Monday, 25 June 2012

Favourite Layout: St Merryn

As Model Rail's layout photographer I get to regularly point my lights and cameras at some really cracking layout throughout the course of the year. So rather just just talk about my own bodgings, as a diversion and time permitting I'll reflect on some of the layouts that have made a real impression on me.

St Merryn, is the creation of The South London Group of the Scalefour Society, and beautifully represents a distant Cornish outpost of the Withered Arm of the old London & South Western Railway in the summer of 1954 - The 'Withered Arm' being the popular nickname for the former LSWR west of Exeter in its declining years.

One of the things that makes St Merryn so special is that fact that the builders have chosen to copy the ordinary, selecting the everyday bits and pieces that are such a feature of former LSWR branchlines in Cornwall. It's this ordinaryness thats makes St Merryn so successful, to the extent that many admirers will be reaching of their railway atlases to find the actual location - albeit unsuccessfully!

If you click on the photo above it will be easier to see the detail and textures that really bring St Merryn to life. The summer of 1954 was by all accounts a dreadful one with very little sunlight, this the builders have represented this well with the layout's built in fluorescent lighting giving a soft even illumination much like an overcast but bright day.

The photo above shows the layout in soft sunshine, not something that made an appearence much that summer; however for photographic and illustrative purposes, and to enhance the wonderful modelling I wanted slightly more directional lighting just for this one occasion as well as differentiating it from other photograopher's work. Rest assured however, if you see the layout for real the sun will have gone behinds the clouds again, so remember to take than cardie.

If you want to know a little more about some of  the St Merryn's secrets, I can highly recommend the book dedicated to the layout called 'St Merryn what we did, why, and how we did it'.  Written by the layout's creators, it can be picked up from the exhibitors or the Scalefour exhibition stand for the hugely competative price of £10, which to me is great value for money as well as being a mighty fine read!
  • Should you want to see more of my photos of St Merryn and a full feature on the layout, get yourself the December 2011 issue of Model Rail magazine by calling 0844 848 8872.
  • To see St Merryn for real, it will be taking centre stage at Railex 2013 on 25 & 26 May.

1 comment:

  1. Fully concur. This is a very well conceived, prosecuted and presented model. A favourite all right.


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