Friday, 6 May 2016

GWR Saint: Modelling Progress 3, and a thank you

Following on from last week the modelling of the external parts of the Saint locomotive is now complete, with the square frame version..

.. and the curved frame version.

We also modelled some of the extra parts for BR versions, etc.

We thought it might be good to take the opportunity to explain some of the work that goes on behind the scenes when we create our locomotives.
One of the most talked about differences when comparing steam locomotives to any other kind of locomotive is the "feel" of them and their "moods". The little nuances in their running, the adjustment to learned skills by the footplate crew when operating them, the working differences that separate similar classes by more than just wheel dimensions and tractive effort calculations.
At Victory Works we always try to investigate the feel of a locomotive as we build it, to try and understand how it felt to pilot these fantastic machines that almost had a life of their own. Sometimes this is easier if the locomotives are preserved, although this can also lead to a skewed impression - running an engine 6 times up and down a 5 mile track 3 days a week at 25mph with a handful of half full coaches cannot always be compared to a working locomotive at its prime travelling hundreds of miles a week, fired over all kinds of gradients, keeping to a busy timetable with a crew working 10+ hours non-stop. Now that's not to say that preservation has no place - we love it, and in the past 5 weeks have visited no less than 6 railways just to gape and drool at what they had running and on display - but it is not the whole story when recreating history.
To get the feel of a locomotive you need to speak to ex-footplate crew who ran them in their prime, cleaners who got into every nook and cranny of their workings, or failing that to read the excellent footplate stories where they (the good authors) tell you all about the little oddities, the often humorous events and the actual process of working these incredible engines. At Victory Works we do this for every locomotive we build and these stories and snippets of footplate life are always on our minds as we build these models. They are even more important to us when we come to creating and understanding the cab environments and adding special features through scripting to give as close an experience to driving them as is possible through a PC monitor.

I'd personally like to take this chance to thank everyone who buys our add-ons and allows us to indulge in this creative process. We feel that creating any steam train; those that are iconic and those that are forgotten workhorses; deserve more than just a simple approximation of their shape, but should encompass everything that made them so special to their crews as they almost become a single entity of men and machine, and all the time that we can continue to invest this much effort and passion into each of our locomotives then we promise to do so.


  1. Looking beautiful already, you guys model quickly! And if you don't mind me asking, Is there any expected release date on the S160? Last I heard it was finished & being tested by DTG, But it seems rather odd that they've been testing it for weeks.

    1. Odd yes, unlike them, sadly no. We have to sit at the back of a very long queue and it often gets jumped.
      But in their defence for this one there is enough in this pack to make it like testing 2 or 3 add-ons at once :-)
      I'm pretty sure it'll be soon.

  2. Thank *you* for creating these little masterpieces of "digital engineering". I'm so pleased to hear you mention the "feel" of these locomotives; it's so much more intangible and harder to capture than "simply" scaling up from engineering drawings (though I'm sure that's not at all simple in itself!) and I think it's something you excel at

    1. At the risk of us getting caught in a "thank you" loop, thank you :-)

      You are right, there is something very special about steam locomotives. There was when they were in full time service and there still is now in preservation and I still always get the same excitement from getting up close to them no matter how often.