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<innocent>

 

So you would be in the market, for say, a 4mm RTR Scottie, then?

 

</innocent>

I regret to say no.....

 

My efforts at this time revolve around the planning and building of a railway room to run 1950's S&D.

 

Now I am a 'box opener' through choice at this time. I find myself in a nice position in that most of the locos and a fair percentage of rolling stock is available off the shelf for my chosen prototype.

Add to this my time constraints imposed by work and family and out of the box modelling suits me.

My long term plan is to go pre group but I have a need to 'play trains'........

 

Rob

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 A misconception I am afraid. Unless you were stinking rich, and not even then in respect of some activities, you had to have practical skills in the past simply to get on with life. Very little came in a box ready to be opened, plugged in or whatever and used. When you read diaries of folk 100+ years ago it is very revealing of what they did in the way of things practical. Admittedly diaries are largely written by the wealthy, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that since wealthy women were making and altering clothing (including completely utilitarian items) those with less cash probably did so too. Search on 'lilian bland mayfly' to see where these skills got redeployed

 

Good example from my youth - and I am still a ways from state pension eligibility - our local NHS doctor repairing his own punctured bicycle innertube after making a house call. Can you imagine a modern GP doing anything remotely similar?

Well yes if he rides a bicycle though he'd be more likely to be doing that to keep fit than to make house calls but inner tubes still get punctures and cyclists still carry puncture repair kits

 

People acquired, and still do acquire, the practical skills they needed that were relevant to whatever they were doing whether it was maintaining a bike, building a radio or an azimuth mount for an astronomical telescope or dress making but they probably wouldn't have learnt those skills in school. Most of the people engaged in serious railway modelling probably acquired very few of the skills they needed in school or at work. I suspect it's more of a question of railway modelling teaching skills useful in other areas of life- like putting up shelves that stay up - than the other way round simply because it involves such a range of skills.

 

Before going to university I trained as a marine engineer. This involved a lot of practical workshop time but I've never found the skills I learned then particularly relevant to my modelling because they were mostly about bashing fairly large chunks of metal and working on large pieces of machinery. So, for example, in learning how to solder in order to wire layouts my previous experience of learning welding (both gas and arc) was totally irrelevant.  

 

The difference today is that far better models are available RTR so there is less incentive to get into scratch or kit building because the results- at least at first-  are likely to be inferior to what can be lifted out of a box. An interest in something like pre-grouping could be a good incentive to change that though.  

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Fewer work and more leisure hours

 

This is no longer the case and has not been for many years especially when you factor in all the unpaid hours worked and time spent effectively working from home fielding emails and other crap. Actual worked hours in many professions are now nearer 60 hours/week and commute time is way higher than it was before WW2. In other words we are back to the mid 1800s by that measure.

 

Remember the 40 hour week came from the 1890s experimentation where it was discovered that 8 hour workers actually produced more output than 10 hour workers did despite the latter working 2 hours longer. Henry Ford (hardly a bastion of socialism) cut his workers to 8 hour shifts in 1914. Prior to WW2 the fact that working long hours was pointless was well established and employers operated accordingly including trying to avoid making overtime routine, but in the UK (and not most of the rest of Europe) forgot the lesson in the 1980s, which is probably one reason why they are so much more productive *and* have bigger trainsets...

 

Clearly lots of other things are vastly better, but assuming people do RTR because they are lazy is wrong - on average they have far less free time than their  great grandparents.

 

Alan

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  • RMweb Gold

Some of my modelling is pre-grouping - Midland Railway.

 

Since I've retired I seem to get even less done than I did when I was working. 

 

BUT I spend a lot of my time now scanning old negatives and slides, gardening, and on other hobbies.

 

As for the increase in working hours (which I noticed over the years though that may have been partly due to being promoted at work) - that may be partly to blame for the lack of leisure time, but how much time do we now spend "playing" with computers, watching television and other leisure activities instead of modelling? 

 

Thinking about the increase in commuting time, for the last thirty plus years I've lived 15 miles from work, my travelling time has usually been between 23 and 33 minutes each way and never changed over all the years.

 

David

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Gents,
 
let's please keep this thread to the attractions (or otherwise) of the pre-grouping era and not a discussion of modellers v. plonkers. The latter topic is pretty well trodden ground on RMweb.

Yes, I agree that the ability to create models is a limiting factor for the pre-grouping era and this thread should not stray into the "I want Hornbachpol to make a <insert your favourite obscure subject here>, they'll sell like hotcakes" kind of wishlist.
 
Yes, I agree that not taking metal shop and learning to use tools like a lathe, pan brakes or to weld and solder joints can be a limiting factor for many who might like a scratch-built item. Doubtless there are ways to pick up these skills should people be so inclined, but there are people, who enjoying the use of their fingers and thumbs, are well advised to stay away from metal working tools.

Painting detailed lining is an art that not all can master no matter how many clinics they attend.

 

Some can and do. Some are afraid to try and don't. Some simply cannot. Let's leave it at that and get back to pre-grouping.

Edited by Ozexpatriate
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This discussion was getting a bit off the subject, wasn't it?

As a retired petro-chemical engineer my abilities could not have been further from those

necessary to build a loco from the 1840s or a goods wagon from real wood in 4mm EM gauge, but I still do it and I am now in my eighties.

If you want something that can't be bought, try and make it. You might be surprised at what you can achieve

Michael dJS

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I wouldn't worry too much about the education system being a barrier. I doubt very much whether Rev. Edward Beal, Rev. Peter Denny, John Ahern or P.D. Hancock were taught any practical skills in school either. They all had an academic or professional education so would have picked up their modelling skills by modelling. Peter Denny describes that in his books while P.D. Hancock was a distinguished academic librarian at Ediburgh University and probably the last person anyone would expect to be handy with a set of hand tools.

 

 

 

My youngest son when he was looking at what GCSEs to do was looking at one of the 'technical' subjects, which they had to do.  Not sure which flavour it was but they showed him a model that had been built for the last set of exams.  We looked at each other and decided that he had made better stuff already- was/is a war gamer.

 

I did woodwork and metal work for the first two years of senior school until we went comprehensive and there were not enough workshops for the academic streams so I did no more.  Most of what I have learned I have taught myself or picked up from RMWeb or mags.

 

Still terrified of weathering, but nearly at the point were I will have to have a go, and soldering? Umm, well perhaps I need to build all my plastic kits first, or find ways to glue brass.  I have BRM's guide to soldering, well all the important ones anyway.

 

If I scratchbuild it will be in plastic although I need to do research into R-T-R chassis that would go under various Cambrian locos, eg, the small 4-4-0 Sharpe Stewart.

 

Edit: Sorry I added this as I thought the post I had replied to was the last, only to find a whole page devoted to the same subject.

Edited by ChrisN
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Most of my brass stuff is glued except for some corners where you need strong joins on butt joints. Even then they could be glued. I've seen some beautifully built N gauge brass pre-group stock that was assembled with a hot glue gun! Soldering is for most things now optional, at least at smaller scales.

 

Lining I tend to do with decals. As there are people who will do reasonably good decals to your own design at prices that are not too horrific I've continued to skip the black arts of bow pens.

 

Technology in schools nowdays includes teaching 3D printing and some (basic) CAD work so while we may be short on people who can turn buffers from nails using an old hand drill and a file in the next 20 years we should have plenty of modellers for whom 3D CAD and 3D print is just another school subject.

 

Alan

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My interest is in the LNWR/GWR joint lines pre WW1 and I have only just stumbled on this thread.  In order to model this period you have to resort to kit building.  The LNWR is very poorly represented in RTR and pre-grouping GWR does not fair much better.  Perhaps this forum might persuade BRM and other media to look more at this era; however, I am not that concerned, as others have said, there are a considerable amount of kits around (in 4mm) if you can track them down.  Peter

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As Etched Pixels wrote, there are 'work-arounds' for many of the perceived difficulties of scratch building.  In addition, pre-grouping prototypes tend to be relatively simple, as I mentioned in post #23 in this thread.  Modern glues are very effective, though you do have to remember that surface preparation is just as important as when using solder. 

 

There is a problem, however, when it comes to adding all those important details!  Unless you have workshop skills and facilities,you are going to have to find suppliers of suitable chimneys, domes, etc....    In my experience, there are several good suppliers out there but they tend to be rather elusive - difficult to contact by either phone or e-mail and, in many cases, computer-averse, so no up-to-date websites to help you see what you are buying!

 

These suppliers provide an invaluable service but I wish they would catch up with the 21st century :)

 

Mike

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(Quote: but I wish they would catch up with the 21st century)

 

What Mike Oxon says above I agree with completely, but surely some of us who model the 19th and early 20th century

originate from a time when life moved at a slower pace, so we are used to some sources being long winded!

Michael dJS

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(Quote: but I wish they would catch up with the 21st century)

 

What Mike Oxon says above I agree with completely, but surely some of us who model the 19th and early 20th century

originate from a time when life moved at a slower pace, so we are used to some sources being long winded!

Michael dJS

Michael not completely true;  I am of an age that have no recollection of working steam on the railways but it is the pre-grouping photography that I have always found fascinating and that has inspired me to model that era.  

 

Generally things do arrive quite promptly; I do still have two sets of wheels on order through Ultrascale that I ordered back in August but I did place that order on the web - they might arrive before my credit card expires!  I have only found one supplier who has gone backwards and won't respond to emails and only deals through the post now.  Everything I get via the web or at shows; my one remaining model shop does not stock kits and makes a living via selling boxes on the internet.  I have depleted his stock of LNWR transfers.

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You can't buck the market and market forces have removed much that was available to us modellers of years ago. The box of chimneys, domes, whistles, safety valves, Tender domes and water fillers, axleboxes etc, that had accumilated over a lifetime of building was thrown out a few years ago during a tidy-out. George Mellor at GEM told me he could supply any casting I needed when I was building LNWR locos in the late 1960s and this was a real boon. Could I source such fitting today I wonder?

 

There has been no indication on this thread of how many RMwebbers are actually building a pre-group layout with locos and rolling stock etc., and the one thing that puzzles me is, how do they tackle the ornate pre-group liveries? Painting was always a problem for people hence the populaity of the 1930's GWR for so many decades where modellers got away with plain green locos and choc & cream coaches devoid of lining.

Edited by coachmann
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I am not against modern technology in modelling. I just prefer taking a sheet of metal/plastic/wood and using such skill as I have to mark it out and cut it to size.

 

In a way, which I can't really put my finger on, cutting parts from a sheet of metal is somehow more in keeping with the idea of the railways of 100 years ago. Similarly things like DCC and operating layouts with mobile phones or keypads seems OK for a modern layout but not appropriate to a pre-grouping one, where big old fashioned toggle switches and mechanical rodding fit the general feel of the period better.

 

Scratchbuilding is not difficult, unless you want to be a Guy Williams or a Tony Reynolds. If you are happy being a peter Denny or a Frank Dyer, then you need some very basic skills in marking out and cutting metal (or plastic - there is one plastic scratchbuilt loco on Buckingham). The thing is you have to want to do it. If you are happy openng boxes, then carry on and enjoy your hobby that way.  If you want to have a layout where you can say "I made that" then pre-grouping is a superb option to go for.

 

There are a good number of kits around, so you could choose a railway that can be modelled from them. Lines like the LNWR are well catered for. Others are less well covered and require some lateral thinking, with clever conversions or scratcbuilding. Whichever somebody chooses, it is great fun and you have a good chance of building a layout that has your personal "style" to it, rather than that being another Hornby/Bachmann/Heljan/Dapol production.

 

Tony

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You can't buck the market and market forces have removed much that was available to us modellers of years ago. The box of chimneys, domes, whistles, safety valves, Tender domes and water fillers, axleboxes etc, that had accumilated over a lifetime of building was thrown out a few years ago during a tidy-out. George Mellor at GEM told me he could supply any casting I needed when I was building LNWR locos in the late 1960s and this was a real boon. Could I source such fitting today I wonder?

 

There has been no indication on this thread of how many RMwebbers are actually building a pre-group layout with locos and rolling stock etc., and the one thing that puzzles me is, how do they tackle the ornate pre-group liveries? Painting was always a problem for people hence the populaity of the 1930's GWR for so many decades where modellers got away with plain green locos and choc & cream coaches devoid of lining.

 

Count me in!

 

I did some artwork for some GCR lettering transfers (now in the "Steam and Things range) and for lining I use LNER ones from the HMRS. I put the LNER White/Black/White on first and then a single red round the outside for the black livery and for passenger livery the White/Black/White suffices.

 

I did hand line a loco or two but even though I accept that good hand lining beats transfers, mine was simply not that good! The transfers are just that bit neater and more consistent than what I could do at the time. I will try again but I don't complete enough models to get the amount of practice that one needs to get really expert at lining.

 

I have also done some LNWR and GNR items too.

 

I now have several pre-grouping layouts, or at least set in the early grouping period with much stock in the earlier livery.

 

Tony

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Sometimes I forget the creative initiative railway modellers have for finding work-arounds. Adapting transfer lining is one I hadn't thought of Tony.  LNER white-black-white lining should be usable on any livery with similar lining such as the Caledonian and others.

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You can't buck the market and market forces have removed much that was available to us modellers of years ago. The box of chimneys, domes, whistles, safety valves, Tender domes and water fillers, axleboxes etc, that had accumilated over a lifetime of building was thrown out a few years ago during a tidy-out. George Mellor at GEM told me he could supply any casting I needed when I was building LNWR locos in the late 1960s and this was a real boon. Could I source such fitting today I wonder?

 

There has been no indication on this thread of how many RMwebbers are actually building a pre-group layout with locos and rolling stock etc., and the one thing that puzzles me is, how do they tackle the ornate pre-group liveries? Painting was always a problem for people hence the populaity of the 1930's GWR for so many decades where modellers got away with plain green locos and choc & cream coaches devoid of lining.

 Coachman and others

The first lesson from your posting is not to throw away anything! I keep my excess bits in a 40-drawer miniature cabinet and have seperate boxes for most loco, coach and wagon components, and I use it a lot when I am scratchbuilding or when I prefer to modify a kit. Some of my bits date back to the 1950's! 

There are many small suppliers out there, even for people like me who work on models of the 1840-80 period but some of them take some finding.

I agree that it would be useful to have some idea of how many of us period modellers there are, and what we do, because that would enable us to feed ideas and sources to and from each other.

My personal interests are LBSCR/SER/LCDR so if I can help anybody with info or?

Michael dJS

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Painting was always a problem for people hence the populaity of the 1930's GWR for so many decades where modellers got away with plain green locos and choc & cream coaches devoid of lining.

It is precisely the liveries, the lining, the orderlyness of the permanent way etc. that make this period so attractive.  One has to persevere to acquire the skills or work arounds to achieve the desired result though I have heard from some who have abandoned pre-grouping because these things are too time consuming.

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Some interesting comments concerning availability of kit and bits, as well as the ability to paint line ornate liveries.

 

The demise of the traditional model shop that used to carry kits and bits is no doubt one major reason why a perception exists that they are not readily available. However, for those that are able to get the the "specialist" exhibitions such as S4um, ExpoEM, Aylesbury Railex, Watford Finescale and others where the "smaller suppliers" are present then it is possible to find those things. In my experience most kit suppliers will sell the castings, etc. from their kits even if they don't have them listed in a catalogue or on the website.

 

The ornate liveries can be a bit daunting, but transfers are available for many of the pre-group loco lining schemes, as well as carriage and wagon lettering, etc. Complex carriage liveries can seem terrifying, especially the LNWR and Caledonian, GNR teak, etc.  However, there are usually ways to do them which someone, somewhere has already developed and described. When I took up modelling the LNWR I was introduced to a technique for lining the carriages which, although not as accurate or as good as Ian Rathbones's work, still produces nice results.

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The box of chimneys, domes, whistles, safety valves, Tender domes and water fillers, axleboxes etc, that had accumilated over a lifetime of building was thrown out a few years ago during a tidy-out.

 

aaaaarrgh!  I'm with mikeandnel and aim to keep anything that might be remotely useful! 

 

I've resorted to carving some small bits out of brass bar, using a wheel cutter and sanding drums on my mini-drill (safety glasses essential).

 

Mike

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The lining problem was the issue that stopped me modelling the LSWR.  25 years ago, there was not, to my knowledge, any transfers that could help me.  It's too late now, I have too much stock to turn the modelling clock back.

The solution in those days was a draughtsmans pen, but a few LSWR insignia transfers were on the PC Models 7mm scale Southern Railway transfer sheet. Gold Blick or Letraset was handy too when hand-shaded. The commisions I dreaded were Lancashite & Yorkshire or Midland & Great Northern Railway that had to be hand written in an arc across tank sides. A shame Bachmann didn't go for this attractive variant on their LYR 2-4-2T, as I'd have bought one for the mantlepiece.

Edited by coachmann
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You can't buck the market and market forces have removed much that was available to us modellers of years ago. The box of chimneys, domes, whistles, safety valves, Tender domes and water fillers, axleboxes etc, that had accumilated over a lifetime of building was thrown out a few years ago during a tidy-out. George Mellor at GEM told me he could supply any casting I needed when I was building LNWR locos in the late 1960s and this was a real boon. Could I source such fitting today I wonder?

 

There has been no indication on this thread of how many RMwebbers are actually building a pre-group layout with locos and rolling stock etc., and the one thing that puzzles me is, how do they tackle the ornate pre-group liveries? Painting was always a problem for people hence the populaity of the 1930's GWR for so many decades where modellers got away with plain green locos and choc & cream coaches devoid of lining.

 

I think you could source any such part you wanted. We've been through a period it has been very hard because the entire engineering universe is optimised for "how many thousand do you need" to one where technology and the "maker" movement are turning it back the other way with things like home CNC and 3D print. Five years ago it was actually a real challenge to figure out how to replicate some of the older Ultima bits, now many of them are trivial. In fact it's really only the screenprinted sides which are hard, and those could be re-done at home given a lockup and time to master the art. Wheels are perhaps the other hard one, at least at a sane price.

 

For lining I use a mix of things including not looking too hard 8) as well as very fine pigma micron pens to trace around the edge of etched panels which for 2mm gives an acceptable result except at 'snorting the ballast' distance, decals and sometimes pre-printed sides (especially when doing really horrendous liveries like early GWR in N). For things like teak in N you can als do the panel lining just by being careful with the paint and  drybrushing so that the edges get picked out and look as if they are lined.

 

1172.jpg

 

(pardon the wander into 1926 or so) is not lined for example, just brushed so that the paint tends to pick up the panels

 

while this one is pre-printed although it might be hard to get away with that in a bigger scale than N

 

1249.jpg

 

(then again in OO you could perhaps make the side two etches, aligned with marker holes, painted and then glued together with a flexible glue and curved before being trimmed from the frame). While that example doesn't show it a pre-printed side with sticky out doorhandles does seem to convince the eye quite nicely in small scale.

 

Alan

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There has been no indication on this thread of how many RMwebbers are actually building a pre-group layout with locos and rolling stock etc., and the one thing that puzzles me is, how do they tackle the ornate pre-group liveries? Painting was always a problem for people hence the populaity of the 1930's GWR for so many decades where modellers got away with plain green locos and choc & cream coaches devoid of lining.

 

Some of us are quietly having a go at it...

 

GER lined black is not exactly SECR in complexity, but this is the first locomotive that I've sprayed in cellulose (a revelation, even if this is only good enough for a shunting engine) and my second ever attempt at lining that doesn't involve transfers.

 

post-3210-0-62576800-1386008396_thumb.jpg

 

post-3210-0-75286000-1386008409_thumb.jpg

 

As Jol knows, the next model will be more complex, as it involves 1906 LNWR lining...  And yes, the compensated/rigid/sprung combination that we discussed on Thursday evening seems to work well.  I set the frames up on the Avonside jig last night :-)

 

Cheers

Flymo

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Sometimes I forget the creative initiative railway modellers have for finding work-arounds. Adapting transfer lining is one I hadn't thought of Tony.  LNER white-black-white lining should be usable on any livery with similar lining such as the Caledonian and others.

 

Except for very fine lining you could equally just draw some (or get someone who can use a paint package to do it) and ask John Peck at Precision Decals to print you a sheet of it. His prices are basically by area and with careful thought you can get a lot of lining on a sheet providing you can cut straight.

 

I've also found vinyl cutters and the cuttable masking material interesting. You can accurately (0.1-0.2mm or so) cut a mask for painting bits. I have been experimenting and I have a badly painted N2 to test theory on by turning it from LNER to GNR. Just need the time as ever.

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