Build A Model Railway On A Shelf, Plus Easy Peasy Rocks & New Releases

Build A Model Railway On A Shelf, Plus Easy Peasy Rocks & New Releases

Morning Gang!

How's things? You'll never guess what? It's actually stopped raining! That must be nearly 48 hours since the last drop and we've even had a bit of sunshine. And there my even be the need to dig the shorts out this afternoon if I get chance to mow the lawn!

Last weekends washing machine move was a bit of a palava to be honest. It wasn't anywhere near as simple as we'd hoped unfortunately so the darn thing is still in the bathroom and we have a new kitchen cupboard instead. Which is actually rather handy.

And it's nearly the end of the Easter holidays… Elizabeth is heading back up to Liverpool tomorrow… well we're taking her back up so I can take a few more photos of buildings for some future projects. There are so many interesting buildings up there that I want to turn into kits at some point. She's only got another 6 weeks to do at Uni and that's the end of her second year already. Anyway, we had ¾ of the day off yesterday to spend a bit of time with her and popped over to Rame Head to see friends that run a B&B over there. They do wicked cream teas and you can even have a go on the potters wheel which was brilliant fun. Definitely going to book a couple of hour session at some point to have a proper go. It was one of those things where you don't think about anything else while you're doing it. So it's really therapeutic.

And the big news from HQ this week is the addition of two new members to Team SMS! We've had a bit of a shuffle around over the past couple of months with all the usual characters still here but just tweaking working hours etc to fit around other commitments. That meant needing more support in particular areas to help us grow and bring the vision in our heads to fruition.

First up, we have Scott, who's actually been with us for a good few weeks now, looking after things in production. He comes from a manufacturing background and has working in a wide range of industries including confectionery & gin distilling! So, he's good at juggling jobs and helping to optimise workflows. He's also got quite a wicked sense of humour.

And then this week, Jessica joined us as Design & Marketing manager. It's the first management role we've created here and it's a massive step for us. But Jess comes from a more corporate environment, with a wealth of experience in graphic design and marketing, and is used to working to very high standards, so I think having her on the team will be just what we need to take things up a notch. She's also way more qualified than me in terms of graphic design so I'm looking forward to learning from her & watching her get creative! Part of her role will also be keeping young Sam on his toes, knocking our social media channels into shape and optimising lots of other areas of the business over the coming weeks and months. 

The big bonus for us with Jess & Scott joining us is that Tina and I will have more creative time to work on new kits, which we're really looking forward too. I was watching Tina build the KX060-OO Low Relief Industrial Unit for a diorama we're working on yesterday and it's so neat and precise! So I think with me designing, Tina test building the prototypes and working with me to get things spot on, we should be able to create some pretty amazing stuff over the coming months.

Product Development - Latest News

This week then… Sam's been on leave this week looking after his mum & dad's dogs while they've been away, so it's just been me and Stu cracking on with new stuff. Stu's been rescaling our popular LX213-OO Platform Coping with Tactile Paving to TT:120. So that's now ready to go. Link in the new stuff section below.

And I've pushed on with on with a set of additional road markings for modern image car parks in weathered, self-adhesive format. I quite enjoy doing these as they're nice and easy to work with and we've included a full set of markings including standard spaces, disabled, motorcycle, EV Charging spaces, as well as no parking, entrance & exit markings. I think that's about all the new stuff this week… well that I can remember anyway…

In the meantime, it's over to young Sam for this weekend's videos.

Morning everyone! I've had this week off so I'm a bit of out the loop of what's happened, but you have Justin to tell you all the updates. I'm aware that Jessica has started and I'm looking forward to working with her. Anyway, I hope you've had a good week. 

Building A Model Railway On An Ikea Shelf

For my first selection, here is a video from Dartside Scenics. The title says it all. Dartside Scenics purchases a shelf from Ikea (measuring 110x26cm) and creates a fantastic diorama. For the land, he uses Celotex foam which can be easily cut to shape and then built up with sculptamold, paint, Mod Podge, static grass and earth texture. I'm a huge fan of how he creates the bridge using an arch made from balsa wood and then using real stones to build up the brickwork. Another technique I found interesting was how he uses DAS clay to highlight the mortar lines. This video is both entertaining and informational. Not only this but there are some SMS products featured! Great to see.

If you fancy doing something with a backscene, our modular baseboards are a great way to start.

Quick & Easy Model Rock Faces

A few weeks ago, I featured a video from Marklinofsweden and ever since I've been going back to his channel. He has some cracking tutorials, and this is another one of them. In this video, he goes over a fantastic way to create realistic rock faces with no-cost material. This method looks incredible and can save you so much time, with no moulding or carving required. It's shocking how good it looks and Marklin seems shocked too! Don't want to spoil the method so go give it a watch.

Running Trains In The Yorkshire Dales

This video is easily one of the most satisfying videos I've come across so far. It comes from the channel Mouldy Raspberry and in this, they run 3 different trains on the Yorkshire Dales Model Railway. The layout is well documented, you can find many images and articles online which is no wonder as it's an amazing piece of modelling. Everywhere you look small details are tying the world together. Audio is also a big part of this video which adds so much atmosphere and realism. Have a cup of tea and stick this video on.

How Safe Are Locomotives

For my final selection, here's a video which isn't modelling but it has to do with railways. A couple of weeks ago I featured "Train GRAVEYARD" and a bit over a month ago, I featured a video which covered some bizarre trains and you seemed to like that! I've got another video from V12 Productions but this time they answer the question How SAFE are Locomotives? It's interesting how in America, wide-nose trains weren't popular (some wide-nose trains were used from 1960-80) until the 1980s after seeing Canada had done the same thing to protect them from their harsh winters. Another part which caught my attention is that according to FRA regulations, the train's windows should be able to withstand a ballistic impact with a standard 22-calibre long rifle lead bullet and also the impact of a cinder block.

Right! That’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed the videos. There are some brilliant techniques showcased above. Like I say every week, feel free to leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you think. You can also contact me via the help desk or over at where my username is @sam. Have a great week. Here’s a bonus video: 

New Stuff

Right then… it's time for links to the new & updated stuff…

New To The Hobby? Get A Head Start With These…

If you're just taking your first steps into the hobby, why not grab a PECO Track Plan Book to help get the creative juices flowing… With three to choose from there's plenty of inspiration to help you build a layout in whatever space you have available.

First Class Newsletter - Issue 5 - A Reminder

And a quick reminder… Issue 5 of the First Class Railway Modellers Newsletter is now available to download. This issue features Jamie Warne's fantastic Sandy Shores layout, along with a look at Dave & Jane's Workbench, Gary's fantastic upgraded BR Brute trolleys and an interview with Stu! It's available as a printed newsletter (link in the First Class Lounge) or as a download… click on the cover below to download it. We sent a good few out in printed format last week but there's a lot of you that still haven't ordered them yet so feel free to jump on!

Download the latest (and all backissues) here.

Right… that's about it for this edition of the weekly news. Next week, Sam's back at HQ so he'll be cracking on with a few projects. I'll be back doing a little more on the country pub ready for Tina to do a test build and possibly revamping a couple of other kits. Stu's got more N & TT:120 stuff to finish off and Jess will be ploughing on with sorting out our branding and getting to grips with some of the systems we used to promote SMS to the world… and hopefully making better use of them than I do! 

Have an amazing weekend folks… And of course…

Keep on shunting…

Justin, Tina, Elizabeth, Lola & The Team

P.S. Sorry, but this weekend's header pic is also a little self-indulgent but I'm so proud of all the farms and smallholding scenes popping up using our laser cut OO scale farm buildings. This cracking scene is by Marcus over on the RailwayModellers Community and it's coming together really nicely.

Kits Marcus has used include:

P.P.S. Missed a newsletter? You can read all of our recent newsletters online here.

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Great to see the teak growing and leaving you and Tina more time to do what you are best at lol.... please can we see what Jess and Scott look like - we know all the other team members faces so dont leave these newbies in the dark....

Many moons ago, pre-Cornwall, you started work on a small GNR station building. I think it was for an island platform. Is this ever likely to come to fruition?

Interesting reading as usual. Better than ant and dec that the wife is watching 😂