Those Pesky Photographs…

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Milepost 825

Or, should I say, “Those pesky details?” I don’t know but one thing is for certain; those old model railroaders sure knew what they were talking about and the rest of us could learn quite a bit by listening to them.

A long time ago, John Allen, arguably one of the best model railroaders ever, said that he would complete a model or an entire scene then photograph it. Then, he would take the negative and print an 8×10 photo from it… and then… look it over with a magnifying glass! He would look for things that just didn’t look right in the picture then correct them on the model.

Such was the case with the recently completed signal tower model I shared with you last time. I took it up on the layout, set it where it looked kind of “railroady,” then took several pictures of it. The model looked pretty good to me just sitting there but when I got downstairs and brought the image up on the computer… UGH! I saw several things which jumped right out at me.

Take a look at the photo above… take a GOOD, CRITICAL look at it then scroll down a little farther to see the errors that I found when I looked closely at it. Click on the above image for a larger version and (unfortunately) the errors are even more visible. Keep in mind, I’m talking just about the model, not the surroundings, any of the other buildings or pieces of rolling stock visible.

OK? Scroll down to see what caught my eye…

In no particular order… The roof & awning pieces were on the parts sprue when I painted them. When I broke them off, ugly spots were left behind on the parts. These will need to be sanded a little and touched up. On the stairs, I tried to add just a little wear with a little wash that I thought would let the wood show through from constant treading up & down the stairs… it turned out ugly. At the base of the stairs, it looks like a little glue might have seeped through the seam and ruined the paint as some of the original orange-yellow is showing through. Another touch-up is called for here. Finally, the interior shows through way too well. At the least, I should have installed some kind of dark colored construction paper baffle to cover it up. I could have painted it some non-descript interior-looking color and even added a floor to make it look a whole lot better. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do about this error except learn from it and try not to make the same one again next time.

Even with the corrections mentioned above, the model wouldn’t be a “contest quality” offering but it would look a lot more realistic on the layout.




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