Whisper it quietly, here come some running samples.
Good morning to you all and welcome to this August edition of Engine Shed.
July and the beginning of August proved to be the month that saw a tentative return to ‘normality’ for much of the country, with many model shops, museums and heritage railways opening their ‘socially distanced’ doors again to the general public. While many events and galas have had to be cancelled or curtailed, the opportunity now exists for many of us to get out and support our local railway attractions. Of particular interest, two heritage railways are celebrating their Diamond Jubilees this year; the Middleton Railway in Leeds (the world’s oldest continuously working railway) and the Bluebell Railway on the East/West Sussex border. Both railways commenced preserved operational services in 1960, with Middleton starting on the 20th June, at the beginning of Leeds University Rag Week and the ‘Bluebell’ on the 7th August, and all of us at Hornby would like to offer both railways our congratulations and very best wishes for the future.
The Swansea and Mumbles Car No.2 being hauled by Hunslet 0-6-0 1697/1932 during the Middleton Railway's opening week of operations. © Keith Terry/NTM Crich Collection.
The Hornby Development team’s new tooling projects have now reached the stages where ‘first shots’ and running samples are coming through thick and fast, making this a very busy time for all concerned. Not only do parts have to be checked and assessed for fit, but the motors, gears and running characteristics have to be checked against a range of testing criteria. This is also the period where the packaging designs are created by our graphic designers, bringing together the newly created model images and renders, the copy and the box layouts to create the instantly recognisable ‘red box’.
* Please note that the following images of the W1 represent the first engineering examples that have been received, as such they do not necessarily represent the final builds of the models as refinements to the tooling and fit may yet take place and erroneous items may have been fitted to test the build.
Gresley 4-6-4 Class W1 'Hush-Hush'
A ‘flat pack’ W1; the designer will work through these ‘first shots’ checking for fit, potential defects and the representation of the details.
The arrival of ‘first shots’ for a new tooling project is the first real tactile representation of a model that the team have and represents a real commitment to the project, with tooling having been produced. CAD is a virtual representation of the model and the SLA prints will give an indication of how the model will appear, but it is the arrival of metal and plastic parts on their sprues that represents a shift from a product that exists digitally, to one of material worth.
Having received the bag of ‘bits’, the designer will methodically work their way through the sprues, checking each item against its corresponding tooling reference and making any notes necessary for improvements to be made on a master worksheet for the project vendor; this will then be updated by the vendor and/or the designer as any issues are subsequently corrected. Images, of either the CAD or the actual part, will be incorporated into this report to illustrate any points being made and they will also serve as check images.
The first running sample will typically follow a week or so after the ‘first shots’ have been received and will arrive assembled. This sample will be run extensively across the Hornby development layout in both analogue and DCC configurations where haulage will be assessed along with running quality, motor performance, speed and gearing; consequently, temporary modifications may well be carried out to improve the running. Again, the information gleaned from this extended testing will be fed back to the vendor, along with running videos and details of any modifications deemed necessary so that any subsequent running samples will have these improvements included.
The feedback to the Works’ images that we shared with you in April’s edition of the Engine Shed was quite overwhelming, so we are pleased to be able to share a few more images from the Yarrow W1 album that we did not have space for previously. These images, shown above, record the progress on assembling the W1’s unique marine boiler, giving the original locomotive its distinctive shape, as well as showing the chassis ready to receive the boiler and a side view of the assembled locomotive in Yarrow’s workshop yard.
All images: Author’s Collection.
The rendered artwork for R3840, in the locomotive’s prototypical livery.
As we indicated earlier in the blog, the design for the packaging is being worked on in parallel with the continued development of the W1 model and for this, and the 2021 Hornby catalogue, we need to create a left-hand side view of the model. With existing models from the range, we can achieve this by either photographing the actual model providing we have a correct decoration sample, or by photographing a model with a similar build and then adjusting the colours and details within Adobe Photoshop.
With new tooling models we have to take a different approach to creating these side views, as the quality of the 3D SLA Prints and the standard and finish of the Engineering samples do not lend themselves to creating high quality illustrations, plus the decoration samples will arrive too late in the production schedule to be used. Our solution to this is to create a 3D visual representation of the finished model, which our 3D Illustrator achieves by combining a STP file from the CAD with the Adobe Illustrator artwork files. Using Autodesk’s 3D Studio Max software, the artwork is applied to each part of the STP file and coloured separately, with the illustrator first making sure that they have allocated the right material finish to each element (such as steel, copper, bronze, wood, glass, coal etc). This results in a 3D version of the artwork files that you are used to seeing in Engine Shed, but the result, at this stage, is a very ‘flat’ image, without highlights or shadows.
The rendered artwork for R3841, in the locomotive’s prototypical livery, but with the cast ‘British Enterprise’ nameplates that were never applied to the locomotive.
To achieve the ‘photo-realistic’ image, the 3D illustrator has created a bespoke Hornby studio lit environment within the software, replicating the lighting and reflectors that would be used to light a real scale model within our photographic studio. This lighting is ‘fixed’ within the software, so no matter how the 3D illustration is rotated, the lighting will remain consistent and from this the 3D illustrator will produce eight or nine separate images to capture the full range of highlight and shadow detail. These separate exposures are then blended together within Photoshop to produce a final render; the image you will see on the packaging, in the catalogue and on the website.
The rendered artwork for R3842, featuring the W1 in typical LNER ‘Apple Green’, a livery that the Railway press, and even LNER’s own promotional department, expected the locomotive to carry, but which the W1 never did.
The rendered artwork for R3843, the prototypical livery carried by 10000 following the rebuild to an A4 streamlined styling.
The rendered artwork for R3844, the prototypical livery carried by the W1, now numbered as 60700 under British Railways, with cut back valances.
Thompson A2/2 and A2/3 Class
As with the W1, the rendered artwork for the Thompson A2/2 and A2/3 models have been completed by our 3D Illustrator and we are pleased to be able to share these images with you this month.
R3830: BR, Thompson Class A2/2, 4-6-2, 60501 'Cock o' the North' - Era 4
R3831: BR, Thompson Class A2/2, 4-6-2, 60505 'Thane of Fife' - Era 5
R3832: LNER, Thompson Class A2/3, 4-6-2 500 'Edward Thompson' - Era 3
R3833: LNER, Thompson Class A2/3, 4-6-2, 514 'Chamossaire' - Era 3
R3834: BR, Thompson Class A2/3, 4-6-2, 60512 'Steady Aim' - Era 4
R3835: BR, Thompson Class A2/3, 4-6-2, 60523 'Sun Castle' - Era 5
An update on the BR Standard 2MT 2-6-0
We have now received the second engineering/running sample for the 2MT, which is currently being evaluated on the test layout. The photographs below show much of the detail fitted that was missing from the sample featured in the February Engine Shed, but is minus the front buffer stocks.
Centenary Product Updates
The final approval samples have arrived for both R3825 Peckett 614 and R3821 Evening Star and our photographer has been taking some images especially for the readers of Engine Shed this month.
Just one more thing...
Readers may recall that the winner of our Hitachi Class 800 ‘Design an NHS Livery’ competition was James Lodge and we are extremely pleased to be able to reveal his design ‘in the flesh’, along with the special packaging that has been produced.
The Hornby Collector Club
The last special edition of the Engine Shed highlighted the launch of the new Club exclusive 0-6-0T Terrier, 32635 ‘Brighton Works’, so this is a good opportunity to remind readers of Engine Shed of the benefits that membership of the Hornby Collector Club can bring.
Club membership is available from £28 per year and includes four copies of the highly regarded club magazine, 'The Collector', a 'Collector 2020' pin badge, a personalised VIP Membership Reward Card, an exclusive complimentary 0-4-0 Club locomotive and the opportunity to purchase exclusive Club member models. In addition, from 10 July 2020, all renewing or joining members will receive a Collector Club lanyard and badge holder with their welcome pack, ideal for storage of the VIP Card. Collector Club Members can also visit the Hornby Visitor Centre free of charge upon presentation of their Membership card.
That concludes this final Engine Shed for August, the next regular edition of the Engine Shed will be with you on the 18th September, as we adjust the schedule to take the Summer holidays into account and we hope to be in a position to update you on progress with the new tooled items from the 2020 range, as well as unveiling livery artwork and some engineering and decoration samples, but in the meantime we would like to remind everyone of the ‘Golden Ticket’ promotion that we have running.
As part of our Centenary celebrations, we have placed ten ‘Golden Tickets’ in various Centenary product boxes (Dublo Diecast Vehicle Collection excluded). Nine of the Golden Tickets are for a cash value of up to £500 (to be redeemed on the Hornby website), but the tenth ticket is for a special trip, for two, on a Belmond Pullman Experience (date to be confirmed, due to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 situation). To be in with a chance of winning a lucky Golden Ticket and receiving one of these fantastic prizes you will need to check within your Centenary product box.
Do not forget that to prevent any chance of boredom during the school reduced timetable period and holidays, we have created the Hornby Kids’ Zone to keep your young railway enthusiasts (and some older enthusiasts as well, if some of the entries and submissions are anything to go by) out of mischief.
If you have any feedback from this edition of the blog, please do pass your comments on to us through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or via our Official Forum.
Best wishes to you all, stay safe and healthy.
The Engine Shed team
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