Build a Model Railway
Railway News (updated Jan 21, 2020)
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PECO Reviews Build a Model Railway Part 1
Feb 2020 issue of Railway Modeller:
"Building a Model Railway – From Start to finish
Building your first model railway layout, venturing beyond the train set, can be a daunting task to the uninitiated. There are so many things to consider, and if not properly planned, mistakes, some costly and certainly inconvenient, can be made.
Starting with an empty room, this brand new production sets out to help the novice modeller take the right path from the very beginning, with planning considerations discussed first, leading on to baseboard construction, track laying and wiring. This follows on to scenery skills, including kit building with proprietary card kits being the focus of attention. Techniques for creating the scenery are covered in depth, using many traditional methods and some new ones too, thanks to the many new products now available. The programme follows the construction of an LMS-themed end-to-end layout, constructed for DC operation, showcasing the progress made throughout the process. The build quality of the subject layout is very high, perhaps higher than some modellers might choose to adopt, but there is nothing wrong with encouraging a clean and tidy work ethic.
This is a very professional production, with a helpful and easy-going style of presentation, although quite briskly paced, structured with a series of chapters. By necessity, the treatment of the journey from start to finish is quite generic but, for the first-time modellers, this is probably just about right, and hints and tips on how to learn more are given on the way. There is a tendency to direct the viewer to resources online, although we are bound to say that there are plenty of helpful guides and resources available in printed form too, not least from the publishers of this magazine, but in the end the constant reminder about planning and thinking ahead was reinforced over and over, which is no bad thing. As was the reminder that this is a hobby and should be enjoyed at every step of the way, something on which we can all agree. All in all, a very slick production with high production values, and one that will certainly help and encourage someone to embark on their first layout build."
At Last - No 2 is here!
Our latest DVD is now available at various retail outlets and is the perfect Christmas or New Year gift for the model railway hobbyist.
If your local shop is unaware of this superb DVD series, please help by bringing it to their attention and meanwhile you can order online via our own website.
We are very grateful to all the manufacturers who took part and we are now in pre-production of DVD #3 which is going to take us even further into the craft. Filming schedules are being organised as the crew will once again be travelling throughout the UK. Of course, what we are producing is under wraps at present but we will be posting preview snippets in the new year.
Many thanks to all of you who have been so supportive. Professional film and TV production is a very expensive undertaking and unless a documentary is formatted for 'Reality' TV it will often be a financial flop. HOWEVER, high quality production for DVD is another story altogether, so you will be hearing a lot more about this series as we continue to build upon our solid foundation designed to help the newcomer, expert hobbyist, retailer and manufacturer alike, to promote the hobby and encourage a younger generation to get involved.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you can help or have ideas you think may prove of benefit to all involved in this miniature model world and we hope you will have a great Christmas break to help you face the challenges of a New Year.
From all of us here at the studio – Best wishes.
Manufacturers give a thumbs-up to Building a Model Railway 2:
It’s been a long haul! We travelled hundreds of miles, filming behind the scenes of many leading manufacturers, plus months working on Part 2 of our studio railway layout.
Here's what some of these manufacturers have written after they previewed Part 2 of our film series.
“A superb, high-quality production full of excellent hints and tips that takes the modeller on a wonderful journey through their new miniature world.” PECO
“Part 1 of Building a Model Railway gives an introduction to building a layout. Part 2 builds on that knowledge to further enhance your layout and really bring your model to life.” Oxford Rail
"…..Following the success of Building a Model Railway Part 1, this impressive DVD elevates you to another level with your modelling skills, looking at details such as weathering, lighting, and sound to help create a layout to be proud of. Another must have DVD!” Metcalfe Models
"Building a Model Railway No 2 is a superb video, with a wealth of information and ideas. Congratulations on a great production! We look forward to being involved in No 3!" DCC Concepts
PS – For those who can’t wait, the HD Video-on-Demand version is available now from our website at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/buildamodelrailway2 where you can also watch the trailer, however the DVD and VoD vouchers will be available to purchase from good retailers from the 16th December – so please support your stockist.
“My 10 year old son and I spent a most enjoyable couple of hours watching it through twice. I thought it was very professionally produced; lighting, sound and camera work were all exceptional and the narration was excellent, being both clear and easy to follow. A huge amount of content was covered over the hour and gave the viewer a real taste of the hobby and its infinite possibilities. Keep up the great work and we look forward to your future releases.”
Ten Commandments Models Drop In to The Studio:
Local manufacturer Dave Young of Ten Commandments Models (TCM) dropped in for a visit and brought with him several boxes of goodies for us to show on the layout. From plaster and stone-cast buildings and accessories to lead-cast lineside knick-knacks. The wire fencing products add a nice touch to both our countryside and warehouse sections. TCM has over 1200 products in stock to choose from including a popular track cleaning unit that hooks up to your locomotive.
Dave was recently at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition which is held annually at the NEC in Birmingham. You can catch up with him at the Peterborough show on December 7th, sporting his new exhibition banner featuring the ‘Building a Model Railway’ DVD series. You will also be able to purchase either a DVD or a VoD voucher from the Ten Commandments stand.
Building a Model Railway Part 2:
The first part in the series was aimed at the model railway newcomer and hobbyist. Jam packed with graphics, illustrations, interviews, hints and tips, Part 2 takes the viewer into greater detailing and technologies, filming around the country with interviews from leading manufacturers and dealers such as Bachmann Europe, PECO, Metcalfe Models, DCC Concepts, weathering specialists TMC and more. Get to grips with track ballasting, static grass application, Digital Command Control technologies, weathering and building effects.
This highly informative and engaging presentation makes it an ideal gift as well as an excellent resource to have to hand and is available in DVD (Pal only) and HD Video-On-Demand.
Metcalfe Models - all lit-up:
Metcalfe Models says that “Build a Model Railway is exactly what anyone starting out needs! It is a really comprehensive guide for the budding model railway hobbyist, delving in to everything from electrics to track layout, tunnels to accessorising. This impressive DVD will take you on a modelling journey, guaranteeing a spectacular model railway layout to be proud of. A must have!”
As sales of the 1st DVD soar as Christmas draws closer, we near completion of production for the 2nd ‘Building a Model Railway’ film and thought you might like to see a clip from our warehouse cameo that brings to life one of Metcalfe Models’ industrial card kits.
This particular kit was weathered, vegetation added, pipes and guttering and a number of other customised alterations made, with LED lighting inside and incandescent decorative lights fixed to the outer walls. One of the warehouses has been given the ‘burned-out building’ look, complete with flickering fire effect and smoke. All of which is explained and illustrated in our 2nd DVD subtitled ‘Detail and Technology’ coming soon.
Company Director Nick Metcalfe was interviewed for the latest film where we get to see behind the scenes of this family run business in Yorkshire. The 1st DVD, ‘Building a Model Railway – From Start to Finish’ is also available from their website at https://www.metcalfemodels.com/…/building-model-railway-dvd/.
PECO Twist & Lock Point Motor:
We had the opportunity to catch up with PECO sales manager, Steve Haynes, at Harburn Hobbies recently where PECO were demonstrating their latest twist & lock point control unit. We had hoped to be able to fit these on our latest layout for the second film but the product was still undergoing completion and not quite ready to be released.
The twist and lock feature is certainly very interesting and should make servo fitting an easier task. Everyone who is familiar with breaking their back, cricking their neck trying to line up certain types of servos under the baseboards will definitely appreciate these little chaps.
An added feature is the ability to add a frog polarity switch that neatly attaches to the servo. To be sold separately or as a pack, you will soon find them on retailers’ shelves.
PECO Turntable Motor PL-55:
Further to our visit to Harburn Hobbies, PECO sales manager, Steve Haynes, was demonstrating their much awaited PL-55 Turntable Motor. On our first film we constructed the PECO PL-55 Turntable (below) and had to use another method to mechanise the unit as the motor was still undergoing design changes. Having read about the possible release of this unit some years ago, we were informed by PECO that we could expect to see the fully operational motor by the end of 2019.
This is a non-indexing motor so alignment is by eye, although the controls allow for small adjustments. Existing turntables on layouts can easily accommodate the new motor without any disruption to your layout. Power has to be provided from an independent 12V / DC / 2A supply. To operate the motor, press and hold either of the clockwise or anti-clockwise buttons to rotate the deck and release the button when you wish to stop. Operation is very smooth.
Build a Model Railway 2 – Detail & Technology:
Our 2nd film in the series is almost complete and will be out in time for Christmas!
Film no.1 has met with very positive reviews for which we are very grateful as it was a joy to work on and no.2 is also jam packed with all sorts of helpful goodies to watch – for the newbie as well as those who have been on the road (or tracks?) for much longer. This one concentrates on the detail – bringing even more reality to your set-up and also showing you how to deal with some of the 'new' technology.
We trust that, along with Part 1, this film will greatly benefit the modeller, retailer and manufacturer alike as we seek to make this wonderful hobby better known.
Oxford Rail WW1 Rail Gun - Bosch Buster:
We have recently taken delivery of a number of Oxford Rail products and below you can see one of their latest models – the WW1 Rail Gun in a camouflage finish that has ‘Bosch Buster’ marked on the barrel. As you can see, it’s quite an impressive model and will be a running feature in our Part 2 film. A future release will see the Big Gun come as a set with an appropriate locomotive. We will be catching up with Oxford Rails brand developer Scott Rhodes early next year who kindly supported our first film project…
"Building a Model Railway’ is the perfect addition if you’re just starting off in the hobby. It covers every topic in detail and allow everyone to participate in the hobby. Pushing your skills with the use of this DVD will produce a layout you can certainly be proud of. Give it a go!" (Oxford Rail: Scott Rhodes)
Harburn Hamlet, Bachmann & Metcalfe products to feature in new film:
Below is just one of a wide range of Harburn Hamlet products from the Edinburgh model railway shop. In this unfinished scene, a section of our upcoming Part 2 DVD/VoD Film, you can see their 00 scale ‘coal stay’, complete with coal and shovel, set within our modified / customised Engine shed cameo. Once completed, the whole cameo will be brought to life with various special effects. The modified shed is a Metcalfe building with a weathered Bachmann O60 locomotive. We are about to take delivery of a couple of very special products that we will be featuring shortly and we are looking forward to it… So, keep posted because we are about to launch a whole raft of features to help inform and encourage railway modellers.
Harburn Hobbies Commissioned Wagons:
Harburn Hobbies recently handed over a box of railway goodies that will play a part in our upcoming part 2 DVD/Vod “Building a Model Railway – Detail & Technology” The pic below is of a 14 Ton McEwans Brewery wagon produced exclusively for Harburn Hobbies of Edinburgh and manufactured by Bachmann Branchline. Other commissioned models in the range are also produced by PECO. Within the new film there will be a number of Harburn products featured including vehicles, scenery and accessories from the Hamlet range.
The Model Centre - Weathering:
We recently took delivery of one of our Bachmann locomotives 060 Class 3F with the Deeley Tender that was professionally weathered by The Model Centre (TMC) based in North Yorkshire. Re-fitted with crew, pipes, coal and medium weathering, this engine will take its place on Part 2 of the DVD series, Building a model Railway – Detail & Technology. We are sure you will agree that they have done a great job as can be seen in the picture below. We hope to be able to drop in to TMC in October as we travel the country filming for Part 2. Watch this space.
Bachmann Europe Visit
Bachmann are probably best known for their beautiful model locomotives, one of which we feature on our DVD cover and this website, a Class 5 LYR 2-4-2T in crimson.
Richard Proudman the communications manager, recently viewed the High Definition Video-On-Demand version of the Build a Model Railway film and says,
“I enjoyed viewing the film and can confirm that I was suitably impressed. The whole production had clearly been well thought out and the presentation is professional throughout”.
Of course, Bachmann manufacture many other model railway products and we will be going to Leicester later this month to interview Richard and hopefully capture some of their latest products - so watch this space.
DCC Concepts visits Studio Scotland Film Production
Sales Manager Richard Brighton came up from North Yorkshire to spend time with the production team behind “Building a Model Railway – From Start to Finish” (Part 1). Arriving complete with several boxes of digital goodies to help illustrate part 2 (Detail & Technology) which will be ready for Christmas.
While Richard patiently helped to illustrate various modelling technologies in the studio everyone had fun listening to and watching a selection of DCC locomotives running on the studio’s railway layout. A big thank you to all at DCC Concepts for their support and encouragement. If you get the chance do drop in and pay them a visit.
Studio Scotland visits Metcalfe Models
As part of production for the 2nd ‘Building a Model Railway’ film, we took some time to travel down to Yorkshire to meet with the team of people behind card building manufacturer Metcalfe Models. The first thing that strikes you as you travel through the beautiful countryside is the idyllic setting for this company.
Metcalfe Models are most supportive of the first film project and as part of the second film, Director Nick Metcalfe gave us an excellent interview as well as showing us around the factory. It was very interesting to see how this excellent range of card models are made and look forward to see what the company has planned for future releases as they look to developing technologies.
Studio Scotland visits DCC Concepts
While in Yorkshire meeting with Metcalfe Models filming for part 2 of the ‘Building a Model Railway’ project, we were invited to spend the day with DCC Concepts, an innovative company behind so many clever products. We filmed interviews with MD Richard Johnson and Sales manager Richard Brighton followed by a great lunch of local fresh fish and chips…
All the team at DCC were very helpful in explaining and showing Digital Command Control in operation. In due course – one of their engineers will be visiting our studio railway layout to show how to turn an existing DC layout into a DCC system. We will keep you posted
Studio Scotland visits Harburn Hobbies (Edinburgh)
As Edinburgh is not far from our studio we visited Harburn Hobbies probably Scotland’s most well-known model railway retailer that was established back in the 1930s. Director Bob Baird not only gave an excellent interview but has been very helpful in supporting the first Film project and has been supplying products for the second. Harburn not only stock a very large selection of products but specialise in limited edition and specially commissioned Rolling Stock, Scenery Accessories and transportation models.
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