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Tony Wright

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Tony Wright last won the day on September 11

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  1. Good afternoon Tony, 'If I was modelling a period or area that is supported by the RTR people, I am pretty sure I would be using their products to get me to where I wanted in a better timescale. ' Would you really? I'm not sure. I've known many modellers (like yourself?) who deliberately choose prototypes because there's very little RTR support. They have no desire to make layouts which just look like those of everyone else. As is well known, my own modelling is entirely self-indulgent. I try to recreate (with considerable help, of course) what I saw as a 'spotter. That the RTR makers provide much of what I need in the form of carriages (though not locos - oh, no thank you) has freed up my time to build what they don't make. Regards, Tony.
  2. I take your point entirely, Graham. And I might have missed what Tony was actually trying to illustrate. However, I'm coming at the 'discussion' from the point of view of a photographer; of both real railways and, particularly, model railways. When I look at all the photographs of the real thing I've exposed, many of which have been published, very few are taken from a typical 'model railway viewpoint'. There's one looking out over Durham viaduct from the cathedral, a distant view of The Royal Border Bridge, a shot of the Waverley from Edinburgh Castle and a view looking into Dove Holes, among others, but very few more. 99% (maybe more) are from the classic three quarter front view, with the locos/trains taking centre stage (I've obviously not been 'creative' enough in my taking of pictures). Time was when almost all model railway photographs were taken from 'helicopters' (none better illustrated than the technically-peerless work of Brian Monaghan). Almost all of Brian's work showed an operator's or spectator's viewpoint of a model railway. I don't know who quite 'invented' the eye-level approach to model railway photography (Barry Norman?), but that's what I've always tried to do in the main. In a way, it's the acid test in my opinion, especially if one is taking pictures of a model based on an actual prototype. How 'real' does the scene look (not just a loco and train) in comparison with the 'real' thing? Take your own Grantham, for instance................... Taken a few years ago now (with a few of the 'usual suspects' in evidence), these angles represent normal 'operating' positions or normal 'viewing' positions. That said, in no way could they be considered 'realistic' (I've never seen any prototype pictures of Grantham taken from these angles; has anyone?). However, get the camera down to eye level................................ Or even below (all the most-interesting model railways, in my opinion, model topography BELOW the trackbed as well as level with it or above). Granted, in all the 'realistic' images I've taken out the background 'clutter' (though nothing on the models has been altered). I know what I've presented is tangential to the discussion, but it comes back to my usual question.................. How realistic can we make our models look in a picture? A much easier question to answer if our models are based on actual prototypes. Regards, Tony.
  3. I've just completed taking all the moving footage for my contribution to the forthcoming BRM Virtual Exhibition, taking place in November. These are likely to be the only exhibitions anyone is likely to 'visit' in the foreseeable future. There are three layouts I've taken moving footage of................. Obviously, my own Little Bytham. Ian Wilson's O Gauge Bridgefield Quarry. And Retford. This view shows the mammoth amount of work still necessary to complete this heroic creation. I've also taken camcorder shots of Hornby's latest Prairies on LB. All of this new footage will not have been seen before.................
  4. Picking up on the 'horses for courses' theme with regard to layouts, preferences, prejudices, likes and dislikes, may I offer the following selection of images, please? Without doubt, one of the greatest model railways ever made (and still being made!) in any scale/gauge is Copenhagen Fields. The 'trick' of diminishing scales towards the horizon works perfectly. It's breathtaking; truly showing 'trains in the landscape'. Though it's probably a quarter of a mile away from my 'helicopter', one can still tell that's an A4 in the centre. At closer quarters, it's definitely an A4, DOMINION OF CANADA no less. However, is taking a shot at these close quarters of a 2mm loco fair? I might be wrong, but I was once told that one of CF's A4s has a body which came from an old Lone Star 'push-along' die-cast 'toy' (I had one as a boy). Could this be the (hugely-altered) Lone Star one? It's probably near life-size. Now, let's go up a least a couple of scales....... To show the same loco, but this time in 7mm FS RTR. Disregarding the fact that this A4 is probably the wrong side of £3,000.00 to buy (Golden Age), it can (and should) be able to stand the closest of scrutiny by the camera. Which brings me to the point I'm trying to make. That both A4s are on 'trains in the landscape', but the smaller one is best shown from a distance away (in my opinion). Not only that, to show the same 'train in the landscape' effect, a huge layout in the larger scale is required; and huge resources. This is on John Ryan's massive Over Peover. It might surprise you (the generic 'you') which one I prefer! Certainly, as a photographer, 7mm is much easier to photograph than smaller scales. Especially with regard to close-ups of locos............. Like these..... And, civil engineering structures in 7mm, if done as well as this (Norman Solomon's work) really do stand up well to a camera's scrutiny. A viaduct on Over Peover. I have to say I'm not too sure about some of the 'arguments' about 'what looks right' with regard to scale-length trains. Being of basically simplistic mind, if one models an actual (not made-up) location to scale length (or as near as makes no difference - can one forgive LB being around a foot short over 32'?), then one should be able to run scale-length trains without their appearing to be too long; as I hope the two shots below illustrate. Eleven Pullmans in this rake................. And ten in this one. Though four coach trains on a made-up layout might look 'right', Pullmans such as these reduced to such lengths would not. Indeed, horses for courses!
  5. Picking up on a recent theme.............................. I think brick papers are excellent for representing, err, 'scale' brickwork. Much more so than some plastic card alternatives, especially with regard to the depth of the mortar courses. Though the real girder bridge represented on the model to the left of this picture has long gone, its abutments remain, at least in truncated form. I cannot 'hide' my finger in the mortar courses - at 4mm scale they're flush with the bricks. In some plastics, the effect would be rusticated, yet this is engineering brick construction. I built these abutments using Prototype engineering brick paper fixed to wooden formers. Station Road bridge is produced in the same way. The still-standing booking hall was made by Ian Wilson (ex of Prototype Models) using his own computer-generated brick papers. Much more realistic than plastic in my opinion. One of the best modellers I know, David Amias, used brick papers on his Wellington in EM. Unfortunately, any pictures of that I have are on an old computer.
  6. Ah, thank Graham, I suppose my answer stems from my days in teaching, where an ambiguous question was met with an even more ambiguous answer! And, in answer to that question - I have no idea. Regards, Tony.
  7. Good evening Phil, 'But I do think that 4mm arguably represents an optimum size.' I agree entirely. Believe it or not, I did consider doing an ECML steam-age depiction in N Gauge many years ago, but gave up because the RTR standards of the time were awful (to be fair, so were the equivalent OO ones). You see, I couldn't see myself being able to build mechanisms in the smaller scale, and would have been reliant on RTR chassis (at least to start with). What convinced me not to try was a coupling rod flying like a missile off a Farish J69 (yet the loco still ran!), a sort of B1 (origin unknown) which ran like a lame dog, a 9F (which all that could be said for it was that it had ten drivers!), an A4 which looked like no A4 I'd ever seen and a 'Britannia' of somewhat dubious appearance. Where did I see these? Operating a WMRC N Gauge layout at one Buxton Show. By lunchtime on the first day, Mo and I had a heap of dud N Gauge locos and by the Easter Monday all we had running was a Peco 'Jubilee' and a couple of Minitrix 'Warships'. Never again! I had 27' x 10' to 'play with' at the time, so it could have been interesting. O Gauge is just to 'big' for me, having built about eight locos in the 'senior scale'. Neither can it give me what I 'want'. By that, I mean an ECML steam-age depiction to scale. No doubt someone could do it, but I don't have the resources. Regards, Tony.
  8. Were they similar to the old Dawson kits, Mike? I part-built a Stanier 2-6-4T in O Gauge for a friend, but he died before it was completed and it went with his estate (I seem to be causing quite a few modellers' deaths of late!). The Dawson kit was stamped-out of brass/nickel silver. Did the range go to CCW? I also looked at a Leinster B1 kit he had in O Gauge, but it went no further. That was made of stamped-out tinplate; very old-fashioned, but interesting.................. Regards, Tony.
  9. Good evening Andy, Though I'm not entirely sure, I think the layout builders took photographs of the real locations (I know they did on Wickwar), stitched them together in Photoshop (removing anything present-day) and then had them printed - most-effectively indeed! Regards, Tony.
  10. From Woodhead! Or the MSW electrification scheme. The layout was built by Garry Atkinson, if that's what you mean. Regards, Tony.
  11. Thanks Brian, All I do is to change the file size to at least a third of its original size, then save it as a jpeg (as opposed to the TIFF on which it's shot). Thus, something like a 20Meg file is reduced to around a quarter of a Meg. It's always worked in the past, so I think yesterday was just a computer glitch! And, everyone knows what I'm like with computers! Regards, Tony.
  12. They're wonderful examples of what can be done in the smaller scale, Al, Many thanks for showing us. It was not my intention to be disparaging about N Gauge, and I hope I've pointed out how much things have improved in more-recent times (was it after production moved to China in the main?). I was commenting on what folk had said to me, especially with regard to price-parity. I'll also admit to a certain degree of prejudice in the past. I'll explain. Though there's never been a really good RTR V2 (in any scale, though there will be next year when the latest Bachmann OO one goes on sale), I was once asked to assess an N Gauge one. I thought it was poor for the price (an opinion, I admit). The wheels looked like miniature (and very old) Tri-ang drivers, with no 'see-through' being present. The pony wheels' treads were almost as wide as their diameters and there was a huge 'skirt' running below the whole length of the boiler. I 'tricked' the eye into believing the wheels were see-through by filling the spaces between the spokes with matt black paint and rubbing the spokes with a cotton bud dipped in thinners (the loco was in LNER apple green). It 'worked' up to a point, and I showed how to do it as part of a Right Track DVD. On another occasion, I was asked to fit a superb cast metal A4 loco/tender body on top of an N Gauge RTR A3 chassis. I think the designer of the A4 was Phil Kerr (I think I've got the name right), a master pattern-maker and kit designer (sadly now deceased, I believe). I fiddled with the chassis, but oh dear. In my view it was dreadful. Driving wheels far too small and, thus, too far apart, carrying wheels which would have done justice to a steam roller and valve gear that had come off a battleship! Not only that, the performance was jerky. The idea was that I'd do a BRM review (for which I bought the complete A3), but I reckoned it would just be awful. Thus, I gave it to Andy Calvert to see what his expertise could produce. Sadly, Andy's now deceased, so I have no idea what became of it. And, just to show how good current N Gauge can be.................... Clifton and Lowther. These shots might be considered 'unfair' to the locos, seeing that they've enlarged them substantially in most cases. However, such is the quality of the overall modelling that they 'work' in my view. Aviemore. Sandy Bay. Wickwar. Brinklow. And Woodhead. Truly 'railways in the landscape'! Regards, Tony.
  13. Thanks Graham, With regard to 'my' 46256, I should have taken the detailing further (as you've done as described). It now belongs to a friend, and (over the last 12 or more years) he's been delighted with it. 'The customer's happy with it' seems to be a decent 'excuse' when commissioned work is critically commented on. The new Hornby driving wheels do make a big difference to the realism of that characteristic 'Big Un' look (I assume your 46251 used the Romford drivers supplied). Certainly, I used the proper Markits ones on my own CITY OF LONDON, substituting them for the Romfords supplied in the DJH kit. . I also built CITY OF NOTTINGHAM from a Model Loco kit (as a wedding present for a friend), but I managed to acquire a de-streamlined tender. It ran on Charwelton, because 46251 did so in reality on a railtour to Swindon. I'm not sure where the picture of it is in operation - probably on an old BRM computer. I look forward to the day when model 'Semis' tackle Shap at a show again.................... Who knows, I might even borrow this one...................... It belongs to the same friend who owns 46256 (part of the payment for his building of Bytham's baseboards). It's scratch-built. I acquired it from a friend, who'd acquired it from the estate of the deceased modeller who'd started it. A fair amount of the 'big bits' had been made and soldered together (including the frames, but no bogie/pony/tender sub-frame). However, there was no detail on it. I completed it, mainly using commercial etched/cast/milled/turned components, plus a bit of sheet metal work. The cylinders/motion are Comet (a bit 'bald' in the valve rod area). Ian Rathbone painted it. The friend who gave it to me has also now died! A 'cursed' 'Duchess'? I don't think so, and it will be great to see it romping up Shap. It's packed with lead, and it doesn't half go! Regards, Tony.
  14. A mate has just informed me that the forthcoming Hornby 'Duchess' for 2020 is to be £189.99. So, just a twitch more than the N Gauge version. Interesting..........................
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