Tag Archives: ScaleSeven

The first step

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I was talking with a kit manufacturer the other day. I was after a missing component, but we fell to chatting about life, the universe and kit building. During our conversation, the manufacturer told me I was a worrier.

The idea had never struck me before, but he is right. I worry a lot, not just about the models I find myself building, but let’s concentrate on the modelling.

I am currently part of the way through a commissioned build. It’s an etched metal railway coach kit. It is a carefully-designed kit, with many, sometimes very tiny, parts. You can see some of those very tiny parts in the picture above. The kit range has a reputation for being amongst the best there are, and I felt a degree of trepidation about taking it on. It would be bad enough if I was building for myself, but building for a client—even one I have worked for before—was enough for me to worry.

I worried about breaking something, or getting it wrong. One false step early on might have repercussions further in the build, perhaps at a point where it would be impossible to rectify. I worried about doing the kit, and my client, justice. I worried about what the manufacturer might say (we have some ‘previous’, you might say). I worried about actually beginning the build.

I busied myself with research, finding as much information as I could. I tried to find many ways of putting off the moment when I would have to cut the first component from the etch fret. Eventually, however, I had to take that first step.

It was fine. Of course there were moments when I thought it was all going wrong, and there were one or two close shaves. It’s inevitable that problems arise along the way. But that’s part of my job. If I like to call myself a professional modelmaker, then I have to be able to deal with this stuff.

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The model’s underframe, now mostly complete and painted, is not quite as the manufacturer intended. At the client’ request, there are modifications to the brake gear, extra details on the frames and the buffer beams, and different bogies to those the manufacturer intended. I’ve added to and modified some parts, and scratch built others, all in the pursuit of “getting it right”. The journey has been enormously entertaining, tempered by moments of frustration. I have learned a good deal about the real thing, as I have battled to represent it in miniature. I have learned a lot about this particular range of kits, too.

I have to begin work on the coach body soon, but having completed the underframe I find myself prevaricating once more. I know, however, that as soon as I take that first step, it will probably turn out okay in the end.

Diesel Brake Tender

Diesel Brake Tender by Snaptophobic
Diesel Brake Tender, a photo by Snaptophobic on Flickr.

I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but I like to blow my own trumpet occasionally. Built to S7 standards from a JLTRT kit for a client last year.

Don’t forget you can find out more about my professional modelling activities on my web site — heatherkay.co.uk. You can also follow me on Facebook, if that’s your thing. Search for Heather Kay Modelmaker, or just click through.

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.

Brightwell 2012.m4v – YouTube

 

Folk’ll get bored with me plugging this!

All the footage was shot in HD on the EOS 7D, but due to indifferent lighting conditions the ISO boost ended up leaving a ton of digital noise. This is why the video is not HD, and has been turned to black and white. It still sort of works.

If I plan to shoot further layout video, I think I will need to do it under stricter conditions, bring my own lighting and have a plain backdrop to avoid distractions. I will also need to shoot the same movement from several angles, so a proper story can be made. Live and learn.

Signed, sealed, delivered

I delivered three BR Mark 1 SKs to the client yesterday. He will add the final lettering and weathering. I had to do a bit of tweaking to get them running smoothly on the layout, but everyone was pleased with the finished results.

Happily, another commission came my way while we were at the meeting, this time from another party. You know, there may be something in building things for people after all.

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.

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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

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.