Quality Approved

I really can’t apply that title to my modelling! However, I have managed to get a few hours on the class 47 this week. The last time I had worked on it I’d drilled some holes on the cab sides, ready for the grab rails, before painting some staples white to act as said grab rails. Yesterday I was able to spend a bit of time fitting them. Of course, I broke one, so fitted a ‘naked’ staple and then painted it in situ. The bonus of using acrylics was that, having made a slight white mark on the cab side I could quickly wash it off.

Next up was the water slide transfer numbers. I spoke to John Peck at Precision Decals and he very kindly – and very quickly – made up just what I was looking for. His decals are easy to use. Apply varnish – Johnsons Klear in this case – to the area you want to apply the decal to, leave to dry and then place the dampened decal on, sliding into place. At this stage I leave it to dry for a day before adding a second coat of varnish.

Finally, for now, the nameplates. Courtesy of Fox Transfers, I decided to add the ‘Quality Approved’ plate underneath, meaning that my 47 is in the later guise of this name. There are lots ways to apply nameplates but I tend to use the varnish approach again. Brush a layer of it on the back of the plate and then place in position. Again, leave to dry and seal again with another layer.

So that’s it so far. The hand rails are added to both sides, however the number and nameplates are just on the one. So that is on my ‘to-do list.’ This list also includes the following:

  • Fit front handrails (wire is on order)
  • Fit front detailing parts
  • Remove coupling bracket from number 1 end
  • Weather – and paint where required – underframe
  • Weather bodyshell (lightly)
  • Fashion, and detail, a better inside cab
Plenty to be getting on with. Why, then, is my mind flashing to thoughts of modelling a small Heritage Railway terminus?


Getting down and dirty

Finally, with the school holidays here, I’ve had a bit of time to do some more modelling. The ‘duff on a shoestring’ project is progressing nicely, today I’ve added a new coat of red paint to it, having finished the handrails and surrounding area.

Whilst I left that to dry I pondered what I could do. Sometime ago I ‘won’ (something I never get, it’s an auction so you pay for it!) a cheap Hornby MFA wagon on eBay.
It’s in ‘Mainline’ Blue and is really rather unrealistic – however, I do have a far better Bachmann model. The Hornby version is purely for modelling practice. I dug it out and decided to have a go at weathering it.
It was a reasonably quick job. I took a couple of acrylic paints (burnt umber and burnt sienna) and splashed them about liberally. Next I got some kitchen roll and, before the paint dried, gently pressed it on to the paint to soak some of it up. I repeated the process three times, building up the colour that was left each time. Finally, I dry brushed the underframe with a mix of the two paints mentioned above.
I was left with this. For a quick job, I’m quite impressed. I’ve only done this side for now as it’s highly unlikely I’d ever use this wagon on a layout (as I haven’t got one currently for starters!) so will use the other sides for trying other methods.
What do you think?

I know what I’m doing this summer

I guess I should do though, really!

Yesterday was a sad day as I left my current role of employment. 7 years have flown by and I have many special memories. However, things in the future look exciting.

The first thing I’m doing is moving house. I’ve spent the last 6 weeks or so living out of two boxes, in different counties. Well, the first thing I’ve done this holiday is move more things to my new abode. I’m hoping this should all be done by next Thursday.

Why next Thursday? Well, Amy and myself are heading to Tenby for a few nights. Then on the 1st August I’m heading to Derby to watch Derbyshire play Leicestershire in a 1-day game. A week or so after that I’m off to Menorca for a week with Amy.

Finally, when the summer holidays is over, I’m starting at my new work place. Slightly nervy, but exciting as I’m really looking forward to the role.

Lot’s to get on with then.

Team England

When I cast my mind back to the dark days that English cricket suffered during the 1990’s, one things leaps to mind; the revolving door policy of selection. Just have a look at some of the names (and total number of tests they played): Mark Lathwell (2), John Morris (3), Tim Munton (2), Jason Gallian (3), Mike Watkinson (4), Aftab Habib (2) and one test-wonders, Alan Wells and Gavin Hamilton. At one point Geoffrey Boycott’s mother was probably close to a call up, as he often proclaimed on the TV.

Then at the end of the decade central contracts emerged. Chris Schofield (!?) was one of the recipients of the first 12 but, more often than not, the selectors have got it right in terms of selection for a considerable period of time. The central contract gives a player time. There is no ‘two failures and you’re out’ atmosphere – which seemed to permeate the 90’s – so players feel more at home in the setup. There seems to be a pathway for cricketers to follow, no horses for courses, no ‘form players.’ Players are picked on ability and results over a long time. Take James Vince. Long ear-marked as a test player since breaking into the Hampshire limited over team in 2009 and earning selection for the under 19 World Cup. This summer he made his test debut. Just three tests in and he has a top score of 35, which would have seen him dispensed with in the 90’s, however he can feel secure that he will get a decent run in the team to make his mark.

However, with Nick Compton taking a break from cricket it opens up a space in the batting order. Today the England squad was named and in it they named Gary Ballance, giving him a recall to the side. Other options that had been mentioned were Jos Buttler playing as a specialist batsman or Liam Plunkett, and the batters moving up one. Now, I’ve nothing against Gary Ballance. However, his selection seems to owe much to the ‘Team England’ tag that follows the England Cricket team. Has he really scored the weight of runs to force his way back in? 17 innings, 585 runs at 36.56. Compared to Scott Borthwick who has made 609 at 55.36 in 13 innings – and who was a lot of people’s pick – it’s hard to argue for Ballance.

I’d like to put another name forward though. Wayne Lee Madsen of Derbyshire. Previously on this blog I have professed my admiration for him but, this aside, look at his numbers; 14 innings, 761 runs at 63.41 and 4 hundreds. How is he not playing for England? Some people will say it’s because he’s playing Division Two cricket. Maybe, but if you look at his record over his career he has end of year averages of 58, 34, 27, 37, 41, 39 and 47 before this year’s current haul. 

Maybe what they say is true; it is harder to get out of the England team than it is to get in it.

What’s On My IPod?

At the minute I’m immersed in the quite wonderful playing of the then Yorkshire Building Society Brass Band on their triple CD ‘Kings of Europe.’

You’re probably aware by now that I’m a huge ‘bander’ and my in car playlist very rarely fails to feature a brass band CD of some sort. In the past 18 months or so I’ve gained more of a taste for the more serious side of the movements repertoire, in particularly enjoying the annual European Championship highlights CD, full of live performances. Kings of Europe is music taken from YBS’s performances at the this contest where, in the late 90’s and early 00’s, they won the championships seven times in eight years. A staggering achievement.

When you listen to this CD it’s easy to see why; Blitz (somehow only placed 8th, however), Montage, Concerto Grosso and many more get stellar performances. My own favourite is Tallis Variations, a quite wonderful reading with the most delicate of finales and Pageantry. Pageantry is by no means a great performance, in all fairness. However, sometime you need some luck and it seems like YBS got it on that performance. To me though, Pageantry is just a great piece, hence why it’s up there on my favourite track listings.

In short, this is a quite wonderful CD and, sadly, is now rather a commemorative work as the band is, although still a top level band, no longer reaching the great heights it did under the baton of Professor David King.

However, what a legacy to leave.

A Very British Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon was spent in Congleton Park. The Lions Youth Brass organisation were performing for the Congleton Lions club on the bandstand. Despite the slightly inclement-looking weather during the morning, when the baton dropped at 2pm the sun was shining, and continued to do so throughout the afternoon’s entertainment. As Musical Director of the Beginner Band, I was delighted with our performance, as we took the chance to showcase a few of our new concert items – Bob the Builder already seems like it will be a favourite.
However, as I was sat there, listening to the Youth Band filling the lush, green park with their sound, eating an ice-cream and bathed in sunshine a thought hit me; is there anywhere really quite like Britain?