The Burford Branch

Tell us about your layout, where you put it, how you built it, how you operate it.
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dcockling
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby dcockling » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:15 pm

martin goodall wrote:it's like emptying Tutankhamen's tomb!


I wonder if we will ever see the golden mask of Martin Goodall? And is there a curse? 8-)

Joking aside, I would echo Steve's comment that "your thread here maintains a very high standard of inspiration."

Thanks for sharing.

All the Best
Danny

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:35 pm

dcockling wrote:And is there a curse?


Mmmmm. Tempting.

essdee
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby essdee » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:38 am

"May the Flange be with you....."?

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Le Corbusier
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:48 am

essdee wrote:"May the Flange be with you....."?


A group of gorillas? .... or was it baboons :D

Obscure 'not the nine o-clock news reference'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beCYGm1vMJ0
Tim Lee

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:13 pm

Just as well you provided the link, Tim. Without it, I definitely wouldn't have got the reference. (Incidentally, that really was one of the absolutely classic 'Not the 9 o'clock' sketches.)

Actually, the curse I had in mind might well have involved flanges, as Steve suggested.

But if you want a really Mephistophelean* curse, I suggest - "May you have absolutely unlimited space to build the layout of your dreams." (Just think about that - no mention of time there.)

(* Since we seem to be into obscure references today, this relates to the Faust legend.)

I think I'd better stop this, or I'll be guilty of hi-jacking my own thread!

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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Sat May 19, 2018 10:16 am

I have now completed the back row of buildings that stand against the backscene between the Blanket Mil and the larger of the two malt kilns. These buildings are very loosely modelled on a group of buildings next to the Corn Mill in Bourton-on-the-Water, based on a photograph I took over 50 years ago (!)

May 8.jpg


This group is reproduced as a mirror image of the prototype buildings, and I have substituted an open-sided cart shed in place of the end-most building at the left-hand end of the group.

May 9.jpg


The boundary wall and yard gates immediately abutting the backscene are modelled in low relief, and are almost flat.

May 10.jpg


The corresponding buildings at Bourton-on-the-Water were occupied by a builder or builder’s merchant, and my intention is that these models and the area around them should represent a builder’s yard. However, as you can see, the yard is conspicuously empty at the moment.

May 7.jpg


Inside the cart shed there is an old Model T Ford, chocked up on timber baulks, with the wheels propped against the wall. On the opposite side of the shed, two spare cart wheels are leaning against the wall.

May 3.jpg


This view of the cart shed cannot normally be seen, and a building had to be removed before I could take these shots. In fact, views of this group of buildings are restricted by the buildings in front of them, which makes me wonder how much detail really needs to be put in the builder’s yard.



May 4.jpg



As the next shot shows, the builder’s yard can only be partially glimpsed over the buildings that stand in front of it.

May 11.jpg


Meanwhile, I have also completed the Checker’s Hut on the cattle dock platform, plus a length of timber fencing at the end of the platform (but there’s still no fencing at the back of the platform).

May 1.jpg


The porter sitting on a packing case reading his paper is taking a well-earned rest from cleaning out the cattle pens.

May 2.jpg


I have also completed the detailing of the building plot at the front of the baseboard, opposite the passenger station. The bonfire is a working model, which occasionally smoulders and bursts into flame. Tim Venton took an action photo when the Bristol group visited the layout a few years ago (see viewtopic.php?f=50&t=2836]) [I can’t help feeling that the building plot still looks a bit too neat and tidy. Builders just don’t work like that!]

May 14.jpg


The pile of stones from the demolition of the old garden wall has been replaced with graded cat litter (new and unused, of course). Site clearance has also included lifting the remaining paving stones in the garden.

May 12.jpg


A pile of stock bricks has already been partly depleted for laying the foundations of the new houses on the site.

May 13.jpg


Finally, I have now added a notice forbidding locos to enter the brewery siding, so as to prevent them running over the wagon turntable. This is a rather cruel close-up which shows the less than perfect lettering. The top of the board needs weathering, and I might also add some ‘dust’ to the lower edge of the board.

May 5.jpg


A house move is now definitely on the cards. So I have recently turned to some long-planned amendments to the layout’s infrastructure, including the addition of a private siding to serve the gasworks (involving an opposed interlaced turnout). This work is being carried out with the intention of dealing with some changes to the wiring and the installation of the under-baseboard operating mechanism for the new turnout when the layout is dismantled for transport to its new home, which will give me easy access to the underside of the baseboards before the layout is re-erected.
Last edited by martin goodall on Mon May 21, 2018 8:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Alan Woodard
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Alan Woodard » Sat May 19, 2018 11:23 am

Stunning modelling Martin.
Looking forward to seeing it completed, and I bet you are too.

Cheers.

AL.

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:26 pm

Cotswold stone roofs

It may be some time before I am able to report on further progress on the layout itself, so I thought I would share with you some notes and photos I compiled on Cotswold stone roofs, of which I shall have to tackle more than a few on the layout in the not-too-distant future.

Cotswold stone ‘slates’ (aka ‘tiles’) are made from the same material as the stone used for the walls – Oolitic limestone. The roof slates are made from stone that has been split by winter frost. There are two types – ‘Presents’, which are quarried from deposits near the surface, and which have been naturally split by the frost while they are in the ground; and ‘Pendles’, which are cut from deeper deposits, and which have then been left out over a winter so that the frost will split them. Pendles tend to be noticeably thinner than Presents, and have a smoother surface.

The best known Pendles are ‘Stonesfield slates’, which came from quarries in the neighbourhood of the village of that name (in Oxfordshire, some distance to the east of the Cotswolds), but they were also produced at various quarries within the Cotswolds. In Burford itself, one can find examples of both Presents and Pendles, although they are not mixed on the same roof. However, I have gained the impression the a majority of the buildings in Burford seem to have been roofed with locally sourced Presents. The two types of slate are not easy to tell apart when they on a roof, except by their relative size. (Large slates near the eaves probably indicate that this is a roof laid with Pendles.) The second photo below was taken at Naunton, a village about 3½ miles NW of Bourton-on-the-Water, and appears to show Pendles.

Scans 28.6.18_0002 (R).jpg


Where roofs in the Cotswolds are laid with Pendles, the slates nearest the eaves can be sometimes be very large indeed, with a very noticeable diminution in the size of successive rows of slates. There are at least 30 recognised sizes (with names such as ‘cussoms’, muffities’, ‘wivetts’, ‘batchelors’ and’ tants’ or ‘farewells’, among others) although no more than a dozen sizes would generally be used on the same roof. However, the width of slates is variable. This first shot (above) somewhere in the same area as Naunton (but I forgot to note the location) also shows a roof laid with Pendles.

Scans 28.6.18_0006 (R).jpg
.

(Sorry I got these two shots in the wrong order when posting this item, and have failed to transpose them when attempting to edit this post.)

The remaining photos show roofs in Burford itself. The thicker and rougher nature of the Presents can be detected in a number of cases. It is also noticeable that, whilst there is a diminution of slate sizes further up the roof, when a roof is slated with Presents those at the eaves are not all that much larger than the others, and certainly not as big as those laid near the eaves on roofs that consist of Pendles.

This next shot seems to show another roof laid with Pendles

Scans 28.6.18_0004 (R).jpg


This roof too looks as though it is laid with Pendles

Scans 28.6.18_0003 (R).jpg


The stone roofs I have modelled so far are at or near the back of the layout, and I have restricted myself to creating ‘an artist’s impression’ by applying a watercolour wash to hand-made rag paper on which slate courses have then be marked by indenting them freehand with a hard pencil (as described and illustrated in recent posts in this thread). For the roofs of buildings standing further forward on the layout, I did consider laying separate strips of slates. Plain paper or card about 6-thou thick might be used for Pendles, but for a roof comprising Presents, a rougher material about 15-thou thick will be required. However, the small size of the slates (especially in 4mm scale) convinced me that this would simply not be practicable where roofs are laid with ‘Presents’.

I will leave it to you to decide whether this next roof has Pendles or Presents on it. ( I did say they are difficult to tell apart.)
[By the way, look at the first floor windows. Are they vertical, square and all in line? Are they, heck!]

Scans 28.6.18_0001 (R).jpg


The tails (bottom edge) of the slates are reasonably straight (but certainly not perfectly straight), and the visible sides of the slates are roughly at right-angles to the tail, usually with slightly rounded corners. The slates are not altogether smooth and so they do not always sit flat on the roof. [Nor do Pendles, despite their slightly smoother texture.] The top of the slates (unseen) is roughly rounded off, but if modelling slates individually, it would no doubt be more convenient to make the slates roughly rectangular.

I think he next roof consists of Presents. And who can resist that window as a subject for a model?! (Windows as wonky as this are not so uncommomn as you might suppose.)

Scans 28.6.18_0005 (R).jpg


Further down the hill in Burford, and more Pendles, I think.

Scans 28.6.18_0007 (R).jpg


It was sometimes the practice to reduce the angle of the lowest rows of slates to help throw rainwater clear of the walls. This was arranged by adding a wedge-shaped ‘sprocket’ to the lower end of each rafter. However, there are plenty of photos that seem to show no change of angle in the roof slope near the eaves. An example of a change in angle of the roof slope near the eaves can be seen in the old malt kiln from Garne’s Brewery in Burford. (See photos of both the model and the prototype in an earlier post).

Again, your guess is as good as mine as to whether the slates in these next two photos are Pendles or Presents

Scans 28.6.18_0008 (R).jpg


Scans 28.6.18_0009 (R).jpg


The colour of Cotswold stone roofs starts off roughly the same as the walls. I once saw a newly slated roof in Bibury, which looked distinctly odd, but the stone weathers rapidly – far more so than the walls, so that it can go quite a dark grey/brown colour in some cases. I think these colour photos, taken in bright sunshine give a fair idea of the colours that are seen, although their appearance under a cloudy sky is a rather darker shade of grey.

There’s a lot more that could be said about these roofs, but I’ll leave it there for now.

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:28 pm

Further work in progress

Having announced back in May that I was about to embark on the installation of a private siding to serve the gasworks (including an opposed interlaced turnout), I got no further than punching and riveting the point timbering, before I was tempted to turn again to further work on the brewery buildings, comprising the last few buildings in the Donnington Brewery group, so as to complete the range of buildings behind the goods yard.

Donnington (edit) (1).JPG


These photographs show the styrene shells of these buildings that I have been working on in the past couple of weeks. These models differ slightly from the card mock-ups seen earlier. They are a mirror image of the prototype buildings at Donnington Brewery.

Donnington (edit) (2).JPG


Reading from the right-hand end, the first building is the Head Brewer’s house (the only building in this group that is faced with ashlar), next to which is the brewhouse itself. At the left-hand end of the group is a pair of cottages let out as offices. This is a stretched version of the prototype building, which was originally a mill (complete with a millwheel at the end of the building). I rely on modeller’s licence for having put this building to other commercial uses, minus its millwheel.

Donnington (edit) (3).JPG


The unusual angle of the Head Brewer’s house in relation to its neighbours is accurately reproduced from the prototype. Having failed to determine this angle by staring at various photographs I had taken, I looked on Google Earth (and on another website publishing satellite imagery) which showed beyond doubt that this dwelling stood at an angle of 22 degrees to the neighbouring maltings building.

Donnington (edit) (4).JPG


While talking about the brewery buildings, we had a discussion a few months ago about the sack hoist for the maltings. I had completely forgotten a photograph I took some years ago at the corn mill in Bourton-on-the-Water (now a motor museum), which showed a much lighter type of hoist compared with the rather heavier version I actually modelled.

Scans 28.6.18_0010 (R).jpg

I don’t propose to alter my model. The existing hoist, if a little ‘beefy’, will pass muster. (Maybe at the Burford Brewery they thought they might have to lift some items rather heavier than a sack of barley, although I can’t think what else you would want to hoist into a maltings.)

Meanwhile, I now have a potential new railway room 90 miles from the existing one. (Oh, and there are various other rooms, a garage and a garden shed that go with it.) However, the Burford Branch will be staying where it is for the next few months, as a shower will have to be moved to make way for the layout in its new home.

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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:53 am

Model-making sometimes seems to go in fits and starts, and this has certainly been the case for me over the past few months. The final three buildings of the Donnington Brewery group should have been finished by now, but there is still some way to go before these buildings will be completed.

Currently on the workbench is the Brewery building itself, in which the doors and windows have just been installed.

Nov 18 - 1.jpg


The rather odd arrangement of the windows on the left-hand side of the building is to accommodate the chute for the spent grain. The chute is portrayed in its stowed position. When disposing of the spent materials the timber shutter is raised (it slides inside the upper window), and the chute is then raised to about 45° There is a pit below (not yet modelled) into which the spent grain is tipped, and this is then taken away as animal feed.

Nov 18 - 2.jpg


The large gap below the centre door is to accommodate a door step and a ramp up to the door (reproducing the prototype arrangement).

The stonework looks squeaky clean at the moment, but it will be weathered down with soot in the same way as the Maltings and other buildings seen previously.

Nov 18 - 3.jpg


The last two shots show the building in context on the layout, together with the neighbouring buildings on each side, which are also being worked on as part of the current building project.

Nov 18 - 4.jpg


Nov 18 - 5.jpg


Reverting to the issue of sack hoists, I came across this example in Bridport a couple of weeks ago. Again, rather lighter than the example I have installed in my Maltings, but I still don’t intend to change my model – even though it is demonstrably ‘wrong’.

Nov 18 - 6.jpg

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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:41 am

Progress on the last three buildings that will complete the brewery complex at the back of the goods yard continues to be painfully slow, due simply to my not having got ‘a round tuit’. This essential tool all too frequently proves to have gone missing from my toolbox, but at least all the doors and windows have now been installed, and chimneys have been added to the pair of cottages at the left-hand end of the group.

Donnington Jan 19 (1A).JPG


Donnington Jan 19 (2).JPG


Donnington Jan 19 (3).JPG


Donnington Jan 19 (4).JPG

The next job will be to build the roofs, followed by dormers on the roof of the Head Brewer’s house, a roof vent on the brewhouse, and then gutters and rainwater pipes. Finally, the walls will have to be weathered with soot to tone down the stonework to a more realistic shade. Paving of the yard in this area (including inset track) will have to await future completion of the road bridge.

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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:01 pm

It may be my imagination, but these latest four photos appear to me to be slightly more yellow than previous ones.

These shots were taken on the same iPhone as before, but I have recently changed the layout lighting. I was previously using four traditional tungsten bulbs of 75 watts each, giving a total of 300 watts. This was the most the light fitting could handle. 100-watt bulbs made things far too hot.

Now, LED bulbs have been substituted which are only 11 watts each, but equivalent in terms of light output to 100 watts each, giving a total light output equivalent to 400 watts, an increase of 33 per cent. However, the colour temperature of the new bulbs is stated to be the same as the old ones - 2,700 Kelvin.

To the naked eye, the new lighting looks brighter but the same colour (warm white). It was only when these new photos were on the screen that a slightly yellower cast seemed to me possibly to be present.

Any comments?

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Guy Rixon
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Guy Rixon » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:36 pm

CCDs, in general, respond to a wider range of wavelengths than the human eye. I don't know the response curves for the ones in the iPhones. It's entirely possible that the new lamps match the old in the visible range but less well outside it, and that the camera can see the difference.

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Paul Townsend
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Paul Townsend » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:47 pm

Another factor is the CRI of the new leds. (Colour rendering Index).
Best makers will provide this information as a percentage, the higher the better. Cheap and unbranded LEDs won't give that important specification.

Leds emit light as a series of spectral lines. If there are gaps ( always some) this reduces the CRI as there is no light on the scene for spectral gaps.

Hot filament bulbs gave much closer to "Black Body radiation" whereby the spectral response is a smooth curve, without gaps.
It is likely that your paints contain some colours that the leds don't illuminate so any camera may see the difference compared to what you had before.

This is why we are always advised to paint the model under the actual layout lighting. This advice makes no allowance for altering the lighting later!

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Le Corbusier
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:34 pm

martin goodall wrote:
To the naked eye, the new lighting looks brighter but the same colour (warm white). It was only when these new photos were on the screen that a slightly yellower cast seemed to me possibly to be present.

Any comments?

Martin,

Are the images in general more yellow than to the naked eye .... or do you use some form of correction on the camera as far as the tungsten halogen was concerned.

From my work with lighting I know that tungsten halogen has 100% colour rendering properties as far as the human eye is concerned but I understood that a camera would not adjust for the yellow colour tones as the eye does and so adjustments needed to be made.

LED last time i looked it up had achieved 95% colour rendering with specific bulbs which meant it was starting to replace tungsten in shop displays and theatre makeup etc. ... The CRI of the particular bulb you use is as important as whether it is a warm or cool light if natural colours are important. These are the LEDs in strip form we use for mirror lighting in theatre dressing rooms.
Tim Lee

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:03 pm

Until I changed the bulbs, I had been very careful to paint my models under the layout lights.

The reason for changing the bulbs was twofold - first, the days of tungsten bulbs are clearly numbered, so a change to some form of low energy bulbs would have had to be made sooner or later; secondly, the 300 watts of lighting had always appeared to me to be somewhat dim, and it was only the heat/load problem that prevented my substituting 100-watt bulbs to beef up the lighting to a total of 400 watts.

I was careful to choose new LED bulbs which had (or were stated to have) the same 2700K colour temperature of the previous tungsten bulbs. The available information was limited, and in any event I doubt whether a full spectrum version would be available at an affordable price.

As I mentioned, apart from being brighter (400W equivalent, compared with 300W), the new lighting appears identical to the naked eye in terms of its colour balance, and so 95 per cent of the objective has been achieved.

It is only when photographing the layout this week with the iPhone that I have noticed a very slight difference in the colour rendering. The iPhone is not an orthodox digital camera - nearly everything is automatic, and there is only very limited control over focusing and brightness. So there's no scope for correcting for tungsten lighting, etc.

If these photos were being taken on a 'proper' digital camera, the colour could be adjusted to the lighting before taking any photos, so it's really only a problem when using a smart phone to take photos. So maybe I shall have to buy a digital camera after all.

Readers of this thread may not in fact be able to see any visible difference between the photos taken previously and the four shots I have posted today. Or can they?

Armchair Modeller
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Armchair Modeller » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:33 pm

martin goodall wrote:
Readers of this thread may not in fact be able to see any visible difference between the photos taken previously and the four shots I have posted today. Or can they?


On my computer there is definitely a yellow tinge. I did a quick correction in Photoshop for comparison.

Donnington-Jan-19-(4).JPG


Donnington-Jan-19-(4)a.jpg


Having said that, the colour of daylight varies a fair bit. In summer it is much yellower than in winter. Maybe Burford basks in perpetual summer sunshine?

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Steve Carter
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Steve Carter » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:53 pm

martin goodall wrote:
Having said that, the colour of daylight varies a fair bit. In summer it is much yellower than in winter. Maybe Burford basks in perpetual summer sunshine?



Ah, then you may need to add some more shadows, depending on the time of day of course ;)

Looking really good Martin. If you happy with the lighting as you view it then that’s all that matters.
Steve Carter

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:11 pm

Yes, like most other model railway layouts, the Burford Branch basks perpetually in warm summer sunshine (even at midnight); in fact it basks in the light of no fewer than four suns! However, the use of 'pearl' bulbs avoids any hard shadows, and for the most part, multiple shadows are not noticeable. However, as I have mentioned before, care needs to be taken to 'catch' any shadows that might otherwise fall on the backscene. If there is no building in the way, a half-relief or low relief tree either has been, or will be, planted.

I was interested to see the corrected version of one of the photos posted by 'Armchair Modeller'. The corrected colour actually looks a wee bit cooler (i.e. towards the blue end of the spectrum) than the actual models. The Cotswold stone (particularly in these buildings) is quite yellow, although this should be toned down when soot weathering is applied. What alerted me to the slight yellow cast of the these photos when I posted them was the glimpses of the sky on the backscene, which is blue and white (and not a yellowish hue, as it seems to be in these shots). Of course, we could just put this yellow cast down to air pollution on the day the photos were taken (ahem).

Philip Hall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Philip Hall » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:28 am

Martin,

The corrected shot looks very like the final results after the MRJ session many years ago. You will recall that I hadn’t taken any thought of the differing light sources in your room, they turned out very brown/yellow and I had to correct them all afterwards. And then the uncorrected ones got used in MRJ by mistake...

I find that my iPhone delivers a ‘non yellow’ result (for want of a better description) as do both of my digital cameras. The cameras are set to auto white balance which seems to sort out most things. When taking ‘studio’ shots (like the Drummond 700 on the current thread about that engine) I use a couple of ‘daylight’ 13W lamps (I got them from Hobbycraft but many types are available). I have LED lighting in the workshop and the odd pictures I have taken of the inside of it seem ‘non yellow’ as well. Maybe it’s something to do with how close, or otherwise, the phone is to the light source. Or that the actual colour of the stone is like that, of which you, of course, are the final arbiter. On balance, I prefer the corrected version although the blue content might make it appear slightly ‘cold’.

Philip

Armchair Modeller
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Armchair Modeller » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:15 am

Philip Hall wrote:Martin,

On balance, I prefer the corrected version although the blue content might make it appear slightly ‘cold’.

Philip


A winter's day? ;)

Daylight is much whiter in winter.

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:57 pm

Under the tungsten bulbs, my iPhone gave more or less 'non-yellow' pictures. The difference (admittedly quite subtle) has only arisen following the substitution of LED lighting.

I can't say that the cooler colours of the corrected photo that Armchair Modeller kindly posted are 'wrong'', it's just that my intention was always to portray warm sunshine (all year round, and 24 hours a day, of course), but without the 'smog' that seems to have turned the sky slightly yellow in the most recent photos.

Inevitably, there has to be a compromise, and I am happy with the colour balance as it appears to the naked eye under the new LED lighting. I think I will just have to accept the slight problem that arises when using the camera on the iPhone. Maybe I shall just have to correct the colour on the computer before posting further photos on the forum.

dal-t
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby dal-t » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:10 pm

Assuming you're using something more recent than iOS 8, the iPhone does have white balance adjustment. Can't say how effective it is or whether you can use it with a grey card, but I can testify that on the odd occasions when I use my wife's iPhone it captures much warmer images than my (seldom colour corrected) D300.
David L-T

martin goodall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby martin goodall » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:19 pm

I confess to having a somewhat elderly iPhone, I think a 4S (!)

Maybe I need to buy a more up-to-date iPhone, but the latest model seems to be inordinately expensive.

The alternative is a new digital camera, which would be cheaper, but it might not quite so easily be poked into odd places to get the shots that one can get with a smart phone.

Being a cheapskate, I think I will stick to my old iPhone and rely on post facto adjustment of the colour on the computer.

Philip Hall
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Re: The Burford Branch

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:23 am

Martin,

I have just looked at my iPhone SE (effectively a 6S in a 5 case) and on the camera screen at top right there is a ‘three circles’ icon; tapping that gives you various colour and lighting options. Mine is set to standard but maybe yours has got itself on warm or something like that?

My wife had a iPhone 4S and the picture quality with her 6S and my SE is noticably better than the 4, or a 5. I got the SE on a deal at Heathrow a while back. In these days of fantastically priced top range iPhones you might get an old fashioned 6, 7 or 8 for reasonable money.

Philip


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