Modelling General, Scale Drawings

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British Toy Trains

Michael D Foster    [Publisher:  Author  2015]    Softback    132 pages

A nicely produced softback to the same format as the old "New Cavensish" series, this book is the first of four planned which covers the "also ran" model railway manufacturers, this first volume covering Whitanco, Burnett, Chad Valley, Palitoy and Astra. A lot of these trains now look completely barking, but I have learned that a somewhat battered signal in my possession was made by "Whitanco" and overall this a very nice book on a charming subject.

Peco Guide Railway Modelling & Layout Construction

Steve Flint    [Publisher:  Peco  2014]    Softback    122 pages

I think this is a really good manual of railway modelling for anyone starting or contemplating a return to the hobby. It is published by Peco and features their products in it's "how to" guides but not at the expense of any other company's products and in any case if you are going into the hobby you can't do better than start with Peco track and accessories anyway. Having been in the shop for three years now, I have a feel for the sort of questions that people ask, and it seems to me that this publications answers most of them. The illustrations and explanations are first class and the whole thing is attractive and appealing, it is produced in full colour and features a good cross section of railway layouts and models across the three popular scales.

Unconsidered Trifles Images of the everyday for modellers and artists

Geoff Kent    [Publisher:  Wild Swan  2020]    Softback    64 pages

In this book, noted artist modeller Geoff Kent takes us on a fascinating pictorial tour around the lesser known reminders of past ages that have inspired him to make his beautifully observed and executed models. The theme is one of details, buildings and other structures that still exist, and with a few exceptions everything in this book can still be seen today. These all colour images reveal the extraordinary legacy of style, design and materials that made the British Isles such a fascinating subject to travel through and observe, certainly up until the modern era of bland conformity and unimaginative money driven dullness to which so much of our built environment has fallen prey. Certain parts of the British Isles feature more than others in these photographs in this book, largely based upon where the author has lived and worked, but these sorts of details are still to be found everywhere around us and as Geoff says are worthy of attention with camera or sketchbook before they disappear.

Voie Libre 116

Francois Fontana    [Publisher:  LR Presse  2024]    Magazine    80 pages

Published in an English language edition since issue 80, five years ago, this is an absolutely fabulous quarterly magazine that I have been a bit obsessed with ever since I first saw it. The title when literally translated means "free way" but is a sort of pun as "voie" means railway track, the point being that the magazine is about a free thinking approach to (narrow gauge) railway modelling. Almost "alternative" and putting the accent on both enjoyment and creativity in generally quite small spaces, all very attractively produced in colour. Each issue has a set of very good scale drawings for one of its featured subjects, in this issue they are for the beautiful level crossing halt structure at Faubourg D'Orleans, an excellent subject for a model in any scale. This issue has something of an American theme with four related features; an imaginative and incredibly well modelled On30 layout depicting the slightly whimsical railway system of Puerto Boracho (Tequila!), 3D printed galloping geese in HO9, a very neat looped HO9 logging line which has the most fantastic vertical aspect - huge visual punch in a small space, and finally a lovely On30 layout inspired by the Bachmann Spectrum range of stock. A recurring theme in "Voie Libre" are historic prototype features, this issue having two such. 6 pages on the early years of the first metre gauge line to be built in Switzerland, superb black and white photography of lovely stock, including two very "Ivor" looking locomotives built by Schneider in 1874. The second features 9 very visual pages on the Piha Tramway in New Zealand, a truly incredible and short lived forestry line that utilised two locomotives from Dubs and Bagnall. The photographs reproduced are of jaw droppingly good quality and the subjects taken fascinating images in their own right. Constructional articles always feature, in this issue contributions are; illuminating an Oxford Diecast Landrover running on a Kato N scale chassis, a steam tram in 009 based on a Keilcraft kit and a Spud chassis, scratch building a preserved French electric rail mounted crane and (unusually for Voie Libre) building a live steam model of a now Baie de Somme based locomotive running on 45mm track. The layout project in this issue is worthy of Messrs. Barnfield, Heath Robinson and Emmet - a railway on a paddle steamer, bonkers and brilliant! Two clever O scale micro layouts tail end the text, "flashes of sunshine (with) dreamlike sunny spells" great imagination and staging both. Each magazine has an editorial and good pictorial features and short reviews on new models and publications of interest, from both mainstream and artisan ranges. In all, Voie Libre is light hearted and serious at the same time, packs a great visual punch and is always inspiring and full of interest. It also quite often features British contributors and is always pleasingly "cross border" in its approach to its subjects.