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Tony Wright

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5 hours ago, Tony Wright said:

This reminds me of the time when a chap phoned me up when I was at BRM 'complaining' that the latest Hornby loco I'd just reviewed 'wasn't exactly the one he required'. He wanted a different name/number and a different livery variation. I told him of the firms who would supply him with etched nameplates, transfers, paint and anything else needed. 'Oh, I'll mess it up' he said. I then gave him a list of professionals who'd be happy to undertake the 'conversion'. 'Oh, I can't afford those!' When I said 'Then it looks like you can't have it' he got quite irate, saying I had no right to dictate what he could or couldn't have, threatening to complain to my MD. I won't mention exactly where I told him to go! 

 

It sounds like you didn't "dictate what he could or couldn't have" but he sounds like one of those who believe they have the "right" to dictate to manufacturers what they must produce, no matter how uneconomic it would be for them.  

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Tony, I think there is still a fair bit interest in building things, it just gets lost amid the vast amount of r-t-r that’s available. I too find it frustrating when modelers complain in the manner of your Mr Angry, when in truth they have never had it so good. Most though seem to enjoy their purchases and for some it is the start of a journey to modification and kit/scratch building; others stay with r-t-r, but if they all enjoy themselves then great.

In our club the juniors are interested in construction and we are trying pass on skills and probably bad habits as well.

We are also cataloging a collection from a local modeler who died recently. His ready to run equipment was boxed and sold off by the family, but he had a stash of kits he’d bought second hand, some part built; some unbuilt. Locos, coaches and wagons mostly GWR late 19th early 20th century, which his widow has asked us to dispose of, with all money raised going to charity.

Six of us have bought a fair few items for ourselves so hopefully the locos and stock will be built and run. and those we don’t sell to club members will be offered for sale at the Lydney Show later this month.

I’ve bought a nearly complete 517 class, an unbuilt Metro Tank and an unbuilt Buffalo Saddle Tank to keep me busy once I finish my Large Prairie. I’ve also bought and already upgraded a K’s B Set with new underframe components and fixed the seating and roofs.

On a slightly different tack I bought the Finecast Kit for the Large Prairie after Hornby and Dapol announced their models, but I had already decided I needed to build a loco as I hadn’t for about ten years and I and was in danger of losing what little skills I had. I don’t think for a minute that it will be as detailed as the r-t-r models but it will be mine, and as good as I can make it. Progress is slow but the chassis runs as an 0-6-0 and cylinders/crossheads and slidebars have all been fettled and are ready to be fitted. I’ll post a photo when a bit more progress is made.  Jon

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4 hours ago, Long John Silver said:

for some it is the start of a journey to modification and kit/scratch building; others stay with r-t-r

Those are not mutually exclusive, of course.

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I tend to be sanguin about the situation. It is my general observation that people who like to make/build things .... make them. 

 

People who don't ....don't.

 

It was I think ever thus.

 

The vast increase in the number and quality of RTR has enlarged the former cohort at the expense of the latter within the hobby.

 

The main problem as I see it is the ability of the hobby to attract replacement modellers now that the model train set is no longer (and has not been for the past 30 years) a mainstay toy for children ..... nor are the railways central anymore to life in general. Modelling in the sphere of railways is very enjoyable - but there has to be a pathway into the hobby.

 

Add to this the demise of the model kit in general as a mainstay of childhood toys and such pathways for those who like to make/build become more and more niche.

 

This drop off in making/doing spreads right across life .... the collapse in the scope to tinker with cars is a case in point - similarly few make there own clothes any more .... one could go on with the list! Seen in this light you could argue that 3d printing is quite a worrying development.

 

 

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5 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

Those are not mutually exclusive, of course.

Absolutely right, I use r-t-r and kit build to fill the gaps, but the gaps have just become fewer over the years. I am trying to keep my hand in as far as loco building is concerned, but my main layout doesn't provide many opportunities. In the longer term I my be pushing my modelling era back and will need to build more kits.  As we all know some modelers using exclusively r-t-r produce some superb layouts, far better than I could do and there is real skill in combining products to form a convincing model railway.

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If we look at our esteemed leader we can see the broad church of modelling put into very effective operation.

 

If I have understood correctly, many of his wagons are rtr, most of his coaches are highly modified rtr (new sides on rtr donors for example) and almost all of his locomotives are kit built.

 

We do not need to pick "fights" with one group or another almost all of us will sit somewhere on Tony's modelling spectrum.

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I very much agree with the sentiment that I'm in this hobby to make not shop. I do wonder at the pocket depths of people who snap up entire RTR trains in the latest (doubtless short-lived) Train Operating Company liveries. (I remember John Prescott's observation of rail privatisation was that only the paint companies would make money. He didn't anticipate vinyl wrapper and model railway makers doing even better.) 

 

People have pointed out that taking blades to an expensive, delicate, precision made model is scary (and a bit bonkers, TBH). I square this circle by never buying new RTR, and never paying more than I can afford to write-off for a kit, 3D print or second hand RTR. 

 

I think 3D printing is a very positive development for modelling. As Atso said, many interesting prototypes will never be taken up by the big suppliers. Making in the purest sense, starting with design, then developing and finishing a model just as we might have fabricated a model from brass or plastic. And if we want another, a single click does it!

 

Mike

Edited by maridunian
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13 minutes ago, Andy Hayter said:

 

We do not need to pick "fights" with one group or another almost all of us will sit somewhere on Tony's modelling spectrum.

 

If I've got it right about Tony's modelling spectrum it's about self reliance and making the effort to undertake some constructional modelling. And yes, I guess almost all who read this thread will sit somewhere on it.

 

However, as Lecorbusier has pointed out, there are some that do and some that don't (often won't) attempt any. And as many others have mentioned there is a growing majority in the won't camp and a falling membership of those that will.

 

I don't see it as picking a 'fight' to be concerned and to try and encourage some modelling participation. It's all a matter of how one goes about that. As succinctly put earlier; if you won't start you can't possibly arrive (nor travel the spectrum).

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1 hour ago, Lecorbusier said:

I tend to be sanguin about the situation. It is my general observation that people who like to make/build things .... make them. 

 

People who don't ....don't.

 

It was I think ever thus.

 

The vast increase in the number and quality of RTR has enlarged the former cohort at the expense of the latter within the hobby.

 

The main problem as I see it is the ability of the hobby to attract replacement modellers now that the model train set is no longer (and has not been for the past 30 years) a mainstay toy for children ..... nor are the railways central anymore to life in general. Modelling in the sphere of railways is very enjoyable - but there has to be a pathway into the hobby.

 

Add to this the demise of the model kit in general as a mainstay of childhood toys and such pathways for those who like to make/build become more and more niche.

 

This drop off in making/doing spreads right across life .... the collapse in the scope to tinker with cars is a case in point - similarly few make there own clothes any more .... one could go on with the list! Seen in this light you could argue that 3d printing is quite a worrying development.

 

 

The points you make about the relative demise of the model kit and home car maintenance are  good ones. There are other pathways into constructing though. and talking to the parents of some of our club juniors it appears that a couple of them make robotic devices out of anything they can find, and this constructive streak comes out in their modelling. They love their ready to run, but enjoy making things too.

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16 minutes ago, Long John Silver said:

The points you make about the relative demise of the model kit and home car maintenance are  good ones. There are other pathways into constructing though. and talking to the parents of some of our club juniors it appears that a couple of them make robotic devices out of anything they can find, and this constructive streak comes out in their modelling. They love their ready to run, but enjoy making things too.

That is really encouraging. There is also a good link between wargaming and model making which supplies a good route through ... I just wonder if there might be a similar link through the heritage railway scene and the hobby is missing a trick. However being something of a loner myself at the present, I perhaps do not see the full picture.

 

My comment on 3d printing was in no way to denigrate it ... I find the possibilities quite exciting .... but it will likely replace quite a few of the traditional craft options over time.

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The debate also becomes a bit selective as to where is considered to be the cut off. My stock at the moment is mostly r-t-r, but I’ve scratch built the baseboards from components rather than buy a ready made baseboard kit. However, I didn’t turn the nuts and bolts from raw metal they came from Screwfix et al. Made from one of the new baseboard kits I’m sure they would have been much neater but my average DIY level wood bodging means these are mine. I’ve wired the layout from scratch but with bought in wire, switches and control gear not soldered those up from sources like MERG. The buildings to go on will be a mix of scratch built and some kits. 

 

This is all still application of crafting skills Into the current (small) layout build even if most of my track and rolling stock is bought in. I do have some simple rolling stock kits on the go, time will tell if they are acceptable for others to view.

 

It is application of modelling/crafting even if nowhere near the skill levels that went into that exquisite 2fs 9F.

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Where we are with the hobby is to some extent a microcosm of society.   People don't tinker and make things at home because they don't make things at work  - getting the tools or lathe out isn't second nature to as many people as it used to be.  Opening a computer, however, very much is and I think that's where 3D printing, cutters and machines we haven't thought of yet are going to be the future of the hobby.    I want to make a building - I'll draw it on the computer and cut it out of plastikard, or send it off to be laser cut.    It's just a different skillset in the way Tony's generation didn't (often) have to cut outtheir own wheels or wind their own armatures.

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4 minutes ago, Lecorbusier said:

That is really encouraging. There is also a good link between wargaming and model making which supplies a good route through ... I just wonder if there might be a similar link through the heritage railway scene and the hobby is missing a trick. However being something of a loner myself at the present, I perhaps do not see the full picture.

 

My comment on 3d printing was in no way to denigrate it ... I find the possibilities quite exciting .... but it will likely replace quite a few of the traditional craft options over time.

Funnily enough I was thinking about the link between the preserved railway scene and railway modelling while eating my breakfast just now. I do think that the relatively healthy interest in modeling in our area is to some degree linked to the Dean Forest Railway (other excellent preserved railways are available. there just not quite so close to us). Many of our model railway club members are also volunteers there, though I'm not, I just don't have the time.

 

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13 hours ago, Coach bogie said:

 Now watch Bachmann do the same, I assume this is what they had in mind when they designed the boiler to come off the way it does.

 

 

Mike Wiltshire

 

 

I doubt you need worry. I can think of models produced by both of the big manufacturers, whose modular bodies suggest a very easy route to a different, follow-up model. Years on from the originals, I'm still waiting, with no real belief that anything will happen. Chassis units now seem to be quite deliberately designed to fit under only one possible body style, even when the same wheel size, wheel base, number of spokes and general frame outline might have been suitable under another body. These things suggest to me a blinkered approach by manufacturers who might otherwise have the chance to earn money from sales of additional models with limited development costs. Also, some items announced around five or more years ago are still awaited from one maker, so I think DIY modelling has an assured role.

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1 hour ago, Atso said:

While I agree that there seems to be a smaller percentage of people who are willing to build for themselves, I'm not convinced it is all doom and gloom. At the risk of being controversial (and starting a new debate on the subject), I believe that The Great Model Railway Challenge has increased interest in railway modelling. While helping out with a layout on the exhibition circuit, I noticed an increase in attendance at the shows I was at; the increase in younger people was very noticeable. As I see it, this could well be the pathway to getting new blood into the hobby and this should be fun; getting youngsters serious about their modelling can come later.

 

I'm not convinced either that 3D printing should be seen as a worrying development. It is simple another tool/method to model building and, as with every method, it has its positive and negative points. As with most things, it is best used alongside another methods and materials. Personally speaking, I doubt I would have progressed to building these etched kits if I hadn't started dabbling with 3D printing first.

 

 

 

Fully agree Steve. I do think all this doom and gloom about the number of modellers who still make stuff is overblown. Go back to magazines of the 60s, 70s and 80s and they are full of layouts that were largely RTR, and not very good at that. The stuff we remember from earlier times is the good stuff, the rubbish is quietly forgotten. Its like those who argue that music from a particular period was much better than it is now - watch one of those old reruns of TOTP on BBC4 or Youtube and it soon becomes clear that no decade had a monopoly on rubbish!

 

I also fully agree about your point regarding 3D printing - its just another tool in the armory (albeit my inability to drive a computer means I'm reliant on others)  and should be used to complement other techniques, not replace them. Steve's 3D loco bodies will still require detailing and a chassis built using many more traditional techniques.

 

My recently completed Midland shed group for Bath is very much ‘old school’ utilising paper, card, ply, plastic sheet, PCB track etc. However, the water tank with its repetitive pattern of flanged, rivetted, fielded panels is a perfect example of where 3D printing comes into its own, offering a crisp, consistent finish which is far better than I could have achieved with more familiar methods. Steve did a fabulous job for me and Ive recently asked him if he could print me some 2mm tender axleboxes after the multi part etched ones defeated me!

 

The hobby has definitely changed over the years but I'm not convinced its any less creative - just different.

 

Jerry

 

1071990773_20190903_213956(2).jpg.514539597fc52171f1ecd667360a3511.jpg20190301_215458.jpg.65fe00c97c0d55963c20e612e75842d3.jpg

 

IMG_9854.JPG.b18fb435f10f3e217812992e7fe88e53.JPG

 

 

Edited by queensquare
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1 hour ago, john new said:

The debate also becomes a bit selective as to where is considered to be the cut off. My stock at the moment is mostly r-t-r, but I’ve scratch built the baseboards from components rather than buy a ready made baseboard kit. However, I didn’t turn the nuts and bolts from raw metal they came from Screwfix et al. Made from one of the new baseboard kits I’m sure they would have been much neater but my average DIY level wood bodging means these are mine. I’ve wired the layout from scratch but with bought in wire, switches and control gear not soldered those up from sources like MERG. The buildings to go on will be a mix of scratch built and some kits. 

 

This is all still application of crafting skills Into the current (small) layout build even if most of my track and rolling stock is bought in. I do have some simple rolling stock kits on the go, time will tell if they are acceptable for others to view.

 

It is application of modelling/crafting even if nowhere near the skill levels that went into that exquisite 2fs 9F.

Reading John's post has me thinking about my own layout and modelling.

 

Baseboards, timber from Wicks, they had an offer on which meant it was cheaper than B&Q and their chipboard came in 8ft by 4 ft sheets ideal for the main station boards. The baseboards were of a bespoke design, which not only included the track plan at the design stages but get at-ability into all corners, suitable height and clearance for the fat bald bloke to get around. So I had to bodge them myself.

 

Track, Peco. It is reliable, easy to lay, compatible with most RTR stock post 1970, a good variety of types of points, crossing and slips and readily available. Looks rubbish compared to some other track systems. I can build better looking track, but time wise and reliability wise.....Peco.

 

As I enjoy wiring, honest I do, there is loads of it because I am a DC operator.

 

Buildings and other structures are at the moment  mainly mock ups from card and paper. In the main they will be scratch built to fit the location and what I am trying to portray. This cannot be done with ready to plonk models in my mind. Saying that I have a Bachmann Scalescenes water tower that looks like it could be a GNR one so that is going to be used.

 

I don't like seeing the same figures on every layout so I will be making my own, not too many either. Again too many model stations are over populated and the people are in the wrong places . Most terminus stations have empty platforms for most of the day, they are only populated when a train is decanting or passengers are piling on, and that is all over in a short time.

 

Now we come to the bits that move. It will be a mixture of RTR, kits, conversions and scratchbuilt. There are a lot of reasonable looking and reliable working RTR locomotives, so why not use them to aid in the overall effect I am trying to recreate, on the other hand I do enjoy making my own locomotives so that will continue. Coaches, and DMUs, I have been having so much fun lately cutting and shutting RTR coaches to supplement the range of RTR ones I have. Some might question why do all these cut and shuts when there are very good kits or even just brass side overlays? Good question, I am sure I would enjoy making a kit or two, or even cutting an RTR donor coach to place an etched side on it. I enjoy working out how I am going to make a coach type and the coast of a secondhand coach, I have been buying them at £7.50 to £10, say to me "have a go matey". I do not envisage large amounts of freight stock, I do have a van train that arrives with the "perishables" for the local markets and that is a mixture of RTR, converted RTR and kits. I might scratchbuild some 21 ton Loco Coal wagons for the steam yard.

 

Now I do not consider where I have built my own stuff to be something special, it is a means of achieving what I want and thankfully having fun at the same time. Having fun is the special bit.

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15 hours ago, Coach bogie said:

I have really been intoxicated with everyone's loco builds. I finished the Pannier and, instead of going back to coaches, started another.

 

Did I stop there. Oh no. I bought a much reduced in price, Bachmann Earl for possible reuse of the power unit and tender. The boiler/cab arrangement comes off in one piece. I had another K's wreck so I did a 'quick fix' job and made the K's boiler fit. Not as easy as it sounds as the castings are very thick and needed reducing down to fit around the motor. Now watch Bachmann do the same, I assume this is what they had in mind when they designed the boiler to come off the way it does.

Very nice conversion.

 

 

I have given the same conversion a lot of thought over the past couple of years, (along with thinking about a similar approach drawing up a new boiler / firebox in CAD and 3d printing the replacement).  The main stumbling block for me has been sourcing a cheap Ks Bulldog to provided the boiler (cheap Bachmann Dukedog's seem to come around with a reasonable frequency), net result the price starts approaching that of a brass kit (sans wheels etc) which would give more modelling enjoyment.    Once Brent is more complete the need for Bulldogs will be more pressing and I will have to bite the bullet and get on with it, one way or another!)

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3D printing is an interesting one, because it is based on a skill set and equipment that is totally different to the hobby’s traditional kit building skills.  The making takes place on a computer screen and a 3D printer, you don’t need brass or solder or reamers....  the physical tasks involve moving a mouse, pressing keys and spooling filaments onto the printer!  In time, this will become much more common, as it is more attuned to the skills used by younger generations in their workplace.

 

Designing a locomotive body or water tank on a computer for 3D printing is more akin to kit designing, in my mind.  With a few keystrokes, the kit then assembles itself inside the 3D printer.  The labours of the designer can be easily passed on to others over the Internet, who can then print exactly the same thing off on their own printer at home, without having to design it themselves.

 

As the technology develops, in time it will provide an alternative to kit built chassis too.  The RAF can now print off jet fighter components in a field tent, so working components for us are surely not too far off.

 

Is all of this modelling?  Yes... but we must accept that what we associate as the traditional skills will not necessarily be needed any more!  Many trades have succumbed to monumental change through technology... look at photography for example.  I sold my enlarger and darkroom equipment years ago, and haven’t looked back!

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2 hours ago, jwealleans said:

Where we are with the hobby is to some extent a microcosm of society.   People don't tinker and make things at home because they don't make things at work  - getting the tools or lathe out isn't second nature to as many people as it used to be.  Opening a computer, however, very much is and I think that's where 3D printing, cutters and machines we haven't thought of yet are going to be the future of the hobby.    I want to make a building - I'll draw it on the computer and cut it out of plastikard, or send it off to be laser cut.    It's just a different skillset in the way Tony's generation didn't (often) have to cut outtheir own wheels or wind their own armatures.

Whilst this is undoubtedly true, it does have repercussions.

 

My day time job is as an architect .... looking at how this job has changed over the last 30 years is a case in point. Back in the day hand drafting was the name of the game - this included artistic representation and painting/colouring alongside technical drawing. It also included a fair amount of modelmaking ... both exploratory and for presentation.

 

Today everything tends to be done in digital format .... drawings are managed via keyboard and mouse, 3d representations are developed automatically from the data via the given software, rendering is 'created' by rendering packages rather than by painting. Modelling tends now to be a virtual skill (a 3d model on screen), and increasingly physical models are now 3d printed direct from the computer.

 

All of these activities certainly require high level skill sets and are highly creative and subjective .... but my point is that increasingly craft skill and the employment of the 'thinking hand' is no longer relevant. In this virtual world I do fear for the 'crafts' as it will become increasingly easy to let machines and the software take the strain - they are quicker and in most cases better. For someone who gains pleasure from 'physical' crafting (I just like making things :whistle: ), this is a sadness. There is an element of letting the baby out with the bathwater in all of this for me, as many of the psychological benefits and rewards of working with your hands are being lost.

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11 hours ago, jukebox said:

Tony,

 

I think it's human nature to fear the new / unknown / different / change. 

 

It *does* take courage to repaint or renumber an expensive model the first time, for fear of totally botching it.  And the 20th one you do will be better than the first - practice makes better, if not perfect.  Overcoming the prejudice that a less-than-perfectly-executed modified RTR loco is acceptable, nay, superior to one out of the box, is a theme of this thread that I applaud you for.  Few of us are going to ever be able to reach your stratospheric skills set when it comes to model construction (and you manage to admit your own limitations in your choice to barter off your painting chores!)

 

One of the best ways to overcome the fear of "failure" is to be guided by someone who can do so confidently, but not lordingly.  I've tackled challenges as out-of-my-comfort-zone as replacing the screen on a laptop computer, after studying well produced "how to" videos on You Tube, and suspect that there's a niche for many railway modelling related tasks in that space - many do exist - but they can't replace the one-on-one sort of advice that is needed to make a chassis run sweetly, I'd suggest...

 

The great thing is, at the end of the day no one is too old to learn something new.

 

In the spirit of others who have shown what they've built, here's a shot my first completed kit loco - a DJH Duke I built and painted a few year's back - posed with a Bachmann Evening Star.  No prize for guessing which I am prouder to own:

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_09/277420230_Duke2.jpg.e605a23c51582e27fd3bc13dbb2b3008.jpg

 

Cheers

 

Scott

 

 

Thanks Scott,

 

And no prizes for guessing which one interests me more! I can see the one behind in any catalogue, model shop or at a show (hundreds of 'em). I can also own it, should I choose. But so what? I'm not saying the Bachmann EVENING STAR is not a good model (quite the contrary; Bachmann's 9F at source in many ways is superior to a DJH equivalent) but, to own one, all one needs is cash. That's not to decry those who cannot make one the right to own one, either, but one is personal property, the other is a personal creation, which, I hope, this thread is all about. Should anyone take the Bachmann 9F a stage further, by altering/detailing/weathering it, then that's also a personal creation, and there's great merit in that. But only if one does it oneself. 

 

That DoG of yours is beautiful. My compliments.

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

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5 hours ago, Andy Hayter said:

If we look at our esteemed leader we can see the broad church of modelling put into very effective operation.

 

If I have understood correctly, many of his wagons are rtr, most of his coaches are highly modified rtr (new sides on rtr donors for example) and almost all of his locomotives are kit built.

 

We do not need to pick "fights" with one group or another almost all of us will sit somewhere on Tony's modelling spectrum.

Thanks Andy,

 

I hope I'm not responsible for starting fights with anyone (though, at times, it seems some would like to 'fight' with me). 

 

Just to clarify what you've said above, if I may, please? 

 

Regarding wagons on LB, it's about 50/50 modified RTR/kit-built. I've modified/made about 10% of the over 300. 

The majority of the Mk.1s on LB are modified Bachmann (all my work). They constitute about a third of the carriage stock. The remaining two thirds can be split into about two thirds brass/plastic kits (mainly built by me) and one third (as you say) highly-modified (all by me, with some outside painting). There are over 250 carriages/passenger-rated vehicles

Also, as you say, just about all the locos are built from kits (steam outline), 99% built by me, with about 40% painted professionally. Bit by bit I'm selling off any RTR locos I've modified, because I never use them. There are over 200 locos.

 

As can be seen, I do what I like doing best, and I'm very fortunate to be part of a team which has produced all the rest of the layout. One particular thing which has 'delighted' me is how visitors comment on 'everything fitting' on LB. May I use the following shots to illustrate this, please?

 

316084729_A1160113GREATNORTHERNonDownexpress.jpg.bd14e6330aa170b793dfd37863dfff0b.jpg

 

259272340_A160116HALOTHEWYNDonDownNorthumbrian.jpg.db36bc8766be15555eb5a6669ce12ad6.jpg

 

1862753380_A2260504MONSMEGonDownFlyingScotsman.jpg.38963c027cc67f55368424686f5b02d9.jpg

 

Locos/passenger rolling stock all by me (green ones painted by Ian Rathbone), goods stock mainly by Rob Kinsey, trackwork by Norman Solomon, architecture/structures by Ian Wilson, Bob Dawson, Scott Waterfield and me, signals by Mick Nicholson and Graham Nicholas, visible figures by Geoff West and PMP, and scenery by Richard Wilson, Gilbert Barnatt, Rob Davey, the late Dave Shakespeare and me.

 

I think it all fits rather nicely into Little Bytham's modelling spectrum. If nothing else (at least to me) it shows the advantage of modelling an actual prototype. How else would all the elements be arranged?

 

Regards,

 

Tony. 

 

 

Edited by Tony Wright
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