Tributes and Turntables

I spent a little time yesterday reading Trevor Marshall’s blog and he made reference to Marty McGuirks blog post about rethinking some design elements on his Central Vermont layout. The part that I got me sitting forward in my chair as I read it was a couple of paragraphs on the way he had sited his turntable in the corner of a room and how this was causing some real issues in terms of access and reach. He and his operators simply couldn’t reach the turntable, the result being that it simply didn’t get used. This made me chuckle because when I’d arrived home from work yesterday afternoon there was a card in my letterbox indicating a large parcel was waiting for me down the Post Office. When I went down to pick it up the lady who’d gone out the back disappeared for ages and eventually she turned up with an enormous box that looked like it contained a medium-sized flat screen TV. I knew what the box contained, it was my Millhouse River turntable from the US. What had me smiling at Marty’s post was that the box was still in the boot of my car as I sat reading the post yesterday evening. I’d almost given myself a hernia getting in into the boot: I’d decided that getting it out again could wait till later in the evening 🙂 After reading about Marty’s travails I decided I’d better go out to the garage and haul the box inside. What I found when I unpacked it just enough to take a look at it was something wonderful to behold.

This shot gives a pretty accurate impression of the turntable. I've got no intention of taking it out of its box because it's unlikely to be installed on an actual layout for quite a while. Anyway it's heavy: I'd probably do myself an injury trying to lift it out on my own!

This shot gives a pretty accurate impression of the turntable. I’ve got no intention of taking it out of its box because it’s unlikely to be installed on an actual layout for quite a while. Anyway it’s heavy: I’d probably do myself an injury trying to lift it out on my own!

I’m no expert on these turntables: I just own one now, but I’m yet to have any experience of how well they work. I can say from my quick glance that the workmanship looks superb with a fully welded aluminium pit and a beautiful weathering job applied at the factory. I made a special request to have ME code 125 track installed on the table as this matches what I use on my layouts and the owner delivered on this request. Evidently this was the first time anyone had made this request for rail of such small size. This probably reflects my impression that O-scale in the US is often seen as a bit of a “toy” scale with track that has big chunky rail. The turntable is supplied with a bag of brass detail parts which allows the modeller to dress the thing up with handrails and motor parts. I will leave these packed in their bag until I’m ready to install the table on a future layout.

This photo gives the viewer some sense of scale to judge the size of the turntable. That's an Auscision 1:43.5 49 class sitting on the table.

This photo gives you some sense of scale to judge the size of the turntable. That’s an Auscision 1:43.5 49 class sitting on the table.

A few months before she passed away my mum was being subjected to one of my regular verbal tours of what I was up to in my hobby. Over the years she had watched as her boy grew and developed but never seemed to outgrow toy trains. Looking back on it I’m not really sure what she made of my hobby but as she got older I imagine her increasing deafness came as a blessed relief from having to listen to me rabbit on about it 🙂 On this particular day I’d been banging on about my poor performing turntable and how I’d discovered a company in the US called Millhouse River Studio and how great their turntables looked on the web site. She turned to me and said, with the blinding logic of a woman, “why don’t you buy one”? That shut me up! I paid for this turntable with a portion of the money I received from her estate: I could never really have justified the cost from my normal hobby budget. So in this sense I see this turntable as a bit of a tribute to my mum. She never could see a reason not to do what you wanted and I really wanted this turntable 🙂

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