Wes Anderson's Miniatures In Film, Rod Stewarts Layout Plus Women In Railway Modelling.

Wes Anderson's Miniatures In Film, Rod Stewarts Layout Plus Women In Railway Modelling.

Morning Gang!

How's things? And we're half way through March… flying along. But we're making good progress. And it's still blummin' raining! There's no way there can be a hosepipe ban this year. Not a chance! And of course, and we're back down at HQ again after another road trip up to the midlands and up to Sheffield to see James Arthur last Friday night. Who, despite being an X Factor winner (not keen on these shows)… was absolutely brilliant I have to say. Tina and Elizabeth thoroughly enjoyed themselves I have to say. I drew a line at purchasing any merchandise though and left that to the ladies.

And after a full week at HQ this week, we're actually making some good progress. There's a lot going on behind the scenes which Tina and I are working hard on but it's slowly coming together. Still a lot to do but we'll keep plugging away at it. But it's been a little challenging this week as we've had 3 staff off this week… which makes things a little hectic from time to time. Next week should hopefully be a little better with a bit of luck and we'll almost be back to a full team! 

So then… new stuff & product development.

Product Development - Latest News

This week, Stu's been finishing off a rather nice row of three terraced houses in N gauge, which we've just loaded onto the site. They're really nicely detailed, full terraced house kits complete with backyards. Unfortunately, the production files aren't quite 100% and need a few tweaks before they can go live. So they'll be available from middle of next week.

Meanwhile Tina and I have been pushing hard to get a new modern image Low Relief Police Station kit finished. It's loosely based on a building not far from where we live, which isn't actually a police station but looks like it should be! So now it is :) We really enjoyed designing the kit… some aspects were super challenging, like the roof! Made us sweat a bit and really challenged the old grey matter. I think we spent the whole of Thursday cutting versions of the front wall and roof… making tiny tweaks… then cutting another version! But we got there in the end at about 6pm Thursday night. So, we were at least ready to cut a definitive version yesterday. Sadly, I didn't manage to get all the wraps finished until late in the afternoon either, so it'll have to be released next week.

Despite being hard to design, the resulting kit is actually nice and easy to build. And it also doubles as offices or a hospital. So we've included a choice of signage on the wraps sheet, including a Welsh police sign.

In the meantime, it's over to young Sam for this weekend's videos.

Good morning, everyone! I hope you've had a good week and continue to have a great weekend. Unfortunately, I've been ill most of this week but managed to get better for Thursday & Friday. Last week I released the modular walls which you can check out on the website. Like last week, I've tried to switch up the videos a little bit. Enjoy.

Women In Model Railways

For my first selection, I've got a video from Model Railway Quest (you 100% know her by now as I've featured her many times before). In this video, she goes over the growing number of women getting interested in model railways. She interviews Michelle Kempema from the Colorado Model Railroad Museum, which I've featured in a previous newsletter where djstrains goes and checks it out, as well as many other women who have a key part to play in the hobby. "Justitus" is a term she uses in the video to explain how women will say "My husband makes the layout and I just do the trees" or "My partner does the layouts and I just help out with the scenery". But like Lucy Dormont says in the video, if you think you are "just doing the scenery" you are creating the magic. You are bringing the life. You are a modeller. The scenic side is a massive part of the layout as well. 

From Dawn's personal experience, most women have received nothing but support and encouragement when they have joined Railway Modelling Clubs and Societies. However, some women have experienced a bit of negativity when they share their interest in the hobby which is a massive shame. It's so disappointing seeing people be negative within the hobby as it's meant to be something that brings you joy! It's interesting hearing from Maggie Gravett who got into modelling about 50 years ago and her experience back then. She says she was accepted but was a definite oddity. You would have to prove yourself more but could never say you were better. Her layout is brilliant. Another highlight from the video is when Dawn briefly goes over Carol Flavin's layouts and career who I'm a huge fan of. Both she and Dawn are also part of the Railway Modellers Club which is great. Here's a shoutout to everyone she interviewed:

  • Michelle Kempema: Executive Director of the Colorado Model Railroad Museum
  • Lucy Dormont: Social media and marketing manager for the National Model Railroading Association.
  • Louise Oliver: Graphic designer at Bachmann Europe
  • Railway modellers par excellence: Maggie Gravett, Gilly North, Carol Flavin, and Rachel Harris 
  • And to Zara and Kath: an inspiration to young women railway modellers everywhere. 

Anyway, you should 100% watch this video! It's a fantastic insight into the hobby.

Sir Rod & His Model Railway

Right for the next video, you may have already seen this as he is quite vocal about his interest in model railways. Sir Rod Stewart, a British rock and pop singer and songwriter, is someone I'm sure many of you are familiar with as he has many hit songs. There are many news articles about his layout, and he was featured in the Railway Modeller magazine. This video is a great summary and features a photo slideshow of his layout which is incredible. Sir Rod states that he built about 75% of the buildings and scenery. The layout is named Grand Street and Three Rivers City and it is an astonishing 124ft long x 23ft wide, depicting an American city in the 1940s. He began the model in 1993 when he had recently built a new house in Los Angeles and had an attic built specifically for the layout.  Another thing worth mentioning is that in the magazine he said that he doesn't think American railways are better than British ones,  'They're bigger, the locos are bigger but not any better,'. It's interesting seeing this side of him because listening to his music you would not expect it at all. Here's another clip of him, this time on CBS news: 

How Wes Anderson Uses Miniatures

For the final video, I've selected a video from Vox. In this, Simon Weisse is interviewed regarding some of the brilliant models that he has made for Wes Anderson. I'm sure many of you are big fans of Wes Anderson like I am, so this video is a great insight into some of the film trickery that goes on during his movies. Forced perspective has a huge part in filmmaking which you can apply to your work! Using different scale models in backgrounds to give a sense of depth. They also go into some great ways that the camera is used to further improve this sense of depth. I find it interesting how miniatures are still favoured over CGI a lot of the time as it can improve the realism. However, Simon says in the video that using models has limitations. For example, elements such as rain can't be scaled down - in real life water droplets on a car would be tiny but water droplets on a miniature car will look massive.

That’s it from me. Fingers crossed you enjoyed these videos. As always, feel free to let me know what you thought about them. You can contact me via the Railway Modellers Club, or drop me a line via the helpdesk.

New Stuff

Right then… it's time for links to the new stuff… Yeah… you're gonna have to wait until next week for them… Sorry!

Scenery Restocks!

But we have had a huge… and I mean HUGE delivery from Sarah that makes all our ballast, flowers & grass tufts for us so if you need to stock up on everything from gorse & brambles, to daffodils and foxgloves. Now would be a really good time as they're already flying out the door!

Peco Track At Competitive Prices

We're fast becoming known as a Peco stockist here in the southwest, with more Set Track, Streamline Track & Publications arriving in stock this week. They're all being loaded onto the site as we speak. And don't forget, if you're a First Class member of the Railway Modellers Club you can use your 10% members discount to get some of the most competitive prices for Peco Track on the web! Click here to browse our growing stocks of Peco Track.

Right… that's about it for this edition of the weekly news. Next week, once we've finished the police station, I'll be revamping one of our older kits that's been out of stock for a good while now. And there's more behind the scenes stuff for Tina and I to sort… but at least we have a weekend at home this week. So, we're just going to have a bit of downtime, I think.

Have an amazing weekend folks… And of course…

Keep on shunting…

Justin, Tina, Elizabeth, Lola & The Team

P.S. This weekend's header image comes from Richard over on the Railway Modellers Club showcasing our KX076-OO Railway Arches and the KX048-OO Utility Building. An absolutely splendid scene!

P.P.S. Missed a newsletter? You can read all of our recent newsletters online here.

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SORRY. Can you please ask Sam to stick to videos of BRITISH railways or model railways. For the 2nd week running I have not watched any at all.