I Was Wandering….

… lonely as this cloud that floated on high o’er Pegwell Bay,

and remembered that I’d omitted to take a picture of the ‘Turner Contemporary’ building in Margate. I’d completed my morning checks of the electronic equipment on the beach and decided to pop down the road to get the snap while the sun was out.

And (although the sun had gone in) look what I tripped over: The Hornby Visitor Centre – I didn’t know such a thing existed and, what’s more, Now We Are 6(1), we get in half price!

I know I go on about Mr Hornby and parts of Scandinavia but here’s the proof. I could have been looking over the bridge at Växjö Station in Sweden. There were several layouts in the Centre and my walk around the exhibits was accompanied by that particular metallic slithering noise that train sets make.

The Centre had a wide selection of brands, some competitors, some acquisitions; Hornby’s history is quite complex – and this is Airfix’s first kit, a promotional construction model produced for Ferguson tractors.

Scalextric was well represented. I’d always pronounced it ‘Scalectrix’, transposing the ‘x’ and the ‘c’. I’d never thought about it until I saw it on the model here and thought I’d better check up on the spelling. Do we all say ‘Scalectrix’? It seems easier to get your tongue round than ‘Scalextric’, so my pronunciation is probably just me being lazy.

I remember my brother having one of these sets with the 60’s F1 cars….

….though we were grown up 🙂 by the time this body style appeared.

The process of making all these models was fascinating. The ‘Corgi’ brand, I seem to remember, was considered a bit better than the ‘Dinky’ brand. The amount of research, hands-on model and mould making and all the associated tool making that went into each model was extraordinary. Nowadays, the greater part of the process is by CAD and almost fully automated but the human eye still has to approve the prototype. Sometimes, a model may be an absolutely perfect replica of the full-size article but, it can still look wrong. If I could have stayed another hour, I would have settled in to watch the film about Hornby which looked very informative.

This isn’t terribly clear because it was behind glass and the lighting wasn’t helpful but it’s the female half of the mould for what looks like an ME 163 Komet kit.

And then there was a room full of these magnificent models – this an Alfa 8C, the sort of Special that I wouldn’t mind building.

And on the way back to the beach, I wondered about these clouds; they looked a bit different.