Sunday, February 23, 2014

Modeling the Prince: Part 1

In progress, the icon of the Ffestiniog Railway, The Prince! All of the body work is completed. I am going to try and describe his construction as I did with Rheneas, this blog's signature series of posts, all made possible by the grace and kindness of Greg Tiernan and Nitrogen Studios. 

Prince will be the main engine or character that will be taking the slate train from the quarry inclines to the harbor. As I have loved the Mid Sodor Railway, This line that belonged to Duck, Stuart and Falcon had inspired me to make a animation short of something real, showing the workings of a quarry, the railway and its engines that work there. Prince is famous and a well recognized engine as one of the oldest surviving roster of engines of this historic line, technically the first narrow gauge railroad in the world.

Prince and his railway will always be remembered and loved, and I hope that the fruit of all of the hard work I will put into this faithfully represents essence of the magic felt seeing these trains, the little toy trains of Wales working in the mountains of Snowdonia.

Drawing in graphite using a 0.7 technical pencil, measurements in centimeters, 16mm scale.

Prince's sister engine, Princess, at the Harbor Station at Blaenau in 1930, (
While studying some amazing photographs found online, I wanted to make Prince exactly how he and his brothers and sisters on the Ffestiniog railway looked, from the 1900's until before World War II. I drew the sketch I shared from one of the previous posts to measure how I want Prince to look when he is made, with a side view and a front view. 
This is amazing because I really love drawing these blueprints, and I find that it pays off to measure out the shapes ahead of time. I am actually making a lot of these, for Rusty, Duncan, Peter Sam, and my buildings made from the past few months.

The cab, tanks, tender, and their details such as hand rails, are all made of card, braced with balsa wood, all glued together using white glue and crazy glue, with some scotch tape here and there! The tape was used to brace the tank and the smoke box together.

I use a Lego chassis to make each engine move, which allows each engine have interchangeable bodies when I want to make more engines, as I have two of these cool Lego motors!

I am planning on adding working coupling rods, so we'll see how that works!

I used spray primer to give Prince his color. First I was going to pick a color from my stack of textured card stock from Bazzill Basics, or paint it using Plaid Folk Art and Apple Barrel acrylics, but after using my spray paint primer, I liked the terracotta color it had, so it stuck.

The funnel is made from coiled strips of card glued together. The same technique was used to make the gold handrail supports on his tanks. The sides of the footplate is balsa, the bolts and details made by gluing strips of card together. When fully assembles this will be generously weathered for that extra bit of realism.

Here is the tender. Here the handrails are made from painted toothpicks!
To make the Lego wheels fit snugly underneath the chassis, I used balsa wood to brace them.
Here is the inside of the tender, which will be filled with coal later.

I am very happy with how good Prince looks. He has always been one of my favorite narrow gauge engines, and it feels wonderful to make him after practicing and using some new modeling techniques.

So far things are going on schedule. More photographs will follow soon.

"Slate Quarry:" A Short Film: Storyboards

Last semester in the fall, I created a storyboard project for my final assignment for Pre-Production, and here I am posting a few of my chosen panels to give you a rough idea of how I want the dioramas and the shows to look.

These are all drawn with Cole-erase pencils and graphite, on index cards. Now as a scale modeler, I do know that it takes a long time to model each diorama, and all of the elements that make it special, so while every single detail in these boards might not be covered immediately, it is something I will plan on making.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these! Next time I will begin posting photographs of my models for progress.

"Slate Quarry:" Concept Drawings

Today I am going to start posting work I am creating for a short stop motion / live-action short film pitch for my Junior Animation Seminar. It's currently called "Slate Quarry." This is something very exciting and personal relating to British Narrow Gauge, from the inspiration I had from Thomas, that I believe you will enjoy. So here is the first post!

I am making models for this short I am just drafting for the future to make as I advance as an animator. The highlighted feature of the Ffestiniog Railway will bee the connection to the Slate mines of Dinorwic. I plan to show how the quarrys and inclines worked, and the journey the slate train makes from the mines to the harbor, where the slate is unloaded and shipped by sea or the river.

I have greatly appreciated your comments and words of encouragement for the past year, and for sharing your enthusiasm about Thomas and Model Railroading on YouTube. Thomas as you all know has been a huge inspiration for me. Often people on YouTube have said how much they look forward to seeing more of my own work. I have taken this very seriously, and for the work my school faculty have remembered me for was my scale modeling. So starting today I am going to share with you the model-making work I am doing for college class.

Let's get started!

This sketch shows the models I plan on making. I am going to model Prince! That is exciting because you know that this draws inspiration from Duke, Stuart, Falcon, and the Mid Sodor Railway, right? Well, this is the locomotive and the first model I've started working on which I will share later, so stay tuned for the coming weeks! There is also a little shunter, a classic Hunslit tank engine often built for British narrow gauge railways and industries.

I plan on modeling quarry wagons as you see here, with a slate load in each made of foam core. Also a guards van, this one based on those cool narrow gauge trains that would be loaded on standard gauge piggy-back wagons!

Then the quarry buildings, with a few open air-sheds I plan on using over and over again on different dioramas for different scenes.There is also the incline winding houses and side buildings, a water tower, lamps, posters, and maybe a station at the harbor quayside.

I've also tried sketching out how I want to make my dioramas, from the buildings to the scenic elements down tot he overgrowth, cargo and other bits and bobs lying next to them, the walls and bridge. These will all be modeled in card braced with balsa, and the stones for the quarry will be modeled with DAS modeling clay and foam core.

Now I know you will enjoy this! This is a blueprint I've made for prince, based on looking at some great photographs of him in the old days of the Ffestiniog railway. This drawing shows the locomotive measured in centimeters. This is the same deal as with the other narrow gauge engines in the past for Skarloey and Rheneas' line: it will be made out of cardstock, running on a Lego chassis, fully weathered, and spoiler alert: I've figured out how to make coupling rods for this engine!

I am really excited about this! I have shared it with my faculty, friends and fellow classmates for this class and they loved it! I believe you will too.

So be on the lookout for updates and progress, this is going to be a fun and exciting animation project!