Modelling Themes, Rolling Stock

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4mm Coal Wagon, A Step By Step Guide

John Hayes    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  1999]    Softback    154 pages

This is a very good modelling book, covering every step and method of representing this most ubiquitous of British wagons in 4mm scale. The photographs and diagrams really could not be any better, and the resulting models are miniature works of art. The author has achieved much more though, producing a wonderful pictorial record of these wagons in service, and showing particularly well the state of private owner wagons after pooling and nationalisation. This is one of the best books that Wild Swan have ever produced - and they are all good.

The 4mm Wagon Part One

Geoff Kent    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  1991]    Softback    86 pages

Covering open, mineral and hopper wagons, this book is up to the usual high Wild Swan standards. Apart from being useful for modellers, it contains a wealth of fascinating views of this neglected aspect of railway operation. Reprinted in November 2008. I had forgotten how very good the opening chapter on generalities was, very clear pictures and explanation of the differing types of brakegear being a particular strongpoint.

The 4mm Wagon Part Three

Geoff Kent    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  2004]    Softback    160 pages

The third and final part of a trilogy covering conflats, containers, wagons for long loads and brake vans. Apart from featuring some key brake van designs in excellent detail, I think this is the best book of the three - and the first two were both very good. This final volume also sets out to cover various finishing touches and features numerous excellent photographs of details that whilst of great importance to the modeller are rarely seen. I predict that this will be one of Wild Swan's fastest selling books, highly recommended to 4mm modellers of nearly all persuasions.

The 4mm Wagon Part Two

Geoff Kent    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  1995]    Softback    162 pages

An excellent modelling reference book, liberally illustrated with photographs of the prototype and with a lot of interesting history of freight movement before the days og juggernauts and motorways. A beautiful colour photograph of loading vans at Aberdeen on the covers highlights just how such things hace changed, Iwonder what this scene looks like now? The work shown is easily achievable, with much of the modelling based around easily built kits. Basic underframe work is covered in part one, still available, see entry in list.

Authentic Model Railway Operation

Martin Nield    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  2016]    Softback    60 pages

Considering the potential "dryness" of the subject, this is a highly readable book which demonstrates and discusses the various ways in which we can make our model railways more realistic from an operational point of view. Although Martin himself is a confirmed Lancashire and Yorkshire modeller, the whole book applies to any British railway operation right up until the end of the "traditional" railway in the Nineteen Eighties. The illustrations are really good, crisp and clear shots of various relevant model railways, nice relevant paperwork and ephemera and proper inspiring "Northern Grit" prototype photographs. I think thet text is perfectly balanced between not baffling a "beginner" whilst still providing much of interest to a more experienced modeller. I hope this book does well, because traditional railway operation is rapidly becoming ancient history, and there has been relatively little published on the subject in recent years.

Festiniog Odyssey

Nick Welch    [Publisher:  RCL Publications  2010]    Softback    213 pages

An unusual book, being one person's account of their modelling life and the layout project that has gown "like Topsy" over thirty years to reach its present state. With a foreword by no less than the recently departed PD Hancock of "Craig and Mertonford" fame, who inspired Nick as he inspired so many others into small scale narrow gauge modelling, the recounts the trials and tribulations of creating a truly breathtaking model of the Festiniog as it would have appeared in the early summer of 1926. Couple this to Roy Link's skill as a designer and a good photographic of developments and the result is a stunning book of a stunning model railway. As Philip observes, "many modellers today are content with a simple....layout, preferably portable, designed to be exhibited...with a fairly short life span" - well Nick's model is none of those things and all the better for it! So enjoy it through the pages of this superb book because it isn't coming to a show near you anytime soon.

Great Western Branch Line Modelling Part 2

Stephen Williams    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  1991]    Softback    110 pages

A deservedly popular work of reference for modellers covering prototype buildings, fittings and traffic operation. Fully indexed by location, it is also a very attractive book about branch lines in its own right, with images tending to be historic pre - BR and detailing and illuminating the detail of the subject very well.

In Search of a Dream The life and work of Roye England Second Edition

Stephen Williams    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  2022]    Softback    272 pages

A much enlarged and beautifully illustrated new edition of the story of Roye England and how he came to imagine and then create what became the Pendon museum of miniature landscape and transport. With two new chapters and much additional information, including information on the other founding characters, (not least the wonderful Guy Williams - we even see his workbench in colour) There is much colour photography in this edition, Roye's beautiful shots from the 1950s and the remarkable contemporary views of the models themselves taken by Paul Ellis. There are astonishing and their presence alone makes the new edition worth having without even considering the words, which are also very good indeed. A moving story in many ways, and a fantastic record and souvenir of one of the very best things that has ever existed in England, itself a breathtaking record and evocation of a still beautiful but much changed English landscape and way of life.

Modelling Irish Railways

Stephen Johnson and Alan O'Rourke    [Publisher:  Ian Allan  2004]    Softback    88 pages

This is an exceptionally well illustrated book, consisting of excellent and mostly colour photographs of fine models in various scales, together with prototype photographs and information. Separate chapters cover prototype track layouts and signalling and operation together with numerous other aspects of the subject - looking at the coverage I do not think that all this information has ever before been assembled in one publication. Useful appendices give addresses of Irish model manufacturers, 4mm track standards and sources of further information. In summary I think the book succeeds in being an inspirational springboard towards modelling Irish railways

Modelling the British Rail Era

Fleming Flint Gibbons & Taylor    [Publisher:  Santona  2001]    Softback    96 pages

This is the first book to cover modelling the "BR Blue" era and it is not half bad. An interesting collection of prototype facts and photographs together with some good modelling ideas and atmospheric photos of model railways which depict the era. The text is a bit evangelical in places, I'm not sure there ever was any "tragic fogging of the facts" over the period in question - the railway was in decline and was less attractive than it had been in the past. It's an interesting era to model though, and for a whole generation it is of course nostalgic, along with the Bay City Rollers and Some Mothers do 'Ave 'Em - enough said!

Narrow Gauge Adventure A Modelmaking Journey

Peter Kazer    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  2012]    Softback    162 pages

Another tour de force from Paul Karau, a sort of "personal modelling odyssey" from one of the country's leading narrow gauge modellers. I liked it for its title first, a nice literary "nod" to the late Philip Hancock (or at least that's how I like to see it) and secondly because it is a personal view and account (of the hobby that I love) from an interesting and informed viewpoint. Having now got the book in my hands, my expectations are exceeded by the actuality. After a thoughtful introduction which includes a little of the author's other interests and life the first half of the book describes all the model railway projects that Peter has completed, covering a modelling "life" from 1972 to the present. This is illustrated by superb photography, in both colour and black and white, illustrating the models but just as importantly the prototypes that inspired them. Also included are a couple of brief diversions into Classic cars and Canals that Peter took. There then follows what is arguably the book's master stroke, fifty odd pages of "The Unfulfilled Projects", which are an inspiring collection of track plans sketches and prototype photographs for a number of narrow gauge models based on twelve different subjects. The final two chapters cover tools and then techniques and materials. The production is to Wild Swan's usual very high standards and interestingly (and I think for the first time) Paul has bled some full page photographs to the edge of the page. This will appeal to both modellers and enthusiasts of the narrow gauge and without wishing to sound elitist or dismissive it owes nothing to the (incredibly good) ready to run part of the hobby but rather to the more creative craft aspects of this wonderful hobby.