Channel 5’s Great Model Railway Challenge 2019 has reached the semi-final stage, and this week we review the excitement as the six successful teams to make it through the heats battled it out to secure themselves a place in the final.
Semi-final one brought together Team Grantham, Rail Riders and Corby Steelmen to tackle the ‘Myths, Monsters, Legends & Fables’ theme, whilst the second semi-final featured Who’s Counting Rivets, Railmen of Kent and Muddle & Go Nowhere with their respective takes on ‘Blockbuster Films.’
Rail Riders took a scenic route to achieve their disturbing Halloween layout, deploying HO figures from the Woodland Scenics range that included Park Bums (WA1916), Lumberjacks (WA1876), a Graveside Service (WA1868) and Sermon On The Crate (WA1925).
Sun-kissed and Deciduous Trees (WTR3510 & WTR1101) and Forest Grass Ready Grass Roll finished off terrain underpinned by Track-Bed Strips and Risers (WST1461 & WST1409), Shaper Sheets and Plaster (WC1179 & WC1180) and Foam Sheet (WST1427). We hope that Simon’s thumb has made a full recovery. Ouch!
Team Grantham’s theatrical presentation ‘Knights of the Roundabout Table’ involved extensive use of G scale figures from the Woodland Scenics range, including Bears (WA2551), Deer (WA2543) and more Lumberjacks (WA2552), a Handmilking scene (WA2553), plus Scenecraft Shoppers (22-173) and Seated Passengers (22-183, 22-194 & 22-195) also in G scale.
It fell to the Corby Steelmen to uphold the honourable rolling stock tradition of GMRC, with their ‘Terra Fabulis’ layout playing host to Class 37 Split Headcode 37041 BR Blue (32-781B), Midland Railway 1F Tank Open Cab 41803 BR Black (31-434), parcels stock including BR Mk1 CCT BR Blue (39-551A) and BR Mk1 Gangwayed Brake BR Blue (39-187), and freight wagons BR BDA Bogie Bolster Railfreight Red (38-151C) and 8 Ton Cattle Wagon BR Bauxite triple-pack (37-716). The human element was ably represented by Trackside Workers (36-049), Locomotive Staff (36-047) and Station Passengers Standing (36-044).
Ironically, in the first semi-final, the two triumphant teams were those where railway operations played a supporting role to grand theatre, and Corby Steelmen failed to progress further in the competition.
Who’s Counting Rivets chose Jurassic Park as their subject and wowed the judges with a range of electronic cameo demonstrations. The ambitious terrain was ably crafted using Woodland Scenics products including Inclines and Risers (WST1411 & WST1411), Shaper Sheet (WC1179) and Plaster Cloth (WST1192), Earth Colours (WC1218 & WC1229), Turf (WT63, WT65, WT1341, WT1342 & WT1364 – See the full range here), Briars (WFS637 & WFS638) and Bushes (WFC147).
Railmen of Kent took inspiration from J.K.Rowling-stock’s epic franchise with layout ‘Harry Spotter and the Anorak Prince,’ featuring a beautiful rendition of Glenfinnan Viaduct and a great deal of constant train movement. Again, great emphasis was placed on well-rendered scenery, and Woodland Scenics delivered; the West Highland setting allowed copious tree planting, with over 120 specimens providing impressive afforestation worthy of Monarch of the Glen! The highland scene was made up of complete Trees (WTR3560, WTR3561, WTR3566-3569 – See the full range here!) Tree Armatures (WTR1123) and Foliage (WF52, WF54 – 56, WF1131, WF1134, WF1135 & WF1663) – See the full range of Realistic Tree Kits here!
Muddle & Go Nowhere’s ‘James Bond’ layout gave them licence to fill their boots with a wealth of Russian prototypes from the Pocketbond range. 2 T-36/76 1943 tanks (Easy Model PKEA36269), WWII Infantry in Greatcoats (Pegasus PKPG7271), Single-Storey Log Houses (PKPG7703), Farm Houses (PKPG7702), Two-Storey Log House (PKPG7704), plus Jiefang CA-30 Chinese Army Truck (Trumpeter PKTM01103).
Muddle & Go Nowhere’s operational fleet included a donor Class 20 much modified by the team to resemble the locomotive in 1985’s Bond classic ‘Goldeneye.’ The latest Branchline Class 20 is now arriving as part of the Whiskies Galore train set (30-047).
Ivatt 4MT Double-Chimney 3000 in LMS Black (32-575A) and WD Austerity 2-8-0 77003 in LNER Black (32-254) had supporting roles; BR Mk1 GUV General Utility Van Green (39-273) and SR CCT Covered Carriage Truck BR Departmental Olive Green (39-529) also served. Wickham Type 27 Trolley BR Departmental Yellow (32-992) was sighted both here and on the WCR layout.
As in the first semi-final, the two emphatically scenic layouts went through, with Who’s Counting Rivets narrowly beating Railmen of Kent to take the final two slots, victory being secured by the two vital points garnered by Charlie Johnson in the scratchbuild challenge.
Congratulations to all four finalists Rail Riders, Rail Men of Kent, Team Grantham & Who’s Counting Rivets for their well-deserved and hard-fought places in the final of GMRC Series 2.
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