It’s been a while. Well for me anyway, Chris has been keeping you all up to date with BWS and the filthy goings on. It’s exciting for me to see Chris get so far with a layout and our group of friends are all horned to see the end result. I’ve known Chris for a decade and this is the furthest I’ve seen him get with a layout.
But how is SQ? The lump of plywood and cheap hairspray was at Brighton this weekend and still teaching valuable modeling lessons.
It’s been a busy 2018 for me with work and life. I’m now living with my girlfriend, considering summer last year I was living with my now ex wife there’s been three house moves in that time. So while my life’s improved SQ has been the child of a divorce and has lived as a travelling gypsy, never quite at home and always ready to be evicted by angry locals.
Pre divorce it stood all set up and operational all the time, which meant you could do all the work you needed too. Now it lives in my Dad’s insulated shed all separated and I live a 10 minute drive away. Therefore before Brighton I had no pre show checks or run through and in fact I’d not touch it or looked at it since June when I attempted with not enough time to sort out the fiddle yard.
I had a plan though, we could finish the wiring on Saturday morning with Chris’ help. We started at 0800 and still had issues at 1000 which is never what you want when the punters arrive. We tried to take away my bodges and add in something more professional. However I’d forgotten to insulate the copperclad I’d replaced in the fiddle yard (school boys) and the wires between the main board and the second board changed colours (more school boys). Both faults compounded to make a bit of a shit storm pre opening. Mark Tatlow helped by plotting all sorts of revenge as similar fates on Portchullin had been a hallmark of our weekends away and our taking the piss. Oh dear.
I could not help laughing when you can only shunt one half of a 4 foot layout, trying to talk to punters as two men are underneath, behind a curtain shaking the board and swearing as molten solder drops onto their skin. SQ had seemingly become possessed by a poltergeist with tourettes.
But thanks to the effort of Chris and Mark it not only worked but slowly the wiring went from a bit ‘dodgy’ to proper exhibition layout spec. By Sunday the running repairs were made permanent and I’d learnt, regardless of life, pre show shake downs are needed. Even if they are in your girlfriend’s front room. Also that dog leg in the fiddle yard needs sorting, the track looks like it was laid by a pissed Stevie Wonder.
However we were lucky to have this pair of beasts from Ian Forsythe come and sit on the layout pre opening.
But Brighton, once the layout settled down, was everything you want from a show. My mind was blown by the attendance solely due to channel 5’s Great British Model Railway Challenge. Now I know a lot of stalwarts aren’t a fan, but after this weekend I most definitely am. I was converted by my kid’s faces while watching it but to see all ages turning up to their first ever show on the back of a TV programme, bring more of that on. It can only be good for our hobby, bakers probably hate GBBO but look what insanity that did for the hobby of baking and breaking bread is bloody dull. I saw that effect at the weekend and I liked it. So by Sunday hometime about 25 kids had shunted on SQ, all in the hope just one asks for a train set for Christmas.
I just hope one day when one of them grows up and is writing the new digital hologram Wild Swan book (Ed – easy, they still take cheques) he credits getting into the hobby from some long dead modeller who once let him shunt a coal wagon with a badly done Dapol Austerity on a little remembered layout called “Six Quarters”.
Catch us next at Canterbury Model Railway Show in January and this Month’s British Railway Modelling.