Enterprise in 4mm

Sorry it’s been a while, it has not been through a lack of desire but I’ve just had other shit to do. Work has been horrific and COVID for everybody has turned a screw in one way or another. My shituation is no better or worse than a million battles we’ve all had to get through, but hey, we made it right?

Since I jury rigged Six Quarters into the loft, in the sort of way she will never come back out, but she can live a life of exile that won’t make me feel guilty for ripping her apart, I have been thinking how to replace her.

I had a long diversion into OO gauge 1950s Bristol, which left everlasting scars, but after the normal merry-go-round of my layout plans I’ve settled upon, by way of 80s France, late in 90s Britain. When EWS had a fleet of diesels and electrics on their arse and embodied the hope of the new century into the ‘Enterprise Network’. A version of BR’s Speedlink for the 21st Century with the 66s landing on our shores like a Norman invasion.

As you know we’ve modelled stuff well outside of our own timespan and things long lost to progress. 99/00 Britain is slap bang in the middle of my memory and OTCM’s ‘Britain’. Modelling your collective memories into a wooden box is a lot more involved than perhaps understanding someone else’s memories and translating nostalgia. Or maybe I’m over thinking it?

But I look to Portchullin and my friend Mark, who has modelled himself as a child on a 1974 holiday, with his actual family on the layout. Is this a richer modelling experience I wonder?

So I find myself wanting to modelling a slice of my past, how I remember it. However it’s worse, or richer depending on your view, as this period is what slingshotted me into a railway career that I am now sixteen years deep. A period so transformative for myself and for the railway in general. So am I modelling a railway I remember or a railway I wished still existed or one that is both? I know, I know it all sounds like an existential crisis.

99/00 is when I truly fell in love with three things, Blink 182, Jessica D and Lima diesels.

So come 2022, I’m in a decent job, I’m apparently a ‘top’ earner, I should be able to live all my teenage dreams. But the trouble is I’ve seen Blink 182 and they weren’t all that, Jessica had 3 kids and lives in badly fitting leggings and I cannot afford Lima Diesels. There’s two reasons, I either had low expectations or the world’s gone mad.

As girls eat pickled eggs in their lingerie on OnlyFans to earn £200 and Bachmann announce £300 Diesels I cannot help hark back to the days Hattons sold ViTrains 47s for £37.

I’m not advocating the continuation of exploiting poorer countries so we can enjoy a hobby at a bargain price, we are just running out of the ability to do our hobby either expensively or cheaply and this can only end badly.

As we know these price increases have done nothing but shove up the 2nd/3rd/4th/5th/6th hand market. Even a toy fair is like having your pants pulled down. The worst is all the detailing suppliers, A1, Craftsman, Westwood (with the exception of Shawplan) have all gone to the wall or stopped completely and who’s going to cut up a £100 Lima 37? Certainly no one wondering between hunger or heating.

Bugger the cost of living crisis, we’ve got a cost of modelling crisis. It’s going to see the not so well off, the not so retired, forced out the hobby. When the monthly budget is eaten away by everything else, who can afford to do this hobby? People say this may hark back to the days of yore when people ‘modelled’, no it won’t, people are no longer conditioned to compromise, or using the most basic of tools. Hell most would not be able to hold a scapel without cutting off their own eyelids.

They’ll be no modelling, they’ll be shaking the box like a salt and pepper grinder. Who’ll want to see or buy compromise when only the very best is available, whatever the cost?

In that vein I’ve started a layout that’s a magnet for expensive models. It’s full of ‘modern’ diesels and electrics, wagons that cost more than a lorry load of baby formula. But I’m doing it Poundland style. It’s going to take me months to buy stuff second hand to do it, I’m going to beg, I’m going to borrow. Most of these pictures are stuff I’ve ‘borrowed’ from Chris. It’s the layout I’ve always wanted, it’s my teenage dream, however it’s an iPad on a Nokia 3310 budget.

Google defines ‘Enterprise’ as “a project or undertaking, especially a bold or complex one.”. Making model trains and an exhibition layout within a cost accessible to all, the term Enterprise seems apt.

An old Lima 60 with Appleby interior and A1 grilles curves round into the FY remembering the halcyon days of Lima being able to shit out a model every day and a few etched bits brought with your pocket money lifting them to a whole new level.

Mainline class 56047 brings in a selection of Chris’ wagons into the yard

This class 08 now has the pride of working on all of my layouts, being repainted more than a graffitied wall, here it sits waiting to test the points and the sector plate

This 47 has had more lives than trigger’s broom, the chassis I got as part of a GFYE 47 when I left my first job. Hellfire.

Westhill Wagon works cant 3D pieces. Leaning into the new world of model trains.

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On The Workbench: June 2013

First up this month we have a couple of Choppers:

D8316 has been modelled on a photo of her taken in 1968 while she was allocated to the Scottish Region. This is a Bachmann model that has been renumbered and had indicator blinds added instead of dominoes. Oly used T-Cut to give the BR Blue that reasonably new paint finish, although she is still far from clean…..

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Next up is 8020, in a less loved condition. This model wears faded BR Green and has been renumbered, sporting TOPS font numbers and TOPS panels on blue backgrounds as per the prototype when it was allocated to Tinsley in late 1970:

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I have been working on a couple of wagons. Firstly this Parkside LNER twin bolster. However, being unhappy with the quality of mouldings for the bolsters when they were assembled, I decided to remove them and put it into use as a plate. This had been done to the majority of these wagons by the turn of the 70’s so I have followed BR’s example! Once painted a plate load will be added, thus hiding the damage from where the bolsters were mounted. I plan to replace the bottom beams on the chassis with some metal before painting – the plastic ones supplied with the kit simply do not have the strength to travel the distance and bend around all over the place:

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A nice easy project was the weathering job on this Bachmann 16 tonner. This model appears to represent a re-bodied example so I have kept the weathering light – in this case just a wash and a small amount of dry brushing:

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A bit more work was carried out on this ex-LNER 7 planker, which would have been pretty much life expired by 1970. Most of the planks were repainted in a couple of different timber shades before the whole thing was faded using a good few very thin washes of white acrylic:

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A quick repaint out of British Railways red and cream has transformed the look of this Base Toys Thames Trader – With the addition of some mirrors it will be ready to enter service with a local haulier.

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Every layout needs a car looking in a bad way it seems, and here is mine.  An Oxford Diecast BMC Mini that has been abused and shows plenty of evidence of tin worm taking over, although the owner has obviously been taking steps to repair the front wing….

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Thats all for this month, we have a couple of other projects on the way though and will update as and when these surface!

Chris

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