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John Ahern's Model Building Plans


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Peco must have a massive back catalogue of building plans from their early days (50's/60's) trouble is I doubt if they have a commercial value, perhaps putting them in a PDF format which could be downloaded for a fee might be a possibility

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Another book that I would be very reluctant to lose is 'A World of Model Railways' by P.R. Wickham, 1949, Percival Marshall & Co. Ltd.

 

[It does not seem to be very well listed, but this link to Rev. Audry's books might interest you.. https://ttte.fandom.com/wiki/P.R._Wickham ]

 

The book is a delight, he was a fine technical artist and for the times writes with an easy fluid style. Subjects as diverse as practical means of constructing O.H.L.E.  and a working practical girder swing bridge are clearly illustrated, layout planning, scenic backgrounds and perspective et al.

 

Produced only in a dull brown board cover, it makes an interesting and absorbing read.

 

Doug/Chubber

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  • 2 weeks later...

Message for Chubber

I noticed your comment about trying to trace copyright for Edward Beal's material. I don't know the answer but if you contact me privately ([email protected]) I have some information which might be helpful.

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On 28/04/2020 at 03:51, SteveyDee68 said:

Just taken a look on eBay and Amazon for Mr Ahern's classic book - silly money + silly money postage from the USA on eBay, or paperback from Amazon for £56.

 

Guess I'll be giving it a miss! 

Just keep looking. The original Percival Marshall edition from 1949 may be quite rare now  (though I have all three) but a second edition was in print until the end of the 1970s at least  so they can be found at sensible prices. I happened today to go through a partwork from 1974 called History of Model and Miniature Railways (down to the usual standard of such publications but with  a few interesting articles and photos) and in a well written article by Cyril Freezer on 'simple workshop techniques' he made this comment.

"On the subject of card modelling we can do no better than to recommend John H Ahern's "Miniature Building Construction" (Model and Allied Publishers)  Although written in the mid 1940s it is not one whit out of date."

I don't think it's out of date even now so it's well worth getting hold of.

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So the Percival Marshall first edition was published in 1949.  There is no date in my treasured copy and I assumed it had been written sometime during the war due to the rationing references.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, autocoach said:

So the Percival Marshall first edition was published in 1949.  There is no date in my treasured copy and I assumed it had been written sometime during the war due to the rationing references.

It may have been slightly earlier as I've seen a 1947  reference to Miniature Building Construction though my original like yours is undated and the revised edition is listed as reprinted in 1950 (though my later copy  is a 1955 print)

Miniature Locomotive Construction is listed in my MAP* edition as first published in 1948 and Miniature Lansdcape Modelling is copyright 1951 but that may be a revised edition.

Rationing continured for some years after the war and in some aspects actually got more severe as Britan's economy had been devastated. Timber, needed for reconstruction, was very restricted as were many materials such as metals that were diverted towards exports. You see this in the post war Model Railway News which in 1948 & 9 were actually smaller than the wartime editions which were themselves a bit smaller than normal.

John Ahern wrote a lot of articles for MRN during the war and in the years after, starting in 1940 with a couple on locomotives, but his first building article AFAIK was Bert's Garage and Cafe in September 1940. Curiously the caff is advertising 'hot dogs' and you can see the start of the Madder Valley in bare boards form around it. The same photo appears in the book on p115 probably from the same printing block as MRN was published by Percival Marshall. Quite a number of the photos illustrating the book had appeared in MRN but his MRN articles didn't go into so much detail.

The first appearance of the MVR as a complete layout was in March 1942 in an article curiously titled 'More News from Madderport' which included a plan (of Madderport not the rest). It's curious because there doesn't  appear to have been any earlier reference to Madderport as such. 

 

* Update

MAP (Model Aeronutical Press- soon renamed as Model & Allied Publications) bought the Percival Marshall organisation, including MRN, in November 1967. 

I have both the PM 1956 and MAP 1973 versions of Model Locomotive Construction . MAP's version is a paperback with a slightly smaller page size.  The actual pages are completely identical but with far narrower margins so it's clearly a litho reproduction (but a very clear one) of Percival Marshall's original letterpress version.

Edited by Pacific231G
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For your delectation, here is my take on some of Mr. Ahern's models.  Apologies if you have seen these models before on another website. 

 

20180101_195838.jpg.f2a58af2c0faa2ac2a75ab9379b64bd6.jpg

Drawing BC7 - A village general shop

 

20160912_205644.jpg.2b64290ee3d019dbaf36fb90fc6a5cc0.jpg

Drawing BC2 - Timber-framed and tiled cottage

 

20180301_213737.jpg.e4d35b9fd4acc0306cc22d222555d5d6.jpg

Barn shown on page 67 Miniature Building Construction

 

844143674_modellighthousefinalpictures006(2).JPG.25b34bb5bce33ab247dd986dcc0bcb2a.JPG

Lighthouse on page 145 Miniature Building Construction (later reprints).

 

Terry

 

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20171104_171637.jpg.ba30a17e0304bd4e2f7c9a80d77cadaa.jpg

Drawing BC12 - Small country station with attached living quarters

 

And, finally, one from Mr. Beale's 'Modelling the Old-Time Railways'...

20200513_175908.jpg.be99daef53387b3c72d554e5d46a63e3.jpg

Page 113 - Ornamental Type of Goods Shed (still under construction)

 

Terry

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, col.stephens said:

20171104_171637.jpg.ba30a17e0304bd4e2f7c9a80d77cadaa.jpg

Drawing BC12 - Small country station with attached living quarters

 

And, finally, one from Mr. Beale's 'Modelling the Old-Time Railways'...

20200513_175908.jpg.be99daef53387b3c72d554e5d46a63e3.jpg

Page 113 - Ornamental Type of Goods Shed (still under construction)

 

Terry

Very nice models Terry and I think somewhat above John Ahern's standard. How closely did you follow his constructional methods?

Taken from the background of a couple of my photos of the MVR so a bit  small. Here are JHA's models from two of those drawings (or possibly vice-versa)

544587387_JohnAherncottageatGammonMagna.jpg.3826145f9fcd1e6b6a0049d8b03cb931.jpg

 

 

MVR_lighthouse.jpg.1505075459363ba71ae8e9e8a58511c6.jpg

 

I couldn't find the barn or the village shop in any of my MVR photos though I'm sure they're there.

 

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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Posted (edited)

Thank you so much for your kind comments and the photos of JA's models.  I didn't follow John Ahern's constructional methods too closely.  For instance, he advocated laying out the elevations of a building as one piece on thin card and folding same to create the corners.  My method is more akin to Scalescenes kits.  I usually produce each elevation separately from mountboard and cover in Scalescenes brick/stone paper before assembling them to form the shell of the building.  If anyone is interested, here is a link to the village shop build:

 

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=15266&forum_id=14

 

and to the lighthouse:

 

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=9614&forum_id=14

 

I can post other links if anyone wants to see the builds of the other buildings.

 

Regards,

 

Terry

Edited by col.stephens
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1 hour ago, col.stephens said:

Thank you so much for your kind comments and the photos of JA's models.  I didn't follow John Ahern's constructional methods too closely.  For instance, he advocated laying out the elevations of a building as one piece on thin card and folding same to create the corners.  My method is more akin to Scalescenes kits.  I usually produce each elevation separately from mountboard and cover in Scalescenes brick/stone paper before assembling them to form the shell of the building.  If anyone is interested, here is a link to the village shop build:

 

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=15266&forum_id=14

 

and to the lighthouse:

 

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=9614&forum_id=14

 

I can post other links if anyone wants to see the builds of the other buildings.

 

Regards,

 

Terry

Absolutely stunning stuff Terry, incredibly neat.

Simon

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10 hours ago, col.stephens said:

Thank you so much for your kind comments and the photos of JA's models.  I didn't follow John Ahern's constructional methods too closely.  For instance, he advocated laying out the elevations of a building as one piece on thin card and folding same to create the corners.  My method is more akin to Scalescenes kits.  I usually produce each elevation separately from mountboard and cover in Scalescenes brick/stone paper before assembling them to form the shell of the building.  If anyone is interested, here is a link to the village shop build:

 

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=15266&forum_id=14

 

and to the lighthouse:

 

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=9614&forum_id=14

 

I can post other links if anyone wants to see the builds of the other buildings.

 

Regards,

 

Terry

 

Terry - those structures are first rate.  In fact, I like your rendition of the lighthouse so much that I may use that instead of a freelance "town wall tower" in my faux Great Yarmouth setting for "Woodhey Quay", especially as the great JA used it at the end of his harbour wall.

 

Do you have a build write up of the goods shed you are working upon, perchance?  I am currently attempting to emulate steal a small warehouse design from Alex's Frost Mill layout, but your little shed may be more in keeping!  Sadly, I don't have the drawing because the copy I found of Modelling The Old-Time Railways turns out to be just the dust jacket, wrapped around the RSPB Book of Birds!  Sadly, no sight of the original contents!

 

 

Steve S

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Hello Steve,

 

Thank you for your kind comments.  I don't have a build as such for the goods shed but there is reference to it in my layout thread which gives the general idea of construction:

 

If you message me with your email address, I can send you a scan of the relevant page from 'Modelling The Old-Time Railways, if you wish.  The drawing is very small but sufficient to produce a model.  Be aware that the scale rule on the drawing refers to inches not millimetres.

 

Regards,

 

Terry

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  • 2 weeks later...

 A lot of inspirational stuff here!  I've had a very battered copy of Miniature Building Construction for years, and I have recently made a few 3mm scale structures for a little project, one of which was this pub, loosely based on Ahern's sketch of the Duchess of Albany.

 

IMG_20191106_183903_3.jpg.43977c0932fe98e0f3fd2dc00b2d4b4c.jpg

The Duchess of Albany was an Ushers pub in Salisbury (still there, I think, no longer a pub and much altered, into shops and an army recruiting centre!) This version is intended for a diorama set in East Anglia, so I have rendered it as a Dales of Cambridge house - the name is fictional but has real life precedents. It isn't finished - I hope to fit lighting at some time in the future, and perhaps some interior details, but this is my first foray into 3mm, so I'm taking it steady! 

 

Cheers, Mike

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  • 4 weeks later...

Superb buildings Mike.

 

I completed this building this afternoon.  It's my take on Bert's garage shown on page 114 of Miniature Building Construction.  Apparently, Bert sold up and has taken early retirement to tend his vegetable plot.  The new management have renamed the garage.  Constructed from mount board discarded by a local picture framer.  Windows from discarded packaging with card frames and self-adhesive label glazing bars.  Scalescenes' papers used for walls and roof.  The clapboard walls were varnished before being painted, to prevent the ink from running.  Signage is from the excellent Sankey Scenics range.

 

Terry

20200621_161412.jpg.1e6b18fd9de82f67e2e9dcb9b5ca0210.jpg 

20200621_161326.jpg.6da36cb40840372574f04b492ca4f104.jpg

20200621_161155.jpg.8487a288a367db989880812a4cfa0821.jpg

Edited by col.stephens
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Terry, many thanks for your kind words!

Bert's Garage has truly been transformed by the new owners - really lovely work Terry,  Bravo !  

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Whilst browsing through a second hand shop there were a few old model railway catalogues

200.jpeg.7fbbca5b161e7d689dec419f622f6efa.jpeg201.jpeg.af73f7e3c96ffaed7acaca43bc6b35d1.jpeg

 

This was with them which caught my eye

 

202.jpeg.a78dd2f01f63c95706398a33f2c4bf11.jpeg

 

More interesting was the regional prefixes for number plates

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hayfield - this little book was an adjunct to the Modelcraft selection of road vehicle plans, mainly busses and lorries with a few cars from the 1950s, all at 4mm scale.

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