As I have been delving into 19th century history, I have inevitably become interested in the broad gauge period of the GWR. Throughout the Winter I have been doing a lot of reading but very little modelling. Almost everything about the broad gauge was 'different' and I have been 'stalled' over how to make a start.
Last year, I joined the Broad Gauge Society and then, last Saturday (19th March), I visited the annual exhibition by the Abingdon Model Railway society. I was looking for inspiration for future modelling and found plenty in the 7mm-scale model of Bristol Goods Shed by Peter Boyce. I took several photos of the locomotives and track work, and had useful discussions with other BGS members. The following photo that I took of the yard outside the main shed conveys something of the 'atmosphere' of the period, though I have no intention of trying to build the complex mixed-gauge pointwork in the first instance!!
Another exhibit that attracted my attention was a model of the GWR (standard gauge) station at Whitchurch Town by Jeff Geary, also in 7mm-scale. There is no doubt that models in this scale make very impressive exhibits. There is a real feeling of 'weight' and the mechanical parts, such as coupling rods, look as though they are 'up to the job', unlike their smaller scale counterparts.
My photos demonstrated all the problems of taking photos at exhibitions, with lots of background clutter and awkward perspective, from having to work through 'gaps' in the visiting crowd - and I was pleased to see that there were good numbers of people enjoying the exhibition.
As many of my readers know, I enjoy photography and so have done some work with 'Photoshop', including 'blocking out' backgrounds, selective 'cropping', and perspective adjustment.. By such methods, it is possible to convey something of the 'atmosphere' created by the model.
I know there is some debate about how far photography should 'falsify' a scene but I strongly believe that cropping out extraneous material is justified. the following photos are 'before and after' scenes to demonstrate what I have done.
I think that the editing helps to bring out the atmosphere of a country station in the evening, so well caught in the modelling - I like the small boy looking through the fence at the passing train!
I have not forgotten North Leigh during all this activity and, in fact, have experienced another example of truth catching up with my fiction! I recently visited the beautiful Wilcote chapel in the (real) North Leigh church, built around 1439. The chapel contains effigies of the Lord of the Manor, Sir William (d.1410) and his wife, Elizabeth Wilcote.
So, even if it was a bit before the time of my model, there really was a Lord of the Manor at Wilcote!
The tender for No.184 still needs wheels and completion of the chassis. I shall try to fit this in amongst everything else. In the meantime, here is an Amy Wilcote painting of Mr Dean's latest express locomotive hurrying through North Leigh, past an ancient relic from the 'Old Worse and Worse'