Wednesday, 10 November 2021

November 2021 Forth and Clyde Area Group Meeting

Another Conventicle of the Forth and Clyde congregation of the 2mm Scale Faithful was held with the purpose of upholding the cause of the One and Only True Scale. Held  on November 6th in the woods at a secret location in the wastelands to the south-east of Uphall, participants undertook the precaution of arriving long after the official time for the gathering, thus avoiding the N Gauge troopers wielding the Oath of Abjuration lying in wait amongst the pines.

When, eventually, the Conventicle assembled and the roll call was taken, it was noted that it consisted of Nigel, Andy, Graham, Steven, Simon, 3 Als and 2 Jims. Those with calculators will note that this means that a total of ten people attended. This, indeed, was a record since the Group started meeting at the secret location of the ESME club rooms at Almondell. Although there was a Zoom session planned for later in the day, nobody Zoomed in, so, forlorn and abandoned by the outer world, those present girded their loins and set their minds to maintaining the faith by blethering (and blethering and blethering and blethering ...) about the joys of 2mm modelling, cabbages and kings. This involved much standing around and drinking cups of tea.

Eventually, some of those present took out their tools (oo-er, missus!) and proceeded to do some modelling, or in the case of N#1, enlightening the more technically recalcitrant as to the use of an Arduino to control servos. He advised that beginners could do much worse than obtaining an Elegoo Super Starter kit which comes with copious instructions. (Apparently Elegoo is compatible with Arduino.)

N#1 then proceeded to show the use of the bits in the kit for controlling a servo, showing how it easy it is to control speed and limits. Whilst simple stuff to the cognoscenti, there will be a steep learning curve for this scribe (who has just received his starter kit today.) Thought I'd taken a picture, but didn't so you'll just have to shut your eyes and imagine. 

A#3, having decided that etched chair turnout construction was not for him, was experimenting with using Easitrac sleeper base as the basis for interlaced sleeper turnout construction. He found that slicing off the moulded on chair from a sleeper would allow the dropping in of a pegged slide chair. That may prove to be the basis of an entire turnout from Easitrac components. He'll see what happens with check chairs for the crossing area. It looks like an interesting concept, which will be very useful if it proves viable.

J#2 was also playing about with servos, and showed us the fruit of some experimentation with ways of helping the wee beasties cling on to the underside of layouts by a variety of mounting brackets.They operate in similar way to a Tortoise with a single arm moving about a fulcrum, but tend to take up a lot less room than the aforesaid shelled animal.

A#1, keeping the true faith defiantly non-digital in the face of the above attacks on the One True Way, was scribbling way furiously on his sketch pad with a plan for a small layout. 

When, saddened and bereft by the lack of company from the nether regions of the Group who were not in attendance at the putative Zoom session, a couple of the brethern attempted to cheer us up by showing what they had been working on in recent times in the privacy of their own homes.

J#1 showed the progress on the goods yard of his Caledonian layout, Kirkallanmuir. Looking good with the various buildings in position along with the derrick half-inched from Connerburn.

A#2 also showed progress, this time on his accidental Highland layout, Aucheidh, with various bits and pieces in position on the layout along with some stock to fill out the gaps. Interestingly, the hand of J#1 can also be seen in this layout as well, as he had produced the etch for the station platform fencing, giving a very nice touch.

Lastly, but by no means leastly, we come to the toolset which G#1 had brought along to enable work on his next attempt at an etched chairplate turnout. (Contrary to the announcement in the previous edition of this broadsheet, he has not given up on this method of construction, only on his first attempt. The journalist responsible has received a severe censuring and has been hauled up before the Disciplinary Elders, where he or she received the severe fine of provision of a pint of refreshing amber liquid to G#1 in the Horseshoe Bar)

"Nothing surprising here!", I imagine the intelligent reader will exclaim when perusing the above daguerreotype of the toolset, "That's only what one would expect." Ah!, but what does not appear in the image is G#1's secret weapon, developed by the Swiss Army. Not sure what they developed it for, but perhaps it was for burning stones out of horses' hooves. (Try that now and hunt saboteurs and public outrage will ensure that you will be thrown out the Pony Club. And rightly so.)
He claims it is a 100 Watt soldering iron and showed us it in use making alignment pins for holding rail. It certainly seemed to do the job soldering pins onto brass strip. The smoke emanating from the ends of the fingers which held the brass strip, lent a certain piquancy to the atmosphere in the room. Whilst the instrument was certainly efficacious in applying heat, the downside was that the owner was late for his tea as he had to wait for six hours before packing it away to ging hame.

The rest of us departed after a few rousing choruses of the Association song. The next meeting of the faithful will be sometime in December at a secret location near Uphall.