The burning question

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
WCML55.68
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The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:14 pm

Afternoon all.

We are all Im sure in the same boat here, when modelling scenes from 100+ years past. The boat called The Line, that is the line between accuracy and educated calculation. Mine is sinking at the moment.

Question, you spend years researching, photo finding, draw up what measurements and details you can be sure of, calculate what is missing and away ye go, months of hard graft to produce that model. Then a photo turns up proving that youve got something wrong. Something which does not detract from the model but would be VERY difficult if not impossible to rectify. So what does one do?? Ignore the inaccuracy and not tell anybody?? Point out the inaccuracy and do nothing, or go to very great lengths to correct?

Love to know the general consensus of opinion.

Regards P.

jimwatt2mm
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Re: The burning question

Post by jimwatt2mm » Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:44 pm

For me it depends on a) how great the fault is and b) how easy it is to correct. My objective is to re-create the character of the prototype, not to create museum quality exact replicas.

Jim W

WCML55.68
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Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:51 pm

Good answer Jim !!

dumb buffer
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Re: The burning question

Post by dumb buffer » Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:51 pm

A good model is a good model, and will be admired as such. Accuracy to prototype is only one aspect of it.
But it can be very irritating to the builder, nevertheless!

Allan F

tony brenchley
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Re: The burning question

Post by tony brenchley » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:17 am

This happened to me.

I always knew there was a water tower at Blairgowrie near to the turntable south of the engine shed erected in the 1870s. It is shown on both the track plans I have and some of the locals remembered it when I talked to them in the early 1970s. Unfortunately it was demolished before this time, although it might had survived to perform its function until the 1950s or even 1960s when diesel shunters replaced the steam engines used for the remaining goods traffic.

I was never able to locate a photograph and built a model using the water tank from a Ratio kit on a scratch built red sandstone base. This choice of building materials was assumed as this is the local building material and most of the station and the engine shed were built from it.

It was not until many years later that I did find a photo of it courtesy of Bill (WAC) Smith who took some photos at Blairgowrie on the last day of the passenger service in 1955. These clearly showed the water tower to be of brick construction. Apart from this the general style and size of the model building was shown to be correct.

The stone building still adorns my model of Blairgowrie and is likely to remain there.

Must get back to the family and Christmas jollities.

Tony B

WCML55.68
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Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:44 pm

Hi Tony,

Thats another great answer which echoes the sentiment so far. Sigh of relief from this end.

Many thanks,
All the best, Paul.

WCML55.68
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Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:26 am

Hi again Tony,

The three buildings at Harthope were all totally different in style, the house red sandstone quoinstones and grey sandstone? walls I think, the block four totally red sandstone and the block two, furthest north, was totally red brick. This was built around the turn of the 20th century, much later than the others.

I think I will leave the error for the now, plenty of other things to do, and just leave it on the back burner. Model was built with the knowledge and information available at the time.

Regards Paul.

tony brenchley
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Re: The burning question

Post by tony brenchley » Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:00 pm

I didn't have time to post this photo but it is the best one I have of the turntable at Blairgowrie and the only one of the water tower.
WAC Smith Blair Water Tower Forum.jpg
WAC Smith Blair Water Tower Forum.jpg (61.81 KiB) Viewed 2002 times
Tony B

Mike 1
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Re: The burning question

Post by Mike 1 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:24 pm

One problem is that a good model is assumed to be correct.

Many years ago my father was modelling Aylesbury LNWR. The loco shed had been cut down in length in LMS days to seven bays with a roof tank on the end bay but one. An old Driver said that the water tank on the roof was originally in the centre, so with no drawings or photos Dad built the model with 11 bays and the tank in the centre. Many years later a photo was found showing that it had ten bays with the tank almost in the middle. The driver had meant approximately in the middle, not exactly!

The model was never changed but a conversation was overheard many years later with somebody saying that notwithstanding the photograph, Geoff's model must be right because he always researched his models thoroughly - and maybe the real shed had been rebuilt at some point...

Beware that these misconceptions can be very hard to correct!

Mike

tony brenchley
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Re: The burning question

Post by tony brenchley » Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:24 pm

Hi Mike

Does that mean that your father was Geoff Williams? I remember the model of Aylesbury well and particularly the wonderful engines and rolling stock on it. This must have been a great inspiration for you. The model must have featured in the model press at some time. I have every issue of Model Railway Journal so I might find it in there.

Tony

Mike 1
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Re: The burning question

Post by Mike 1 » Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:48 pm

Yes Tony. It was in that curiously numbered issue No.0.

My inspiration came indeed from him and because I decided I couldn't met his standards I modelled in 7mm when it was out of fashion, and later Gauge 3. I think we draw on all sorts of places for motivation and ideas.

Mike

tony brenchley
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Re: The burning question

Post by tony brenchley » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:56 pm

Hi Mike

What a wonder first offering - No 0 MRJ.

In addition to your father's model it also featured John Watson's 'Laxfield' - a model railway well known to me as we used to visit John's house regularly for Norfolk and Suffolk Scalefour Society Area Group meetings. He was the inspiration behind 'Coldfair Green' the Area Group's S4 layout still on the exhibition circuit. John has been very poorly in the last year and I think he sold Laxfield. Before his illness he was working on a S7 model also based on his favourite Mid Suffolk Railway.

What happened to Aylesbury?

Tony B

Mike 1
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Re: The burning question

Post by Mike 1 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:58 pm

Well, Aylesbury was taken out of the loft of the family house when that was sold, and stored all over my house, loft and outbuildings for a few years. Eventually I gave it to the Princes Risborough MRC whose catchment area includes Aylesbury. They did a lot of work to make what is essentially a very permanent layout into one that could be exhibited. This they did and it is a possible for the new model museum mooted for south of London, if that ever happens.

But I am sorry to have not only hi-jacked this thread but also onto an entirely non-Caledonian subject!

Mike

Jim Summers
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Re: The burning question

Post by Jim Summers » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:13 am

No need to apologise, Mike.
This is a great forum for fascinating angles. Sometimes we don't change the headings enough, but so what? It is all interesting.

JimS

WCML55.68
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Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:41 pm

tony brenchley wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:00 pm
I didn't have time to post this photo but it is the best one I have of the turntable at Blairgowrie and the only one of the water tower.
WAC Smith Blair Water Tower Forum.jpg

Tony B
Hi Tony,

Thats a grand photo too, very clear and lots of detail. So to alter the tower would probably be a full rebuild.

The situation with the Harthope cottages is similar, built a couple of years ago from plans and photos available, but no rear shots had been unearthed. So an architect friend and myself poured over the official Scottish Region plans for upgrading these cottages and with what photos we had, decided on the MO. I knew there was a lean-to at the back but not exactly what its use or size was, whether coal or toilets. So 4 cottages with 4 rear doors and a double door lean-to in the available space. Then the cracking rear shot taken from the 3 summits Duchess tour in 1963 turns up. Theres no doors in the rear and the lean-to is twice as wide, although it is masked by a telegraph pole, probably 4 doors. One a scale of 1-10 where 1 is extremely cheesed off and 10 much higher, mines a 10. I dont suppose altering will be an option, still undecided as what to do, if anything. So finishing off has taken a bit of a back seat during the summer, plenty else to do.

Odd thing is, whether these lean-tos were toilets or coal holes or for rubbish is not known. But to access them means exiting the front door of each cottage and walking right round the back, and probably in the dark at night. Also one door to each residence is extremely dangerous I think, what if theres a fire and only one exit? Theres similar lean-tos behind the Beattock Village block of five, but the dimensions are much smaller, and the residents reckon they had never been toilets as there was no evidence inside. So a wee mystery.

Regards P.
P1050813 (2).JPG
P1050813 (2).JPG (81.54 KiB) Viewed 1801 times

WCML55.68
Posts: 140
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Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:45 pm

Mike 1 wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:24 pm
One problem is that a good model is assumed to be correct.

Many years ago my father was modelling Aylesbury LNWR. The loco shed had been cut down in length in LMS days to seven bays with a roof tank on the end bay but one. An old Driver said that the water tank on the roof was originally in the centre, so with no drawings or photos Dad built the model with 11 bays and the tank in the centre. Many years later a photo was found showing that it had ten bays with the tank almost in the middle. The driver had meant approximately in the middle, not exactly!

The model was never changed but a conversation was overheard many years later with somebody saying that notwithstanding the photograph, Geoff's model must be right because he always researched his models thoroughly - and maybe the real shed had been rebuilt at some point...

Beware that these misconceptions can be very hard to correct!

Mike
Hello Mike,

Thanks for your thoughts here and the story. To rectify this problem will be very difficult, if not impossible. So my gut feeling is just to leave for the now, and possibly repolace the whole row of 4 with something more accurate in the future. Im not totally satisfied with those window spars either, they dont photograph too well.The experience gained in their construction would mean a replacement could be fashioned very much faster. We will see.

Many thanks, P.

lindsay_g
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Re: The burning question

Post by lindsay_g » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:14 pm

Harking back to Paul’s dilemma, as far as I’m concerned it’s down to whether I can live with an inaccuracy. Others may become aware of the inaccuracy, but that wouldn’t bother me so much - it really would be down to whether the inaccuracy is going to get to me each time I look at the model. Of course the extent of the inaccuracy would be a factor as would the effort to correct it. The problem that most of us share is working from precious few images, the lack of plans/drawings, and the fear that an image or whatever will emerge after completion. We can only go by best estimates, and if we like the item as built there is a lot of satisfaction to be taken from that.

When building the Roundhouse for our group’s layout, Burntisland 1883, there were no images of the interior (which would be seen via a camera and monitor) so I based the build on one of similar vintage at Derby where the roof was supported by pillars around the turntable and heavy wooden trusses above. Some months later, another member came across a photograph during demolition of the prototype showing, despite its build in the 1850’s, the roof was self-supporting and constructed from fine iron or steel sections. Luckily detailing wasn’t complete and painting hadn’t started so out came a chisel and everything unceremoniously removed and replaced. Had the image appeared after completion it would have been heart breaking.

When it comes to Barnton, there are only a handful of images, such that every modelled structure has an element of conjecture, imagination, or best guestimates. Several questions were posed via another thread on this Forum, some helpful suggestions were forthcoming, but no new evidence came to light. I’ve only seen a single photograph showing a top corner of the tank of the water tower, so that whole structure is up for grabs. The style of the goods shed is rather unique to Barnton/Davidsons Mains/Kilbirnie, all of which have been camera shy, so the modelled arrangement on the road-side of the shed, sitting well to the fore of the layout, might be well off beam.

I’m currently finalising the station building, where the concourse area has had to be guessed at throughout. The inner building line has been ascertained from an (undated) plan, but the use of each room is conjecture and the window and door arrangement best estimates, whilst the canopy ironwork is based on that at Port Glasgow. Recently I’ve been deliberating over a small standalone structure on the concourse (depicted on the plan mentioned), coming to the conclusion that it was a bookstall. Some of last night and part of today was spent Googling the format of John Menzies signage (turns out there was no uniformity of lettering style or indeed wording). So, why am I worried over such matters when I don’t even know the look or use of the structure or indeed if it were there in the early 1900’s? Simply because it has to look and feel correct for the period, and might well have existed as modelled.

Concourse conjecture.jpg
Concourse conjecture.jpg (104.87 KiB) Viewed 1758 times
What if illuminating images, drawings, or plans come to light? The road side of the goods shed might be altered, but I think it is safe to say that the station building innards will definitely remain as they are presently, and the canopy glass covered with an extra layer of grime.

Lindsay

John Paton
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Re: The burning question

Post by John Paton » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:46 am

Hi Lindsay,

Your model is looking great.

The Menzies bookstall at Oban might be worth looking at, as Oban station is a contemporary of Barnton. Here is a photo.

Best wishes,

John
Attachments
Oban020a.jpg
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00 Oban-Railway-Station-Photo-Connel-Ferry-Line-and.jpg
00 Oban-Railway-Station-Photo-Connel-Ferry-Line-and.jpg (175.15 KiB) Viewed 1712 times

jimwatt2mm
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Re: The burning question

Post by jimwatt2mm » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:41 pm

I agree entirely with Lindsay's first paragraph. In the smaller scales you also have to consider the practicalities. There are times when you have to deviate from prototype dimensions simply in order to make the thing work. On the Jubilee pug I am currently building I've just had to rebuild the cab splashers to move them in by 10thou as the clearance between their inside faces and the back of the wheels was almost non-existent. I only recently got wheels for it, having already built most of the body and the many problems I've encountered have reminded me why it's not a good idea to build the body before you have a running chassis! :cry:

Jim

WCML55.68
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:55 pm

lindsay_g wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:14 pm
Harking back to Paul’s dilemma, as far as I’m concerned it’s down to whether I can live with an inaccuracy. Others may become aware of the inaccuracy, but that wouldn’t bother me so much - it really would be down to whether the inaccuracy is going to get to me each time I look at the model. Of course the extent of the inaccuracy would be a factor as would the effort to correct it. The problem that most of us share is working from precious few images, the lack of plans/drawings, and the fear that an image or whatever will emerge after completion. We can only go by best estimates, and if we like the item as built there is a lot of satisfaction to be taken from that.

When building the Roundhouse for our group’s layout, Burntisland 1883, there were no images of the interior (which would be seen via a camera and monitor) so I based the build on one of similar vintage at Derby where the roof was supported by pillars around the turntable and heavy wooden trusses above. Some months later, another member came across a photograph during demolition of the prototype showing, despite its build in the 1850’s, the roof was self-supporting and constructed from fine iron or steel sections. Luckily detailing wasn’t complete and painting hadn’t started so out came a chisel and everything unceremoniously removed and replaced. Had the image appeared after completion it would have been heart breaking.

When it comes to Barnton, there are only a handful of images, such that every modelled structure has an element of conjecture, imagination, or best guestimates. Several questions were posed via another thread on this Forum, some helpful suggestions were forthcoming, but no new evidence came to light. I’ve only seen a single photograph showing a top corner of the tank of the water tower, so that whole structure is up for grabs. The style of the goods shed is rather unique to Barnton/Davidsons Mains/Kilbirnie, all of which have been camera shy, so the modelled arrangement on the road-side of the shed, sitting well to the fore of the layout, might be well off beam.

I’m currently finalising the station building, where the concourse area has had to be guessed at throughout. The inner building line has been ascertained from an (undated) plan, but the use of each room is conjecture and the window and door arrangement best estimates, whilst the canopy ironwork is based on that at Port Glasgow. Recently I’ve been deliberating over a small standalone structure on the concourse (depicted on the plan mentioned), coming to the conclusion that it was a bookstall. Some of last night and part of today was spent Googling the format of John Menzies signage (turns out there was no uniformity of lettering style or indeed wording). So, why am I worried over such matters when I don’t even know the look or use of the structure or indeed if it were there in the early 1900’s? Simply because it has to look and feel correct for the period, and might well have existed as modelled.


Concourse conjecture.jpg

What if illuminating images, drawings, or plans come to light? The road side of the goods shed might be altered, but I think it is safe to say that the station building innards will definitely remain as they are presently, and the canopy glass covered with an extra layer of grime.

Lindsay
Hello Lindsay,

Many thanks for your post and alternative view on the topic and your own experiences. Im sure this will have happened to many people on countless different occasions. Good answer as to how obtrusive and liveable with. And thats a fantastic piece of modelling in your photo. Very impressive.

Cottages, the doors and the lean-to are at the back of the cottages so will not be seen from normal viewing at exhibition. An average viewer would not be aware of the errors, only those in the know and all down to one photo taken from a train, the embankment hid the cottages from photos taken from the hill through which the M74 now runs.

The model is constructed from laminated plasticard with stone overlays, as per dwelling house. To rectify the lean-to is fairly easy, its been done once already when a photo turned up which was taken from the north of, but much closer to the cottages than normal. It clearly shows the back "gardens" and the profile of the lean-to. I had based my lean-to on that at Beattock village, not big enough. But to rectify the doors will probably mean cutting out the whole section of wall around the three remaining doors, one covered by lean-to, setting in matched sections of stone and base plasticard. Least of the problem will be matching up the paint finish.

My gut feeling is to make a dummy section of wall and doors to replicate the original, and then see if it is feasible to get a good repair. Its on the job list now. :roll: If so, then glue a solid box of bracing at the rear of the door to be rectified, to ensure rigidity and no movement, and then operate........it may or may reach reach the top of the waiting list.

Regards Paul.

WCML55.68
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:09 pm

jimwatt2mm wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:41 pm
I agree entirely with Lindsay's first paragraph. In the smaller scales you also have to consider the practicalities. There are times when you have to deviate from prototype dimensions simply in order to make the thing work. On the Jubilee pug I am currently building I've just had to rebuild the cab splashers to move them in by 10thou as the clearance between their inside faces and the back of the wheels was almost non-existent. I only recently got wheels for it, having already built most of the body and the many problems I've encountered have reminded me why it's not a good idea to build the body before you have a running chassis! :cry:

Jim
Hello Jim,

That sounds like an impressive project you have there. Your splashers remind me of the clearance between the loco drivers and the boiler of Staniers Duchess in real life, they were nearly touching! So it certainly wouldnt work in a much smaller scale. My own sentiment is that I want to capture the character and atmosphere of what Im am building to the best of my ability and this will probably taken preference over 100% accuracy. If it looks right ....

Probably answered my own burning question here.

Regards Paul.

lindsay_g
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: The burning question

Post by lindsay_g » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:58 pm

If it looks right, it's probably right. If that's the case, it will look OK to the casual observer. And if you're happy with it into the bargain, what more is there to worry about?

Good to get on with something else, and trust that no-one comes up with proof to the contrary!

Lindsay

jimwatt2mm
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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: The burning question

Post by jimwatt2mm » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:00 pm

lindsay_g wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:58 pm
If it looks right, it's probably right. If that's the case, it will look OK to the casual observer. And if you're happy with it into the bargain, what more is there to worry about?

Good to get on with something else, and trust that no-one comes up with proof to the contrary!
I couldn't agree more, Lindsay. On both counts.

And also with paul's comments on the subject.

If anyone is interested in seeing the current state of No. 217, there is a short video here.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvMFn9xqRD8

Jim W

WCML55.68
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Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:48 pm

lindsay_g wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:58 pm
If it looks right, it's probably right. If that's the case, it will look OK to the casual observer. And if you're happy with it into the bargain, what more is there to worry about?

Good to get on with something else, and trust that no-one comes up with proof to the contrary!

Lindsay
Brilliant answer. Many thanks.

WCML55.68
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: The burning question

Post by WCML55.68 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:51 pm

jimwatt2mm wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:00 pm
lindsay_g wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:58 pm
If it looks right, it's probably right. If that's the case, it will look OK to the casual observer. And if you're happy with it into the bargain, what more is there to worry about?

Good to get on with something else, and trust that no-one comes up with proof to the contrary!
I couldn't agree more, Lindsay. On both counts.

And also with paul's comments on the subject.

If anyone is interested in seeing the current state of No. 217, there is a short video here.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvMFn9xqRD8

Jim W
Brilliant answer too Jim. Many thanks to you. Youtube, what a fantastic wee loco, it looks lovely, I find it hard to believe that its 2mm. Well done.

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