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