Time for an Update

29 October 2018

The new FV432 update set

I’ve just put another accessory set on my website.  It’s a stowage basket and stowage bin that were fitted to FV432s from 2000 onwards.

The new bins in place

My N gauge Haverfordwest layout is based on the period 2000 to 2004 (I went there to photograph the site in 2000, and again in 2004 where I saw a military train) and so I needed to have these additions on all of the FV432s on my layout.  This photo shows one of the vehicles that I’ve temporarily taken off the layout to photograph it.  This is only a subtle change, but one that I wanted to do.

 

NGS Warwell kits now available

One interesting piece of news is that The N Gauge Society now have the modern Warwell kit in stock.  Two weeks ago I attended the Cardiff Model Railway Exhibition with my club where I saw a very nicely made N gauge layout from a group of Bristol modellers.  It was one of them who told me that the Warwell is available again.  I’ve just had a look on their website, and it’s still available.  However, what they call the WWII Warwell and Warflat kits (that were actually used up to the mid 1970s) with diamond frame bogies are still not yet available.

 

IPMS Scale Modelworld

The other piece of news is that I shall definitely NOT be attending the IPMS Scale Modelworld show in Telford any longer.  Sales were low in the 2016 show, but I just about covered my costs.  Last year the organisers insisted on all traders having public liability insurance.  I covered the other costs of the 2017 show, but not the cost of the insurance, that I had purchased specifically for this show (no one else insists on you having it as a trader, other than the show at The Tank Museum, that I have never done as a trader).  What is clear is one important fact of life.  It’s all well and good being invited to attend shows, but if very few people buy your products there’s little point in being there.  When you attend a show as a trader you get very little chance to look around the show, as even with friends to help you, you don’t want to leave them for too long on the stand.  If I ever do decide to visit Scale Modelworld again, it will be as a visitor, rather than as a trader.  At least that way I might get a chance to have a look around the place.  I made a diorama of a Tornado in a Gulf War setting, and went out of my way to finish off and have in stock the Thornycroft Nubian Major Mk.9 Fire Truck to try to attract some interest from aircraft modellers, but clearly they just weren’t interested.

So, if you want any of my models you’ll have to get them either on-line, or from one of the few remaining model shows that I am doing as a trader.  One show I shall definitely be continuing with is The International N Gauge Show (TINGS) in Leamington Spa in September, but in a different location.  For several years I have been in one of their “shell scheme” stands.  But the trouble with them is that you are cut off from your neighbouring stands, and I know that some people this year had difficulty finding me.  For 2019 I shall be in the same hall as before, but on an open stand, next to Andy Vaughan of Severn Models.

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More for The N Gauge Society

18 June 2018

I’m spending a lot of my time at the moment doing work for The N Gauge Society (NGS), both casting up some parts in pewter for their wagon kits, and also making master patterns and packaging a new range of mainly resin kits which are designed to be lighter, and so more suitable as loads for N gauge railways.

The resin Humber Pig

Here’s one of the first test castings of the Humber Pig, which is the next model in this small range of vehicles for The N Gauge Society, to go with the Saxon and upgraded Scimitar.  These two models are proving to be very popular, and there have already been several production runs of them.  The NGS Shop seem to be selling them as fast as they are being made.

The front grille is a separate part as it’s the only way that I could see to make it.  One advantage of this is that people can fit some of the alternative grilles that were fitted to these vehicles if they want to.  The Humber Pig has been made as an up-armoured vehicle as used in Northern Ireland, but could also be converted into one of the vehicles used by the Royal Hong Kong Police.  I’ve got photos of these at Ludgershall depot after they had been returned to the UK, so they would probably have got there by train.

The rear protection bar has been moulded on to the hull, so the list of parts is just the main body, the front grille, and four wheels.  I shall now have to wait for these models to be produced by the company doing the resin casting before I can send them off to the NGS Shop.  If all goes to plan, they should get them in five to six weeks.

Meanwhile, I am finishing off the fourth model that I agreed to make for the NGS, namely the Bv 206 over-snow vehicle.  I know that this is essentially just two boxes on tracks, but they are particularly complicated boxes with fiddly doors and windows to make.  I was asked to make it with clear windows, and so I have also needed to make a basic interior for it as well.

Here are the main hull parts, showing a separate interior for the front unit.  One big problem that I’ve had has been getting the sloping angles right for the body sides, and then making sure that the two body units are the same size.   I made the front unit, which looked okay, and then made the rear unit, only to find that it was the same width at the top as the front unit, but considerably wider at the base.  I re-checked everything, and found that the front unit was wrong.  I had the wrong angles to the body-sides, which resulted in the front body being narrower than the rear one.  I’ve got it all sorted now, but it was very fiddly to put right.

This coming weekend I’ve got the MAFVA (Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association) National Competitions in The Burgess Hall in St. Ives in Cambridgeshire on the Sunday.  This for me is always by far the best military modelling show in the UK and one that I can highly recommend to anyone interested in models of military vehicles of all shapes and sizes

Recent Activity

4 April 2018

On Easter Sunday and Monday I was with Peter Denyer, Dave Burton and Sean Hooper and his wife with my club, South Wales MAFVA at a Carmarthen Modellers show to celebrate 100 years of the RAF at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, at Middleton Hall, Llanarthne, which is just off the A48 just west of Cross Hands on the Road to Carmarthen.  This is somewhere that I have passed on my way to Pembroke many times, and for many times I’ve promised myself that I must visit the place.  It is the grounds of a large country estate, with some of the original buildings, and with a large unsupported dome glasshouse that was designed by Norman Foster.

The diorama as built for the IPMS Scale Modelworld in Telford

The diorama as built for the IPMS Scale Modelworld in Telford

I dug out all of the models that I had with RAF aircraft of vehicles, including this one of an RAF Tornado during the first Gulf War (Operation Granby).  I made it for the IPMS Scale Modelworld show in Telford to have something on my stand that would be of interest to aircraft modellers.  Two stands up from me was Jon Page with his Sphere Products range of laser cut MDF accessories.  He had served in the RAF at a Tornado unit, and told me that during refuelling, the wings would be angled outwards as otherwise, as the fuel went into the wings, the whole aircraft would tilt backwards, with the front wheels in the air!

RAF Fire Station

RAF Fire Station

I also made up a new RAF Fire Station, based loosely on the one I had seem at RAF St. Athan, and with the right combination of vehicles for when I visited the place, so that I could show off my new Thornycroft Nubian Major Mk.9 Fire Truck (and this also went with me to the show last weekend)  I was very concerned in that despite having a new model for the show, and two new dioramas to illustrate my models, sales at the show were disappointingly low.  To add to all of this, the show are now insisting that all traders, irrespective of their size, must have Public Liability Insurance.  I covered the cost of the stand, and of the hotel bill to stay there, but didn’t cover the cost of the insurance, and it’s only this show that is insisting on this.  As a result, I am very much continuing with P G Models, with sales this year up on those of last year, but I shall definitely NOT be attending the IPMS Scale Modelworld any longer as a trader.

The scene with the wings brought forward, and various bits broken off

The scene with the wings brought forward, and various bits broken off

Going back to the Tornado scene, throughout my years as a model maker I have always been very grateful for any comments from people who know about the subject of the model.  You always get the smart ar*es who tell you that it never appeared in that colour scheme, or you’ve got something on the wrong way around.  But for those who do know what they’re talking about I’ll make a mental note, or a written one about what needs to be corrected.  Many years ago I made a 1/76th scale Battlegroup Diorama, that I’ve shown previously on this blog site. One time I displayed it at at a Waterloo Day display held by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards when they were based in Tidworth.  During the course of the day I had loads and loads of comments from both officers and senior NCOs about various things that I didn’t have quite right.  I then spent about two months working through my list of “Things to Do” and corrected all of them.  A few years later I displayed the same thing at a very strange model show in The Royal Welsh Agricultural Showground in Builth Wells.  I’ve been at many shows where I’ve heard loads of bull sh*t, but this was the first one where I quite literally had it on the railings around me in the cattle shed where I had my Battlegroup diorama.  During the course of the show I met a number of Gurkhas, who were based at Dering Lines (School of Infantry) which is nearby, and also by someone who was an officer from there.  He was convinced that I must have been in the Army, and was most disappointed to hear that I was just a Weights & Measures Inspector.  The thing about this though is that by listening, and acting upon the various comments that I had heard, I managed to make my work that little bit more authentic.

For this Tornado, quite a few bits broke off in order to open out the wings, but I managed to do it without completely wrecking the thing.

The Tornado corrected - I think!

The Tornado corrected – I think!

And here it is, as displayed last weekend.  The only thing I’m not sure about now is whether the under-wing fuel pods and weapon pods should also now be tilted to face forward, but the wings are now in the correct position.  There is one other thing that I need to do on this.  The scene still has one figure pulling out the fuel hose, but Jon told me that this was usually done by two men as it was so heavy.  So I need to find one more little man to correct this.

The Tornado corrected - I think!

More landing craft models.

For the last few months I have also been working on more models for the senior NCOs in Marchwood.  I started with this order for three RCL landing craft, then had an order for another one, and for two MEXEFlote models as well.  When I first made this model of a Ramped Craft Logistic I expected to sell a handful of models, but not many more.  What I find quite amazing is that I have now sold 75 RCLs and 48 MEXEFlotes, and it looks as though I’ll soon get another order for more of them.  I have now nearly run out of the etched handrails that I had made up for me, and will now need to find someone else to do the etchings for me.

The Humber Pig

The Humber Pig

I’ve been doing some castings for the N Gauge Society, to make the ballast plough for the ‘Shark’ converted guards’ van, and have also been working on the new models to be cast in resin for the N Gauge Society. I went to the casters in Birmingham the other week and have given them the master patterns of the upgraded Scimitar and the Saxon again, for more castings of them, and also handed over the master pattern of the Humber Pig.  The potentially tricky bit will be casting the front bull-bar.  The casters have suggested one very novel solution that they are going to try, but if that fails I might have to beef this up a bit and cast it myself in pewter.  I’ll have to see how it goes.

Another view of the Pig

Another view of the Pig

Here’s another view of the completed Humber Pig.  I also discussed, and showed, what I have done with the Bv206 over-snow vehicle. There are a number of tricky things about this little model as well, but hopefully I’ve been given some very helpful advice as to how to get over those issues, to make what will be the last of the initial four vehicles that I promised to make for the N Gauge Society.

Meanwhile, I’ve got the Miniature AFV Association (MAFVA)’s Annual General Meeting next Sunday that I’ll be chairing again as the MAFVA Chairman.  And as the old saying goes, there’s nowt like a quiet life!  But I’d far rather be doing this than watching the TV or reading a newspaper all day, and ending up with dementia.

 

 

Converting my Garage

25 March 2018

For some time I have been thinking of converting my garage into a room.  It’s never been used for my car as it’s nowhere near big enough, but has ended up as a convenient dumping ground that effectively has wasted about 1/3 of the downstairs floor area of my house.  Here’s the garage at the start of things.

I used a local firm of builders who specialise in garage and loft conversions.  They have converted a number of my neighbours houses, so I knew what the quality of their work was like.  Here’s the start of things after I spent several days emptying out most of the junk from the garage, to make room for the builder to bring in his cement mixer and some of his tools.

The work was all done with local authority planning consent. The Building Control Officer made a number of recommendations to the builder, which included digging down to the concrete base of the house, which was nearly 3 ft deep.  Having dug it down , the breeze block wall was built up, with the old door used to cover over the hole at night.  In this photo they have also stripped off the old ceiling boards and have added battens ready for the insulation on the wall adjoining my neighbour.

The insulation is going up between the battens on the one wall, with plasterboard added to the ceiling after the electrician had laid out the cables for the sockets and the LED spotlights that I wanted.

Here is all of the plasterboard in place, and the window installed, waiting for the plasterer.  On the outside the brickwork was made up over the breeze blocks.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the room, a new doorway has been cut through into the lounge.  This was done by drilling a series of holes and knocking out the plasterboard and breeze blocks between the holes.  It was done this way to minimise the amount of dust in the house, but it still went everywhere.  With that opened up, the original doorway into the garage (through a broom cupboard by the side of the stairs) has been bricked up.

And here’s the same view after the plasterer had plastered the walls, the electrician had fitted the lights and sockets, and the carpenter had fitted the wall units and the flooring.  My bit in all of this was to do the painting.

The paint I used for the walls looks fine in artificial light, but with the sun on the walls in the late afternoon, the walls seem to glow.  This is fine as I wanted the room to be bright and airy as a contrast to the dingy hole that it was as a garage.  I have had just 300 mm deep wall units used both on the wall and as base units, to maximise the amount of room for my railway layout, which is the main reason for the conversion.

And here it is with my Haverfordwest layout in place.  There is just enough room to be able to walk right around the layout, to be able to deal with any stalling or derailments.  At present I have the layout set up so that I can operate it.  I need to sort out a few issues with the fiddle yards at the back, but everything works.  Once I’ve sorted out the glitches, I’ll disconnect the fiddle yards and store them vertically, and then move the layout back towards the wall behind it, which will give me more room to move around and work on the front part of the layout.  This is the first time that I’ve had the layout that I can leave it set up in a well-lit room and do work on it, then shut the door on it and leave it until another day.

This is the view of it from the other end. If I had had the standard 600 mm base units installed it would have been a bit of a squeeze to move around the layout.  It’s been very disruptive getting this done, but I am well pleased with the end result, which makes it all worthwhile.

One of my friends warned me that the bright yellow/green walls would alter the colour of my models, but I am completely happy with the way that the layout looks in this photo.

 

Something new for Telford

8 November 2017
The model in bare pewter

The model in bare pewter

I’m getting ready to go off to the IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) Scale Modelworld this weekend in The International Centre in Telford.  So just a quick post to show what will be new at this show,

From the other side

From the other side

I haven’t got the time to put this model on my P G Models website just yet as my priority is to build up some stock for the show.  I hope to put it on the site next week when I get back.

The older IRR green colour scheme with yellow stripes

The older IRR green colour scheme with yellow stripes

I did not start casting this model until the end of last week, so this and the red painted one have been done very much in a rush, so don’t look too closely at my painting.

Another view of the green one

Another view of the green one

I first started making this model about 25 years ago, to go with the Scammell Mk.10 and the Range Rover TACR2.  It’s been stuck in a cupboard for years and then just three weeks ago, I decided to see if I could finish it off so that I could have something new on my stand at Telford.

The three vehicles at an RAF Fire Station

The three vehicles at an RAF Fire Station

Here are all three fire vehicles together on a base with a fire station made up from two Kestrel Designs fire station kits.  What I have done is based loosely upon the fire station at RAF St. Athan when I visited the base in the early 1990s with Pencoed Air Cadets.

 

My Models for The N Gauge Society

18 September 2017

It’s been quite a while since my last post on this blog, mainly because I’ve been so busy.  Since becoming Chairman of the Miniature AFV Association (MAFVA) there has been a steady stream of things to do.  One big thing has been the development of a new MAFVA website by John Paulding where I have been helping out by adding reviews and posts.  Meanwhile, in South Wales MAFVA my friend Paul Hennessy has taken over the role of branch publicity officer.  Within days of starting this, Paul has set up a Facebook page for our club.  Again, having the thing set up, it is important to keep adding new posts to it as otherwise there is the risk of it becoming stale.  We’ve now got 67 members on this Facebook page, which is going well.  Incidentally, South Wales MAFVA are having our Annual Model Show on Sunday 1st October from 2.30 to 5 pm at St. John’s Church Hall, Rachel Close, Danescourt, Cardiff, CF5 2SH.  You are most welcome to come along and see what we make.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was working on making some resin models for The N Gauge Society (NGS), with the idea being that resin is a lot lighter than the pewter that I usually use, and so they will be more suitable as loads for the NGS kits of the Warflat and Warwell wagons, and for the post 1975  version of the Warflat that is currently being built.

Master pattern of the Saxon

Master pattern of the Saxon

Here’s the master pattern of the Saxon, and below is the master pattern of the Scimitar.

Master pattern of the Scimitar

Master pattern of the Scimitar

I did not want to be dong the same things in resin as I was already doing in pewter, so the Scimitar is one from the Life Extension Programme where they had deisel engines fitted with new grilles and air intake duct, plus new side bins to the front and raised headlights.  I did not want to do any casting in resin myself as I did not have the equipment to de-gas the resin to remove the air bubbles, and did not want any problems wit the fumes from the resin.  I ended up using the same resin casters as The N Gauge Society use for their own range of railway wagon kits.

The kits packed up ready for sale

The kits packed up ready for sale

What is surprising is the amount of time and effort that is required in order to put a kit into production.  There’s a lot more to it than just making a master pattern and casting from it.  First off, I needed to chose some suitable blister packs that would look suitably different from my usual P G Models ones.  That done, there was then a need for the artwork for the insert card to go into the pack.  This was kindly done for me by Ben Ando, and I then arranged to send off the artwork to the printers who printed them out and cut them to shape to fit into the blister packs.  Next thing was to sort out the instructions to go inside the pack.  Again, I wanted them to look different from my usual instructions and so had a “half-way-house” going a bit nearer the very detailed instructions that the NGS put in with their kits.  Unlike the other models in my range, these ones also have a colour photo of the vehicle to act as a reference.  And of course, I still needed a silicon rubber mould for the gun barrel and track units for the Scimitar.  I’ve got there eventually, but it has all taken time.

I cleaned up and packed the first batch of castings that I had and sent them off to The N gauge Society shop.  Within weeks of them going on sale, most of the first batch have already been sold.  As a result, I have now sent the master patterns back to the casters for a second batch to be produced.

The two models in black & green

The two models in black & green

Another view of them

Another view of them

I initially made up one of each model as you can see here, with photos of them used by the NGS for publicity, and I took them with me to a number of shows.  However somehow I’ve either lost them or put them somewhere so incredibly safe that I can no longer find them!  As a result, I made up another one of each and left them in their bare resin/pewter to show to people on my P G Models stand at The International N Gauge Show the weekend before last.

The assembled resin models

The assembled resin models

Here are the assembled models left in bare resin and pewter that I had on display at The International N Gauge Show.  They seemed to generate a huge amount of interest, with double the level of sales on the Saturday from what I did last year.  I also put the N Gauge Society journal next to the models as I was particularly pleased with what they had to say about my models.  If you’d like to read it, you can see it on the N Gauge Society website, which has also recently been revised and updated, and looks very good.

Some new ones

Some new ones

I’ve now made up two new models of each, as you can see in this photo.  One of each will go off to the NGS for display in their mobile shop display that goes around the model railway shows, and I’ve got one of each for myself.  These models are being sold only by the N Gauge Society, so if you want any of them you’ll have to get them either from the NGS shop by mail order, or from their display at any of the shows that they attend.

 

Revised Website and Bristol Show

18 May 2017

If you have been trying to look at my website over the last few months you will have noticed that there have been numerous problems.  It started with anyone doing a search for P G Models using Google.  If you searched there you would have the link to the P G Models site, together with the warning “This site may be hacked.”  This did not come up on other search engines such as Yahoo, which just showed the site as normal, but it was off-putting to say the least to anyone doing a Google search.

I was in contact with the company who administer my website for me and I was told that the version of the software that was used on my site was now out of date and needed to be upgraded.  What started as just an upgrade ended up as a complete re-build of the site with the new software.  Whilst this was being done, I then found that if you clicked on P G Models, you were taken to a completely different site, so everyone was re-directed by some dear little hacker with nothing better to do whilst sitting at his laptop in his bedroom.  I am grateful to my website administrators who closed down the site completely as soon as I told them, and to Martin for telling me about this in the first place.  Luckily the new site was nearly completed, which I finished off by re-entering all of the pictures of my models.  550 pictures downloaded in a day!

When you now click on the site you get

New Header

New Header

Which is largely similar to the old site, but now with most of the pictures a bit larger.  This is particularly noticeable if you look in the Categories

The new Armour page

The new Armour page

Where the images are now a lot bigger and clearer. although they are still the same photos that I took many years ago.  If you hover your mouse over the image you will get “QUICK LINK” pop up, which if you click on it take you to brief details of the model, or of you click on the name of the model it takes you to the full-page as before with all of the details about the model.  I have cut back a bit on the pictures.  As you can see above, I’ve tried to get a good three-quarter front view for the main photo for each model, to be consistent.  I have now just one photo for most models showing them in bare pewter as I think it is made quite clear in the text for each model that they come as bare metal unassembled kits.

This process will have cost quite a bit, but it’s one of those things where I had little alternative but to do it.  Luckily the end result is a better site than it used to be, and if you do a Google search you now longer get told that the site may be hacked, because it is NOT hacked any longer!

 

Bristol Model Railway Exhibition

Bristol Model Railway Exhibition

On to some pleasanter things.  Nearly three weeks ago I went along to the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition which was a three day show in the last weekend of April.  For about two months before the show I worked solidly casting and cleaning models to build up my stock.  This year, for the first time, I had both my P G Models stand and I was also exhibiting my Haverfordwest layout and so the week before the show I went over all of the track and dusted down all of the buildings, trackside and trees .  Whilst getting ready for the show, I cleaned all of the locos and gave them a light oiling.  Much to my horror, I dropped my CJM Class 66 loco.  Sod’s Law at work, this of course was/is by far the most expensive model on my layout.  I managed to pick up the bits that had broken off, then removed the body shell from the chassis, re-located the broken off bits, and put it back together.  I don’t know what I did to the loco, but it, and all of the others ran better at this show that they ever had.  In the photo above you can just about see the blur of the CJM Class 66 hauling 18 wagons (which is about twice as long as I used to be able to do), consisting of 10 Warwells with Warriors, and 8 Warwells with my Armoured Ambulance train.  I put a lot of this down to the help I had from Neal Mansell who helped me out at the Didcot Model Railway Exhibition last October where Neal helped de-bug a number of things that weren’t quite right about the layout.  His expert eye to find them, and undoubted experience at curing them has made the layout run better than ever before.  And I admit that this idea of running all of the Warwells together was my friend Mike Gill’s idea rather than mine, but it worked!

Another photo from the Bristol show

Another photo from the Bristol show

My thanks must go to Mike Gill (who looks as though he is about to be decapitated by the banner in the photo above) who helped me set up the P G Models stand on the Thursday night, and then helped me load up the layout in a hire van on the Friday morning, then set it up, run it for three days, and help me take it apart again and unload back home on the Sunday evening.  Quite a marathon.  Thanks too to Dave Burton who helped man the P G Models stand on the Friday and Sunday, and to Mike Johns and his grandson who helped on the Saturday.   Sales were non-existent for most of the Friday and Saturday, and Mike’s grandson was eager to make a sale.  Another case of Sod’s Law,  I covered the stand whilst they went for a wander around the show, and whilst they were away, I made the one sale of the day!  I’m pleased to say that things were completely different on the Sunday, and I ended up covering all of my costs for the show.

Whilst at the show I took some video of the layout that my friend John Paulding has cleaned up and removed the worst of my shaking.  He has now posted it on You Tube as a MAFVAmovie.

Looking at the Goods Yard

Looking at the Goods Yard

One thing that really pleased me at the show was that I was finally able to show my layout to my friend Ron Weatherall, who is the person who gave me the idea in the first place.  These days, many people regard my Haverfordwest layout as simply a show place for my range of P G Models, but that was not why I made it.  I made the models because no one else made what I wanted, so I made them myself for the layout, and then after making them decided to see if anyone else would be interested in buying them. So P G Models started after I had begun work on the Haverfordwest layout.

I met Ron, who is a superb 1/76th scale civilian truck modeller many years ago (sometime around the year 2000) at  the British Model Soldier Society (BMSS) Bristol show that was held in Bath (now in Nailsea).  At the show I was exhibiting some of my small 1/76th scale dioramas of a tank transporter with tank and a support vehicle.  Ron told me that he had photographed armoured vehicles being loaded and off-loaded from railway wagons at Haverfordwest Goods Yard, behind the station.  Would I be interested in seeing his photos?  Does a fish swim!!!

I saw Ron again a few months later at a South Wales Model Show in Rhondda Fach Leisure Centre where he showed me his album of photos and he very kindly let me borrow it.  My first idea was for a small static layout in 1/76th scale using Genesis Kits white metal kits of Warwell and Warflat wagons, using armoured vehicle kits that I had from Cromwell Models.  This developed into a larger static layout and then I had the idea that if I went down in scale to ‘N’ gauge, I could probably be able to model all of the Goods Yard.  I chatted about this to my friends at our Miniature AFV Association (MAFVA) South Wales branch meeting where the others suggested that if I was going that far with a static layout, why not go a step further and make it into a working model railway layout.  And so the idea started.

I am really pleased that Ron has finally had a chance to see what has been very much the fruit of his idea.  I am very grateful for his much appreciated help and suggestions.  Thanks again Ron.

Barry Island Model Show

25 April 2017
Barry Island Railway Station

Barry Island Railway Station

Last Sunday 23rd April I went with my model club, South Wales MAFVA to a model show inside Barry Island Railway Station.  The station is still very much in use, but the trains now use the platform with an exit just off the picture above to the left, with all of these station buildings now used as a military museum where they have regular weekends with preserved steam and diesel trains running, and several different model shows, to help publicise their efforts.

The former Waiting Room

The former Waiting Room

This is the former Waiting Room, with our displays around all four walls, and in the centre of the room.  The open doorway to the right of our club banner is the way through to the station platform.  The day started off decidedly grey and overcast, typical weather for a South Wales seaside resort.  This particular location has gained fame, or should that be infamy as the set for the “Gavin & Stacey” BBC comedy series.  When I lived in Cardiff in my early teens I used to travel to Barry Island by (steam) train with my brother for a day on the beach, and must have walked through this station countless times.

Peter Denyer with his huge rail gun

Peter Denyer with his huge rail gun

Quite appropriately for this location, Peter Denyer brought along his Dora WWII German rail gun.  Even in 1/76th scale this is still huge, and nicely done by Peter who is on the left here talking to one of our visitors.

Mike Gill's Longmoor dioram

Mike Gill’s Longmoor diorama

Another club member with a railway related theme was Mike Gill with a diorama/working layout of part of the Longmoor Military Railway set in the period of WWII.  The locos are from various model railway manufacturers, with buildings from Skytrex, but most of the vehicles have been heavily converted by Mike from various sources.

Sean Hooper's models

Sean Hooper’s models

New club member Sean Hooper brought along an interesting selection of his models.  He is working on a large collection of Bedford QL variants where he is converting basic kits with new bodies.  Sean has painted these using dark toning and then with water colours.  We hope to have an article about his painting techniques in our South Wales MAFVA newsletter/magazine, The Dragon.

Some of my models

Some of my models

I brought along a selection of my models, and included some 1/76th scale ones that are quite a few years old.  The Leyland DAF DROPS truck and trailer were Continental Model Supply Company models where I converted the flatracks into fuel dispensing tanks, used in Bosnia and Croatia.  I was told that they didn’t comply with UK Road Traffic Construction & Use legislation, and so were only ever used loaded with fuel when abroad.

A beautiful little diorama from Paul Hennessy

A beautiful little diorama from Paul Hennessy

The son of the show organiser wanted to have a competition for the best model on display at the show, and so we all had to pick our favourite one.  This must have been a difficult task for the judges as we have some very varied interests within our club.  The winner was Paul Hennessy for this beautiful little 1/35th scale diorama.  Paul was with me when we attended a previous show at this venue, but that time we were stuck out on the windy, freezing cold platform all day.  Whilst there though, Paul showed me how he builds up layers of transparent washes of paint to weather his vehicles.  This is shown to good effect in this diorama.

The train to Aberdare

The train to Aberdare

Just to prove that this is still a working station, here’s one of a number of regular services bring people down from the South Wales valleys, in this case Aberdare, for a day on the beach and taking them back again.  The show was a lot better this year than when we were there previously, and the day soon went, with a steady flow of people coming to have a look at our display.

By way of a contrast, this coming weekend 28th through to 30th April I am attending the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition in Thornbury Leisure Centre with both my N gauge Haverfordwest layout and also with my P G Models trade stand that will be more or less opposite the layout.  For anyone visiting the show, I will be in Hall 2 which is the bowls court, in the top left hand corner.  I have three friends who will be helping me with both the layout and the trade stand, with me going to wherever the greatest need is. It should be a busy weekend.

 

 

2017 PRICE INCREASE

27 January 2017

So far this year I have been using the metal I’ve had from a delivery towards the end of 2015, and so have continued using the 2016 prices.  I have held back in altering my prices for 2017 until I ordered more metal as I was expecting an increase in price.  I am also aware that transactions in metals are made in US Dollars, and so I also held back until the £ sterling increased slightly in value, however, not enough!

I have today, 27th January phoned my supplier for a price, to find that there’s been a huge increase in the price of the pewter.  I was faced with two alternatives.  Either to not order anymore pewter and close the business, or to pay the higher price, and pass it on to my customers.  I have tried to absorb some of the increase, but as the biggest element of my costs is the price of the metal, I’ve had no alternative but to substantially increase my prices.  The P G Models website has just been amended with these new prices.

A fantastic week

21 December 2016

I’ve just spent the first week of December on one of the best week’s holidays that I’ve ever had, a trip to the USA.  In a previous post I showed pictures from a visit to The Netherlands with friends from Cambridge MAFVA to the museum at Overloon.  Following on from that, I also joined them on a visit to the Scale Model Challenge show in Veldhoven, also in The Netherlands in September.  A few weeks after that show, one of the Cambridge MAFVA members, John Paulding asked me if I would like at accompany him on a visit to the USA where he was attending the Performance Racing Industries Convention at the Indianapolis Convention Centre in Indiana, USA.  This was an opportunity of a lifetime.  It was something that I’ve never ever done, having never travelled any further than Corfu in Greece with my daughters, which was over 20 year ago.  I thought it over for a couple of days and then accepted such a kind offer.

My first view of North America

My first view of North America

We started off with an Air Canada flight from Heathrow to Toronto, and then a smaller plane from Toronto to Cleveland, Ohio.  The photo shows my first view of the North American continent from 37,000 feet flying over a snowy Labrador or Newfoundland.

Inter-State-70

Inter-State-70

For the first couple of days we stayed with Jim Mesko, who is an acknowledged author who has written 45 books on various aspects of the Viet Nam war, and who is a Viet Nam Veteran himself.  Jim then drove us to Indianapolis, via a model shop in Columbus, the state capital of Ohio.  One thing that I found fascinating throughout the whole of my week in the USA is how so many things are similar, but different to the UK.  The photo above shows a truck at a rest area on Inter State 70, on the way from Akron, Ohio to Indianapolis, about a 7 1/2 hour drive.  What is interesting about this photo is that the one truck is carrying two others in a piggy-back style behind it, with the first of the white trucks attached to the fifth wheel coupling of the lead truck, so that the other two can turn around corners.  This would never be allowed in the UK as it would not comply with our Construction and Use Regulations (thinking back to my old days as a Trading Standards Officer)

Jim and John outside the Convention Centre

Jim and John outside the Convention Centre

The photo above shows Jim on the left and John on the right in front of the entrance to the Indianapolis Convention Centre, which is absolutely vast.  It was dry in this photo, but at a bone chilling 20 F (- 6.7 C).  We soon had several snow flurries, but nothing much until the Sunday.  I was expecting the show to be at the Indie 500 race circuit, but the Convention Centre was right in the centre of the city.  We stayed in a motel that was just outside a ring of Inter State routes that surround Indianapolis, which was 16 miles from the centre of the city.

Inside the PRI show

Inside the PRI show

The show was held in two huge halls, all carpeted throughout, with hundreds of exhibitors and what must have been thousands of visitors.  I had my mobile phone with me, and this showed that on the Thursday I walked 7.6 miles just going up and down all of the isles of the show.

In the Lucas Oil Stadium

In the Lucas Oil Stadium

We ended the Thursday with free drinks in the Lucas Oil Stadium that is linked to the Convention Centre.  Dare I say, yet another first for me, to be inside an American Football stadium.  I was told that it has about a 40,000 seat capacity.

Just one of the many cars on display

Just one of the many cars on display

On the Wednesday I spent some time at the show taking photos of just some of the countless cars on display.  The show had everything from fan belts to wheels to milling machines and 3D scanners to drivers clothing and anything else you can think of related to any types of racing car, including  quite a few attractive young ladies helping to sell their company’s products, with almost everyone offering goodies such as stickers and pens or baseball caps and t-shirts.

Mean and ugly

Mean and ugly

For me, the prize for the most brutal car on display must be this one, very cleverly painted to look old and rusty, but quite the opposite.  Just look at the size of the engine and air intakes!  and yes, with massive rear wheels and two parachutes at the back to stop it.

Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

On the way back from Indianapolis on the Saturday we called in to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.  The museum is in all four of these huge hangers with everything inside from the first powered flight right up to space travel.

A collection of balistic missiles

A collection of ballistic missiles

If ever the Cold War had turned hot, it would have been these beasts that would have been flying from the USA across to Russia.  It was quite sobering to look at them.  They also had a mock-up of the control room inside a missile silo, with the seats and controls of the two operators far enough away from each other so that no one person could have set off a missile without working with their partner.

The Apolo 15 command module

The Apollo 15 command module

By way of a contrast, here is the actual command module from the Apollo 15 mission to the moon, still heavily tarnished from re-entry to the earth.  Whilst the missiles looked huge, this looked tiny.  It must have been unbelievable cramped for three men to have travelled all the way to the moon and back in something as small as this.  They also had several other capsules on display, with the one-man ones even smaller.  It really makes you appreciate the nerves of steel that these astronauts must have had.

Warthers Museum

Warthers Museum

On the Sunday we visited Warther’s Museum in Dover, Ohio.  I had never heard of this before our visit.  Mr Ernest “Mooney” Warther made a living from making some top quality knives, and also made these wooden models of locomotives.  The one thing that is amazing about these is that all of the parts are press-fitted together, without a single whiff of glue anywhere!  The brown parts are wood, and the white ones are ivory, all hand-carved, including all of the lettering that have pins on them that go into the wood.  What is more, all of the wheels, connecting rods, and pistons worked!  Some incredible model making.

Massilon, Ohio

Massilon, Ohio

There had been some snow in Indianapolis, but there was some more when we got back to Jim’s house, and then even more in Dover and, as you can see in the photo above, in Massilon, Ohio.

Road sign

Road sign

We called into Massilon to visit another model shop, to the left in the photo.  What this also shows is yet another example of things being similar but different.  I have known for years about Americans use of the word “Math” where we in the UK say “Maths,” but here’s another one that I didn’t know about.  In the UK we have “Road Works Ahead” but in the US they are, or rather it is  “Road Work” with no “s.”

We came back on the Monday night/ Tuesday morning, with a combination of cancelled flights and delays.  I left Akron, Ohio at 2pm (7pm UK time), got in to Heathrow about 12 noon, then found our cases were still somewhere on the North American continent, had a four and a bit hour coach journey from Heathrow back to Cardiff where my daughter Rhianwen and her children picked me up and took me back home at 7pm, 24 hours later and feeling both shattered and jet lagged – also a first experience, although less welcome.  Nevertheless, this was truly a week that I shall remember for the rest of my life.