N Gauge Dystopia, The Modellers Dilemma & Tips From Real Railway Engineers

N Gauge Dystopia, The Modellers Dilemma & Tips From Real Railway Engineers

Morning Gang!

How's things? It's still blummin raining!

Well we're back in the Southwest and hard at work at HQ, cracking on with a number of things. Loads going on as always behind the scenes. Tina and I spent the day at the unit on Monday while it was quiet and rearranged the desks upstairs so we could fit another workstation in. We're just waiting for a couple of new chairs to arrive to replace the blummin uncomfortable stools that use at the prototyping bench. They're ok for half an hour, but any more than that and things start to ache a bit.

It looks far neater and tidier upstairs now though. Just need to work on implementing a clear/clean desk policy so things are nice and tidy at the end of the day. Might be a bit of a challenge to get into the habit, but if you don't try, we'll never get there.

Elizabeth's enjoying being back at home this week I think. She's back at work down at Cornish Cream in the village, selling fudge and ice cream to the visitors. And I think the owner is pestering her to come back from Uni early to cover the summer holidays as she seems to be very good at her job! We've taught her well :)

Product Development - Latest News

This week, Sam's been busy working on new textures this week including a couple in 1:18th scale for those of you that collect large diecast vehicles. Those should be finished week after next as he's on holiday for a week next week.

Stu's been busy collating content for the next issue of the Railway Modellers First Class magazine which as I write this should be just about done… If we're lucky, by the time this goes out on Saturday morning we might even be able to link to it! And he's been working on an O gauge version of the LX173-O Front Door With Arched Window. As it's much larger than the OO scale version (obviously) he's been able to pack a bit more detail in… so it's got a knocker & a letter box! Again, hopefully, there will be a link to it at the bottom of this newsletter.

And I managed to grab a couple of hours on Thursday to work on some wooden bistro tables & chairs. They're tiny and a little challenging to build (but well within your capabilities I'm sure) and they do go together rather nicely. So if you fancy a pack, there's definitely a link to those at the bottom of the newsletter… Unless I make a total pigs ear of it, which is quite possible!

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

Good morning everyone. The first week of April is done already, can you believe it? Hopefully, you had a good long weekend and a great week at that. It's been a busy week here over at the SMS HQ due to the Easter weekend. All of my Monday jobs have been pushed to Tuesday, Tuesday jobs to Wednesday, etc, etc. I should be releasing some new bits and pieces soon, it's a case of finding time in the day to work on them. Anyway, it's time for some videos.

The Modeller's Dilemma

The first video I've selected for you is a video from Chicago Crossing Model Railroad - a channel I've featured before. Titled, "The Fine-Scale Modeler's Dilemma | Realism vs. Resolution" CCMR goes over the main 3 issues when it comes to modelling N gauge and other fine scales. These issues are: effective resolution, materials and whether these materials are easy or hard to work with. I don't want to spoil the video too much but he makes some interesting points, a lot of which have been on my mind since I started this job. It's the balance of realism and what looks good. For example, he mentions how posters in his layout would be as thick as a phone book in reality but he's not going to search for a thinner material to put them on because currently it looks good. Another point he mentions is that his layout is a work of art, it's a representation of reality. You make your own aesthetic choices. It's a brilliant discussion to have and I'd love to hear how you feel about it.

N Scale Dystopia

Next, the channel N Scale Dystopia has a March 2024 update for us. In this, he goes over the progress he has made on his representation of the Oceanwide Plaza and the recent graffiti that was done on almost every floor of the buildings. If you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend googling "Oceanwide Plaza Graffiti" - it's a sight to see. Alongside some locomotive repaints, this project kept him busy for about a month with hours of airbrushing being done. The 2 buildings that he made have over 60 different graffiti pieces, with most including 2-3 colours. This adds up to about 150-180 individual stencils. In doing so, he found a pretty neat and quick way to quickly change colours in your airbrush. N Scale Dystopia also visits Otter Valley Railroad to pick up a few basic supplies. I've been keeping up with this channel for a while and the project keeps getting better and better. Highly recommend.

Tips From Real Railway Engineers

Listen, I know that the first 2 videos were American but I'm featuring another one. This video comes from djstrains (another channel that's been on here before) and Stephen Johnson. Steve has an incredible layout and worked on the railroad for many years with companies such as Conrail, CSX and Amtrak. DJ is also a locomotive engineer, working for CSX Railroad since 1999. I'm not sure the context of where they are giving this talk but it's to a live audience. Like he says in the video, Steve's basement only measures 10x19ft but he's managed to cram an incredible amount of detail into it. They cover quite a few different points so there are more than likely a couple of bits that you can apply to your layout. One of the key parts is DJ saying, "Think like the railway thinks" and less is more.

I would also recommend watching the video of Steve's layout which you can find here:

Ally Pally 2024

Finally, bringing it to the UK, we have an overview of the recent London Festival of Railway Modelling which took place in Ally Pally on March 17th, 2024. I've seen a lot of channels release videos of their coverage but this one from Greasy Rails is ideal. He films many, many layouts and stands from suppliers. There are a couple of layouts that caught my attention. "The Yard" is my favourite as the moving parts are so spot on and add to the scene so much, not to mention the incredible modelling. Another layout that caught my attention was Purgatory Peak. This layout is massive and the environment is mind-blowing. If you have some time to kill, this video is worth checking out. It's quite long at 45 minutes but it's filled with great shots.

That's it from me! As always, feel free to leave a comment, or contact me via the help desk or on www.railwaymodellers.com where my username is @sam. If you have a video you think I should feature, feel free to send it to me. I'm always happy to shout out clubs and other projects you may be working on. Have a great weekend. Here's a bonus video:

New Stuff

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

First Class Newsletter - Issue 5

And at last… 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.

Download the latest (and all backissues) here.

Wagon & Lorry Loads Special Offer

Grab yourself a bargain… 3 for £10 on our new Bricks, Breeze Blocks & Wrapped Timber wagon & lorry loads. Just click here, add the bundle to your cart and we’ll discount the bundle automatically to £10!

Right… that's about it for this edition of the weekly news. Time to finish moving the washing machine from the bathroom (no idea why the previous occupants of our house put it in there) into the kitchen. Oh my goodness they're so heavy! Managed to move the thing using a dolly my dad made to help move on of our lasers and got it into the kitchen. And then kinda forced it into the gap where the old freezer was… and it fits where it touches as my grandad used to say! Put it this way… it ain't coming out again in a hurry. Just got to connect up the drain hose when the extension arrives from Amazon later today hopefully.

And then build a couple of bookcases I think so we can finally get all the books we've got stored in the shed out and on the shelves in the living room. So many we both still need to read!

Have an amazing weekend folks… And of course…

Keep on shunting…

Justin, Tina, Elizabeth, Lola & The Team

P.S. This morning's header pic comes from Knustford Ian over on the RailwayModellers Club. It's an absolutely cracking pic which he took at the Nailsea MRC Show a little while ago. And I'll be banging on about it for a while as it features a lovely farm scene created using a handful of our kits! Which makes me really really happy to say the least... The layout itself is by Mike Carter and I believe it's called Bleath.

Kits used on this layout:

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

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