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  1. I keep the boxes for locomotives, if only because they have so many fine details these days that it's the easiest way to ensure nothing gets knocked off.
  2. Yeah, according to 'Sodor: Reading Between the Lines,' it's operated by Class 86s and unspecified EMUs.
  3. I understand that sometimes there are issues with signal, and I do work on the basis that smaller shows probably require cash, but I think we're increasingly reaching the point where the ability to pay cashless is becoming an essential. A lot of charity collectors take contactless - I even encountered a homeless man who took Paypal (I don't know how legit he was, but I gave him £3 for enterprise). I recently had a rather frustrating time at a swapmeet at a heritage railway because there was no cashless facility - I'd spent the not inconsiderable amount of cash I had and neither the refreshment room nor the buffet car took cash, so wound up going without lunch.
  4. According to 'The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways' (a work of imaginary history that makes Tolkien look like a slouch), it was British Railways but retained a lot of its old identity. For instance, it's specified that while the standard gauge railway is officially the North Western Region, everyone knows it as the North Western Railway. The other lines are effectively heritage railways, although there is a certain amount of goods carried. I don't think it's ever been specified what happened after privatisation, although I do quite like the idea of it being taken over by the Sudrian government. My headcanon is that to keep things economically viable, there are a lot more diesels than we see, but they never do anything interesting. I can't believe I'm a grown adult trying to come up with economic justifications for Thomas the Tank Engine. I could have been doing something more grown-up. Like working out the mechanics of Star Trek spaceships.
  5. The books seemed to go with the idea that it was just a railway where steam had been retained. There is acknowledgement that steam has been abolished everywhere else and in the supplemental materials, it's suggested that the Fat Controller supplements the railway's income by manufacturing parts for heritage railways. The TV series seems to be set in this kind of netherworld where it's permanently somewhere around the 1940s-1960s with occasional hints of earlier/later periods.
  6. I gave it a look and... yeah. I'm honestly not surprised they've gone in this direction, even if (as someone who grew up with the books and the TV series) I am a little disappointed. Mattel is a toy company, toy sales have been down, so go with a cheaper-to-produce series I guess my big problem is that I just don't get the impression that the people making it care about the property. It feels lazy. There are quite a few animation and continuity errors. Some of them actually appear deliberate. This is a bit hard to explain, but there are certain shots that are angled in such a way that you can't see how many tracks there are or how close together they are, which appears to have been done purely in order to conceal the fact that what you're seeing doesn't make physical sense. For instance, there are a few bits where an engine nearly runs into another on the same track, only for disaster to be avoided by one of the engines stretching upwards to allow the other to pass beneath, with both characters staying on the rails. There are other errors which seem to have been caused by reusing assets and animation, like points that change direction between shots. There are aspects of the world-building I find confusing. Like, the coaches and trucks can now move on their own - so why do engines exist? Why are there turntables and points if engines can just jump around? Why, for that matter, is there track? I don't know if I'm overthinking this children's TV series, I probably am, but when I was a kid I would definitely have asked questions like that. And that's before we've got on to the railway realism issues, which are so far removed from the creators' priorities that it's hardly worth dissecting them. There was a blog entry a while back that filled me with foreboding. In the press conference, one of the directors seemed to actively dislike the fact that the characters were engines. I got the overall impression that they hadn't actually watched any of the old episodes or read any of the original stories, or even skimmed the wiki. Okay, fine, they're trying to do things differently, but I feel like you can't recapture the appeal of a classic property if you don't know what that appeal was to begin with. Overall, it doesn't feel like a grand reimagining of a beloved classic property, but Mattel trying to justify their investment with a short lead time, low budget series to make a little bit of cash back before they drop the whole thing.
  7. There's a Sentinel steam railmotor from Egypt preserved at Quainton Road. That model looks to me like Clayton trying to crack the same market.
  8. A friend of mine went to China some years back to photograph the dying embers of industrial steam there. Which isn't strange for us, but the locals thought this Westerner photographing what they considered obsolete industrial plant machinery was very suspicious. And since neither party spoke the other's language, it was very difficult to convey the nature of the situation.
  9. Love it, very atmospheric. (as in, it feels like the NSE era, not that it smells of diesel fumes)
  10. I'd love to visit Pyongyang out of morbid curiosity. Trouble is, I think I'd have trouble resisting the urge to stir things up. "Hey, there's that guy again, do you think he's following us?" "How come there are no photos of Kim Il-Sung's other side?" "So, Kim Yo-Jong, hot or not?" Either I'd "disappear" or my guide would get sent to re-education camp. Or both.
  11. To be honest, I don't mind waiting for the LNWR coaches. I know Hornby do that livery, but I want something that looks different to my LSWR and LBSC even if it isn't strictly prototypical. And the Hornby livery is visibly too light. While it's disappointing that they're delayed, I do give Hattons credit for keeping us posted on the situation.
  12. I forget whether it was Kernow or Dapol (or both?) but a couple of years back there was going to be an O gauge Beattie well tank. One I remember was that in Hornby's Thomas range, for a long time the boxes advertised a "Fat Controller, Driver and Fireman" set that never appeared.
  13. Lucky there are so many Great Eastern engines available these days.
  14. I think it depends. How are we defining "the wrong way?" A way that gets a bad result, or a way that gets a good result, but isn't what you personally would do? Did they acknowledge their mistake? Is the builder happy with the end result? Are they looking for advice? Unsolicited and unneeded advice on your work from total strangers, regardless of the intentions behind it, has a tendency to come across like this: Many crafting channels on YouTube leave the mistakes in, often at the viewers' request, so people can see the pitfalls, can see how they can correct their own mistakes or just for the reassurance that you can get a good end result even if you mess up along the way. Modelling can be quite an intimidating hobby for beginners and if all you see is fifty-year veterans of the hobby turning out perfect results every time, it carries the unspoken implication that real modellers just don't make mistakes and there's no place for those that do.
  15. I'm not giving £2800 to anyone who uses Comic Sans in their announcements.
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