Monday, 26 March 2018

Poll: Coaching Stock Packs

It's opinion time! Please nobody get upset, there are no right or wrong answers, just individual thoughts.

Somebody asked us today if the GWR County pack would come with GWR Pullman coaches. The fact is that coaches take almost as much work to build as a loco (although variants are quicker once you have a base version) and adding a passenger view increases the job hugely.
Consequently there is no way we could add coaches (of the quality we would want to produce) to an engine pack when we already provide a dozen or more liveries and options, advanced features and custom sound sets.
Please note: There will be some new rolling stock with the Counties, just not coaches.

So, we got to thinking, how would people feel if we produced a coach pack? Good idea, or not a good idea?
The other thought that's quite important is the passenger view - how important is it to people? To my mind they are a pleasant novelty - you load up for the first time, you jump into the passenger view and you think "Hey, that's really cool". And then you never use it ever again!
Because Train Simulator doesn't have a self driving passenger mode isn't it hard to ever sit comfortably for more than 20-30 seconds and enjoy a journey in a passenger view?
A passenger view is a TON of extra time and work (and also loads additional resources into a sim that people often struggle with to get decent performance), and it doesn't feel to me as if it's worth the time.
What would be better.. 1 coach and passenger view, or 5 variations of that coach with no view?

I could be completely wrong on this and I would love other opinions hence why we have the survey below and please feel free to comment as well - here, on forum threads or on Facebook.

Or you might just prefer we stick to locos and you don't want/need any more coaches anyway
Important: We're not suggesting we stop making locos but maybe we throw in a coaching pack or two at some point between locos.

So lets us know your thoughts, and thank you.

Thoughts on coaching stock packs

Yes, build some coaches, no need for a passenger view
Yes, build some coaches but they MUST have a passenger view
No, no, no! Build nothing but locos!
Created with PollMaker

Friday, 23 March 2018

GWR County (1000 Class): More Modelling WIP

Continuing from our last blog post, the County receives a thorough riveting. Seen here with a temporary British Railways lining to help get the correct placement.

And finally the engine is complete - on both sides!

Next task was the tender. These tenders were rather unique, being an 8'6" wide version of the 8' Hawksworth tender and built specifically for the Counties. They held 7 tons of coal and 4000 gallons of water as well as being fitted with a water scoop for additional collection en-route.

The basic outline takes shape and then we add the details.

Due to the location of the tools in a "tunnel" on the left hand side of the tender it's a tricky task to create a coal load that will animate as it's used. Here we have WIP images of a coloured coal load (in about 4 parts) to check that it can seamlessly run down without leaving large gaps or breaking through other parts of the tender.
Also seen are some small piles of coal overspill - a common sight on working engines that were filled via large coaling stations.

So that gives us an engine and a tender...

Next up, the cab!

Friday, 16 March 2018

GWR County (1000 Class): Modelling WIP

Continuing with work on the GWR County from last week...

The cylinders are now formed, the smokebox has a door on it and outside pipes fitted, and the very distinctive straight splashers are in place - with a nameplate and 3D name for testing. There are three sizes of nameplate used on the Counties; 72", 78" and 87" depending on the length of the name.

A view from the other side shows the difference in the splasher due to the reverser rod. This exits the cab, passes behind the nameplate (which sits further out than on the left side to accommodate this) and meets the reverse arm which goes through a cut-out in the splasher. The right hand side also has the typical GWR vacuum pump.

Back to the other side and the double chimney is now in place. As we said last week we will be creating all versions of the County which will include the single, double and test chimney versions in GWR and BR specifications. This side will also have the speedometer equipment on the rear wheel which was fitted to the Counties in the early 1950's under BR.

The safety bonnet and injector feeds are added, along with the cab roof.

Back to the other side again and you can see that the rails and much of the pipework have been added along with the BR fittings for the smokebox door.

The main engine is very nearly complete and ready for a going over with the digital rivet gun!

Friday, 9 March 2018

GWR County (1000 Class): First Look

With the LNER Raven Q6 now released it is time for us to show our next project and as promised it is the last of the GWR two cylinder 4-6-0 engines, the 1000 Class County (not to be confused with the same named 3800 County class, a series of 4-4-0 engines that were designed by Churchward and built four decades earlier).

Credit John Sydney

The "Late" County (as it was also known) was the final development of the two cylinder Saint class (which we also built for Train Simulator) by the Great Western Railway and was designed by Frederick Hawksworth as a test bed for his idea of building a GWR 4-6-2 (Pacific) locomotive, which actually never happened as no more express locomotives were needed at the time. Built at Swindon from 1945 the County had many of the improvements that were taken from the Modified Hall class and with a very high boiler pressure of 280psi as built they had 1000lbs more tractive effort than the Castle class.
No. 1000 "County of Middlesex" was built with a double chimney, whilst the other 29 members of the class were built with single chimneys however under BR No. 1009 "County of Carmarthen" was fitted with an experimental double chimney and 4-row super heater and after successful testing all members of the class received these modifications between 1956-59.

We will be producing all 30 members of the class, in both the late GWR livery and BR livery along with options for double and single chimneys as well as the experimental version. All of our usual standard and advanced features will be included and maybe some extra surprises as well.

Always wanting to improve our products we have already experimented with a new way to create numbering and nameplates for the County and have had some excellent results.
Compare this image of old vs new for the number plates...

Sadly none of the 1000 class Counties were preserved at the end of steam however the Great Western Society at Didcot are currently working on a new build (using many existing, compatible parts) of 1014 "County of Glamorgan" and details can be found at

So with the short history lesson aside, how are we getting on? As usual we start with the wheels and a rough boiler shape.

Then the lower frames are added.

Next come the cylinders (just simple shapes at this point), the firebox and a simple cab outline. Add the front buffer beam (and buffers) along with driving and connecting rods and she's starting show those fine lines of a GWR engine.

Lots more WIP images to come next week.