Channel 5’s Great Model Railway Challenge 2019 has been maintaining consistently high viewing figures just under the million mark, and the last of the first round competitions, heat five, which aired on Saturday 5th October, accelerated momentum, bringing together the Railway Sleepers, Team Grantham and Muddle & Go Nowhere to compete for the remaining place in the series’ semi-finals. Imagination was unrestrained with the ‘The Sky’s The Limit’ theme, and the three teams aimed high with their plans to wow the judges and make it through to the next round.
Muddle & Go Nowhere (M&GN) conceived what judge Steve Flint described as ‘a Great Western Branch Line on Mars,’ titling their layout ‘Forever Autumn,’ which was strongly echoed in the orange and red scenery characteristic of that planet, encapsulating the blend of historic and futuristic vision. Named ‘DEMIOS,’ the Greek God of Terror (literally translated as ‘Dread’), the LNWR Coal Tank (35-050) performed the rocket launcher propelling and retrieval moves, surely the most outrageous working ever for a Webb designed steam loco!
MR (Martian Rail?) Black 4F with Johnson Tender 3848 (31-883) named ‘THUNDER CHILD’ was entrusted with a train of rocket parts and track panels carried on a BR Mk1 Carflat Wagon (38-900) and BR BDA Bogie Bolster (38-151C). Present in the Mars(halling) yards were 27T ZKV Tippler Wagons (37-275SD) and BR 20T & SR 25T ‘Pill Box’ Brake Vans (38-990).
The Railway Sleepers set their plans in the future, on distant ‘Planet XVI’ with its Sci-fi theme appealing to judge Kathy Millatt, although Class 08 08631 ‘Eagle’ in BR NSE livery (32-109) was very much still active. Weathered wagons, Railtrack PNA (38-105) and BR Bauzite BAA Steel Carriers (38-353), were also earning revenue in this futuristic habitat.
Trackside Workers (36-049), 1960s/70s Lineside Workers (36-421), P-Way Workers (36-050) and Trainspotters (36-401) were evidently time-travelling, as were their fellow 12 Seated Coach Passengers (36-408).
Team Grantham planned an ambitious multi-level layout ‘Per Ardua Ad Astra,’ a Latin phrase meaning “through adversity to the stars” – the official motto of the Royal Air Force, and linking specifically to the rocket launch that would conclude their animation. The heat winners neatly re-cast Art Deco Station Building (44-066) in an Alpine setting that suited its clean lines, their landscape making solid use of Woodland Scenics Plaster Cloth (WC1203), Lightweight Hydrocal® Plaster (WC1201), Base Rock Mould (WC1243), Strata Stone Rock Mould (WC1239) and Random Rocks Mould (WC1234) see the full Woodlands Mould range here! Also used were four Cut Stone Single Tunnel Portals (WC1253) which helped achieve the Swiss look.
The rocket refuelling train was formed of BR 102T TEA Bogie Tank Wagon ‘BP’ Green (38-111B), SR Covered Carriage Truck BR Departmental Olive Green (39-529) and SR 25T ‘Queen Mary’ Brake Van EWS (33-832).
Proses Ballast Spreader PBS-HO-01 was used by all three teams, likewise the 25 piece Modelmaker Essential Tool Set (MM014) – these unsung heroes have been used by every team competing in the competition. Railway Sleepers also utilised ModelMaker’s Modellers Pliers Set (MM006).
Some seriously impressive work from all three teams!!! Congratulations from Bachmann to deserving heat five victors, Team Grantham, and highest-placed runners-up, Muddle & Go Nowhere, who earned their semi-final place as the best-scoring contestants not to win their heat. What will they be required to dream up in the semi-finals?
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