Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Finally there

Fastline Simulation: Independent Snow Plough
After a lot of tinkering and changing, the high detail parts of the plough are finished and ready to be unwrapped and baked in the next few days.

Once the basic shape is working well, then it's time for some experimenting in RailWorks to see if a few ideas that are circulating are going to work.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Ploughing on

Started adding some more of the finer detail tonight and the free independent snow plough for RailWorks looks to be coming to life.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Taking Shape

ZZV Independent Snow Plough
A bit more time on the snow plough tonight. There have proved to be some interesting angles and panel joins lurking about that have slowed progress tonight, but the general shape is now basically complete.

Next job is a bit of tidying up here and then and then onto detailing.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Can you guess what it is yet?

While the testers put the bogie tank and its scenario through their paces a productive evening has been had laying down the basis of our little present we'll be releasing for RailWorks sometime round about Christmas as a freebie taster of what's to come.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Give a dog a bone

Just found this render lurking in a dark corner of the hard drive. Had forgotten it had ever been started!

What do you think folks, should we continue .... ?

Friday, 12 November 2010

Got Your Number

A rake of sparkly clean TEB coded tanks are seen awaiting loading with the numbering new activated
Just a quick screen shot before turning in of the tanks in game.

Most of the time today has been spent getting the dynamic numbers in place and blending properly. All that's left to do now is some final texture tweaks and refinements, like swapping out the strange coloured couplings now we know they're in the right place and work and making some dirty versions, some tweaks to the physics and completing the scenarios to accompany the wagons.

On a personal note I love those big red numbers, always thought them a bit rebellious as a kid when you saw tanks with numbers boldly applied on the ends and sides not constrained by a tops panel!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Socially Networked

Ok I admit it, my brain hurts!

I was looking for an extra bit of code to add into the website this morning to add some nifty share buttons for Facebook and the like. The first item I found proudly announced it provided over 300 links to social network and sharing sites which suddenly raised the question of how far do you go with all this social networking, book marking and on-line presence?

The website is the easy one, it holds details of all we do and does all the formal stuff, along with the shop where this enterprise is supposed to make money. It does it's job and gives a portal to all the social network stuff, but a concious decision has been made to keep it a clean portfolio without all the social network content creeping in.

Ok, Facebook seemed a good idea, hey I've got a Facebook account and in general it's a nice little diversion, a good way to keep in contact with a few people and sometimes a handy way to tell my wife I'll have a cup of tea if she's making one! To be honest though, I couldn't care less about how hungover someone is because they had too many sherbets last night. In terms of what we do, it's an easy way to drop a quick update to people who 'Like' us about what's going on and how some of the other sites have been updated. It's pretty low maintenance as most of the contact arrives by way of feeds from other places.

Now the blog I like, it's the informal outlet that hopefully keeps the website clean and to the point. The blog is 'look what happened to day' and 'doesn't this model look nice' along with a bit of a ramble from time to time. The blog happily feeds into Facebook to let people know something has been posted and goes out to those who've signed up to the news feed, other than that it looks after itself.

Twitter is still an experiment but is a bit addictive too. It's another outlet, a quick fire, short message of what's happening right now, pretty banal at times but an easy way to say we're still alive. The added bonus is that it will feed through to Facebook as a status update too saving a little bit of time!

While looking for the website code I stumbled upon Google Buzz and started wondering should we be levering this as well in a similar vein to Facebook or just leave well alone? At the moment it needs to research time I think and come back to this as and when. There will be some form of sharing buttons appearing on the website though.

To be honest though all this stuff is about you the customer, what do you want to see in terms of interaction? There's not a lot of point in doing it if the people on the outside don't really care ....

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Right Away!

Finally after much tinkering and changing of traffic patterns the signal that was looking like it wanted to sink the scenario to accompany the 102t tanks is showing clear.

With a successful run all the way to Tyne Yard all that remains is to add some cameo and static traffic and test, test and test again. With just a few little tweaks and finishing touches to make to the actual tanks things are finally looking good.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Getting Closer

It's been a long week with a lot of new learning at times, not to mention the flanges that looked like Catherine Wheels at one point today!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

And we're back ...

Sorry about the quiet time folks. The pressures of a change of day job to pay the bills over the summer brought on longer hours and made what family time that was available even more valuable.

Never fear though, it's back to the other job now and there's finally modelling time available again and a full on push to get the 102t Class A bogie tank finished and out there. It's been a productive couple of days so far with some texture tweaking, remapping, baking and exporting going on to give a basis for the final textures.
What's much more exciting is that the path for the scenario to accompany the wagons has been set up and seems to work fine and has given a good excuse to run a rake of wagons from York to Tyne Yard to see how they behave. The picture above shows 6S69 0841 Masborough to Grangemouth passing Darlington (in what will eventually be December 1980), and is one of a number of screen shots grabbed during the test and available to view on our Facebook Page.

With a following wind and good luck the pack will hopefully be out by the end of the month so long as work doesn't mean to many stays away!

In other news we've started tweeting as things happen, feel free to follow the rambling @fastlinesim

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Bring on the doors

Most of the modelling time since the appearance of the tail lamp renders has been spent experimenting and baking the textures for the 102t bogie tanker. Work commitments at the moment mean there's no access to a pc with RailWorks installed to check the appearance so it felt best not to show any of the progress until the wagon and textures are actually in the simulator.

For a bit of a change tonight we've had a play with the VDA van and have been rendering the high poly doors onto their low poly siblings and adding some colour to check out how they appear. The image above is a quick render of the baked textures for the doors brought back into the modelling programme to see what they look like with a few other parts unhidden to bring the doors into context.

This really is a bit of experimentation with two liveries and associated locations of lettering. Perhaps we could justify it by saying the wagon has been damaged and a couple of doors have been salvaged from a withdrawn example ....

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Protecting the rear

It's been a bit quiet of late due to pressures of the day job and the needs of real life. However, there's still been a chance for a bit of modelling in between and the time has been used creating some of the little details that bring things to life.

There's no real surprise that one of these little details is the thing every train should have at the back to prove it's all still there and to protect the train when stopped. One of a Signalman's duties were to ensure that trains passing his 'box carried a tail lamp and as such the section was not obstructed.

The tail lamp is one of the things we felt really should have some extra care lavished on it as it will be appearing in a lot of stock packs over the coming months and would need to be in keeping with the rolling stock. That said there were some lines that had to be drawn to keep the resources sensible, so if things look a bit lumpy don't forget that this is probably the largest you're ever going to see the shape!

It's quite surprising when you consider how important a tail lamp was, the number of simers and modellers that will happily run their trains without a tail lamp, luckily that won't be a problem with our stock.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Would beer help?

Ok, it's a light hearted post this one, and nothing to do with the current releases for Project East Coast. Then again it's been a week where beer could have been handy at times.

Not much to show on the tanker and friends as most the time from the last post seems to have taken up with driving around the North West and various bits of admin. to keep HMRC and friends happy.

Anyway on a more RailWorks related note. While doing all the boring stuff I stumbled on this render of a model that was being tinkered with a while ago. The model is one of the last batch of four-wheel grain hoppers that were originally built with vacuum brakes for BRT in the 1970s. With the demise of vacuum braked trains the wagons from the earlier batches were withdrawn but a number from the final batch were converted to airbrakes and gained the striking Grainflow livery. Although originally used for grain (including trips to breweries), with the decline in this traffic they found use on other traffics including alumina to Fort William.

A grain wagon pack has been at the back of our minds for Project East Coast so these wagons can run with their much larger companions. Naturally it's one of those things for the future, but it will happen.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Shiny tanker

As a final act tonight a quick render of the 102t tank was made after putting on the last of the fiddly texture bits that have taken most of this weeks modelling time.

It's all very plain at the moment with just the main colour areas laid out and ready to start having things dulled down and some of the finer details drawn onto the textures. The render has shown up a few little errors that will need to be addressed but luckily nothing too major. Various other parts that are shown at the moment are there as markers to allow final parts to be lined up.

It's a little disappointing that some the items that have been added don't show up in the render, guess we'll have to take some track side pictures a little later to show what's going on! Fairly obviously the next task is finishing off the bogies alongside adding depth and detail to the body textures and getting ready to bake the shadows.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

That bloated feeling.

It's audience participation time!

Having had a quiet week with various things sapping time away from the modelling there's a sparkly ex-works 102t tanker (without bogies) sitting here. As the paint has gone on thoughts have turned to what people want to see in stock packs in terms of dirt and weathering while not bloating their system too far.

Presently thoughts have been along the lines of ex-works, lightly weathered and filthy versions, which obviously creates three versions of each model. As we intend to include both loaded and empty versions (with physics to match) that then increases the number of individual items to scroll through to six per model and then naturally any other variable doubles the numbers again. Obviously this isn't so much of an issue for those of you who just use included scenarios and those you've downloaded from elsewhere, but for people who use the scenario editor you can end up with a long list very quickly even if you use the available filters.

We'd really like to strike a balance on this one and would really appreciate your thoughts. Please add a comment to this post, pop something onto the Facebook page discussion or drop us a line using the contact form on the website and we'll try and make as many people happy as possible!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Hazardous Stuff

With Easter over and family and garden time spent we're now back on with the Class A bogie tank.

Currently the major blocks of colour are being laid out ready for extra details to be drawn on and the weathering added. Alongside this there's the bit I most enjoy, creating the labels and decals. It's a strangely relaxing task with a little bit of problem solving to get things looking the way they should.

As a quick taster, here's the 'hazchem' board for the wagon, do you remember the days when London had an 01 std code for the entire Capital?

Unfortunately the compression of the image via Blogger hasn't done the artwork justice, don't worry it's not really that mushy.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Making a start GUV

Just a quick update to show the start of progress on the GUV shape that will become the NXV/NXX version to accompany the Newton Chambers car carrier as a part of the Motorail Maxi Pack.

Really early days with a generic bodyshape on top of the solebar and buffer beam assembly, with couplings roughly placed and wheels marking their place. The buffers are the final version complete with hoop (which can just be glimpsed) to support the drop down portion of the end doors.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A phat VDA!

Sorry folks couldn't resist that one.

Another one of those moments where something looks easy and then isn't is finally over. The final shape for the VDA vans is basically complete and has been an interesting puzzle. At first glance the experimental FAT13 suspension fitted to the 100 vans built to lot 3856 at Shildon in 1975/6 looks straightforward.

First impressions can be deceiving though, it looks like all that's required is a couple of pedestals, a long and strangely thin spring, axle box cover, some rams and a few other bits. Then once you start to delve further you realise there are extra bits all over the place that actually make it all work. Progress on this puzzle was going really well until the realisation dawned that there were parts that didn't appear to do anything!

Closer inspection and a lucky find in a book revealed that the van we'd photographed in use as a stores van on a preserved railway had a number of parts removed, possibly to enable the vehicle to be moved when required on a vacuum braked site?

Anyway the final shape is complete and is here for you to take a look at finally!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

VDA Van: Two completed shapes

It's been one of those sessions today where the expectation of what can be done and the reality are slightly different. It had been hoped that all the shapes for the VDA would be finished before the end of the day, but distractions and fatigue have taken their toll.

That said here are two completed shapes ready for a final spin in RailWorks before unwrapping begins:

This first offering is of the original design that 330 vehicles under lot 3855 were built to at Ashford Works in 1976.

This second example is based on the 300 examples built under lot 3908 at Shildon Works in 1977-8. The design has evolved a little by the time this lot were constructed and much more substantial hinges are fitted to the pairs of hinged doors at each end of the wagon and the handbrake lever is considerably longer.

The last main variant, that will be the subject of tomorrows effort, are the 100 vans built with experimental FAT13 suspension.

Monday, 15 March 2010

VDA Van: Wheels and Details

Not quite the progress on the VDA we'd have liked to have seen today, but there was a little more progress after this render was made.

The original version to Lot 3855 is now basically complete, just in need of the handbrake mechanism completing, some elements of brake rigging adding and a few other small details like the latches for the centre sliding doors.

The VDA is proving to be an interesting prototype with all three of the large lots built having notable differences that we will begin to encompass once the shape for this version is complete.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

What a difference some buffers make

Not the greatest of updates today. We've spent a fair amount of time tweaking the end framing to try and get the proportions correct, and eventually think we've got there. Can you spot any of the tiny changes from yesterday to capture the character?

The actual body has been raised by a ridiculously small amount as it didn't look quite right when the buffers were offered up, who'd have thought that 3.4cm could make such a difference! Of course the other big change has been adding the sole-bars and their associated webs.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Going round in circles

We decided to spend the second half of this week working on the VDA van...

It's been one of those annoying processes over the last couple of nights where one small change has had a knock on effect all over the place. In a strange twist the render that's been posted here looks almost identical to the one we nearly posted last night!

The problem was that there were a couple of annoying errors that looked like they needed a few minutes to fix. Like all 'just jobs' the small adjustments snowballed and both the body and end braces have been rebuilt. There's still a bit of tweaking needed to get the proportions of the end ribbing looking just right but it is a fair impression of progress.

Perhaps a VAA with those nice smooth ends would have been a better plan ...

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Car Carrier - First Glimpse

As mentioned earlier on Facebook we've been taking a break from texturing the bogie tank wagon and have been working on the shape for the car carrier that we're creating for RailWorks as a part of Project East Coast. Below is a render of the progress so far, it's very much a work in progress and as such there are some errors that need to be addressed.

It's one of those deceptive models as you delve into it, that big slab sided body takes relatively little time to create and then you hit those heavy fabricated bogies and the plethora of hinges and stays on the end doors! So far we're happy and hope you appreciate the chance of an early glimpse.

We've noticed on one of the forums a mention of the open Motorail wagons created from redundant coach under-frames. Sorry folks but the amount of supporting stock going into the Motorail pack it really would be model too far with all those cars. We did consider it in the planning stage but as they didn't feature in the regular EMCL Anglo Scottish workings decided to avoid them for the time being. That said we never completely write anything off and they may appear in due course as a patch to the Motorail pack.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Busy Busy

It's a slightly mad time ahead as we prepare all the web pages and supporting information for the unveiling of the first three stock packs from Project East Coast. With any luck the next posting you see here will be that the announcement has been made ....

In other news we've had a fun week unwrapping the first of the Project East Coast models ready for texturing and baking after testing the shape in RailWorks.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

When's a Stock Pack not a Stock Pack?

A bit of updating time on the website today.

We've added some details about the format that the Stock Packs for Project East Coast are going to take and a few other tweaks here and there.

If you haven't noticed there's also a chance for you to get involved and influence the project.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


Well it looks like our recent announcement has started a bit of discussion.

It was fun after getting home last night from seeing The Lovely Bones having a browse around forums where folks are discussing Project East Coast. Some seem a little perplexed, some don't even think we're serious and other have a sense of anticipation. We'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on each of those view points...

The next seven days should see a lot more information out there and a true picture of what Project East Coast is really going to look like, and a lot more discussion!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Back in action

After an interesting week of delving through some of the lesser seen areas of the internet that we all take for granted when it actually works we're pleased to say that the website is now back on line.

We've not been idle while the website has been down and have been making some good progress with the first items that form part of Project East Coast. We're not quite ready to tell you what they are yet, but you can expect a big announcement in the next week or so.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Something Fishy

While we're waiting for the website to sort itself out we thought a picture of something we've been working on for a while would liven things up, we'll be adding it to the maybe section once the website is back.
Built to an LNER design British Railways built a large number of fish vans (INSUL FISH) to service this once large traffic. Given the nature of the product speed was always of the essence so the wagons were built fully fitted, with a long wheelbase and through steam pipe to allow them to work in passenger trains, even being given numbers in the NPCCS series. The vans gained the name of Blue Spot fish vans after being fitted with roller bearings as this upgrade was signified by the application of a large blue spot on each side of the van.

Almost overnight the fish traffic was lost and subsequently there were a large number of fish vans looking for new work. Some wagons were taken into general goods stock while others were refurbished and put into use as parcels vans, coded as SPV. The vans lasted in this traffic until the early 1980's (gaining the TOPS code NRV), a number finding further use as barrier wagons, with the engineers departments and as internal user vehicles.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Spanner in the works

A weird day today.

After sending out media releases about Project East Coast last night we awoke to find the website wasn't working. For once it wasn't broken by us tinkering so that was refreshing!

Investigation showed that the problem was due to changes on the part of the domain registry stopping the domain resolving. After updates at the registry and with the hosting company it's now just a case of wait and see for the changes to propagate through.