The Burford Branch

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martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:31 pm

This is the third and final post on the subject of the Burford backscene.

In the two-part article in MRJ 220 and 221 there was some mention of the backscene I painted for my small (now retired) exhibition layout, Crichel Down, but there was insufficient space in the magazine to allow illustrations of this backscene to be reproduced.

The photos in this post were kindly taken for me by Dave Cross, and I am grateful for his permission to reproduce them here.

The bluish hue of the hills on this backscene is intended to convey a sense of distance.
PHOTO A.jpg
Photo: © DAVE CROSS

PHOTO B.jpg
Photo: © DAVE CROSS


The Crichel Down backscene was intended to create the atmosphere of a hot summer’s day, with the distant hills seen through a heat haze.
PHOTO C.jpg
Photo: © DAVE CROSS


In the article I also mentioned the backscene I had painted for Dave Cross’s layout. Here are parts of that backscene.
PHOTO D.jpg
Photo: © DAVE CROSS

PHOTO E.jpg
Photo: © DAVE CROSS


Finally, I explained in MRJ 221 the method by which I suggest the foliage of trees. This was illustrated by several photos and also by a couple of sketches in the article, but here is another example. This is not a backscene, but is a detail from one of my paintings – hence the richer colours, but the method is the same.
PHOTO F.jpg
Photo: © DAVE CROSS

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Jim Summers
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Jim Summers » Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:50 pm

Delighted to see these pictures, Martin.
What a pity MRJ didn't manage to include them in the first place, because they really do convey the atmosphere.

Jim

essdee
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby essdee » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:55 pm

Lovely landscapes Martin, Burford and Crichel,

They bring back happy memories of dad taking me by train from Royston (Herts) to King's Cross in the early 60s and thence to the Science Museum, where the mechanised agricultural diorama(s) always held me spellbound with its 'far-away' backscene. I wonder when that was trashed in some 'upgrading' or other....

BW

Steve

kesreksr

Re: The Burford Branch

Postby kesreksr » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:57 am

Hello Martin
While I was looking at the Radio Four website I was reminded of your wonderful layout and backscenes.
If you are interested you can search the Radio Four schedule for Sunday 21/4/2013 at 05:43 and you can listen to the bells of St.John the Baptist Church, Burford, Oxfordshire.

Mario.

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:03 pm

I don't think I particularly remember the backscene Martin; too much time around the back of the layout I suspect!

Mind you, the sharpness of that turnout is still firmly remembered - what do you reckon 1 in 3?
Mark Tatlow

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Tim V
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Tim V » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:15 am

All inspiring Martin, and not a flange in sight... No seriously, showing that there is MORE to model railways than the standards - whatever they are.

Must make a serious effort to tackle Clutton's backscene...
Tim V
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martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:18 pm

Mark Tatlow wrote:I don't think I particularly remember the backscene Martin; too much time around the back of the layout I suspect!

Mind you, the sharpness of that turnout is still firmly remembered - what do you reckon 1 in 3?


That was the problem of operating Crichel Down. The view from the back wasn't very attractive! If I ever revive Crichel Down or build Crichel Down (Mark II), I think I will operate it from the front, although the control position would probably need to be over towards the fiddle yard, so as to avoid blocking the view for spectators.

Actually, it has just occurred to me that this is not the backscene Mark would have remembered from the layout's Surrey days. It was replaced by the backscene shown in the photos in 1997 or thereabouts.

As to the angle of that turnout in front of the signal box, you are wrong, Mark. It's 1 in 2 (!!!) (And yet we used nothing but P4 wheels on Crichel Down in those days.) However, if you look carefully, you may spot some extra checkrails that were shoved in to make sure the wheels stayed on the track.

If anyone unfamiliar with this old layout is wondering why on earth anyone would attempt to build a turnout in P4 with a 1 in 2 crossing angle (the others, incidentally, were all 1 in 4), the answer is that the track was an exact replacement in P4 of track that had originally been laid in 00 gauge with Peco Streamline track, and so it exactly reproduced the geometry of the Peco points! And yet it worked.

[It has just occurred to me that Crichel Down first appeared on the exhibition circuit 30 years ago, and it was finally retired from exhibition almost 15 years ago. How time flies!]

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:21 pm

kesreksr wrote:Hello Martin
While I was looking at the Radio Four website I was reminded of your wonderful layout and backscenes.
If you are interested you can search the Radio Four schedule for Sunday 21/4/2013 at 05:43 and you can listen to the bells of St.John the Baptist Church, Burford, Oxfordshire.

Mario.


I have only just seen this and the other posts, but no doubt I can catch up with it on BBC i-player.

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Mark Tatlow » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:42 pm

martin goodall wrote:That was the problem of operating Crichel Down. The view from the back wasn't very attractive! If I ever revive Crichel Down or build Crichel Down (Mark II),


So Up Crichel is still a possibility................?
Mark Tatlow

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Tim V
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Tim V » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:10 pm

Surely a "new" Crichel Down can't be any better than the old one? (the Crichel Down principle?)
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martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:26 pm

Mark Tatlow wrote:So Up Crichel is still a possibility................?


A remote possibility. Yes.

But only if either (a) I make a lot more progress on the Burford Branch first or (b) failing that, Dr Beeching puts up the closure notices on the Burford Branch (i.e. if we move to a house where there isn't room for this layout any more, in which case a return to modelling the Mid Wessex Light Railway might then be on the cards)

Andrew Ullyott
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Andrew Ullyott » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:03 pm

martin goodall wrote:
Mark Tatlow wrote:So Up Crichel is still a possibility................?


A remote possibility. Yes.

But only if either (a) I make a lot more progress on the Burford Branch first or (b) failing that, Dr Beeching puts up the closure notices on the Burford Branch (i.e. if we move to a house where there isn't room for this layout any more, in which case a return to modelling the Mid Wessex Light Railway might then be on the cards)


So is it time to form a new preservation society?

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:50 am

AUllyott wrote:So is it time to form a new preservation society?


There are rumours that the Burford Branch could be under threat of closure, but this is not thought to be imminent. A preservation society, or 'Friends of the Burford Branch' might, however, have some slight influence on the powers that be. (There have been rumblings about the space required to accommodate the layout, and the constraints this places on house-hunting.)

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:24 am

In case anyone has been following this thread, some further photos (entirely informal and unposed!) have been posted by Tim Venton on the Bristol Group page, here:

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=2836

Simon Glidewell

Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Simon Glidewell » Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:16 am

Hello Martin,

Burford is an outstanding layout and one that I have been admiring from afar for a long time, before I renewed my society membership a few days ago. Your backscenes are really lovely! I wish I had your skill.

All the best
Simon

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:03 am

You can do it, Simon.

Read the two-part article in MRJ 220 anmd 221, and follow the steps set out there and you too can paint a backscene like that.

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:43 pm

It is some time since I last posted any news of the Burford Branch, and so having taken a few experimental shots with an i-phone I thought I would post these here, starting with the station building and train shed, to which I have added some detailing.

Bfd 5 (Edit).JPG


The paintwork has been fairly extensively weathered, scrubbing in real soot with a stiff paintbrush. The roof beams and the glazed gable of the train shed are going to need a much heavier deposition of soot, applied with the airbrush – one of the many things on the to-do list.

Bfd 1 (Edit).jpg


Various details have been added to the side of the station building facing the platform. There are still a couple of chocolate machines missing, plus parcels trolleys and porter’s barrows, but it’s beginning to look a bit more railway-like than the original photos, which showed it in pristine condition, completely devoid of platform furniture.

Bfd 2 (Edit).jpg


The lamps are the heads of Merit/Peco platform lamps filed to shape to form back lamps. The wicker baskets are Hornby Skaledale, and the GWR posters are reproductions found in a book, which I scanned into the computer, reduced in size and then printed out on a laser printer.

Bfd 4 (Edit).jpg


The rear wall of the station was originally left as plain plastic, on the grounds that it would never be seen. However, when one of my friends poked a camera round there, I decided that I had better do something to make it reasonably presentable after all.

Bfd 12 (Edit).jpg
Bfd 12 (Edit).jpg (87.6 KiB) Viewed 247 times

I deliberately ‘fudged’ the detail on this side of the building. The planking was simply pencilled in, and the windows are flat mock-ups.

Bfd 11 (Apr 15).JPG
Bfd 11 (Apr 15).JPG (81.77 KiB) Viewed 7441 times


The larger poster hoarding was added purely in order to disguise the fact that I had messed up this area of the wall when weathering it.

I have also done some work on the background buildings, starting with the Blanket Mill

Bfd 6 (Edit).jpg


All I did was tart up the existing card mock-up seen in previous photos, by adding some architectural details, then painting the building a stone colour using artist’s acrylics (a mix of Titanium White, Raw Sienna and Cobalt Blue – the same colours I used on the backscene).

Bfd 7 (Edit).jpg


The windows were simply pencilled on to the surface of the building, and the ‘Burford Blankets’ signage was selected from a suitable font in Word and printed out in grey (not black) on decal paper, with individual letters then being applied to the wall as individual waterslide transfers.

Bfd 8 (Edit).jpg


I have at last disguised the all to obvious join in the backscene with some smoke issuing from the chimney. After literally papering over the crack and painting the paper ‘smoke’, I then added some teased out cotton wool to disguise the edges of the added paper.

My intention was originally to produce an enhanced mock-up, to be replaced eventually by a ‘proper’ model, but I am thinking of leaving it largely as it is, bearing in mind that it is right at the back of the layout next to the backscene, with which it is intended to blend in.
Last edited by martin goodall on Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JFS
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby JFS » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:41 pm

Looking splendid Martin!

Just a query on the blanket mill:- is this copied from a real prototype or is it "freelance"?

I ask because, for a mill, the windows look very small and widely spaced. Glass, after all, was cheaper than stone, and daylight saved on gas for the lights!

Of course, there might have been mills such as yours in the dark depths of the "South", but even the wealthy Chipping Norton set (who knew how to blow a fortune on a mill!) put a bit more glass in than you have:-

Bliss' Mill.jpg
Bliss' Mill.jpg (148.06 KiB) Viewed 7415 times


You are in good company in this of course - remember "Moss Hey New Mill" on Inkermann St? Whatever its history was, it was never a cotton mill!

Hope that helps.

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:56 am

Regarding Howard’s note, I confess that window size had not occurred to me as an issue when I planned the building. I intended to use some etched industrial windows supplied by D&S, and so the windows on the tarted-up mock-up were drawn to the same dimensions. They were roughly the same size as the windows on the prototype building, but that building was not a mill; it was a brewery.

I had spotted the fact that the floors of my chosen prototype (the Old Brewery at Freshford, near Bath) did not give sufficient headroom for weaving, and so I had adjusted the window spacing to take account of this, but it did not occur to me that the windows of the Freshford brewery building might not provide enough natural light for weaving.

I have now looked again at some photos of the blanket mills at Witney, and the New Mill (which burnt down n 1905) did seem to have its windows spaced at roughly the sort of spacings shown on my model, but I would have to admit that these windows were in practice somewhat larger than the ones on my model. So I think Howard has made a good point - it just shows you can’t be too careful.

At least I can derive a modicum of comfort from the assurance that I have erred in good company.
Last edited by martin goodall on Wed Jun 03, 2020 5:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

JFS
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby JFS » Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:04 pm

martin goodall wrote: it just shows you can’t be too careful.


The trouble is, there is always some expert waiting in the wings to criticise.....

Just one further detail - in a multi-storey building, it is more likely that spinning would be taking place. Weaving was more typically undertaken in single storey sheds with north-light roofs to make it easier to spot broken warps. Spinners had fewer ends to watch!

I say "typically" because there were exceptions to this "rule" - but Witney, at least in this regard, was not so different from the rest of the industry.

Best wishes,

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:32 pm

I am grateful to Howard for his comments, because he has prompted me to go and look up the information I had on blanket weaving, which I had previously overlooked.

From raw wool to finished blankets, the manufacturing process was complex and quite lengthy, and required a whole group of buildings (not all of them necessarily on the same site). The processes involved blending the wool (which came from various sources), then willeying, carding and spinning it before weaving could begin. Weaving on power looms was followed by fulling, shrinking, washing and drying (for which large spin dryers were in use well over a hundred years ago), bleaching or dyeing, then tentering, drawing or teazling, cutting into blankets, whipping or binding the edges and finally packing.

A photo inside the loom shed of one of the Witney blanket mills (taken around 1900) shows a room that was well-lit by a north-light roof, just as Howard suggested. We can therefore conclude that the building I have modelled did not house the looms, which must have been in another building hidden from view by this front building. It appears that most of the other processes listed above did not require the same amount of natural light as the loom shed, and a photo showing whipping of the edges (using treadle sewing machines) in one of the Witney mills in about 1895 indicates that this room had windows no larger than those in my modelled building.

The large doors on the ground floor of my mill building facing onto the goods yard (a feature reproduced from the Freshford brewery building) suggest that incoming deliveries of wool would probably be stored in this building, as well as finished blankets awaiting dispatch. Other operations carried on in this building could perhaps have included cutting, whipping and binding of the edges and then packing, whereas all the other operations, from preparing the yarn, through weaving to some of the earlier parts of the finishing process would have been carried on in other buildings not seen from this angle, leaving only the very last stages of production to be carried out on the upper floors of this building, with warehousing of both raw materials and the packed blankets on the ground floor.

Incidentally, the photo I referred to in my previous comment did not show New Mill (which burnt down in 1883) but Witney Mill. (There were several different blanket-making businesses operating in Witney.)
Last edited by martin goodall on Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Bulwell Hall

Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Bulwell Hall » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:26 am

Lovely lighting there Martin and oodles of GWR atmosphere in those platform scenes.

Gerry

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David B
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby David B » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:15 am

Lovely detail on the platform, Martin. What is the origin of the wooden benches?

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Paul Townsend
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Paul Townsend » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:41 am

martin goodall wrote:
The paintwork has been fairly extensively weathered, scrubbing in real soot with a stiff paintbrush.


It looks really good but isn't the pong a nuisance?

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:15 am

Thanks for the various comments.

Gerry - I was surprised by this myself. The lighting was simply from the layout's own lights, a tracked ceiling-mounted fitting with 4 x 75w tungsten bulbs giving reasonably even overall lighting. Above all, the photos are a tribute to the technology built into the i-phone. Only a few years ago it would have been impossible to take photos like this without some sort of special photographic lighting. Nowadays, you can get a result in almost pitch darkness!

David - The more modern bench on the left is a Coopercraft kit (plastic mouldings), and the earlier bench on the right is a cast whitematal kit from Dart Castings.

Paul - The soot has an 'interesting' smell when you are actually applying it (not that strong really), but is entirely odourless afterwards. (Or were you referring to the proximity of the cattle dock opposite the main platform?)


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