Well I guess this image of my digital camera has already give you a major hint about what this new modelling tool really is and of course a camera has been an important tool for any modeller ever since the camera was invented.
Weâ€™ve used cameras to record locos and wagons, buildings and general scenery but I wonder how many modellers use their digital camera to get in close to look at important details on parts â€¦ or use their camera to record the steps theyâ€™ve taken when theyâ€™ve had to dismantle a model and it might be a little while before they get round to putting it all back together again.
For both those purposes just about any digital camera is ideal and you certainly donâ€™t have to have anything nearly as fancy as my base model SLR digital. All you really need is a camera with the ability to be adjusted to take close-up photos and youâ€™re good to go.
I found just how good a camera can be when it comes to looking at detail parts the other day when I wanted to ask a general question on an N scale board about part of the coupler arrangement on more recent Life Like locos.
I had the part that you see in this next photo and it could go back into the loco with the shim facing towards the bogies or towards the headstock of the loco. So I took a photo and posted it on the board and it wasnâ€™t until I looked at the image as it appeared on the message board that I noticed that the brass shim was actually held in place by two quite small lugs (that you see highlighted by the arrows) on either side of the main part of the assembly.
So if you have a very small detail part or a very small replacement part that you have to fit to a loco or some rolling stock then take a photo of it â€¦ download it to your computer â€¦ and have a good look at it to make sure youâ€™re not missing something simply because you canâ€™t see it.
And if you have to pull something apart to replace a part â€¦ or modify the model â€¦ then photograph the steps youâ€™re taking. Thatâ€™s advice that I wish I had taken over two years ago.
Back then I pulled apart the couple mechanism and mounting on another Life Like loco to switch over to Micro Trains. I got interrupted part way through the job and it was only the other day that I went back to finish the job â€¦ and found that I had thrown out a very important part.
I remember seeing that part on my hobby desk about a year ago now and thought that it was just a piece of a sprue from that I didnâ€™t need to keep. If only I had kept a visual record of the work I had been doing I might have had the sense to go through the photos of my work before being throwing that piece away.
Oh well â€¦ I guess that just goes to show that age is no impediment to stupidity â€¦ and maybe a digital camera can help you be a little less stupid.