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Ally Pally demo 2014

Another Show is over, a record attendance >10,000 and I'm in recovery mode, the picture above having been taken just after doors opened on the Sunday. A half decent picture this time of the models on display suggests that a description may be useful:

Top: Kirk LNER Toilet 3rd, MJT (partly finished) LNER bke composite
Middle: Parkside SR PMV, D&S ex-GNR bogie milk van, Blacksmith ex-LSWR fruit van, Alan Gibson ex-LNWR 6w passenger brake van
Bottom: D&S GCR fish trucks, RTR Lima conversion LMS 40T coal hoppers (Keith Bristow)
In front: R&E ex-GCR horse box.

Keith had brought two of his wagons after I gave the subject some coverage on the website, hoping we might pick up some more historical material, and we did make some progress when tossing the subject around with various people.

For me, I was surprised by the number of modellers wrestling with kits whose designs go back a quarter of a century to the earliest days of etched kits, GWR types in particular. Difficult to complete and lacking door hinges and bump stops - a neglected aspect that I could do with writing up again.

brass hinges

Meanwhile, here is a picture showing Comet sides through which I drilled pilot holes and opened up into slots with a fine piercing saw. 0.3mm brass strip (1 x 0.3mm) was then poked though and soldered in place from behind. This photograph from my files is also useful for illustrating that hinges were not equidistant (some etched kits make the same mistake). Brass wire for the bump stops. These additions do make a difference - coaches without them look kind of blank!

BG hinges

Another view of the effect of door hinges and bump stops, here on a Thompson BG. Their addition has quite an impact. Rest of the model has Comet sides, scratch-built ends to the correct profile, Cu-clad and brass underframe, MJT fittings and roof, Westward 8ft bogies. The full account can be found via the Articles Index.

Another question that came up several times was how to make/fit roofs? It made me realise that I've covered this subject inside articles many times - maybe there's a need for something more general? Although there are so many different shapes, materials and ways of attaching them, some of which are a kit-designer's afterthought that can spoil an otherwise well-built model. Or even plain daft - the worst case I ever came across was in a Falcon Brass coach kit with an elliptical roof whose instructions were "Now fit roof, holding down with rubber bands until the glue has set". The roof in question was a flat rectangle of plastikard!!! Truth is that there is so much variability between kits and I often find myself reworking the body sides at a very early stage of construction to get a good solution later. A big subject here, small wonder you may spot half a dozen different approaches on the table.

Among the other demos, I rather enjoyed the two chaps (aargh - didn't get their names!) who were ringing the changes with BR goods brake vans; great stuff!

I'm leaving previous years' reports up for info:

The 2013 show was the usual hectic stuff and I nearly lost my voice on both days! It was good to see old friends (this is one of the best shows around for friendliness). When it came to helping modellers, it was interesting to see how many were stuck with "mission impossible" kits whose design dates back a third of a century. There are solutions, of course, though it means binning core parts and some semi-scratch building using modern materials. Thankfully, it's not hard and it does make for enjoyable modelling and, best of all, you do get to complete it. It's hard to believe that kits like this are still around when many modern kits are so good, but there it is.

I think the media should be telling it as it is more, praising the best, better, and worst, well, if only there was a Room 101! Or a remedial centre for the upgrading of those that need it. It's a fantasy, I know, and I've written up solutions several times over the years but so many magazine articles get lost in the mists of time... it's one reason why I've compiled the index.

Ally Pally 2013

Here's me and Keith on the Saturday. On the left is a selection of specimen kits, plastic, metal, and cross-over. Next are several chassis showing different ways of building a model and a collection of sides under construction. In the trays are half a dozen different kits under construction including Kirk, Chivers Finelines, D&S, MJT, Comet, Perseverance and Falcon Brass.


This model was on display, a Gresley Restaurant 1st in varnished teak livery. It runs on Cliff Parsons' "The Gresley Beat".

61182 Sheffield

An interesting formation and working for modellers: The South Yorkshireman leaves Sheffield with the catering near the head of the train: a Restaurant 1st is the third coach behind the tender. (NE Stead collection).

Ally Pally 2012

And finally, a mugshot from the previous year...:)

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LNER Passenger Trains and Formations

The book took 12 years for me and Clive to complete and, though I say so myself, Ian Allan have made a beautiful job of it (see full description and sample pages). Vol.2 about the Secondary Services should follow in a year or so's time.

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