Footplate crew

I’ve been on the lookout for 4mm pre-grouping drivers and firemen recently, but so far with limited success. Meanwhile, here’s a couple of modified ones from IKB.  For me, tiny projects like these are as much fun as the more substantial work. The IKB fireman seen above is unusual in that, unlike 90% of 4mm firemen, he is not furiously shovelling! Unfortunately the mould lacks a bit of bulk, so I extended his girth using plastic putty. The nose was re-sculpted and the original whiskers were replaced in order to enhance relief and character. The camera has interpreted the trousers as black, while in reality I've given them a blueish tone. (Edit: See discussion on colour of jackets below).

The driver uses the IKB body and the re-sculpted head of a Langley cartage man. The IKB crew actually includes a couple of extra heads, which is a great idea but I had already used these on other figures. The arms have been repositioned to reduce the stick-like appearance.

Here’s the crew temporarily mounted in a River Class loco. The loco was built to near-finished condition by the late Dave Perkins from a Peter K kit, and is now allocated to Farthing. There are various issues with the paintjob and boiler fittings that I need to look into (my doing, not Dave’s), but she is a very sweet runner.

The IKB crew is nominally "Victorian" by design. However the characteristic buttoning of jackets at the top is also evident on footplate men in some Edwardian photos. Having said that, the pre-grouping uniforms of GWR footplate crew don't seem to be very well described in the literature, and I’m unsure exactly what is correct for Edwardian times.

In fact, a casual scan of photos from that period reveals a bewildering variation in the styles of jackets and caps worn by footplate crew. One pitfall here seems to be that many of the people on the footplate in such photos aren’t actually crew, but inspectors etc. I also have a theory that drivers and firemen sometimes put on their private clothes and/or headwear in order to look decent in photos. Finally, given their working conditions I’m guessing that footplate crew resorted to a variety of protective clothing at different times of the day and year. Perhaps not all of this was standard?

While on the subject of figures, I hear that Falcon offer some good 4mm footplate crew, but I am unsure what period they are for, and whether they are obtainable on-line? Oh, and wouldn’t it be great if we had something like Heroes of the Footplate in 4mm scale!