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More 19th Century Thoughts




Most of my entries in this blog, so far, have related to locomotives and rolling stock. For most of us , these are the key elements of a model railway and involve a lot of scratch or kit building, since very few pre-grouping (and especially pre-WW1) models are available as RTR.


Now, I am starting to think about scenery aspects and have realised that there is something of a paradox when 'turning back the clock'. We tend to think of 'older' as meaning 'quainter' and more 'weathered' whereas, in fact, the opposite is true!


A new railway line in the mid 19th century had more in common with a newly-laid stretch of motorway than our current mental image of an overgrown and characterful branch line. Embankments, cuttings, and the track itself would all have a 'new' look, with none of the tangled vegetation and overgrown fencing that we see today.


I think that, in a model, some compromises have to be made if we are trying to create an appealing layout but I will take account of these thoughts as I turn back the clock.


After this bit of philosophising, a few pictures. I recently visited the Oxford Bus Museum at Long Hanborough (recommended if your interests extend to other modes of transport) One of the exhibits was a Governess Cart and I knew immediately that I wanted one for my layout.




Dart Castings do a simple white metal kit (complete with pony), The few parts are nicely cast, with only a little flash that is easily removed (I use a finger-nail).




Assembly looked simple enough but, although the instructions look good, they fail to describe exactly how the parts fit together and the illustration of the finished vehicle is not very clear. As a result, I assembled the upper sides the wrong way up, which was easy. I then realised that the upper rails were supposed to be raised above the side panels but fitting them this way up was by no means easy! There is very little contact area and no alignment tabs, to assist in holding the parts together! The final result, however, is an attractive little vehicle, perhaps for taking the children to the station for the train to school.




Bear in mind that it is very small - the 'Mini' of the day - and needs a fair bit of dexterity to assemble. No problem for the 2mmFS people, of course, but quite fiddly in 4mm terms :)



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I have seen very few models of newly constructed railways - where you have new looking buildings, clean permanent way and a distinct lack of lineside vegatation. The juxtaposition of the newly constructed railway buildings against any existing (and more scruffy/run-down) structures, I guess would be tricky to convincingly portray in model form.


Interesting project...

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Thank you for commenting, Claude.  I was musing on how things actually get newer as we go back in time. 


Progress on my layout is slow because I keep getting distracted by building small models that catch my interest. :)

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Hi Mike, an interesting and valid point you make regarding how structures etc would have been newer - in some places at least.


On the other hand, the many new structures built under for example Churchward replaced old ones (eg Brunelian engines sheds), so I suppose it all depends on the exact period chosen.


I know what you mean about small projects being so tempting to do when you ought to get on with the bigger things :-)

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"I suppose it all depends on the exact period chosen."

Indeed, plus ça change ...

Edited by MikeOxon
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