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Well, hello everyone

Posted by Julian Mortimer , 10 February 2018 · 355 views



I would like to introduce myself, I am Julian, my passion currently extinguished by my obligations to my customers, together with not being fantastically good, to put it mildly, with my hands. I am building, at present, a system of radio communication on a single chip, this capable of multiplying two numbers, 180,000,000,000 times a second. I suppose this makes me an electronics engineer. I am not versed in the finer points of all parts of my trade, but a certain red motor racing car occupied my interest for twenty years, and I have both digital, and analogue circuits, which, I believe, still run on it. My customer, also Italian, has designed the system I am building. Such engineers disregard the dangers of complexity, with a sense of immortality reminiscent of youth. We may need an even more powerful device, to realise his dream. If you have any question about electronics, I will help, you are quite welcome to contact me, I will also say immediately, if it is beyond my expertise.


One of my great loves, once upon a time, was for trainspotting, it was in the nineteen seventies. I had a dream, to represent the heady atmosphere, the smell of diesel oil, as one paid one's customary uninvited visit to the MPD or marshalling yard. Often befriending, rather than alienating, those within. I remember once being apprehended by the manager of what was a very busy depot at Healey Mills, one of the last busy big yards. We went to his office, and over tea, we chatted about trains, he could read the writing on the wall, for such processing of goods, but kept a clean and decent ship, with pride, at the number of "silly little trucks" which he could process in a single day. Around three thousand, if I recall. He then gave us a guided tour of his maintenance depot, our diligent recording of numbers already acquired, a source of guilt, such a kind and friendly man.


At the time, so-called modern-image modelling was in its infancy, and diesels were always very poorly represented, the bufferbeam, and below, never even, really considered.


Now, I see, this has all changed, and dramatically, for the better. A favourite website is this one:




On it, I have found simply breathtaking layouts, each, stating a part my dream, and creating it. I no longer need this dream, it has become a reality, a transport to the summers of my youth, lending a new warmth, to memories often of inclement weather, every one, a jewel.


I have seen, that much of the art of modelling has been mastered. We are assisted by the fine quality of RTR models, available, in my day, only to European modellers with deep pockets, but there is much creativity, and expectations of realism seem very high. There is also another approach, as typified by the North East Model Railway, a huge enterprise built for operation. Another, fine masterpiece.




He videos cab rides, and the scale of his model brings otherwise impossible memories into vivid light. One is able to suspend disbelief of the cursory scenic minutiae, since the size of his model, seldom achieved, is so overwhelmingly realistic.


In the finescale field, there are, I think, still frontiers to overcome, both of the principal ones, in my mind, beyond the railway fence.


Road vehicles, and trees.


The first, might not be so hard, if thin materials, the body-pressing methods of the manufacturers of the real thing, and attention to detail of the kind routinely found elsewhere are applied. One thing I would like to attempt, one fine day, to use strong grade foils, available in a variety of weights, sometimes known as shim, for bodywork, and a means of producing glazing to accompany the technique.


Trees, on the other hand, would appear to present a major problem, one needing some sort of radical solution. Practically nowhere, have I ever seen these modelled convincingly. Some old black-and-white photos of the work of George Iliffe-Stokes, an exception, his choice, in this case, to model them in winter, devoid of foliage. A wise one, I think. His eye, undoubtedly that of a true artist, made his scenes most convincing, and, of course, beautiful. Anyone interested, should see Malcolm Mitchell's collection of photographs of the work of another fabulous, incomparable modeller. One of Malcolm's comments, "Model and prototype compared, for the record, the prototype is on the right."




I hope Malcolm will not object if I attach an all-time favourite, if so, I apologise, and removal will, on request, be swift. I can be contacted on gmortimer2003@yahoo.com. Clever use of near and far objects in the backdrop, has made this barely recogniseable as a model. Only optical matters, giving a clue.


It is possible, easily, to create a 3-D model, using readily available software, of a tree. A bit of programming, often possible in a draughting package, would, I am sure, create the necessary form. There is an area rule, for trees, as one proceeds from trunk, through branches, to finally, leaves, the flow of nutrients demands less cross-section of the member. Also, roughly, a member divided, or sprouting another, will do so, so that the sum of cross-sections is the same as that of the original progenitor. A very rough treatment, but I am sure it will be agreed, a good basis to start.


So we have our model, how do we realise it? This is where it gets, of course, rather tricky. A 3D printer, no matter how good, cannot print into open space, it will produce a supporting structure, which must be removed. Impractical, for trees. Another idea, might be very highly-detailed moulded components, which can then be joined. I seem to recall a reasonable effort at this. Foliage is usually carried by outlying branches, and these are, for a particular variety, very similar in character throughout the tree. That which lies within, the supporting timberwork, rather easier to model. So it might be possible to accurately mould this annoyingly difficult outer part, from something, making the consruction of a tree by no measure simple, but manageable. Parts, containing about 1000 leaves, could perhaps be so moulded. I would be interested to know if anybody has done this.


Best regards,

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I have always been a fan of George Iliffe-Stokes and tried to emulate his work into my own, I agree with you on the tree cross sections giving the same sum total from trunk to branch ends, that is one of the reasons I use thin wire on all mine, my latest creation using over 1300 strands.


I would hope that if the aforementioned gentleman were still around he would appreciate my efforts of modelling an Autumn scene.


I wish you well if you attempt to make your own and would like to see the results.



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