Well, that has probably got your attention but that’s not the sort of model I am going to go on about here today.
I have had an interest in photography for years and have done the same as many, nicked my Dads camera, got my own Practica then Zenit E (that might have been the other way round), the a pair of Yashicas and finally a Canon. All these were film cameras and I did photos of model and real railways. Never really did people or the really small stuff. I did a bit at school and I did an evening class which worked its way up from the bowl of fruit to, for the final lesson, a real live model.
I sort of lost interest in the proper photography and my proper cameras as the cheapo digital age dawned. At that time `cheap’ DSLR’s were several thousand pounds and I said I wouldn’t get one until they became affordable. Then compact, bridge and mobile phone cameras all got pretty amazing and the photography I was doing then was basically snaps documenting what I and the volunteer groups I was involved with were up to, often just for websites so portability was more important that how clever it was. Cost also proved to be important when I dropped a camera whilst stood on top of a loco which happened to be stood on an inspection pit. I was going to say, “it didn’t bounce” but it did, on pretty much everything it could find on its way down. It didn’t work at the end of it.
Doesn’t time fly! Its been a busy summer with business stuff, garden railways and driving trains in Wales and as a result it hasn’t occurred to me to do anything with this blog so it comes as a shock to find the last post was in May (which also apologised for the infrequency).
Anyway the thing that has prompted me to place pixel to screen now is to post some pictures of an event that took place last Saturday. The 7mm Narrow Gauge Association fosters area groups which are encouraged to run members open days. Whilst called members days all are welcome in reality.
The general format of these is an informal social meet with a little bit of trade, a few layouts, some demos and am emphasis on hands on and having a go. Food and endless teas and coffees are another incentive to attend,
With my NGtrains hat on I support the Bradford and Derby open days and take a selection of trade stuff and usually something to demo and get people to have a go at things. This year, on message, I built a set of 7mm scale Lynton & Barnstaple Railway bogies but then, off scale, I ran my HOf test track and built a 7/8th scale skip!
Those who subscribe to the EDM Models Newsletters [Subscribe] will know that the business has been closed for two weeks and most will have guessed that I was away driving trains again. I could write a blow by blow account of the two weeks but let’s just stick to the highlights, 640 miles driven over 12 days on duty, totalling 122 hours (bit more than a 40 hour week then) and 25 times to Blaenau.
Four different engines driven, David Lloyd George (56 miles), Linda (166 miles), Earl of Merioneth (194 miles) and Merddin Emrys (224 miles).
Driving trains from Porthmadog to Blaenau, and back, is pretty routine but there is new stuff to be seen. Our railway has got a pretty savvy media team who keep it in the public eye. They are constantly making new videos either for sale or to use in the social media and they are always looking for new angles and now they seem to have found one
The new toy is a sophisticated drone operated by a local company who offered to do some photography with it to demonstrate what it can do. It’s not the sort of drone you find Maplin selling.
We’re talking a pro job with six rotors, two cameras, a pilot with a helicopter license and five million quids worth of liability insurance.
Have a look at the video below. This was filmed by drone flown by vertical horizons media and edited by them and not by the railway
Whilst spectacular there are some issues with it. You will note the chap walking backwards and Merddin Emrys inhaling his own smoke. This is because the swooping in shots are actually filmed as swooping out shots as they’re easier to fly and then played backwards (ie forwards) and some bits were missed. The filming on the cob is all from the seaward side. This is because one of the drone flying rules is you don’t fly over the road.
Its all clever stuff but a film of 100% drone footage does get a bit tiresome.
Vertical Horizons have done other equally good films that are worth a look here Vertical Horizons
The future of drone footage is to use it sparingly cut in amongst ordinary camera shots. Whilst I was in Wales the railways camera teams and Vertical Horizons set out to film a sequence to demonstrate this and they chose Dduallt as the location and Linda with train as the subject. Five cameras were used and one top notch drone. Have a look at this and see what you think
Now this is actually a compilation of two up trips, the 10:45 and 14:30 ex Port on the 30th July. This I know because I was driving and my friend Clare Oates was firing. Whilst the film gives the impression of a non stop run that’s not the full story. On the first run we stopped to drop one of the cameramen off and the opening drone shot of Linda approaching to go under the bridge and you’ll see several seconds of steam from the chimney as Clare puts the blower on ready for me shutting the regulator. In the next drone section, the high level shot over the top curve you’ll see Linda slips twice as she tries to accelerate away from the stop. The bit in between of Linda powering through the station was the second non stop trip as the drone was over the embankment for this bit.
Once you have spotted it it’s difficult not to look directly at the drone and it is kind of weird as it backs away from you as you approach.
This film was just a sample of what is to come as they have apparently filmed loads.
I’ll finish with another video. Bit more of an amateurish attempt this and he needs to buy one of them furry squirrels to stick over the microphone
So why include that one? Well its me driving Merddin Emrys out of Porthmadog on my last day, 9th August, with Matt Ellis firing on what might be our last day on Merddin before its withdrawn in early September for its 10 year overhaul.
Now I try to make a living from model making and there are many things that can get in the way of this but a model has just been completed for a customer that demonstrates one of the problems with trying to make a living its nice to have.
This model is constructed from one of my Darjeeling B Class kits to 16.5mm gauge (it can be built to 14mm) which has then been painted and weathered by Chris Clark. The nice to have problem is that having done it and made a superb job of it a little bit of both Chris and I don’t want to part with it.
There are higher resolution photos of the model on the gallery tab at the top of the page or click this link. B Class Photos
This model is off to its new owner in Germany and we both hope he treasures it.
Producing one of these models is not a quick job with over 250 hours in the build and then Chris’s time to paint it so they don’t come cheap but both of us are happy to quote for doing a custom model just for you. Others are in build at this time with DCC, Sound & 14mm versions being progressed