I am very grateful for the appreciative comments on my recent posts and very pleased to know that some of my earlier posts are still considered to be a useful resource. I confess that I am still finding it hard to adapt to the ‘new’ (well, fairly new) RMWeb format and don’t seem to dip into here as much as I used to do – it’s an age thing I suppose.
Progress with the 3D printer continues to be slow – two small grand-children do take up a fair bit of my energy resources and I have many other hobbies that I am trying to fit in as well!
I recently introduced the nearly-three year old grand-son to ‘North Leigh’ and realised just how fragile most of my models are. Fortunately, my model is completely enclosed with a transparent front screen but that does limit operations, which still depend quite a lot on the ‘big hand from the sky’. A lot of my scratch built items were made more for the sake of appearance rather than robustness, so I find the ready-to-run (RTR) stock is by far the most reliable when exposed to the somewhat random movements applied to the controller by the grand-child. Having said that, he really enjoys reversing a train into the tunnel and bringing it out again to the station, with a rush!
The Tri-ang clerestories in the charge of my Wills 1854 pannier, built on a Hornby chassis, proved by far the most reliable stock, for exposure to such treatment, and reminded me how those older models were designed with ‘kiddie interest’ in mind, far more than is the case for most modern RTR models.
By chance, my older brother was clearing out his loft recently and came across the model railway, which he had as a child and which passed on to me, when I was around 8 years old. I added a few extra items to the original ‘Princess Elizabeth’ train-set and enjoyed the ‘play value’ that these items added. My favourite item was the R227 utility van, which featured opening doors, through which I could load and unload various stores. I also liked the barred windows, which made the vehicle look rather ‘important’.
It is a testament to the original design that these models provided ‘play value’ for many years and survived intact. It gave me great pleasure to set up the whole railway, a few days ago, in the well-remembered format, on the carpet as of old.
The coal wagon, like the utility van, had opening side doors, which allowed ‘coal’ to be loaded and unloaded, while the level crossing provided the interface between the railway and my much-loved collection of Dinky Toys.
The coaches, from the original ‘Princess Elizabeth’ set, vividly show the problem of warped roofs, endemic in these early Triang models. I intend to see whether hot water treatment on a suitable former is able to correct the distortion.
Of course, the model ‘Princess’ bears very little resemblance to the prototype locomotive but that never seemed to matter much to an 8-year old – the important thing was that it represented a main-line express locomotive, like the ones I could see at the head of the ‘Royal Scot’, rushing through Preston Station. What’s more, it could hurtle round those 15” radius curves with no tendency to leave the track.
I know that these thoughts are extremely heretical to all those P4 modellers but the fact remains that my interest in model railways was kindled by playing with these models, which fulfilled the ‘play’ needs of a young child.
Nowadays, what will be available for my grand-children when they reach the appropriate age?