Wednesday, 9 August 2017

New models almost ready

We should have the latest batch of Excelsiors ready soon.
A Wrightscale 16mm Bagnall Excelsior model from a previous batch
As some customers will have to reach into their wallets, here are a few thoughts about why a Wrightscale model is worth the expense.
Modelling in the virtual world might seem comparatively cheap. With such good computer generated special effects, many people these days go in for virtual modelling. For a society that is so keen on instant gratification, the advantages are obvious. Get in your computer generated cab, twist the virtual controls, listen to the sound effects and set off, admiring the computer generated scenery out of your virtual cab window. There is no need to find a space in your real-world home, no real-life Significant Other complaining about the mess. Planning morphs seamlessly into program which in turn becomes programmed train ride. Why not?
Tipper trucks being pushed along a garden railway route Photo Malcolm Wright
Why not indeed? Yet there are some advantages to remaining in the real world. There is the satisfaction of meeting challenges. The ‘real-world’ modeller can use various means to overcome lack of space. The Japanese led the way in miniaturising models. The smaller the scale, the larger the landscape that will be fitted into the space available.   In the USA, builders typically go down into the basement while in Britain, they remake the attic. Enthusiasts can negotiate a share of the garden and the clubbable can co-operate. Each has his or her own solution when tackling the problems.
'Boracic' and crew Such models of men would never appear in a virtual model  yet they have been given real artistic charm. Photo Malcolm Wright
The next phase is planning. In the virtual world, horizons are unlimited. In the real world, the space available dictates the layout. A club will have to plan a model which can be seen from many angles. For the home modeller, the room or the lack of will dictate the shape of the layout. This, the outsider might observe, actually adds to the fun and the achievement. To take an analogy, the poet’s struggle with language, as well as original intentions, creates the poem. The same goes for the poetry of motion.
Pic Hunslet
The effort put into real-life modelling can have benefits. A garden can be enhanced by its railway. Too often regarded as an outdoor room, a sanitary void between self and the neighbours or simply a competitive place (for smoothest lawn or most strident colour) a garden can be a source of pleasure. DaveChipchase
 It can be ornamental and an outdoor room. It can give the genuine satisfaction of ‘unity’, of purpose and design.
The Wrightscale South Deside Railway sufferedthe ravages of time and had to be extensively remodelled. It is a challenging site and many happy hours went into the planning let alone earthmoving.
There is another subtle challenge. The body as well as the brain is involved in all the pleasure, something not obtained when virtual modelling. All artists and crafters understand this. They aim to externalise something inside and bring it into the visual, audible and tactile world. It imposes a discipline on random thoughts and ideas. It is truly, deeply calming in the way that being glued to a screen is not. Some would describe it as a sort of meditation.
Malcolm Wright in meditative mood. The bridge in the foreground required extensive repairs
Of craft, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said in a TED talk:  ‘We are living more fully. You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and the sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger’
A Wrightscale 16mm Quarry Hunslet crosses the bridge. Photo taken by MD Wright some years ago
Biologically, the process of making, the mastery of skills and a tangible end-product rewards us with a boost of powerful feel-good chemicals. It is a tool to help us cope with what life throws at us. A real-world craft is a constant in a world full of variables.

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