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All change please...


Modelling Mike

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No matter what I seem to do, or what my best intentions are, life just seems to constantly get in the way of modelling.

 

For each minute of actual modelling I manage to get done, I must spend 100 minutes thinking about it. As I'm sure many of you will testify, this is a dangerous trait for us modellers. Thinking about modelling should probably be banned, or at least limited, because it always seems to lead you away on tangents.

 

These excesses in brain function coupled with the inevitable prerequisites that our modelling ventures must somehow fit within (or around) what is commonly known as "the rest of our lives" seem to mean that I spend much more time dreaming about future possibilities than actually getting any modelling done. And just when I think that I'm finally getting somewhere, that I've hit the perfect equilibrium, something comes along to completely knock that for six.

 

My main layout, Rempton Southgate, is a case in point. Over the years it has gone from a trainset-like roundy-roundy to a larger, slightly more grown up version of the roundy-roundy, to a much smaller (but even more grown up) terminus to fiddle yard arrangement. Having gone through the period of dissatisfaction at having to dismantle two thirds of the layout I'd lovingly been nurturing since childhood, I actually came round to the idea of developing a much smaller layout - one that I might actually one day get close to finishing. Besides, the old layout had resided in the loft - a particularly inaccessible one at that. Now, Rempton Southgate has pride of place in a bedroom in my flat - very accessible, very manageable, but still very big! I've managed to make some sort of progress with it over the last 6 months or so, but still it has been painfully slow.

 

And now things have ground almost to a standstill. Work has been pretty crazy of late, but that particular project now being over, I'll find myself with a lot more time available for modelling, but followers of Rempton's thread will not be seeing much in the way of progress, at least not on the layout itself. For times are a-changin' and Rempton's future is once again unclear.

 

Rempton was downsized last year thanks to a house move. Having moved from a house with a loft to a flat with none, I was left with no choice but to consider a smaller layout. And now, I'm facing another move - a positive one, but still one that involves significant challenges. Having lived with friends in a house-share for the last 10 years, I'm now about to embark on my greatest adventure yet - I'm moving in with my partner.

 

Although our love of the railways is mutual, our love of the model kind isn't. Despite my best efforts and much pleading, it looks like I'll no longer be able to keep Rempton on display semi-permanently as it is now. More compromises are needed. Where we'll end up still isn't certain either. And so, with the future so up in the air, is it any wonder that I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on any modelling at all at the moment?

 

But that's where the wonders of daydream-modelling come in. For now, after much head scratching and mulling over, I have managed to concoct some sort of a plan. Whether those plans will work or not remains to be seen, but what is becoming clear is that Rempton will almost certainly have to be rebuilt. Despite its downsizing last year, it is still far too bulky - built as it was originally for permanent loft habitation.

 

There is a pang of sadness when I think that after all these years, I'll finally be saying goodbye to the layout that I've so desperately been trying to keep going since my teenage years. There is a lot of history in those boards, and for someone as sentimental as me, it will be difficult to let them go. But then, Rempton is not just about the wood it's built on - it's a vision I've had and developed for a long time. And after the initial shock of realisation that things can't continue as they were much longer, I've come to realise that this is a positive move.

 

Rempton has always been about compromises. It's always been slightly too small / too heavy / too crowded / too toy-like.Starting again from scratch will allow me to learn from the mistakes I've made and build on my skills.

 

Of course, it does mean that once again, I'll be back to the baseboard-building stage - the aspect of modelling I like the least! But it will be a chance for me to iron out all those things about the layout I've come to dislike. The heavy boards, the terrible electrics (although it will remain to be seen if I can improve on that!), the straight track and lack of space. If I'm clever, I'll be able to incorporate some pretty nifty ideas - some that I'm quite excited about. And, if I'm really clever, and if circumstances permit, Rempton may well end up growing again. But there I go again...dreams, dreams, dreams.

 

All that will have to wait, of course. I can't make major plans without even knowing where I'm going to end up. In the mean time, I'll keep myself busy with other aspects of the hobby. I'm still trying to build the new station buildings, which will feature on the new layout. I'm keen to experiment more with weathering and detailing my rolling stock, which is a major project in itself. And of course, there's the planning and day dreaming to be done - and there will be a lot of that to do.

 

So, once again, life dictates the direction my modelling takes. One large life decision has impacted, again, on the life of the layout.

 

It's going to be an interesting year, and I'll be keeping Rempton's thread up to date with progress as it happens. Just don't expect any wood to be cut just yet. After all these years, I'm only now starting to realise that in this hobby, you can't expect things to happen too quickly.

 

(edited on 11th Oct 2013 to fix formatting errors)

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:) I understand completely about that thought process vs actual modelling, Mike...<div><br></div><div>Good luck with getting things rolling, and try not to get distracted by too many ideas!</div>
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