I wonder if some people lose momentum through choosing the wrong model to start? "Start off with something nice and simple to cut your teeth" - and you spend a few years working on something that you don't really want when it's finished. Be adventurous, be ambitious, and start something that you really want to build and own and run!
Definitely, Blowfly being a prime example; that's why 25 years after starting it I've only just got the chassis running on air. When I first seriously decided to build a steam loco, I wanted to build a 3½" gauge Tich, but considering we were running commercially at the time a 7¼" gauge Heidi II was also appealing. However I was talked into Blowfly because we already had 5" gauge, it'll pull a load, it's still easily portable, it was a simple design to start with, and we already had the plans (AME magazines). So I made the frames, lost interest, and started on Heidi II. As it turns out I didn't finish Heidi either, ultimately deciding it was too big, I sold her off just needing pipework, paint, and a cab roof. Then I poked at Blowfly a bit more, so I had a rolling chassis, then for a variety of reasons shoved that under a bench for the next ten or so years.
So while I think 'start simple' may be good advice, 'find something simple that interests you' would probably be the better advice.
We all break these things down into smaller tasks anyway.
Absolutely - at the moment, it's "can't wait to see the tender chassis rolling along the club track." Then it's, "then there's going to be some nice fiddly machining making all the brake gear!" Then it's, "then I'll be able to have a go at the plate work for the tender body - that'll be a new challenge!" Long term aim is steaming a Black 5 around the club track, but each sub-goal is an end in itself.
I was making three working 10 Classes once. Got stuck at 3 x rolling chassis stage because the model design I had purchased and hoped to follow without too much trouble wasn't to my liking. 1 1/16" scale too.
I gave one away - to a super-keen teenager. He did nothing but his father had it almost finished last I saw it about five years ago. The second was mostly scrapped though some of it was salvaged for the new 1 1/8" scale 50 Class (axleboxes, axles, eccentrics, cylinders. New wheels though for 1 1/8" scale and design from FS drawings).
The 3rd became our brass ornament! It was all a long time ago now and hard to keep those dreams alive!
I was about 8 or 10 years old when I was struck down with a misterious illness and spent about 3 months in bed.I was an avid reader at the time and soon exhausted all of the reading matter in the house except a pile of Model engineer and Practical Electrician magazines that my Dad had collected before the second world war. Dad had been a practising Model Engineer before he was married and had built a very nice 2 1/2" gauge pacific around 1935 that was finished except for the tender. I was greatly intrigued by the weekly LBSC articles and by the time that I had read all of the magazines from cover to cover I was hooked for life. Dad had a small engineering business from home and so always had plenty of machinery to play with. [We could make cracker guns that were lethal and used to bore out 303 bullett heads for mounting on our arrows ] I started My first loco when I was about 14 and am still making one now when I am almost 77. I have a 5" gauge 2-8-0 that is within 3 weeks of completion and will be ready then for paint. Most likely the last one.
I think I need constant mental stimulation. Sitting by the pool on holiday with the kids took years to even tolerate! Without the goings on in the workshop, life would be pretty banal.
Our family were largely self-sufficient. We repaired our own stuff. We solved our own problems. To get outside help was an admission of failure. Helping my Dad from an early age taught me ‘to problem solve – critical thinking – there’s always a way’ attitudes. The independence that feeling brought was addictive and I got a lot of satisfaction from being able to do things that others made excuses for.
My workshops – I think I’ve had 6 or 7 of them – have always been places where there are no excuses. I earned a good living for 20 odd years with just basic tools – the secret ingredient being simply my ability to get things done. Didn’t get the work / life balance thing right but I enjoyed delivering high standards of service and reliability. I was proud of that.
School bored me. Couldn’t wait to start work. Always wanted to be 'doing’ rather than ‘watching’. Of course, by doing you get really good at planning too. School is not the only source of knowledge! My models; stationary, rail & traction, have been incredibly fertile sources of learning on many subjects.
I’ve been building steam engines more or less continuously since 1974 when Dad got me started on the donkey engine in the back of LBSC’s Shop, Shed & Road. From being a quick metho-fired knock up, mine became a tiny coal fired job with feed pumps, gauges, control valves etc.
Fast forward to 2018, engine #12 - 3” ploughing engine – continues to provide plenty of brain food! Traction engines, with all the machinery attached to the boiler, present difficulties not encountered on locomotives. I’m doing the design as I go. Research has led me down many interesting roads on all sorts of subjects. It’s not the only side of life I love but it is certainly a vital component of every day!
I have had the pleasure of viewing Suctionhouse's work from time to time and it is truly superb. I think that i can make a good reliable loco that looks good and will go for many years but Suctionhose's products are right out of the ball park. Barry