Tag Archives: scale model photography

British Railways Diesel Electric Co-Co 10001 (redux)

The so-called LMS Twins, a pair of 1,600hp diesel electric locomotives that had been designed and built at the British Railways Locomotive Works at Derby in 1947–48, were proper prototypes. They were both right at the leading edge of railway design of the time, and needed to be thoroughly tested. By 1953, both locos had been updated and modified, and were moved to the Southern Region for more testing. They were joined by their larger cousins, 10201, 10202 and 10203, designed by the former CME of the Southern Railway, OVS Bulleid.

By the end of the 1950s, diesel traction was entering the BR fleet in numbers, and the prototype diesels were moved back to Derby make it easier for maintenance. Relegated to secondary duties, and painted in less flamboyant liveries, all five prototypes were eventually withdrawn and scrapped. 10001 lingered at Derby until 1966. Sadly, none of these locos were considered worthy of adding the national collection. There is an organisation trying to build a recreation 10000, the pioneer loco from 1947.

This commission build was to make a representation of 10001 as it appeared in 1953. Various updates and modifications were made to the Just Like The Real Thing kit, such as revised roof grilles and the air horn brackets this loco featured until 1954. The client requested a light weathering, so I’ve aimed for grubby but cared for. The bogies showed the grime a lot, being finished in an aluminium silver paint, so I’ve concentrated dirt round there.

This is my second 10001 build. The previous one represented the loco in its as-built 1948 condition.

British Railways Co-Co 10001

I’ve always had a particular fondness for the pioneer British mainline diesels. Actually, let’s put it another way: I’ve always had a particular fondness for one-offs, oddities and prototypes. The latest commission to leave the workbench definitely falls into the latter category.

In 1946, the London, Midland & Scottish Railway—at the time the largest company in the world—was looking to the future. Britain’s railways had effectively been ground into the dust as everyone and everything focused on winning a world war. The board of the railway agreed to invest cash in a speculative test of two diesel electric locomotives. Designs were drawn up in the Derby Works drawing office, and a partnership formed with English Electric, whose experience would furnish the power plant, electrical and control equipment. While diesels were commonplace in the United States, and much of that country’s experience was called upon, a design was created that set the standard for UK mainline diesel locos for many decades to come.

Finished in a striking black and silver livery, the first loco to emerge from the works was 10000. It’s sibling was held back to ensure the LMS could extract as much publicity for its new machines as possible—just as Britain’s railways were nationalised. 10000, in fact, was unveiled to the public and press in early December 1947. After a few test runs and jaunts for the press, the unfinished loco returned to Derby for completion and certain improvements. Meanwhile, in early 1948, 10001 appeared with slightly less fanfare.

Both locos continued to be updated and modified throughout their careers. They worked the Midland Region routes on a variety of trains, both singly and as a pair (termed working “in multiple”, where one driver could operate both units from a single cab). In the early 1950s, both locos were despatched to the Southern Region, where they were again tested on various trains. By the late 1950s, diesel traction was becoming more commonplace and eventually, being prototypes and non-standard, both locomotives were withdrawn. 10000 was scrapped in 1963, while 10001 lingered at the Derby works until 1966.

The model represents 10001 as it was delivered to British Railways in 1948. It has been built, to a scale of 7mm to the foot (1/43rd), using reference materials published by Wild Swan and a kit from Just Like The Real Thing. A cosmetic diesel engine has been installed, and the cabs have been detailed and painted as accurately as possible. Various other details have been added to make this model as true to the original as I could make it, though there have been some inevitable compromises made along the way. The model was commissioned by a client to match with his existing model of 10000. The latter model has also been remotored and given updated electronics, and both models have been tested together as a pair.

Oddly, I have another model of 10001 under construction. This time, it’s as the loco appeared in 1953, so there will be some subtle external differences, although still in the striking black and silver livery.

On a personal note, you will have noticed my blogging has been quiet of late. The state of the world, you’d think, would give me plenty to rant about. You would be correct, of course, but for the sake of my mental and physical health I am trying my best to keep the world at arm’s length. You should hear what I bellow at the television “news”, mind you! I also have had one or two issues with the WordPress installation, and I may need to think about extending my allocated server space. With plenty of other things on my plate, I’m afraid this blog has been rather neglected.

I am a professional modelmaker. I take commissions for, in the main, 7mm scale model railway subjects. I have a full order book for the rest of 2017, and I’m already taking commissions for 2018. You can see some examples of my work on my web site, and if you like you can follow my antics on that Facebook thing.

More Collett Coaches

One of my earliest commissions, some years ago now, was to build three Collett coaches from Just Like The Real Thing kits. Who would believe another different client would commission three almost identical coaches a year or so later!

JLTRT 7mm scale kit of a Collett 57ft Bow-ended E127 1st/3rd composite coach.
JLTRT 7mm scale kit of a Collett 57ft Bow-ended E127 1st/3rd composite coach.
JLTRT 7mm scale kit of a Collett 57ft Bow-ended C54 All Third coach.
JLTRT 7mm scale kit of a Collett 57ft Bow-ended C54 All Third coach.
JLTRT 7mm scale kit of a Collett 57ft Bow-ended D94 Brake Third coach.
JLTRT 7mm scale kit of a Collett 57ft Bow-ended D94 Brake Third coach.

These models are all to 1/43rd scale, 7mm to 1ft, and Finescale O Gauge. As they will run as a semi-permanent set, the client requested Kadee knuckle couplings between the vehicles, leaving the standard screw-link couplings at the outer ends. The livery is the first British Railways “blood and custard”, which was applied to gangwayed passenger stock from 1948 until 1956. Although virtually impossible to see, the interiors have been fitted out as authentically as possible, and the guard’s compartment is fully detailed as well.

In case you missed it—although it would be hard to do!—I am a professional modelmaker. I take commissions to build chiefly UK-outline railway subjects to 7mm scale. You can see more about my work on my web site, follow me on Twitter (@HKModelmaker) and find my page on Facebook (search for @HeatherKModelmaker).

BR Mk1 RMB

The workshop has seen a few builds come to a conclusion—or near conclusion in one case—in the past couple of weeks. Sometimes I find commissioned work gets bogged down for various reasons, and oddly this seems to get worse the closer to completion a model gets. I can’t explain why, but it’s probably to do with lots of little bits and pieces, sub-assemblies and paint jobs all taking their time to come together.

Just completed, aside from one or two quality control issues that appeared after the appointment with the official photographer, is an etched brass kit of a Mk1 RMB (Restaurant Miniature Buffet). This has been a rather protracted build, due in part to ineptitude on my side, and it being a complex kit of several thousand components.

A 1/43rd scale MMP kit, built with modifications to include electric train heating and air braking equipment.

The model represents an RMB, dating from the early 1960s but still running in service in the early 1980s. The kit was adapted to show the modifications and upgrades made to the vehicles over the years. Modifications included strips down the sides of each door, designed to prevent corrosion, and the inclusion of air braking and electric train heating equipment in addition to the vacuum braking and steam heating.

A 1/43rd scale MMP kit, built with modifications to include electric train heating and air braking equipment.

The Diagram 99 Restaurant Miniature Buffet coach was built with Commonwealth bogies, weighed in at 38 tons, and could seat 44 passengers in two saloons either side of the bar area. The smaller saloon was designated as non-smoking from new. This particular vehicle was built at BR’s Wolverton Works in north Buckinghamshire in 1960 as part of Lot 30520, and it was originally allocated to the Scottish Region. The model is built to a scale of 1/43rd, 7mm to 1ft, and to ScaleSeven standards. A lot of research was needed to get the underframe details as accurate as possible, enhancing an already comprehensive kit.

A 1/43rd scale MMP kit, built with modifications to include electric train heating and air braking equipment.

This view shows some of the additional braking equipment fitted below the frames. The interior of the coach is also fully modelled—though, sadly, the client didn’t want scale representations of styrofoam cups, stale cheese sandwiches or concrete pork pies!

A 1/43rd scale MMP kit, built with modifications to include electric train heating and air braking equipment.

The buffer beam detailing was interesting and challenging, with the requirement to fit the extra air brake pipework and ETH sockets.

The kit’s designer knows the real thing intimately, and has managed to capture a lot of the subtle detailing of a Mk1 coach in his kit. It is probably safe to say this is about the most accurate Mk1 kit on the market today. As a build, it has been challenging, occasionally frustrating, but ultimately rewarding. There are parts I wish I could have done better, but that seems to always be the way with professional modelmaking.

I build railway models, mainly O Gauge (7mm scale), professionally. You can see more of my work, and read a little about what I do for a living, at my web site. I also have a Facebook page (@HeatherKModelmaker), and you can follow me on Twitter (search for @HKModelmaker).

And there’s more!

While I had the lightbox out for the diesel photo shoot, I thought it might be fun to take some mini diorama shots of some model aircraft I’ve been building on and off as part of my ongoing Summer 1940 obsession.

Bristol Blenheim MkIVF WR-L, No 248 Squadron Coastal Command, is prepared for another patrol over the North Sea, some time in 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly pickup; Flightpath Fordson tractor; Matador Models Albion AM463 refueller.

Bristol Blenheim MkIVF WR-L, No 248 Squadron Coastal Command, is prepared for another patrol over the North Sea, some time in 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly pickup; Flightpath Fordson tractor; Matador Models Albion AM463 refueller.

Bristol Blenheim MkIVF WR-L, No 248 Squadron Coastal Command, is prepared for another patrol over the North Sea, some time in 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly pickup; Flightpath Fordson tractor; Matador Models Albion AM463 refueller.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley MkV, GE-B of No 58 Squadron Bomber Command, Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, gets some last minute attention before being bombed up for a night raid. Summer 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly and Bedford ML pickups; Flightpath Fordson tractor.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley MkV, GE-B of No 58 Squadron Bomber Command, Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, gets some last minute attention before being bombed up for a night raid. Summer 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly and Bedford ML pickups; Flightpath Fordson tractor.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley MkV, GE-B of No 58 Squadron Bomber Command, Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, gets some last minute attention before being bombed up for a night raid. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly and Bedford ML pickups; Flightpath Fordson tractor.

Traditionally, the Battle of Britain is seen as the mighty Luftwaffe, with four types of bomber and two types of fighter, ranged against the plucky RAF sporting two types of fighter and a few hangers on. My view, and of some historians of the subject, is once you take into account Bomber and Coastal Command numbers, the odds were much more even. So, as kits have become available, I have been adding the other commands to my Royal Air Force collection. In my stash I have a Handley Page Hampden, and I would love a decent Vickers Wellington and Airfix to reissue the Fairey Battle to make my Bomber Command fleet complete.

The only problem with all this model aircraft malarkey is where to store or display them! Outside of cabinets, they’re proper dust magnets!

Recreating the world in miniature

Earlier this week, the creator of such classic children’s television shows as Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet, not forgetting Space 1999 and UFO among many others, Gerry Anderson, died at the age of 83. Suffering from Alzheimer’s for the last two or three years, it is reported the disease had worsened towards the end.

This is not an obituary for Gerry Anderson. This is a celebration of his achievements, and how he came to influence my young mind with what might be possible with small scale models.

I was—and still am, I suppose—quite unusual in being a girl in what is still seen as a boy’s world. I have always been fascinated by the real world recreated in miniature. As a child, I recall a booklet documenting the dolls’ house created for Queen Mary in the 1920s. The idea of a tiny house, complete in every detail, with running water, electric lighting, even real petrol engines in the cars, captured my imagination. Trips to museums, where models are often used to illustrate exhibitions, further fanned the flames of my imagination. I wanted to be able to recreate tiny but realistic bits of the world for myself.

Despite protestations from my parents, eventually I was allowed to build Airfix models. So a lifelong passion began, running alongside my continued love of seeing miniature models of all kinds. Models are still used to this day for exhibitions, or to show the construction of an oil platform, or a new building design. Models were used for advertising and promotion—scale models of ships were often used in agents’ shop windows, much as travel agents used to have model airliners on display. One of the greats of British model-making was Bassett-Lowke, a company formed in Northampton to not only build quite large scale models of ships, but also of vehicles and railways. I have a book on the company in my library, and I still sit in awe at the sheer scale and details of many of the models built for commission over the years. Later, I was to discover that the Bassett-Lowke family home, 78 Derngate, was remodelled by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and so, in a way, my fascination with scale models and art nouveau, art deco and design from the 1920s and 1930s came full circle!

Heading back to Anderson for a while, I was following up a trail started, as ever, in a forum which was discussing the man’s television productions. I found a whole forum dedicated to classic British sci-fi, and a thread in it discussing the off-the-shelf toys used in many of the shows. Thinking back to the shows, I often used to marvel at the model work, but never really had a sense of the scales that were used to create them. I could identify some parts from a kit somewhere, or a toy truck that dashed across a background. Some was scratchbuilt, but still used parts from numerous kits and components. Some was created by combining parts from several kits into a completely new model. All was then painted and weathered to a uniform standard, which only served to add to the realism. You still have to marvel at the modelmakers’ skill on display that brought those stories to life. To see more about the behind-the-scenes at Century 21 and Pinewood, I recommend a look around the website of Dennis Lowe.

Here’s a still from the EagleTransporter.com forum, which illustrates the kind of detail C21 managed to fit into relatively short scenes in their productions. The scale here is approximately 1/72nd, and uses kits and toy cars that have been adapted, repainted (or not) to fit the scene. Even today, this level of detail is remarkable.

Matchbox toys used in Thunderbirds — Space 1999 Eagle Transporter Forum.

 

Even as a child, I could watch a British war film from the 1950s, and I knew when I was looking at models. Some were more convincingly filmed than others, but I always did (and still do) try to work out how it was done, how large the models were and so on. In some ways I wish I could have been involved in that side of the film industry, but I never got the breaks. I am happy to build models to satisfy myself and my friends. Building models also helps me to understand how the real thing works.

Incidentally, don’t be fooled into thinking model and miniature work is no longer a part of film and television making since the arrival of computer graphics. The most recent Bond movie, Skyfall, used miniatures in many scenes, and the recently-aired Red Dwarf X used proper miniatures for the spaceship scenes. Sometimes, it’s simply quicker and more cost-effective to build, film and destroy a miniature, than to render it pixel by pixel.

So, rest in peace Gerry Anderson, and thank you for setting me on to a fulfilling and enjoyable path of creativity. I just wish I could live in a bigger home where I could display my creations properly!

Monks Eleigh

I was asked to photograph Michael Brooks’ Monks Eleigh for the ScaleSeven Group’s newsletter. Monks Eleigh is a real Suffolk village, between Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, but I can’t find any evidence there was ever a railway station in the vicinity. I guess I could ask the owner more about the genesis of his model!

The model railway is built to ScaleSeven standards, 7mm to 1ft scale. The railway is very much Great Eastern in character, though set in the early years of British Railways. While the layout is a fairly simple plan, there is much in the way of scenic detail.

I’d like to thank Michael for his time and patience during my visit.

It’s a start

As you may recall, I have been trying to get photographic work with the British model railway press for a while. Despite contacting editors, I’ve only had one proper response, and no direct work as yet of course.

I’m not sure how Barry Norman came across my photos of Vic Burles’ beautiful ScaleSeven West Country class light pacific, but he asked me if I could send him versions for publication. I was happy to do that.

Img_3956

I haven’t been paid for them, but I didn’t expect the images to appear in print when I took them. I know that’s not the attitude, but if you know Wild Swan Publications then you’ll understand. It’s not a mistake I plan to make again.

Anyway, front cover and supporting images reproduced inside MRJ 213 at large sizes. It’s a start. Model Railway Journal is a respected journal, and hopefully my images will begin to get some attention in other publishing organisations.

I would link to Wild Swan, MRJ and Barry, but Wild Swan doesn’t really feel the need to move into the late 20th century with all that interweb and electronic mail nonsense.

Related: Looking for work and a plea

Have I been a bit quiet?

I have been rather quiet for a while, apart from the occasional flurry of links to various things that catch my eye. I haven’t been updating the blog with reports from my real life, mainly because I have been a little too busy to get around to it.

So, here’s an update.

I finally got through to a model railway magazine editor. He liked my model photograpy, but couldn’t promise any work. Right there is the story of my life. Promises, promises, promises. Still, it was a step forward, and I have now contacted one other editor with the same pitch. If I get any work from either source, I will be pleasantly surprised. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.

I have had a small web site job for the significant other of a friend. I am currently waiting for them to get back to me with their thoughts on what I have done so far. That reminds me I had better chase them up—may make a phone call instead of email.

Another potentially long-running freelance job is beginning to rumble into life. I’m not entirely sure what I will be expected to do at this stage, or how much I will be paid. I guess I ought to find out sooner rather than later. 

While there’s nothing concrete, then, things are beginning to look a little brighter round here. This is a Good Thing.

Meanwhile, I am finding myself engrossed on the modelling workbench, busily building three commissioned 7mm scale railway coaches. You may recall I built a coach for a friend last year. He asked me if I’d build some more for him, so I have three BR Mark 1 corridor seconds on the go. 

I built one kit to see how the thing went together, and to work out what modifications I might need or want to do before I embarked on the other two. I got that first coach to a stage where it was all but complete, aside from paint and final details, and then set about the other two in a batch. Some of the work is fiddly, and some is fiddly and tedious, but it keeps me quiet and occupied, doing constructive things with my hands.

Perhaps I go beyond the call of duty—certainly beyond what my friend is paying me to build these kits for him—but I enjoy the details. I also consider these models as portfolio pieces I can use to perhaps get more work in this field. It’s not a field that will make me rich, but I think there’s a niche for me somwhere.

I am nearing the point where I will want to break out the airbrush and get paint on the models. Sadly, my spray booth is in a garden shed, and the weather of late round here has been a bit cold for that kind of environment. I think I will have to rig up a spray booth in our loft workshop, where it may be cold but at least I have access to electricity, heating and hot drinks!

That’s what’s been going on round here for the past few weeks. I just wish some of the things I am supposed to be involved in would firm up and give me some regular income again. 

Looking for work and a plea

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As you know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, I take a mean photo of scale models, if I do say so myself. You’ve seen some of my images and can judge for yourself, but I do think I have the knack.

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I have been trying on and off for the past couple of years to gain a foothold in the UK modelling press as a freelance photographer of models, layouts, etc. I had a colour portfolio booklet printed, which I sent out to several editors and publishers. Disappointingly, I only got one indirect response, and even that hasn’t led to any work. I just can’t seem to break into the business at all, and I don’t know why.

Views_of_a_Small_World.pdf
Download this file

Rather than go for a reprint of the portfolio with updated images, I have opted for a PDF version instead. Hopefully, you can click to download it from the image above. It’s around 3MB. Please download it and share it around with my blessings. If you can’t download it, please let me know and I can email a copy or provide it somewhere a download works as expected.

So, I need to ask a favour. If you know anyone in the print or publishing industries in the UK who deals with railway or other modelling titles, I would like to get contacts for editors and publishers for those titles. Personal contacts and recommendations would be even better. Please pass on to them my portfolio, point them at this blog and my Flickr collection of model images

I really want to start getting some work in the model railway press in the coming year. I don’t ask for much, just a break to get my toe in the door would help. Thank you for your indulgence.