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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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.

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.

Warning

2 January 2016

I’ve had a couple of e-mails from friends today telling me about an e-mail that looks as though it has come from me, but is not.

If you get an e-mail purporting to be from me with an e-mail address ending in “edirecional.com.br” please note that this is NOT from me.
DO NOT under any circumstances open any part of the e-mail or any attachments if there are any, and DO NOT CLICK on the part of my name that is underscored.  I don’t know where it leads to, but is probably somewhere very unsafe.
Sorry for any inconvenience.
Wishing you all a happy New Year
Paul

Recent Progress

30 August 2013

Whilst there may not appear to be a lot going on with P G Models, in reality there are a stack of things taking place.
The new website is proving to be popular and I am already well up on sales in August that are a lot higher than normal, which is all down to the new website. The pg-models.com website will CLOSE this weekend. So please make sure that you have bookmarked the new pg-models.co.uk site.
The batch of landing craft that I was working on have all been completed and delivered, with possibly more orders to come. I am also firming up on requirements for another presentation model that I hope to do in the New Year.
My friends at Lord & Butler have now moved into their new premises at The Pumping Station, Penarth Road, Cardiff. I had a look in there last weekend and it is a lot bigger and better laid out than previously. They have asked me for a diorama and some display models for their shop as they would like to re-stock my models again, which is something that I’ll get on with after The N Gauge Show. Talking of which, I am making good progress in building up my stock for the N Gauge Show and shall have everything in stock at the show in a week’s time.
Work on the AEC refueller has had to stop for the last few weeks, but I’ll get back to it after the show and depending if I have any orders to meet after the show, I’d like to get it finished by the end of the month, or as soon as I can after it.  It’ll be good to have it at the IPMS Scale Modelworld show in Telford in November, as this year I shall have a stand of my own there as my friend Barry Wright will no longer be attending with his BW Models stand.