Million Dollar Model Railway, Kato Hobby Centre & New Kits!

Million Dollar Model Railway, Kato Hobby Centre & New Kits!

Morning Gang!

How's things? Week one of March in the bag already and my goodness it's been a wet one down here. It's been relentless! Can't wait to see a bit of sunshine. But it's ideal modelling weather. This week has been the usual mix of challenges, small successes and random setbacks but we lived to tell the tale! And as you read this, we'll be back up in the midlands to see parents etc then back down tomorrow afternoon ready to get stuck back in, bright and early on Monday morning.

So yes… it's been fun and games here really. To be honest I can't really remember half of what we've done now. There's been quite a lot of visitors to showroom this week too, including Paul & Andrew who popped in Wednesday afternoon to pick up some of our new weathered white paint end brick paper. Oh, and we had a large delivery of Peco Set Track, so we've got all of that to load onto the site at some point too. That'll keep Sam & Stu quiet for a few hours.

Tina's been setting up systems for keeping track of packaging materials, making it much simpler to reorder them (basically so nobody has to ask me to order them as I forget!). If the system she's devised works well, we'll start rolling it out for other consumables too, then it'll take me out the loop as I'm the weakest link most of the time.

So then… new stuff & product development.

Product Development - Latest News

Sam's finished his walls! Yay! Just in time for this newsletter and they're looking really good. Hopefully he's learned a little more about laying parts out on the materials for laser cutting and he's honed his photoshop skills a little more too, creating the wraps.

Stu's been finalising some more N gauge un-wrapped kits, which with a bit of luck will be live so I can link to them later in the newsletter. In fact I can as he's just added them to the website as I'm writing this paragraph. How's that for timing? So we have a new, medium low relief town house kit which looks absolutely spot on. And we've been able to do this, and it's partner UW2004-N Low Relief Shop at even more competitive prices! Links down below in the new releases section.

I've mostly been tinkering with behind-the-scenes stuff again this week, but I did have chance to finalise the period terraced house backscene sheets after about 6 years of promising them! They just needed a few tweaks and a little extra weathering here and there to make them look nice and grotty, just like the terraced houses at the Black Country Museum. We have four different wall finishes for them too: Red Brick, Yorkshire Stone, Buff Stone & Grey Stone, so there's something for almost every region. Links to them in the New Stuff section below.

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

Gooood morning! The first week of March is done, hope you had a good one. Justin has been busy finishing off new backscenes and I’ve been cracking on with the custom jobs, social media posts and some more ghost signs. On and I finished my modular walls project! Links to those later in the newsletter. We should have a pack of ghost signs coming soon so like I said last week, keep your eyes peeled. I wanted to quickly give a shoutout to all of you brilliant modellers in the Railway Modellers community. I love seeing all your amazing dioramas, layouts, and other projects you have going on. If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend joining up, sharing your work, and browsing others. There are some great discussions had on the site and we would love you to be a part of it. Right, now it’s time for some videos. Some of these are a bit different than the ones I’ve featured before but hopefully, you still enjoy them.

Diecast Rallying!

The first video I’ve selected is from a channel called 3Dbotmaker. My mates and I absolutely love this channel. Their videos are high quality and always entertaining. The premise is a Diecast rally where they send cars down a track (either their own or people send in their cars) and commentate over it as if it were real life. They also add sound effects. You can see some great camera work being done here as the cars go flying down the track. I love the commentators as they bring a lot of energy to the videos. The video I’ve selected from them is their 2022 Diecast Rally Car Racing Final Round (Season 3 Event 1) as this is the video that got us hooked, so hooked in fact that one of my mates got a t-shirt from them. Big Air Dylan is one of the returning characters and is an absolute beast when it comes to the DRC. Another part that interests me is the tracks themselves, surrounded by scenery. As a modeller, I’m always looking at the background and spotting little bits of detail. Check out their channel for more videos like this if you want some fun! Do we have any diecast collectors among us? Let us know in the comments what you collect!

The Million Dollar Model Railway

For the second video, I wanted to bring it back to model railways. This is easily one of the best layouts I have ever seen and as soon as I stumbled across it I knew I had to share it with you. Howard Zane is a train enthusiast who for the last 30 years has been working on his layout. He was inspired by his dad at the age of 3 years old like I’m sure many of you were as well. It is estimated to be worth 3 million dollars (£2.3m) but as he said in the video, he doesn’t like to put a price on it and it’s hard to say. A lot of his buildings are scratch built which makes it even more impressive. This layout spans 3,000 square feet and is a masterpiece. His current wife (his two previous wives weren’t a massive fan of the layout) is supportive and enjoys the layout. He retired 30 years ago and went into business selling custom-made buildings and trains. This layout is truly inspiring and so is the man behind it. I wish I could see this in person and speak to Howard.

The World's Fastest Drone Camera

I told you the videos are a bit different in this newsletter. Next, we have a video from Red Bull who partnered up with The Dutch Drone Gods. It's got nothing to do with modelling, but it's one of those videos you've just got to watch! They take on the task of filming one continuous shot of an F1 car doing a lap of a circuit. To start, they take the world’s fastest drone and see how it does. From here, they make changes so it can easily keep up with the rapid breaking and accelerating that an F1 car does during a lap. There is so much talent in this video and having this drone shot gives you a sense of the true power, speed and aerodynamics of not only the car itself but also the drone. It’s even more impressive that a manually piloted drone captures the shot. Can you imagine the pressure that he would have felt during this? They only had one lap. In total, this project took a year to complete, and they’ve compressed it down to a nice, well filmed and edited 12-minute video. 100% worth the watch.

Kato Hobby Centre, Tokyo

Anddd finally, here is a video from the channel Choo-Choo Travel. In this video, they visit the Kato Hobby Center in Tokyo. As they say in the description, if you are a model railway enthusiast you may be familiar with this place, but I wanted to share this with you in case you haven’t seen it before. Admission is free and you can enjoy viewing large dioramas that they have on display. Unfortunately, there is no commentary in this video but there are subtitles explaining what’s happening and going into some detail. This is a bit of a longer video at 32 minutes long but it's fascinating, relaxing and there’s a lot of visually interesting things going on.

That’s it from me. Fingers crossed you enjoyed these videos. As always, feel free to let me know what you thought about them. You can contact me via the Railway Modellers Club, or drop me a line via the helpdesk.

New Stuff

Right then… it's time for links to the new stuff… Just a couple of bits this week, with more to come next weekend.

And we have Sam's walls!

  • KX107-OO Modular Wall - OO/4mm/1:76
    Available in a choice of seven different finishes, these walls are super-simple to build and incredibly versatile. They're also very keenly priced too. Wall finishes included: Magnolia Render, Pebbledash, Industrial Red Brick, Victorian Red Brick, Cornish Stone, Dressed Stone & Brown Brick.

    Each pack comes with 6 x 90mm sections, 2 x 38mm sections, plus eleven posts. All with appropriate card coping stone sections.

Billboards & Ladders Bundle

  • LX560-OO & MP108-OO Billboards & Ladders Bundle
    After seeing the Dylington Custard billboard in place in the header picture above I thought there was an ideal opportunity to create a little bundle of bits to help you build a similar cameo scene. So, we've bundled the billboards, ladders micro pack. And when you buy the two together, you'll automatically save a quid! Why not?

Right… that's about it for this edition of the weekly news. Who knows what's in store next week. Lots of behind-the-scenes stuff going on as usual but hopefully no more motorway time for a week or two. So we can actually get on with some proper development work. I’ve got a few more low relief buildings in my sights.

Have an amazing weekend folks… And of course…

Keep on shunting…

Justin, Tina, Elizabeth, Lola & The Team

P.S. This weekend's header image comes from James over on the Railway Modellers Club showcasing the rather wonderful new Dylington Custard billboard that's been installed in the town. As James says… if you know, you know!

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

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