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Station Name

wenlock

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Although I've been calling my layout "Sherton Abbas" for at least a year now, the name hasn't appeared anywhere on the layout apart from on the signal box name plate. The platform definetly needed some name boards so passengers had a clue as to where they had arrived at! :-) I made the name boards using Slaters Plastikard sheet, microstrip and a set of their styrene lettering. Fortunately Slaters manufacture their sheeting in a variety of colours, so I used black as a background colour which contrasts nicely with the white edging and letters, making it easier to position them accurately and saves painting later!:-)

 

I started by using sellotape to fix a steel ruler in position on top of the black plastic card in order to give me a straight edge to follow. The letters were then positioned against the ruler and once happy with their placement, a tiny amount of liquid poly was applied with a brush to the top of each letter.

 

Positioning the letters
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Applying the liquid poly
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The ruler was then removed from the sheet and more liquid poly was applied with a fine brush, relying on capillary action to fix the letters permanently in position.

 

Micro strip was used to form the edges of the name board and once again held in position with the addition of liquid poly.

 

Microstrip edges
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Once everything had dried the excess black plastic card was cut away from the white edging using a scalpel. Posts were made from lengths of square section brass tubing with tapered ends formed from Milliput epoxy putty. The posts were then painted in Great Western dark stone using Railmatch enamel paint.

 

Completed signs
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The signs were fixed in position on the platform behind the benches using epoxy resin. I still need to find some decent gas lamps to finish the platform off and have so far found little success in sourcing some! I'd really like to find some brass examples, any pointers in the right direction would be much appreciated.

 

Name boards in situ on the platform

 

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Station Name written in rocks

 

I've seen old pictures of stations that had their names spelt out using white washed rocks and I thought this would make a nice addition to my layout's foreground. I printed out "Sherton Abbas" in various sizes onto an A4 sheet of paper, then cut out the names and tried them for size on the layout. Initially I had the two words next to each other, but decided I preferred them one below the other. Once happy with the position and appearance of the lettering I used PVA to fix the template in place on the embankment.

 

Template in position
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The stones that I used to form the flower bed surrounds on the platforms were a bit too big to use to make the lettering, so I crushed some up using a pair of old pliers. These smaller stones were then glued directly onto the template using PVA, tweezers were used to ease them into the correct position.

 

Stones glued to template
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Once the lettering was completed I decided to edge the wording using larger stones similar to the ones on the platform flower beds.

 

Stone edging in position
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I painted the stone lettering with matt white Humbrol enamel to simulate whitewash and then used "ballast" to fill in around the stones and form a background to the wording. Hopefully the ballast will prevent 7mm weeds growing around the letters, well the Station Master certainly hopes so!:-)

 

Ballast infill
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I'll add static grass around the rocks which hopefully will settle the name into the embankment nicely. I'm toying with the idea of a including a vegetable garden on the flatter ground above the station name, I'm sure a few potatoes and runner beans would have been a welcome addition to the station staff's tables!:-)

 

Dave

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Guest Simon Dunkley

Posted

Hi Dave,

 

I am possibly going out on a limb here, but please re-do your station name boards!

 

The Slaters font is no match for that used by the GWR, and not a great match for any known font. You have gone to such lengths to get things right, that this small feature will be letting the whole layout down.

 

Not being a GWR modeller, I am not sure about where you can get the correct font, but presumably they are available and someone on here knows where?

 

I like the name in pebbles!

 

Simon

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Hi Dave,

 

I am possibly going out on a limb here, but please re-do your station name boards!

 

The Slaters font is no match for that used by the GWR, and not a great match for any known font. You have gone to such lengths to get things right, that this small feature will be letting the whole layout down.

 

Not being a GWR modeller, I am not sure about where you can get the correct font, but presumably they are available and someone on here knows where?

 

I like the name in pebbles!

 

Simon

 

Hi Simon, yes the font is a bit of an issue! As far as I'm aware no one makes lettering in the correct font. If anyone does know of a supplier I'd be delighted to have a second go:-)

 

Glad you like the name in pebbles!

 

Dave

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The name in pebbles is a superb addition and well worth the effort involved. 

 

As you know, my approach to modelling is more 'impressionist' than strict accuracy, so I have no complaints about your boards either - the sans-serif letters look quite similar to many GWR boards I see in old photos and your choice of name avoids the more controversial letters, such as G, where many variations are found.

 

It is one of those strange things that, before the days of computers, most people knew very little about 'fonts' whereas, since the days of 'Postscript' and similar systems, we have become aficionados.

 

I don't mean to sound too sloppy and, if you can find a 'better' font please use it, but it doesn't spoil things for me.

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Guest Simon Dunkley

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There was an article on fonts and sign writing in the Railway Modeller in the 1970s: my personal awareness of the issue - particularly with reference to Slaters alphabets (my guess is that by creating a new font, they avoided copyright issues) - dates from then. Other than the difference between serif and sans serif fonts, I have little personal knowledge of fonts, but the Slaters alphabet sticks out - a little learning is truly a dangerous thing!

 

I am amazed that the correct font is not available, though: everyone not modelling the GWR always complains that everything is made for those that do.

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The name in pebbles is a superb addition and well worth the effort involved. 

 

As you know, my approach to modelling is more 'impressionist' than strict accuracy, so I have no complaints about your boards either - the sans-serif letters look quite similar to many GWR boards I see in old photos and your choice of name avoids the more controversial letters, such as G, where many variations are found.

 

It is one of those strange things that, before the days of computers, most people knew very little about 'fonts' whereas, since the days of 'Postscript' and similar systems, we have become aficionados.

 

I don't mean to sound too sloppy and, if you can find a 'better' font please use it, but it doesn't spoil things for me.

 

Hi Mike, thanks for your thoughts and glad you like the "name in pebbles" :-)

 

Although I do want to get things to be as realistic as possible, I'm with you in not finding the Slaters font too offensive! I'm glad you think the sans-serif letters looked reasonably like the name boards in old station photos, that was certainly my view at the time! The font is the same as the one I used on the signal box, which I guess at least means I'm consistently wrong! :-)

 

I probably will change the letters to keep Simon happy if something suitable comes along, but I hope he won't be too upset if things stay as the are if nothing becomes available!

 

Dave

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There was an article on fonts and sign writing in the Railway Modeller in the 1970s: my personal awareness of the issue - particularly with reference to Slaters alphabets (my guess is that by creating a new font, they avoided copyright issues) - dates from then. Other than the difference between serif and sans serif fonts, I have little personal knowledge of fonts, but the Slaters alphabet sticks out - a little learning is truly a dangerous thing!

 

I am amazed that the correct font is not available, though: everyone not modelling the GWR always complains that everything is made for those that do.

 

Hi again Simon, our posts must have crossed! I hadn't thought about copyright issues, I'm sure you're correct in supposing that Slaters would have wanted to avoid any litigation!

 

An enterprising manufacturer could do very well using 3D printing to make modellers station names in correct fonts, but I suppose they too might infringe copyrights.

 

It always amazes me the number of tangents I travel down when building a layout!:-)

 

Dave

 

 

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Some lovely pictures, I do like the pebble station sign and your glorious flowerbeds.

 

Just a thought, I wonder if a correct font could be cut out using a silhouette cutter? I have been impressed by the stuff that folk have done with that as shown on the forum thread, but I'm new to it and haven't tried letters yet. 

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The correct GWR font is available as a download from the GWR E-list.I used it with the help of Mikkel to do my boards but they don't have the relief you might be aiming for on yours.

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Hi Dave,

 

Fantastic attention to detail as usual, not only is your modelling first class but you also have an artistic flair and this really shines through with your work.

 

Always look forward to these updates,

 

Martyn.

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Some lovely pictures, I do like the pebble station sign and your glorious flowerbeds.

 

Just a thought, I wonder if a correct font could be cut out using a silhouette cutter? I have been impressed by the stuff that folk have done with that as shown on the forum thread, but I'm new to it and haven't tried letters yet.

 

Thanks Dave:-)

 

I've never tried using a silhouette cutter, but certainly agree it might be the solution. Here's hoping someone will volunteer to make me some appropriate name boards! :-)

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The correct GWR font is available as a download from the GWR E-list.I used it with the help of Mikkel to do my boards but they don't have the relief you might be aiming for on yours.

 

Thanks Robin I didn't know of that useful resource. As you mention I'd like to have some relief in the name boards, I wonder if the GWR E-list could be imported into a silhouette cutter?

 

 

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Hi Dave,

 

Fantastic attention to detail as usual, not only is your modelling first class but you also have an artistic flair and this really shines through with your work.

 

Always look forward to these updates,

 

Martyn.

 

Thanks Martyn, really pleased you're still enjoying the updates!:-)

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

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Hi Dave

 

Slaters did produce a set of letters specifically for GWR station name boards but I don't know if they are still available. Perhaps an appeal here may produce sufficient letters for Sherton Abbas.

 

Hope this helps.

Malcolm

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Hi Dave,

I too was going to tell you about the Smith's/Scalelink etched letters but Mikkel has beaten me to it!

 

I like the name written in stone(s), but I too feel that the Slater's letters used for the GW font of the name board just looks wrong.  Modelling in 2mm, I think I can get away with inkjet printing my name boards, and to that end will do a miniature version of the name board that I did for my layout pelmet / website :

Modbury station nameboard

 

I chose to do this in the earlier font style (which I felt would be more suitable for an Edwardian layout).  The whole was done in Inkscape, each letter being drawn rather than using a Windows/Mac font.

 

Ian

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Sorry Dave but I agree with others (various) and don't like that font for that period.

 

What would be rather nice - if you can access the GWRElist or use the font Ian has used for Modbury you will be heading the right way for the cast iron running-in boards.  With a different font - I'm not sure of the right one and should have taken a picture today when I was looking at then - you could even go for the blue & white enamelled style which would be suitable for your period and definitely differeent from run of the mill.  Take a  trip to the GWS at Didcot as they have some excellent examples of early running-in boards.

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I've been having a look at some old GWR station photos.  It's surprisingly difficult to find face-on photos of station name-boards but I found quite a good one of Kelmscott & Langford station in S.C.Jenkins book: 'The Witney and Fairford Branch'.  This station was built in 1907 and the photo dates from around 1912, so it belongs to the Edwardian period.  The font is definitely sans-serif - totally unlike the 'Modbury' style.

 

I copied some of the letters from the photo, to represent Sherton Abbas (there were no 'B's, so I had to improvise - badly) and give an impression of how it might look, against the Slater's font:  Those 'Smiths' plates look very similar.

 

SignFonts.jpg

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Guest Simon Dunkley

Posted

I probably will change the letters to keep Simon happy if something suitable comes along, but I hope he won't be too upset if things stay as the are if nothing becomes available!

Maybe I had better keep quiet next time!

 

Anyway: it is your layout, and it would be better to have the (appalling) Slaters letters than nothing at all. As I alluded earlier, if it hadn't been for learning about fonts whilst still in my early teens, I would never have noticed! The downside of the opportunities provided by our hobby for learning about so many aspects of life, is that, well, once you know how something should be, it niggles when it isn't!

 

Could you use the font to generate something for etching?

 

Simon

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The instructions with the Smith etched letters states that the sans serif style came into use "around 1906". They also state that the earlier serif style was thought to be 18 inches high as standard, whereas the 1906 sans serif ones were 12 inches high (although smaller sizes were used were necessary for sub-text).

 

The source of this info is not given. Neither Stephen Williams in GWR branchline modelling nor Slinn in my version of GW Way give dates for the changeover.

 

There is also the option of blue enamel nameboards, used in some locations in the latter half of the 19th century according to Williams, who says they were "long lived". Now wouldn't that look nice.

 

PS: The method you employed for the stone lettering is very ingenious, thanks for the tip Dave.

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Maybe I had better keep quiet next time! ...................

Please don't do that - you've given several us interesting food for thought :)

 

It often amazes me how quickly 'facts' can disappear into the mists of time.

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Guest Simon Dunkley

Posted

By the way, is this some low-budget remake of "The Train"?

blogentry-5869-0-25441500-1477061685.jpg

What other place names will you be producing? ;)

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Hi Dave

 

Slaters did produce a set of letters specifically for GWR station name boards but I don't know if they are still available. Perhaps an appeal here may produce sufficient letters for Sherton Abbas.

 

Hope this helps.

Malcolm

Hi Malcom, thanks for that I didnt Know that Slaters did more than one font!  Ive had a look on their website and they do this font with serifs which might be suitable. https://slatersplastikard.com/assets/pdfs/AlphabetFlyer.pdf  Page 2 number 1107 looks promising, hopefully others who aren't quite as "font blind" as me will agree!  It would prove a quick and simple solution to the issue :-)

 

 

Hi Dave, looks fantastic!

 

I have always thought that the Smith etched GWR station nameboard letters were OK?

 

gallery_738_870_73661.jpg

 

Scalelink has the 7mm version: http://www.scalelink.co.uk/cgi-bin/sh000002.pl?WD=letters%20station%20nameboard&PN=Smiths_Components_for__O_%2ehtml#aWTOF03

 

For comparison, this is my application of the correct GWR e-list letters, the same I used for Rob's nameboards:

 

gallery_738_870_1005.jpg

Hi Mikkel:-)  Thanks for that link, I didn't know about Scalelink's lettering!  Your board looks lovely and I must admit using the right font does make a big difference :-)

 

 

Hi Dave,

I too was going to tell you about the Smith's/Scalelink etched letters but Mikkel has beaten me to it!

 

I like the name written in stone(s), but I too feel that the Slater's letters used for the GW font of the name board just looks wrong.  Modelling in 2mm, I think I can get away with inkjet printing my name boards, and to that end will do a miniature version of the name board that I did for my layout pelmet / website :

Modbury station nameboard

 

I chose to do this in the earlier font style (which I felt would be more suitable for an Edwardian layout).  The whole was done in Inkscape, each letter being drawn rather than using a Windows/Mac font.

 

Ian

Hi Ian, glad you like the "name written in pebbles" :-)  I'm beginning to fold under pressure and will have to do something about these nameboards! :-)  I rather like the earlier font style and am rather hoping the Slaters serif letters might be suitable way forward!

 

 

Sorry Dave but I agree with others (various) and don't like that font for that period.

 

What would be rather nice - if you can access the GWRElist or use the font Ian has used for Modbury you will be heading the right way for the cast iron running-in boards.  With a different font - I'm not sure of the right one and should have taken a picture today when I was looking at then - you could even go for the blue & white enamelled style which would be suitable for your period and definitely differeent from run of the mill.  Take a  trip to the GWS at Didcot as they have some excellent examples of early running-in boards.

Hi Mike, yes I'm definetly getting the message, those boards have got to be changed! :-)  I'm going to register today so that I can access the GWR eList and ponder on the possibilities.  I've never seen the Blue/White enamelled boards modelled, so as you say it might be a nice unusual touch :-)

 

 

I've been having a look at some old GWR station photos.  It's surprisingly difficult to find face-on photos of station name-boards but I found quite a good one of Kelmscott & Langford station in S.C.Jenkins book: 'The Witney and Fairford Branch'.  This station was built in 1907 and the photo dates from around 1912, so it belongs to the Edwardian period.  The font is definitely sans-serif - totally unlike the 'Modbury' style.

 

I copied some of the letters from the photo, to represent Sherton Abbas (there were no 'B's, so I had to improvise - badly) and give an impression of how it might look, against the Slater's font:  Those 'Smiths' plates look very similar.

 

SignFonts.jpg

Hi again Mike:-)  Thanks for all that effort, its amazing what can be achieved with a bit of "photo trickery!"

I agree that font looks very similar to the style produced by "Smiths" and the ones form Scalelink.  If I stick with the sans serif style, then this is probably the route I'll go down.

 

 

Maybe I had better keep quiet next time! Anyway: it is your layout, and it would be better to have the (appalling) Slaters letters than nothing at all. As I alluded earlier, if it hadn't been for learning about fonts whilst still in my early teens, I would never have noticed! The downside of the opportunities provided by our hobby for learning about so many aspects of life, is that, well, once you know how something should be, it niggles when it isn't! Could you use the font to generate something for etching? Simon

Hi Simon, I'm in agreement with Mike, it's most certainly given me food for thought and stimulated an interesting discusion.   Much like the earlier signal box roof issue, it'll end up improving my modelling and the realism of the finished layout :-)

 

I've never tried etching, but apparantly there are companies who will do the etching if you provide them with the art work.  I have no idea how expensive this would be! 

 

 

The instructions with the Smith etched letters states that the sans serif style came into use "around 1906". They also state that the earlier serif style was thought to be 18 inches high as standard, whereas the 1906 sans serif ones were 12 inches high (although smaller sizes were used were necessary for sub-text).

 

The source of this info is not given. Neither Stephen Williams in GWR branchline modelling nor Slinn in my version of GW Way give dates for the changeover.

 

There is also the option of blue enamel nameboards, used in some locations in the latter half of the 19th century according to Williams, who says they were "long lived". Now wouldn't that look nice.

 

PS: The method you employed for the stone lettering is very ingenious, thanks for the tip Dave.

 

 

Hi again Mikkel, maybe Farthing could do with a "name in rocks" somewhere! :-)

 

Those older style serif 18 inch letters sound enormous to me, I wonder if that size was only used at fairly major stations.  In 7mm scale that would give letters 10.5 mm high which might look a little odd for a small backwater like Sherton Abbas.

 

All interesting and entertaining stuff which is brightening up an otherwise dull, grey day in South Wales!

 

 

Please don't do that - you've given several us interesting food for thought :)

 

It often amazes me how quickly 'facts' can disappear into the mists of time.

 

 

Completely agree Mike! :-)

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By the way, is this some low-budget remake of "The Train"? blogentry-5869-0-25441500-1477061685.jpg What other place names will you be producing? ;)

Low Budget!  How very dare you! :-)

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The instructions with the Smith etched letters states that the sans serif style came into use "around 1906". They also state that the earlier serif style was thought to be 18 inches high as standard, whereas the 1906 sans serif ones were 12 inches high (although smaller sizes were used were necessary for sub-text).....................

Another complication : My 'Great Western Way'(1st.ed) states that "Name boards on stations originally were dark letters on a light ground, probably dark on light stone".  Do the Smiths instructions mention anything about this and was the painting change related to the font change?

 

GWW also comments that the blue enamelled pattern was associated with "some larger stations"

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Mike, unfortunately the Smiths instructions don't mention the colour of the earlier (pre-1906) letter scheme. For the post-1906 scheme they say that the colour of the letters was white on black background.

 

How reliable the info is I don't know though. As Dave says, those early 18 inch letters must have been quite big.

 

Thanks also from me for the info about the other Slaters letters, didn't know they existed. 3D letters do look better than printed ones, I only included my Farthing station sign to illustrate the font (not to suggest it was better!).  

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