In recent times I have been learning how to produce my own figures. On this page, you can see the characters that I have been able to create using the methods described here. Some are still resident on or around the S&CGR, while others have emigrated to warmer climes! They are shown in descending chronological order; that is, the most recently made figure is shown first. A quick visit to the Continental Garden Trains forum will give you an insight into how each of these figures developed. It also happens to be a very pleasant place to visit anyway, for discussions on various matters pertaining to continental railways in the garden, or even railways in a continental garden!
To see a slideshow sequence of how each figure evolved, click the appropriate button . The slideshows, and their constituent photos, are all held on Photobucket. Within the slideshow window you will find the usual 'Pause', 'Forward' and 'Backward' controls.
NOTE: The slideshow functionality works well with most up-to-date browsers that are around these days; however I would like to forewarn you, dear reader, that you may experience some local difficulties with Opera 10 in that it insists on opening in ether a separate tab, or a maximised separate window. This browser seems to withstand all attempts on my part to resize the slideshow window; apologies for any inconvenience with that. Having said that, the slideshow should still be viewable!
John is the foreman in charge of the S&CGR's general labouring staff, including Harry. This figure started out with the same body and legs as for 'Jack', however his arms are made from copper wire twisted to look like 'arms folded'. I got the idea for the look of this figure after being shown a photo of my great-grandfather taken around 1895, who at the time was a carpenter in the Bristol Wagon and Carriage Works.
Harry is another member of the S&CGR's general labouring staff. His broom and bucket are thought, by many of his colleagues at least, to be the essential tools of his trade: the bucket, when filled with cold water, keeps his liquid lunch nice and cool; the broom usually (but not always) prevents him from falling over. This figure started out as a body and legs from the Preiser 'track gang' set, with the arms from the 'Adam' set. The good thing about this figure is the numerous alternative poses - with or without bucket; with broom either 'sloped arms' over the shoulder or as a vital aid to balance!
This rather handsome chap (well, he likes to think so) is a recent convert to train travel in the Scampington area. He is based on the one of the Preiser 'seated passenger' set. As you will see from the slideshow, very little in the way of modification was needed; three cuts, some filling and sanding, were all that was needed by way of actual surgery. The coolness was another matter: a watch made from Green Stuff, a 'gold' neck chain made from a single strand of cross-stitch thread, and some sunglasses made from some very thin wire, wound round a thin drill bit to form the frame. The resulting frames were dipped in black acrylic paint and allowed to drip dry slowly, leaving the black 'lenses' behind. They then had to be very carefully bent to fit his head! If needed they can actually be moved to the proper position, so that he can watch the girls go by without being spotted.... so I am told! This is one of the first figures I have made where I have deliberately sought to paint in the pupils/whites of the eyes - to accentuate the 'looking up' look.
Johnnie Johnson, or 'Johnnie the Brakes' as he is known, is the S&CGR's guard/brakeman. This figure started out as a Preiser 'walking passenger' figure.
This somewhat furtive looking character was the result of a challenge I recently set myself; to customise and completely paint a figure in a weekend from start to finish. The original figure was from the Preiser unpainted 'Standing Passenger' set. A modest number of cuts were needed, which meant that there was very little filling to be done - which helped with the deadline enormously! Sadly because of work commitments at the time, I failed miserably in my quest: the elapsed time was about 10 days! The amount of time actually taken, though, including waiting for the Milliput to cure,was about 48 hours.
Another commission from Mike Honey's excellent Tramway Demiel. The original requirement was for just a mounted gendarme. The figure was another Preiser hack, with the legs being scratch-built from florists' wire and Milliput, with some further embellishments courtesy of some 'Green Stuff'. The horse is a Sleich Hannover Stallion, and is very well detailed if a little over-sized for G-Scale (at about 1:19); however, the size issue is not an obvious one. The horse's tack, saddle, bedroll, saddle-blanket and carbine/holster are all scratch-built. Along the way, I thought it might be an idea to have some greater interaction with the horse, so I came up with the idea of a gypsy girl offering an apple, whilst looking up at the gendarme for permission to feed his mount. This figure was also a Preiser hack, however she started as a 1:24 scale adult female. I cut down the limbs a little, made a dress from Milliput, and for good measure added a head-scarf. The 'wicker basket' is scratch-built - and yes, the apples that it contains are scratch-built too! (Photo credit: Mike Honey)
A somewhat tongue-in-cheek, no-offence-meant-honest representation of the man himself in his hayday, who has been seen recently giving impromptu sessions in the booking hall at Scampington Station. Unfortunately on one occasion, the cleaner decided that the hoovering of the booking hall floor took precedence over this free concert, whereupon he promptly became: unplugged! It is a well-known fact that our Rod is a big model railway fan, with large expansive layouts in both the US and the UK; the US layout featured in Model Railroader. He was once quoted as saying that being on the front cover of Model Railroader meant more to him than being on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine! The figure itself is made from elements of the Preiser 'Adam' set, whilst the guitar, amplifier and microphone stand are all scratch-build from styrene sheet and florists wire.
This was another step into the unknown: two separate figures in close contact. In fact, they can be separated and posed independantly should the mood take me - or indeed, them! Both of these figures started out as part of the Preiser seated passenger set.
Another commission for the Tramway Demiel, in the Dordogne. The inspiration for these figures came from an old photograph from about 1910. The female 'handler' figure is another Preiser hack, whilst the bear figure is completely sculpted from scratch. The bear is intended to represent a sloth bear, a native of the Indian sub-continent. Sadly, these animals are often exploited in this way, even to this day. (Photo credit: Mike Honey)
These figures were in at least two respects, a 'first' for me: The first time I had modelled a female figure; and the first time I had modelled figures to a particular era and locale: France in 1910! These two figures were another commission, from another ex-pat Brit living in the Dordogne in France, who is modelling a French tramway line in 1910. He is himself a very accomplished modeller, with the happy nack of turning 'rubbish' items, which most of us would just throw away, into some very convincing models. The photo depicts our couple, having some some relaxation time away from their day-to-day lives - and to give their dog some exercise of course. The fishing basket, which was also part of the commission, is made from styrene sheet, covered with Milliput and embossed with an embossing tool to look like wickerwork. (Photo credit: Mike Honey)
Yet another foreign export, to yet another ex-pat Brit living in France: Brian Bushell, who these days lives in the Charante region of France. One of a pair of figures commissioned. In making both I reverted back to the now very tried and trusted 'Preiser hack' construction method. More about the real Onion Johnnies can be found here. Brian has recently started up a web-site of his own, showing the development of his CFHC: Chemin de Fer - Haute Charente
The second of the pair of figures (the other being the Onion Johnny figure immediately above) recently exported to the Charante. The intention with this figure was to make him look like a nasty, officious individual; hence the rather short cropped moustache!
This figure was my second attempt at sculpting a figure completely from scratch. The armature was made from 1mm 'stem wire'. The 'personal stereo' was made from Green Stuff. The head was sculpted in Fimo.
This figure was my first reasonably successful attempt at sculpting a figure completely from scratch, including the face and hands. The armature was made from 1.5mm diameter soft aluminium 'florists wire'. The 'laptop bag' like most of the body, was made from Milliput. The head was sculpted in Fimo, which had to be carefully baked once sculpting was complete.
Arthur is a fireman and part-time driver. He is also quite handy with the oil can! This figure is a slight departure from most of my other figures, as he started as an ordinary LGB figure from the starter set. The oil can he is wielding is the original. The head, however, is a spare Preiser one. The original head seemed out of proportion to the rest of the body, as did the lower legs. This issue was addressed by using a slightly longer than normal piece of wire for the joint, and rebuilding the lower legs around that.
This character started out as a 'demonstration piece'. I was invited to demonstrate the making of a figure at a local exhibition. Unfortunately, I only got as far as making a seated torso with no head or arms, as I was rather too busy talking to people to make any more progress! It was only after the event that I was then able to complete the figure.
Nuncio Grisoni is a foreign export. This character was a request from a friend of mine, Carl Hibbs. Nuncio has recently taken up an appointment as a driver on the CFC - Chemin de Fer de la Corse (Corsican Railways). This particular figure was my biggest challenge to date; because the dress code was specified as shorts and a tee-shirt (OK I did a vest instead), it meant that I had to sculpt the bare legs and feet entirely from scratch, around a copper core former. The same technique was used to build the left arm, apart from the hand which was a Preiser off-cut! The 'bulk' was built up using Milliput, while the uniform (shorts, vest, sweat-rag, flip-flops) was fashioned from Green Stuff. This photo was taken during a recent goodwill visit to the above railway.
Jack is part of the MoW team here, he drives the MoW trains. You can read more on the gory details of how I made this figure (and many of the other figures on this page) here.
Bill is a retired ex-employee, who served with distinction in WW2 as a driver/operator in the 44th Royal Tank Regiment. Bill is unique among the figures I have made thus far, as there was no cutting or filling needed. The base figure came from the Preiser 'standing/walking passenger' set, and, rather helpfully, already had his left arm missing! The details, such as the beret and the 'empty sleeve' were added using Green Stuff, whilst the walking stick was fashioned from some thin brass wire.
Terry is another of the S&CGR's drivers.
This character was another export to Carl Hibbs in France. Evidently, a measure of crowd control is required there!
Yet another request from Carl! A tram was being built that would need a driver in order to drive it. It might look like this character is spoiling for a fight, but in fact the hands have been positoned to match as closely as possible the controls of the tram.
Alf is a key member of the MoW team: He's the only one with the phone numbers for the Pizza takeaway and off-licence on speed-dial on his mobile!
This character now resides in a garden in Rolvenden, Kent. Here he is, waiting for the train to take him there. judging by the cobweb hanging from the station doorway, he's been waiting some time already! The newspaper is a printed image, downloaded from Jim's Printable Minis, a veritable mine of useful items in different scales that can be printed out on an ordinary ink-jet printer and assembled quite easily.
Yet another exile currently to be seen staggering around the grounds of a certain garden railway in Northern France...
Cyril is a member of the cleaning staff at Scampington Station. Although he was my second figure, Cyril was the first made using Preiser figures as a source. The techniques I used in the making of this figure, as well as the French 'Wine Taster' above, were documented in an article in the Summer-2008 edition of the G-Scale Journal.
Dave is an employee of Badman Pipe Factors. Aside from the railway, Badman's are the biggest employers in the area, and are the only business still to retain (and use) a private siding. Dave is the first figure I made for myself, and was the subject of an article in the Spring-2008 edition of the G-Scale Journal. This figure previously had enjoyed a brief career as a ToyTrain 'Otto' driver; ironically, it was the most difficult to make, as I found to my cost that when cutting the body up into its desired separate parts, it was hollow!