Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Culdee & Patrick ~ Blueprints

 Here are scale drawings for two engines of the Culdee Fell Mountain Railway, Culdee and Patrick!

Culdee, No. 4, Built by SLM in 1896
"Mountain Engines," is one of my favorite books from the railway series. I really enjoy reading the stories of Culdee, the history of his line, and the operation of a very unique roster of equipment that were designed for climbing up steep slopes, through rocky terrain, and windy weather. It was a goal of mine to make the rolling stock and the sets of the Culdee Fell Railway many years ago, and for the past few days I made measured drawings of Culdee and Patrick (one Lord Harry), so when I decide to scratch build them, I could have these handy to keep them on-model to the real thing. They'll be the basis for the other engines, such as Wilfred, Shane Dooiny, Alaric and Eric.

Culdee, Front and Back Views
When I do make them, the coupling rods will work as they look in these drawings, so they'll move as the engine rolls along the track. It would be cool to hand-lay custom track with Midwest Balsa Wood and Evergreen Plastics to make rack rail, and I also plan to put together dioramas with foam rocks and props for recreating those memorable shots of the line seen in the books.
Patrick, No. 6, Built by SLM in 1962
The engine's Swiss-patented designs and their special equipment, along with both the atmosphere and nostalgia of the location of the railway were some of the reasons why these were some of my favorite stories. These engines needed bravery and courage for the dedicated operation of their railway. The moments of their adventures were illustrated well in the beautiful paintings of Peter and Gunvor Edwards.

It was wonderful to see the modeling team of the Thomas and Friends show create the larger scale sets and equipment for the Skarloey Railway and "Jack and the Pack." Each of these two industrial systems had their own charms that made them special. Narrow gauge, and construction! Looking back to their period of making model dioramas and working equipment for the show, I still believe it would have been an exciting opportunity for the show to recreate some of the stories that still lie waiting in the pages of the Railway Series, like the Small Railway system, and Duke's old Mid Sodor Railroad. It would have been amazing, but I think the reason why we really enjoy the books so much is just because the Reverend Awdry's vision was captured so beautifully from page to page, and for children and people of all ages, they are truly enjoyable to read. Maybe someday soon these stories will make it to the screen. Meantime, another good reason to come back to these books and read them again (!); and for me, to keep modeling too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tool Sheds #3: Yard & Quarry Huts

During the summer I was able to get back into making some more structures for the yard scenes, and here are a selection you may recognize from some of the newer and classic seasons of the Thomas show.

Here is the first one, a little yard office often seen from season 6, the collection of structures that were made since Thomas and The Magic Railroad. This building has also been seen at the quarry and Brendam Docks.

Since modeling the Knapford Goods Shed, I make singles from scratch using layered strips of cut textured card glued on the top for the roof, painted and weathered. I also used craft wire to make the drain ducts, with strips of paper wrapped and glued for the ribbons. Mounted on the walls are notices, and a work a force announcement for the crews at the back for extra detail.

Here is a small tool shed, often seen by refueling equipment next to the water columns and coal bunkers, weathered in a little dust for the quarry dioramas where there is a lot of gravel or sand.

You might recognize this one! This structure was made for the dioramas seen in seasons 1 and 2. The first batch of Wooden Railway buildings had included this structure along with the Tidmouth Signal Box. I also have a water hose-pipe at the back for when the structure is a stand-alone in the middle of a yard when not a lean-on next to a wall. There are also more notices and some scratch-built skids.

All of these buildings have hollow spaces underneath to add lights for filming the dioramas at night. I feel every time I try making more of these classic structures, keeping in mind everything I learned reading scale modeling magazines and websites, these buildings keep getting better and better. And that of course makes me very pleased indeed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Railway Series Structures #1: Lorry Garage

I would often flip through the Railway Series books to find structures I can model aside from the TV series of the Thomas show. A few years back I modeled a shed that is seen in an illustration found in the "Toby the Tram Engine" book, in the story "James in a Mess." I liked the size and the little vents on top, so I thought I would try and give this building a shot.

I cam back to it recently and added some extra details. I took off the original plain roof, and added balsa wood to strengthen the structure inside. I then glued strips of textured card-stock for a metal roof, painted and weathered, with a little rust coming from the tiny smoke-vents.

Next I made a wooden gable with a spire at each end for an elegant touch, as the structure could be next to a station or a yard with buildings that have that extra bit of ornamentation.

I added bits of Woodland Scenics ground foam for a little bit of overgrowth along the base of the structure, in addition to mounted notices outside and inside. The lorry is one of Base Toys' models from eHattons I used for the Horrid Lorrys remake I made a while back. It fits nice and snug indoors, and is a great shed for any large open vehicles.

This was a good one. I would like to add a grill above the entrance that's seen in the illustration, but otherwise, I'm pretty happy with how it came out, ready for filming!