Scaleforum I have known

Announcements, recommendations, visit reports etc. Discussion of the Society's own shows.
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Jo Palmer
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Jo Palmer » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:28 pm

Jane was the only lady there at the inaugural meeting


Wow Dad, you really knew how to treat Mum on Valentine's Day didn't you :lol:

As for all the men in the Society not managing to be in one room at the same time, I happily stand corrected.

Seeing the photos of Ken's shed brings back good memories too though - not that we were allowed in it much and certainly not back in the early 70s (I was way too young) - but I do remember Dad disappearing off to Ken's shed most Thursday evenings
Jo Palmer

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chris_mccarthy
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby chris_mccarthy » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:44 pm

Fortunately, I seemed to have missed being photographed in those early pictures but, as others who were there have remarked, these photos do capture the atmosphere remarkably well and the memory floods back.... Hmmm....

As I vividly recall, we committee of the day decided to start membership at 1000 rather than "1" to rather mask the actual number of members from the eyes of "competitor" societies (fill in your own names...) because we were entirely unsure how many members we might attact and wanted to give an impression of a successful society from the outset. Whatever you may think of the notion, that's the way it was since we had a rather messianic view that the future of 4mm "true scale" modelling was rather in our hands.

Do remember that it was a time of considerable uncertainty and those of us in the founding group felt pretty strongly that the "other societies" (plural) who promoted fine scale 4mm, or what passed for it in those days, had intrinsic shortcomings that would likely frustrate the spread of the philosophy. Indeed, that was why were were intent on setting up this Society at all.

I suppose that we felt there was a coming together of many things (a tide in the affairs of men, if you will) which, as the Bard said, "taken at the flood leads on to fortune" - or rather the success of the concept in our case. Bit of a nerve in hindsight, though - but here we are 35 years later so we must have done something right.

Special best wishes to fellow founding members

Chris McCarthy 1007
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martin goodall
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby martin goodall » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:20 pm

While we are on the nostalgia kick, and getting back OT, Scaleforum was preceded by the Protofour Conventions. (Don't forget that we are an amalgamated society, so the history of the old P4 Society is also part of our history). I missed the first P4 Convention, not having joined the P4 Society until the beginning of 1974, but I got to the second convention that year, held (like the first, I believe) at the Grosvenor Hotel at Victoria Station.

Two features of that convention still stick firmly in my memory - Patrick Reardon's inspirational scratch-built models of GWR 4-wheel and 6-wheel coaches and Derek Genzel's lecture on prototype track geometry. I don't think anyone really followed it at the time, but fortunately Derek later wrote it up for the Scalefour Digest, and I have certainly put it to good use when setting out curves on the layout. I suppose with the advent of Templot, it might now be considered 'old hat', but I still find the Versine Theorem a very useful means of calculating curves.

I attended my final P4 Convention at what was then the Post House Hotel at Heathrow in 1977. I had been a member of the S4 Society for over a year by that time and so was 'persona non grata' with the management of the P4 Society, but managed to creep round the show incognito, despite having formally been refused service by Peter Elsee at the Studilolith stand at the Model Engineer Exhibition in January of that year. The only thing I remember about that convention was a layout called 'Kingsmouth' by the then Bristol Area Group of the P4 Society. Unfortunately, they seemed to be unable to get anything to run on the layout without falling off - which in a cynical sort of way seemed to me at the time to sum up the fate of the P4 Society, once those of us who had founded or joined the S4 Society had left.

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Paul Townsend » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:49 am

martin goodall wrote:
was a layout called 'Kingsmouth' by the then Bristol Area Group of the P4 Society. Unfortunately, they seemed to be unable to get anything to run on the layout without falling off - which in a cynical sort of way seemed to me at the time to sum up the fate of the P4 Society, once those of us who had founded or joined the S4 Society had left.


Ouch!
As one of the Kingsmouth team, I have to agree the early two outings were not good operationally. We were all on a steep learning curve and probably accepted exhibition bookings sooner than was wise and our enthusiasm overtook any wisdom that was there; there were so few layouts on offer in the "new gauge" and arms were being twisted. Several of our bods had never built an MR before in any scale and our star artistic wagon modeller set himself against compensation as too much trouble! Clearly if Martin had lived in Bristol, not N. London we would have tried EM wheels ;) Locos were compensated and some ran very well, two of these are still alive on Highbridge. We were also inexperienced at dealing with mobile baseboard joints so they were a challenge to wheels on rails.

I recently learnt that the Kingsmouth layout is still alive and running so it must have got sorted in the end, although I had lost track of it for 30+ years!

As an introduction to P4 modelling it served the purpose of getting us experience and attracting new recruits to the group. Several other exhibition layouts span off from that. The challenges also weeded out the few weaker brethren who reverted to 00 where they knew everything would fall off anyway with less effort :twisted:

At least half of the original team are still active in P4 or have gone 7mm FS or S7 :D

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Andy W
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Andy W » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:59 am

"having formally been refused service by Peter Elsee at the Studilolith stand", it seems inconceivable that such attitudes and animosity should exist between groups of - of all people - railway modellers! No wonder mankind can get into crazy conflicts around the globe - it must be hot-wired into our psyche.

I remember when I joined the S4 society back in the eighties the bad feeling was still rumbling on. I was totally bemused by it at the time - and remain so now!
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Tim V
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Tim V » Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:29 pm

Ah, I remember the P4 conventions, my first was the 1976 one at Heathrow Hotel, right alongside the runway. Stayed the weekend, coffee was the unbelievable (at the time) 36P a cup. Came away fully inspired. The following year at the Post House perhaps wasn't so inspiring, there was the animosity towards the Scalefour Society.

I was never refused service later on when I became unclean, even though, I'm pretty sure, Bernard Weller knew who I was.
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Paul Townsend
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Paul Townsend » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:16 pm

Tim V wrote: Bernard Weller knew who I was.


Ah but he knew where you lived!

Actually, Bernard would serve known S4 members at shows while Peter was on pee/coffee breaks etc. I observed and timed my visit carefully for a quick in and out before the monster returned! Mind you he still couldn't sell you much 'cos it was out of stock!

martin goodall
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby martin goodall » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:43 pm

Don't get me going.

There was a notorious Studiolith price list, issued I believe in 1975, which we all referred to as the "NYA" price list, because a large proportion of the listed goods were 'not yet available'. I intended to keep my copy as a sort of grisly souvenir, but it has long since disappeared.

There was a complicated rebate arrangement for members of the P4 Society, but its terms were so arcane that I never knew of anyone who actually managed to get their rebate out of Studiolith. I think it took the form of a discount on the next order.

At the 1977 MEE, all would have been well had Cyril Freezer not trapped me between two showcases quite near the Studiolith stand, where having eventually managed to extricate myself from a lengthy conversation, 90% of which consisted of my receiving the benefit of Cyril's views on finescale modelling, life, the universe and everything, I was about to order the goods I had wanted to buy from Studiolith, but Cyril got there ahead of me and, in answer to Peter Elsee's enquiry, revealed my identity to him. I'm sure Cyril meant no harm, but I had been 'outed' as a member of the upstart S4 Society, and so that put paid to my hopes of buying any more Studiolith products, at least for that day.

I did get the last laugh, though, as I was able to make a few final purchases at the P4 convention at Heathrow later that year, not having been recognised by whoever it was behind the Studiolith stand that day (not Peter Elsee presumably).

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Tim V
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Tim V » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:53 pm

Mine is PL5/S/876 which looks like August 1976, I still have it and refer to it occasionally.

Not a lot available in it.
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martin goodall
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby martin goodall » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:02 pm

Ealing wrote:"having formally been refused service by Peter Elsee at the Studilolith stand", it seems inconceivable that such attitudes and animosity should exist between groups of - of all people - railway modellers! No wonder mankind can get into crazy conflicts around the globe - it must be hot-wired into our psyche.

I remember when I joined the S4 society back in the eighties the bad feeling was still rumbling on. I was totally bemused by it at the time - and remain so now!


The essential point to understand is that the animosity was all one way. So far as we were concerned, any member of the P4 Society was welcome to joint the S4 Society while remaining a member of the P4 Society, but the P4 Society would not tolerate their members also joining the S4 Society.

The event which had precipitated the formation of the S4 Society was the sudden dismissal en bloc of the entire Executive Committee of the P4 Society in October 1975 by its proprietors (it was a proprietary club, not a members' club). This had followed the growing dissatisfaction of P4 Society members at the performance of Studiolith in supplying P4 products. The Executive Committee had done their best to seek some amicable solution to this problem, but Studiolith's major shareholder, who was also a member of the MRSG/Protofour Group/Management Committee of the P4 Society (i.e. that society's proprietors), saw this as a deliberate attempt to undermine the company, and insisted on their dismissal. The ordinary membership ofthe P4 Society were so appalled by this turn of everts that an unstoppable momentum rapidly grew up to form a new and entirely independent society.

So there you have it. That is how it all began. To those of us who were there at the time, it is all familar history, though now fortunately far behind us. It is parhaps unsurprisng that those who were not involved at the time may be unaware of precisely what happened and why. Their bemusement is entirely understandable.
Last edited by martin goodall on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Paul Townsend » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:36 am

unsurprisng that those who were not involved at the time may be unaware of precisely what happened and why. Their bemusement is entirely understandable.


I suppose my involvement in Bristol was on the fringes but it was still bemusing from here!

More memories from this period were of other attempts to provide commercial essential products to replace Studiolith. Bernard's Exactoscale of course was the most successful one and while the S4 stores got going there was a decent gearbox from a Tony someone marketed under a name like Proscale I think. I bought 2, used one in a now sold loco and still have one here. ISTR Tony X tried to offer some other products but soon disappeared without trace. If my memory of history is correct ( it rarely is) te late Malcolm Cross worked with Bernard but emigrated to Oz and helped from afar. I wonder if it was him who kick started the several good MR producers over there who trade back to us today? My prejudices don't allow me to envisage anything good emerging from Oz without European help :twisted:

Isn't it interesting that the finescale trade has flourished so much since and transcended the people power struggle? Today we see healthy and usually friendly competition between many small businesses which has kept prices acceptable and introduced so many innovations. An advert for the capitalist free market concept! However, before I get carried away in political rants I point out that it doesn't always work.....I know of 2 traders both announcing an imminent kit for an S&DJR "Scottie"; quote from every enquiry "the etches are ready, just awaiting one or two castings" Both knew there was only enough market for one so stalled for 10 years in case the other scooped them! Neither ever came to market and both have since sold their businesses. ( Enter Bill Bedford's current prospective version, fingers crossed )
Regarding the volunteer part of the hobby and the various societies I paraphrase Churchill "Democracy is awful, but other systems are worse"

RIP Studiolith and P4Socy. Long live S4Soc. :)

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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby DougN » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:45 am

Be care there Paul we only get our own back in selling model railway stuff back to you and beating you at cricket most of the time..... :twisted:
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Still not doing enough modelling

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Rod Cameron » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:13 pm

Tim V wrote:Mine is PL5/S/876 which looks like August 1976, I still have it and refer to it occasionally.

Not a lot available in it.


The archive has copies of Protofour price lists up to PL6 (were there any more?). I think PL5 is probably the one with most NYAs in it.

I have copies of much of the Protofour documentation, including the blanket committee dismissal letter that prompted the formation of this Society, and an earlier one from 1970 concerning the dismissals of Ken Cottle and Dick Ganderton for seditious activities. Oh what fun they must have had! In retrospect some of it is truly unbelievable now, thankfully it's all behind us long ago.

As Archivist, if anyone has any old P4 documents that they no longer want, please drop me a PM.
Rod

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Rod Cameron » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:28 pm

Anyway, on with the photos!

From P4 newsletter 23 again, 1973, here are some photos of Ian Middleditch's 'Dalmellington'

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The second edition of Prototype in May 1974 reported on the 1974 Convention, here is the NLG Executive Committee in the distance and the backs of many heads

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Bryan Popkin, John Popkin, and top right Derek Genzel

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At Wakefield in December 1973 is John Moore and the West Riding Area Group's 'Lonsdale' (from Prototype #3 of August 1974)

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John Riddle, chairman of the executive committee, and Studiolith's Peter Elsee byond the pipe

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Four members from New Zealand - Dennis Ansell, Roger Carrell, Bill Richmond and David Low.

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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Rod Cameron » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:37 pm

Convention '75 at the Seymour Hall featured the West Midland Area Group's 'Pendlebury', which went on to feature in a number of issues of Railway Modeller. These pics from Prototype #5:

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Prototype #7 had some more photos of 'Lonsdale':

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Rod Cameron
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Rod Cameron » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:55 pm

Prototype #15 had a number of photos of the 1977 P4 Convention at the Post House Hotel, Heathrow. Captions are verbatim from the magazine:

Inside curves of 2'9" radius with check rails on Paul Vernon's layout (South Yorks Area Group)
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Geoff Tiffany (West Riding Area Group) shows Stuart Brook a Ratio signal with its operating mechanism
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Paul Vernon's embryonic layout operated by members of the South Yorks Group
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Chris Crofts points out the salient features of one of his scratchbuilt private owner wagons
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Jim Lord of the West Riding Group operates Woolrow fiddle yard, consisting of seven roads on a sector table with traversing turntable (just out of photo)
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I. Hoseason and J. Wright of the North Durham Group demonstrating wagon kit conversion to P4 standards
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Malcolm Cross demonstrating loco conversion and developments
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Ian Middleditch shows the workings of a G&SW 0-4-2 to a group of interested spectators
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Rod

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Paul Townsend
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Paul Townsend » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:11 pm

From Rod's latest list of piccies I am intrigued by the lightweight baseboard support in Paul Vernon's embryonic layout.
Did they work, how made, were they wobbly?

Anyone from S. Yorks know?

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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby essdee » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:04 pm

In Rod's last photo, I am pretty certain that is (the late) Bob Barrott of 'Bolsover' fame, on the left looking over the shoulders of the chap with specs in front. During my brief membership ca 1981 of both the P4 and Scalefour Societies (plus EM; the combined bumf kept me busy on the Patterton-Glasgow central commute for months), there was a period when Bob's Bolsover kept the P4 Journal going for pics almost single handedly, it seemed.

Good stuff, gents, keep 'em coming.

Steve

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Wizard of the Moor
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Wizard of the Moor » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:01 pm

The above photos of Ian Middleditch's Dalmellington layout are, I think, of Dalmellington Mk I. Ian later built a more expansive, L-shaped Dalmellington Mk II that was exhibited several times at the Glasgow show.

Dalmellington Mk I was renamed Carsphairn and converted to a through station with a colliery connection. The layouts were joined together for some exhibitions at the McLellan Galleries in the late 70s and early 80s. The totally scratchbuilt buildings, in particular, were superb.

Carsphairn still exists, although it has not run for more than 20 years and I expect it never will again. The creeping decreptitude of time, and a rough shunt or two during storage, have taken their toll.

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Tim V
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Re: Scaleforum I have known

Postby Tim V » Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:52 pm

Just scanned these pictures of Mike Sharman's layout at S4M 1989. This complete layout, plus Mike & Hilary arrived in a Mini Metro with the rear seats down, and there was a view out of the rear windscreen for the mirror. Very impressive.
S4M September 1989 OM1 277-017.jpg

S4M September 1989 OM1 277-016.jpg
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