Saturday, 28 September 2013

Middle of the road

Amongst modellers and enthusiasts trams get a bit of a mixed reception. Some enjoy pretty much anything that travels on rails, for others the fact that they are almost always single self contained units diminishes their train-ness and therefore the attraction. I like rails in the road, from the most basic of level crossings to dockside networks set in cobbles, there's something incongruous about them, they hold the promise of rail borne locomotion appearing in a mundane setting. Visiting Hay on Wye earlier this week I was pleased to find this gem for £1.49 in an Oxfam shop.

At first sight it's not hugely promising. The better railway books usually focus tightly on their subject, whether that be line, rolling stock or region; this one gives a general overview of tramways in the British Isles and Eire. However the writing is clear, interesting and authoritative; the pictures absolutely fascinate. There are absolutely no fillers just there to make up the weight, each image illustrates a feature of the tramways, each one tells a unique story, each one is visually attractive in its own right. My favourite is this one of a cable gripper car in London. To my mind it cries out to be modelled. Though this is the one that gets my motor running, the rest of the illustrations are similarly inspiring.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Triang Toys

A mate of mine came round a few weeks ago, and after a while the talk turned to how well provided for we are these days not only by the big rtr players but also the manufacturers of kits and bits. It's been a while but I think the phrase he used was 'what would we do without Bachmann and Parkside these days?'. I must admit it set me thinking, but contrary bugger that I am, mostly about the good stuff from the past. I've made no secret that I prefer the Hornby Derby type two body moulding as a starting point for models than the Bachmann offering. I also have a soft spot for the Dublo plastic wagon bodies and the Airfix rolling stock kits. My latest stock project pleases me no end in that it's based on Triang offerings from the early sixties.

As the branch line on my layout Morfa is to be modelled in the throes of demolition I thought it a good idea if I provided the engineers with some lifting tackle. The crane is Triang's model of the Cowans Sheldon 10T hand crane, and is at the start of the tarting up process. The runner is a model I put together some years ago and uses the Triang single bolster as its basis. Though my example runs on a cut and shut Parkside underframe the model which inspired it was described as Having modified Airfix parts; which is close to where we came in.