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Found 24 results

  1. AlfaZagato

    8th Army 2

    More progress on the 8th Army fellows. Mostly blocking in major colors. Skin left, then washes. If what he has is to be an Enfield revolver, I feel bad for him. Horrible things to shoot. I'd love to shoot the Boys sometime, though. Like I said, skin & wash. Then, bases. I'll get there. We'll see.
  2. D6150

    Another small step

    So here we have the airfix moon buggy, or more correctly the lunar rover. I have added seat backs, antenna's, and the cargo rack/bulkhead behind the seats. I still need to add the satellite dish on the main antenna, and the distinctive orange mudguards. The two astronauts in the background are taking rock and dust samples, that's some kind of probe, not a rifle. These guys are roughly half way through painting, I think the space suits look better with a matt finish. I also have a Revell F104G starfighter in progress at the moment, will get back to something rail-related soon.
  3. D6150

    One small step....

    A bit off topic for RM Web, and about 12 months late for the Apollo 11 anniversary, here is my first attempt at the Airfix astronaut figure set.... These are made of slightly squishy vinyl rather than hard plastic. This can be hard to paint (ask my 12 year old self), but it turns out a quick coat of watered-down PVA glue works as a primer (leftovers from IKEA). Paint used is a mix of humbrol and revell enamel, with some cheap watercolour paint from The Works for weathering. Think I will try assembling one of the moon buggies next.
  4. Aim: to provide a useful reference for what might be found in rummage boxes! I will try to cover the major ranges as comprehensively as I can, but also highlight some other potential sources and more obscure ranges in 'Miscellaneous'. I will update the 'chapters' when I can with photos and any further information that comes to light. In that respect I will set them out at the start, but some will be empty initially. I will only be covering figures here, not related accessories (unless part of the figures).
  5. Eileens Emporium and ModelU are pleased to announce that Eileens are now stocking ModelU figures and accessories. The most popular lines are already in stock and more will be added in due course. They will be added to Eileens website over the Summer, meanwhile please enquire by phone or email.
  6. Here’s a summary of my recent 'experiments' (a.k.a. mucking about) with Modelu and other 4mm figures, and how to store them. I have previously modified figures from the Andrew Stadden, Dart Castings and Preiser ranges. So obviously, the Modelu range had to suffer too! The resin used in these figures cannot be bent (it will break), but clean cuts with a scalpel worked OK. Joins were sanded, fixed with superglue and smoothed out with putty. Not everyone will think it’s worthwhile, but I find it relaxing and you get quick results. This driver was shortened and had his feet repositioned to fit in the cab of my Dean Goods. Another driver had a head fitted from an Andrew Stadden figure, in order to enhance the Edwardian look. That left a headless Andrew Stadden body, so a head was transposed from a Modelu station master who I felt looked a bit too modern for my Edwardian period. I have also been experimenting with painting, especially those difficult eyes. The pro painters do some amazing work in this respect, but as a mere mortal I’m just looking for a simple way to achieve a rough indication of eyes without spending too much time on it. The approach illustrated below has helped. First, two black stripes across the eyes. The stripes can then be narrowed and shortened by painting skin colour carefully around them. I find this much easier than trying to paint the eyes directly. The same technique can be used for the eyebrows and mouth. Eyebrows can be tricky when hats etc get in the way, but do add character. I suppose the next step on the learning curve is to fill in those blank, black eyes. Not sure I'm up for that! Reading up on brushes led to the purchase of these Windsor & Newton Series 7 brushes (not the “miniature” range). The sizes are 00 for faces (right), and 1 for larger details (left). These are bigger sizes than I have normally used. This is based on online advice from pro painters. The theory is that larger brushes give better control and the paint doesn’t dry as quickly on the way to the face. If you look closely at the lady above, you can see that her face isn’t quite smooth, because I let the paint become too dry on the brush. A larger magnifying glass has also helped, although I’m still struggling a bit with the weird hand-eye coordination that this requires. The field for extra magnification is useful and tells me that it may be worth investing in an even stronger glass at some point. Because we now live in a flat I have to pack away the layouts in-between operating sessions. This has led me to consider how to store the figures and other fragile items. If stored too casually the paint easily chips, noses are flattened or accessories break. So, inspired by Chris' storage box for figures, I had a look around the web and came upon “pick and pluck” foam trays. These are available on ebay, or from military modelling manufacturers like Feldherr. After plucking out the foam as desired, a base layer is added, and the tray is ready to use. The foam trays come in different thicknesses, this is 15 mm (0.6 inch) plus a base layer: For my horse drawn wagons I used 30 mm (1.2 inches). In retrospect it would have been better to go for something even deeper so the wagons could be placed upright. The trays can be stacked… …and fitted in an appropriate box. This is just a shoebox. I added an extra protective layer of foam on the top. In order to handle the figures, I fitted a bit of felt to a pair of old tweezers. Having made the trays you end up with a lot of foam cubes that are supposed to be discarded. This seemed wasteful so I decided to use the cubes for making additional storage boxes for my “second-tier” stuff. They have a sticky underside so it’s very straightforward. The box is a takeaway food container. Ever since Northroader pointed out the usefulness of takeaway boxes we have been eating a lot of Thai food! Some of my figures are fitted with wire in order to fix them on the layout, which takes up a lot of space in the “pick and pluck” boxes. So these are stuck into a bit of good quality dense foamboard... ...and fitted in yet another takeaway box (Phat Kee Mao, if I remember correctly!). There is room for a lot of figures this way, and the boxes stack up nicely. That's it for now, I'm off to run some trains
  7. Hello everyone, I would like to introduce everyone to Hardy's Hobbies a new small business creating figures for the model railway market mostly in 4mm and 7mm scales. We have been creating figures for some time for both my model railway interest and my colleagues sci-fi interests and after some encouragement from friends we have decided to release a small range of figures into the big wide world to complement the fantastic models and figure ranges already produced. Our figures are created using 3D scanning technology before editing and production in resin via 3D printing technology. We have tried to capture natural poses for all our modes and have used people out of the railway industry and heritage railway (where I work for my day job) world to act as models in their appropriate attire simulating poses they would use during their day to day activities. The range is constantly being developed. We currently have more civilians in the pipeline and some fantastic 1940s ladies and a wartime land army girl in the editing phase alongside some accessories in O gauge. Please take a look at our website www.hardyshobbies.co.uk for more information. Although primarily producing figures in 4mm and 7mm scale, we can also produce figures in most other scales. Although I don't visit the forum every day I will try to answer any questions or comments anyone has. I have included some photos of painted 4mm and 7mm scale figures for anyone who might be curious. Thanks for looking! Andy & Steve
  8. Hello folks, A query regarding figures as a new entrant to the world of O-gauge Looking for a diesel driver (standing) and second-man (if appropriate) and shunter (with or without pole) for Dapol 08. I have seen some by Detailed Miniatures (painted) and some by Modelu3d (unpainted) but I wondered whether there were any other alternatives. Ideally, I'd like them pre-painted. Kind regards, Art
  9. Here's the third and last instalment about my recent trio of horse drawn wagons. This is yet another GWR "dray", as they are commonly known. GWR drawings generally use the term "trolley", which I understand was the original and more correct term for what is today popularly called drays. The wagon was built from an old Pendon kit, picked up on ebay. There is no mention of the prototype, but it resembles a 7 ton trolley drawing in the Great Western Horsepower book. An illustration of the variation in length and width of three kits for flat drays/trolleys – nicely reflecting how the prototypes varied too, as vehicles do of course. On the left is a Dart Castings offering (see earlier post), and on the right is the Slater’s kit which really is quite large. The Pendon kit is the middle one. The only structural modification I made was the addition of the rear flap (is there a proper name?). These are usually in the down position, held by chains. The main part of the project involved modifying the horse, the carter (aka carman) and "van lad". The horse is from the Dart Castings stable. The photo above illustrates some of their range (no connection), with the measurements as stated in their lists. I like their 1:87 draft horse, which has the bulk of a strong horse but isn’t visually overpowering, as I think some horses can be in a layout context. I had a couple of these horses so modified one of them by raising its head. The neck from a discarded old Langley horse helped achieve this. On the left is the original figure by Dart Castings (as used on my “Ratkin & Son" wagon), on the right is the modified one. Similar work was done to make the carter, using a Dart Castings body and an Andrew Stadden head. Period photos and show that on flat drays like these, carters very often sat on the left side, like this. Presumably it is the safest and most practical position when you have to get on and off frequently, as they did. The van lad was made by modifying an Andrew Stadden figure, as seen here. He has not yet reached the grade that allows him to wear a uniform. A load was made using surplus items from the goods depot, e.g. my DIY cotton bales and crates, and various kits and ready-made items. I added some indicative roping from EZ line. Just a couple of ropes, as too much of this sort of thing tends to distract the eye in my view. In any case, the roping and packing practices on horsedrawn vehicles seems to have been more relaxed than on the permanent way. Two examples here and here. The other side. I tried to avoid colour clashes when building the load. And finally the wagon in place on the layout. That concludes this little series of horsey updates for now. Keep on trotting!
  10. These days 4mm modellers have an excellent choice of figures from Model-U, Andrew Stadden and Dart Castings - but there's always room for a bit of tinkering! Here are some porters for Farthing Old Yard, modified and pieced together from various sources. The figures have all been attached to something - e.g. a barrow - as I find this helps "integrate" them once placed on the layout. Our first subject mixes a Dart Castings body with an Andrew Stadden head and arm. The barrow is a Shirescenes kit. Below is another Dart Castings/Andrew Stadden combo. The wheelbarrow is a modified Springside kit. Next is this gentleman, a modified Andrew Stadden figure that I bent forward in pursuit of a more casual pose. This chap was made from various Andrew Stadden parts, including his useful loco crew "kit". The basket is from an old Preiser kit. Next is a modified Airfix 1:72 figure with an Andrew Stadden head. The Airfix figures proved a rather difficult material to work with. This porter was built from a mix of body parts from Andrew Stadden figures. The barrow is a modified Langley kit. Lastly a few shots of the "accessories", including some equipment for my lamplighters.
  11. I have just obtained a set of painted 00 driver figures from this firm, in BR corporate uniforms and some in short-bib, yellow vests, very suitable for the 1970's and early 1980's. Some of the standing figures could equally be used for station staff or shunters. There are almost no other such figures on the market currently. The prices are reasonable and the service excellent - from payment to Hexham to delivery in France within a matter of days. The figures are far better in the hand than they appear in their pictures on their website. I have no connection other than as a very satisfied customer, and am sharing for those who have been looking for the same thing as me. They also do steam era figures. See them for yourself at www.paintinghistory.co.uk
  12. Hi all, I've been on the forum a few years posting about my Oswestry Works project, which ultimately inspired me to start my own business Modelu, providing 3D printed detailing parts and 3D scanned people as figures. The figure range has been created with assistance from volunteers at the Llangollen and Severn Valley railways, along with 'Big Jim' and some of his colleagues at Colas Rail. Poses are created using 3D scanning and DLP 3D printing. The range is steadily expanding and I'll keep this thread updated with new developments. Figures are available in scales from 2mm up to 16mm scale and any variations in between, for those that model other than the predominant UK based scales. I also provide a scanning facility for custom figures at Exhibitions - take a look at the exhibition diary if you'd like to see scanning in action, or have one done yourself! Detailing components include loco, tail and side lamps, loco detailing parts and point rodding in 4mm and 7mm scales. The range is available via the website shop and includes the following figures: Loco Crew Signal Men & Railway Workers Bus Drivers Modern Image (Available end of Sept 16) New Products Sept 16 - more info - SR Tail and Side Lamps - BR Tail and Side Lamps - GWR Tail and Side Lamps Products in Development - LNER Tail Lamps (end of Sept 16) - Battery Electric Mk2 Tail Lamp (end of Sept 16) - GWR Signal Lamps (end of Sept 16) - LMS/Adlake Lamps (end of Sept 16) - GWR Platform Lamps (early 2017) - L&Y Platform Lamps (early 2017) Thanks for looking!
  13. Line dance, 4mm style. I’ve been painting some figures from Andrew Stadden’s excellent new 4mm range of Edwardian figures. A group in primer, showing the detail of the figures. Being pewter, the Stadden figures are a little harder to modify than whitemetal ones. It’s not impossible though. This gent had his bag removed… … making him look more like a railway employee. I sometimes file the caps to represent the GWR kepi, although photos from the 1900s suggest that in practice, several different types of cap could be seen at the same time during this period. I still struggle with figure painting. In particular I can't seem to master that illusive shadow-work - but it helps a lot that the figures are so well modelled. On most of the figures, the close-fitting headwear conveniently hides the upper face, which I find particularly hard to get right. This is driver J. Chuzzlewit, a seasoned man of the footplate and known for his rough driving, poor jokes, and fanatical interest in leeks. Here we have GWR Policeman W. Walmsley of the GWR Goods Department at Farthing. This figure was modified from a guard/inspector. It required a bit of research since little has been written about GWR police uniforms. My theory is that in the 1900s the GWR police force had lost much of its former status, and the main distinguishing marks on their uniforms were a gold patch on one sleeve, and brass numerals on the collar. Later (possibly in 1918), they started wearing helmets. See this thread for details. Detective F. Benton of the GWR Detective Department at Paddington. The GWR seem to have had a separate Detective department from quite early on. Considering the total value of goods being handled by the railway, that’s not really surprising. I’m sure there was a scam or two going on! Stages of undress. What’s the weather like today? And what task is at hand? Miraculously, the temperature at Farthing always seems to be moderate, which is why some staff wear a coat, others wear vests, and the hard-working men only a shirt. I’ve decided that this trio will serve as "slipper boys" in the GWR goods department at Farthing. Slipper boys, as I understand it, would assist horse shunters with tasks such as “scotching” wheels and handling the horse’s chains. Clothes mattered a lot in Edwardian days, and photos suggest that even non-uniformed, lower staff grades could be smartly dressed. Even so, a couple of these lads look very smart indeed. Is there something fishy going on? Watch this space...
  14. Preiser has started a range of 4mm scale figures. http://www.preiserfiguren.de/showpage.php?Neuheiten_2015/Miniaturfiguren_Massstab_1_76&SiteID=34
  15. Goods checker J. Peerybingle was tired. It had been a long day in the goods depot, and his feet hurt. Life is so dull, he thought. I should have gone to sea. I should have married Emily. He looked up at the skylights. There was a bird up there. Was it a crow? He thought: How lucky birds are, how free. Up on the roof, the crow looked down at Peerybingle. It thought: How fortunate that man is, working with the trains. He must be very happy. I wish it was me, thought the crow. How lucky humans are, how free.
  16. NANTWICH TOY & TRAIN FAIR Saturday 8th November 10.30am-2.30pm Nantwich Civic Hall Market Street Nantwich Cheshire CW5 5DG A new collectors event with some of the best stalls in the business offering Toys, Trains, Trucks, Diecast Cars, Tinplate, Vintage Toys/Games, Soldiers, Action Figures, War Gaming Figures, Bears, Dolls, Model Kits, Lego, Modelling Accessories and much more. Don't miss this new event for the Toy Collectors Calendar!!! We are pleased to announce this new Collectors event for the Cheshire, North Wales, Merseyside and Staffs Areas. As with all our other venues we hope to provide stallholders with an event that offers comfortable stalls with room to move at a fair price and visitors a good mix of stalls with plenty of bargains and a chance to meet up with fellow collectors. This event will offer up to 80 tables (not inc. backing tables!) selling Toys, Trains, Trucks, Diecast Cars, Tinplate, Vintage Toys/Games, Soldiers, Action Figures, War Gaming Figures, Bears, Dolls, Model Kits, Lego, Modelling Accessories and much more. Following the success of the Working Layouts at our other events we hope to carry on the theme at Nantwich adding an extra dimension to the fair - Layouts attending TBC. Situated in one of Cheshire's finest medieval market towns, the event will take place in the large main ballroom of the Civic Hall. There is a large council run short stay (up to 5hrs) Car Park adjacent to the venue at a reasonable charge (we will have a extended stay voucher system for traders staying all day) - there is also surrounding "On street" Parking a short walk away. The Bus Station is next to the venue (with all services stopping there inc. No.84) and the Train Station is only a 5 minute walk away. Very reasonable priced refreshments are available in the hall so you can sit down and take a load off whilst you contemplate your next purchase. Admission: Adults £2, Children (Accompanied under 12) FREE Table Fee's: £25.00 6' table. Interested in having a table, got a collection to sell/a trader wanting to give it a go? Book now, ring: 07846772568. Want to make a day of it? There are plenty of shops and a Saturday market to visit as well as plenty of attractions within the town and further afield.
  17. There was a time when men were men and horses weren't lasagna. I’m currently building some horse-drawn vehicles for the little yard behind my goods depot. I began with Langley’s whitemetal kit for a GWR 5 ton wagon. This represents one of the standard designs often seen in photos from pre-grouping days, especially in the London division. It should be said at once that it isn't a finescale kit - indeed it's a bit rough in places. But with a little work I thought it would be OK for a position in the middle-ground of this little layout. The kit as supplied. At 20£ this is no cheap kit, though I imagine the three horses and carter are part of the reason. There is little flash, but most parts do need a bit of filing and tweaking to make a good fit. The instructions are reasonable, although some details of the assembly are left to the imagination. To improve appearances, I filed thick bits down to a leaner shape. I added rails between the side boards, and used wire in drilled holes to secure items (as per photo above). I compromised on the stanchions that support the "raves": These are moulded as solid triangles, but replacing them is not really practical, I think. In primer. The seating arrangement follows the elevated “Paddington” pattern (as opposed to the much more basic “Birmingham” style). The parts provided for this looked overscale to me, so I basically rebuilt the whole seating arrangement. The fore carriage was fitted in a way that allowed it to actually pivot. There are shire horses and then there are shire horses! The one on the left came with the kit along with two others. The one on the right is from Dart castings. I opted for two of the latter. I replaced the supplied chain with something finer. To fit the chains to the horses, I sunk bits of wire into the beasts, fitted the chain and then bent the wire to form a small loop. For the lettering, I needed yellow letters. There are no ready-made transfers available for these vehicles, so I plundered the HMRS GWR goods wagons sheet, building up the wording letter by letter. The spacing to accommodate the framing was also seen on the prototypes, although it is accentuated here due to the thicker castings. The HMRS sheet does have yellow letters, but not enough for my purposes, so as an experiment I used white letters and coloured them afterwards with a yellow marker. I wouldn’t really recommend this – it works OK at first but you have to be very careful with the subsequent varnishing or it will take the colour right off. I’m not entirely happy with the lettering, but life is short. Done. The chain in the middle is a rough indication of the chains and skids used for locking and braking the wheels when parked. I do like the ‘osses. I was going to call them "the Finching Sisters" in honour of the two lovely ladies on Robin's Brent layout. Then I realized they were male. In position in one of the cartage bays. Although one or two details don't stand close inspection on this vehicle, I am reasonably satisfied with the overall outline and feel of it. The wagon seen from inside the depot. Not sure what to add in terms of load. It is tempting to do one of the sky-high loads seen in some photos (eg here), but I think it might become visually over-powering on this vehicle. Maybe on the next one. Off-topic: Looks like a leftover from the new year decorations has found it’s way into the goods depot. Happy New Year everyone! Notes on the prototype For what it’s worth, I’ve added here some of my own notes on these vehicles. Note that they are mainly based on my own observations from photos and drawings. I do have "Great Western Road Vehicles" by P. Kelley, but despite some useful illustrations, this book does not really go into much written detail on the horse-drawn wagons. Perhaps "Great Western Horse Power" by Janet Russell is better, and worth a purchase? Design These wagons were used for standard and heavy goods cartage. There were different types built to this style, some with six “bays”, some with five. Some were built for a single horse, some for two or more. The tare and tonnage varied considerably across the different designs. They had the “Paddington pattern” of seat arrangement, where the seat was elevated above the wagon. Hoops could be fitted to accommodate sheeting. A light version of the same design was used for parcels delivery vans, with hard tops. Distribution The wagons were especially prominent at Paddington, where photos suggest they were the all-dominant type in the 1900s. However they were also used elsewhere on the system (even as far as Cardiff, according to one drawing). In some areas they seem to have been rare though, eg at Birmingham Hockley the dominant goods delivery wagon was of a quite different design. A photo from Slough in the 1920s shows the type I have modelled alongside one of the Birmingham style vehicles, so the different types did appear together at some locations. Livery In Great Western Way (original edition), Slinn states that by the 1900s, station names were applied to larger horse-drawn vehicles whenever there was room for it (as seen on my model above). I have a theory, though, that this practice ended sometime after 1905 or thereabouts: Looking at photos after that date, station names are no longer present, and the “Great Western Railway” and numbering is all on one plank. Slinn also states that numbering was in random positions, but as far as I can see the numbers on these vehicles were always at the front end of the wagon. Perhaps Slinn missed the fact that the relative position of the lettering and numbers was necessarily “handed”, because we read from left to right (ie on the left hand side, it would be written “667 Great Western Railway” and on the right hand side, it would be “Great Western Railway 667”). According to Slinn, the lettering for horse-drawn vehicles in the 1900s was yellow or gold, shaded or not. I doubt gold would have been used for wagons like these, and there is no apparent shading in the photos I have seen. So presumably plain yellow (but the shade of yellow not clear?). I have sometimes wondered whether the lettering was in fact white on some wagons, because it stands out with very high contrast in some photos. However, looking at photos of parcels vans (which are known to have had white letters on their hard tops) it seems that the letters on wagons were darker than white, so presumably yellow. Later in the 1930s, horse-drawn vehicles adopted a different chocolate and cream livery and a different lettering style.
  18. Slowly but surely i am collecting models to build a Ffestiniog layout in 7mm. Having built a few of the Port Wynnstay range i am slowly but surely getting used to making them. When i built one of Phil's wagon kits it was my first foray into resin kit building. Having never built anything in resin i wasn't sure what to expect & it takes a bit of getting used to. I've now built a curly roof brake van, gunpowder wagon & a bug box which are all in the half painted stage. This kit is going to be built as coach 19 as it was in the late 1880's although my timescale & livery period will be stretched Today i decided to start the project & get this model underway but after going through the contents of the kit & my tool box i noticed i have lost all my small drill bits so work stopped as soon as it started. To add to this i cannot find my camera cable to show what i have done this morning so i shall give a brief description. After i built the curly roof brake kit i learnt a lot about these kits & might i add that i would not recommend one of these kits to a beginner. The resin castings do need to be checked against everything & all the parts need checking against each other to make sure you get a good fit. You'll need to file & shave down parts to get a good close fit so it is worth spending a good hour going over everything. I've made plenty of kits from brass & white metal & although they have there own problems there not as hard to do in my opinion as these. But....... with this being my forth Port Wynnstay kit i have to say that i really do like making these models. There very challenging & they do build into a very nice rare prototype. The bugbox which is currently 90% painted looks fantastic & the curly roof brake once finished will look the bizz too. This is what you get in the kit. This morning i have been over all the parts & identified what needs to be filed down or modified to make it fit & checked all the contents against the parts list to make sure i have everything before i start. I'm happy i have everything there & so i started to clean up flash & make the windows on the bodysides look uniform. The other thing i managed to do was tap the floor so that the bogie fixing screw would fit. I did this by first opening out the hole with an undersized drill & then run a little oil into the hole & then screwed the screw in with a screwdriver. One of the things i really like about working in resin is that it is very easy to shave & carve so a good sandpaper is all that is needed to get a fit. I use a very bit rough file to do the heavier work, i know that sounds a bit heavy handed but i get a really good finish from it. This afternoon i am taking the bike for a service but on the way home i am going to nip into the tool shop & pick up some drill bits so i can get cracking with the construction of the model. I'm going to be painting this model like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FR_Carriage19.jpg But i am going to be painting the upper panels with white like a LNWR coach. I've already painted the bugbox in this livery using precision paints lnwr coach plum. More to follow soon.
  19. Dear all, I have recently recieved permission from Andy Y to post this advertisement for 4mm scale crew members. They are from my own patterns, cast in pewter and come in sets of 6 for £15 or your choice of 2 for £7.50. Postage and packing is £2 for all orders. Payment is either by Paypal (email address [email protected]) or by cheque payable to T J Mallard which should be posted to:- T J Mallard, 2 Bonfire Hill Close, Crawshawbooth, Rossendale, Lancs, BB4 8PP. I would like to add that the figures come unpainted! Best regards Tom Mallard
  20. Hi all RMweb's 'chubber' (Doug Dickson) has written a really interesting article on painting and modifying Dapol figures with plenty of great photos to illustrate: https://www.model-railways-live.co.uk/Features/Practical_BRM_-_Painting_Dapol_Figures/ thansk Doug cheers Chris
  21. I've been exploring some of the smaller and lesser known 4mm whitemetal figure ranges recently. Here's a handful of photos showing a selection of some of them. These are cruel close-ups, but if we're concerned about the details of our stock, shouldn't we be equally concerned about whether the figures look right? Above: This group of horse shunters are from the Geoff Stevens range, which features sets of railway staff that can be used together in little cameos. As evident from the header photo, some of the figures in this range have well sculpted faces. Very often, I think, it is the face that makes or breaks a 4mm figure. Above: No, not a fight but a sheeting gang, also from Geoff Stevens. I am not normally attracted to figures that are frozen in mid-motion, and cameos like these can very easily become a cliché. However I couldn't resist the two sets pictured here, which fit well with a concept I have in mind for a future third layout in the Farthing series. Above: These figures are from Model Railway Developments (MRD). I've been wanting to have a closer look at these for some time, as the range is focussed on my own Edwardian period. Above: Two further MRD figures. This range demonstrates how whitemetal figures can vary considerably in quality and detail within the same range. The little girl seen here is very good, but I don't think she takes after her mother :-) Above: The same figure seen from two different sides. Quite often, I find, a figure can look unrealistic from one side but quite good from another. I wonder if this has something to do with the original sculpting process? In any case, careful positioning can sometimes bring out the good side in a figure. Above: This loco crew is from the small Alan Gibson range. Figures in the range seem to have a 1900s-1920s look and feel. The loco crew is made for L/H drive, which is a pity for GWR modellers. But I suppose non-GWR modellers deserve decent figures too ;-) Above: Two porters, also from Alan Gibson. I might change the pose of these, but the faces have a certain character! Captions, anyone? Above: A line-up of station staff from the above ranges, plus a figure from the better known Monty's range from Dart Castings. Above: Clearly there's a dinner party nearby! Another comparison here, with a couple from the large Langley range thrown in. Above: A group of Monty's figures. While there are individual useful figures in all of the above ranges, they don't trump the Monty's range, which in my view wins hands down every time. They have the right bulk, relaxed poses and the faces are usually good.
  22. Here's a brief illustrated write-up on my recent experiences with modified and detailed HO figures for Farthing. My normal source of figures is to backdate OO whitemetal figures from Monty's and other ranges (see this separate blog entry). But this can be time consuming, and for pre-grouping modellers the options are limited. Like others before me I have therefore been attracted to the large German HO ranges, and especially Preiser who have a small series of figures from the Victorian and Edwardian period. Some of these can be seen on the Preiser website. The big issue is size. The photo above shows medium-sized figures from Preiser and two UK ranges. In this case, the height difference is not particularly noticeable. As an aside, the different OO ranges also seem to differ in average size, with Monty's often being slightly larger (and I suspect thereby more correct) than eg Langley. In other cases, however, the size difference is quite noticeable. As this photo illustrates, it's not just the height difference, but just as often the difference in "bulk" that gives the game away. So in my view, HO figures often cannot be mixed indiscriminately with OO figures, and often need to be used on their own or in carefully selected places on the layout. One place where I find them particularly suitable is in cramped loco cabs, where their small size is a distinct advantage. There are other examples of that in this earlier blog entry. The large number of figures and poses in the German ranges means that there is good scope for light modification. Even if a particular type of figure isn't available, there is usually always one that has a similar stance and which can be modified with a little tweaking. This driver was originally a portly civilian frozen in mid-stride. The Preiser figures are fairly well detailed compared to some of the UK whitemetal ranges, although it does differ from figure to figure. Further detailing doesn't hurt though, and beards are great period markers. Here I've added a beard using plastic putty from Model Color, applied with a wet needle to ensure it goes on without clumping. Funky Victorians! Victorian beards are a whole study in themselves, it seems. These gentlemen sport different styles of plastic putty beards, based on the illustrations that I found on the internet. The Preiser figures are rather brightly coloured as they come, so I tone down or repaint them. There are, of course, lots of figure painting techniques available on the internet, but some are a bit out of my league, and some just don't seem to work for 4mm scale. So I usually go for something simple and indicative. In my view, faces are a particularly criticial area, and a model with a well-sculpted face (such as this one) makes a big difference in terms of realism.Painting eyes etc is particularly tricky in this scale, so if a face is well-moulded, I often simply give it a blackened wash and let it settle in the right places, touching up lightly with skin colour afterwards. The difference when toned down/repainted is usually very significant!
  23. I've been on the lookout for 4mm pre-grouping drivers and firemen recently, but so far with limited success. Meanwhile, here's a couple of modified ones from IKB. For me, tiny projects like these are as much fun as the more substantial work. The IKB fireman seen above is unusual in that, unlike 90% of 4mm firemen, he is not furiously shovelling! Unfortunately the mould lacks a bit of bulk, so I extended his girth using plastic putty. The nose was re-sculpted and the original whiskers were replaced in order to enhance relief and character. The camera has interpreted the trousers as black, while in reality I've given them a blueish tone. (Edit: See discussion on colour of jackets below). The driver uses the IKB body and the re-sculpted head of a Langley cartage man. The IKB crew actually includes a couple of extra heads, which is a great idea but I had already used these on other figures. The arms have been repositioned to reduce the stick-like appearance. Here's the crew temporarily mounted in a River Class loco. The loco was built to near-finished condition by the late Dave Perkins from a Peter K kit, and is now allocated to Farthing. There are various issues with the paintjob and boiler fittings that I need to look into (my doing, not Dave's), but she is a very sweet runner. The IKB crew is nominally "Victorian" by design. However the characteristic buttoning of jackets at the top is also evident on footplate men in some Edwardian photos. Having said that, the pre-grouping uniforms of GWR footplate crew don't seem to be very well described in the literature, and I'm unsure exactly what is correct for Edwardian times. In fact, a casual scan of photos from that period reveals a bewildering variation in the styles of jackets and caps worn by footplate crew. One pitfall here seems to be that many of the people on the footplate in such photos aren't actually crew, but inspectors etc. I also have a theory that drivers and firemen sometimes put on their private clothes and/or headwear in order to look decent in photos. Finally, given their working conditions I'm guessing that footplate crew resorted to a variety of protective clothing at different times of the day and year. Perhaps not all of this was standard? While on the subject of figures, I hear that Falcon offer some good 4mm footplate crew, but I am unsure what period they are for, and whether they are obtainable on-line? Oh, and wouldn't it be great if we had something like Heroes of the Footplate in 4mm scale!
  24. Off with their heads! Farthing is set in Edwardian times, but good figures from this period are not easy to come by. I've therefore been doing a bit of backdating to the excellent Monty's range of 1930s-50s figures from Dart Castings. The photo above shows a rather gruesome selection of body parts left behind from butchering and modifying the Monty's figures. This lunar landscape shows my preference for blu-tacking the figures to inverted cups, so I don't have to handle them during painting. The cups give a good grip and you can turn them any way you want to get the right angle for painting. Paint and varnish is Vallejo acrylics, which are superb and work fine for me on whitemetal as long as its primed and varnished. Mr and Mrs Longbottom in trial position on the bay platform. They will shortly be joined by Mrs Longbottom's niece, who is slightly delayed due to her currently having no head. Mrs Longbottom is the result of a bit of fun figure-bashing (terrible word!). The face and upper body is from a Monty's figure (this one), with a bit of DAS modeling clay added to the hat and body to suit the style of the period. The lower body is from the Langley range of Edwardian figures, whose dresses are rather good, but whose upper bodies are a bit too stick-like for my tastes. Adding various types of beards to the figures (well the male ones at least!) helps to backdate them. This ganger is remodelled from a Monty's figure, adding a moustache made from Miliput, and with a modified hat. The latter was inspired by a similar hat worn by a ganger in a photo I have. None of your fancy bowlers here! This is the station master of Farthing. He is in fact a skipper from the Monty's range (one of the more recent additions), with the cap cut to look GWR-ish. The cutting of the coat isn't quite right, but life is short... This was originally a 1930s porter that I've attempted to backdate by filing off his pockets, modifying his cap and adding a moustache. His arm has been repositioned as he will be standing by a cart. This gentleman has had his original hat replaced with a bowler made from bits found in the spares box. This seems to be one of the more popular figures from Monty's. I've filed down his hat to represent the boaters of the period, and modified his nose just a little to make him look different from all the other ones out there. This worker is entirely unmodified, with the moustache painted on. I go for relaxed poses when I select figures, as I'm no great fan of the "frozen movement". Hmmmm, went a bit too far on the backdating there! Jokes aside, this is one of my son's plastic Warhammer figures that I painted. Now I know they're a bit larger than 4mm figures (I don't believe there's an exact scale for Warhammer - for good reason!), but they're not that much larger, and look at all that crisp detail. Imagine those production techniques applied to 4mm model railway figures! But I suppose the cost would be too high and the market too small?
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