Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Modelling the Mundane

Over in Llangunllo Geoff continues to make exciting progress. What always impresses me about his approach is the seemingly effortless way he captures those very mundane compositions  of everyday features. Reading the blog reveals , of course, that far from being effortless a lot of thought goes into it, and not just by Geoff but also from the commentators on his blog,

Something he mentioned in passing was getting  the phone box to look like a real one does from an equivalent distance. Having in my youth had romantic relationships with not one but two members of the  Letter Box Study Group I've always been conscious of how poorly such important items of street furniture are so often modeled. Geoff's comment though has had me looking at phone box with a different mindest. It is easy to spot what is wrong with a model phone box, but much harder to identify the trick to getting one to look believable. There are a lot of factors to take into account, especially around the colour and the glazing. I think I would probably use the EFE version as a starting point.

It also got me thinking about just how tough it is to convincingly capture other everyday objects.

Look at these two examples of fencing in our village for example, The wooden example is dilapidated, but not in a way that would forgive slapdash modelling. The second example has subtle colouring, but also how many people would  model those joins between handrail sections?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A Quick Diversion?

Life is busy and modelling is taking a back seat. Oh, you'd noticed?

On Summer evenings it is just too tempting to don the Lycra and jump on the bike, or else to grab the camera. Summer is also when clients decide that they desperately need my team's professional services. On top of those normal Summer distractions I've got a very busy ten days planned in Australia next month that I need to do a lot of preparation for. For instance I need to persuade a coach load of  Australian IT professionals that they want nothing more than to punctuate their planned tour of vineyards with a trip on the Puffing Billy.

Behind the scenes I'm doing a lot of thinking. No major changes of plan but I'm considering how I can get the maximum return for my efforts.

Meanwhile the original Apa diorama is sat on my desk with all its faults staring me in the face.

I suspect the time has come to admit Apa has served its purpose and needs to be replaced with another desktop project , this time in EM.

What I need at the moment is a quickly constructed model that will let me display the EM good stock I've been building, and my next versions of the Tanat Valley station buildings, which won't be needed for Upwold. Of course I could just cut out the OO track from Apa and replace it with EM, but if I'm going to use it primarily as a catalyst to focus on goods stock then I think I need a plan that will encourage me to do a little shunting, rather than  have an essentially static display.

A plan, in fact, rather like this one that I came up with last year  utilizing two micro traversers/sector plates/turntable butchered from a Peco loco lift and that could still fit in an Apa box.

If I use one of Tim Horn's slightly larger standard 3ft by 1ft laser-cut baseboards  I think I would be able to squeeze in a 4whl loco + 2 wagons traverser at one end and a loco + 1 wagon at the other. In an ideal world it would be nice to reproduce an Inglenook shunting puzzle. Possibly it can be done if I go for a 3-2-2 version. Unlike a traditional Inglenook though I want to make provision for a brakevan, and for the train arriving on set with the loco at the front.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Genuine Irish Atmosphere

I've just returned from my biennial cycling trip to Ireland. This time we headed to the south east coast, picking up the hire bikes in Kilkenny. I met up with my companions from New York and Ye OldeYorkshire in Dublin.

Dublin used to be one of my favourite cities when I worked there around the Millennium. The new century has seen it turn into a parody of itself. Then what else could have happened? We can never really preserve the past . Travelling on a preserved railway can never give you the same experience as travelling  in the 1930's or even the 1970's for that matter.

Every time I go back to Ireland the things I used to love seem to be harder to find: the music, the bars, the rural villages and even the people

So whenever I travel there I try and photograph houses that will soon be renovated or replaced

Here is a selection of this year's photos.

Despite travelling by rail down to Kilkenny I didn't take many railway related shots, but here are a few, beginning with a couple of waggons from the old copper mines.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Clun Valley Tramway

Over the year many modelers have been attracted by the idea of a light railway running westwards from Ludlow across the beautiful landscape of the Welsh borders towards Bringewood Chase, and Clun.

Geoff's recent posts on the village end of Llangunllo reminded me of Iain Rice's plan  based on Clun, and his Bringewood Chase layout.

Many year before though, in 1969, the RM featured another layout based on the area, J.E. Tennant's Clun Valley Tramway.

By today's standards this was crude OOn3 modelling with hacked about Triang Jinty chassis under most of the locos, but some of the buildings had real character. More to the point there was something very believable about the track plan and the way stock was distributed around the yard. This one photo "Redlake drifts slowly down the yard at Hopton Heath on a summer afternoon" sums up the sort of atmosphere I've always wanted to create one day.

Of course in those days I didn't know anything about the Irish narrow gauge lines that provided the prototypes for the models. After all I was only six at the time.