Isolation

It’s been a strange old time for all of us this year, myself included and from a personal perspective, lockdown led to the surprising revelation that apart from trips out through the Borders, Galloway and beyond and going out to work three days a week, my life wasn’t that different. I have lived a increasingly solitary existence for sometime now and the realisation that this probably isn’t a healthy situation long term is at the forefront of my mind now. It’s something I need to address although with my head full of what I need to get done to sell up and move it’s something I can only fully apply myself to once I’m out the other end of that particular process. It is however something that needs addressed and hopefully soon. It’s taken a situation of global proportions to illuminate how small my own macro world has become! I look forward to renewing old connections and forging new ones in a new chapter of life. I hope this starts to happen soon!

Meanwhile, modelling has been a little quieter and the only activity this weekend has been in relation to a Heljan Class 27 and my sole remaining Bachmann Class 37/0, both undergoing renumbering from previous condition. All being well, weathering may take place later this week.

A trio of Accurascale STS Cement hoppers also recently arrived and will get the treatment in due course.

Anyway, I have an early start in the morning so signing off now and stay safe folks.

Heart and Soul

Now and then a new release arrives that inspires you so much that you throw all your creative effort at it to make it as special as you can.

Dapol’s Class 21/29 is precisely one of those though in fairness, Hattons’ Barclay Pugs and Hornby’s J36 (plus the impending Rails 812 Class and Hornby 2MT) fall into the same category for me. It’s taken forty years but they all seem to be arriving at once! 😀 However, I digress; these two 29s arrived in recent weeks after I finally cleared my stash at C&M Models in Carlisle (can’t recommend Mike’s good customer service enough!) Both fit in with that last year of Class 29 Operation in 1970-71 and are finished accordingly; though I might have to obtain another 6107 to do her in April ‘68 condition with D prefixes as photted by Derek Cross in an uncommonly accurately captioned shot! 😉.

However, in the best traditions of ‘Wordless Wednesday’, it’s time for the photos to do the talking… DISCLAIMER; I know the cocks and bags aren’t attached. I’m waiting until I get decoders installed in the locos first! 😉

Interzone.

Followers of this blog will be aware of my intention, formally announced last July to sell up and move back to Scotland. At that time I gave myself nine months to complete the mission. World events obviously had other plans…

Realistically, I still had work to do on the place when Lockdown kicked in and my nine months estimate wasn’t perhaps as realistic as first thought. Nevertheless, as a result of Lockdown I found myself on voluntary furlough for two months which allowed me to make great progress. I now have only three smallish material jobs to complete and I have plans for hopefully executing two of those shortly. In the meantime, life centres on getting stuff packed away to present an uncluttered appearance for any viewer.

This of course means that a lot of the personal stuff has gone into boxes now and the place is beginning to look a little sparse and impersonal. Other than the garden which I spend most of my time sat or busy in at the moment, the house has become a kind of half-way between the two worlds of the past and the future. Coupled with the way things currently are, it’s a strange kind of limbo I find myself in; stuck here but wanting to be somewhere else but not seeing an immediate end to the situation. Even though I’m not far from listing the property, I need to find a new place in Scotland to go to but with the Scottish Government sensibly exercising a gradual approach to the easing of lockdown (unlike the psychopaths running the show in the south), it may be a little bit before I can actually go and scout my intended area of residence on the ground still.

Living alone of course means it’s entirely on my own plate and I’m just having to learn what and how to do it on my own as I go. This means things happen slowly and there’s only one head and set of resources to do the thinking but that’s where we are; nobody is actually forcing me to do this and the end makes the effort worthwhile. And there is still modelling to be done…

Half the size, twice the fun!

Note the unexpected appearance of the dog world’s A4 in the background! 😂

In addition to clearing my own backlog I’m also dealing with some items from friends, including these n gauge locos. The techniques are essentially the same for locomotives in all three scales I have weathered, but you can see that the overall effect is the same regardless.

Anyway, I probably don’t have to say too much beyond identifying the class and make; the photos can do the talking today, I’ve got heavy work upstairs to be getting on with! 😬

Bachmann Farish A2 60528 Tudor Minstrel.
Bachmann Farish A1 60144 Sir Walter Scott.
Dapol A4 60011 Empire of India.

Bachmann Standard Class 4MT tank 80055.

Loose Ends

As previously mentioned, in spite of all the other activity that going on here, some modelling has occurred. Primarily, it’s been a kind of tidying up exercise. Over the last ten years or so an accumulation of part completed or even barely started projects have festooned the corners of the shed and what you see here is the fruit of a concerted effort to get this pile, reduced, completed and stashed away for the big move.

Top of the pile was an old Hornby Mallard, lying in a dismembered state since 2011. I finally got round to detailing the model with the Brassmasters etch and equipping the bogie with Gibson wheels for a finer appearance. Although I’ve been advised by an expert that further modification to the corridor end of the tender is needed for her portrayed era (1965), she is pretty much completed now.

60009, Union of South Africa, 1965.

Prior to 60009’s roll out, the second piece of steam traction was a Bachmann Ivatt 2MT. This had previously been earmarked for conversion to a BR Standard version but Hornby’s 2020 programme rendered that idea redundant. The Ivatt has now been finished as Dundee (Tay Bridge) shed’s 46463, used for years on local traffic along with now preserved sister 46364.

Also lying at the back of a drawer were two Claytons, non-runners since new which I eventually, two years back found suitable replacement chassis for. Along with two sisters in early livery who had been EM configured but subsequently returned to OO, the locos were equipped with nice new finescale buffers and suitably less than spotless Clayton state of presentation!

Now they are completed, all these models will now be packed away, to be enjoyed one day when all of this strangeness and all the frantic activity of the future move is finally complete and I can then fully enjoy creative activities again without the guilt of knowing I have other pressing work to do!

A

Waiting to Proceed.

I surely don’t have to comment on the strangeness and uneasiness of the times we are currently going through together, there’s an entire media circus out there fully engaged in that task, so really this is all the mention it’s getting here though virtually everything in this entry is a result of it!

I currently find myself on furlough from my part time work and have been since late March. Frankly given the nature of my work I’ll be quite happy for that to continue for now!

Anyway, all this time off has allowed me to make enormous progress with the house, getting it ever closer to readiness for sale and hopefully a quick return to my homeland when restrictions do finally ease. The garden is now completed as is the fence and the last outdoor task involved making my own concrete step for the gateway. Knocking up my own shuttering and doing the concrete mix was a surprisingly enjoyable task!

It must be said that my original schedule set last July for achieving my objective of getting home in nine months was a bit optimistic but when I look back at all the things I’ve achieved with the house, the difference is immeasurable. There is still work to do but the biggest part is just decluttering and packing; there’s an awful lot of stuff that needs chucked or rehoused as I intend to travel light to my new life!

Modelling, of course, the whole reason this blog exists has largely out of necessity taken something of a back seat over the last 4-5 years as a whole series of challenges of other kinds have had to be dealt with but whilst ‘ the kennel’ will shortly have to be mostly packed up, some activity has occurred, more of which on my next post, to follow immediately; some technical issues are forcing me to limit post sizes right now, stay tuned, friends! 😊

Playing at Bob the Builder!
The scabby panel will soon be replaced by a nice iron gate!

December 1900

RAILWAY SMASH NEAR BERWICK. ————— TRAFFIC DISORGANISED. ————— MAIL TRAINS DELAYED. —————    Early yesterday morning, when a goods train on the North-…

December 1900

The railways of Scotland have always been dangerous places and remain so. Random Scottish History has been publishing a fascinating series of summaries gathered from press reports in 1900, showing just how so that was! They are worth studying, if occasionally colourful and explicitly gory!

Lovely, lovely models!

Dapol’s long awaited NBL/BR Class 29 Diesel loco.

It’s been almost ten years since Dapol announced their NBL type 2s and although it’s been an incredibly long gestation, here they finally are. For a long time there was scepticism on the part of many, me included about what the quality of the end product was going to be like but in the intervening years, many changes have taken place at Dapol, resulting in some incredibly good models emerging from that manufacturer. When the CAF Type 5 or Class 68 as it’s generally known appeared, its quality of execution and performance gave me utmost confidence that the NBL Type 2 project was in safe hands.

The stunning Dapol Class 68

In December 2019, the first NBLs, the original build (Class 21*) machines arrived and this one subsequently joined my fleet. As an Eastfield loco, circa 1965, she fitted perfectly with my Central Belt interests.

D6116, modelled prior to 1966 Class 29 rebuild

Following on in January came the first pair of four Class 29 rebuilds. These were the ones that really had me excited as I’m pretty sure I have a memory of one of these up against the buffers in Glasgow Queen St as a wee boy in 1968-9. The rebuild programme, tested in 1963-65 with D6123 was technically successful and produced a much more useful and reliable machine but with only twenty machines converted to Class 29 before BR re-appraised its traction needs in 1968, the small, non-standard Class was doomed to early withdrawal with the last examples retiring at the end of 1971. Shame. 🙁 There’s something about the face of these NBLs that seems familiar from my early days. My mother certainly took me through GQS going to visit relatives in the late 60s so I’m pretty sure I saw at least one. It’s the same reason I have early memories of what I know now to be Glasgow Corporation PD2 buses and AM3/ 303 electric units on the north suburban services.

Preserved PD2 of the kind that I rode across Glasgow in as a tot!

The last of the three NBLs to arrive so far is the small panel two tone green version and like the blue Class 29 in the header, the livery in perfectly executed.

1965 two-tone green livery

Once thing that really stands out with these models is the level of detail in the underframe of these models; probably the most detailed I’ve seen.

I’ve yet to give the two 29s a proper run but the 21 has been tested and runs very smoothly. The whole model has a reassuringly solid feel to it and running qualities that would probably have saved the originals from an early grave! This class of locos has long been a favourite of mine and with the release of this model, every class of BR main line diesel has now been properly represented in model form.

In terms of quality models, if not the full-size, it seems the best has been left to last!