The Model Railway Show – Episode 0049

This episode of The Model Railway Show is made possible with the support of the National Model Railroad Association.

Water, Trees and All That

In this episodeā€¦

Dave Frary, author.
Gordon Gravett, author.

From Thatcher’s Inlet to Nantucket

Dave Frary needs no introduction – especially not to narrow gauge enthusiasts who look to the eastern seaboard for inspiration.

In the 1970s, Dave and his friend Bob Hayden introduced many hobbyists to the charms of HOn30 with their influential, four-part Thatcher’s Inlet series for Railroad Model Craftsman magazine. (If you missed it the first time around, that series can be found online at the HOn30 Home Depot as a 22-page PDF.) Dave has also penned a number of books (including the go-to guide for scenery, How to Build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery) and hosts a series of DVDs and downloadable videos – all available through his Blue Ribbon Models website.

Dave has built a number of professional projects for others in his workshop, including a 28-foot long, On30 layout for the Whaling Museum of the Nantucket Historical Association. (This layout was the cover story in the May-June 2011 issue of the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette, and a 10-page PDF that describes the layout may be downloaded from Dave’s website.)

Dave joins Jim to discuss the demands of building a layout for a museum, his long-time friendship with Bob, how the scenery book came about, and the aspect of scenery-building that scares modelers the most.

Building Better Trees

This is a model. Seriously.

The trees in that photograph can be found on Pempoul, a French meter gauge exhibition layout built by Gordon Gravett in 1:50 scale. Have a look at more of Gordon’s work.

Google “Gordon Gravett Pempoul” and you’ll find more images, such as theseand theseand these. You’ll even find some video (we like this one).

While all of Gordon’s modeling is of exceptional quality, what you’re likely to remember most are the trees. Gordon builds some of the most realistic trees ever seen on a model railway – and, so that you can too, he has written two books that describe his techniques. They’re called Modelling Trees Volume 1 (Broadleaf) and Modelling Trees Volume 2 (Conifers), both available from Wild Swan Publications in the UK.

Gordon joins Trevor (who was fighting a nasty cold at the time) to discuss why he feels it’s important to model trees correctly on a layout and how his techniques evolved. He also discusses why he looked across the English Channel to Brittany to pick a French meter gauge subject for his layout, and why he built Pempoul in the unusual scale of 1:50.

(NOTE: Wild Swan does not have a web site or email, but contact information is listed in the ads linked above. Those wishing to order online have several options, including Camden Miniature Steam Services and Titfield Thunderbolt in the United Kingdom and International Hobbies in the United States.)

Make plans to attend the 11th annual Australian Narrow Gauge Convention in Melbourne – March 29-31!

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Episode 49 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Jim speaks with Joel Priest who, at 12 years old, recently became the youngest ever hobbyist to achieve the NMRA’s Master Model Railroader status.

Trevor talks with BNSF locomotive engineer Greg Amer about how he’s using his prototype-based, finescale HO layout to engage his two young kids in the hobby.

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