Archive for the rail Category

Paradise City

Posted in canon, canon g10, entertainment, environment, exhibition, Humour, internet shopping, life, London, london underground, media, model railroad, model railway, modelling, photography, rail, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by norvenmunky

Albert Square 2010

Albert Square

We’ve all got our idea of a Paradise City, places we’ve been, lived, worked, read about, well this is mine, unashamedly, London. Where it all started was Lambeff, Albert Square to be precise, not that crappy beeb London one, but the real, sahf of the riva, see above. I never really thought about why I felt such an affinity with the Kings Cross area when I worked there, but re-visiting pictures it seems that the similar architecture of Georgian three storey architecture with basements and Portland stone probably made an impact on the two year old NM prior to heading out of town, a relief then to realise it wasn’t just the drink, prostitutes and drugs that captivated me on my return. Sometimes I wasted my money on toy trains.

MRM Kings Cross London

That led me to working at the Model Railway Manufacturing Co. Ltd. of York Way. The building has survived the recent development of the area and is now a restaurant. That will be somewhat ironic for the previous staff members who worked there, in that you can now order food to be eaten in the building, rather than using our shop intercom from three buildings away. That could be used, (allegedly), to order food in a cafe, Renzo’s, (three doors away), much to the dissapointment of the proprietor whom on opening an unsummoned dumb waiter, was to see ‘Dooamaneg’ glaring balefully at him on a grease laden sloppy plate…

The friendships built up there still last to this day, some of the antics still bring a wry smile to the face. As youngsters into ‘London’ it was important to find out the area, so we had a street map on the wall, theoretically, for customers who pre googlespace/mytube/facetwatter, wanted to know how to get from place to place. Well there was only one way to find out. Research.

St Pauls

There wasn’t a reseach budget as such, just an unerring faith in our ability to leave the shop at 13:01pm (without a map), ‘RLF’ for twenty to twenty five minutes, and then deliberately find a different route back to be through the door at 13:59pm. The result then being plotted on the map using the shop as the centre and a radius/range being drawn in with a compass. Therefore if a customer asked how long it took to walk to X, you could theoretically give an answer …

Thames from the 'right' side of the river ...

Now, Nm’s regular readers will already be seeing ‘potential’ for interesting and frank, free flowing discussion with ‘management’ on return to the shop, and to be fair there were a few occasisions when such discussion took place. I can recall one particular return trip that went ‘a bit wrong’. We’d headed south to Holborn, via Bloomsbury on a beautiful spring day, but had headed back to route up Grays Inn road. We’d been a bit too long and it wasn’t the first time we’d been bollocked for being late, so the pressure was on. The lack of map bit us here and we were actually lost but continued ducking and diving up side streets to head north. We came across a small playing field and thought we could see a way out at the far end, so we were ‘safe’ and stated to walk. At the end of the field we came to a brick wall, literally, about 8ft high, too high to see over. Doing the old schoolboy run at it and jump, scrabble up and sit on the top worked. The only problem there was, was a concrete yard the other side but with a bigger drop, and expensive cars, probably a law firms parking area. A shout and we simultaneously took our chance and dropped into the yard, splitting in opposite directions, just like the filums. We exited through two different gates running, followed by shouts of very rude words, from an old boy presumably in charge of ‘security’ having served on the Russian Convoys, and used to chasing cabin boys all over the decks. We got back to the shop in time for a summary bollocking, and every siren that sounded that afternoon had us on tenterhooks.

What it did do was to provide a better than ‘the knowledge’ knowledge of the part of North London around the Kings Cross area, including all the street life that entailed.

Trafalgar Square

Street life occaisionally came into the shop, where it was the job of whoever wasn’t ‘busy’ to remove them. Nm had a absolute pearler of a case where he very quickly learnt one of lifes lessons, this was re-inforced by ones colleagues ‘QFO’ing as soon as they realised the Quatermass pit sized whole Nm had dug himself. A lady came into the shop, looking a little distressed, but nothing un-usual to raise alarm bells. (Even at that time Nm was pretty streetwise, being able to identify a pimp/pro/ned/alchy/smackhead at twenty paces). It was a lunchtime, ‘may I use your toilet she asked?’, seemed reasonable, didn’t smell odd, she looked alright, ‘clean’, if you know what I mean, if you don’t … Well, yep Nm says and showed her the way (to the bog).

After about five mins she hadn’t re-appeared. Helpfull comments and queries such as ‘is she still in there?’ from my colleagues rapidly followed, countered with ‘Yeh, she’s probably reading a paper or summat’ from an increasingly intrigued worried Nm. Well a good half an hour passed, questioned through the door, ‘are you alright luv?’ from Nm, his colleagues helpfully asking ‘how are you going to get her out then?’ When on Top Gear one of the guys gets left by the others whilst taking the piss as they leave is just so true, it’s almost a right of passage, and when it happens to you with the right bunch of mates it almost makes it alright. Now the crapper was on the stairs and Nm had to hovver near it to appear like he was just going for one whenever the bosses appreared, to prevent them asking any awkward questions, like ‘WTF is the smackhead doing in the crapper?’

After a good hour or so Nm was thinking I’m going to
a/ have to go in, but the door is locked from the inside …
b/ tell the boss the smell isn’t in fact one of Bri’s unholy ones
c/ just run away

There was a dreadful groaning from the crapper, which was peculiar for Nm. It at least meant that the tart wasn’t dead, but filled him with the dread of getting the aforementioned ‘trollied’ bint out of the shop, negotiating her past a counter full of customers, ‘interested’ colleagues and a security camera attached to a CCTV. The thought of dragging or firemans lifting an unconscious bird through the shop and being caught on camera (again) just filled him with ‘bowell water’ making fear. It is at these times that you realise why adrenaline is brown and leads to real moments of fear inspired brilliance. There were two front doors to the shop, No14 and No12, No12 rarely used. If the bint could be steered through the rear stock room, past the phone and map to No12, there was a real chance she could be released into the wild relatively discretely. So Nm managed to lift the latch of the door at No12, easing it shut so the boss couldn’t see it was open, and as soon as the bint opened the door to the karzi, at about the hour + fifteen mark, he very quickly shoved, escorted her to the other door where on leaving she belched a projectile stream of the foulest smelling puke Nm’s ever had the displeasure to encounter. Well you’ve read the blog, you can easily imagine…
Nm slammed the door behind her and turned to see the boss who had come down the other stairs looking at him very oddly. ‘Whats up’ he said?, ‘Oh just some drunken tart who’s puked in 12’s doorway’ Nm straightface replied. Seemed to work. There were a few comments re the whiff from No14’s crapper though, it stank as though someone had emptied the entire waste contents of Smithfield, Covent Garden and Billingsgate and a bit of soggy cardboard into the smallest room. Nm gave it a quick clean, and declared it clear of sharps and fit for use, (the tart that is, not the bog).

In true team spirit the smell was blamed on Bri.
It’s what mates are for.

Millenium Bridge

Albert Sq piccies from http://www.flickr.com/photos/sczscz/

Don’t Ask Me No Questions

Posted in canon, canon g10, film, Humour, life, macro, media, photography, rail, Tornado, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2009 by norvenmunky
60163 Tornado

60163 Tornado

It’s and odd thing photography sometimes, it can be social, and antisocial, it can be a hobby or it can be work, for me I’ve had examples of all of those. This weekend I wanted to get a few pictures of the steam engine above, I knew the time it would be coming past, I’d got an idea of the location I wanted, and duly set myself up and waited. One thing that does occur I’ve noticed particularly with an FBL, (rather large lens), is that it attracts gimps. It is capable of doing this over quite large distances, and Saturday was no exception.

Gimp Field

Gimp Field

If I have to cross a field, I make sure I go round the edge, or on rare ossaisions use a tractors wheel furrow, that way you don’t significantly damage young crops, as you’re using established pathways, and the farmers that have spoken to me are up to date pretty understanding, offering them a copy of the snap you’ve taken also helps, they seem to appreciate the offer, though none have actually taken me up on the offer as yet. Anyway, if you look at the field above you can see no footprints, despite the fact I’m well into the field. It wasn’t long before a lens spotter turned up. They seem to draw comfort or have some sort of ‘need’ to stand next to the bloke with the biggest equipment, I wonder if they do the same in the changing rooms of life too?
Picture the scene,
Gimp, Hi, that’s enormous what do you use it for?
Snapper, Sport mostly, thats ‘dinky’ what do you use that for?
Gimp, Oh just snaps,
Snapper, Aah, probably best you just use it for that then …

Changing Room
Gimp, Hi, that’s enormous what do you use that for?
Sports Jock, ‘Sport’ mostly, thats ‘dinky’ what do you use it for?
Gimp, Oh just urinating,
Sports Jock, Aah, probably best you just use it for that then …

Sure enough I’d got set up and was checking the field of view settings etc etc, and I noticed a solitary figure trudging across the field toward me, a nice bright jacket on and a camera bag. ‘Here’s one’ I thought and I wasn’t to be diassapointed either. With a 400mm lens I’m going to be standing a fair distance away from the subject, as I was, however Mr Gimp turned up, and stood right next to me and started asking questions, despite the fact I’m obviously busy ‘chimping’ after different test shots. The questions are usually deadly dull too, but at sports events, airshows, and anywhere you get the lens out, you will get a sheep herd like mentality of ‘follow the big one’, and it gets a bit fecking tedious. Why they suddenly have to be near or stand next to the biggest lens is beyond me. Its not just my lens, I’ve seen it happen to others too.

Mind you size does have its advantage too, a big grey one is an instant press pass, and I’ve blagged a gate on more than one occasion, get the tool out, look a bit flustered as you walk/rush, (rushing is particularly effective), to the gate searching for the ‘pass’, ‘sorry mate, can’t find it’, ‘oh thats ok in ya go’ (he must be a pro with one that size) …

It’s not that it’s not nice to occaisionally chat about snapping etc, but if theres an ‘event’ about to happen, or happening, and the snapper looks a bit busy, it’s because they probably are, nothing personal, but big shineys need to earn their keep …

Into Temptation

Posted in Bachmann, model railroad, model railway, modelling, rail, trainspotting, Uncategorized, vi-trains with tags , , , , on January 11, 2009 by norvenmunky

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Since having posted about Auntie Vi’s efforts I’ve now received a second version, and I find the more I look at them the more I see.

For me this really is a way ahead of what we’ve had previously for class 47’s. I’m not one to knock manufacturers efforts, if they aren’t making what I want that doesn’t bother me much, if they do make what I want and balls it up, that’s life. I will look at what they’ve done to see if ‘I’ can live with it, or if I want to modify it, or if I’ll not bother. Hornby’s new 9F is such an item, it’s an improvement over what went before, but still not as good as Bachmanns version, so its a ‘ta, but no ta’ from me on that one.

Vi’s 47 however makes the Heljan version redundant for me as an option, and thats just in the chassis before looking at the body, which many in the hobby know to be too wide. Only a couple of mil, but enough to notice when placed against one thats correct. The detail on Heljans effort, good for its time, is now compared to the Vi effort, and by todays standard, ( set by Vi’s), is quite coarse. This will no doubt lead to much frothing and foaming, that a ‘Lima’ train can be so good. Only thing is its not Lima is it?, and frankly you’d need to be under the influence of Peruvian marching powder to think otherwise!

So looking at Vi’s chassis its much the same as the 37, in that it’s not exceptionally fast, but does run very smoothly. The simple drive to the two outer wheels on the motor bogie and the weight allows it to shift twelve Bachmann Mk1’s on a second radius train set loop on the conservatory floor. The only problem being ensuring that children had removed rabbit + rabbit pooh from the floor before track laying commenced, though I’m not sure we’ll see that covered. It’s one thing having ‘blood on your hands’ but rabbit pooh’s a different matter altogether.

An 'empty' rabbit, yesterday

An 'empty' rabbit, yesterday

Running the loco by itself will give a different result than under load, and this was done using DC. It’s always interesting to read that DCC will improve all running, especially slow running. I’ve yet to see an electrical system toy train or otherwise that overcomes mechanical deficiencies. I’ve not currently got any Heljan 47’s, but comparing against a Falcon (very similar drive), or two, shows no real discernable difference in running qualities with Vi’s chassis. When run back to back against the Bachmann 47/57 chassis, however there is a noticeable difference. The Bachmann variety ‘cogs’, almost like a 20p piece being rolled on its edge at low speed, whereas Vi’s just rolls smoothly. Once the Bachmann version is above a slow crawl then it runs as well as Vi’s. Put them both on a rolling road where there’s no real resistance, and the ‘cogging’ of the Bachmann chassis is largely masked …

However looking at the detail variants with Vi’s V2058, it’s modelled as preserved, and with one marker panel painted black. With nothing better to do for five minutes, inspection of each end reveals that the marker panel lights in fact have different prototypical light mounts molded. A quick squint at the Res version shows that the panels are the same each end, (correctly).
img_0301-2

For the more anal, particular, amongst the modelling foamers, this means the body can’t be used for some locomotives as the light mounts won’t be the correct ones. We know where this is leading, at some time in the future poor Vi will be given a kicking because they’ve released a model with the incorrect marker light fixings, you heard it here first! Not only that but it may make 47401’s correct body molding, incorrect for anything else, unless there’s another 47 with different fixings at each end of the same type at the No1/2 ends respectively.

img_0308
Here’s Bachmanns 47 which is work in progress at the moment, both this one for me, and allegedly in house at Bachmann. Well Aunties certainly thrown the gauntlett down with this one, and Bachmann have a bit of work to do to match her offering. I hope they do a good job of it. If they don’t, ‘Snake Milkers’ form an orderly que now, there’s ‘work’ to be done. You may start now, some probably have …

Murder Incorporated

Posted in Deltic, Humour, life, rail, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2008 by norvenmunky

Yup the faaashist pigs maan theyre at it agayne. Yup the potential of a private individual with his own Deltic ‘toy train’ D9016 55016 or Gordon Highlander, and its sale (or not), has generated more foam than a banana in the sump of a 1978 Beige Allegro.
Mr Sheepskin ‘They all do that guv, Allegro’s like’,
What? Foam like fuck when you throw a banana in the engine?
Mr Sheepskin, Yeh! …

Well its all about money in the end. The unconfirmed situation so far, because none of the foamers has got off their bums on any of the forums, and got a definitive answer on what the status is.
A bloke owns a toy train.
He may or may not have sold it to another bloke who owns a scrap yard, amongst other businesses. Murder Inc.
And that’s about it really. A real frail grasp on the big picture. Business as usual.

This means they have to contact the owner of the loco, or last known owner to establish who owns it and is it for sale. If anyone cared enough that would have been done and a known status would be the result. Then if its for sale someone who cared enough, and had some credibility, could raise the finance or dip into the wad of cash under the bed, (presumably from the sale to Spillers for cat food tins, of the least photographed member of the class, 55023 Shergar), and buy it.

It matters not if they can offer the lavatory seat from 55023 for the driver to sit, (yes sit) on, cash talks. It only talks if the owner wants to sell however, and with such an item, it’s the dealer/owner that sets the price they want, not an arbitrary figure snatched out of someone’s Ian Allan ABC of scrap metal prices, 1984 edition. It’ll be a commercial number too, so that’ll have noughts after it. So when someone asks ‘Is it bigger than a dog?’ you’ll be able to answer hand on heart ‘Yes!’.

So your options/starters for 10 are
A/ Do something
B/ Do Something
C/ DO SOMETHING

There is of course a way to make money and thats with a publicity drive, a quick interweb search for Deltics provided this image of a bevvy of ‘swamp donkeys’. Using it I’m sure foaming snake milkers would provide buckets full of ‘donations’.

Les âne du marécage

Les âne du marécage

Still if sitting on your bum, doing cock all, is what it’s about for you, you can take heart from Westlife, can’t lose what you never had …

Born To Run

Posted in Bachmann, DCC, Deltic, model railroad, model railway, modelling, NRM, rail, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 6, 2008 by norvenmunky

_b6o0216-1.jpg 

Today, the postie, (a brilliant disguise, as he may as well have been Father Christmas), sauntered up the drive, and placed in my hands a locomotive, just born to run. There’s a human touch in knowing your postie and saying hello now and then, they’re one of my hometown local hero’s, along with the retained firemen, the village bobbie, the docs, all of whom provide those essential services that keeps remote and rural village life afloat.

So what of this loco? Well it’s the new release from Bachmann and the National Rail Museum, a joint collaboration resulting in what I think is the best 4mm scale ready to run locomotive to be released so far. It’s a limited edition, but appears to be one that will be released in batches by the NRM, the most interesting version will be the weathered edition. That’ll take some work to be convincing, as the loco stayed very pretty clean it’s whole life. Mine of course will be heading for the filth factory in due course, there’s plenty of shots of it in color which will help enormously. No doubt as these ‘normal’ versions hit the ebay shelves we will see internal fights break out forum after forum, on the place Limited Editions have in the toy train market, one day it’ll end in murder. Incorporated in this new release is a 21-pin DCC decoder, I assume this decodes 21 pins, if it does what it says on the tin. This already has started the keyboard worriers raging about the benefits of 6/8/13.5/21 and 78.57 pin sockets. I don’t think some realise this is ‘progress’ apparently. The 78.57pin socket will be released with the Kestrel model now so eagerly anticipated.

_b6o0228-1.jpg

Hard to believe that the picture above, (Note a 23 pin socket) will cause such foam and frenzy when it’s released in August 08, by a UK organisation not yet on the pitch. The Deltic takes an interesting place in the hirearchy of the UK outline RTR model, and I’d say value for money places it squarely at the top. This can only bode well for better days for the UK modelling scene, and hopefully in a constructive way it’ll have companies looking over their shoulders, wondering what’ll happen if I should fall behind? I’m under no illusion that these are now glory days for the UK modeler, or that this group of blood brothers, D+E modellers, apparently they only model the period after steam, (therefore they technically only model from August 11 1968 to about mid 1972, when BR allowed steam back on to its rails operating steam specials), are in for a new wave of superdetailed models without ‘serious flaws’ in them. I do wonder what happened to ‘discrepancies’? possibly too hard to spel proparly its been pushed into the river and been washed away.

_b6o0218.jpg

The really good news however is that with this excellent release, shares at Boots have rocketed after the mass debate within the D+E brethren, and ebay is awash with cheap PC keyboards and screens that look like plasterers radios …

Miniature Disasters

Posted in ba038, model railroad, model railway, rail on February 23, 2008 by norvenmunky

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We all have them, most of us when we make them, blush politely, apologise, and generally mop up after ourselves. Sometimes of course they can be a sequence of excruciating yet exquisitely crafted cockups. These are usually played out in full view of spectators, or in the webs case readers, whom with the benefit of a remote stance can watch ‘car crash’ interweb postings with wry amusement.
When starting in new company it’s usually a good idea to start gently, and get a feel for the way the correspondants interact with each other. Even then there’s no cast iron gaurantee thats going to work for you, but it’s a good start especially in ‘Forumworld’.
What you should have of course is the ability to think. And to think:
Once in a while, I’m sitting here, writing something. And thinking, “What in the world am I typing here?”
Fortunately for the bystanders there’s the added entertainment factor when the reader realises, ‘Ooh that’s gonna look bad quoted’, and the originator sublimely carries on digging. They work best of course when the assumption is made that the originator speaks for all, (by the originator naturally), and they post a real ‘handsitter’ of a comment, you know, the type that sane people would literally sit on their hands to prevent themselves typing. Once the assumption has been made or posted it can then be quoted of course. The slow witted writer naturally heads back to the original text, to make ‘adjustments’. Of course ‘re-entering’ the post once it’s out in the wild is like trying to nail custard to the ceiling. It’s gone, horse, stable door etc etc.

Above is my latest cock up, not sure what to do with it, got the number wrong, got the number placement wrong, got the engine door wrong as the color scheme is too late for the body, and got no front steps. The only person it matters to is me, and that’s not by much to be honest. I’ll resign myself to the fact that she’ll be the minger in the corner, not asked to dance, even on the first date. She won’t be the belle of the ball, no centrefold for her. Thing is though, she gave me pleasure in doing her, thats what it’s all about surely?