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iL Dottore

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iL Dottore last won the day on January 9 2010

iL Dottore had the most liked content!

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  • Location
    Switzerland
  • Interests
    Model Railways (GWR!, ER 1960s), cooking, travelling, playing guitar (badly) and reading (anything except romances [Ugh!])

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  1. Hi Phil Well, that's what I assumed (although isn't Betamax [and the cameras?] still used a lot at the professional level?), However, the point is that digital camera closeups are not very kind to modelling (scratch building a lot myself, I often take close-up digital photographs of what I am working on to show me what I can't see is wrong with the model..) and there must be ways - lenses? filters? digital de-enhancement? - to better present a model in close-up? Of course, as you have rightly pointed out, even the long and medium-shots of the layouts - taken by team members - are taken on digital cameras. I think that that is the paradox of digital photography: in medium and long shot - things look better than they are "in real life"; whilst in close up - things can look worse than they are "in real life"
  2. Firstly, well done to all: production company, participating teams, judges and presenters. It's also good news that a second series has been commissioned, given the drivel that has lower viewing figures and still gets re-commissioned, I am pleased that the viewing figures were more than robust enough to support a second season. Given these robust viewing figures, and knowing that the production team, presenters and judges have all "popped in" to RMWeb, I'd like to suggest some changes (improvements? refinements? make of it what you will) that could be taken on board: Perhaps less emphasis on the gimmicky. Having been to numerous model railway shows - from local affairs, to finescale society meetings to Warley - I have the very distinct impression that - on the whole - railway modellers are fairly conservative (whether modelling the Big 4, BR 70s or the railways today). This may come as a big surprise to a neophyte railway modeller when he/she turns up at his/her local model railway club expecting to see lots of the sort of animations featured on the programme. Yes to a scratch-build challenge - but make it based on those things that are frequently sourced for scratch building: teddy bears (for fur); hard, clear, plastic wrapping (for windows and the like), offcuts of plastic, metal and wood, knackered toys (for motors, wheels, wiring, etc.). Don't underestimate the intelligence of the viewers. It wasn't quite "Jackanory - The Railway Version", but at times I felt that it was far too simplified, fortunately without tipping over into condescending (but having said that, it does seem that much of current programming today- of all types - does, too often, veer into what could be called "CBBC Territory" ["can you say ecosystem?" "Good! That's a big word, isn't it?"]). I don't envy the production team one bit in trying to walk the fine line between being incomprehensible to "outsiders" and simplifying to the point of "dumbing down". But I think that perhaps for season the producers could "up the complexity". Revisit the cinematography, I don't think that it does the modelling justice. I would assume that digital cameras are being used and digital camera closeups are incredibly cruel to models. Things that look good "in the flesh" or at normal viewing distances, look horrible in extreme digital closeup. I noted, on more than one occasion, the judges were saying things along the lines of "that's great modelling" whilst what they were admiring looked incredibly crude on close up (as viewed on a home cinema screen), yet when presented at normal viewing distances (as posted on RMWeb by some of the participating teams) looked very, very good indeed. With such robust viewing figures, perhaps the production company will now be able to jettison the numerous "filler" shots and exclusively focus on the modelling. Finally, I do hope that the RMWebber's comments and contributions (whether critical and curmudgeonly or upbeat and pollyannish - and everything in between) will be source of knowledge, inspiration and support for the production team in making the next series of GMRC even better than the first. iD
  3. I continue to watch the series because, like the proverbial Curate's egg, parts of it are excellent. I really admire the courage, modelling skills and tenacity of the contestants, as well as their diplomatic skills (alas, I suspect, when confronted by some of [admittedly few] inanities said on or required by the show, my responses would easily make me the "villain" of the episode...) I think that one can possibly argue that one contribution to some of the less "real modelling" aspects of the series (if one could put it that way) is the insistence on including "animations" on the layout. Regardless of whether or not one is for or against "animations" on a layout (I have mixed feelings, but lean slightly more towards being against), it does look like it takes valuable modelling time and resources away from completing the layout in the allotted time. And, to be generous and diplomatic, some of the animations do appear to have a very tenuous link with the railway being created (I also get the impression - correct me if I am wrong - that for some the animations are included because they have to, not because they want to). I have commented before on how "sneer-free" the series is (and kudos to the whole production team for that), but the one place I really do think that they are "extracting the Michael" is the scratchbuild challenge: a lady's shoe?, a washing up sponge? a sink plunger? "Puh-lease" as our American friends would say. Why not a proper scratchbuild challenge? a few sheets of plain and embossed plastic, some clear plastic and assorted wires and plastic strip - that would be a true test of scratchbuilding. And, to do the scratchbuilders justice, start the challenge on the very first day. Finally, to emphasize the (generally) positive view of railway modelling this programme is promoting, it would be nice - in a future series - to spend a few minutes in each programme highlighting pinnacle modelling built by some of the hobby's top practitioners; from a single building from Pendon to a whole layout such as Copenhagen Fields (a bit like motoring shows doing a puff piece on the latest Rolls Royce or Ferrari: something inaccessible for most but nonetheless interesting to learn about).
  4. Thanks for that clarification. It was mentioned so fast in the introduction that all I got was that he is the editor of a "railway magazine" Apologies to Steve for missing this (and my critique will be suitable amended). But I'd love to see him "strut his stuff" and show off his modelling knowledge (not much sign of that, yesterday).
  5. To be frank, I had low expectations of this show and was not disappointed... First the positives: there was more than a few, tantalising, glimpses of superb modelling - especially given the time constraints nearly everyone involved seemed to be having great fun creativity was very much on display, although I wonder how many constraints were imposed on the teams by the production company? (rather than trying to cram too much into 3 days, why didn't the team inspired by the Ealing comedies just concentrate on recreating the atmosphere of one film - such as The Ladykillers) It looks like it would appeal to non railway modellers and that can only be a good thing. There was a total absence of sneer (ironic or otherwise). Despite the relative inanity of the format, railway modelling was treated as top notch hobby worthy of getting involved in. Now the negatives (from my perspective) I was unimpressed by the judges and prersenters. Now I am not a regular watcher of UK TV, so the presenters may be the "bee knees" at the moment in Britain, but they lacked the sparkle and electricity seen in the GBBO presenters, Furthermore, notwithstanding the credentials of the judges, why weren't any of the editors of the British Railway Modelling Magazines luminaries of the modelling world asked to take part (or did they refuse?) and what about some of the luminaries of the modelling world?* The production company seem not have a clue about model railways and the format they have devised is - to be brutally honest - unsuitable for producing quality output (notwithstanding the excellence of the individual parts [ingredients] - the whole was less than the sum of the parts). Extending the build time to 7 days (6 days of modelling limited to ONLY 8 hours/day plus 1/2 day for set up and for demonstration) would have kept the time pressure but allowed for the teams to really show what they can do. There is reality TV and there is reality TV (does anyone remember the Slow TV reality TV the Beeb broadcast in 2015? just focusing on the skills and with no superfluous gimmicks, commentary or music) and Knickerbockerglory - the production company - seems to, at least in the first episode, revel in those clichés (selective editing to either enhance or diminish the subject, pointless jump cuts, cut aways when things get interesting, etc....). GBBO (at least from what little I have seen) seems to be the yardstick for good reality TV competitions: suitable editing, a lack of "bigging up" or "dissing" the contestants, a sense of fun and a lot of knowledge, clearly on display (I'm afraid that, in the first episode, neither of the specialised judges came across as knowledgeable - maybe in later episodes they will have a chance to display their knowledge????) As my old house master once said (well, actually, said many times) "5/10, the boy has potential but poorly applies it" iD * amended to reflect the fact that Steve Flint IS indeed a model railway magazine editor (see my comment in post 122 below)
  6. Well, I've been a busy boy: construction of the Lap Steel has been completed and now I have to finish sanding it down. Then comes the fun stuff: sealing the wood, painting it (I'll be using gloss red for the body, gloss black for the front of the headstock and scratch plate) apply homemade transfers (the logo, guitar name and fretboard markers) and then wire it up. If all goes well, I'll have a usable lap steel in about two to three weeks. So here are photos of progress to date: The guitar will be finished in red (possibly "candy apple red" or Ferrari red or similar) Now I'd like to draw upon the collected RMWeb wisdom: The game plan is to use some sort of undercoat (thoughts? suggestions?) followed by the paint (gloss red for the body, gloss black for the front of the headstock and the scratch plate), apply the transfers (logo, guitar name, fretboard markers) then finish with a few coats of clear acrylic (lacquer? varnish). Do any RMWebbers who have worked in wood/with wood have any thoughts, suggestions or comments about finishing? The centre piece of the guitar is oak, whilst the wings and the trim is softwood of some kind (no idea what, it was scrap - possibly pine or ash) Many Thanks, folks iD
  7. Well "yes and no" is the answer. As it is a lap steel, the strings don't need to be fretted against the fingerboard - which means I don't have to cut an install fret wire. Having said that, the frets do have to be marked on the guitar for visual reference. Accordingly I took my Gibson Les Paul, measured up the fretboard and created a fret marker image which will be transformed into a transfer (decal) which will then be applied to the painted lap steel guitar and then sealed with a few coats of gloss varnish. In terms of precision, the tedious things was tweaking the fret marker image to take into account the slight changes in dimensions when printed out by my laser printer (it provides a 99% scale reproduction of the on-screen image, so unless "tweaked" everything is slightly off).
  8. Progress, such as it is, has been made! I routed out some weight relief cavities and the cavity for the electronics and guitar jack: Given that it was my first ever time using a router, I am fairly happy with how it turned out. I was lucky, inasmuch I have a friend who was able to guide me on how to use the router. Although slightly ragged, the front cavity will be covered with the scratch plate (see below) and the rear covered with some plywood and a very thin sheet of Oak as veneer. The next step - once the odd sized wood drill bits arrive (I need 7mm, 9mm and 11m drill bits - not available locally) is to drill out the holes for the machine heads (which will be both a 9mm and a 7mm bore) and drill out the holes for the saddle and stop tail piece... (and then the real fun starts: finishing and sealing the wood, undercoating it and giving it its paint job) More photos to follow (eventually) iD
  9. As requested: Final body assembly marked out for routing weight relief cavities (rear) and for the electronics (front) And the pick guard which has the pickup and tone/volume controls mounted on it. The headstock was carved out on a CNC machine by a friendly carpenter (something way beyond what I could do with my limited workshop
  10. I'm building a lap steel from old guitar parts and some hardwood planks - does that count?
  11. Actually, Mike, my view is the diametrically opposite: I think that the water tower looks pretty good, but the Pub (and I'll go with your assumption that it is a pub) doesn't look anything special - although they have done a very nice job on painting the roof. I hope that Oxford Rail don't follow the Scenecraft and Skaledale route whereby the preproduction model looks very good and the production model is very crude in comparison (I got "burnt" on the Scenecraft GWR footbridge - what arrived in the box was nothing like photograph of the pre-production model). Hornby has made considerable improvements in their resin RTP buildings, but I haven't seen any recent Scenecraft models to tell whether or not they have also improved. If Oxford Rail can avoid the pitfalls I have noted with competing RTP buildings that I have noted (over thick walls, no interior partitions, poor assembly, differing - sometimes considerably - to the preproduction model) then some of the models will be very useful indeed (although the shops they have designed [i would be surprised if they are copies of a prototype] do not convince). I await further news with interest. iD
  12. As a somewhat interesting, but relevant, diversion: this video (from a series of videos on meat cutting made by a master butcher) includes an interesting - and old - documentary about "Black Country" Food (starts about 4 min in). Ignore the initial guff and enjoy a nostalgic look at what was enjoyed at the time in "t'black country" iD
  13. Whilst I wasn't able to get to Ally Pally this year, it has a very fond place in my railway modeller's heart: it was at Ally Pally way back in 20nn that I re-caught the railway modelling "bug" (I was at Ally Pally simply because I had an afternoon to kill between business trips one Saturday in London) and I have been (sort-of) modelling ever since. Not only have visited the show a number of times, but I've also been an ersatz exhibitor one year, thanks to having constructed some buildings for Black County Blues and delivering them on the morning the show opened on the Saturday and got roped in to help run it. Great fun! (I've also constructed buildings for Lancaster Green Ayre - but that's another story). I've always found the show to be very enjoyable, although by Swiss standards the toilets in Ally Pally and the catering for the exhibitors leave something to be desired (not so the catering provided to the public - which for the most part is quite good and not unduly expensive for London). I also like the huge variety of layout themes on show and I also find things to inspire my own modelling in all the layouts - from master works like Copenhagen Fields to works in progress like LGA to small 1 person/small group layouts (although - it pains me to say - it's occasionally inspiration on what not do). Whilst I recognise a grain of truth in some of the less than positive comments about the show and venue, it must never be forgotten that "shows that are open for and to the general public" (such as Crufts, The Ideal Home Exhibition, The Clothes Show, The Geneva Motor Show, etc.) have budgets that make the budgets for shows like Warley and Ally Pally look like pocket money. In truth, Warners and Warley MRC (to name but two) have done sterling work in providing shows that hit 95% of "all the buttons" 95% of the time. And that ain't bad for a hobby that can be a fractious as railway modelling. Personal situation permitting, I hope to make it to Ally Pally next year (I'd love to exhibit, but probably not in my lifetime...) and I'm very much looking forward to it. iD
  14. Hi Jamie, Just caught up with this thread. Some great workmanship being displayed, but whatever happened to the chimneys on the yard office? They were straight. Is it a camera angle thingie? Some News: Have just finished laying down the basic brick and mortar paint work on the chimney I'm building for the yard. I need to tidy up the mortar and brickwork on Saturday (long and tedious job ) then get to the metal work on Sunday. Slosh some grot onto it and (assuming I still have foamcore board build a carry case for it) pack for handover on the 11th Cheers iD
  15. Well, much, much later on I have finished the construction of the two chimneys. Cleaned them both up and made good on the brick chimney. First off, the brick chimney: Then we have the stone chimney, which - under the cruel eye of the digital camera - has revealed problems that need addressing: The "cable" running from the base to the "lightning rod" at the the top is ostensibly the conduit for electricity attracted by the lightning rod, but really is there to disguise a gap - but so it goes... iD
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