Sunday, 26 April 2009

Catch up

I realise that this blog has been a bit quiet of late - sorry readers, so time for a bit of an update on what's been going on.

It was my birthday this week - a great opportunity (as if I ever needed an excuse!) to splash out on a few modelling-related items. I finally completed my Model Railway Journal collection, a long-held ambition, so I'm now the proud owner of all 190 issues spanning from 1984 to the present - a veritable goldmine of inspiration and information if ever there was one! Also, Part 1 of Geoff Kent's "The 4mm Wagon" (recently reprinted), and John Hayes' "The 4mm Coal Wagon" - both published by Wild Swan and excellent books by all accounts, which my initial flicking-through seems to confirm.

On the modelling front progress has been embarrassingly slow, as ever. The trackwork is still not complete, although it's getting there thanks to the occasional half hour of putting chairs on rails, soldering droppers, etc.

I got the 45xx (or bits of 45xx) out of its box again for the first time in months the other day, still unsure what to do about the pick-ups. Then a ridiculously simple and onbious solution occurred to me: cut the pick-up strips off the original baseplate and just re-attach them to the new baseplate I made. Problem solved. Why have I been trying to think of clever solutions all this time and missed the most obvious - and simple - solution?! So hopefully some real progress can be made on the motive power front at last. (And that might encourage me to get the track finished too!)

After the apparent success of my Model Railway Journal Index website (still keep meaning to write in to the magazine in the hope of spreading the word a little more widely among MRJ readers), I've been mulling a few ideas for a further modelling related website that might be of use (to me as much as anyone else). The idea that has been simmering for a while is a searchable directory of modelling components, tools, kits, parts, etc. with details of where each can be obtained from, and some sort of description/comparison of each. In essence, I see it working like this: if you needed to get hold of, for example, 4mm axleboxes for a P4 wagon conversion you were doing, and didn't know where to start looking, or what different options were available, you'd be able to go to the site, search for '4mm axleboxes', and see in one place a list of all the different types available and where to get them from, with a brief description of each, so you could make an informed decision about what to go for. It could possibly also include some sort of rating or review mechanism to provide user feedback on the pros and cons of each, although to work well this would depend on a large enough number of people actually using the site and submitting feedback. In fact, to even get up and running, the site would depend on users submitting information about what is actually available out there, as my own knowledge, even with the aid of MRJ's 'Small Suppliers Forum' and the donkey-work of trawling around websites etc, is fairly limited (hence the need for something like this). Anyway, it might all come to nothing but I thought I'd mention it in case anyone else thought it was a good (or a crazy) idea!

Still trying to decide whether or not to make the trip down to Aylesbury next month for Railex. The line-up of layouts looks amazing but it might be a bit of a struggle to make it that particular weekend which would be a shame...

1 comment:

  1. Matt,

    I've seen a suggestion for something like the database your proposing made a few months ago. It never got off the ground - the combination of the amount of work, the way to describe and rate an item, and simply identifying what was out there was too much...

    In situations where you really can't find a part, asking on the mailing lists is usually the best way of finding out (says a man that can't track down any etched Great Eastern numberplates...).

    Re Aylesbury show - I'm planning on being there one day out of the two. If you can convince yourself to come down, put a shout up on your blog and it would be great to meet you in person.