p4newstreet logo

Although a fair way off yet I can see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding the platform.  What this means though is that some serious thought needs to be given to the subject of people.  It goes without saying I’m going to need a lot and that’s going to get expensive.  However the more there are the more they merge from an individual person to a crowd and the more confused they get.  It also means the more corners can be cut.  An example of this can be seen below.

fleetline interiorsThe more observant will notice that some of the passengers on this bus are black.  Observation of people inside things like buses and trains leads to the realisation that sometimes you really do see little more than a shadow or a dark shape.  There’s no need to paint some 4mm scale chaps tie if he is sitting inside a model.  The fact that he is there is often enough.

weathered-peopleOther than the sheer cost of lots of little people the other thing to consider is the repeats.  No point buying 20 packs of the same figures.  The 2 chaps on the left are from Bachmann the 2 on the right cheap Chinese figures from ebay.  The difference is obvious but the Chinese figures still have their uses.  Before I come to that some thoughts on paint.  A lot of modellers follow the way the military guys paint larger scale figures but is that the right approach?  Most large scale figures are the point of the model but not only that they are highly stylised, kind of like a style in a painting but do they actually look real?  More importantly do the same methods scale down to to a figure that’s only 24 mm high?
Its my opinion that they don’t and that we can easily fall into the trap of modelling what we think we know and not what we actually see. For a real person to look about an inch tall they need to be a good few hundred feet away and you cant see detail from that far away.  Figures 2 and 4 in the picture above have had a light wash of black applied to bring out the shadows a tad but that’s it.   The other thing I quite like about the mixing of figures is that they are not all the same height.
All this talk of distance and what we actually see doesn’t mean that the 2 chaps on the right are OK, Far from it they are crudely moulded and crudely painted but all is not lost.
crowd-testBy mixing the figures and putting the better ones at the front a crowd is born and for a lot less money than using all higher quality figures.  If you could try to imagine how I think the platforms will look they will be reasonably dark, what light there is will be a horrible colour and the ceilings are low with a lot of stuff in the way of a lot of the views.  The people need to  do what all the other details on the layout do and that is kind of disappear into the scene,  They shouldn’t scream out at the viewer but just simply ‘be there’

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
paul m-p
7 years ago

Painting figures is a bit of an art form, there are a few different techniques too, some of which don’t scale down. One method is to start with a black undercoat and then work outwards lightening the colors, this gives too harsh a shadow. I think washes of blacks and dark greys will be more appropriate, and certainly mixing the figure manufacturers will work for you. Where I think the make or break with the figures will be, is more the grouping of them rather than the numbers, and colors as you mention the ‘poor’ lighting of the station itself. I’d be tempted to mock up the roof and place groups of figures around the platforms to see if you need as many as you think you do.

My gut feeling is that you may not need too many. If you have large numbers of ‘statues’ they’ll likely stand out more than fewer, better grouped numbers. I can think of a number of layouts on the circuit, often BLT’s with numbers of figures that would have even proven Beeching wrong, and they don’t look plausible. With figures, fewer is often better regardless of the quality of casting/finish.

Chad Bevan
Chad Bevan
7 years ago

I disagree with the above comment that fewer people is the way to go. When I used to go to Germany as a child, we’d usually pick up a copy of the FALLER catalogue, which would have brilliant pictures of their models of main line stations, filled with people, and they really bring it out. To avoid the statues look, you could attempt to create movement by having people facing in one direction, towards the escalator or something similar. Then again, there are people who will stand perfectly still on the end of the platform! It’s all a matter of balance I think, and of knowing what you’re modeling. A wayside halt would look ridiculous if it were teeming with people, but in my opinion,a main line station like new street deserves the high passenger volume it saw to be modeled.