Archive for model railway

Hornby King

Posted in canon, canon g10, copyright, foam, hornby, Humour, image, internet, media, model railroad, model railway, modelling, photography, trainspotting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2014 by norvenmunky

Hornby Today Hornby’s Press department released an image (see above) of the latest Hornby product to be announced. In an unusual step they are allowing anybody to reproduce the image, it being “royalty” free.

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/

Night Of The Long Knives

Posted in model railroad, model railway, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 28, 2010 by norvenmunky

Long knives, and Haynes manuals. You know, when you got to the section when you were changing an oil filter in your Metro, that said, ‘remove engine’ and showed a contrasty, way too dark piccy of a bloke, (cheesy grin, clean hands), having sucessfully removed the engine, to replace the filter, helpfully designed and nestled against the firewall at the bottom rear part of the engine. (Clearly a Friday afternoon ‘designing’, having spent lunch time in the Royal Oak). He did this three chapters ago, and it had a four or five spanner rating. The first thing you wanted was a automotive design engineer/author in one hand, and a sharp instrument in the other.

Now you probably thought that those blokes have retired now. Well they haven’t, they’ve moved to Denmark and are now happily designing models, and writing instruction manuals for toy trains, fortunately, for the car market. Even better, they’ve learnt to follow Porsche Design philosophy, by writing instructions with the same energy efficiency as that expended by the sucessive teams ‘designing’ the 911 and ‘Boxster’ family. So, how do we know of this career change? Well, if you look at Heljans Class 17, 14 and now most recently, Class 15, their construction and maintenance access, its pretty clean where they sloped off to after that last happy hour in the boozer. Also on a parrallel with Haynes manuals the actual instructions are sucessively becoming more meaningless, and include less usefull information with each release.

Now then, the Class 15. If Heljan made instructions, these would probably be the worst instructions in the world, and have a four or five bottles of Carlsberg rating, if only to get on the same wavelength as the designer.

So the design, well see below, a classic. Four sets of vertical pins (red) and a horizontal clip (blue). For added entertainment the cab has been secured by glue, they’d have been better off inhaling.

Answers on how you remove the cab located by these two fixings, without breaking them on a postcard to Denmark please.

What you need is a long knife, with a flexible blade. Better still, rob your dentist, assuming you can find one, of a long bladed palette knife, like wot I did.

Insert it into the designer, sorry the slot between the cab floor and the cab side, gently levering upwards. You need to flex the cab wall enough to get the blade to slip between the cab side and the cab floor insert. Theoretically the two four fixings described above release as if by magic. What will happen is the cab wall will flex and creak, threatening to spilt wide open, as will your underpants as you do this on a ninety quid model… Having done this you can remove the cab by pulling gently upwards, in theory, to uncover the floor molding. This pulls off sideways, (again in theory).

Congratulations, you’ve now removed the cab allowing access to nothing in particular. I hope you haven’t been following this step by step, as in true British Leyland ‘design’ concept, the mounting to fit a DCC chip is at the other end of the chassis. So if thats where you want to be getting to, I wouldn’t be starting from here …

So do what you should have done in the first place. Remove the fuel tank, undo the two chassis screws. Get a thin bladed screwdriver and gently ease the body and chassis apart at the cab.
Then at the front (long bonnet) under the bogie are two slots A1

Gently lever outwards and the catches on the inner side of the body A, will release and the body can be gently removed upward.

Now when you come to replace it, theres a further bit of arsing about, and at this point you’re probably thinking I’d rather be watching a Lurpack ad, with bloke called Douglas doing a bit of tromboning. Well the lights on the 15 are housed in two plastic mounts that press fit into each end. They are slotted, (as I wish the designer had been),

and, if you don’t align them correctly with the lighting units seated properly you can’t get the body back on at all, which is nice. There you go, this service provided by a bloke now experiencing severe bouts of tourettes every time he see’s something Danish, or British Leyland …

Spellbound

Posted in Bachmann, exhibition, life, model railroad, model railway, modelling, Uncategorized, vi-trains with tags , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by norvenmunky

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Well I certainly was on Saturday, it’s not often that British N gauge really gets my attention, but the pre-production Class 24 at Alexandra Palace did just that. It seems that Bachmann has got the British Rail bug with the recently released Class 08 and the 108 DMU there’s a rich vein to tap into, and N gauge is coming of age. What I did find was that having spent a good amount of time looking at track plans for my next model, I’m now considering a change of sclae for at least one of them, and its the recent Bachmann N gauge releases that’s primarily the cause. I’m thinking along the lines of modelling a section of line in N gauge, probably Scottish or North Welsh along US lines with several stations and card waybill systems to enhance operations. Also out on display were the 150 and 153 DMU’s, not particularly exciting for me, but the rendition of them seemed to the same quality as the 24, the colors also seemed to scale, and were not the sometimes too bright effect that models can give.

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Also on display was Dapols N Class 67, looking very good, outside my era again but it should do very well for them.

Bach to Bachmann and their OO 4CEP, apologies for the image quality but the Bachmann stand as usual was swarming with foamers all jostling for position to get a look. It looks good again my initial thoughts were replace the front glazing and thats all that will be needed to make it a real show stopper.

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The revised Class 47 was also there, but didn’t seem to draw much comment from those standing near me. I did take the opportunity to take a few poor quality snaps and have a good look at it though. They seem from the model displayed to have addressed Rosie the Rivetters window frames, the bogies detail have been corrected, and it sits square on the bogies. The variant was the internal tank/battery box only variety. The battery boxes look well represented, and they appear to be molded in a very similar style as Auntie Vi’s. The model was clearly pre-production, the front was two different colors of grey, with roof fan grills in etched brass. Initial impressions were very positive, if it runs as well as Vi’s, their current versions don’t quite in my experience, they’ll have a competitive quality locomotive on their hands.

Bachmann's revised CL47

Bachmann's revised CL47

Will the foamers pay more than the list price of a Vi 47 for the Bachmann 47 without whinging? I somehow doubt it. Still, plenty of Lima knocking about at bootsale prices to tart up for them though. Do some ‘real’ modelling, tee hee.

The next thing that caught my eye was Hornby’s 4MT 75xxx, and I think that’ll be the one for me. Good though Bachmanns is, the Hornby display model appears to have the edge on detail and finesse in its appearance.
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The exhibition was pretty good, the getting there being ‘entertaining’. I found to my cost the disadvantage of Standard Advance tickets. Now in BR days you bought your ticket and got on the train, any train going your way. With a Standard Advance ticket you’re buying a specific seat, so if you miss the train thats it, game over. Fortunately I did miss my first train, I discovered five minutes before it arrived that NM’s wallet was eight miles away. just as well as it would have been a bigger pain in the bum to discover it 140 miles away! I had the Hull trains experience, which wasn’t bad to be fair even if 45 minutes late.

Most of the day was a social crawl around the show, which was just right, I met a couple of authors, one signed a book for big bro, which made my day and will his, you know who you are, ta mate!

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).
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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.

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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 …

Better Days

Posted in Bachmann, model railroad, model railway, modelling, Uncategorized, vi-trains with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by norvenmunky

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Well Auntie Vi has finally let a good one rip! Unfortunately for the members of the foaming community, there appears to be not a great deal to actually moan about. There is of course the almost obligatory error on the livery on at least two of the releases, but then it wouldn’t really be a toy train without one. So far there are perhaps two of them where the crayons have been applied and gone outside the lines a bit. Me, I can live with that. Its a bit like having a young child, as they get the hang of ‘stuff’ you give them more encouragement, to stretch themselves, and temper it with constructive criticicsm.
You can see from the picture above, I’ve actually held one in my hand, this puts me in a small number of people who can now talk bollox about it, having actually seen it, run it, and taken Auntie Vi’s top off …

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Its dissapointing to report that it looks like one, and runs like one, (It pulls more than Mr Lind at a $10 wife ‘cab rank’), and has more stuff in the box than a train load of binkers are ever likely to achieve with Julia Bradbury.

Here we see Auntie Vi sandwiched between two Chinamen, the one on top being a class 57, and the bottom being a class ’57’, sorry, ’47’.
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The bottom dweller here, is in fact a modified Chinaman, yes its had the op, and I’ve taken the knife to it, and had to rebuild quite a bit below the belt. It’s something I’d rather not do. Below the belt with Auntie Vi is particularly interesting, all the bits are there, and everythings in proportion, there’s no un-needed pipework that needs removing and you get that warm comfortable feeling as the equipment just ‘fits’. The Chinaman however needs quite a few screws to make sure his bottom doesn’t end up all over the work shop floor.
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Here we can see Auntie and the Chinaman with their tops off, and Auntie is a little lower cut than the Chinaman. I don’t see any particular problem with AC/DC or even DCC fitting, in fact Auntie may even be more accomodating in this respect, whether you’ll hear the sounds of flange squeal in due course, is yet to be determined.
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I can also report Auntie’s been measured.
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Auntie did this herself, and was very pleased as she could still comfortably accomodate the box she normally offers to her ‘regulars’. There have been reports that she stands too tall, by all of 1 millimetre, but the rest of her proportions and curves appear very easy on the eye.

The Chinaman is reported to be undergoing surgery (below the belt) in preparation for a ‘release’ later this year. Hopefully this op will go well and we’ll see him with very similar equipment to Auntie below the skirt,
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I will also be interested to see if he still runs at ‘half mast’, post op, as well …

Born To Run

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

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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.

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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.

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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 …