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Six Lessons Learnt

Posted by Mikkel , in The Bay 03 December 2009 · 1,093 views

signs figures Bay
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Wiltshire or Arizona?

Well they say we have to learn as we go along, so here are six "lessons learnt" that I'll be taking with me from the scenic work on "The bay". Some of it is basic stuff I suppose, but perhaps there are one or two things of interest to others.

1. Kill your darlings
I tend to have these little pet features on the layout that I really like when viewed on their own, but which somehow don't fit into the bigger picture. After much agonizing I've decided that it's best to be tough in such situations and apply the writer's principle of "kill your darlings". I was, for instance, quite taken by these tufts of Silflor grass around the buffer stop, but it suggested a rural or unkempt location, not a large urban station in Edwardian times. So it had to go. I did add a bit of grass elsewhere in the yard, but not much.



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Surplus to requirements on "The bay"

2. Less is indeed more
This photo shows items I had planned / built for the layout, but which were ousted after a ruthless "clean-up" exercise. Inspired by a suggestion over on MREmag (can't find the posters name, sorry!), I sat back and removed each and every individual item on the layout in turn, to see if it actually added to the impression I wanted, or just cluttered things up. It was quite an eye-opener, and helped give a far more spacious feel to the layout. I realize this is a subjective thing, and certainly agree that the "cluttered" approach can add a lot of atmosphere too, if done well. Each to his own!



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Attitude problems

3. Poses matter
Before building this layout I hadn't given much thought to just how much the poses of figures contribute to the sense of period. So I had planned to feature this assembly of figures in a central position on the layout. [Clarkson mode on] However, there was a problem [Clarkson mode off]. While the out-of-period clothing could have been modified, their rather lax poses just didn't befit the formal and slightly pompous atmosphere of an Edwardian station. We even had an interesting little discussion over on RMweb3 on whether it was realistic for a porter to be reading a newspaper at work during this period! In the end, none of these gentlemen made in onto the layout. One or two other similar figures did, but their poses suggested a momentary pause rather than this kind of loafing about!



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Too blue?


4. Consistency of colours
Mrs Longbottom's niece in the blue dress has been annoying me as one of those irritating little features on a layout that just isn't quite right. It's taken me a while to realize that she is the only blue item on the layout, and therefore clashes with the remaining colours, which are mostly subdued shades of red/brown/orange and white/grey/black. It doesn't help much that she is slightly shiny, maybe I used satin varnish by mistake. I fear that my usual little trick of adding baby talc to tone down the finish won't be enough here. Repaint needed. Edit: Or not? See dicussion in the comments below.



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Over-weathered

5. Easy on the weathering
This is more like a lesson not learnt. I really should know better, but too often I tend to go overboard on the weathering. This stuff should be built up gradually and with restraint, not sploshed on indiscriminately. By way of example, this Tiny Signs poster offered a perfect clue to the date of the layout, as it advertises the new Fishguard route opened in 1906. I gave it a prime location at the front of the layout, and then proceeded directly to over-weather both the poster and the wooden paneling. I did manage to remove some of the stuff on the poster, but the edges reveal just how far I'd gone.



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D'oh!

6. Think
I have it from reliable sources that thinking always helps Posted Image. This sign was supposed to hang suspended from the canopy. But working from the other side, I fitted it upside down. As a result, it would have pointed directly to the sky. I know we all have to go out that way some day, but I'm not sure the passengers at Farthing would like to be reminded of it!
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Hi Mikkel

Regarding point 4 - don't be so quick to drop the blues as often a little splash of opposites (blue is the opposite of orange) can help to add a sense of richness to the main colours of the scene. At the end of the day passengers wouldn't have dressed to fit the station and be wary of getting it all too 'designed'

Cheers

Jim
Hi Jim,

That's an interesting point! I don't know much about colour I'm afraid, but I can see what you mean about the blue enhancing the other colours. Perhaps I should try toning that blue colour down first...

But wouldn't you say that when we see things from a distance (and invaribaly we tend to do that, even at eye-level) the colours tend to "merge", and very few colours stand out individually? That at least is what I've been trying to avoid.
I'm inclined to agree with Jim here. I'll have to look more carefully next time I'm on a station, but I'm sure this is just what happens. Most people blend in to the scene, but a few stand out as a result of the colour of their clothes (or maybe nowadays hair). I'm sure it was the same in the Edwardian period.

Of course, you could always caption that shot "Mrs Longbottom berates her niece for failing to realise that, as she was travelling by Great Western, she could have chosen a dress of a more suitable colour" ;)

Nick
Hi Mikkel

The fade thing is certainly true but its the warm colours that fade most not the cooler blues. I dont know how accurate the colour in your image is to the colour in real live but I suggest that the blue isn't as dominant as you think. It doesn't stand out any more than the gent in black while the lady in pink has almost completely dissapeared. The main thing that competes with the little scene is actually the bright red sign on the left.

Cheers

Jim
Mikkel.If that water crane is 'surplus to requirements' are you taking offers on it. :icon_wow: I'm in agreement with the others concerning the blue outfit.Its fine.
Thank you all, this is great advice. The colours in the image are fairly close to the real scene (well on my screen at least), if anything they're a touch paler in real life.

You're right about the sign Jim. Maybe I'm getting overly zealous here. I did only use the lady in blue as an example of the need to ensure a degree of colour consistency, but I can now see that it can also become too much of a good thing.

Nick I think you are on to something with your suggestion that passengers really ought to dress to suit the railway's colours. Now that would have been stylish! Posted Image

Mikkel.If that water crane is 'surplus to requirements' are you taking offers on it. Posted Image I'm in agreement with the others concerning the blue outfit.Its fine.



Actually Rob I am planning to use it for a shed scene later on instead. It's yet another item from the Mike's Models range. This is the platform mounted version and was actually of the later cranked type, but I couldn't get the straight one so I rebuilt it. But you can get the straight one now from Holt Model Railways, although so far only the floor mounted one it seems.

Actually Rob I am planning to use it for a shed scene later on instead. It's yet another item from the Mike's Models range. This is the platform mounted version and was actually of the later cranked type, but I couldn't get the straight one so I rebuilt it. But you can get the straight one now from Holt Model Railways, although so far only the floor mounted one it seems.


I'm after a couple of the platform mounted versions but to no avail.I'm even looking on ebay.They are like hens teeth.

Welcome to Farthing!

Attached Image: farthing2.jpg

 

This blog chronicles the building of "The Farthing layouts", a series of small OO layouts that portray different sections of a GWR junction station in Edwardian days.

 

Intro and concept
How to eat an elephant
Design principles
State of play

 

Gallery (1900-1904)
Four o'clock blues, ca. 1902
What really happened in the Cuban...
The honourable slipper boy (Part 1)
The honourable slipper boy (Part 2)
The honourable slipper boy (Part 3)

 

Gallery (1904-08)
The trials of Mr Bull
A most implausible arrival
A parcel for Mr Ahern
Blue skies and horse traffic
The Remains of the Day
Motley crew

Edwardian daydreams

 

Gallery (1914)
All in a day's work, Part 1
All in a day's work, Part 2
All in a day's work, Part 3
All in a day's work, Part 4

 

Out of period
Undecided sky (1867)
The sleeping giant (1887)
Bunker first (1927)
Fitted fish and piles (1947)

 

Videos
Once Upon a Time in the West
Summer silliness
The unbearable lightness...
Across the years
The Sidelight Job
Painting coach panels

Traverser testing

 

Coaches
Low-tech pre-grouping stock

Short trains for short layouts
Short trains with a twist
Hand-me-down coaches
Low-tech coach restoration (1)
Low-tech coach restoration (2)
Low-tech coach restoration (3)
Low-tech coach restoration (4)
Low-tech coach restoration (5)

 

Wagons
Sprat & Winkle couplings
3 plank Open in GWR red
Outside Framed 8 Ton Van

In the red: GWR 1900s wagon liveries
In loving memory...
Scratchbuilt one-planker (1)
Scratchbuilt one-planker (2)
MSWJR 3-plank dropside
LSWR 10 ton sliding door van
SDJR Road Van
LSWR stone wagon
Fake news and wagon sheets

 

Locos
GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (1)
GWR 1854 Saddle Tank (2)
Shiny domes and safety valve covers
Backdating the Oxford Dean Goods (1)

 

Track
C+L underlay and Carr's ballast
Experiments with C+L track
Comparing track
Messing about with track panels
Laying track on "The depot"

 

Vehicles
GWR horse-drawn trolley
GWR 5-ton horse-drawn vehicle
Parcels van and coal trolley

 

Goods
Fun with crates
Barrels, baskets, bales
Small crates and tea chests

 

Figures
Andrew Stadden 4mm figures
Backdated Monty's figures
Footplate crew
HO figures for an OO layout
Lesser known whitemetal figures

 

Building "The bay"
First bite: "The bay"
Simple structures for "The bay"
Platform trolleys and barrows
Signs, posters and adverts
Six lessons learnt

 

Building "The depot"
Second bite: "The depot"
Shunting Puzzle
Sketches of The depot
Soft body, hard shell
Kit-bashed roof structure
Dry Run
Dusting off the cobwebs
Playing with mirrors
Mezzanine floor
Progress on "The depot"
4mm slate roofing
The treachery of images

A roof for "The depot"

A tall bird from Paddington
Cranes for the depot
Shoulders of giants
Flight of the bumblebee

 

Building "The sidings"
Third bite: "The sidings"
Wagon propulsion
Progress on "The sidings"
Rising from slumber
The Biscuit Shed
A shed and a lock-up
Agricultural merchant's warehouse
Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall

 

Building "The stables"
GWR Park Royal stable block
GWR stables - an overview

 

The FSWDC
Railway modelling and Art
Moving Pictures
Season's greetings

 

Layout ideas
A flexible layout
Kicking back in Gloucester

 

Miscellaneous
Pre-grouping livery clippings
Journey to Didcot
Detail hunting at Didcot
Here's looking at you
The mists of time (and all that)
My friend the operating chair
Ready-to-plonk freight
GWR Modelling website

 

More
RMweb Workbench
Flickr photostream

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