Tag Archives: scale model photography

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.

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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.

 

Boulton-Paul Defiant F.Mk1 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

I’ve been trying to get my modelling back on track. For most of the summer I have not felt like working at the bench. My mood has been one where I was likely to break something rather than be at all creative.

Anyway, I spent a few hours at the modelling bench this past week, and here’s the result. When I get a bit more organised, I will do a proper “shoot” but this gives a good impression of what I managed to put together.

Elgin Park – elginpark’s Photos

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A link to the Flickr stream of Michael Paul Smith was passed to me by my friend Paul Dunning. I’ve followed various links to Mr Smith’s Smugmug pages, and present what I think of as one of the best images.

Michael Paul Smith builds intricate sets to display his model car collection, and then takes them out into the real world to match them against real backgrounds in order to photograph them. The combination of point of view, depth of field and natural daylight makes the scenes come to life.

The models are built to 1/24th scale (one-half inch equals one foot). I have to say that the size of this scale makes believable photography that much easier, but these are still superb examples of the craft.

LNER K2 2-6-0 No 1742

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I think I’ve found my favourite model photography lens. It’s the 35mm ƒ/2.0 EF lens from Canon. On my APS-C EOS 7D, it gives a view similar to a 55mm lens.

I like it because it’s got just the right amount of angle of view, and will focus down to about 20cm. Such a focus point means I can be quite close to a model and it’ll remain sharp. The above shot was at ƒ/22 for 2 seconds.

The model is an LNER K2 2-6-0, and it’s been finished by its builder Jonathan Bushell in a dirty, hard-worked finish typical of the period around the end of World War 2. The model uses DCC, with sound, and added features like working reversing lever and brakes. Jonathan stole the first prize in the modelling competition at the annual Gauge O Guild Guildex convention this year, so congratulations to him!

Fresh from the Workshop

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For the past few weeks I have been tweeting about being in the Workshop, busy with a commissioned model for a friend. Today I completed the model, all bar a couple of tiny details, so I took some official portraits for you.

The model represents a British Railways Mark 1 BSK coach originally built in 1955 at Wolverton Works to Diagram 181, in the livery it carried in the early 1980s. The model is built from a Just Like The Real Thing kit at 7mm:1ft scale (1/43rd) to ScaleSeven standards. The client will be applying lettering and final stage weathering.

I hope to be delivering the model to the client soon, and I’ll arrange with him to take some new photos once he’s completed the lettering and weathering.

UPDATE 7/6/11: The client called today, having seen the photos here. He’s really very chuffed with the finished model. Very gratifying.

Dornier Do17Z | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

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I built this model over a decade ago. It represents a plane that was shot down near Maidstone, and was intended for a local museum display that never really got anywhere. This is the aircraft type that the RAF Museum hopes to recover from the Goodwin Sands.

The RAF Museum’s web site has a video of the 2010 underwater survey, which is well worth watching. It shows the remarkable state of preservation of the wreck.

Gloster Gladiator I | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

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I spent an hour or two playing about with posing a couple of my aircraft models on some grass mat. I used the Canon PowerShot G9 for simplicity, though I did set it to manual, smallest aperture and macro.

Sadly, the mat is a quite fluorescent under light in the workshop, and despite setting the camera’s white balance to match it all looked too bright. I wasted a bit of time faffing in Aperture to try and balance things, but ended up converting to greyscale. To get a bit more of a period feel, I could add some grain, but I’m reasonably happy with the results.