Thursday, February 10, 2011
This is a rather unusual post, but with such a keen following of dedicated bloggers out there, what better place is there to get the word out than the bloggosphere.
So firstly a bit of history on the subject for those who may not have been around at the time.
When I was a young'n of around 13 or so, I'd begun reading the Australian Model Railway Magazine on a regular basis. Knowing it was due to come out always filled me with anticipation, and after my four odd kilometre ride down to St George Hobbies at Sans Souci on my BMX on any given Saturday I was either excited to see that latest issue through the shop front glass, or disappointed to see the old issue still sitting there.
I always read the letters section, where readers would ask questions or share information, with some discussions running over consecutive issues. In todays world these are mostly now handled in news groups and forums and what took months back then to find out takes literally minutes in some cases.
One of the first topics that really grabbed my attention was by a guy by the name of Bob Cooke, who always signed off Big Bad Bob. Maybe being a teenager at the time I read with great delight the letters from Bob, stirring up the establishment with a barrage of comments that drew the ire of many at the time.
The biggest controversy was without a doubt Bob's complete and utter contempt for the then State Rail Authority, who decided that the locomotives, rail motors and beautiful old passenger rolling stock should be painted in the then soon to be referred to "Candy Stripe" livery. For the traditionalist who thought that the classic Indian Red and Chrome Yellow lining looked a treat, this was an abomination of a livery.
So Bob began stating that he had found out the whilst in the workshops before being entered into service, 8101 was painted in the traditional Indian Red and Chrome colour scheme, and was hastily repainted in the candy livery immediately prior to entering service. Well, did this open up a hornets nest, and the seriousness of some peoples letters was something to behold. For a hobby that is supposed to be enjoyed the amount of anger this produced was something special to read. In fact for a couple of issues there was actually research and comments back and forth debating the issue, as not many really new for sure of the whole story was right or wrong.
A funny retort to Bob's protests happened at one of the Sydney exhibitions where a group of modellers put together a short train with a look-a-like 18 Class steam engine and some old four wheeled rolling stock, all painted in the then new bright new liveries of the SRA, V-Line and ANR. I've added the picture as I thought it was rather amusing at the time, and showed that some at least do have a sense of humour.
I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever read in relation to the hobby, and issue by issue Bob continued to stir the pot, until the ultimate act of defiance was perpetrated by him taking delivery of the newly released Casula Hobbies Class Brass 81 Class, numbered 8101, in its "original and rightful" livery painted by a mate of Bob's Doug Rowe. I for one thought it looked awesome, and oh how I wished I could a. afford a Brass 81 and b. have it done just like Big Bad Bob's!
My wish will kind of come true some time in the near future, as Austrains are producing a new model of the 81 Class and are doing a small run of them numbered 8101 in Indian Red, as a bit of a throw back and a laugh to the original controversy. I just hope it looks as good as Bob's did!
All of this now brings me to the present. Most would know that Bob Cooke aka Big Bad Bob is somewhat involved with Trainorama these days, and has a long history of consulting and being involved with having various items of Australian locomotives and rolling stock produced over the last few decades. In a discussion on the Aus_Model_Rail group it has been revealed that this piece of modelling history in indeed lost! Bob seems to have no idea where it currently is after being loaned to someone, and this to me seems to be a bit of a shame.
So I thought I'd put up a post on my blog to see if anyone out there knows where 8101 might be these days? So talk to your mates, get the word out, and lets see if we can get 8101 back to its rightful owner, or indeed back into the hands of someone who will give it a good home "wink".
So if you know something, or know of someone who may know something, please let me know!