|View single post by Huw Griffiths|
|Posted: Thu May 27th, 2010 08:06 pm||
Thanks for your kind comments.
Like (I suspect) a number of people here, I have mixed feelings about some of the really wacky "models" on the market.
I'm drawn to them - as I'm interested in finding out about what makes them tick, how they were made and stuff like that.
However, if they're too way out, I'm also repulsed by them - I think of them as ridiculous, toys if you like.
In other words, I think this stuff is great fun, but I wouldn't want most of it in a month of Sundays.
This is probably why I really like unusual protoypes that actually exist(ed), or look like they might - they're unusual, but credible.
For example, some of the early (about 100 years back) experimental petrol railcars impressed me so much that I'm currently working on drawings (and who knows what next?). I could also say the same about some designs of steam trams.
When I saw the loco-mounted jet engine, earlier in this thread, the thought of a weed burner went straight through my head. I sometimes see hand held versions being sold in my local Aldi or Lidl - even though the idea strikes me as cool (and I really hate old-school weeding), I wonder how many people would really be capable of using the things safely.
John Allen's thoughts about Diesels would probably strike a chord with a number of older UK rail enthusiasts and modellers - many of whom openly refer to Diesels as "Diseasels".
I don't - and I like steam (especially small stuff - Pannier tanks - and narrow gauge, for that matter).
It's quite possible that steam would have been on the way out, even if Diesels hadn't come along. With all the hard, unpleasant, work required to keep steam engines running - and the need to reduce pollution in a number of cities - the writing was probably already on the wall for steam. By about the 1980's, I suspect that a giant hand might well have finished its soot-laden "finger painting" routine.
It's a shame that so many serviceable steam engines were scrapped - some of them only a few years old. Some people have never forgiven Diesels for this - but I wonder if they might be going after the wrong "villain". Would these people have wanted to spend most of their lives working as loco cleaners or firemen? I doubt it.
Being in my mid 40's, I'm young enough to see why this change was inevitable.
Although I worked in higher education, I've always had more time for old-school "rule of thumb" engineering than the utterances of certain "PhD plus post-doc" types. This isn't snobbery (qualifications like these take a lot of work - and would be way above my head) - but recognition of the fact that it's often us old-school types who get called on to make things work.
I needed to encourage engineering students to think for themselves (using a mixture of "kite-flying", questions about "why do you do this?" - and a lot of dry humour) - but I also got frustrated when some of these people (and some others who really should have known better) came along with "pie-in-the-sky" ideas and expected me to make them work.
This is why I try not to make extravagant claims about what I've done (or what can be done). It irritates me, so I wouldn't want to inflict it on other people - a point that would be lost on most of the "trolls" and "know-it-alls" we've all encountered. The guy who runs RMweb has a great name for these jokers - especially the abusive ones - he's forced to waste loads of his time dealing with them, so he calls them "time bandits" - fair comment.
Most of the time, any suggestions I make are based on experience - even if it comes from the outside world. Occasionally though, we all resort to "kite flying".
Even though I've never used emoticons, I'd be quite happy if there were one to show if I'm just chucking ideas in the air - perhaps a kite, or a "Monty Python" style foot ("and now for something completely different") - I don't know what, but I'm sure you get the general idea.
Anyway, that's more than enough waffle from me.
Last edited on Sun May 30th, 2010 04:25 pm by Huw Griffiths