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James Hilton

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James Hilton last won the day on August 14 2010

James Hilton had the most liked content!


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  • Location
    Near Llangollen
  • Interests
    Industrial and Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling

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  1. Thank you both for your reflections. On a personal level I have some early custom plates from Narrow Planet in nickel silver that are excellent, but these were in the larger garden scales. I will ensure we add a comment on sets where the material offered (eg brass on the Yorkshire) does not reflect the cast aluminium (or other) of he prototype. Our plans to add further plates in this range continue, and [email protected] should allow you to send any suggestions.
  2. That is a good question and we should add it as a frequently asked question. Nickel silver doesn’t resolve as cleanly when the etching the finer detail on works plates so would result in poor plates. Brass gives a much sharper (and often legible) works plate in 1:76 scale. We would not be happy offering products we don’t believe in.
  3. Unbelievably the tanks are hollow! There is plenty of space!
  4. This version has IW&D No.12 on each tank side. It will also feature a lined grey chassis as well, not shown in this initial mock up...
  5. Thanks both... This is a fact that Steve and went round and round with during development. The base model, the Accurascale MDO, is incorrect for any of those 21t Paul photographed at Grimethorpe, so rather than put the right livery on the wrong wagon we've said our livery is 'inspired' by Grimethorpe, and chosen to go for dark grey and orange. I hope that goes someway to explain the sort of thinking, and consideration that goes into our models. It can be a minefield!
  6. These wagons are being produced in 00 gauge, exclusively for Planet Industrials by Accurascale. NOTE: Pre-production livery sample shown, we have specified a change to the tone of the orange colour, making it both darker and less vibrant. Sunglasses will not be required! Introduced in 1950, almost 14,000 of these mineral wagons were built for British Rail. Two basic designs were used, both having twin side doors and one end door in their 21ft 6in long bodies, mounted on 12ft wheelbase under-frames. The 21 ton wagons were closer to their 16 ton predecessors in height, and lasted longest both in production and in service. Many saw extended lives in industrial service. Our dark grey and orange livery is inspired by the internal user wagons at Grimethorpe Colliery in North Yorkshire, however they could be adopted for use on your own industrial layout. The pack will contain three individually numbered wagons. Just look at that lovely under frame detail... It is possible to customise them with our transfer packs (such as PIC-001or PIC-005) to add additional markings. We will also offer a new transfer set, to be included free with any purchase of multiple packs, enabling up to 9 wagons to be renumbered in the same numbering style. They will suit weathering, yet still brighten up your industrial layout! Revised shade on right hand side of this sample... Specification 1/107 diagram wagon Spindle Buffers Oil Axle-boxes Two doors on either side of body and another at one end only for end-tipping Pack of three wagons, each with individual numbers NEM standard coupler pockets Narrow tension lock couplers included RP25.88 darkened profile sets with 14.4mm back-to-backs and 26mm over pinpoints Metal 3-hole disc wagon wheels on metal axles - 12.6mm Designed for easy conversion to P4 and EM gauges Extra fine factory-fitted detail plastic parts and sprung buffers Pre-order now for delivery in Summer 2021. £74.95 including U.K. delivery. Exclusively through Light Railway Stores https://www.lightrailwaystores.co.uk/collections/planet-industrials/products/pir-001 I’ve already weathered our sample, I don’t expect many to remain pristine!
  7. The left hand end of my Prince Edwards Island cameo layout, Kinross depicts the view that inspired the layout, the spur at Visser... Unlike the greenery on the right hand, where it's possible to use scenic tricks to more easily suggest depth, there is not really anywhere to hide when you're depicting a real structure (that still stands today) and so a mock up has sat here throughout construction to help with judging the space and the visuals. However, with the greenery settling in nicely, this weekend attention has turned to the warehouse. An order from Eileen's Emporium with some expensive, but well moulded Evergreen board and batten sheet with 2.5mm spacing arrived so I had all I needed to make a start. The mock up had been moved about, cut into and adjusted a fair bit which meant that I could make a good start quickly, by replicating the dimensions in 60thou styrene, and then overlaying this with the Evergreen sheet. Scenic modelling is a bit of an artform again, and in my opinion you need to include enough detail and texture to structures that are behind the trains, but not too much that the detail takes the eyes away from the focal point - the track and trains... to that end I added a basic guttering and down pipe, and some off the brickwork along the base - but not door handles, wiring, conduit, vents or anything else... In position it looked the part, and I mulled over something Chris suggested a week or so ago, whereby the closest corner was the real colour, and then across the front (right to left) and on the side front to back the colour was faded slightly, to give a subtle effect of it blending into the background. I tried this, and probably could have gone further, but it is a pleasing effect never the less, and one to play with in future. Perhaps on the Claremont and Concord project... my mind then turned to how the scene could be completed, as the structure on it's own wasn't quite working for me. My mind drifted and I glanced at Pont-y-dulais, to where I've used photographs cut down on the left hand side to suggest distant hills... I wondered if I could use 2D photos on the back-scene to suggest the elements of Visser not modelled. If you look at that Steve Hunter photo you'll notice a seed elevator, along with some other industrial looking agricultural equipment above the roof line. I've looked about on Google Earth and there are a few other structures on the site too, so I trawled Google images and Prince Edward Island seed elevators found a few suitable photos I could tweak... As well as the elevators, I added a small building with a pair of vertical silos in front, trying this behind the tree... this showed promise but I thought it was a bit small - my thought was if the shadow of the tree appeared to cast itself on this building, then the fact there was a shadow on the back scene wouldn't be so jarring. The small print was moved to the left hand side (from the front) and a larger picture put in behind the tree and these were glued in place with Prit-stik... Now, the scene begins to show real promise, so I added some styrene to stand the building up a touch from the surrounding scenery and then blended this in with filler, before painting to match the other ground cover ahead of scenic treatment next time... But something jarred... Yes, the sky between the diagonals on the elevator was too light, and no matter how long I looked at it, things weren't improving. I pondered if this could be blended with some airbrushed emulsion, or perhaps over-laid with another image... then I realised, as I'd used Prit-stik it would be wet enough still to tear off without causing excessive damage. I printed out a few more options with adjusted tones for the elevator to better match, and then carefully replaced this... Perfect, the scene feels complete... just enough detail and just enough balance - and ready for some grass and undergrowth to blend into the rest of the scene next time, after that just the road and 'Level Crossing' signage to add, as well as build staging extensions and a lighting lid of it's own once lock down ends here in the UK. However, as I look at the scene above, I'm transported to a more peaceful headspace, and I can feel the warmth on my face and imagine standing by the pick up, watching the casual switching un fold in front of me, before heading onwards for a cold Coke down at Murray Harbour. In the meantime, more soon...
  8. I've been working on my small slice of Prince Edward Island on and off again this weekend, a real tonic to my current health, and pace of life, the focus was again on the scenic aspect, especially focused on the right hand, Uigg side of the layout... Kinross pictured earlier in the week, with the coniferous trees planted. I have stared at, absorbed and enjoyed this scene and used that to inform what happened this weekend. In the past I rushed my way through this scenic stage, to an extent going through the motions, applying my usual techniques, tried and tested, producing a consistent and quality finish, yet one that lacked depth, finesse, texture... Kinross is so compact, I decided at the outset that the scenic aspect was the one I was going to push hard on - as I've mentioned in previous posts, talking about learning the art of tree construction. However, the texture of the ground cover could also be enhanced beyond just ground foam and static grass and using Gordon Gravett's methods, dosed up with inspiration from a good thumb through Bill Linley and Bram Bailey's Morning Sun books on the region with lots of PEI inspiration, I set to work... I noted that although the fence line along the right of way wasn't always visible, the growth between this boundary and the track was often greener and more verdant than the surrounding fields, and I also noted that the mixture of brush, trees and undergrowth produced a real layered effect to the greenery which was going to need consideration to recreate in miniature - and certainly not something that could be reproduced with just one or two mediums. Kinross this evening, seen in the context of it's place as a true shelf layout, with Pont-y-dulais underneath. This weekend I feel I've gone far enough, at least for now... the static grass has been enhanced with foliage matt, and then more long straw grass over the top... the coniferous trees at Uigg end have been surrounded by a mix of Woodland Scenics foliage and clumps, this time with some Green-scenes flock around the transition from grass to shrub... and I've added more overgrowth on top of the banking either side of the right of way, stopping short of adding fencing (as I feel this will visually shorten the scene) I think there is now a stronger lineation between railway property and surrounding fields. A close up of this weekends effort, compare to the top photo, the greenery has been deepened and enhanced with different textures and materials, yet a consistent palette of colour threads through the whole scene, slightly restrained, nothing too bright, and nothing too dark. That moves the Visser warehouse and surroundings firmly into sight now - and I have been planning how to tackle the distinctive warehouse structure, incorporating a little more variation in ground shape and cover as the building develops. This will be modelled almost in it's entire front section - as I think the visual impact of this will balance the trees better at the right hand side, and work well within the overall scene - a cut down, compressed or half modelled frontage, with it's peak off centre, may just have been a visual crop to far - however we're still very much in mock up phase, so as I progress this I will keep checking in place to confirm it's size, position and then even it's colour so it does not dominate the scene too much. A scene you don't usually view from to show how effective the trees are at hiding the scenic exit, as well as showing a little more of the track side greenery, which is a deeper brighter green, with some lovely thin bushes alongside the slight embankment. I hope this brief post goes to show that good scenery is not something that is created quickly - but that requires a vision (preferably influenced by emotion), patience and a variety of skills, techniques and materials, whilst maintaining some consistency in colour. This is another topic I'd like to consider in more detail, it feels like a more formal written form may be on the cards, in some way or another. In the meantime, more soon...
  9. I find the weekends are offering me the chance to unwind on a very personal modelling project, one that is compact, achievable, motivating and a great chance to hone my scenery techniques further... I find I never stop learning, and one thing as I’ve said recently on this project before, has been trees... in the past I’ve been put off this aspect of scenic modelling as it can be perceived as easier to buy them (or in my case reuse old ones). However the variety and style required for this layout, combined with the limited number required, meant I felt it was a worthwhile and mindful use of my time to read, research practice and attempt to master this skill. That last point is still some way away, but it has been a great learning journey so far and wonderful to see the scene on the layout develop exactly as I had envisaged... Last time I talked about the deciduous trees on the layout, well excluding the Poplar, but they were made the same way with a wire armature. This time I’ve tried another of Gordon Gravett’s techniques for some generic coniferous trees to hide the exit in the right hand of the cameo. A barbecue skewer is coloured in with a black Sharpie, and then I tore up some rubberised horsehair in to thin clumps. This was threaded on and glued in place on the skewer. Once dry the next stage is to cut it neater, give it a haircut, tidy up the loops and curls so it looks more natural. Once reasonably happy with the shape (it can be adjusted later) I sprayed it with layering glue from Peco, and sprinkled on some dark green ground foam from Greenscenes. This didn’t look green, or dense enough, and so Gordon suggested using some static grass to puff into the dense matting to give a more needled effect. More layering glue was applied and a puffer bottle with 4.5mm summer mini-natur fibres, a medium rich green, were puffed on. I want to recreate more of a summers day, as such all the colours I’m using are lighter and warmer than perhaps you’d expect. The results speak for themselves, ground foam only (left) compared with foam and fibres (right). This simple technique didn’t take longer to practice or achieve good results. Yes they need tidying up, and they’re not fine enough to stand muster alone, but as a cluster they work well and soften the exit (see top) so the fiddle yard will be disguised from normal viewing. What is more, working on these smaller projects, taking time to read and practice, quietly, in my own time, is something I’d recommend to us all in the current world Covid pandemic. My mental health has been battered these past few months, virtual friendships and model making are a great tonic when all we can do in the real world is shuffle past each other anonymously masked in the supermarket for our weekly essential shop. Stay healthy, more soon...
  10. Earlier in the week I managed to find some energy and time to work on the trees for Kinross. This morning I added some foliage... This is a mix of Greenscenes scatter over Woodland Scenics foliage. The foliage is cut into shapes and teased out to be thin and more 3D, and glued on the branches with tony drops of PVA. Over this structure scatter is added ans secured using Peco-scene layering spray. The Poplar is quite successful, the larger tree less so... I added some postiche and further scatter to add more bulk, but some kind of airy nature and Inthink it’s passable, and looks great in place and neatly hides the place the Visser warehouse touches the backscene. The smaller tree has been placed in the right foreground, to soften the edge of the scene. A lot of scrubby coniferous trees will be needed at this end. Here you can see the trees prior to installation. They’re not fixed on the layout, but I’ve drilled mounting holes, they will be bedded in when the scenery is complete around them. I will perhaps build a few more trees this evening and tomorrow for the right hand side... the next project will then be the warehouse. Despite it being early days I’m feeling that this is good progress and I’m happy with how it’s beginning to look and the emotions it stirs. You may think that as a seasoned modeller this is all my bread and butter, but I’ve really pushed myself here to try new techniques and trees are one of those things I’ve always put off, so I hope that encourages you with your own modelling. Until next time, more soon...
  11. I'm posting a few blog updates to bring the story up to date... For many years I’ve recycled trees my Dad made when I was a child, creating a thread through time connecting my creative output of the present with that of his past... Christmas 2019 I began making my own trees following Gordon Gravett’s techniques in his wonderful scenery books published by Wild Swan (I’ve recently purchased the third of the set, the coniferous trees one, having the deciduous trees and grassland books already). His photographs, explanations and written style are a real joy to read, absorb, reflect and put into practice. A natural progression in confidence has led to me finally feeling able to let go of my Dad’s trees, letting that thread continue through my own skills rather than connecting more physically to the past. This trio I’m particularly pleased with, I’ve been working from photos of Kinross and Uigg on Price Edward Island as well as using Google Streetview and Earth to check the shapes and types against the prototype as it is today. Starting each twig at a time, building up a tree to its trunk and then planting it feels a natural development process... the looking at the tree from different angles as you see it grow before you, a sculpture inspired by nature but created by your own minds eye. It’s a wonderful pastime and I’m looking forward to adding some greenery to this trio next, happy to feel like I’ve acquired another skill, and one I can in time weave into my own models... until next time, more soon...
  12. Indeed, thanks, I’m clearing out some older models to make room for new ones... Whomever gets it will be getting a bargain, as my time for the conversion is basically free as I did it for myself, so it’s a lot cheaper than I’d charge for a commission today.
  13. A handful of screws and the chassis is released, the decoded fits inside the tank, and intent is this is a straightforward fit. Final specification to be confirmed, but the intent is to use Zimo decoders for both straight DCC and sound options.
  14. Thanks Paul, and others,, and yes Steve and I are trying to keep our excitement in check, and send to our loyal subscribers before sharing more widely... It’s lovely to see you all posting here about it before we did!
  15. We will always be restocking - every time we do a batch of these we increase the batch size and they always sell out before we make the next one! Yes, good for us, not for you; sign up for the restock alert on Light Railway Stores...
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