Friday, 24 December 2010

"Merry Christmas"



Merry Christmas from all the gang at Copley Hill - Peace on Earth, and Goodwill to all train kind!

Until next time.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

"20,000 Complete"


With the addition of transfers, LNER no.20.000 Eastern Eagle, is ready for the PW Staff Competition 2010 - the full culmination of which, is a battle of the engines in a showdown in February 2011! :)

No more pictures however until the big day, and the reveal!

Until next time!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

"Change of Episode"

The next episode due to be released in The British Railway Series was "The Lady of Malta". I was never happy with the scripting of it, and have edited it greatly, but it's still not quite there. Therefore I am putting it back down the schedule until it is ready.

The story's good enough, but I'm not satisfied with the dialogue, and that's the crux of the matter.

I have decided to cut another episode altogether, and put a new one in - and that will become the new "Episode 18" proper. I have nearly finished scripting the new one, and it promises to be a right cracker, with history in abundance, and lots of stunts and even a train crash to depict!

So I leave you with one hint for the episode's "true story" (to be treated with respect, and written respectfully) - it has a Scottish theme.

Until next time!

"An interview by the Sodor Island Forums"



Here's the full interview - enjoy! Blooper reel coming soon.

Until next time!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

"Project Malta"



My next 3D modelling project, coming to the stage of an engineering sample. This one is for my personal use, but if people like it when it's in the plastic, I may make it available for sale (wishful thinking?!)

It's one of the Malta Railway Manning Wardle steam locomotives. Withdrawn in 1930, the trio of 0-6-0Ts were all scrapped. The bodyshell is being designed to fit onto a "Toby the Tram Engine" Hornby chassis, complete with appropriate cylinders and valve gear, thereafter.

The prototype bodyshell will be finished this week, with any luck, and a test sample ordered soon after. Then - as with the sentinel - it's a case of fixing the problems with the mesh, and making it look better, before getting the next engineering sample and hopefully with minor alterations, completing the project.

And this was the result at the end of the day:


Chimney reworked, looks much closer to the prototype. Lamp irons added at front and rear. You can't see it in this pic - but the frames for the windows have been added, as has the whistle on the cab roof.

Until next time - where normal service may be resumed, briefly, before the holidays!

Friday, 10 December 2010

"An interview by SiF - Trailer"



I had a visit in early October from Ryan Hagan and Steve McGregor of the Sodor Island Forums, and at the same time a visit from Sean O'Connor of Sodor Island 3D. They decided to do a more formal interview, and this has been produced by them for their respective forums, to air on my Youtube channel. I am very grateful to them for asking some easy questions this time around!

The interview proper will be out on the 15th December - until next time!

Monday, 6 December 2010

"3D Modelling - Part 4"


After a week of progress, here's the finished "Proof of Concept" model, which, while not 100% accurate by any means, does at least give an idea of how the bodyshell will look when manufactured.

Here's a coloured version for comparison:


I think what stands out is how little clearance there is for the chassis picked for this to fit. The cab is the correct height, and the runningplate/bufferbeams correct width, but the running plate and bonnet proportions are very much out. This is mostly due to the clearance required for the motor.


The model isn't entirely complete either - I have deliberately not put in handrails, for the simple reason that at this stage of the project, they are unnecessary - they can be easily added to a new mesh further down the line. However, seeing if details such as the axle boxes, leaf springs and oil pots could be modelled, together with things such as buffers, were all very much necessary.

Until next time - and hopefully, a more tangible view of a project fast accelerating down the line...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

"3D Modelling - Part 3"


So it continues - a few hours today sorting out dimensions, and making sure it will actually fit.

You'll guess from the overall proportions that it's not perfectly to scale - this is because it is being designed to fit a very specific purpose. Overall, it's starting to get there. I'm by no means good at this yet, but practice makes perfect, and if this proof of concept comes together and works, more modelling will surely follow.

The next stage was having a go at the body - and as I feared, the proportions of the bonnet, due to the clearances required, made it look rather oddly proportioned for its prototype:


However - this is a proof of concept model. If it works, and shows what I think is possible is - it'll be a good start on the road to something much more accurate, and more intriguing.

Until next time.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

"3D Modelling - Part 2"


Having worked out that the main problem with the bodyshell I had produced was overall thickness - the minimum thickness should be 0.7mm, and in order to cut down on the material used, I was to make the mesh as thin as that.

I started again and the picture above, is the current state of progress. the axle boxes and suspension are pretty basic for the moment, but for a "proof of concept" model.

I'm not going all out until we know the theory works. However, the leaf springs will be a good indications of whether or not fine detail can be provided on the model.

Everything below the running plate is standardized, allowing a plethora of different bodies to be designed and fitted on top. Given there's quite a few styles of sentinel, I thought it best to try and make the proof of concept more of a "jack of all trades" in the detail respect, a generic Sentinel shunter than a specific one, for the time being.

If this ends up working, you may see more from the Copley Hill Works - in 3D!

Until next time.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

"Modelling...in 3D!"


Here's something I've been working on in my spare time. It's not quite there yet, but it is starting to look the part. Will need a lot of work to get the details down.

A few hours later - and this is where I'm currently at:


Guess what it is! :)

Until next time.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

"Comments on the blog?"

I had an unusual question asked of me today, and it's never come up in two and a bit years of writing this blog. The question was "why don't you allow comments on the blog?"

I recall that my initial thinking when I designed the Copley Hill Blog initially was to block on the number of spam comments which appear on the Youtube Channel and Videos from time to time - you know the ones I mean, they normally have an 18+ rating...!

Overall it just makes looking after the blog quite easy, not having to go through the blog entries and deleting the spam on a daily basis. I accept there's probably a lot of decent comments I miss out on, even helpful ones, but that's why I set up an email account for people to send in comments and suggestions: so the lines of communication are kept open in this way.

I've no intention of changing that any time soon, I hasten to add. It makes looking after this blog somewhat easier on a day to day basis.

Until next time.

"Snow Trouble at All!"



Bit of fun in the snow! :)

Until next time!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

"Doing a George Lucas"

Okay, so I've got a lot on my plate. Finishing publishing drafts, episode scripts, test shots, new faces for the engines (with a lot of help from Sodor Island 3D geniuses, Sean O'Connor and Richard Jordan), models to prep, and smoke machines to pipe into the layout and test.

BUT - I've had a feeling something's missing. I'm unhappy with Legacy of Gadwall and Day of the Deltic. There's something about the last three episodes I've made that could go some way to making these older episodes more watchable.

So, which one?

Email the Copley Hill account to post your vote.

Until next time!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

"Favourite Character...?"

A very wise man once said this of his creations: "I don't have favourites. They are like members of the family".

I submit to that view too, because it is a fair and wholly good ideology. All engines are equal, and all engines have their place.

However, when I started The British Railway Series thread on the Sodor Island Forums, I wanted to gauge who were the most popular characters, and perhaps surmise as to why.

So I decided to check up on the results of the "favourite character" poll - which was started well over two years ago - and see where the characters currently stand. The results at time of writing, are as follows:

Allen[*******] (36 votes, 19.3%)
Stephen[***********] (54 votes, 29%)
Sir Ralph[*****] (24 votes, 12.9%)
Herbert[**] (13 votes, 6.9%)
Hawk[**] (11 votes, 5.9%
Nigel[**] (10 votes, 5.3%)
Tavish[**] (10 votes, 5.3%)
Scott[*] (8 votes, 4.3%)
Gronk[***] (14 votes, 7.5%)
Thompson[ ] (1 vote, 0.5%)
Arthur[ ] (2 votes, 1%)
Stewart[ ] (0 votes, 0%)
Geoffrey[ ] (1 vote, 0.5%)
Holden[ ] (2 votes, 1%)

By far and away the most popular character on the Sodor Island Forums Poll, was Stephen. This is to be expected to some degree. He is one of the three main characters, and has had pretty much the most airtime, appearing in every single episode and short to date. He had pretty much a full 1/3rd of the vote, at 29%.

Second was Allen, notable for his relation to the new build Peppercorn A1, 60163 Tornado. Taking home a commendable 1/5th of the total votes cast (19.3%). Allen was the first character introduced in the series, and has remained a firm fan's favourite ever since.

Next came Sir Ralph, with 12.9% of the total votes cast. This surprised me somewhat, as I feel to some extent he's the most developed of the three "main" characters.

Now the next character I expected to appear was Hawk, or Nigel - two characters with a very definite following, and both very humorous characters with a lot of airtime devoted to them, in comparison with other characters in the series.

However, storming into fourth place, with 7.5% of the vote, is Gronk! Given he has only appeared in a few episodes (most notably, Day of the Deltic, and The Parting of Ways), this surprised me a little, but it makes sense given he's probably the second most emailed about character. Everyone keeps asking when he'll return, and the answer is "sooner, rather than later".

In fifth place was Herbert. He's been portrayed as a younger, more naive character, with a good heart, and so I suspect much of his appeal stems from that. He's another character who will be developed more and more as the series develops, culminating in what I feel will be one of the "moments" to remember of the series for years to come.

Hawk came in sixth place. Given I get emails on a daily basis asking for his return, he's not proved so popular on the Sodor Island Forums, it seems. C'est la vie. I think his return to the series will be well worth waiting for. I seem to write him out and bring him back almost as quickly!

In joint seventh came Tavish and Nigel. The grumpy Scottish engine, and the grumpy Leeds tank engine both seem to have had much more airtime than other characters, yet neither in this poll has cracked the top five, despite some brilliant moments in notable episodes (Christmas, 1952, and Suburban Tank! to name but a few).

In ninth place came Scott. HOW?! He's Flying Scotsman, the most famous steam locomotive to come out of the British Isles. Has my portrayal killed the famous engine's popularity, I wonder?

Nah. Not even a little bit. The problem with the character of Scott is that I haven't reached the material which will cement the character once and for all as a BRWS regular.

Arthur came joint tenth with Holden. Arthur has had a full speaking role, but not much else, and Holden has only starred in a non-speaking role. That they've both had a full vote more than the characters which came in joint twelth - Thompson and Geoffrey - despite neither having more screen time than the latter two mystifies me.

Finally, in dead last, poor Clan Stewart. Wait until his first full speaking role - it's coming up, very soon.

Overall, I'm not surprised at the way the voting has gone, in all but the emergence of the plucky little diesel-electric shunter as a firm fan's favourite. I'm glad a diesel has made the top five - it shows the series is not so one dimensional as "diesels are bad, steam engines are good" - it's not that black and white, thankfully.

I'll be leaving the poll open for the foreseeable future, so if you're on the Sodor Island Forums and haven't voted yet, get cracking!

I'm make an update probably in the next year to see if anything's changed.

Until next time!