CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fab Four (British Model Railway magazines)

From the movie Help!
I'm a Beatles nut through and through. I stand on solid ground when proclaiming that they are the best rock band ever (don't throw Stones on my blog, people). Whether it was the catchy tunes, the cool guitars (second confession: I am a die-hard Rickenbacker aficionado), the snazzy suits and haircuts, or the new sonic territories pursued through their albums, they were are still are simply the best. In comparing American music at the time to theirs, once can see the parallelisms and the differences. Both sides of the pond were trying to do the same thing but getting there differently.

But, Fab music isn't the only thing I am crazy about. I am a sucker for anything British railway related. Standard gauge, narrow gauge, steam, diesel... it doesn't matter. I just love them all. A friend of mine has several layouts in his house, and two of them are European and British Railway themed. He subscribes to several different British railway modeling magazines, and once he is done with them gives them away. I used to see them on the "free stuff" at our NMRA meetings and finally figured that it would be easier to deal directly with him. So, now I pay for one of the subscriptions and get to keep all of the magazines when he is done reading them. Here are the "Fab Four" that I regularly read. By the way, I think Railway Modeller has the best content, production value, and insightful reviews.

Let me tell you, my paper collection has exploded with lots of new reading material. And, these magazines are really thick. Sort of like the older Model Railroader magazines used to be. For all the people that complained MR had too many advertisements, I enjoyed them just the same. And now, the British magazine's advertisements are for really cool things. So, the more the merrier. Apparently British modelers need to see monthly adverts instead of just going to the manufacturers' websites.

I have noticed several themes from reading the British magazines. First, their layouts are small. Tiny in fact. Most would be better characterized as dioramas than layouts. Space is at a premium so their layouts are usually just small portions of scenes like stations or yards with fiddle or staging facilities at one or more ends. Second, they cram a lot of track into them. While they might be prototypical, they sure look busy with switches and sidings running hither and yon. Third, when they do have room for a circular or loop arrangement, they model multiple main lines. Again, possibly prototypical but it also lets them run several trains round and round.

On Ready Steady Go!

Fourth, apparently they have solved electrical pick-up issues because they love to run small switch engines over switches with nary a concern for stalling on the frogs. I don't know how they do it! Fifth, their overall modeling is very evocative and I think better in many ways than American modeling. They better grasp weathering, colors, overall scene composition, and backdrops which contribute to more convincing scenes. Lighting is also a big part, but that could be because of the many layouts that go on the exhibition circuit. Finally, they change layout ideas quickly. Because of the smaller footprint, they finish their layouts much quicker then we do with our monster basement railroads, and then they move on to something else.

Note to self for 2020: the Great British Train Show exhibition is held in Toronto on the even numbered years usually at the end of April. I didn't hear about this until it was too late. I must remember it for the future, as it sounds really good... yeah, yeah, yeah!

1 comment:

  1. Hi...I've replied to your question over at my jssxrailway.blogspot.com blog. And thanks for reading it and putting it on your list. You do great modeling and your blog is great too. It's nice to know that someone of your talents is checking in on my work regularly.

    Jim

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