Letting off steam: Fear of change?

This month Lucian Doyle ponders how tools designed to make modelling easier can be viewed negatively by others.

Change just for the sake of it is not for me, which is not to say I don’t like change, I just like to be sure it is justified.

For example, when my youngest son visits he always complains that the TV in our lounge does not have a USB port. Why he thinks we should replace a perfectly good TV with a new one just so he can plug his laptop into it I have no idea.

Proses track ballast spreader: I came across the Proses ballast spreader at Warley, but a fellow bystander dismissed it as not ‘proper’ modelling.

Therefore, while the existing TV carries on working I see no need for a replacement. On the other hand when it comes to my modelling I do take a slightly different approach.

As far as I am concerned modelling is a great pastime with the emphasis on ‘passing the time’ and this is why I am very happy to spend hours making a tree or building a hedgerow, but there is one task that I find quite boring and that is ballasting track.

Over the years I have tried all sorts of methods to make the job easier but no matter what process I use I find it to be the most tedious of jobs, especially when I am never really happy with the results. Consequently, since my first attempt I have kept telling myself that there must be a better way, and last year at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition I saw it.

Attached to the Bachmann stand was a counter area manned by a very charming gentleman who told me that Bachmann UK distributes the products his company, Proses, produces.

What first caught my eye was his flexible track holder that I thought was most ingenious. I find laying flexible track a bit tricky but I could immediately see that by using the holders how straightforward it could be, especially for those who lack the experience.

However, what really got my attention was an amazing piece of equipment that he next demonstrated, and that was a ballast spreader. How simple it was. The man from Proses just positioned on a length of track what seemed to be a clear box-shaped receptacle, filled it with ballast and then ran it down the track, and hey presto, perfect ballasting.

I told him how impressed I was but added there was still the frustration of fixing the ballast.

For the full article, see October’s edition of Modelling – available now!

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