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How to Build a Model Railway

...from Pen & Sword

Title: How to Build a Model Railway
Author: David Ashwood with Market Deeping MRC
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-39909-484-9

A slightly different topic for me, but still a modelling project that has lots to teach us, and that good can come from a bad situation. A 107-page hard-cover book which is packed with useful guidance and plenty of beautiful photos to support the text.
As explained in the Introduction of the book, this has come about through a disaster. On 17 May 2019 the news of a terrible case of vandalism made the headlines in the national news. The Market Deeping Model Club had set everything up for their annual model railway show in a local school, but they came back in the morning to find vandals had got in overnight and completely wrecked all the layouts and displays. As I am sure many modellers will feel, it is difficult to understand what makes the unidentified vandals do such a vile thing. They cannot claim any credit for it but seem to delight in destroying other peoples enjoyment. It isn't just the value of the models themselves, but also the thousands of hours that the owners will have put into creating their models over many years. The result was support from around the world to help the members of the club start all over again, and that has opened up the opportunity for a record to be made of building new layouts from scratch and thus enabled this book.
The main content is spread over 8 chapters, starting from making some basic decisions, such as what scale to choose etc, then planning your layout, where it even suggests a selection of computer aided design programmes that can help you. Then Baseboard Construction and Tracklaying before moving on the the Electrics and Wiring. Then there are Control Panels and all rounded off with advice on Care & Maintenance, leaving some more helpful pointers for 3 appendices.
The whole thing is in clear text, with common jargon well explained. It also makes clear the benefits of club membership, where members can share their particular skills with like-minded friends. Some may be good at building scenery, others may specialise in the electronics, as we all have different skill levels. There are model railway magazines but these tend to do things in small chunks, so not a broader guide all together in one place, such as we get in a book like this. It is also worth adding that as a result of the events in 2019, the club formed a charity, and all the profits from the sales of this book will go to that charity.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.


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