I have found that toy trains are even more addictive than toy soldiers, and that just like the tiny tin troopers, if you spend money you can get some fine stuff...
As I outlined the other day I am commissioning a third bespoke layout after the Christmas holidays - another N Scale layout which, will pretty much fill one wall of my studio on shelf brackets, above the two free-standing layouts already commissioned.
It's a mere 9 inches deep but 13.5 feet long . Still in N scale you can get a LOT into that space without even using scale compression.
As with the other N scale layout, I've gone back to Ollie Reading at The Fiddle Yard
Ollie is about half my age but has a pretty solid reputation on the model railroad circuit. What's more, he understands what matters:
You will notice that I come back time and time again to Communication? Because it matters to me. I put great store in dealing with people who communicate and likewise I do the same.
With hobbies where a four-figure sum purchase is run of the mill it's astounding how many traders don't give a damn. Those people will never get a penny from me.
I did my due diligence before I ordered my first layout and no matter whom I spoke to, Ollie's name always without exception drew praise of high order.
Anyway, the poor guy has not finished my first layout and already I am assaulting his mind with the plans for my next.
My love is the scenic side of things and so my first layout was commissioned with everything up to 'grass level' done by Ollie. I will then put my mark on it and make it 'mine', breathing that life into it as I imagine it in the rail yards of my mind.
The OO layout I am already at work on was a bloody expensive ready-made layout which I the proceeded to rip apart and which you've seen here over the last few months, as I recreate one of those grimy Northern railway shit holes, beloved of my youth.
The third layout is a slightly different approach in that I'm doing all of the landscaping from baseboard level. Ollie is going to work his magic and deliver up to me a superbly robust layout with trackage, wiring and ballasting all ready for my attention. Space is at a premium this time so instead of the large electrical console, Ollie reckons he can build all of the switches for the points, into the fascia, along with the plug points for my DCC unit.
I dropped him a line on Sunday and by bedtime, he had come back to me with his initial suggested plan, based on 3 x 4 foot modules:
Noe, the plan is to make a few changes to the length and composition of the right hand module, but that is just 'dressing' as it were. Ollie has an instinct for interpreting the client brief, but what's more, he knows what will work and what will not.
I have great hopes for this project...
I mentioned in my last epistle, my pre-Christmas blow out with the last of my 2015 budget...
Well here's a bit of a visual guide to what I bought:
First up the KATO Amtrak Superliner rake. Note that there are three variants of the loco in the pic, on their way to me. I am dreading the £150 bill for getting them fitted for digital control.
Now, that was 'it' but today I decided to go the whole hog and add two material handling cars which are tacked on at the end of some Amtrak rakes.
I found two discontinued models, second hand on eBay, for £20 which was a bargain, and though the rest of the train is new and mint, these will do just fine.
The livery is what I consider to be the epitome of 80s America; the Phase III scheme.
This very day I also took delivery of the other stuff I bought,; namely a rake of 15 Beth Gon coal porters for the Norfolk Southern railroad.
Made by Athearn, these are lovely. They are finished in a super reflective chrome paint, which, when blasted with Winsor & Newton matte artist's varnish, will take on the more recognisable dulled finish, you'll see on pics of stuff that's been in use for a while.
The models are really nice and as I am a bit anal when it comes to having every model, different, the individual running numbers satisfy the OCD part of me.
I am the kind of person who has to have every Landsknecht in an army different to the next... Sorry!
And that's about it for now. I thought that as I had an hour or so spare, fellow gaming rail-heads would like a bit more detailed look at what I am up to.
PS: I am currently working on some exciting stuff for Heroics & Ros, which I'll showcase as soon as I am given the nod to do so. All I can say is that they have insane attention to detail where you'd not expect it on a 'true' 6mm model.