submitted.

 

Mike.

 

Hope you have better luck with your new assembly

 

Must admit I had similar problems when constructing my first attempt at the baseboard for Manchester Central. I almost decided to strap it all to Rolled Steel Angle underframing. But finally decided on 30mm thick Insulating Foamboard on 150mm deep x 7mm thick egg crate construction, and it has worked out OK. Just have to make sure I don't get any sort of solvent, solvent based adhesive or paint on the foamboard

 

Ron


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#19 71000

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 21:04

I'm impressed that Spanish carpenters can make any sort of rudimentary baseboard give the quality of wood that we have over here.

I bought the best quality ply and strip wood that the newly opened Leroy Merlin had to offer to build a lightweight small shunting plank, no more than 4' x1', as a diversion to Wibdenshaws reconstruction.

Using the standard "British" methods of construction, PVA and screws, clamped until dry etc, I might have well have been making bows for Robin Hood, as it all warped in x, y and z planes within a week of completion. It is currently being used as a shelf system whilst an order to Tim Horn is submitted.

 

Mike.

Mike,

Having built numerous exhibition layouts down the years. I learnt years ago. First never buy timber from DIY stores, the quality and storage systems used by them are always suspect. Only buy from Timber specialists who lay all timber "FLAT" so it does NOT encourage warpage.

 

Second as the scenery stage of model railways, invaribly includes water, there is ONLY one form of timber I will consider: Because it is light, strong, will accept tiny screws to hold accessories, does not crack or splinter, cuts easily and cleanly, and has NO problem having water poured on it (for ballasting and hillside creation), and that is MARINE PLYWOOD. I use 15mm thick for frames, and 12mm thick for baseboard tops.

 

I have since last January completed almost 20 baseboards, all of them 2 metres (6ft 6in) Long, and up to 1.5metres (4ft 10in) wide. None have yet shown any sign of warpage, although the nasty Spanish PVA has tried its best to upset things, but I solved that problem.

 

As the plywood is also pretty light, I can move all these large baseboards alone, although the size not the weight makes it a bit awkward. 

 

Part of the problem of warpage is also how you build your baseboards. Have a look at my "Basingstoke in "OO" 1958-67" pages under "Modelling real Locations". There are lots of photos revealing how my baseboards are built. The sandwich frame sides are part of the engineering solution to combat warpage !!!


Edited by 71000, 28 November 2017 - 05:03 .

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#20 Allegheny1600

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 13:07

I recently came across a spot of modelling by a Spanish gentleman called Jose Manuel, his diorama is called "Despeñaperros" - I spotted this on a German forum, mainly because I remember this place as a child and miscalling it "Desperate Perros" (Desperate dogs!)

He kindly provided me with the following links;

Building the diorama step by step

https://photos.googl...mptWWhEd3F2d3hR

 

Level crossing step by step

https://photos.googl...HgtUG45b0dXVVZ3

 

Railway yard (another diorama)

https://photos.googl...XRQVzgyWTB6b3Zn

 

Personally, I think Jose's work elevates him to the standard of Josef Brandl, Patrice Hamm or our own Gordon Gravett. I only wish that I could work to these standards.

Cheers,

John.


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#21 McGomez

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Posted 04 December 2017 - 13:50

I recently came across a spot of modelling by a Spanish gentleman called Jose Manuel, his diorama is called "Despeñaperros" - I spotted this on a German forum, mainly because I remember this place as a child and miscalling it "Desperate Perros" (Desperate dogs!)

He kindly provided me with the following links;

Building the diorama step by step

https://photos.googl...mptWWhEd3F2d3hR

 

Level crossing step by step

https://photos.googl...HgtUG45b0dXVVZ3

 

Railway yard (another diorama)

https://photos.googl...XRQVzgyWTB6b3Zn

 

Personally, I think Jose's work elevates him to the standard of Josef Brandl, Patrice Hamm or our own Gordon Gravett. I only wish that I could work to these standards.

Cheers,

John.

Hi John.

 

He has a blog which can be seen here.

http://trainscape.blogspot.com.es/

 

I believe he was part of the team that was involved with Scopic, a Spanish version of Miniature Wonderland that closed its doors a couple of years ago.


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#22 71000

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 23:19

Hi John.

 

He has a blog which can be seen here.

http://trainscape.blogspot.com.es/

 

I believe he was part of the team that was involved with Scopic, a Spanish version of Miniature Wonderland that closed its doors a couple of years ago.

"McGomez"

 

I think you have touched on another issue in Spain. "Scopic a Spanish version of Miniature Wonderland", was actually built by a German company in Germany. Shipped out here and set up, the doors opened and virtually no one came. No one came because the Spanish do not understand Marketing or Market Research, and are highly reluctant to use Advertising because you have to pay for it.

 

The situation then becomes rather amusing. It seems this set up was owned by two guys (a partnership). They therefore sold the layout to TWO new owners. One of which was the Spanish National Railway Museum (Barcelona site). The Lady in charge down at Barcelona it seems, paid out a very large sum of money. But when the layout arrived in an articulated lorry, once unloaded, it soon became apparant that only half the layout was there. The other half it seems was sold to someone else who was also suckered. And the original owners? Well of course they had long since vanished............

 

What amuses me, is that this story is just one of many similar incidents involving railway preservation and now modelling. As so many Spaniards indulge in this sort of activity, you would think by now that they would learn to be a bit more careful. Or introduce some modern legislation to actually outlaw many of the practices which would land them in jail anywhere else in Europe, but are NOT actually illegal in Spain. Such as the Medieval practice of "Gifting" which anywhere else in Europe is known as a "Bung"

 

71000








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