Take a Ride on a Discworld-Inspired Model Railroad


Shepton on heavy freight duty. Image © Mick Thornton

Hugh Norwood pays tribute to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books with his Angst-Lesspork 009 railway layout, exhibited last year at LonCon 3.

Helping to set the scene are the Alchemists’ Guildhall (complete with stuffed alligator), one of the many Watch houses, a (working) Clacks tower and, of course, Mad Lord Snapcase’s Cruet set. Looming over the rear is the back of the Theatre. There are also a number of privies to be found. Most of the buildings are scratch-built from card; a number are illuminated and so have internal decoration.

Human figures in Victorian / Edwardian costume are readily available; finding wizards, dwarfs, trolls and other out of the ordinary figures is more problematic. Fortunately, the war-gaming fraternity could supply many of these figures. The Librarian – and the stuffed alligator – were commissioned pieces.

Angst-Lesspork is already famous among model train aficianados, having been featured in the January 2013 issue of Railway Modeller.

Norwood has also done something thematic for the table the layout sits upon when shown in public —

A number of times at exhibitions, people have asked me where the elephants were, that support the “world”. Well I decided that I should attempt to produce some “feet” to be visible below the skirt that hangs at the front of the layout.

Layout on display at LonCon 3 in 2014. Look carefully and you'll see an elephant foot under the table.

Layout on display at LonCon 3 in 2014. Look carefully and you’ll see an elephant foot under the table.

You can take even an imaginary train ride around town in this video, shot with a “keyfob” camera mounted on a flatcar.

[Thanks to James Bacon for the link.]

Pratchett Coming to America

Sir Terry Pratchett will promote his latest Discworld novel, Snuff, next month at events in New York and Washington D.C.

He’ll be at the Barnes & Noble – Tribeca on Thursday, October 13 at 6:00 p.m. There will be priority seating for those who buy a book.  (Barnes & Noble-Tribeca, 97 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007.)

The next day, Friday, October 14, he will be discussing the book in the National Press Club ballroom in DC at 7 p.m. An admission is charged. See site for details.

Read an excerpt from Snuff here.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Discworld Convention Nears

Terry Pratchett is expected at The North American Discworld Convention in Madison, WI over the July 8-11 weekend.

The con very recently lost its chair due to illness, so Emily S. Whitten, an experienced conrunner who chaired the 2009 NADWCon, has stepped in to finish the job.

She’s looking for volunteer help. If you’re interested, e-mail ewhitten (at) law (dot) gwu (dot) edu and please cc Vice Chair and Volunteer Coordinator Marg Grady, marg1066 (at) gmail (dot) com.

[Via SMOFS.]

Adopt a DiscWorldcon Con

Emily S. Whitten, Vice Chair of the 2009 North American DiscWorld Convention, announces:

The North American Discworld Convention is now soliciting bids for the 2011 convention, at which Sir Terry Pratchett has agreed to appear as Guest of Honor, circumstances permitting. Bids are due from interested groups by midnight, March 15, 2010. A decision as to the next hosting city and group will be reached and announced by approximately April 15, 2010.

The bid solicitation announcement link is here.

Not a Mock Turtle

A convention ad flutters loose from my copy of Instant Message and declares, “The Turtle Moves.” Yes, and says it’s moved to Phoenix over Labor Day Weekend of 2009, where fans will hold The First North American Discworld Convention. Terry Pratchett will be a GoH. What is the right interpretation of this sign? Is another group joining Dragon*con in poaching the traditional (with increasing randomness) Worldcon weekend? Far from it.

Anticipation, the Montreal Worldcon of 2009, takes place almost a month in advance of Labor Day: August 6-10; the identical dates for this year’s Denvention, as a matter of fact. Is it only old fire horses like me who hear “Labor Day” and think it should mean a science fiction convention? Obviously my calendar is blank and I may have to give Discworld a whinny.

Discworld conventions have been held since 1996, never before in North America. Chair Lee Whiteside and Hotel Liaison Mike Willmoth, two leading committee members, have such impressive resumes after working many Westercons, NASFiCs, WFCs and Worldcons that even fans completely unfamilar with past Discworld-themed conventions will have every reason to gallop over to Phoenix for more fun in the desert.