Monday 30 January 2023

A brutalist car park in Stratford on Avon

Just a quick post tonight, with a few shots taken in a car park.  I'll admit that at first glance that does strike as us being very much scraping the barrel for subject matter, but  actually there were some interesting angles and odd bits of colour which caught my eye. 

Its probably down to growing up in the Midlands, but I have a bit of a thing for brutalist architecture.

Seeing if the stairwell looks any better in greyscale.

Particularly spooky and atmospheric?  Then again, I find most brutalist concrete structures of this era quite atmospheric, and just a tad unpleasant.

If anything it seemed more sinister with a car there in shot.

...and in greyscale, again.  I quite liked that in a stereotypically 'twee' (supposedly) Stratford on Avon there was a manky 60's structure like this within a few minutes of Shakespeare's birthplace.


Sunday 22 January 2023

Running Like Clockwork

We're back after our break from the start of January, and to kick-off 2023, here's a blog on a model railway build/photography project that Ben undertook for the Hornby Collectors Club.

The model/art project that kept me (Ben) sane during the first Lockdown was the Ivor the Engine-themed layout, which rekindled a childhood love for clockwork trains.  Much as I enjoy seeing high-fidelity model making, and the super-detailed miniatures available now, I find there's something to be said for little brightly-coloured trains racing round and round.

Most of the major model railway manufacturers from the 1960's onwards made cheap starter clockwork trains, and they've not really attracted the attention of mainstream collectors yet, so they tend to be cheap and plentiful.  Since that Ivor project, I've been quietly buying them up when I see something cheap, as I'd had an idea for a possible project, a layout displaying these models.  Sometimes they were damaged, sometimes repairable, sometimes in mint condition.

Anyway, late-October last year, I approached the Hornby Collectors Club on whether they'd be interested in a piece on the Ivor layout I'd built, but the editor wanted a wider article on the clockwork trains, and the modified ones I'd been making from the scrap/damaged versions.

The idea I'd had was to create some 'what if' models, the idea being to follow logical designs with the idea that Triang, later Hornby, had continued the range beyond the three they made in the 1960's, and the single model which was still being sold into the 1990's.

I'll probably do something way more detailed for the Model Making Blog on the construction/modification aspect of the build, but these few shots should give a taste of it.

Whilst I had the model trains, I didn't have the planned layout, and in the short turn-around time for the article there was no chance to cobble together a layout.  However, Youngest Child's model railway was dragged out of the cupboard and given a bit of set dressing, and the background boards for my other miniature shoots were dragged out of storage.  Given it was a gloomy November Saturday that I had free to do the shoot (fitting it around the Day Job), the day was very much saved by the awesome studio light Amy borrowed off work for the weekend.  Given my original hope had been to shoot outdoors in natural light, and it chucked it down all day, this turned out to really help.

It was a fun shoot, trying to think in terms of composition to show off the models, without the background being too distracting, and what models would complement one another (as evolutions of each design).

Yellow Train; as per the vehicle counting game we used to teach The Childs maths on long journeys, a yellow train automatically wins The Game.

Rather simple and basic as the layout is compared to the sorts of high-quality exhibition layouts you get in the model railway magazines, it really suits the theme of the old-school 1960's-style modelling I was doing here, and makes a nice backdrop for the pics.

Actually it really looks like the vintage Thomas model series from the 1980's in some shots.

My favourite model from the lot, but then as a child of the 80's I love the 'Red Stripe' colour scheme.

Most of the shots ended up being pretty traditional, 3/4 views as per the sorts of pics that would be required of the article, but I did try a few odd angles.  Does show we need to do some more work on this model railway at some point, but the peril of a small house is that it lives most of the year in the cupboard...

Hats off to the editor and designers, the article looks lovely on the page!

The Hornby Collectors Club mag is a new one for me, but I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience of doing this article.  The clockwork project is something that'll probably just become a 'for fun, when I feel like it' one from now on, but I may end up doing some more in the future.

There's a couple of other mag articles in the pipeline for the near future, but it's been nice to kick-off the year with some miniatures work.  As I write this, I know I've something else Ivor the Engine related, but in a significantly larger scale, to finish building for an activity for Scouts, so expect that to crop up here too shortly...