Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wot? No posts!

Hi all,

Due to the upcoming festive season and the necessary preparations, I shall not be posting now until the new year. Have a great time and see you all in 2007!


Friday, December 15, 2006

That time of year


I've been having some thoughts about the time of year I should model Rhyd Ddu in:

- Winter - bare trees, dead bracken, full streams, but few trains(!) See image below of tracklaying on Pitt's Head straight...

- Autumn - notoriously difficult to model leaf colour correctly and convincingly (sorry for the poor attempt at finding an autumn pic, which also shows the lack of Autumnal images of the area I've collected too!)

- Summer - too much growth and heavy blobby green bracken coverage as shown in the foreground below...

- Spring - a nice balance, not too much growth and a mix of dead and new colours....

So, I'm thinking Spring then.....oh dear that will mean another trip to Wales, the Welsh Highland and Rhyd Ddu is necessary, what a terrible problem!!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas blogging

Well, now we're moving into the final days of shopping madness before Christmas, I am going to reduce the number of blog posts to just one a week (every Monday if possible). Normal service will be maintained come January....

Happy Christmas and a wonderful new year (one year closer to 40 glorious miles of narrow gauge heaven in 2009)...


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Forwards Miniatures?

Now I'm a big fan of backwoods miniatures ( as they produce some very good kits. Their Double Fairlie, Taliesin, NGG16, K1, Russell and Linda/Blanche are indeed likely to feature on Rhyd Ddu in the future... I do however have some comments on them:

They have now (it seems) finished on their '009 crusade' and have moved into the On30 market, which is a shame as there are many other narrow gauge locos that could do with the Backwoods treatment. In their defence, they say that a kit for Monarch will be done at some point in the future and that when a NG15 is running on the WHR, a suitable kit will appear, but it is disappointing that some locos won't ever be part of the backwoods family... That appears to be a factor of: Pete's personal preference of locos and the (presumably) better market for On30 stuff.

In an article, in 'Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Modelling Review' [is that the journal with the longest name ever???] ( a few years ago, it was revealed that the double fairlie kit nearly didn't make it, as Pete has trouble with his personal views on the prototype... This, it seems, is the reason that other locos, such as the FR Englands, Mountaineer, any Talyllyn/Corris loco etc will never make it to become a Backwoods kit. What a shame, particularly as some of the 'missing' kits I would suspect would sell pretty well.

Secondly, the Backwoods kits are generally only a model of the loco in one particular time frame. That is, that the NGG16 is in SAR condition and requires a lot of modifications to make it into a WHR NGG16; the same with the double fairlie, which is only really to model Livingston Thompson (and it's other previous namings). Again, a shame and one which must reduce the available market for such products.

But why am I moaning, the kits are superb, instructions great (a few companies could learn lessons from the great instructions backwoods give), the locos run well and, the best bit is, that they are as near to perfect scale models as is possible in 4mm to the foot gauge. Certainly significantly better than some out-of-scale white metal kits that used to be the mainstay of 009.

So, well done Pete, but, as ever with my postings on this blog, it's not 10/10 due to the slightly disappointing range limitation imposed by your own taste and the lack of flexibility within kits for differing versions of the same loco. Altogether it's 9/10...


Monday, December 04, 2006

A half-century!

Welcome to my 50th post!!

So, Warley show then.......what did we think??? A few observations:

- Backwood Miniatures was in attendance and they got an order from me (what will be Merddin Emrys).

Their kits are superbly put together and are quite simply the best in 009. Pete even said that he will be doing a kit for an NG15 in the future, once the WHR have decided on a design for the tender. Loco image below:

- A number of narrow gauge layouts were there and relevant images are available on my fotopic site:

- There were also a number of innovations there that were interesting: Hornby DCC, a sniff of a new Bachmann DCC system coming soon, smaller DCC chips than ever (and at £10) and various sound modules etc for DCC. As mentioned before Rhyd Ddu is being wired in such a way as to make DCC conversion as easy as possible, but will be conventional DC for now.

- But....I hear you say....surely he has some criticisms.....
Firstly it was very busy in the morning and frankly the aisles were not anywhere near wide enough, particularly for wheelchairs.

Secondly the catering is OK, but seating provision, although improved from previous years was still very much found wanting.
Thirdly, I saw this (otherwise) lovely model of NGG16 No. 138 in 16mm scale, but what's with the colour??? Why does it seem so difficult for anyone modelling this engine to get the colour right??? Compare and contrast ....