Sunday, 30 January 2011

"250,000 Views & Counting"


In the next 24 hours, "The British Railway Series", Episode 1, will hit 250,000 views since it was uploaded in 2007. That's still a monumental achievement for such a niche product on the 'tube.

Please help celebrate my (comparatively minor) achievement by having a watch and reminding ourselves of how bad it was when I first started making the episodes!!!

To everyone here on SiF, the PW, RMweb and Youtube, and to those very special people who've supported me through the good times and bad (but particularly to those people such as our gaffer, doug, sean, gavin, wee chris, CTX, jim, davey, steve, charlotte, leo, without you I wouldn't be here today nor would I enjoy the success I do.

Thanks everyone for everything.

Monday, 24 January 2011

"Some modellling! Hooray!"


In what seems like forever, FINALLY a blog post which includes modelling trains in it!

A friend of mine offered me this turned brass chimney - he'd found it in what he describes as the "spare parts bin", but to me, it's a mecca of unused and long forgot sundries which sometimes may turn up a gem. And this is one of them! The Emily chimney tapers too much, and is too tall, and had to go. After chopping it off, filing the base down, and fitting the new chimney with some adhesive, I used some Humbrol model filler to make it even around the base.

And this is the result: it certainly makes it look more like a Stirling Single, even if the chimney isn't quite the right profile (looking at pictures of the preserved single, the one I am trying to model, the chimney doesn't seem to be an exact match for the original chimneys in any event).


I'm nearly at the stage where I am happy enough to spray it in primer. The only obstacle - and one I've chickened out of doing for some time - is the splasher. I absolutely dread drilling into that.

It did make me think mind - surely an etched brass overlay, designed to fit the Bachmann splasher, would aid scratch builders? Something to mull over anyway.

Until next time - oh, and I might have sorted out the handrails by next time. For some utterly bizarre reason, I was convinced the handrails had kinks in them from the smokebox to the boiler. They don't, they are completely straight. Ergo the handrail at the front of the smokebox is extremely off...!!!

Ta ta for now!

"Hornby Thomas VS Bachmann Thomas: UK vs USA!!!"



Here's my latest video - a toy comparison video, showing the two top selling models of Thomas the Tank Engine in OO and HO scales respectively.

Who will win the battle of the Thomas models? Will it be Thomas the Tank Engine, or Thomas the Yank Engine?

Until next time!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

"Adverts"

Put simply, I hate advertisements. They are everywhere. And on Youtube, they are found to the right of every video, in every video in a bar at the bottom of the screen, and even found on pre-roll adverts now on the videos themselves. I hate the fact you might get a thirty second advertisement for a thirty second video. It is, simply put, crazy.

I've been in deep discussion with a friend over pre-roll advertisements, and I've changed the way my videos adverts work as part of a short experiment. If it doesn't work - i.e. views drop away horrendously, then I'll switch back.

The British Railway Series has become my sole source of income. I can't disclose how much, but it's not enough to stop me looking for a job, whilst at the same time providing some welcome relief to the bank balance at the end of the month.

The problem with Youtube videos is thus: you need money to make videos, and you have to spend money to make money. I do make the videos for my own entertainment, but with rising costs in just the raw materials for making sets this year (costings at time of writing looking like rising massively from 2010), the only way the series can continue legitimately is for it to pay for itself.

And if it does so by having pre-roll ads, I'm afraid I may have to bite the bullet, and like it and lump it, despite my obvious annoyance with the latter.

Hopefully with the impending Episode 18 on the horizon, I can invest in new modular set designs, and make another showpiece for the Youtube scene that will help the series along even further.

So, my apologies if a whole raft of pre-roll advertisements appear on my videos. If they don't pay their way, they will be removed, that I promise.

On the bright side, if they work, the journey to the next episode gets a little shorter and brighter.

Until next time.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

"The PW Competitions 2010 - RESULTS"

The Permanent Way Model Forum

Competitions 2010

Final Scores Breakdown


Diorama Challenge 2010

Overseen by Sean O'Connor


All the entries were greatly appreciated by me this year. It would of course, have been good to see more, and a stricter adherence to the rules too, but in the end the quality of modeling was of such a high standard that it matters little. Mainly what affected the outcome of the competition was how the entries interpreted the rules set out for them.

I was extremely delighted with the original thinking shown by the eventual winner of the competition, and it appears my fellow judges agreed with my sentiments entirely.

Overall I'd like to thank everyone who entered, worked hard, and produced some wonderful results thereafter. Thanks also to everyone who watched on and supported the entrants with great gusto.

Sean O'Connor


Diorama Challenge Scores

Name of Entry

& Web Link

Quality of Modelling

Quality of

Finish

Quality of

Vision

Overall Project Presentation

Total Score

/300:

Hiesler's Campbelltown Engine Shed

25

25

25

25

260

25

25

25

20

20

20

15

10

70

70

65

55

HB's Entry – Tywyn Wharf

24

20

18

20

258

25

25

15

25

21

23

18

24

70

68

51

69

Tomtank's StarBeck MPD

0

0

0

5

11

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

2

0

0

4

7








3rd - Tomtank's StarBeck MPD

2nd - HB's Entry – Tywyn Wharf

1st - Hiesler's Campbelltown Engine Shed



Building Challenge 2010

Overseen by Gavin Rose


It was a little disappointing to see so many unfinished projects, but what there was, had good ideas and concepts behind them. I look forward to next year's competitions in the hope of streamlining the competitions to bring more people into the separate categories. Put simply - have a go, you never know where you'll end up finishing! :)

Gavin Rose


Building Challenge Scores

Name of Entry

& Web Link

Quality of Modelling

Quality of

Finish

Quality of

Vision

Overall Project Presentation

Total Score

/300:

Zeldatheswordsman's Pocatello Station

0

0

5

0

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

6

0

Terriertankengine's Hayling Island Buildings

10

5

25

15

156

15

5

20

10

18

13

12

8

43

23

57

33

Scottishrail's Bedford Freight House

0

0

5

0

7

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

7

0

Aberllefenni Incline Windhouse - HenryBlue's Entry

0

0

5

0

19

0

0

0

0

0

0

7

7

0

0

12

7









4th - Zeldatheswordsman's Pocatello Station

3rd - Scottishrail's Bedford Freight House

2nd - Aberllefenni Incline Windhouse - HenryBlue's Entry

1st - Terriertankengine's Hayling Island Buildings




Locomotive Challenge 2010

Overseen by Simon A.C. Martin


I was absolutely thrilled with the response to the locomotive competition this year - so many original and varied ideas and takes on the rules I put forward.

Some entries have scored considerably lower than others simply for being unfinished: do not let that discourage you as I can assure each and every one of you that the ideas presented were of a very high standard. Each and every one of the entries deserves a plaudit for original thinking.

It was an extremely close finish this year, with one single point between first and second place. But I would like to say for the record that the staff were united in their praise for the two highest scoring models - both of extremely high quality, and to that end we'd like to thank both of the modelers in question for their great efforts this year.

Simon A.C. Martin


Locomotive Challenge Scores

Name of Entry

& Web Link

Quality of Modelling

Quality of

Finish

Quality of

Vision

Overall Project Presentation

Total Score

/300:

Hiesler's “Bruce Pebbles Electric” Loco

22

20

25

25

248

25

20

20

20

15

16

21

16

62

56

66

61

Churchill8F's Statfold Barn Land Rover

18

18

25

20

218

15

20

15

20

14

17

20

16

47

55

60

56

Steamrailuk's LNWR Cornwall

24

20

25

25

280

23

20

25

25

24

22

24

23

71

62

74

73

HenryBlue's Kerr Stuart “Haig”

25

20

18

18

246

18

25

15

25

19

18

20

25

62

63

53

68

TurboJ's Andrew Barlcay 0-4-0ST

0

0

18

10

33

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

1

0

0

22

11

BMR's Pug Conversion, “Baxter”

25

24

20

20

279

25

25

20

25

24

24

24

23

74

73

64

68

Kingskrossmodeller's class 13

15

10

18

18

122

15

15

15

5

4

3

3

1

34

28

36

24

PTB8751's Entry: L&N GP-9M #509

0

0

10

5

19

0

0

0

0

2

1

1

1

2

1

11

5

Noah's Entry: "The Bra' Lass"

0

0

20

5

29

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

1

1

1

21

6








9th - PTB8751's Entry: L&N GP-9M #509

8th - Noah's Entry: "The Bra' Lass"

7th - TurboJ's Andrew Barlcay 0-4-0ST

6th - Kingskrossmodeller's class 13

5th - Churchill8F's Statfold Barn Land Rover

4th - HenryBlue's Kerr Stuart “Haig”

3rd - Hiesler's “Bruce Pebbles Electric” Loco

2nd - BMR's Pug Conversion, “Baxter”

1st - Steamrailuk's LNWR Cornwall



Congratulations to the 2010 winners!

Written by Simon A.C. Martin


Diorama Challenge Winner 2010 - Hiesler's Campbelltown Engine Shed

Building Challenge Winner 2010 - Terriertankengine's Hayling Island Buildings

Locomotive Challenge Winner 2010 - Steamrailuk's LNWR Cornwall


This draws the 2010 competitions to a close. Thank you to everyone for supporting the forum competitions this year, and thanks also for your superb efforts throughout 2010.

If the competition winners could contact the respective member of the staff team, for the award they won, their prizes will be shipped out in the next month to their respective new homes.

We plan on removing the 2010 section, and creating a new 2011 section in due course, with new competitions in place and with some refinement of the rules with that we've learned this year.

On behalf of the staff team - thank you for a fantastic 2010 - here's to 2011!

Simon A.C. Martin

Friday, 7 January 2011

"Character Conundrum"

I recently said I'd finished the script for Episode 18. That was true, until I looked it over yesterday and realized I had made quite a big error.

The overall theme for the episode is Scottish Railway history, and one of the things that was missing from the lineup of characters were engines of predominantly Scottish origin.

I could argue all I like that the "Clan" (BR Standard 6MTs) are "Scottish" in the same way that the GWR-built Pannier Tanks in the 60s were "Scottish" for being based in Scotland in the late 1960s. However, the fact of the matter is that they're not of Scottish origin, and in the same category as the latter useful tank engines.

So what engines could be seen in Scotland in 1959?

Straight away, I know of a single diesel class I need in this episode. The North British Locomotive company class 21. That's in. Ergo, a re-write is in order. Tavish and Clan Stewart are currently the only Scottish based engines on offer. Anyone else? Arthur (Peppercorn A2) is a possibility.

But there's one engine that suddenly came to mind - withdrawn, an uncertain future, a great, ominous, example of things to come. Playing on both the historical flashback in Tavish's story, and the plight of this particular Scottish locomotive has a great attraction.

Its also becoming clear that two of the characters will have to share the same chassis - luckily they are not seen on screen at the same time during the episode, so a saving of cost there is something of a relief!

Until next time.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

"New Year - New Episode Announced"

In six weeks time, the first poster for the next episode in The British Railway Series will be shown.

The production of the eighteenth episode (numerically) of the series has started - the script is complete, and for the first time, casting will commence on The Sodor Island Forums shortly.

The episode, which will centre around Tavish, has a similar plot structure to Fowler's Ghost - but relates a completely different story, in a different place, and features a cast of engines away from the familiar surroundings of Copley Hill...

Until next time!

Happy New Year! :)