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Blue skies and horse traffic

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Mikkel

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It is afternoon in the Overbourne bay at Farthing station. The all third "strengthener" rests in one of the sidings, while a worker from a local cartage company is lost in thought. The coach reveals that I'm still in the process of fitting couplings to some of the stock.

 


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The regular branch engine No. 1961 of the "850" Class shunts a horsebox to diagram N5 into the horse dock. The horse seems nervous at the prospect of travelling inside a box on wheels. Perhaps in reality horses were not brought to the loading dock before the stock was in place?

 

 

 

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Horse and groom wait for the staff to open the doors. The horsebox is from the old Colin Waite kit. The busy horse traffic around Farthing was inspired by the Newbury area and the DN&SR and Lambourn lines. I had no end of trouble finding a suitable racing horse as most available OO horses are either in full harness or just too poorly moulded to work with. So I ended up with this Noch example, to which I added just a bit of filler in strategic places, and a horse rug (is that the word?) made from toilet tissue. The horse is HO, but I think it works OK if we assume it's a two-year old!

 

 

 

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Meanwhile No. 1961 continues its work. The C10 "strengthener" is drawn out of its slumber for use on the busy late afternoon service to Overbourne, which always draws a good number of passengers arriving on the ex-London services or having spent the day in Farthing. The coach is a Triang RTR conversion job (construction notes here) and this photo is rather revealing of the various compromises involved. While I do like RTR bashing, in this case I've got an almost finished kit-built coach waiting in the wings as a replacement.

 

 

 

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The "strengthener" is coupled up to the standard branch set waiting in the platform, while a couple of well-to-do passengers watch with detached interest. The wicker baskets are from Hornby and are the only items on the layout that were used straight out of the packet. The baskets are very good in texture and colour, although a couple in my packet seemed to have slipped unduly past quality control.

 

 

 

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Next up in the formation is the horsebox, now containing horse and groom, and seen here being coupled up to the rest of the train. Horseboxes tended to travel next to the loco at the front of the train, although I've forgotten why. Was it easier on the horses that way?

 

 

 

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Every afternoon of every day, Miss Agnes Wilkinson sits on the bench at the end of the platform, hoping to catch a glimpse of driver T. F. Oberon, the lost love of her lost youth. He ignores her today as he has done for the past 45 years, but Miss Wilkinson does not give up. Tomorrow she will be back on the bench, for she knows that some fine day Mr Oberon will yield.

 

 

 

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The Overbourne train is now made up and ready for boarding. It really is a very clear day today - so clear in fact, that the entire town above the embankment walls has disappeared into thin air :rolleyes:. Still, it beats having our cluttered basement as a background!

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Mikkel.You've done it again with superb modelling and excellent storytelling.I do like the horse.You could always model the horsebox with the doors open.Theres a nice photo in Russells coach book of one albeit a later diagram.

 

I admire Ms Wilkinsons patience.I also have a lady like her in similar clothes but she doesn't have a name yet. ;)

 

I remember seeing a fabulous model of that Colin Waite horsebox in an old MRJ a few years ago with brakegear so exquisite.The brake pull rods were modelled it looked so real.I couldn't do it justice.

 

Keep up the excellent modelling.

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As ever excellent modelling and storyboard !! Im interested what Ms Wilkinson does every morning of every day though :rolleyes: :D

 

John

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Your horse is, indeed, beautifully finished, but I hope it is more than 19.34mm high at the withers, otherwise we will have to re-classify it as a pony :rolleyes:

 

I also suspect Miss Wilkinson would not have been too pleased to be called Ms, even if she had the faintest idea what it meant.

 

Otherwise, historically convincing and, as always, very entertaining.

 

Nick

 

ps. what's the origin of the 850? Is it another Gibson kit?

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You could always model the horsebox with the doors open. Theres a nice photo in Russells coach book of one albeit a later diagram.

I had forgotten about that photo, thanks Robin! My plan is to see if I can kit-bash the Parkside N13 to an N9, and then see if it can be modelled with open doors, since I feel much more confident doing that kind of thing with a plastic kit. There was a brief discussion about the N13 to N9 conversion on the old Rmweb (RIP).

 

I remember seeing a fabulous model of that Colin Waite horsebox in an old MRJ a few years ago with brakegear so exquisite.The brake pull rods were modelled it looked so real.I couldn't do it justice.

I couldn't either! I picked this one up second-hand in half-built state with the underframe already done, and then finished it from there (that has been my main strategy for slowly coming to grips with etched kits, although I'm still not quite there). I've always wondered a bit why Colin Waite chose this particular prototype, since there only seems to have been one vehicle made to that diagram (No. 88), but it's certainly a lovely one.

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I'm interested what Ms Wilkinson does every morning of every day though rolleyes.gif biggrin.gif

Umm, well you have a point there! biggrin.gif Let's just say she's seated on that bench around the clock, then. Maybe she just generally has a thing for GWR drivers! laugh.gif

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I hope it is more than 19.34mm high at the withers, otherwise we will have to re-classify it as a pony rolleyes.gif

Well I had to measure that (at which point my daugther entered the room and looked with despair at the increasingly bizarre actions of her father). It's 18mm, I'm afraid. Disaster icon_eek.gif ! Can you not lower your standards on this one, Nick? I don't mind ponys myself, but I really don't think the GWR would tolerate them on their railway!biggrin.gif

 

I also suspect Miss Wilkinson would not have been too pleased to be called Ms, even if she had the faintest idea what it meant.

Good of you to point out these things, they are important in conveying the right period! According to Wikipedia, it seems the use of the term "Ms" was established in the 17th century, then went out of style and then came into use again in the 50/60s, although there's a source using it in the US in 1901. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms

 

ps. what's the origin of the 850? Is it another Gibson kit?

Yes it's the Gibson kit (actually the M&L version I think), purchased cheaply on ebay as a second-hand loco, restored to running order and repainted.

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Not my standards, I'm afraid, but those of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. However, they weren't founded until 1921, so you may be safe, though somehow I doubt it -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony

 

Though I'd heard of the earlier usage, I wasn't aware of the 1901 instance. Perhaps Miss/Ms Wilkinson was a staunch republican (in Edwardian England :blink: ) with an American cousin living in Springfield, Mass. Might that explain why Mr Oberon was wary of her?

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Not my standards, I'm afraid, but those of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. However, they weren't founded until 1921, so you may be safe, though somehow I doubt it -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony

Aha, but it seems pony racing was a "popular sport" pre WW2 as quoted here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony_racing (grasping at straws now!)

 

Though I'd heard of the earlier usage, I wasn't aware of the 1901 instance. Perhaps Miss/Ms Wilkinson was a staunch republican (in Edwardian England blink.gif ) with an American cousin living in Springfield, Mass. Might that explain why Mr Oberon was wary of her?

Ah yes, a very plausible explanation indeed. Completely obvious, actually laugh.gif

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Dear Mikkel

 

This is easily my most favourite blog on the web.

 

I always look forward to any updates with great anticipation - I'm never disappointed!

 

Well done.

 

Happy New Year,

 

Jonte.

 

PS....any chance of a short video clip?

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Hi Jonte,

Many thankssmile.gif , yes I hope to post some video clips at some point. Problem is I don't really have any good equipment for that kind of thing, but am working on it. Meanwhile have you seen the many great videos on the RJR blog, and the (G)WR one from Penhydd here, amongst others.

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A nice set of pics Mikkel, and yes, rug is the correct term for the horse rug. :)

 

Regarding your horse size, as you say, it can easily pass as a yearling. Unless you are trying to pass it off as a full grown hunter I don't see the problem! :huh: You could even re-profile the head, paint it dappled grey and it'd pass as the Arab mare I once owned that was only 14hh fully grown and definitely not a pony.

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At last, someone who actually knows something about horses... :unsure: Looks like you're safe there, Mikkel. Maybe hands, like people and horses were smaller then :blink:

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Hi Jonte,

Many thankssmile.gif , yes I hope to post some video clips at some point. Problem is I don't really have any good equipment for that kind of thing, but am working on it. Meanwhile have you seen the many great videos on the RJR blog, and the (G)WR one from Penhydd here, amongst others.

 

Thanks Mikkel.

 

Jonte

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Regarding your horse size, as you say, it can easily pass as a yearling. Unless you are trying to pass it off as a full grown hunter I don't see the problem! huh.gif You could even re-profile the head, paint it dappled grey and it'd pass as the Arab mare I once owned that was only 14hh fully grown and definitely not a pony.

Thanks very much for that 57xx, you've made my day as I was having a hard time living with the "pony racing" excuse biggrin.gif . I looked up "yearling" and it seems plausible enough that one would have been travelling by rail either because it was being sold or maybe to attend a show? See:

http://en.wikipedia....Yearling_(horse)

 

This is particularly good because I've got a couple more of those horses from Noch, you see! I like the idea of modelling one of them as the Arab mare you once owned, although re-profiling the head is perhaps a bit tricky (I Googled Arab mares and photos suggest a distinctive head shape?). Funny where modelling can take us!

 

Maybe hands, like people and horses were smaller then blink.gif

Perhaps you've just discovered a major flaw in the science of measurement there, Nick! smile.gif

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You have a good eye Mikkel, yes the dished face is a distinctive feature of Egyptian Arabians. :) If you do go ahead with modelling one, avoid reference pics with an exaggerated dish. These (cartoonish IMO) features are a product of fashion in the show ring along with excessively thin legs. The legs should be slimmer though, just not overly done. They fit into your time line too with the Purebreds being re-imported to the UK in 1881.

 

And, whilst I know "something" :unsure: , it's only what I picked living with a horsey type for 8 years and having a sister-in-law who worked at an Arab stud. Don't take it all as definitive.

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And, whilst I know "something" :unsure: , it's only what I picked living with a horsey type for 8 years and having a sister-in-law who worked at an Arab stud. Don't take it all as definitive.

Well, given that my experience is limited to a total of about six hours in the saddle (more if I'm allowed to include beach donkey rides at Weston super Mare as a toddler), a lifelong tendency to talk to any animal I meet, and five minutes on Wikipedia, I'm more than happy to hand over the role of Mikkel's expert equine advisor :rolleyes:

 

Nick

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Well, given that my experience is limited to a total of about six hours in the saddle (more if I'm allowed to include beach donkey rides at Weston super Mare as a toddler), a lifelong tendency to talk to any animal I meet, and five minutes on Wikipedia, I'm more than happy to hand over the role of Mikkel's expert equine advisor :rolleyes:

 

Nick

 

And, given that my experience in the saddle is limited to many hours on a series of 531-framed touring bikes, and that as a toddler I was too frightened of the beach donkeys at Barry Island to even conceive of going near them (they were just so bloody big!), I'm also happy to hand over the reins (didn't you see that one Nick?) of equine advisor to 57xx.

 

Mikkel, I'm also a regular reader of your blog, I think the atmosphere you manage to portray in your photos is fantastic. I had previously found the gwr.org site and read all of the modelling articles several times - especially the RTR- and kitbashing projects for the Triang clerestories and Ratio 4-wheelers. But until your mention above, I had never realised you were its compiler, so thanks for all the inspiration.

 

One thing I notice about your gwr.org site (and this blog obviously!) is the high standard of photography. I have read many RTR-bashing articles in 60's and 70's Railway Modellers, MRConstructors etc (a long series of articles by Terry Gough on making Southern Coaches from Triang clerestories and Graham Farish suburbans is a good example) that could potentially inspire today's modellers to have a go at crossbreeding their favourite locos and coaches instead of incessantly crying out for the ready-served version, but the articles were frequently let down (my opinion only) by uninspiring photos. This is not a criticism of the modellers, but more a comment on how much the illustration of an article can affect the project's appeal. So seeing a picture like this: http://www.gwr.org.uk/ego/c22large2.jpg illustrating your article on the C22 conversion really makes me want to try it myself, even though I'm not even a GWR modeller! I would definitely recommend any modeller to look at the projects on that site, irrespective of their era/regional/scale interests (and as it's costing you dosh to keep the site archived, your generosity is appreciated).

 

Anyway, having set your standards sufficiently high that the level of discussion of detail has reached the shape of the horse's legs and whether a label on Agnes Wilkinson's luggage would read Ms or Miss, might I suggest that, for an Edwardian lady (even a suffragette), maybe the shape of Ms Wilkinson's legs is a little too visible? I have a feeling that the length and style of her dress, and particular the rather rakish style of the hat, is more reminiscent of the 40's and 50's than the Edwardian period - though I'm not a fashion expert by any means. What do you think Mikkel? Actually, the longer I look, the more I think the lady looks amazingly like Margaret Thatcher - the nose, the hair, straight back, everything!!

 

I'm just going to go back now and gaze at those first and fifth photos taken beneath the platform awning. Just stunning!

 

Look forward to the next additions.

 

Neil

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... I'm also happy to hand over the reins (didn't you see that one Nick?) of equine advisor to 57xx...

 

To my eternal shame, I must admit that it didn't occur to me :icon_redface:

 

Nick

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And, whilst I know "something" unsure.gif , it's only what I picked living with a horsey type for 8 years and having a sister-in-law who worked at an Arab stud. Don't take it all as definitive.

That's a lot more experience than I have with horses, 57xx, which I've always regretted as they are magnificent beasts. Looking at the Noch models last night, I'm a bit daunted at the prospect of having to turn one into an Arabian mare though! Also not sure if I'm getting my priorities right, given that some of the stock is still missing couplings, etc! smile.gif So I had better put the Arabian mare on the backburner for the time being, provided of course I have the permission of the Expert Equine Adviser to the GWR at Farthing! biggrin.gif

 

I'm more than happy to hand over the role of expert equine advisor rolleyes.gif

Ok, that will also give you more time for the bovine side of things, such as a certain 0-6-0 ST! laugh.gif

 

I had previously found the gwr.org site

Neil you may be interested to know that there are plans afoot to ensure the continued life of that site, although I had best not say anything more at this point as others are involved.

 

how much the illustration of an article can affect the project's appeal

I agree Neil, although there are also dangers involved of course. For instance, the photo of the C22 does not show that it is actually a bit too narrow for that particular diagram, as was pointed out to me subsequently.

 

What I really like though is that ordinary people like us can take good quality photos quite easily these days. There is still the issue of depth of field though, which I find difficult, and then of course we have the work of experts like Chris Nevard to strive for.

 

... might I suggest that, for an Edwardian lady (even a suffragette), maybe the shape of Ms Wilkinson's legs is a little too visible? I have a feeling that the length and style of her dress, and particular the rather rakish style of the hat, is more reminiscent of the 40's and 50's than the Edwardian period - though I'm not a fashion expert by any means.

I was hoping no one would notice, but this crowd is clearly not to be fooled! biggrin.gif You are quite right, but as she is seated with the back to the viewing side, the length of her dress is not easily noticeable beneath the bench, so what is visible in the photo is not normally easy to see. But of course, if I want things to appear right, I shouldn't cut corners like that!

 

The hat is another matter, I agree with you that it somehow looks wrong for the Edwardian period, although I can't quite define what it is. Amazing how the tiniest details influence how we judge what historical period a layout or photo is from.

 

Recently though I've also noticed that whenever you try to generalize about eg the style of dress for a given period, exceptions begin to appear. That's why the groom with the horse doesn't have a moustache. Although they seem so typical of the period, a closer perusal of photos suggests that not everyone had them!

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