Saturday 21 November 2020

Hexworthy gets verticality

Progress with Hexworthy has been so very slow there has been nothing to post for a while, but I have now added some 3-dimensional landscape forms. You will see that the printed backscene has been protected with cling-film, which will stay in place until the messy part of scenery development (i.e. most of it) is done.

Road and yard areas around the station were cut from thick card, using paper templates as the shapes were remarkably complex in places. Further card was used underneath in places to raise the roadway a little, and at the end near the gateways foamboard packing was used to raise the level further. The platforms are still not fixed yet.

The bridge and public road walls have been stuck in place, with the heights of the yard roadways built up to match. The river bank was already in place, but all the ground above track level has been added, carved from expanded polystyrene foam. Some of the pieces were quite complex to cut as they fitted into gaps between the roads, backscene, and tracks. 

The ground rises slightly behind the station and at the right-hand end, with a valley for the stream. The prototype location is in a steep valley but the baseboard doesn't allow space to show that, I'm hoping the rising ground combined with the backscene will give that sense of location. The flat area is a piece of MDF - I have an idea for a detail scene here and it would be easier to build it off-layout, so this is removable with screws for now. 

Tuesday 17 November 2020

British Steam Locomotives - A Pictorial Survey

This new book by David Mather serves the seemingly growing interest in industrial railways. The title tells you what it is - pictures of industrial steam locomotives. Although a portrait style as befits the typical photograph, it is a medium size and relatively hefty 200 pages - most of which contain a photo, and many of those are full-page - in a quality hardback format with dust-jacket.

The biggest and best known industrial steam locomotives builders as well as a number of less well known companies - 39 loco builders in all - are covered in alphabetical order. Each is introduced with a concise history and profile of the company, and where preserved examples can be found, though there are no lists (except numerical output by builder as an appendix) - this is a pictorial survey of course. There were a few examples of poorly-phrased text but the content was enough to be interesting and provide background, while allowing the majority of space to be filled with pictures. 

The pictures range from period black and white, early colour, through early preservation to the present day. I particularly liked the period colour photos, which are handy weathering examples of in-service industrial locos for modellers. Generally they are interesting shots with informative captions about the loco and the location of use, though the date of the photo was not always given. 

I did find some of the photo choices odd, sometimes not showing the loco well. There were 12 pages of Austerity locos - I know they were a numerous class, but it didn't feel very balanced, and there were few narrow gauge - not a single "quarry Hunslet" which is another numerous industrial class. All are of locos in use in the UK except three photos of North British locos in use overseas; since many of the loco builders listed were also prolific exporters this seemed inconsistent, as was the photo of a traction engine! Also while it might be expected that early period photos are of variable quality, I noticed a few of the more recent photos of preserved locos were pixelated, grainy, slightly out of focus or badly framed - surely better photos could have been found? 

If that sounds picky, it is really - overall the book "does what it says on the tin". Those with an interest in industrial steam locos, or even steam locos in general, will enjoy browsing the pictures, and perhaps learning about loco types and builders that are less well known. Modellers will find it a useful resource for details, liveries, and weathering, and perhaps some unusual loco inspiration. I can see it being a good book to while away some lockdown hours, or as a Christmas present, and why not?