Done Any Modelling Lately?


Timothy Watson


29th December 2020

Reading Time

5 minutes

MRC President Tim Watson takes a look back at 2020

2020 didn’t start like any other in the Watson household. We had almost completed a four month  massive rebuild of the back of the house to make it wheelchair-friendly for Cecily: family Christmas dinner was achieved with some ingenuity laced with dust, but it took a while for the floor and walls to dry out to allow completion of the job. By late January normality was returning. We had the usual MRC Model Engineering Exhibition attendance at Alexandra Palace – a show that always kicks off the New Year for me; the St Evenage CMRA show – we have a very sociable dinner for 2mm exhibitors, at home, on the Saturday night. Finally, as always, the tax return was submitted on time by the 31st. Up in the garret workshop, ‘Valour’, my new 2mm scale engine was nearing completion, ready to hand over to top-class painter, Ian Rathbone, at the Missenden Abbey modelling weekend in March.

The biggest push, however, was the need to get Copenhagen Fields ready for its February photo shoot with Barry Norman, prior to publication in MRJ (#279).

Many of the CF group spun into action (as is our wont) with new signals, signal boxes, bits & pieces and buildings.

The method of communication between the CF group has evolved into an email list of Club members and close followers of the layout, so emails were flying thick and fast up to that point.

Spring is Sprung

Spring was soon in the air, with a steady exhibition commitment to our Alexandra Palace show and the 2mm Diamond Jubilee event in Derby in June. However, an ultra-small packet delivery from China got in the way. Thank goodness our indoor building works were complete as this gave us a wonderful new space to live in. As is well known, model railways abhor empty spaces and there was a shelf in the orangery that was crying out for a decent sized loco to occupy it.

I thought it was a good time to try my hand with a large railway loco. The purchase of a 3.5” gauge A3, currently named ‘Papyrus’, was the outcome. This has had a bit of cosmetic work done to it to improve its A3 credentials and will soon be re-named ‘Hyperion’, following further rebuilding. The A3 was tested on a rolling road and some skill developed in firing and running her, but the opportunity to run it on our local track was curtailed by the first lockdown, which started the day after delivery.

Having made some large scale stuff, I thought it was time to go back to smaller scale. I have had a slow burning interest in the Lynton & Barnstable railway for a number of years, visiting this beautiful N Devon area a number of times in the recent past.  Various bits and pieces have been squirrelled away (as railway modellers do) and so, with no bookings for Copenhagen Fields in the near future, a start was made on the engine shed area at Lynton, using a card kit as a basis.

The railway would be built to scale standards with 8mm track. The Heljan Manning Wardle 2-6-2s make a good basis for the locos, but I decided to replace the chassis with a completely scratch built affair with battery power and radio control as a bit of fun. The layout has been planned, but this will be a long-term ‘private’ project.

Everywhere was becoming very quiet by this stage, especially as Keen House was closed and modelling activities were curtailed, or were they?  The Copenhagen Fields email thread at this time changed its scope to include many other aspects of modelling (not least 3.5” and 8mm gauge material) with the forty odd individuals encouraged to contribute photos and descriptions of what they were up to. This has produced quite a range of varied models and projects that can be seen on the Club’s  blog web pages.

Heading Underground

In our summer holiday, work resumed on a CF project, the York Road tube. Six months later this has become a major project in its own right, with a massive amount of information made available from the London Transport Museum and TfL. There are six of us working on it and the top side building and basements are now complete.

With that structure now ticked off and a large article on the project in the January 2021 Bulletin, the next area to be worked up will be the potato warehouses in the front of the goods sheds.

To cap the year off Valour returned from Ian’s paint shops with a stunning paint finish. She is now re-assembled, crewed up and slightly weathered.

Won’t it be wonderful to see her on the Up 1923 Pullman train, drifting through Belle Isle on Copenhagen Fields? Rest assured, we will get back to normality, but in the meantime keep in touch with your posts and comments on line – or just keep checking back for the latest updates.

Happy New Year to everyone and stay safe.




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