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Here's someone else's 'report' from another forum (I don't want to give the link as I got told off last time
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QUOTE Got back from Ally Pally about an hour ago. Took me camera but there were just too many people to get any decent photos so I didn't bother. Here's a report, along the lines of 'quick thoughts & impressions'.

Decided to skip the train and drove down instead. Got slightly lost but arrived around 10:45am. Small queue to pay (4-5mins), and the two chaps on the door had smart blazer+tie on whereas the chappie hustling the queue along had a blazer too small for him and his top button undone. Took his name and reported him. Not a good start to the day, I thought.

1) Good mix of layouts and trade stands.

2) Some of the latest MS Train Sim add-ons look excellent, I might have to finally splash out on a copy of it (or wait for the rumoured EA version).

3) Copenhagen Fields - well it's only half finished, but the controllers just sit at the back and use telly screens to watch the layout. The scenic bit is enclosed and they don't peer over the top - feels a bit robotic. There's also no station or anything, so trains just run through. The buildings are amazing for 2mm scale, but it's got a slightly odd feel to it - they all look like something out of Victorian England whereas the trains are from about 40 years later. I dunno, the layout just doesn't quite work for me.

4) The Gresley Beat - it's not quite as big as I thought it would be. Funny how magazine photos make a layout seem really huge. Again there's no station, and despite there being a MPD there's not much going on in it - just like Copenhagen Fields the trains run from one side to the other and that's about it. They even had one train doing 4 or 5 circuits on the top level just to keep something moving. Oh, and they were having technical troubles with one of the points.

5) Live Steam Gauge 1 - now this was both cool and 'a little odd'. My first visit they were running a Fowler 4F (or is it a 4P?) 0-6-0 (with tender) along which was impressive, but then they bought out a Britannia with six Pullman coaches behind it (this is Gauge 1 remember, the coaches are about 2 feet long). That was pretty darn good, and there was a good 'Oohhhh' from the crowd when the chappie overcooked it a bit and it derailed on the curved point and clattered along the sleepers for a couple of feet! I came back later on and they had a 9F 2-10-0 rattling round. Amazing bit of work. But...
... what's the point of it? The layout was huge, I mean like 30+ feet x 15+ feet, a giant oval with an incline up to a MPD where they got them ready to run. But you set the train off and the operator sorta walks round with it, having to give it a push every third or fourth lap for a few feet for some reason (they all did this, it was like they have a flat spot after a few laps and then get some more steam up)., but there was no way you could actually 'operate' it as a loco - you simply set the thing off and waited for it to run out of steam. The size of the locos was impressive, and yes it was live steam, but... I dunno, I kept thinking it's not much more advanced than a train set! When they wanted to run different stock they had to push the coaches or wagons into position so they could couple up, there was no way you could shunt with one of these locos. Still, good to watch, which perhaps was the overall point of it! The Fowler ran around for ages, it was quite simple but easily the most efficient. The poor chappie with the Britannia was practically a nervous wreck after the fire went out twice and it derailed!

6) Now, in a perverse way, this was the highlight of the show - there was an excellent little quayside layout and the two blokes operating it were chatting to some bloke on the viewing side. He was obviously of the same group or club or something as they were showing him the badges they were wearing and he said 'Oh yeah, I've got mine here' and swung his rucksack down *perilously* close to the layout. He got the badge out, showed it, and then fumbled around with his rucksack again. It had a couple of straps coming off it and as he swung it up to put it over his shoulder one of them caught this signal and *yanked* it straight off the layout! There was this deathly silence as we all peered at the couple of wires protruding from the hole where the signal once stood, but then after a couple of seconds the chappie grabbed the signal that was still entwinned in his rucksack straps and simply said 'Right, hand me the soldering iron' and got cracking on fixing it. Thank gawd he was from the same group - we were all standing there mortified!

7) Vauxhall Road (or is it Lane?) - easily the best layout there. Massive crowd around it, could barely get a look in, but the standard of modelling was excellent. But again there was a yard but nothing happening in it - trains just ran through from one side to the other.

8 ) And so the theme continued - layout after layout had a goods yard, or a MPD, but nothing happening in it, they were just content to run trains through. On one layout we were all standing there waiting for something to happen and the chaps operating it were just standing there having a conversation about something or other for 5 mins before getting back to operating it. GET ON WITH IT!!

9) Lots of very odd people doing very odd things.

10) A big 4mm US layout with sound modules in the locos. They sounded a bit toy like to me, they needed more bass. And for some reason the chappie crawled the locos round at a snails pace, even the crack passenger trains.

11) Brickpaper. Why have so many layouts got brickpaper covered buildings? (what's wrong with embossed plastic? If you can stick a bit of brickpaper on then you could stick a bit of this on instead). And why don't they at least fix the peeling bits?!

12) Hand painted backscenes. Very blobby.

13) Townstreet models are expensive but look amazing. Even an experienced scratchbuilder would struggle to beat them.

14) O gauge models - why aren't they more detailed? There's a marked increase in detail when you go from N gauge to OO, but O gauge models seem to be about the same as OO. Surely the bigger scale should let you add more detail?

15) For pure operational interest there was an O gauge Southern layout that had one woman doing all the through trains and a chappie almost constantly shunting the yard. YES!! Well done!

16) Men outnumbered women around 50 to 1. There were a few housewives being dragged around, and one girl operating a layout who looked utterly, utterly bored! I gave her a smile and she gave me one back (omg, I've pulled) but she looked totally fed up, and this was only about 2hrs after the show had opened! Only another day and three-quarters to go love!

17) One kid reached over to point at a live steam loco just as it blew steam out of the valve and jumped a mile - we all chuckled at that (cruel but fun).

18 ) I got lost on the way home.

19) London drivers don't signal very much. It's every man for himself. I had forgotten this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I didn't bother with any images of the club layouts there as there was either lots of pople around them or nothing happening that made it worth it to get a photo.

There was some good modern image ones there this year - vauxhall road was stunning and would have watched it a bit longer ... If i could see it! Abbey road is another of my favourites that was there (Its a fictional london underground station for those who don't know). Not much stock but at least 1 movement every 45 seconds which is better than some layouts. The gauge 1 layout was stunning to watch - Not only was there activity on it but the noise of the stock over trackwork sounded realistic. It was nice and spaced out so you could easily walk around without hitting several people with bags.

Only let down was the smell of the food ... Being a vege smelling hot dogs all day wasn't that great really (Better than Model Rail Scotland. The less said the better!). Oh, and some problem on the piccadilly line that caused a few problems.

Highlight of the day ... The hornby stand at a stand still whilst they fiddled with one of their backscenes. Wonder what excuse they came up with for the delays to the services on the layouts ...

All in all it was a good day out yesterday and I will be heading there next year.
 

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Is it my eyesight or in the photo of the 108's and 9f's has the NSE one got different underframe detailing or has it fallen off in the box!!
I seem to be having a problem seeing the thumbnails to open them, I can see the captions but no pictures.
 

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QUOTE (spongebob @ 2 Apr 2006, 21:31)Is it my eyesight or in the photo of the 108's and 9f's has the NSE one got different underframe detailing or has it fallen off in the box!!
I seem to be having a problem seeing the thumbnails to open them, I can see the captions but no pictures.
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The "leetle grey cells" say:

1. NSE is a late build variant- there were differences between early and late underframe wise.
2. You will notice that DMBS is left-hand on green, but right-hand on NSE. Therefore, we see the other sides of the vehicles, no?
3. Are both sets modelled on "power twins"? If not, NSE could be DMBS+DTCL, green could be DMBS+DMCL.

This help, no?

RM
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wouldn't suprise me detailing fell of in the box personally.

I think its more down to the NSE unit being the other way round - Probably to show the detailing on the other side of the unit.

(PS: Thumbnails are loading fine this end to view the photos so not sure whats going on there then)
 

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Why thank you for that information monsieur poirot you naughty French detective you.
I'd be inclined to say the detail fell off as well especially after the MKA mineral wagon I just got from ebay left an axle and one of the ladders in the box when i unpacked it!!!! The ladder yes I can understand but to lift the wagon from its plastic insert and leave an axle Come on.
 

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So I'm not alone in finding layouts where nothing moves for long periods boring.

I did enjoy the Gauge 1 layout. There is something cute about coal being "shoveled" with something akin to a sugar tongs - "One lump or two, Driver?". The engines are indeed feats of engineering but wouldn't it be fantastic if they were radio controlled and you didn't have to keep following them with teapots full of water.

I couldn't see much of Copenhagen fields but I did see them using a "The Silver Jubilee set as a banker for a Pullman - probably operator error but amusing all the same.

I was surprised to see the need for so many finger prods for stalled locos on pointwork during the day - this was Saturday afternoon.

I did enoy 'Gresley Beat'. They had an incredibly long empty coal train going on the high level behind a single loco. The return working was double headed. The second time I looked they were having derailment problems with an articulated coach set. I suspect this is down to the baseboard joints which are unavoidable if you want to transport stuff about.

David
 
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