Anyone recognise this? Hold the front page, it’s a kit. That’s right ‘A Kit’. I know, I know, smelling salts all round, breath in using the paper bag, Three, Two, One, and you’re back in the room ..
Not only that, its a bit ‘last year’ too, since this kit was produced in the 80’s Hornby have since produced a very good Ready to Run model of it. The Kit is by Ratio, one of the UK’s oldest existing model railway kit producers. I can remember in my dads ‘to do’ kit pile, (nothings new is it?), there were Ratio Kits. Of the time, 1950’s and early 60’s they were made of wood. Now for the UK that’s an unusual material for kits, as it means they’ve been made from trees. As plastics became easier to obtain and no doubt more cost effective, and accurate, wood, fell by the wayside. With laser cutting however it is seeing a bit of a resurgence particularly in building kits. So why have I got this kit out, if I can buy a working painted one off the shelf?
Well one thing that is often commented on is the lack of supply of new product, and that can be a source of frustration, especially if the item is from that sole source. Since this kit was introduced, as mentioned above, Hornby have made a very good RTR version of the same vehicle. However with this kit you can cut all the corners of the supply chain. It does mean you have to build it of course. Of its time, it was one of the most technically advanced and detailed kits, and to some it was a challenge. I was thinking of this as I opened the box, (yes, guilty, I’m a ‘box opener’), and revisited the model. I bought one of the first releases, working in the trade at the time, and yes it was definitely advanced. Retrospectively that was firmly in relation to what had gone before, and those contemporary to the time. Looking at it now, its just a well thought out detailed model, including etched components. Todays plastic modeller would just think, ‘this is alright’, rather than, ‘kinell! I’ll never get that together!’
So, I’ve got the shell together and the beauty is it all fits, its not effortless, but its in the minimal additional work category. I’ve got a page of 15 minute hero’s on the blog, http://albionyard/fifteen/ and whilst this isn’t one, it is a set of 15 minuters that can be added sequentially, each time frame adding something of value to the build. One frustration with poor kits is wasted thinking time or fiddling with bits that should ‘work’, this kit has obviously been well thought out and designed to avoid those pitfalls. And I’m enjoying the build, I won’t use the word ‘fun’, I’m beginning to get old fart grumpy when I see ‘fun’, ‘its supposed to be fun’, ‘have fun’ ‘join in the fun’, ‘here’s a really annoying clown, have fun’ etc etc. No, I’m just enjoying my time building this kit, and that’s quite enough Disneyesque, glee filled ‘fun’ for me thanks. And one bit of smug satisfaction that comes from this, is the kit is cheaper than the RTR equivalent, and it’ll make something that is as good too if you take some time with it.
Progress can be measured in a number of ways in our hobby, and we can often see it in the blogging community. Julias 2mm http://modelopolis.blogspot.co.uk/ is to me particularly interesting at the moment. The challenge she is looking at is capturing ‘atmosphere’. Now we’re all likely able to make something according to the book, with varying degrees of success. This captures my imagination as she’s looking to capture something ‘intangible’. Atmosphere is a variable too. In modelling it’s often based on the viewers knowledge, life experiences and perhaps artistic faculties too. A Turner painting isn’t an accurate picture by any means, but it will have something that a clinical line drawing or illustration won’t. It has life, in terms of the artistic expression that’s gone into it, and Julia’s project fascinates me in a similar way. Will it capture something more than just the technical modelling she’s undoubtedly capable of? I do hope so.
On blogging I’d like to encourage any visitors to dip into the blogs shown on the blog roll on the right hand side, particularly if this field is new to you. Some of the blog writers featured I know and socialise with, most of them however, I’ve never met or have done so in a limited capacity for only a few minutes. As a rule though they all do something that’s not box opening, or glee filled fun. They are seriously enjoying their hobby and for me that’s what makes them worth reading. Not only that, but there are some equally good links from their sites to other sites, where there is plenty of hands on work in progress across the range of the hobby.
Progress for me?
Guilty verdict …