Under the Lights! Bachmann at the Final of the Great Model Railway Challenge
Series 2 of The Great Model Railway Challenge recently reached its thrilling conclusion. As those who have been avidly watching will be well aware, of the four teams who made it through the heats and triumphed at the semi-final stage, it came down to a tie-break to separate the winners Railmen of Kent from runners-up Who’s Counting Rivets at the end of the ‘Surprise Surprise’ challenge.
Members of Bachmann Europe’s event team were on set to lend a hand where necessary, having been invited by the production team to make available a range of rolling stock from which the finalists could select their Star Trains if they so wished. So, to the soundtrack of amorous peacocks and against a magical backdrop of railway and architectural esoterica from the McAlpine collection at Fawley Hill, we chatted to the contestants about matters as diverse as Thomas & Friends™, how to attract new faces to the hobby, freelance industrials and 3D printing, whilst taking in the fascinating and inspirational sight that twenty-plus skilled and competitive modellers presented!
As they progressed through the series, Team Grantham demonstrated the value of thorough planning and project management in achieving their consistently high scores, with well-constructed and coherently operated layouts that packed interest and innovation into dramatic scenic spaces. Despite this, perhaps these supremely talented and experienced modellers slightly underestimated how many hours would be needed to realise their final Fairground layout; a perennial issue for many others we’re sure!
Nonetheless, their three layouts worked convincingly and their chosen Star Train comprising sound-fitted Class D11 No. 502 ‘Zeebrugge’ in Great Central Railway Lined Green & Maroon (31-147DS), and Royal Mail Red Travelling Post Office Coaches, BR Mk1 POS Post Office Sorting Van Royal Mail (39-422) and BR Mk1 POT Post Office Stowage Van Travelling Post Office (39-765), threaded its way through Alpine scenery and Arthurian legend to reach the finish line. Team captain Graham was pleased with the selection of rolling stock associated with the Great Central, making a change from the epic show layouts that the team are usually associated with, these being Shap and Grantham itself.
Rail Riders had been consistently creative, with sci-fi and horror flicks ever-present in the background of their modelling during the series. War of the Worlds, Halloween and Dr Evil’s Lair provided a thrilling stage for their final show appearance. Regrettably, their track clearances had not anticipated their desired Star Train comprised of the SECR C Class and Birdcage Coaches, and instead it was great to see an historic Bachmann Collectors Club model in operation – Waterman Railways Black Class 20 No. 20188 (32-026K), which is no longer available although sound-fitted Class 20 D8101 features in the Whiskies Galore Train Set which is in shops now. To find out more about what our Collectors Club offers its members, and to purchase limited edition models, please check out the website or ask any of the team at the Warley Show at the NEC on November 23rd – 24th.
Who’s Counting Rivets
Who’s Counting Rivets decided that their finale should depict a tour party being conveyed along the full length of their three layouts in an inspection saloon. To achieve this, they portrayed the train using LMS 50’ BR Blue and Grey Inspection Saloon (39-777A) hauled by BR Blue Class 24/1 Diesel 24137 (32-442) which was DCC chipped by Bachmann’s Exhibitions Officer Benn Pollard on the Sunday specifically for the filming. Having commenced its journey close to the earth’s exposed core on ‘The Deeping Project,’ where Ransomes & Rapier 45T Steam Breakdown Crane BR Departmental Red (38-803) was stabled in the yard, and navigated Jurassic Park with its myriad animations, the unique locomotive literally enjoyed a baptism of fire as it entered the Rivets’ final layout ‘Miniatur Miniatur Wonderland’ through a sheet of flame generated by flash paper; this is not one of the conventional tests undertaken on new Branchline or Farish models!
Railmen of Kent
Railmen of Kent had a sequence of heroic layout builds during the series, from the Festival of Britain gardens framed by Kings Cross and St Pancras, via Glenfinnan viaduct’s quidditch backdrop to their futuristic High Speed Green Research Centre in the final, all three layouts combined consistently good running quality with scenic innovation and well thought out operation to really engage the viewer. The flowing trackwork, including the graceful figure of eight on the final layout that delighted judge Kathy Millatt, was the perfect setting for the 6-car Western Pullman (part of Dynamis Ultima Sound Fitted Train Set 30-420), making its debut as the curtain came down on this exciting second series. You can see more information on our Western Pullman Train Set here.
Until next time…
Bachmann was delighted to support all the teams throughout the competition, and we congratulate all the finalists for their spectacular and captivating creations – what fantastic ambassadors for the hobby! Some of the contestants will be at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC during the weekend of November 23rd – 24th. Guests of the hosts, Railmen of Kent will be showcasing the Western Pullman on their three layouts, Team Grantham explaining their build philosophy in the Demo Area, Loco Ladies will be guests of Peco with their heat layout, and we are delighted to confirm that Semi-final winners and ultimate runners-up Who’s Counting Rivets will be showing their Final layout, ‘Miniatur Miniatur Wonderland’, on the Bachmann Europe stand, A35. We look forward to seeing you there!
Behind the scenes
To find out more about Bachmann’s behind the scenes participation in Series 2 of the Great Model Railway Challenge, become a member of the Bachmann Collectors Club, and read Benn’s informative feature in the December issue of the Bachmann Times.