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Ian Kirk

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    Wide ranging interests in N through to O

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  1. Ian Kirk


    Don't know about the venerable, certainly feels vintage or veteran any time I try to climb hills or run up stairs. It's funny these things used to be so easy! Still modelling though . Better qualify that, not for paintings or photographs. In the 80s when I moved into the new Factory I got a new phoneline. The business name was Ian Kirk Models. Yellow pages asked if I wanted an entry and I agreed. Shortly after I started getting messages from young Ladies offering to take their vests off , some sent photographs. I changed the name to Ian Kirk Model Engineering. The letters stopped. Probably just as well. they will all be Grandmothers by now.... best wishes, Ian
  2. Ian Kirk


    I have dealt with Slaters for something like 50 years (right back to when it was George Slater) and have never had cause to complain. My last order took a bit longer than usual but I am of a generation that did not expect instant gratification. These are not normal times. In a small business with a handful of employees there are no margins to cover if someone goes off sick. Similarly there may not be a spare pair of hands to contact customers who are waiting. The Post is a lot slower than usual. Lots of things could be wrong. We are accustomed in this computer age to get instant return of our orders. Expecting this at the moment is perhaps a bit unrealistic. When I sold the Factory and retired I kept a little bit of my business, the O gauge Coach range, to keep me from getting bored. I am still running this, working from home in the lockdown. I like to turn Mail Orders around quickly but at the moment I sometimes do and I sometimes don't. The small town I live in has lost it's sub Post Office so we get a Travelling Post Office Van once a week. I could drive into the Post Town and queue up in the Post Office but at my age I am vulnerable. So depending on when orders come in I can turn orders round in 24 hours or up to a week. best wishes, Ian
  3. Still doing this in O gauge where my "modular" system allows different types to be built from standard parts. The First/third twin should be possible in 4mm with the standard coach bodies. I wish these were still available. Third/third would also. Just to tease you I can confirm that a Brake third/third is in the O gauge range as I made a couple of extra modules for the different brake. Don't knock Gresley's coach designs. The variety of types has given me a living for the best part of 50 years. best wishes, Ian
  4. Guilty as charged. It is half of one of my very early brake thirds. Perhaps someone else somewhere has a four wheel four compartment coach from the other half. I know some people did. The simplest way to stop something like this bowing inwards is to put a couple of partitions in but shortened so that they don't show through the toplights. Interesting to see how it turns out. The mouldings must be over 45 years old by now. best wishes, Ian
  5. Everything is "of it's time" . WE should also remember that initially some of these were aimed at the "train set" market and when many of these things were introduced the "real grown up railway modellers" were scratch or kit building . The degree of accuracy and detail achieved in RTR today could only be dreamed about at one time. The whole market has changed and is now aimed at the serious adult. Fewer and fewer kids want train sets these days so robust cheap "toys" are not needed so much. Over the years the lower quality and limited variety of the RTR available at the time gave me and others the chance to make a living producing kits. In 1970 there were no British outline wagons in N gauge so I started to make plastic kits. In the mid 70sthere were only a handful of RTR wagon types so I started a range of 00 wagon kits (which eventually became Parkside) In the 80s the only RTR LNER coaches from Hornby were too short which gave me the chance to produce a range of coach kits. I produced brass patterns for several manufacturers of white metal loco kits at a time when there was little variety in RTR loco types. So I can't complain the shortfalls in RTR ranges gave me a lifetimes work. In fact some of my favourite locos are old Triang or Hornby that I scale wheeled and detailed in my youth. Not very good in comparison with todays super models but I would not change them for the world. best wishes, Ian
  6. The Thornton to Methil Docks part was never lifted so re building this bit of the line looks fairly easy. The Leuchars to St Andrews end was and although several proposals have been made for reopening the local authority must have given permission for housing development on the site of the old Guardbridge station about ten years ago effectively blocking the route. The long scenic bit round the coast will never re open. Too much cleared and built over. Mea Culpa when I had my factory in ST. Monans it was built on the station site and my office window gave the same view of the Stationmasters house as my photograph of a train entering the station. When the DMUs were introduced there was still a bit of fish traffic which had been tail traffic on the steam trains. The DMUs could not cope with this so there was one steam working per day for a time. When this was discontinued some friends and I travelled on the last steam service. The proposed line will pass the Fife Heritage Railway site whose running line parallels it for a bit. I presume the station will be around where it passes under the road at the Bawbee Brig there was coalyard there at one time now I think under the bus station. Linking with the buses would seem logical. best wishes, Ian
  7. These are from a very long time ago so I doubt if many will come up for sale. Even on eBay. IIRC They were sold as "GWR vintage van" but also packaged up body only as "grounded van body" best wishes, Ian
  8. Hi, not meant as criticism just a thought you might find easier before getting further with the painting. If you look at your photo of the tender rear you will see that the flute on the top of the tender is rounded at the corners. (as are the coal rails above. ) When I first scratch built one of these in brass (nearly 60 years ago now) I made the corners square as you have, added the top beading to the curve and filled in the back with solder. I then filed the curve on the brass/solder" points " . If you build up the back with bits of styrene (where I put solder) until solid you could file curved corners . best wishes, Ian
  9. Don't know about the Caley Jumbos but the NBR equivalent 0-6-0s (later LNER J36) certainly did. The returned locos were honoured by being named - not common for freight locos - after WW1 "celebrities" Hence the preserved example Maude named for a General of the same name. best wishes, Ian
  10. Hi, The original GEM white metal kit for the Glen used the Triang L1 chassis and was stretched slightly to allow the L1 10ft wheelbase. Mostly no one noticed. Although my friend Pete Westwater who produced the drawing you are using said that for a Scott you really needed 9ft 6 chassis as the larger wheels needed the draw plate to be that much further back and by that point the extra 2mm was starting to show. The little GNofS locos will need a shorter wheelbase though but the Caley 4-4-0s might go on the 10ft wheelbase. The last of the series, the Pickersgill design certainly does. Back in the mists of time I produced brass patterns for Nu Cast white metal kits and we did two classes of GNofS (including Gordon Highlander) and the Caley Pickersgill so I will watch your scratch building of these types with interest. best wishes, Ian
  11. Quite possibly. By the time of my trips to see Sutherland we must have been in blue but, possibly because I associate the area with the "most miles on a runabout ticket" trips of my mis spent youth my memories see things in red/green. Besides, old age doesn't come itself you know...... best wishes, Ian
  12. The station looks the same. I have not been there since the mid/late 70s. Maroon coaches and green diesels then of course. Probably OT but there was a Model Railway manufacturer in the area at the time. I did some pattern making work for them and they did some castings for me. The former Cotswold Models white metal casters were worked on by some Highlands development agency and persuaded to re locate becoming Sutherland Casters. They had some Highland Locos in their 4mm kit range and between us we did some highland wagons. The workshops the development agency got them were temporary buildings (the same sort of things they used as school classrooms) in I think Bonar Bridge. The owners got a former Hydro Board house out beside a dam somewhere and I stayed with them when visiting. The owner was Ron Charlton but as he had been a tail gunner in a Lancaster I doubt if he is still with us. The kits went to Nu Cast and are now I believe with SE Finecast. best wishes, Ian
  13. When I was a teenage modeller, taking my first step from "train set" to scale this was the type of Romford available. I "scale wheeled" several Triang chassis without any of the proper tools. Things were harder to find back then and some things would have required too much pocket money. I drilled the crank pin holes from the Romford cast centre marks using a small drill held in a pin vice and twirled between thumb and fingers. For a six coupled chassis I used the Triang fixed pins in plain holes on the outer wheels (as Triang did) and not having a 10BA tap until later force fitted a bit of brass rod (probably brazing rod) into the hole on the centre driver and using bits of paper to separate everything soldered a (home made) washer to the pin to keep the coupling rod on. With the soldered joint filed down it looked no worse than the Triang original. On a serious note I second what has been said about not trying to hold the wheels by hand while using a power drill. Far too likely to win free and damage fingers. A machine vice on it's own is not much help either as you really need something which grips a circular object. The home made jig using an axle is probably the best without too much investment. I have a small 3 jaw lathe chuck (Unimat) fixed to a steel plate, facing upwards, for these kind of jobs now but I have been slowly building up my tool collection for 60+ years. best wishes, Ian
  14. I wonder if I will ever be "collectable" ? My first involvement in model Railway manufacturing was around this time. My friend Pete Westwater had started to build a scenic exhibition layout in N. The advent of the Peco Jubilee, a reasonably good RTR loco, made this possible. It represented a local station and he had converted the Jubilees into B1s. He was prepared to scratch build a few coaches but goods wagons were a problem. At that time the only British goods stock was repaints of European wagons. Scratch building a decent length coal train would be soul destroying. I suggested trying to produce our own plastic kits. I found a moulder and Pete made some moulds. The plastic wagons and the layout went onto the local Exhibition circuit and later we thought that we could recoup our costs by selling some. The rest as they say is history. Westwater and Kirk N gauge built up in the early 70s I have a price list somewhere (produced on a duplicator, remember them?) To the original wagon kits were added scenic items (fencing, telegraph poles and buildings) all moulded in HIPS. I eventually produced a plastic body kit for the Bi to fit the Jubilee chassis. I tried to buy one back off eBay and failed but a customer swopped one for coach kits. Eventually Farish got going with cheap RTR British outline wagons and Peco introduced their kits and sales dropped off but by then I had 009 TT and had started on the 4mm wagon kits that led eventually to Parkside. Along the way I was prepared to risk borrowing money, Pete was not. So W&K expanded to become Ian Kirk Models. Must stop blethering about me. I started this because I remember buying stuff from Micro Traction, 70, possibly 71 (can't remember the Jamie though) IIRC they were selling driving wheels and gears - I built a few N gauge loco chassis at this time using my own modification of the Triang X500 motor. When Minic Motorways were being discontinued I bought the last of the last production batch (about 500) red e type Jaguars. If I had them now they would probably be worth a fortune but I broke them up and sold the bits. best wishes, Ian
  15. Needless to say there are times I regret parting with this range especially now that it looks as if it is gone for good and wonder what mods I might have made by now if they were still mine. They would be needing another home by now anyway - I can't go on for ever and am enjoying the extra time off that I now have. Just as well so many were produced at the peak of production so there are still SH to be found. Paying over the odds on e Bay for something that I sold for £4.60 (including the 15%VAT) in the 1980s is hard for a Scotsman but I have given up waiting for Coopercraft. Tongue in cheek: when stock exhausted you could always go O gauge as I am still producing the O gauge range! I kept the O gauge ones to give me something to do in semi-retirement and having seen the fate of the 4mm have not tried to sell this on. I intend just to keep producing for as long as I am able and/ or customers still want them. Always glad to hear that people have enjoyed my kits makes it all worthwhile. best wishes, Ian
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