July 29, 2018

As I become a little older but not that more mature, the wander-lust becomes stronger, more compelling. Once again, Sarah and I were drawn to Europe, this time with a trip to the most unlikely of destinations: Maastricht in the Limburg region of the Netherlands; the northern part I know from my childhood days. A beautiful city with a fascinating history and a compelling position in Europe, both in terms of the European project (EU), which I fully support, and geographically.

As a break from my usual photographic work, I took a small pocket camera and wish I hadn’t – far better results would have been achieved with my big Canons, with large lenses with their large glass elements. However, I was supposed to be on holiday and it was hot – those cameras are heavy whilst the pocket one fitted neatly, well, in a pocket!

There’s something compelling about European culture, as diverse and rich as it is. The Vrijthof in Maastricht – café culture takes on a whole new meaning in this part of the world.

Another good reason to visit Masstricht in July are the André Rieu concerts with the JSO – just a perfect way to spend nearly three hours in the Vrijthof on a hot summer evening…perfect music, fantastic atmosphere and the JSO is a great orchestra. This year, the concert opened with a big favourite: ‘Dark Eyes’.

Unfortunately, this trip has not put a lid on the wander-lust, not even for a short while. Europe beckons and as in the famous Kraftwerk song ‘Europe Endless’, it is  On changing trains in Utrecht Centraal on Platform 18 for a Maastricht service, we heard an announcement for the 15.07 ICE to Frankfurt Main HbF calling at Arnhem, Oberhausen, Duisburg, Dusseldorf, Köln HbF, Frankfurt Flughafen and Frankfurt Main HbF – arriving on Platform 19. Makes you think…there’s a lot to explore and most of it can be done by train and trans-Europe train travel is normal and affordable.

We returned to the news that Brexit has descended into further chaos – a sharp contrast to the relaxed and confident atmosphere of the Europeans. It makes the wander-lust all the more compelling. I am now not sure what the future holds for us in a post-Brexit UK…


New O gauge transfers.

July 25, 2018

A new waterslide transfer sheet for Nairnshire Modelling Supplies has been in development recently: sheet NMS-6 which is an O gauge (7mm scale) version of the OO gauge NMS-1 (BR blue diesels plus engineers ‘Dutch’ livery). It is intended as a renumbering pack for ready to run O gauge diesels, but has enough elements on it for those repainting their models too. To keep the price down to offer a fair deal to modellers, not everything is included and the loco data panels are simplified. If this new sheet is a success, sheet NMS-7 will be developed quickly which will be an O gauge version of the NMS-5 Scottish Region BR blue version complete with depot emblems. It looks as if sheet NMS-7 and the planned NMS-8 (large logo) will be on sheets larger than the one above to accommodate all of the required livery elements. This allow some smaller OO gauge and new N gauge part-sheets to be completed too. The range is about to expand!

The picture above is a snapshot of the latest proof which has been checked carefully for dimensions and colour. Note the small black numerals for loco end numbers if using the sheet for engineers ‘Dutch’ livery. Some of the number typefaces are different for up-to-date end numbering too. The correct method is to replace all of the printed loco number on a model, not just the numerals which need to be changed, because every manufacturer prints livery elements in a slightly different manner. Sometimes, factory applied printing can be slightly over-size or slightly too heavy. To match manufacturers lettering is impossible to do with one universal transfer sheet – it can change slightly from model to model. In all, this is a comprehensive sheet crammed with as much as we can get in in the space and at a reasonable price too! It has been approved for printing at this time.

Also, in conjunction with this project, I am developing some etched products too, primarily scenery items. It’s been a sharp learning curve to get to grips with a drawing programme in the meantime – the principles are entirely different from working in PhotoShop! I completed my first etched sheet recently which was for simple phosphor-bronze pick-up strip which allowed me to test the etching concept and gain a very useful modelling product from the work at the same time. It did work, much to my surprise, resulting in a nicely sharp etch. More on new etching developments soon.

A little travelling in recent days…

July 19, 2018

But where to?

…and why?