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?


  1. Those are exactly the things that concern me, which is why, many years ago, I produced a range of w/m castings of such things called "Guild Lineside-The other railway". And yes, I did put the rail joints on and gave info. on how the rails are almost always bent and buckled and the posts almost never upright.
    But the model railway world is so obsessed with the railway itself, that they didn't sell very well, so I closed it down. My blog recently dealt with similar matters (it often does!):- Cheers,

  2. Thanks for the mention and heads up about the EFE phone box James, I've ordered one and you should ask for some commission :-) It looks rather good from the photos and is worthy of closer inspection, I'll let you know how I get on.

    I agree with Martin when he mentions how the model railway world is obsessed with the railway, they should go out and look at the real thing and the bigger picture rather than add yet more track and purchase all the latest releases.

    I'm glad to have given you something to think about, as they say," the truth is out there".


  3. Martin,

    Never mind the railway, often it is just the loco that people get obsessed by. And I have to admit that it is only in the last couple of years that I've realised how important trackwork is to the appearance of a model. I look forward to more of your experiments with foamex


    Photos of it do look good, but it clearly will still need work, including an A and B button interior, My suspicion is the red telephone box is one of those objects which won't work modelled exactly to scale. This is how I remember rural ones

  4. James,
    I wish I could find time for more scenic modelling, but currently I am just too busy with paying work , plus it's just too damned hot inside till evening, but come the Autumn, I might get the buildings out again. There's a very good example of a red phone box in the village of Nordelph in Norfolk. Photo-etch, laminated, is the answer. I did do the artwork a long while ago, for a 7mm scale model of it, but alas they only now accept computer files, so I'm out, as the Dragons say.

    1. I suspect that the type of glazing material could be significant as well. I'm sure colouring and weathering are also significant to avoid a toy like look. In many case of course it is simply a case of a model being wrong compared to the prototype. I must take some more photos of our two local boxes.

    2. I guess this is a good example of how a model could look