Jol Wilkinson wrote:However, much of what they wrote, especially Iain, provided guidance and inspiration in those dark days.
This is one of the most sensible comments made on this topic so far. Back in those dark days the pioneers of working to P4 standards were struggling to get hold of supplies and to find ways of making things work. Both Iain Rice and Mike Sharman devised ways of doing things which worked and which still work. In the intervening period other methods have been devised which also work. Some may be easier to deal with and some may work more effectively than others, some may be judged to be "better" than others, but they all work
There is a fundamental problem which some have alluded to in that you can't scale nature. The forces of a prototype loco and train acting on prototype track and its foundations cannot be replicated in any scale. Those who build live steam models are well aware of the problem with things like steam passages in cylinders which if made to scale would not pass sufficient steam to move the pistons.
We can if we wish criticise the early pioneers and suggest that just because their methods have been published in print form - the only way of doing things in those days, it does not make them "right". Equally putting forward ideas on discussion forums does not make them any more "right", just a different view which as a way of doing things may be equally valid.
As modellers we need to explore those methods that are available and decide which works for each of us as individuals. It might be that we do this through reading books, readings comments on forums or by talking to those who have build successful working models and then deciding which way we want to go. Iain and Mike took things out of the realms of the engineering workshop and brought them onto the kitchen table where "ordinary" people could achieve success and we own them a debt for that, just as we should be indebted to Mike and Alan Gibson who set up businesses to produce the wheels needed and if they had not put their money into the businesses P4 as we know it today would probably not exists apart from those who have the skills to make their own wheels.