Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stratford-upon-Avon River Festival

I headed off down to Stratford-upon-Avon today as it was a nice day and had a surprise when i got there and saw signs for a "River Festival" (probably saw the posters before but forgot about it). Must be plenty of boats then i thought... and how! River cruisers, rowing boats, service craft, RC boats and dozens of narrowboats!
Stratford-Upon-Avon River Festival P6300014
As well as that lots of morris dancers and people dressed as pirates. All great fun and i'm glad the weather was good for them all too. All in all it was all a lovely sight along the Avon and here you can see the photos.
Stratford-Upon-Avon River Festival P6300189

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Albatros and cattle

I finished Project 034 an Albatros DVa fighter from World War 1 last week and rather fetching it looks too in all black. Its not exactly the correct paint job (a little too shiny - the picture here is with wet varnish - but even once it dried it was a bit glossy) but its built to look nice on a shelf not fight the Tommies so job done.
Following on from the Albatros are two cattle trucks. As with the mineral wagons earlier in the year i have the same kit twice, one in an older box without instructions, as i so often throw things away by accident i thought it prudent to do both kits at the same time while the instructions were still extant. Projects 035 and 036 are coming along well, painting began last night.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Return to Wilmcote

When i went to Wilmcote for the first time last Summer i immediately fell in love with the place (and indeed resolved one day to live there - well we all must dream). I returned in December for a canal walk to Stratford but today i returned to visit Wilmcote proper. Having said that i did intend it to be mainly a canal walk but the towpath was more a mudpath because of the rain so i cut that short and explored some other parts of the village i had not been to last year, including the Church of St Andrew which is one of the Oxford Movement Anglo-Catholic churches. Here you can see my photos from the day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Industrial Birmingham then and now

Today i headed up to Birmingham Central Library to research some sources in the archives. I am currently writing an essay for my History MA on the industrialisation of Birmingham and the West Midlands from 1850-1950 and the sources one can use to facilitate that. As part of that obviously i need to look up some primary sources so had a look at some wage books from the now-closed Hardman Trading Company, a stained class and ecclesiastical metalwork manufacturer (the company is not that relevant, it just was a handy source). It is interesting to have a peek into the lives of past workers, who earned 8s and 2d or whatever it was called back in 1864. Was that a lot of money back then (probably not)? The bosses seemed to get a few quid though which i suspect was more comfortable.

After researching the past on the way home i checked out the future of industrial Birmingham with the Birmingham Made Me design expo in the Mailbox. No stained glass on show this time but we did have a guard of honour created by 2 JCBs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Project 034 is a return to World War 1 and my endless struggles with biplanes, however i didn't have too much trouble putting this Albatros DVa together so maybe i am finally getting over my weak-spot. Construction has finished and painting is well underway and its looking pretty good too in all black.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Stratford archives

As part of my MA History i am expected to spend some time in the archives, analyzing dusty old documents. I've already been to Birmingham Central Archives but as one of the possible subjects for my dissertation next year is the Stratford & Moreton Tramway i thought it time i familiarized myself with the archives in Stratford-upon-Avon too.

One benefit of Stratford's archives compared to Birmingham is that they are available on Saturdays which is handy! They have a well-stocked library there including a whole bookcase full of trade directories and a lot of potentially useful primary documents. I suspect i will be coming here again quite a lot no matter where my MA takes me.

Afterwards i had a general visit to Stratford, and took a few photos mainly of the river. After a few rainy days it was (mostly) dry and quite a few people were "messing about in boats". This goose was keeping a close eye on matters.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brake Van

Project 033, a BR Brake Van, is the latest kit under construction and is now in its final stages. Most of the painting has been done, all that remains is some touching up (oo-er), the decals, and then a varnish. It can then join the 2 Mineral Wagons i have already completed in my railway model sub-project.

York (3) : The rest of York

Completing my York photography is this set of photos showing the rest of York apart from the NRM and the Minster. York is a lovely medieval town (with some features even older than that) thus everything is very close together. The museums there, especially the Castle Museum, are very good and well worth a visit. The river that flows through the town even has plenty of boats!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gnat complete

Project 032 a Folland Gnat has now been completed. I think it must rank as one of the best kits i have done to date. Its a good kit which came together very well, the orange paint was horrible though. I hope i never ever do another kit where that paint is needed again!

York (2) : York Minster

Of course if you go to York you have to visit the cathedral York Minster which is one of the largest in Britain. An amazing building it is too with parts of it dating from the 13th to 15th centuries.

The first church on this site dates from the 7th century when a wooden church was built to baptise the King of Northumbria in 627. Stone churches were built on the site but were destroyed a number of times such as in 1069 when it was destroyed by William the Conqueror. Building in the Gothic style began in 1215 with construction continuing for years until it was declared complete in 1472.

You can see much of this in the photos i took over a couple of days at the Minster.

Friday, June 1, 2012

York (1) : National Railway Museum

We've just come back a very enjoyable holiday in York. I have been there once before, but i was very young (maybe 9 or 10?) and do not remember anything about it apart from the vaguest memory of being on a train. I have a photo still of me at York station.

So it was high time i returned to York, this time hopefully remembering something about the place afterwards, and if not at least i could take plenty of photos. Of course the highlight of the trip was a visit to the National Railway Museum. When i was there i felt like i was 10 again.

Seeing 87001 in particular was brilliant. When i was a schoolboy i used to go trainspotting to Stechford station mostly, the express trains from New St to Euston blasting through at speed, hauled mostly by Class 86s and 87s like 87001. Ah the memories, of being buffeted by air and deafened. Happy times.

Unfortunately 87001 was immobile at the museum but i could still imagine it roaring through Stechford at the head of an express. You can see all of my photos here.