The Southern Maryland Scale Modelers meet every third Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm at High Tide Games, 22599 MacArthur Blvd, California, Maryland, (San Souci Plaza, between McKay's and Mission BBQ).

We are also meeting online via Zoom most Thursdays at 7pm -- an email is sent to members with meeting info.

Everyone is welcome, all we ask is that you bring a project, finished or not, theme or non-theme to share during our Show-N-Tell discussion. Okay, you don't really have to bring a project...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

117: The Taming Of The Sprue

As an American modeler in the UK there are many things I have get used to, and relearn.

The first is that distances here are measured in time, not miles. Oh for sure the miles are noted but mentally you can see folks are thinking in terms of time. "That's only 10 miles." Is not the same as "Oh, that's 10 miles."  The first may take 15 minutes, but the latter will probably take 30. Roads here are narrow (no shoulder) and follow ancient winding cart paths that date to Roman times. The speed limit is posted as 60 mph but only a nut job with a death wish would actually try to go that fast on a single carriage way (aka 2-ish lane road).

The second lesson is that the LHS isn't. Online shops are the norm unless you are lucky enough to live near a ModelZone or major store chain that carries kits and modeling supplies. There are a few, but imagine having to go to NYC for the nearest model shop?  I know...we're almost there.

The company, in its wisdom, provided me a car. They also threw in driving lessons but I think the jury's not out yet on how well that went. While it's a small car (VW Golf) it won't fit in the garages here. Not that folks use them as such; they all park on the sidewalks.

My first weekend with a car has been an interesting experience. I decided to venture out to the nearest "Hobby Shop" over in Windemere. According to Google it was about 1 hour away from my place in Gosforth via a well established road. Well, I got that wrong. Instead of going a reasonable 40 I was lucky to do 25-30 because of the winding roads along the hillsides. I cannot image that stone wall was more than an inch from my mirror as I rounded an S-turn with a bus, yes, bus, coming the other way. No touchy-touchy but I think I could see the nose-hairs of the driver. I know he saw my mouth saying a few choice words...

After taking a ferry across Lake Windemere (not on the Google route) I arrived at a quaint little tourist town focused on Beatrix Potter. Those stories were written and based in the local area. At any rate, after elbowing my car through the tourists I found parking and then ventured out to find this "Hobby Shop".

It should have been listed as a toy shop. Legos and similar types of hobbies were in there,  and a few paint-by-numbers sets. Scalextric race car sets, some Hornby model train sets, but not much more. The plastic kits were limited to one shelf of Revell, all kinds and scales, and of course Revell paints, glues, and thinners; albeit not a complete stock. Okay, I think I counted 20 paints, most of which were colors that made no sense. Probably one tin for each kit on their shelf...plenty of glues, though. 

So, I won't be making that trip again!

The bright side was I got some pretty good fish and chips while I was there and some great driving experience. I also learned to look for toy stores as some stock kits and glues. Paint may be a problem as the UK shippers no longer will ship them other than in bulk.  I may use a lot of Sky paint, but. Don't need a gallon!  Hobby shops have brushes and other materials and my hope is that a dedicated model train shop up in Carlisle will have plastic and and other tools/supplies. That's a trip for next weekend. 

Until next time...thanks for reading. 

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