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Edwardian mischief - Modelu & Andrew Stadden figures


Mikkel

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I’ve been painting 4mm figures. Here are some photos and platform scenes.

 

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I wanted to find a better way of holding figures during painting. Above is the good old bluetack solution, straightforward and good for spraying, but it doesn’t hold the figures very firmly during brush painting.
 

 

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Another well-known solution is wire in the legs. Useful for mounting on the layout, but not always an option, I find. Some 4mm shoes won’t take a drill well, and on 3D printed figures the material can break.

 

 

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So I’ve been experimenting. I made some wooden blocks and fixed double-sided heavy-duty “Nano” mounting tape to them. This works reasonably well. The tape is elastic, though, so if left overnight a heavy figure may keel over.
 
 

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So I'm now trying out “Tesa Powerbond Ultra Strong” mounting tape, which seems good so far. The tape does need replacing after 1-2 figures, and loses strength if you spill water on it. 

 

 

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Anyway, back to the figures, starting with some Andrew Stadden ones. This is porter N. Pipkin, painted a while ago. Despite a ligelong struggle, he never did manage to grow a moustache. 

 

 

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This is the young Maria Lobbs. She's a bit teared up, a common sight on railway platforms. All those difficult goodbyes.

 

 

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I sometimes wonder if I should use more shading on the figures. The dilemma is that it looks good from a distance but can appear rather stark in close-up.

 

 

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I think the big plus of hand sculpted figures is that they tend to have a lot of character. It can be overdone, but the Andrew Stadden range gets it just right, in my view.

 

 

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An attempt at an early GWR bus driver, made using an Andrew Stadden head transposed to a body from the spares box (unknown origin). Photos show a variety of greatcoats in use by period drivers, this one resembles a 1909 example in the Steam collection, second picture down here.

 

 

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On to the Modelu range. I’ve done a few of Alan’s railway staff in the past, but thought I’d have a go with some Edwardian passengers.

 

 

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Free at last! If I'm not mistaken, recent Modelu figures have more supports than earlier ones. They come off easily enough.

 

 

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 I’ve only just discovered that the Modelu figures don’t need priming. I was sceptical about that, but Vallejo acrylics go on well and in fact stick better than on my primed metal figures. 


 

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Most figures in the hand sculpted ranges have slightly oversize heads and facial features. By contrast, laser scanned faces such as the Modelu ones are quite subtle. Prototypical, but harder to paint. Until recently I just left them blank, but on this batch I’ve tried to lightly indicate eyes and lips/moustaches.

 

 

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The black band on the boaters was made from narrow masking tape. Gives a nice clean edge.
 

 

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I tend to go with sandy and brownish shades on my figures, to blend in with the overall colour scheme on my layouts.

 

 

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But I’ve been advised not to overdo colour coordination, so here is – somewhat grudgingly - a splash of green.

 

 

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In close-ups the printing pattern does show on some Modelu figures. But this is many times the actual size, and you certainly can’t see it with the naked eye.


 

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Mrs Sanders is billed as an Edwardian figure but the bustle and skirt seem distinctly Victorian. The bustle went in and out of fashion during the 1860s-1880s but was largely gone by the 1890s. See also the useful Vintage Dancer website.

 

 

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Henley on Thames, colourized. No date. Source: Getty Images, embedding permitted. 


La belle epoque - for some at least! There's still some way to go before the platforms at Farthing can be filled with crowds like these at Henley on Thames, but below are some test shots from the bay platform. 

 

 

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Mrs Martin and Mrs Hunter lament the moral decay among the working class.

 

 

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Why, only this morning - says Mrs Hunter, hand firmly on hip – my purse was stolen in town!

 

 

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Mrs Martin expresses her sympathy, omitting to mention that the very same purse is hidden under her corset.

 

 

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Meanwhile, Porter N. Pipkin is on thin ice.

 

 

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Maria does not seem to believe his excuse for neglecting her recently. Perhaps the bit about cheese rolling was a fib too far?

 

 

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Further along the platform, two writers from the Railway Magazine are weighing their options.

 

 

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The brief was to do an in-depth piece on Great Western wagon liveries. But it’s a rather hot day to be trudging around a goods yard.

 

 

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Perhaps field research isn’t really necessary. Better to have a good lunch at the Stag’s Head, then head back to London for a spot of creative writing. After all, who really cares about wagon liveries?

 

 

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Meanwhile Mrs Toodle and Miss Toppit discuss the upcoming wedding of the Browns.

 

 

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They agree it will be a wonderful event and it is such a lovely young couple.

 

 

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Secretly they hope it will end in scandal and despair.

 

 

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At this point Mrs Sanders appears in her hopelessly outdated Victorian dress, and everyone studiously ignores her. Such old-world eccentricity really won't do. We are the Edwardians, modern, efficient and sophisticated!

 

 

Edited by Mikkel

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kitpw

Posted (edited)

Informative and amusing - all very nicely done: believable people in a believable place, you can almost overhear their conversation.

 

Edited by kitpw
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I think that you've made a truly impressive job of painting those figures and I have to agree that less is more when it comes to shading. I've never been convinced with the dark wash some put onto figures. It seems to work on fantasy figures but not on humans. 

Those hand carved figures are beautifully done and from an artist's point of view are very life-like. The only criticism I would offer is the proportion of some of the women's hands, they look bigger than mine! It's probably not noticeable except in cruel close ups though.

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A very nice set of painted figures Mikkel.  You are right about the lady with the bustle, I dated her to the 1880s.  She does appear to be the only one of the Modelu figures to be wearing a corset though.

 

It is nice to see that the folk of Farthing are as lively as ever.  It is a shame about those two going down the pub instead of researching wagon liveries, it would have sac=ved you so much time.  (Did pubs do meals in the Edwardian times?  Perhaps it was just a liquid lunch, which is where the confusion about red and grey wagons came from.)

 

I shall have to see if we have Tessa or something similar.  I have used double sided tape on card which is sort of alright but is not perfect.  (I am not supposed to be painting figures at the moment.  I only have about 50 to do, and added another one to the list today.)

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Gorgeous. You have got the eyes and lips perfectly, very difficult to get right. 

 

I know exactly what you mean about Andy Staddens ladies. They have something about them, a flow to the figure. He has an eye for it that is truly artistic. 

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Creative and amusing . I note Modelu figures for not need priming but do they need rinsing or degreasing , please ?

im about to paint a batch and your item is timely and informative.

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9 hours ago, kitpw said:

Informative and amusing - all very nicely done: believable people in a believable place, you can almost overhear their conversation.

 

 

Thank you Kit, I think positioning a couple of figures in conversation works quite well visually. Next time I must remember some luggage though!

 

 

9 hours ago, MrWolf said:

I think that you've made a truly impressive job of painting those figures and I have to agree that less is more when it comes to shading. I've never been convinced with the dark wash some put onto figures. It seems to work on fantasy figures but not on humans. 

Those hand carved figures are beautifully done and from an artist's point of view are very life-like. The only criticism I would offer is the proportion of some of the women's hands, they look bigger than mine! It's probably not noticeable except in cruel close ups though.

 

Thanks Wolf, I think scale may also affect whether shading works or not, it can look good on 7mm figues I think. Also has to do with the skill of the painter of course, I just can't seem to make washes work on my figures, having tried both bought-in and DIY ones.

 

 

7 hours ago, ChrisN said:

A very nice set of painted figures Mikkel.  You are right about the lady with the bustle, I dated her to the 1880s.  She does appear to be the only one of the Modelu figures to be wearing a corset though.

 

It is nice to see that the folk of Farthing are as lively as ever.  It is a shame about those two going down the pub instead of researching wagon liveries, it would have sac=ved you so much time.  (Did pubs do meals in the Edwardian times?  Perhaps it was just a liquid lunch, which is where the confusion about red and grey wagons came from.)

 

I shall have to see if we have Tessa or something similar.  I have used double sided tape on card which is sort of alright but is not perfect.  (I am not supposed to be painting figures at the moment.  I only have about 50 to do, and added another one to the list today.)

 

Thanks Chris, you are the expert on Victorian dress of course!

 

Regarding Edwardian corsets, I read that the  "S-bend" corset became common in the 1900s. But they would perhaps have been more noticeable than seen on these figures?

 

You may well have a point regarding pub lunches. If Wikipedia is to be believed even "Ploughman's lunch" is a 1950s term promoted by the Cheese Bureau!

 

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8 hours ago, Dave John said:

Gorgeous. You have got the eyes and lips perfectly, very difficult to get right. 

 

I know exactly what you mean about Andy Staddens ladies. They have something about them, a flow to the figure. He has an eye for it that is truly artistic. 

 

Many thanks Dave. My new magnifier lamp helps a lot, though it turns out I mistakenly bought one which magnifies x3 rather than x8 🤨 It has light diodes in a circle though, which gives very good light.

 

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The question of course is how far we want/need to go with face details on 4mm figures. Most of it cannot in fact be seen with the naked eye, raising the broader question: How much should we be doing for the sake of the camera alone?

 

 

1 hour ago, 1466 said:

Creative and amusing . I note Modelu figures for not need priming but do they need rinsing or degreasing , please ?

im about to paint a batch and your item is timely and informative.

 

Thanks! The Modelu site says they don't need cleaning (see almost invisible text at the top here: https://www.modelu3d.co.uk/painting/). So the above figures have not been cleaned at all as an experiment - and sure enough, the Vallejo paints go on very well. Rubbing them does not remove any paint at all.

 

 

 

 

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Very nicely painted. I especially like the buttons on the moustacheless porter's waistcoat and the bus driver's beard.

It's interesting that the modelu ones don't need priming with acrylics.

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12 hours ago, MrWolf said:

I think that you've made a truly impressive job of painting those figures and I have to agree that less is more when it comes to shading. I've never been convinced with the dark wash some put onto figures. It seems to work on fantasy figures but not on humans. 

 

 

2 hours ago, Mikkel said:

 

 

Thanks Wolf, I think scale may also affect whether shading works or not, it can look good on 7mm figues I think. Also has to do with the skill of the painter of course, I just can't seem to make washes work on my figures, having tried both bought-in and DIY ones.

 

 

 

As to shading, I will repeat what I have said before, (sorry),.  Wargamming figures are usually painted with heavy shading and a black wash to bring out the detail, and as such they look great for Waterloo in 1815,  We however want our figures ready for the 18:15 from Waterloo and despite what people might think Waterloo Station in the rush hour is not like facing Napoleon's Army.

 

Someone whose name I have forgotten, sorry, who is a very good figure painter says highlighting in 4mm is not necessary.

 

Note: you will notice I do not do close ups as close as Mikkel when showing my figures.

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3 hours ago, Mikkel said:

one which magnifies x3 rather than x8

...you may be better off with x3. I found higher power magnifiers had a very limited depth of field so the object of my attention went in and out of focus with each wobble of my hand - it reminded me of the "fishing boat bobbing sea" (Dylan Thomas).  Anchoring the object to an immovable something or other would assist but I gave up on it and stuck with 3x. I'm with ChrisN on the difference between 1815 and the 18:15 and although railway modelling sometimes feels like a war game battlefield, my station master brandishes no more than a pocket watch (but duly picked out in Vallejo's gunmetal colour).

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next time you're on a platform, stand about two coach lengths away from the other people.  I guess the colours of their clothes will be a bit muted, you'll see shadows where their eyes are, and maybe under their chins, a beard or moustache might show, as will hair colour & hat if applicable, but beyond that...?

 

I know, coaches are longer these days :)

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Wonderful! Super painting and excellent story telling to go with it. I firmly believe that a model railway is always a great opportunity for a little theatre and you do it so well. A masterclass! 

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Mikkel, 

As others have said those figures are beautifully painted.  If I hadn’t known I would have assumed that they were 7mm scale or larger.

When I paint my 2mm scale figures I tend to have a palette of two shades of the same colour so that I can use the (slightly) lighter shade as a highlight. I really must see if I can get some Modelu figures in 2mm scale as all of those currently on Modbury are Andrew Stadden ones.

Ian

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5 hours ago, kitpw said:

...you may be better off with x3. I found higher power magnifiers had a very limited depth of field so the object of my attention went in and out of focus with each wobble of my hand - it reminded me of the "fishing boat bobbing sea" (Dylan Thomas).  Anchoring the object to an immovable something or other would assist but I gave up on it and stuck with 3x. I'm with ChrisN on the difference between 1815 and the 18:15 and although railway modelling sometimes feels like a war game battlefield, my station master brandishes no more than a pocket watch (but duly picked out in Vallejo's gunmetal colour).

 

When I am painting figures, or anything small, I have both elbows on the table, the figure in one hand, paintbrush in the other, and I have my little fingers touching.  Although this might not anchor them rigidly, it does mean that the brush and figure wobble in unison.

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20 hours ago, Charlie586 said:

Very nicely painted. I especially like the buttons on the moustacheless porter's waistcoat and the bus driver's beard.

It's interesting that the modelu ones don't need priming with acrylics.

 

Thanks Charlie. The fact that Modelu figures don't need priming is a nice bonus. In fact I think Modelu could use it more actively as a selling point. For beginners or those who don't prioritize figures it makes life easier, and for those who enjoy figure painting it means one less layer of paint (primer). This is a particular advantage in faces, where you only want 1-2 thin layers to avoiding clogging up/smoothing out features.

 

18 hours ago, kitpw said:

...you may be better off with x3. I found higher power magnifiers had a very limited depth of field so the object of my attention went in and out of focus with each wobble of my hand - it reminded me of the "fishing boat bobbing sea" (Dylan Thomas).  Anchoring the object to an immovable something or other would assist but I gave up on it and stuck with 3x. I'm with ChrisN on the difference between 1815 and the 18:15 and although railway modelling sometimes feels like a war game battlefield, my station master brandishes no more than a pocket watch (but duly picked out in Vallejo's gunmetal colour).

 

Good point about the depth of field.  The lamp I have allows the glass to be exchanged, so it is tempting to try out the greater strength but perhaps I should see if I can try before I buy. I've also thought about head glasses but have gotten used to the lamp type and like working under that because the light is so good. 

 

17 hours ago, Simond said:

next time you're on a platform, stand about two coach lengths away from the other people.  I guess the colours of their clothes will be a bit muted, you'll see shadows where their eyes are, and maybe under their chins, a beard or moustache might show, as will hair colour & hat if applicable, but beyond that...?

 

I know, coaches are longer these days :)

 

Yes, I think in many model railway situations you don't need more than that - for 4mm at least, not sure about larger scales.

 

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Caption: Commuters at Slough Station, Berkshire, c 1907. Getty images, embedding permitted.

 

The challenge is if you want to go up really close e.g. with a camera, that's when some sort of indication of eyes etc is needed to avoid the "blob face" look.

 

1175199484_gettyimages-90764660-2048x2048stpancras1894.jpg.17a48cb24e893c24f566cfaa6c16aba7.jpgCaption:  Sarah Bernhardt at St Pancras Station, London, 28 July 1894. Getty images, embedding permitted.

 

 

 

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, 5&9Models said:

Wonderful! Super painting and excellent story telling to go with it. I firmly believe that a model railway is always a great opportunity for a little theatre and you do it so well. A masterclass! 

 

Many thanks Chris. I couldn't resist adding some captions to the photos, though it wasn't really the plan. None of these figures can compete with your Jean Floret de Cauliflower though, surely one of the most memorable figures ever to have appeared on a model railway! I see he is also your avatar now, that nuisance gets everywhere.

 

 

15 hours ago, Ian Smith said:

Mikkel, 

As others have said those figures are beautifully painted.  If I hadn’t known I would have assumed that they were 7mm scale or larger.

When I paint my 2mm scale figures I tend to have a palette of two shades of the same colour so that I can use the (slightly) lighter shade as a highlight. I really must see if I can get some Modelu figures in 2mm scale as all of those currently on Modbury are Andrew Stadden ones.

Ian

 

Thank you Ian, I think a slight bit of highlighting like that does help, e.g. to bring out folds in the clothing. 

 

It will be interesting to see how you find the Modelu figures in 2mm scale. I think the two ranges - Stadden and Modelu - each have their strengths. The former have  character, the latter have the ultra-realistic features including poses. I suppose it's like impessionism vs realism in the arts. Here's a Modelu and Andrew Stadden line-up:

 

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14 hours ago, ChrisN said:

 

When I am painting figures, or anything small, I have both elbows on the table, the figure in one hand, paintbrush in the other, and I have my little fingers touching.  Although this might not anchor them rigidly, it does mean that the brush and figure wobble in unison.

 

Never thought of that Chris, must give it a try. I'm finding my Windsor & Newton series 7 "00" brush invaluable for the face details (not the range marked "Miniature", I have no experience with those). 

 

Edited by Mikkel
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One thing I have found with any kind of magnifier, (and common sense tells me that I should have realised) is to always ensure that you set the angle of the lens at ninety degrees to your line of vision for every job. Otherwise you do get a wobbly or distorted view whilst working.

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Your two Railway Magazine chaps never did write up their piece, more's the pity! They're both too young to be Charles Rous-Marten; I did think the fellow in the yellow suit looked raffishly colonial. The chap in the brown suit could well be C.J. Allen, though, on day release from the Great Eastern.

 

As I'm sure you're aware, your colourisation of Henley is a screen-grab from this film:

https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-arrival-of-train-load-of-visitors-at-henley-station-1899-online

which does depict the opening day of the Henley Regatta, so the passengers are not typical in that they are (a) overwhelmingly first-class and (b) done up for a day out.

 

The Slough crowd is, I feel, much more typical for a town station in the south of England. (Though I doubt they are commuters - they'll have bought singles or returns, rather than being season-ticket holders.) As you've no doubt noticed, they're all in muted shades of grey...

 

 

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On 03/08/2022 at 22:08, MrWolf said:

I think that you've made a truly impressive job of painting those figures and I have to agree that less is more when it comes to shading. I've never been convinced with the dark wash some put onto figures. It seems to work on fantasy figures but not on humans. 

Those hand carved figures are beautifully done and from an artist's point of view are very life-like. The only criticism I would offer is the proportion of some of the women's hands, they look bigger than mine! It's probably not noticeable except in cruel close ups though.

 

All the first class ladies have gloves on, and most appear to be thick leather ones so that could add to the size.  The third class ladies probably do as well although it is difficult to see from Andy Stadden's web site, and I have not dug mine out to have a look.

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Your GWR bus driver looks rather like Captain EJ Smith of the Titanic. Hope that's not an omen!

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31 minutes ago, rovex said:

Hope that's not an omen!

No, that’s a different brand of model figures…

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

I did think the fellow in the yellow suit looked raffishly colonial.

 

Raffish, my new English word of the day 😀 As for his suit, I was looking to break the monotony of brown and dark grey suits and found a photo of James Inglis inspecting facilities at Fishguard ("Edwardian Enterprise", p.23) . He is in a very light suit, cream or sand, so I copied that - no other comparison intended between the raffish type and this very reputable engineer.

 

Yes the Henley photo is not your average commuters. In fact I have been wondering whether the middle class - which began expanding in the 19th century  - could generally afford the very elaborate dresses we see in representations of Victorian and Edwardian fashion such as that below.

 

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Source: Extract from a longer timeline, made from historical fashion plates etc. Widely shared on the web, original full images on Imgur here.

 

Edited by Mikkel
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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, rovex said:

Your GWR bus driver looks rather like Captain EJ Smith of the Titanic. Hope that's not an omen!

 

So he does! Perhaps I should re-purpose him. Having looked at photos of early GWR motor car drivers today all have moustaches, none have greying beards. Perhaps a generational thing. 

 

Edited by Mikkel
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3 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Having looked at photos of early GWR motor car drivers today all have moustaches, none have greying beards. Perhaps a generational thing. 

 

Indeed - a new skill, being learnt by younger men. No-one has grown old in the business yet.

 

I agree that your fashion plate timeline shows the haut ton. (Let that be your new English phrase of the day!)

 

You're more likely to see middle as well as working class styles in some of the early films - tramcar rides etc., which also have the advantage of mostly being in provincial towns.

Edited by Compound2632
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3 hours ago, ChrisN said:

 

All the first class ladies have gloves on, and most appear to be thick leather ones so that could add to the size.  The third class ladies probably do as well although it is difficult to see from Andy Stadden's web site, and I have not dug mine out to have a look.

 

I wasn't trying to be over critical, the figures really do look the part, it was only a couple which as I said were in cruel close up and probably won't be noticeable in reality where the hands looked large to me and those are not wearing gloves in the photos above. I did have a good look through Andy Staddens website, the figures he produces are truly impressive and I was rather hoping to find some suitable for the thirties and forties among the range, as I would definitely be getting out the debit card. 

My bank manager is glad that I no longer collect military models, that's for sure.

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