Thursday, September 26, 2013

More wallowing in nostalgia

Back in the summer I bought a few old books on how to build model buildings. There’s clearly not much demand for these things because fairly good condition hardcover first-editions of many of them can be had at online used booksellers for around $5 to $20, with shipping cost in the same ballpark as the book cost no matter where in the world they are shipped from.

One of them was Vivien Thompson’s Period Railway Modelling Buildings published in 1971. After an embarrassingly long time I eventually realized that Vivien Thompson was the same Vivien Thompson who wrote an article called Modelling 4mm scale Trams in the Sept ’73 issue of Model Railway Constructor. I was starting to get rail crazy at that time, and was very happy to ‘discover’ that magazine at a W. H. Smith bookstore on a shopping trip with my parents. Her article described how to build some simple old-fashioned horse drawn trams in OO scale, and I eagerly gave it a try using cardboard instead of sheet styrene. Interestingly she mentions in the article that she “at last succumbed to solvent rather than tube styrene glue”. In her book she stated she was a staunch advocate of tube glues. 

None of the cardboard trams I built survived the years, and now that I have some work with sheet styrene under my belt, this project offers an enticing retro challenge. 


  1. Wow! That old copy of MRC was one of my favourites, it had an article about a Lancashire and Yorkshire line which was really cool. (by H E Bastaple??) And as for Vivien Thompson, the doyenne of railway modelling in the sixties/seventies, the "Railway Modeller" magazine featured her work heavily. She built a layout, based on an East Sussex prototype quite was good, but sadly didn't seem to have moved on from her seventies work. Looking forward to seeing your tram!

    1. Yes, there is an article called 'The Rawnook and Holme Branch: A 4mm scale L&YR layout in Wales" by a gentleman simply given the byline of "AHAB". I studied those photos a lot back in the day. I likely won't get to the tram until deep winter. Seems like one of those long evening type of projects. I have a few other retro projects in mind and I hope to get to them this winter.