Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Dr Jekyll and Mr HydeI’ve got a confession…

After years of model building, I’ve reached the inescapable conclusion that my model railway building activities fall into two very different styles.

Dr. Jekyll

For the majority of the time, my model railway fits in and around normal daily life.

I might grab 10 minutes on a Saturday morning or a few hours after work during the week and to maximise these brief periods my model space is organised and for the large part clean.

Tools, equipment and materials are sorted, carefully stored and ordered: they come out, models are made and landscapes laid and they go away again. Neat, tidy, structure — no mess.  All is well in my Dr. Jekyll moments.

Mr. Hyde

And then there’s the other side of my model building…

During these times, order is cast aside and creativity runs free during a model making binge.

Mess reigns supreme. Paint pots and glue tubes strewn around the work surface; tools — despite my best intentions — lie around, and card, clay and other scratch building paraphernalia pile up.

My workspace looks like a mix between a toddlers play area and the tool aisle of a DIY store after a Bank Holiday sale.

I’ve been on one these frenetic model building periods recently. Working on a clay viaduct, leats, pit head equipment and a few plastic models – the engine shed and loading bay amongst others – and they’re now complete.

I’m sure a Psychologist would say the mess is a natural side-effect of this creative outpouring and my layout has progressed well as a result. But now it’s time for Mr. Hyde to give way to Dr Jekyll and for order and structure to return to my model making.

The tools will be cleaned, sorted and put back into their boxes; the brushes cleaned and dried; the glues and paints carefully and tightly sealed, and the cardboard and Balsa wood neatly stacked away.

Structure, order and Dr. Jekyll rule again.

So what’s your model building like? Are you Mr. Hyde or Dr. Jekyll?

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.

Picture: National Prtg. & Engr. Co. Modifications by Papa Lima Whiskey via Wikipedia


  1. I’m a Hyde, definately. It keeps the missus away and I use the excuse “but I KNOW where everything is to be found” which is true only half of the time. But every now and then Jekyll itches and tells me to go through my stuff. This results mainly in a 2-way operation: the bin and ebay. Right now I’m in the middle of such a Jekyll-excercise and I must say I’ve been quite succesful in both directions……
    It isn’t ideal, but I can live with it. The conviction that ONE DAY it wil all be spic and span is there….what more can you want???

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