From Scratch and Etched Parts - Part One
With a forward by Pete Waterman.
Wild Swan is at times derided (usually affectionately) for their tardiness on publishing deadlines. Never the less, the eventual output is always of excellent quality and well researched.
This book is no different in that regard; a hundred and seven A4 pages, lavishly illustrated in full colour with many drawings, and bound in soft covers.
The late Geoff Holt was a builder of renown, consistently producing models to a very high standard. A frequent poster to the Gauge 0 Guild's forum in providing help and assistance to other modellers.
In this, and the next, volume he has undertaken to tell us in detail how he achieves such superb results by building two versions side by side of the same engine; one from a kit and other from scratch.
The book is laid out logically starting with his own history and philosophy of modelling progressing to 'Tools & Equipment', 'Materials in Common Use', 'Working with Sheet Metals', 'Drawings and Transfer of Scales', 'Locomotive Frames' (including bogies and pony trucks), and 'Valve Gears'.
The book is a mine of information well written in an easy and relaxed style. I have already found half a dozen gems, which I shall incorporate into my own modelling efforts. Not only does he impart much useful information (I found the section on making working drawings particularly useful), he gives cogent and valid reasons why they work for him. Some of his methods are based upon equipment the average modeller is unlikely to have access to, pantograph milling for instance, but alternative methods are readily given.
He tries, and largely succeeds I think, to present his methods as applicable to anyone building engines based upon his many years of experience and learning by trial and error. Learning by someone else's mistakes is faster, and cheaper, than learning by one's own and on that basis alone, I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone interested in building a better engine.
The book is unlikely to sit on my shelves; rather it will be in a convenient place to hand by the workbench when building engines. It is not often a work of reference is also a good read. The only minor flaw is the lack of an index but the chapter headings and plethora of pictures make it relative easy to find what one is seeking.
Volume 2 will complete the construction of the engines and deal with tender, tractions methods, basic lathe work, and testing the finished product. I look forward to it.