Mod­el­ling Lives

Paul Tu­dor re­flects on the joy of restor­ing and mod­i­fy­ing older mod­els.

Model Rail (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Paul Tu­dor on why ‘old’ doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean ‘hope­less’.

If you were to ask my sup­port­ive but long-suf­fer­ing wife to list two of my traits, I sus­pect she’d say that 1) I’m a hoarder and 2) if there’s a bar­gain bin some­where then I’ve prob­a­bly got my head in it. Suf­fice to say, these as­pects of my per­son­al­ity – let’s not call them flaws – have car­ried over into my mod­el­ling life, with the ma­jor­ity of my rolling stock hav­ing been found cheaply, hoarded and turned into us­able and charis­matic items through in­ex­pen­sive and en­joy­able pro­cesses. Take the Tri-ang Fowler ‘Jinty’ for ex­am­ple. First re­leased in 1955 and in pro­duc­tion – in one form or another – for 20 years, there are still thou­sands of them around, al­beit in less than per­fect con­di­tion. As a younger modeller want­ing to im­prove his skillset, the hum­ble ‘Jinty’ was a god­send to me and, with the easy avail­abil­ity of etched and resin af­ter­mar­ket items, the ba­sic model can be eas­ily im­proved. As pro­duced, the ‘Jinty’ fea­tures moulded hor­rors such as coal and hand rails, num­bers, and even lin­ing. There are no buffer­beam de­tails and the ugly mount­ing to the rear chas­sis is an eye­sore. All of these can be al­tered or care­fully re­moved with a ra­zor saw and scalpel, and new items at­tached – the change can be in­cred­i­ble. Above: Paul Tu­dor en­joys noth­ing bet­ter than giv­ing a new lease of life to older mod­els. This 40-yearold Main­line ‘J72’ has re­ceived plenty of new de­tail fit­tings and a re­paint, plus a re­place­ment Bachmann chas­sis, al­low­ing it to run as well as it looks. On the me­chan­i­cal side, the ‘Jinty’ uses the supremely re­li­able X.O4 mo­tor which is easy to main­tain and strip down, as is the ba­sic Tri-ang chas­sis, which was used on all of that firm’s 0-6-0 mod­els, last­ing well into Hornby days. Vir­tu­ally ev­ery me­chan­i­cal part is eas­ily in­ter­change­able, so if any­thing goes wrong it’s of­ten just a few min­utes’ work to re­pair. In fact, that’s one of the great as­pects of pretty much the en­tire Tri-ang range. It’s worth bear­ing in mind that early Tri-ang mod­els had solid wheels; fully spoked ones weren’t in­tro­duced un­til years later. These will need re­plac­ing. Early pro­duc­tion ex­am­ples are also made with plas­tic which is very sus­cep­ti­ble to warp­ing, so look care­fully for dis­torted bodyshells. I’ve men­tioned Tri-ang, as its prod­ucts are the most ba­sic in many cases, although that’s not al­ways true. Its rolling stock, such as the BR Mk 1 Sleep­ing Car and four-wheel horse­box are lovely. There are other man­u­fac­tur­ers out there though, and items by Air­fix, Hornby, Lima and Main­line can now be found for bar­gain prices. I like Main­line’s de­tailed bod­ies, and it’s telling that Bachmann took over many of the moulds and added im­proved chas­sis. The weak point with Main­line is the run­ning gear, and if you can find the equiv­a­lent Bachmann chas­sis cheaply you can have a lot of fun. Main­line bod­ies need a lot less work in most cases and, for those want­ing an af­ford­able par­al­lel-boiler ‘Scot’, ‘Peak’ or ‘J72’, I would say look no fur­ther. So, why do I put my­self through this? It’s a chal­lenge to see what can be made from the prover­bial sow’s ear, and it’s helped me hone my mod­el­ling skills no end. Mainly, though, it’s the plea­sure of see­ing a once-loved item be­ing cared for again, of­ten af­ter many years. I’m sure I could buy the lat­est re­lease from Hornby, Dapol or Bachmann, but I wouldn’t en­joy them half as much.

MODELLER’S CV Paul Tu­dor has been a keen modeller ever since he re­ceived a Tri-ang ‘Jinty’ at the ten­der age of ten, and he’s never looked back. His ‘OO’ gauge lay­out, ‘Bemp­ton Park’, is heav­ily in­flu­enced by Crewe North shed, with a strong Lon­don Mid­land Re­gion flavour. His first ‘Jinty’ is still run­ning to­day.

Why do I put my­self through this? It’s a chal­lenge to see what can be made from the prover­bial sow’s ear

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