Some modelling was done as well however, around the kitchen table in best Area Group tradition..
For most the focus was on the 2016 Challenge: produce a diorama on a 20cm x 16cm base with, at minimum, some trackwork to 2mmSA standards - an opportunity to try out new techniques, or an excuse to model something different from a main project.
Jim was absent this time, but nonetheless we felt his presence in the room because of his latest status report on his goods yard scene on RMWeb, which he'd followed up with a few stern e-mails telling the rest of us to get our fingers out. So who obeyed?
Alisdair has built a cameo inspired by the 3' gauge Upper Works Railway in Lochaber, which linked the British Aluminium Company works near Fort William to its extensive hydro-electric schemes at Loch Trieg and Loch Laggan, and serviced the tunnels, valve shafts and pipelines along the way. It's not complete, but already looks impressive.
As a civil engineer he identifies with the subject, which he discovered hill-walking in the 1970s; presuming the railway to be defunct, he crossed a burn using one of its spindly, handrail-less bridges, and was mildly startled when a train rattled past him on its way downhill a few minutes later.
He has modelled a scene with twin pipelines crossing a small burn, and the 3' line on a timber bridge behind.
A cardboard box was adapted to become a proscenium arch and lighting unit - the latter using LED strips and a remote control (whit!) to vary their intensity.
Even with the building loosely placed on the platform it looks at home.
The scene is named "Dalmally" ... which will have a few people scratching their heads, since Dalmally is on the Callander and Oban and has a two-storey stone station building, whereas this specimen is clearly a typical West Highland Railway design. The explanation is that the building originally graced an N gauge layout inspired by the idea of a West Highland branch to Tarbert (Loch Fyne), with an intermediate station at Dalmally. So there ... Rule 1 applies.
And for those of you reaching for a tape measure, yes, it is not strictly 16cm x 20cm. There are exceptions for 80th birthdays, and anyway the building is longer than 20cm on its own!
Andy has spent most of his time building a bathroom and kitchen in 1:1 scale recently, but had brought wood and Easitrac. With domestic tasks out of sight and mind, he finally started his diorama:
Anthony, visiting his old FCAG haunts after (we assume) getting a special day pass from the NEAG, was working on a coach bogie.
He also had a nice box of his own stock with him. At the top, two open wagons from Jim Watt's Buchanan Kits etches; below, his own scratchbuilt Highland Railway brake van and open wagons, plus a Highland 6-wheel composite and a double-deck sheep van, both from his own etches.
These are windows for the store, 1cm high: the arched windows for the shed itself are larger and work the same way. I'm looking forward to starting those.