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Older Inspirational Layouts

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Vivien Thompson's Eastbourne in the sixties, and her modelling articles were an eyeopener for me.  A superb modeller.

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The late John Flann's "Little Hintock" was (and indeed still is) hugely influential to me as is Charford. Another one was from an early 60's edition of RM was "Tetfield", I'd love to see a copy of that article again.

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On 15/11/2019 at 07:25, jrg1 said:

Vivien Thompson's Eastbourne in the sixties, and her modelling articles were an eyeopener for me.  A superb modeller.

She lived near York for a time and helped out at York Show.  Very helpful lady and a great modeller!

Baz

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53 minutes ago, Barry O said:

She lived near York for a time and helped out at York Show.  Very helpful lady and a great modeller!

Baz

I was a great fan of hers, and the articles she wrote were a huge inspiration for me.  She suddenly stopped in the mid-seventies, and the last time that I read her, she described an SR EMU build.  

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4 hours ago, 4109 said:

The late John Flann's "Little Hintock" was (and indeed still is) hugely influential to me as is Charford. Another one was from an early 60's edition of RM was "Tetfield", I'd love to see a copy of that article again.

There was a special "something" about Charford. It was never twee or hackneyed but had that elusive railway atmosphere about it.

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3 hours ago, Barry O said:

She lived near York for a time and helped out at York Show.  Very helpful lady and a great modeller!

Baz

I should have mentioned that Peco published books on the subject of Rev. Peter Denny and Vivien Thompson's work.  Both books were a poor, cheap testament to them.

Eventually, Wild Swan brought out two volumes on Buckingham, giving Peter Denny the recognition as an outstanding modeller he deserved.

If only Vivien Thompson was similarly recognised.

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Denny fans might find my thread looking at the realities of the routes that his model railways took interesting.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer

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On 17/11/2019 at 23:34, jrg1 said:

I should have mentioned that Peco published books on the subject of Rev. Peter Denny and Vivien Thompson's work.  Both books were a poor, cheap testament to them.

Eventually, Wild Swan brought out two volumes on Buckingham, giving Peter Denny the recognition as an outstanding modeller he deserved.

If only Vivien Thompson was similarly recognised.

That's a bit harsh,  rather like saying that Landscape with Figures  tells the story of Tom Rolt's involvement with the Tallylyn Railway better than his earlier Railway Adventure and then dismissing the latter as poor.

 

Peter Denny was the author of Buckingham Great Central published by Peco. That would make it a poor, cheap testament to his own work by himself. That seems an odd way to look at it and, reading Peter Denny's own Author's Preface in the first Wild Swan book, clearly not one that he would have shared. 

I have both books and, though with two volumes he was able to tell the story in greater depth and take it from twenty five to fifty years of railway modelling, I still pick up the Peco book rather more often. I can't see anything wrong with it except that it was published in 1972 rather than 1993 & 1994 when there had been a slight improvement in the reproduction of photographs. However. this is where I think the Wild Swan books really missed an opportunity by not including colour photography. For Buckingham, Model Railways managed it in 1979 & 1984 as did Modeller's Backtrack in 1991 so it wasn't exactly an exotic technology but, apart from two photos on the front and back of volume two, the Wild Swan volumes are purely in shades of grey.  

I'm afraid I also find Buckingham Great Central far better designed as a book. The layout of the Wild Swan books seems rather confusing with new sections of chapters often starting in odd places. 

Edited by Pacific231G
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4 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

For Buckingham, Model Railways managed it in 1979 & 1984 as did Modeller's Backtrack in 1991 so it wasn't exactly an exotic technology but, apart from two photos on the front and back of volume two, the Wild Swan volumes are purely in shades of grey.  

 

 

Railway Modeller published colour photos of Buckingham on a number of occasions too, most notably the front cover in 1986(?) shortly after Peter had moved it to Truro.

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2 hours ago, t-b-g said:

There have been many articles on Buckingham that included colour photographs.

 

Just in case people are reading the thread and wondering what this often mentioned Buckingham looks like, here is one of my recent snaps.

 

DSCN1328.JPG.66829dec4b161c1da14e9970511023ba.JPG

 

 

Another excellent photo Tony and, as you say, there have been many articles on Buckingham in colour and It really brings Peter Denny's modelling to life. There had already been several in the decade before Wild Swan published their books in 1993/1994 which only makes one wonder even more why they didn't go for colour. 

I do also wonder if there ever were any colour photos of Buckingham's earlier versions. I'm thinking particularly of Leighton Buzzard mk 1. They probably wouldn't have been published before the 1980s but might they nevertheless exist?

Edited by Pacific231G

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11 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

Another excellent photo Tony and, as you say, there have been many articles on Buckingham in colour and It really brings Peter Denny's modelling to life. There had already been several in the decade before Wild Swan published their books in 1993/1994 which only makes one wonder even more why they didn't go for colour. 

I do also wonder if there ever were any colour photos of Buckingham's earlier versions. I'm thinking particularly of Leighton Buzzard mk 1. They probably wouldn't have been published before the 1980s but might they nevertheless exist?

I seem to recall Wild Swan being criticized in other quarters for their reluctance to use colour even when it is available.  

I do hope there are some early colour photos around.   One the great delights for me was uncovering a handful of  colour transparencies of the Craig and Mertonford taken in the mid 1950's plus the colour photograph that graced the front cover of the Modeller in April 1954.  What a pity it would be another 30 years before  colour started appearing regularly in the model railway mags.

Malcolm

 

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12 minutes ago, dunwurken said:

I seem to recall Wild Swan being criticized in other quarters for their reluctance to use colour even when it is available.  

I do hope there are some early colour photos around.   One the great delights for me was uncovering a handful of  colour transparencies of the Craig and Mertonford taken in the mid 1950's plus the colour photograph that graced the front cover of the Modeller in April 1954.  What a pity it would be another 30 years before  colour started appearing regularly in the model railway mags.

Malcolm

 

Colour didn't happen on a regular basis until the 1990s, because presumably it was much more expensive. Once the publishers started using computer publishing, it appears to be much lees of an issue.

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I was never good at remembering dates.   Was it as late as the 1990's?   My guesstimate at 30 years from the mid 50's was based on the publication of a full colour article on the C&MR in the April 1980 RM and which was by no means the first colour in the mag.

Malcolm

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On 18/04/2019 at 11:49, Nearholmer said:

It might well be that many of us are actually following the same path, but displaced forwards or backwards in time: heavily inspired by what we read in those formative years.

 

Certainly my taste for the slightly retro in layouts has something to do with coming home from a jumble sale with a huge stack of 1950s and early-1960s Railway Modellers, when I was about nine of ten years old. These I read over and over again, and they only got thrown away once I'd got a paper round a few years later, and could afford to buy the latest editions as they were published.

 

As well as the likes of Deane, Denny, Hancock etc, building 4mm scale layouts indoors, those old RMs contained quite good coverage of garden railways and indoor 0-gauge, lines, things of a style that was old-fashioned even when they were published, stuff that really harked back to the 1930s.

 

Of course, Denny himself built a really inspirational garden line, which he described in either the late-60s or early-70s. The locos had old, but high-quality, clockwork 0-gauge mechanisms, and the whole thing represented 3ft gauge, the loco-housings and rolling stock being scratch built, much of it from "throwaway material" like old tin cans flattened-out, cardboard, and leftover bits of wood . It made a point, which I think has got slightly lost somewhere along the way, that a very good outdoor line can be created fairly cheaply, by the combination of reusing, recycling, and craft skill ....... the result wasn't a "crude thing made from a load of old rubbish", which the recipe might make it sound.

My knowledge of layouts comes from my dad's collection of RMs, MRCs and Model Rails from the 60s to the mid 80s (when I was 10). After that he only bought MRJ (and for a time NG&IRM) so my knowledge of layouts, and peak inspirational period is that of a much older modeller. I've never regularly bought magazines myself.

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Re-colour in railway modelling magazines. Many of the contributors would've submitted their pictures only in monochrome. I know that I only really started taking colour pictures in the 1980s.

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On 18/04/2019 at 11:49, Nearholmer said:

It might well be that many of us are actually following the same path, but displaced forwards or backwards in time: heavily inspired by what we read in those formative years.

 

Certainly my taste for the slightly retro in layouts has something to do with coming home from a jumble sale with a huge stack of 1950s and early-1960s Railway Modellers, when I was about nine of ten years old. These I read over and over again, and they only got thrown away once I'd got a paper round a few years later, and could afford to buy the latest editions as they were published.

 

As well as the likes of Deane, Denny, Hancock etc, building 4mm scale layouts indoors, those old RMs contained quite good coverage of garden railways and indoor 0-gauge, lines, things of a style that was old-fashioned even when they were published, stuff that really harked back to the 1930s.

 

Of course, Denny himself built a really inspirational garden line, which he described in either the late-60s or early-70s. The locos had old, but high-quality, clockwork 0-gauge mechanisms, and the whole thing represented 3ft gauge, the loco-housings and rolling stock being scratch built, much of it from "throwaway material" like old tin cans flattened-out, cardboard, and leftover bits of wood . It made a point, which I think has got slightly lost somewhere along the way, that a very good outdoor line can be created fairly cheaply, by the combination of reusing, recycling, and craft skill ....... the result wasn't a "crude thing made from a load of old rubbish", which the recipe might make it sound.

 

Seeing this post quoted reminded my to mention that the Denny Garden Railway is still with us and an article on it being rebuilt appears in the recently issued edition of one of the Garden Rail magazines. Much had to go as many of the buildings were made from asbestos or the timber was rotten but some of the track and most of the locos and rolling stock survive and are in good hands.

 

The builder of the newly restored garden railway is a certain Stephen Denny! The locos are even being updated to be radio controlled.

 

 

Edited by t-b-g
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1 hour ago, t-b-g said:

 

Seeing this post quoted reminded my to mention that the Denny Garden Railway is still with us and an article on it being rebuilt appears in the recently issued edition of one of the Garden Rail magazines. Much had to go as many of the buildings were made from asbestos or the timber was rotten but some of the track and most of the locos and rolling stock survive and are in good hands.

 

The builder of the newly restored garden railway is a certain Stephen Denny! The locos are even being updated to be radio controlled.

 

 

Thanks Tony, that is indeed good news.  I'd rather assumed that the TVLR had been dismantled when Peter Denny retired from Newlyn or even before, it hadn't occured to me that one of his sons might have taken it on and it's great to know that Stephen has. 

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22 hours ago, kevinlms said:

Colour didn't happen on a regular basis until the 1990s, because presumably it was much more expensive. Once the publishers started using computer publishing, it appears to be much lees of an issue.

Colour printing seemed to become affordable even for smaller publishers with the advent of Desk Top Publishing.  I'm no expert but I produced three of the six programmes in the 1990 BBC series "Into Print". This was about  the revolution, by then well under way, in publishing created by affordable micro-computers with good graphics capability and DTP software. That made a lot of the process far more straightforward but, so far as colour was concerned, made it far easier to generate the CMYK separations that colour printing requires.

My impression was that, though the actual printing in colour was more expensive, the really heavy costs had been in the prepress stage when, for example, separations had to be produced photographically.  That was fine for a major publishing house with a whole art department but not for smaller specialist publishers. By 1989 though it had become feasible for a freelance publisher, admittedly an experienced one,  working from home to produce a glossy colour magazine him or herself. I know that because we filmed one of them, David Hewson, who was launching a new monthly  aviation magazine "Flyer". The availability of the technology and software then moved forward very fast so by 1993-94 it was in very common use by most professional publishers

Edited by Pacific231G
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11 hours ago, dunwurken said:

I was never good at remembering dates.   Was it as late as the 1990's?   My guesstimate at 30 years from the mid 50's was based on the publication of a full colour article on the C&MR in the April 1980 RM and which was by no means the first colour in the mag.

Malcolm

 

For some years RM had occasional colour centrefolds (or not always centre) if the subject demanded it - I think one of the first was Allan Downes's 'Scenic Splendour'. However I would agree that it was probably at least late 80s before all pages were colour (and later still for the adverts).

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1 hour ago, Pacific231G said:

Thanks Tony, that is indeed good news.  I'd rather assumed that the TVLR had been dismantled when Peter Denny retired from Newlyn or even before, it hadn't occured to me that one of his sons might have taken it on and it's great to know that Stephen has. 

 

The TVLR was relaid at the retirement house in Truro although in later years, it got to be hard work for Peter to maintain. At that time the locos were battery powered with direction and on/off switches mounted on the locos. When I first saw it, just a couple of years before Peter died, it was quite neglected and not run more than a demo run up and down a few feet of track.

 

We did remove the remains as much as we could when we collected Buckingham and a friend of mine was going to have it in his garden but he never made much progress. When Stephen Denny retired, he mentioned that he might want a garden railway so it was offered back to him and he is doing a lovely job with it. 

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10 hours ago, t-b-g said:

 

The TVLR was relaid at the retirement house in Truro although in later years, it got to be hard work for Peter to maintain. At that time the locos were battery powered with direction and on/off switches mounted on the locos. When I first saw it, just a couple of years before Peter died, it was quite neglected and not run more than a demo run up and down a few feet of track.

 

We did remove the remains as much as we could when we collected Buckingham and a friend of mine was going to have it in his garden but he never made much progress. When Stephen Denny retired, he mentioned that he might want a garden railway so it was offered back to him and he is doing a lovely job with it. 

One of my favourite model railway photos is the one of the Revd Denny holding up the two halves of the lifting bridge across the lawn.

 

Edit: Now I think about it, it might have been one of the boys holding up the bridge - but still a super photo.

Edited by St Enodoc
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On 19/11/2019 at 11:56, dunwurken said:

I seem to recall Wild Swan being criticized in other quarters for their reluctance to use colour even when it is available.  

I do hope there are some early colour photos around.   One the great delights for me was uncovering a handful of  colour transparencies of the Craig and Mertonford taken in the mid 1950's plus the colour photograph that graced the front cover of the Modeller in April 1954.  What a pity it would be another 30 years before  colour started appearing regularly in the model railway mags.

Malcolm

 

Hi Malcolm

Are those transparencies avaialable anywhere? Though I accept that later versions of the CMR reflected P.D. Hancock's developing interests, the original version of the CMR was always far and away my favourite and It would be wonderful to see it in colour. I was never quite sure whether the cover picture on the Apri l954 Modeller was taken from a colour photo or was a tinted B&W  image. I can't check that easily as I have it in a bound volume, which  doesn't include the front covers.

 

The Wild Swan imprint is now owned by Titfield Thunderbolt and, in its  website, Simon Castens does mention criticism of the lack of colour photography.  According to this, Paul Karau, who set up Wild Swan eschewed digital publishing and stuck with physical layout of pages on sheets. Some book designers prefer to work that way and, given the very high quality- often glass plate- images from official photographs that the books included, that probably did make sense.  I have a few of Wild Swan's modelling books though and, colour is an essential element of modelling. Though my own efforts come nowhere near, I do refer quite often to Cottage Modelling for Pendon and the images on the end boards only emphasise what's missing inside.

The addition of colour to MRJ in 2002 certainly did it no harm but I don't know what production methods Paul Karau used for it.

Edited by Pacific231G

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Were there any photos or plans available of Vivien Thomson's Eastbourne? Was there even a layout? I remember borrowing the Peco book from my local library and being disappointed that it was just about modelling buildings... should have paid more attention to the title I suppose!

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41 minutes ago, Dr Gerbil-Fritters said:

Were there any photos or plans available of Vivien Thomson's Eastbourne? Was there even a layout? I remember borrowing the Peco book from my local library and being disappointed that it was just about modelling buildings... should have paid more attention to the title I suppose!

I hope there was a layout as it won the Railway Modeller Cup for 1968. According to the Peco website it was featured in January (as Railway of the Month) , February and October 1968. Unfortunately, my run of bound volumes doesn't include that year so I can't tell you anything more about it. Railway of the Month did almost invariably include a layout plan.

Edited by Pacific231G
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