Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Matthew and Son

... or indeed, any other family run business.

I’ve been neglecting my modelling projects recently, as the making movies bug has hit hard lately – although I have been adding bits and bobs to ‘The Plank’ every now and then. However, September is looming, and that means that the model railway exhibition season is coming out of hibernation. I was reminded of this in today’s postal delivery, which consisted of the latest product from Ten Commandments with a note saying ‘Get these done for Peterborough.’

Upon opening the box, I found three Victorian style low-relief factory / warehouse buildings. This type of industrial architecture was common in Britain, and continued to flourish around until around the 1960’s and 70's when more modern construction methods saw them begin to die out.

Buildings of this style can still be seen in ever decreasing numbers – I came across this amazing example in North Shields earlier this year. Not only intact and in everyday use, this building has been fully restored as part of the North Shields and River Tyne regeneration scheme – and looks magnificent for it.

My task, which I have been chosen to accept, is to paint these buildings ready for Peterborough Exhibition, as they will be going on display to demonstrate another new line – old style industrial signage. Painting itself doesn’t present too many problems; however, I relish the prospect of painting all those windows with all the enthusiasm a hedgehog would have when contemplating crossing the M62. Basic construction follows the real building above - brick and stone with wooden window frames, each inset with countless small individual panes of glass.

There are three different building types, and as they are modular in construction, can be combined to create a backscene of any length. Each unit is 160mm long with a height of 85mm. The depth is a mere 14mm, so they provide a perfect answer for the space-starved modeller wanting to create the illusion of an industrial background. Each building is a solid one-piece plaster cast moulding. This makes them solid, but at 250g per unit anyone contemplating a large industrial estate on an exhibition layout might want to hire a fork lifet truck to get it out of the van on the day.

More on these later, when I get the chance to paint them. Once tI've finished squinting at the 528 individual window panes, I'll get down to Specsavers and then report back with my findings!


  1. These castings look really good...I would be worried about the windows, though. I will be very interested to see how you paint them...I was thinking maybe paint them a dark colour and then wipe off the paint to expose the frames...but you will probably have thought of a better idea!

    I love the building on the Tyne. Thank goodness buildings like this sometimes get saved. There are quite a few in Manchester like this, off the main streets, that haven't been gentrified yet!

  2. To be honest, I haven't thought about how to paint them yet - everytime I look at them, my brain reports an error message!

    There are actually quite a few interesting old buildings around, even in Grantham - but you have to look above the plate glass windows of the ground floor to find them. Walking down a typical High Street, everywhere looks pretty much the same at street level, but it's amazing how much interesting architecture remains above the shop fascias. Of course, we're all programmed to look ahead and not up, so you have to conciously walk around with your head in 'modelling' mode to observe this. I'd lived in Grantham for over 10 years before I discovered that we actually have some Tudor style buildings in the town centre! Not that the estate agent underneath is a clue, of course - something went wrong in the planning office that day.


Related Posts with Thumbnails