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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Buildings for wargames... Terence Wise -

was a series that ran in Airfix Magazine in the early 1970s. Wise, one of the giants of the small scale world in the days when the earth was young, did imaginative things with Airfix's series of railway buildings to create buildings for wargames (as it said on the tin). He turned the 1930s detached house into an English Civil War era country house, the classic British signal box into a 'Wild West' saloon, the bungalow into a Deep South mansion (of sorts), and, in the May 1973 issue:

He did a straightforward job on the 'Engine Shed' kit to turn it into a REME workshop or a riding school. Inspired by the article, I had a bash at the REME workshop, which involved chopping off the bottom few rows of bricks to bring the doors down to the ground (engine shed doors being, of course, off the ground to allow clearance for the rails), adding a plastistruct girder and a hook, along with outside lights and moving the 'office' to the side of the building, all topped off with a blue/yellow/red REME signboard. Cracking! Lacking that fabulous beast, 'a razor saw' (something that was as foreign to me in 1973 as 'men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders'), I used a knife heated in a candle to burn off the 'bricks'. We actually had a reasonable supply of candles then, not because we had entered the age of Sunday supplement 'chi chi', but because the 1970s was the crisis decade, and power cuts were not unknown. Good riddance to the 1970s.
And good service that REME workshop did, even if now, over 41 years later it looks rather sad:

REME board, gone. Extractor fan, gone. Lights, gone. Doors, AWOL. Girder and hoist, gone. Office, rickety.

But, yesterday, while helping my grandson to choose a Cyberman in a local retro and collectors shop - 'Metropolis' of Smith Street, Warwick (where the smiths used to have their fiery furnaces, outside the town walls) - I came across this:

And for five pounds sterling, I was the happy possessor of an 'Engine Shed'. This time, I think I will make it as it was designed, for steam engines. Interestingly, the orginal price ticket on the bag says
 'R - 99'. The only currency I can think of is the South African Rand. Did this engine shed journey from Blighty to SA, only to return to Blighty?

On a more mundane note, the Valom Wellesley has made a little progress. A reasonable interior, as you can see:

The next bit will be a tad trickier...

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