Check, recheck, and Check again!
My early experience on MRC taught me to be highly critical of cover photographs. Perhaps I’m too critical, but I subject my own modelling to the same scrutiny and I’m seldom completely satisfied with my own efforts. I knew this photograph would be difficult. I recall an almost complete rebuild of the 1965 model before everyone was happy with it. In particular, the canopy had to be rebuilt from scratch and doubled in length. Despite this experience, I went through the same process again this time. In the accompanying pictures you will note that the end valancing has been changed and that the awning itself has been increased in length. Part of the reason is that the Heljan ‘Western’ and the Mk 1 coach are scale length and quite a bit longer than those earlier models. Also, I am using my own little digital camera, which gives me an instant photograph to study, rather than having to wait to process a film and find out, when it’s too late, that something is wrong.
This is better, but the canopy needs to be lengthened and the valancing changed. The Plastruct girders look good and the Pullman table lamps are working, but the track needs to look wetter. The bulb in the nearest station lamp (right) has blown, which means the whole lamp needs to be replaced.
The blown lamp has been replaced and an additional grain-of-wheat bulb added under the rear of the canopy. The result is getting nearer to what I want, so the next job will be to complete the awning and do the final fixing. I’ll probably add another light coat of varnish and then begin the detailing work.
I returned to the original idea of a freestanding awning instead of the station building. It is temporarily fitted, so it is not standing straight, and the etched end valancing looks untidy. The reflection in the varnished platform is working well, but the Pullman table lamps are not lit.
A daylight test with the Oxford building looks quite promising, but it is not sufficiently like the original picture to satisfy me. The light is illuminating the Pullman car, but that won’t be present in the finished photograph. The Pullman table lamps need to be lit! At this time there’s no gloss on the platform.
An after-dark view with the revised and lengthened canopy, which is yet to be permanently fixed. A coach is needed behind the locomotive, but otherwise the camera angle is better. The reflection is working well.
The Pullman lamps are lit but the station canopy needs to be alongside the locomotive, otherwise one or the other will be out of focus. The cab light in the locomotive is too bright, but I’m not sure how I can dim this unless I put it on a separate controller.
I have fond memories of standing beside a ‘Hall’ after dark at Swindon, so I decided to replace the Pullmans with a steam locomotive. An amber grain-of-wheat bulb on the cab floor gives the desired effect.
A second spray coat of varnish confined to the exposed areas of the platform gives a good contrast with the drier area under the canopy. It also results in a much better reflection of the ‘Western’.
I’ve now placed some figures and added the backscene. The latter required some light to make it visible but an LED torch, which was all that I had to hand, has turned it rather blue.