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MR 200


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An excellent edition has just been delivered.

 

For me, what is of note is an interview by Chris Nevard with the venerable model railway personality Bob Symes-Schutzmann who is now 90.

 

Great to see Bob looking so well and still enthused with his outdoor railways. Well worth a read.

 

I'll leave it to you Chris (Dibber 25) to post your usual contents notification....(unless you have and I've missed it somewhere!)

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Model Rail issue No. 200 reaching subscribers now - in shops from next Friday.

 

Contents:

News: new models announced by Bachmann, DJ Models, Heljan, Kernow MRC, and Locomotion/NRM.

Reviews: Bachmann '1F' half-cab 0-6-0T, Graham Farish Class 25, Heljan Class 128 third variants.

Layouts:

Cardiff Canton (O)

Bromsgrove (OO)

Barton Road (N)

 

At home with Bob Symes

 

WIN models weathered by GC Weathering. (N and OO)

 

Workbench:

Build a signalbox (Allan Downes)

Supertest Ballast Spreaders (Peter Marriott)

Build a resin 0-4-0 body kit (George Dent)

 

Regulars including Q&A, Show and Tell, Backscene.

post-1062-0-48481800-1409066636_thumb.jpg

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Congrats to Model Rail for reaching 200 issues.

 

It was issue no 3 that got me back into model railways. It was early 1998, I was on holidays in a seaside resort here in Victoria Australia when I first spotted this new magazine.  I bought it and now the wallet is a lot lighter for doing so.  I think it had a LNER layout in it, so that became my focus.

 

Look forward to this issue.

 

Mark In OZ

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I loved the interview with Bob Symes but was rather disappointed not to see the Payerbrook and Fairlie get a bigger mention.  It was a beautifully observed little layout - as far as could be judged from both contemporary magazine articles and the interlude in which it featured.  I wonder if the latter might still be around somewhere on You Tube or wherever, anybody know?

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Mike - a few snippets of the Payerbrook and Fairlie in the first section of:

 

Many thanks Miss P - I think the original interlude film is fairly complete in that video, definitely the bit at the end with the 'big hand from the sky' is as I recall it.  And it shows one of the interesting features of the well observed signalling on the P& F so a real find thank you.

 

Edit typos

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If I'm brutally honest I was a little bit dispointed by this months edition (I've only been a subscriber for 6 months). It just seemed to be read very quickly and not as inspiring as others. To me layouts are the big thing in a magazine, and whilst (Cardiff Canton especially) were very good I'd have liked more. Inspiration is what I want from a magazine, either peoples layouts or prototype ideas or plans and it just seemed a bit thin. I like looking at layouts (of all types and scales) and thinking 'wow' or articles of the prototype where I think 'what a good idea'.

 

There was an awful lot devoted to new product announcements (I'm aware reviews are a bit thin on the ground at the moment) but these were all well known to me from here. Given the internet and facebook age a magazine isn't really there for breaking news or scoops. And I wasn''t around in the 70s so I didn't know who Bob Symes was! It was an interesting article but it didn't really inspire my modelling in the way a layout or prototype instruction was

 

As said I've only been a subscriber for a bit so I'll keep going and hopefully enjoy the next few a bit more. This is nothing against those who make the magazine, it was very well put together but it didn't float my boat.

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I would slightly disagree with TomJ. Insofar as that it's assumed that everyone is on Facebook and the internet in general. Many people, especially those over 50 are not on the internet and these are the targeted readership (if the many doom mongers who are constantly telling us that the hobby is on it's last legs due to a lack of youngsters are to be believed). :no:

 

I myself am 44 and have only been on the internet for a couple of years. I certainly don't have a Facebook account and have only known about this Forum about a year or so. I try to avoid the threads on this Forum that are new models related as they invariably end up turning into a slanging match. I have however been a subscriber of RM since approximately issue 50. I also have no intention of switching to digital, if the print copy goes then I'll give up.

 

I think the coverage is about right. It was a heavy news month and this is obviously reflected in the extra news coverage. I personally would of preferred more practical articles. Only one of vague use this month, however others may of found the others interesting. I'm not normally very interested in layouts, but it was odd seeing Bromsgrove as I had only just returned from there the previous day. Good to see Bob Symes is still going strong. I was of the generation that watched his programmes on Sunday afternoons (I think).

 

Regards Jason.

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very dispointed with this issue of RM. Broke my own rule pick up the magazine without looking first. To say it is the 200th issue it as not been marked very well,? of interest was "barton road" and "bob symes". next time i will look first!!.

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Mike - a few snippets of the Payerbrook and Fairlie in the first section of:

A huge thank-you for posting that link. I searched high and low for the 'Wheels' interlude in the hope that I could include a link in the magazine article but I couldn't track it down. I remember it well from the early days of TV when the BBC had to use fillers because US TV series series were always 4min short to allow for adverts, which we didn't have. Bob described the making of 'Wheels' back in an issue of Model Railway Constructor in about 1961/2.

CHRIS LEIGH

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very dispointed with this issue of RM. Broke my own rule pick up the magazine without looking first. To say it is the 200th issue it as not been marked very well,? of interest was "barton road" and "bob symes". next time i will look first!!.

We felt that there is an obsession with reaching milestone issue numbers, which means a lot to the staff but does it really mean much to readers? We felt that we should mark it relatively quietly. Broadly, we had three layout articles, as usual, review samples were thin on the ground but there was plenty of news and despite the view on here that RMweb is all that anyone needs, only a very small proportion of Model Rail readers actually use RMweb.

CHRIS LEIGH

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Oh dear, sorry Chris but I do have to disagree with some of the comments on here. The Bob Symes article seemed very light. In my opinion his most interesting project was a real model diesel electric - I remember this at an indoor exhibition filling the [small] hall with diesel exhaust; laugh, we nearly chocked! [Didn't he also do a diesel hydraulic, I'm pretty sure I remember it in Model Railway News. But then, I don't recollect ever seeing model railways in any TV programme.

 

And, do you all like this super realistic model photography that is becoming [too much] the norm - used so much in the Canton Article? I actually found a real photo of my own recently that has similar light - Immingham 2 November 1986 http://PaulBartlett.zenfolio.com/brtclassbesso/e2fc597e7 and I have experienced similar in South Wales - Cardiff Docks 15 December 1980 http://PaulBartlett.zenfolio.com/texaco/e23a54791 but such occasions are very rare and it is a winter phenomena. But where was the atmosphere of a smoke filled loco depot where ash would hang in the air? I don't think that style of photography did justice to the modelling.

 

Paul

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A good issue.

I must also say I found the Bob Symes article a bit on the light side.

At a quick skim through, no mention of his involvement with the full size railway, director of the company that wanted to reopen the Waverley Route and nothing of his prolific output of German programmes.

I seem to remember him building a Hymek that I found fascinating at the time as nobody had attempted any thing like it.

It does serve to remind me that I must get an order in for a USA tank.

Bernard

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I think the thing with Bob Symes is that he did so much it is difficult to know what to include or exclude.  As far as I can remember his earliest published work in model railway magazines was the Payerbrook and Fairlie and at roughly the same time it appeared in the BBC interlude together with the additional straight section produced specially for the filming.

 

In later years the genuinely diesel-electric Brush Type 4 which he built (I think Gauge 1) also got extensive coverage in MRN and I think he did a diesel hydraulic as well.  But just where do you start and finish and how far can you go in covering a model railway hobby, with numerous developments in all sorts of directions, that stretches back over 50 years and which some of us, let alone a 90 year old, can't recall?  To ask about anything in particular you first need to know about it - and if you don't know you can't ask (and no, I'm not 'knocking' Chris Nevard in any way as I'm still of the view that he did a nice job - I certainly enjoyed reading it).

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Oh dear, sorry Chris but I do have to disagree with some of the comments on here. The Bob Symes article seemed very light. In my opinion his most interesting project was a real model diesel electric - I remember this at an indoor exhibition filling the [small] hall with diesel exhaust; laugh, we nearly chocked! [Didn't he also do a diesel hydraulic, I'm pretty sure I remember it in Model Railway News. But then, I don't recollect ever seeing model railways in any TV programme.

 

And, do you all like this super realistic model photography that is becoming [too much] the norm - used so much in the Canton Article? I actually found a real photo of my own recently that has similar light - Immingham 2 November 1986 http://PaulBartlett.zenfolio.com/brtclassbesso/e2fc597e7 and I have experienced similar in South Wales - Cardiff Docks 15 December 1980 http://PaulBartlett.zenfolio.com/texaco/e23a54791 but such occasions are very rare and it is a winter phenomena. But where was the atmosphere of a smoke filled loco depot where ash would hang in the air? I don't think that style of photography did justice to the modelling.

 

Paul

Chris, who did the interview and the photography, probably isn't old enough to remember the diesels that Bob built - and also, frankly - they are WAY outside the normal area of coverage of Model Rail which goes as big as gauge 1. The diesels, particularly the hydraulic were covered heavily at the time in MRN, I think, and much as I admire Bob and his work I found the detailed coverage well outside my area of interest, particularly as while it might have WORKED like a Hymek, it didn't look much like one. As to the lighting on Canton, well, we just can't please people. We take a load of flak when Chris puts artificial smoke on layout pictures. Now it seems, we get flak for NOT doing it. Talk about can't win! I'm sure Chris's lighting was designed to do the very best possible justice to the modelling, but, hey, it just goes to show you can't please all the people all the time. 

CHRIS LEIGH

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Chris, who did the interview and the photography, probably isn't old enough to remember the diesels that Bob built - and also, frankly - they are WAY outside the normal area of coverage of Model Rail which goes as big as gauge 1. The diesels, particularly the hydraulic were covered heavily at the time in MRN, I think, and much as I admire Bob and his work I found the detailed coverage well outside my area of interest, particularly as while it might have WORKED like a Hymek, it didn't look much like one. As to the lighting on Canton, well, we just can't please people. We take a load of flak when Chris puts artificial smoke on layout pictures. Now it seems, we get flak for NOT doing it. Talk about can't win! I'm sure Chris's lighting was designed to do the very best possible justice to the modelling, but, hey, it just goes to show you can't please all the people all the time. 

CHRIS LEIGH

The lighting on Canton was superb, ( my kitchen has never been so bright) It really brings out the detail of the locos and especially highlights the weathering. So much so that I will be adding daylight bulbs over Ranelagh Bridge.

We do get sun in South Wales believe it or not and I've got the pictures to prove it. If Chris added to much photo shop in the way of grime that would then invite criticism.

The other thing to remember is this layout is only 6 foot x 2 foot and Chris had to be clever with the photography to make it appear much larger than it is.

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I thought the lack of fanfare about it being the 200th issue (and congratulations to all by the way) was refreshing. I've read far too many articles in milestone issues of various magazines where 'informative retrospective' has crossed the line into 'brazen backslapping'.

 

I was wondering if the pictures of Canton had been subject to some jiggery-pokery (other than adding sky - something I have no problem with personally) to make them look so realistic, but if that's purely down to lighting (and the models themselves, obviously) then fair play - I'm impressed. And a BIG thank you for not adding artifical smoke.

 

Best of all, I thought, was the picture of Bob Symes riding around his garden in his railcar looking every bit the quintessential eccentric gentleman. Ninety years young, mad as a box of frogs and clearly loving every minute of it - good on you, sir!

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I bought the magazine specifically for the interview with Bob Symes and have to agree with others that it was a bit lightweight.

 

I also felt disappointed that there was no track plan of Cardiff Canton. The great inspiration of a layout like that is the skill involved in making a small space represent something larger. Having a track plan is absolutely essential in interpreting how that was achieved.

 

Otherwise, an enjoyable edition

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Thanks very much Miss Prism for the link to the "Wheels interlude film", last time I saw that was on a 14" b&w TV. It must have made an impression on a (rather young) me as I remember the carriage window mask in some of the shots. In these days when you can take a very high resolution video clip and bung it on youtube it's good to be reminded of an earlier film technology which required a lot of thought and craftsmanship to get a good result.  I've watched the clip again several times, it really did include the soul of a railway journey!

 

Re the gauge 1 diesel powered 47, there were some articles in Model Railways in mid-1974 on this, with lots of drawings as was Model Railway's style. (Still got some of these). The loco was powered by a Taplin twin marine diesel coupled to a motor cycle generator.  The generator could be used to start the engine (a useful, in fact vital,  idea). Tractive effort was about 2 kg according to the article. Stuart Hine was the other creator.   The cab ends were made of brass beaten round a wooden former.   Think this appeared running on one of Bob Syme's tv programs which must have been late 70s early 80s?  Great piece of model engineering.

 

Think that Bob Symes, like, say,  Clive Sinclair and Alex Moulton, can think outside the box and be genuinely innovative in a way that can inspire us all.

 

 

Final point, I only recently came across gwr.org myself, after it was mentioned in the Rapido newsletter!

 

I shall now go and look at wheels again....(then run a 14xx round the loft)

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While the modelling achievements of Bob Bangs "Bromsgrove" are to be congratulated for modelling a real location, I wonder if the picture editor of Model Rail needs to take more care?  The double spread on pages 62-63 had the benefit of photoshopped sky added, but the track fixing nail in the sleeper in the foreground and the damaged platform edge in the far distance certainly detracted from a good viewpoint. Also on the double spread on pages 68-69 the full size cobwebs suggest the stock in the yard haven't moved for some time!  

 

So is photoshopping justified to remove these blips?

 

Maybe we can all learn from this by taking close ups of our own layouts with a digital camera then viewing them as enlargements to enable us to see those modelling discrepancies not otherwise seen.

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