Club Update - November 2017

Number 70044 "Earl Haig", weathered buy Scott Rhodes, photograph by Gwion Rhys Davies.


A mixed bag in this edition, with news of two subsidised events [never say that the club does not give something back to its members!], a note on the out-turn of the recent show, some video links to vintage items of interest and information about a potential club project involving primary schools. With winter fast approaching and dark nights upon us, it’s time to start thinking about next year’s modelling competition too. There’s a note about that in here as well.

The club library

There are often new accessions in library and it’s always worth looking for books of interest. Thanks go to member Martin Thomas also, who recently donated a small collection of books for members to use.

The 2017 show

As promised in the last newsletter, a brief update on this year’s show. Those who attended will confirm that it was a great success and the feedback received from so many – including traders and particularly exhibitors - was overwhelmingly positive.

With all bills now paid, I am delighted to report that the club enjoyed a small profit of c.£700. This was very good news: having never run a ‘paid for’ event like this before, so much of the planning had to be based on assumptions as there was no track record to fall back on. A break-even would have been good, this small profit is even better.

The charity collection at this year’s show – for ‘Bloodwise’, the blood cancer charity – raised £110.

Next year’s event, and there’ll be much more on this in coming months, is already in planning and provisional bookings for a number of traders and exhibitors have been agreed. Scott Rhodes remains the exhibition manager and Noel Blows and Gareth McEnery have joined his management team.

The Autumn stock sale

Many thanks to those of you who were able to support this recent event. An unusually large amount of stock was on sale and, over the two days, everything sold. The vendors who asked the club to sell their stock were very pleased with the outcome for them and, across the two commission sales and the stock which had been donated to the club, club funds benefited to the tune of around £640.

The next sale will take place in Spring 2018. You’ll have plenty of notice!

Club outing 2018

And talking of next Spring and the success of the stock sale, it has been decided to use some of the sale proceeds to subsidise a members’ trip next Spring to, possibly, the Severn Valley Railway. The club will pay for the coach and members need only pay for their entry tickets. Space permitting, non-members may attend also although a small surcharge will be added for travel. More news about this in due course.

Vintage model railway newsreels

Courtesy of member David Lane [for which, many thanks] are these early 1950s American model railway films, one depicting the large, detailed [for the time] layout of the Westchester Model Railway Club, showing stock in American O gauge and the other, a whimsical short, so typical of the time. Both are real period pieces.


Again, the usual reminder to look at our website. November postings include:

  •  a detailed review of the new Dapol ‘OO’ GWR Railcar
  • a soon to be posted, a review of Dapol’s ‘O’ gauge Jinty tank
  • a short article on converting a Triang toy truck into a prototypical LNER bogie brick wagon, and
  • a short account of kit-building a GWR bogie coal wagon

And on the subject of GWR Railcars, below is a link to a vintage Pathe News short showing the first being launched.

AEC Railcar

Once again, articles for the Member’s Section of the website are eagerly sought. Contact either myself or Gwion Davies.

The Christmas Do and other Christmas festivities  

The Christmas Dinner

I’ve again been asked by John Allnutt to remind all members who wish to attend this event but who have yet to sign up to put their names on the form on the notice board by Thursday the 16th November AT THE VERY LATEST. £5 [per head] deposits must also be paid by that date.

I’m pleased to advise also that your club has decided to subsidise this event, reducing the cost to you. Instead of paying £18 a head, members will now pay £15 and their guests £17.50.

‘The Last Night’ mince pie social

Our annual pre-Christmas social in the club will be held on Thursday the 21st. December at 7.00pm. As usual, members are entitled to bring partners or relatives and there is no cost for this. The Chair will also be presenting the ‘Clubman of the Year’ award at this event. You cannot afford to miss this social, it could be you for the cup!

Christmas shut down

The club will be closed formally between close-of-play on Thursday 21st. December 2017 and Wednesday 3rd. January 2018. Access for those who simply have to attend will have to be arranged on a personal basis with key holders. All who do attend will be personally responsible to securing the premises [including the gates] when they leave.

Free model building materials

Club member Hywel Trick has recently acquired a large supply of good quality mounting board off-cuts from ‘The House of Frames’ in Llansamlet. This is ideal for constructing buildings and other items. Hywel will post a notice on the club board for any members who would like to acquire some of this material.

Many thanks to ‘House of Frames’ for their generosity and to Hywel for organising this freebie.

And now for something completely different...

There isn’t really a delicate way of putting this! It concerns use of the club‘s toilets on the top floor. Many will have realised that there is no ventilation in these ‘facilities’ as the skylight is fixed. Consequently, the atmosphere down that end does get just a little foetid at times.

It would be appreciated if members would use these toilets for the briefest of visits only and not for anything which requires loitering a while. Otherwise, for visits which

might justify a longer sojourn and, perhaps, time to complete the Telegraph cross- word, please use the toilet on the first floor. There, that wasn’t so difficult....

The 2018 modelling competition

It’s time to remind you all again of this annual event. The competition will be judged on Thursday, March 29th. 2018 and this time will include an additional category as well as enhanced prizes.

The three existing categories [Diorama, Kit-build and Scratch-build/radically altered r-t-r] will remain but will now be accompanied by a fourth ‘Miscellaneous’ section. This will have to be clearly railway-related [so no Spitfires or Spanish galleons!] and would allow those who build for eg. their own track-work or other difficult to pigeon- hole railway items to enter on a more level playing field.

To further encourage you all to pull your fingers out, there will also be cash prizes to accompany the traditional cups: a £25 first prize and £15 for the runners-up. The ‘Chairman’s Cup’ winner will also receive £25. In coming years, if we are able to ‘grow’ the competition sufficiently in terms of quantity and quality, these prizes will increase in value and one of our external sponsors may well be invited to undertake the judging themselves. We really do want to make this a big event.

Prospective entrants will be asked to fill in a brief entry form in advance in order that the number of entries can be estimated [and entrants pestered to complete their models!]. Entry forms and the rules will be made available soon.

The modelling competition is not just about show-casing your work, it is also about encouraging modellers to develop their skills. Start thinking about next year now, and how you will spend that £25!

Tirdonkin wagon commission

Noel Blows has advised that a considerable number of these wagons have now been sold with a number going as far as Australia. Some remain in stock however and for those who have not yet purchased any, or who wish for further models, please speak to Noel directly. As with our earlier commissions [note that both sold out quickly], once these are gone, they are gone, with Dapol having no intention of reissuing them in the near future. These cannot be bought from any other source and so are unique to the club.

The proposed ‘STEM’ project

This potential club project is being promoted by Noel Blows and has Committee approval. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and is an initiative drawn up by the Education Department of the Welsh Assembly to promote core skills amongst children in schools. In primary schools it is often called ‘Enrichment’.

STEM’s purpose is to encourage children to move away from mobile phone apps and computer games to more fulfilling aspects of their lives, enabling them to seek and achieve better jobs in the workplace.

The relevance of ‘STEM’ to SRMG lies in our desire to both increase attendance at our annual show and also introduce a new membership to the hobby. Advertising in trade magazines, articles in local newspapers, and leaflet dropping in key buildings and shopping areas is already well developed and other initiatives are now needed to compliment this.

Building a small model railway or diorama meets all of the STEM criteria (preparing a baseboard, laying track, electrifying the layout, adding scenery etc.) and working with 2/3 different primary schools with perhaps 10/12 pupils per school involved in the project would see each school constructing a small layout. The schools would then bring their layouts to the 2018 Swansea Show where they would be judged for a ‘Best Layout’ award. The winning school would receive a cheque for its PTA .

To make the project successful, the involvement and regular commitment of 2 club members per school for about six months will be required. The frequency of in- volvement has yet to be determined but it will be either weekly of fortnightly. Each pair would need to be reasonably skilled in building a model railway and will require clearance for working with children.

Much of the detail of this project has yet to be firmed up, but Noel Blows will contact members individually at the club in the near future to see whether members would like to assist in this innovative venture.

Finally, diary dates

  December 1st 2017: Club Christmas Dinner

  December 21st 2017: Christmas Social at club

Best wishes all