Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scratch-Building Rusty ~ 16mm Scale

Rusty, the little diesel of the Skarloey Railway, is finished and ready for show!


I loved working on Peter Sam and Stuart a while back, so I set to work on Rusty, and here he is.

He has always been my favorite character from the Skarloey Railway as a child, remembering when he helped Peter Sam from his accident at the quarry, and the story Britt Allcroft created of his adventure rescuing Stepney the Bluebell Engine.

I have always liked the changes made to Rusty's working models, from his charming faces on season 4, to his large scale season 5 model from "Rusty and the Boulder." Built in large 16mm scale, he was equipped with a larger radiator for a square face, a wider body, and weathered in grime and dust as he looked in season 4.

Rusty from 1959, with working brake hose and chain, and wearing his sad face.
Talyllyn Railway No.5 "Midlander," built by Ruston and Hornsby ~ talyllyn.co.uk
"Midlander," is the name of the diesel Rusty is based on, from the Talyllyn Railway, and built by Ruston and Hornsby, who manufactured many variations of the design, including some with no cab.

Looking at original illustrations of Rusty from the Railway Series books, I decided to create my scratch-built model as how I envision him in his dark gray Railway Series livery, in a style mashed from season 5 of the show with the real locomotive.


This has to be one of my favorite scratch-built projects that I've been planning on doing for the Skarloey Railway, adding to Rusty some new details that really has made him look very realistic, from the cab details, bolts, couplings, and brake-pipes!


I made the body shell with Bazzil Basics smooth card stock. This was a lot stronger than the textured card I usually use from Bazzil making my structures. Braced with Midwest Products balsa wood, the pieces are all glued together with white glue and crazy glue.


Like Peter Sam's handrails, I used Darice Craft Designer 16 and 12 gauge wire with balsa to make cab details like the handles and controls, fixed into place using Crazy glue. The rivets and facets for each control are wrapped office paper cut in strips that are glued and painted.

I use an EK Success Dual Tip Metallic Pen or a metallic Sharpie to draw the lettering of his nameplates. 


Another new detail you'll notice are the bolts! The bolts are plastic "gems" that can be pealed off and stuck on with adhesive, found in the jewelry isle from the craft store. I sprayed them with matte paint, super-glued them on the sides with Crazy-Glue, and painted and weathered the body using Plaid FolkArt and Apple Barrel acrylics. The bolts look so good and much easier to make with a slick of paint and weathered!

The leather seat is a piece of Sculpy clay, with indents on the top, baked to be mounted for the driver to sit on like a tractor, painted in a leather color.


I gave Rusty side rods, similar to Bachmann's On30 scale Davenport 0-4-0 Side Rod Gas Mechanical Locomotive (Pictured here with kit-bashed parts by Backwoods Miniatures), which work well and look rather good in motion! The rods are made from balsa, and scratch-built mounts hold the rods in place on the Lego motor wheels.

Engine Doors open for easy access to the motor.
The metal doors can open up too! This was inspired from the story "Rock N' Roll" in the book "The Little old Engine," when the manager Mr. Hugh was trying to get Rusty's engine started. Fans may remember that Rusty was upset with Duncan after treating him badly for being a diesel, and warning him from having the accident he would have coming off the old rails (!).


I used Scotch tape to make the pieces of card fold over to look inside. The Ruston and Hornsby motor is made with card and craft wire, the shell braced in wood.


When filming this scene, I can have the doors open all the way or half-opened, using tape to hold it in place. Here Rusty has his annoyed face on, carved in Sculpy clay.


Rusty also has working chains! The hook is made from craft wire bent and cut to fit in the bolted mount on the buffer-beam. The chains are spray painted black.

He also has a mounted brake-pipe made from craft wire. The hose is made with a piece of cut leather that can bend and fastened to other cars made the same way.

Rusty looks awesome! I loved making him, and seeing how he turned out, it will be great what the next project will have in store...!

Remember you can check out the measured drawings made for Rusty.

Until Next time!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Peter Sam ~ Update #1:

These are a couple of modified elements planning out what I'd like to do for weathering and adding additional removable parts for Peter Sam.


This change came out beautifully! I used the same brass wire from the sanding tubes you can see in these photos to make the door handles. I glued strips of card paper wrapped a couple of times to the bent wire, and then spray-painted primer to match Peter Sam's colors and weathering.


Using Photoshop, I wanted to darken the panel that covers the bottom of his boiler, and that can be achieved with a watered down paint brushed to darken the panel.

I also have plans to have "bolts" made from plastic knobs that can be pealed off and glued onto the side. That will look much more realistic compared to cut paper squares!

I also have Peter Sam's footplate, and a gold rim on his funnel, as how he looked in the illustrations for the last two books the Rev. W. Awdry published of the Skarloey Railway.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Scratch-Building Peter Sam ~ 16mm Scale

As promised here are photographs of the second variation of a classic character from the Skarloey Railway. It's Peter Sam, scratch-built with specific parts and details made to be interchangeable with his design changes.


Since I began the project, I wanted this character to stay true to his roots in the Railway Series by taking the time and making the parts to show him as he looked from when he first arrived to the changes made to him over the course of his working life on the Skarloey Railway.

Plus, he is in his Railway Series livery, red with blue stripes! I also wanted to weather him a little for extra realism. When working with freight for a period of time, as portrayed in the television series, he would have a bit of suit and grime, but still cleaned and taken good care of by his crew.

Peter Sam from 1952, with his original funnel and no buffers.
Edward Thomas at Abergynolwyn ~ early 1950s, talyllyn.co.uk
Starting off, here is Peter Sam as he looked when he first arrived on the Skarloey Railway, with no buffers, his Corris Railway patented couplers, and his original funnel. This of course was based on the real prototype, Edward Thomas, when he was brought from the Corris Railway to the Talyllyn Railway.


This model has the same approach to construction I took modeling Stuart, equipped with brass pipes from craft wire and painted strips of glued paper, rivets and bolts, and replaceable headlamps.

The photographs from the Talyllyn Railway Archive were great references to keep on the screen while I constructed the model to stay true to the overall design, with the details I can combine stylistically with that from his season 5 model from the Thomas and Friends classic show.

Peter Sam from 1962, with his special funnel, the Giesl, and his buffers installed.
Edward Thomas with Giesl used from 1958-1969 ~ talyllyn.co.uk
Now here he is with his special funnel, and his buffers. These parts can be taken off and put back on for recreating moments from those stories when he had his accident at the quarry, when his old funnel was damaged, when the old drain pipe was wired to his buffer beam, and then getting his new one.


I made the Giesl chunky like his televistion model, but I made it thinner on the front and back in the shape of a rectangle, the overall shape still a trapezoid. I also made the front come out a little bit farther than the back as it does in real life. At the base I glued strips of card for square rivets so the funnel looks bolted on.


I gave Peter same bright red name plates like he does on the show, using an EK Success Dual Tip Metallic Pen to draw the lettering. I thought of making the tags black like Rheneas or Duncan instead, so I taped the nameplates in case I wanted to try that. The letters were hand-painted yellow on the tanks in the railway series illustrations, and look really nice. Just a matter of preference to see what looks best to me.


Here is the coupling in motion. The Corris railway coupling can be lowered to attach to the hook on the coupling of the car Peter Sam would couple to pull the train.


I'm really happy with Peter Sam's design. I hoped to capture the essence of the character as he was portrayed in the Railway Series and the television show, and he looks great! As he will be the first of the Skarloey Railway engines to be made this way, I'm going to model the others in similar fashion, with Rusty and Alf painted in their diesel livery, grey, and weathered.


Until next time!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Scratch-Building Stuart ~ 16mm Scale

Well here he is! Mid Sodor Railway number 4 has been scratch-built to join the roster of large scale narrow gauge stock for the layout.


As I made Prince last spring so it could be convertible to Duke, I really wanted to make another engine that could join him for his railway, and over the summer back in July, I planed to make Stuart. I wanted to make him look true to his large scale model seen in season 5 from "Duncan Get's Spooked," and in the way he was painted and weathered.

Stuart's sad face, a favorite of the faces I sculpted using Sculpy Clay.
Edward Thomas at Dolgotch ~ early 1950s, found at talyllyn.co.uk
As planned for future narrow gauge models, I also wanted to combine elements from the real prototype, to make them more realistic. Above is a picture of Edward Thomas taken after he arrived on the Talyllyn Railway, with his Corris Railway couplers, and no buffers, which was an ideal reference to follow for Stuart. At Nitrogen Studios and Arc Productions, the same approach was taken for the 3D modelers to create the narrow gauge characters for the newer CGI series. But of course, I also wanted to work from the illustrations from the Railway Series, specifically from "Duke the Lost Engine," combining all of these observations to create a model that I feel best represents the character.


In these views you can get a taste of the extra details I added for Stuart. As always, the cab, tanks, tender, and details such as hand rails, are all made of Bazzil Basics card stock. Braced with Midwest Products balsa wood, the pieces are all glued together with white glue and crazy glue. Scotch tape is used to brace the tank, smoke box, and cab roof together. I glued scraps of paper for square bolts, and even small globs of white glue on the box resting on the footplate.


For freight traffic, Duke and the other engines worked at the line's mines and quarries, carrying loads like slate, granite, coal, and ballast back to Arlesburg Harbor to be loaded on lorrys and ships. As it was a heavily industrial railway, Stuart would be dirty with grime, dust, and soot.  I mixed my paints to weather the body's tanks and cab using Plaid FolkArt and Apple Barrel acrylics.


As with Prince, his coupling rods are hand-made and really work as he moves. Stuart has extra pipes for water and sand. I used craft wire with a thick gauge. I would like to come back to this and add more detail like extra connecting bolts and added pieces to the pipe, using strips of glued paper, so it won't look as plain, like the pipe beneath his coal-bunker. For that pipe I'll add a lever from a thinner piece of bent wire for a handle!

I also decided to keep his red stripes, although he had none in the Railway series, as I like how it looks faithful to the television's model. Falcon however had red stripes faintly seen in the illustrations coming out of the tunnel in the "Bulldog" story, so that's something to consider with the other Mid Sodor engines.


In these photos I have displayed details of the cab interior, like the throttle, brakes, gauges, and other controls. The footstep is molded in the bottom of the cab entrance like the prototype, made from balsa, so the driver could stand on it steadily.


Here is his with a happy face from season 9. Just like he would look as Edward Thomas from the Corris Railway, Stuart has no buffers on his wooden buffer beam, but the characteristic hoop of medal that lowers to be coupled on with a hook from the coupler. All of the Mid Sodor engines had these couplers seen from the illustrations of Duke, Falcon, and Stuart, following the patent of the Corris Railway.


Like Prince, Stuart has headlamps on his front and back that can be removed from the lamp-irons and put back on.

This approach of scratch-building these classic characters is something I developed to make the Skarloey Railway engines, as well as more of the unseen characters from Duke's Mid Sodor Railway, quite possibly even with Culdee and the other Culdee Fell Mountain Railway engines and stock. I am really happy with how this is going. Like any serious modeler hand-making their own scratch-built stock, it takes time, planning, and patience, but it feels exciting from the progress I make that I'm getting better at this!

Next post, I'll show the copy I made of Peter Sam in his glorious Railway Series livery in red with blue stripes.

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.