You can’t always get what you want

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Well it’s true, not just in the world of toy trains, but life. One common wail across the interweb and to a degree at shows I’ve been to is the comment I’m waiting for such and such to be made, or painted in that livery. Its not been that long ago that there were cries for the Bachmann suburbans should be re-tooled to contemporary standards. Well that’d be nice I agree, but is it worth it? For Bachmann, commercially, I very much doubt it. These two pics show how my second revised coach has turned out. Its not brilliant, but its a big improvement over the out of the box coach in terms of the windows and underframe detailing. From 60cms or so the inadequacies are largely hidden, and put into a layout environment they are masked further.

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What has it cost? Not a lot, just the underframe etch at a couple of quid and Brians laserglaze windows at £8.00 (Oct 2013). So for the cost of the coaches (used around a tenner) and a further ten pounds in details Ive got a nice coach for £20.00, and I’ve actually made something!

Speaking of making things, it’s not hard if you want to make things, its mind over matter. Of course it’s not as simple as that, but the only thing you can be sure of is if you say ‘I can never do that’, then you’re right. You do have to think differently, along the lines of ‘I’d like to try that’. Then you’ve got past the biggest hurdle, the ‘mind set’. I’ve built a good number of kits and things in the past from various media, and this week I’ve dug out a Craftsman 02 shunter kit. I did this because another building project had stalled, so I put it to one side and got the coach out and this kit.

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There is a logic to the kit I selected, I took something that I knew I’d be able to make progress on, (same with the coach), and that I knew at the end of the session I would have achieved something, that gives me a spur to return to the stalled project. The task I did on the chassis was setting up the gearbox and drive train.

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The gearbox is a high level kit, and not for the original kit design. This means that I had to cut and adapt the chassis for the gearbox to fit. Again that’s not a big task, the original Craftsman kit is very simple and the high level kits gearbox is straightforward too. One good thing about Chris Gibbons from High Level is his level of service particularly at shows. He will be able to advise which of his gearboxes will suit. There is also a download which shows gearbox dimensions that you can compare to the kit you’re building. There isn’t a one size fits all option for kits and gearboxes regardless of whose kits and gearboxes your looking at, and some adaptation may be required.

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So this is the final fit which now needs fixing and then wheels, connecting rods and then a test run. What working on both these projects did was to give me a ‘win’, which I knew I’d get even before kick off. The point being, rather than getting frustrated with the problem project, the time I spent was profitable, I got what I wanted. In a similar vein Max has been working on some of the ‘traditional’ white metal kits http://probably-the-worst-kit-in-the-world/  and shows another way to deal with these stalling points or stumbling blocks, basically just persevere and make it happen for you, theres value in both approaches.

For me, (and Max), it would have been easier to follow the rest and bleat about not getting anything handed to me on a plate, but at the end of the day I’d still have an empty plate.

Follow the herd?  Nah, that's not for me,

Follow the herd?
Nah, that’s not for me,

With the positive feeling you get from an easy win its way, way, easier to visit the stalled project and make headway with it. That’s what I’ll be doing later, I will get what I want, but I may take a few detours to get it, but I will get it!

In the meantime I’ve got:
A 95% finished coach,
A significant step forward with the 02 kit,
An organic orchard full of sheep, and apples,

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Lots of them.

High Level Kits
http://www.highlevelkits.co.uk/

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3 Responses to You can’t always get what you want

  1. Khris says:

    Have to admit, it amazes me, like you the number of people who complain because the loco or coach that is produced has a different number to the one they want. Not only amongs British modeller but Aussie ones as well.
    It seems it is now to hard to change a number, or modify something it improve it, or just to make a unique version of a particular loco , wagon or coach.
    That’s what happens when everything is just about handed to you on a plate….we get LAZY!
    Good update and VERY true.

    Khris

  2. Phil says:

    I’ve always rated the 02 kit as ideal for the etched brass beginner. Yes, it’s a bit dated but you stand a pretty good chance of ending up with a finished model that looks like what it is supposed to be. The High-Level gearbox is a good choice too. Mine have Branchlines versions in because for Melbridge Dock I like 50:1 sets but if I wanted real crawling, I’d do what you have done.

  3. bawdsey says:

    Thanks, Phil, I fully agree about the beginner status, back at MRM (aka Kings Cross Models) in the early 80’s we often used this as the ‘starter’ kit for exactly those reasons you state. Simplicity/Fidelity and sensible price. Interesting (and a bit scary), that 30 years on, it still ticks those boxes!

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