Historical Railway Uniforms.

Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:35 pm

Historical Railway Uniforms.

Postby beachboy » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:34 am

I recall at an Exibition a harbour scene layout with lots of fine cameos of model making. Streets scenes, fishing boats with their catch & pots etc. But when the eye is drawn to the heart of life in the scene - people, the finish & painting thereof jarred the illusion. Pink for skin. and a hand full of colours for clothing, all in gloss, and mold lines. Is that what we look like?
There are plenty of how to articles for painting, and they do not have to be a model railway labelled mag / book.
Cheap art books, even a copy of Military Modelling has had an article every month on painting figures. Skin, cloth colour variation in colours, and using lighter colours to provide contrast, plus depth & the effects of falling light. Its all out there.

But what is not, from what I can find, is reference to the clothing and colours of a railway workforce the size of an army, & for a hundred years or more. Osprey and similar books will provide details of nearly every military uniform known. Yet all I can find is a book I had not scene mentioned in the railway press, and tucked away in a library for reference only, is a book 'Railway Buttons, Badges & Uniforms' by David Froggatt. Its really quite good with lots of Company details, but with only two artist colour pics of a given Company Guard, - limited.

Looking at b&w pics, the cut quality, and care of the clothing is noticable befitting care & job title, as does the badges etc. The later in 4mm needs highlighting and backshading to stand out. But brings to life the importance, ranking & character of the miniature army.
As an aside, the pics often show the face of a contented Station Master, while the other staff show signs of experience, stress & hard work.
The April Steam Days has an article on a Bus service run by the LNWR. Buses painted in coach colours, and drivers in smart decorated uniforms, which contrasts to the plain clothing of the street people of the day, all in some lovely period pics. Parked outside the station, a fine model would be eye catching, and compliment a LNWR layout.
All right, the problem is compounded by, in my opinion, a rather poor & limited selection of available figures. Later BR era an exception. Conversion and some basic milliput type putty enhancing becomes necassary, together with enhancing the detail with blade & file. Even drilling & pushing in suitable coloured rod for buttons. The usual sort of modelling thats done else where.

However, does any kind sole know of other book reference material to pursue.

Also - a Porter, Yard Shunter etc. often and common to most pre & post Edwardian railways wore a waistcoat in, when new a dark shade of blackish blue. One colour pic of a preserved cap shows this colour to be washed out to an RAF shade of blue with the white cotton grain showing thru. But. In most cases an arm cloth is attached to the waistcoat, in what looks similar in texture to a wagon sheet cloth / material, or even leather. This contrasts to the couldroy, or heavy duty cotton waistcoat material. I have seen a coloured in period Postcard where the artist has over painted the arm in very lighter blue.
Does anyone know more, or have one hanging up in their cupboard to advise what it is made of &/or the colour.
Any help & advices welcome, and may benefit others for the future in getting it right.

Thanks Steve.

User avatar
Russ Elliott
Posts: 930
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:38 pm

Re: Historical Railway Uniforms.

Postby Russ Elliott » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:02 pm

User avatar
Posts: 1365
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:04 pm

Re: Historical Railway Uniforms.

Postby Noel » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:21 pm

I agree with Beachboy about the mold lines and gloss paint, but am not convinced that military modelling techniques for figure painting are altogether appropriate for 4mm. My reasons are that while military modellers do use 4mm figures in some contexts, they are then usually used en masse, not as detailed individual models. The more detailed techniques are used for larger figures, intended to be viewed close up in dioramas. Our figures, seen at the classic 2 feet viewing distance are the full size equivalent of about 150 feet away in real life. At that distance most clothing detail has ceased to be identifiable.


Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:07 am

Re: Historical Railway Uniforms.

Postby doktorstamp » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:10 am

My own feeling on this is that a great amount of time an effort is made where the vehicles are concerned such that under closer inspection of an enlarged photograph they stand up to very close scrutiny. Many of the figures though, appear to be no more than an after-thought, and can mar the effect conveyed by the most carefully executed scenery and painting of the vehicles and infrastructure.

It seems such a shame that the 'ship' is spoiled for a ha'ppeth of tar.



David Knight
Posts: 673
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:02 pm

Re: Historical Railway Uniforms.

Postby David Knight » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:10 am

A few useful hints for the painting of figures can be found here
http://www.brifayle.ca/ I've seen his work in the flesh, as it were, and it is very good.



Terry Bendall
Posts: 1776
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Historical Railway Uniforms.

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:17 am

Falcoln Figures, who have attended Scalefourm for the last two years and who will be at this year's event, do a nice range of figures, both painted and unpainted.

Contact details are in the guide for the 2012 show.

Terry Bendall

Return to “Road Vehicles and Figures”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest