Edwardian mischief - Modelu & Andrew Stadden figures

I’ve been painting 4mm figures. Here are some photos and platform scenes.

I wanted to find a better way of holding figures during painting. Above is the good old bluetack solution, straightforward and good for spraying, but it doesn’t hold the figures very firmly during brush painting.

Another well-known solution is wire in the legs. Useful for mounting on the layout, but not always an option, I find. Some 4mm shoes won’t take a drill well, and on 3D printed figures the material can break.


So I’ve been experimenting. I made some wooden blocks and fixed double-sided heavy-duty “Nano” mounting tape to them. This works reasonably well. The tape is elastic, though, so if left overnight a heavy figure may keel over.


I'm now trying out “Tesa Powerbond Ultra Strong” mounting tape, which seems good so far. The tape does need replacing after 1-2 figures, and loses strength if you spill water on it. 


Anyway, back to the figures, starting with some Andrew Stadden ones. This is porter N. Pipkin, painted a while ago. Despite a ligelong struggle, he never did manage to grow a moustache. 


The young Maria Lobbs. She's a bit teared up, a common sight on railway platforms. All those difficult goodbyes.


I sometimes wonder if I should use more shading on the figures. The dilemma is that it looks good from a distance but can appear rather stark in close-up.

I think the big plus of hand sculpted figures is that they tend to have a lot of character. It can be overdone, but the Andrew Stadden range gets it just right, in my view.

An attempt at an early GWR bus driver, made using an Andrew Stadden head transposed to a body from the spares box (unknown origin). Photos show a variety of greatcoats in use by period drivers, this one resembles a 1909 example in the Steam collection, second picture down here.

On to the Modelu range. I’ve done a few of Alan’s railway staff in the past, but thought I’d have a go with some Edwardian passengers.


Free at last! If I'm not mistaken, recent Modelu figures have more supports than earlier ones. They come off easily enough.


I’ve only just discovered that the Modelu figures don’t need priming. I was sceptical about that, but Vallejo acrylics go on well and in fact stick better than on my primed metal figures. 

Most figures in the hand sculpted ranges have slightly oversize heads and facial features. By contrast, laser scanned faces such as the Modelu ones are quite subtle. Prototypical, but harder to paint. Until recently I just left them blank, but on this batch I’ve tried to lightly indicate eyes and lips/moustaches.


The black band on the boaters was made from narrow masking tape. Gives a nice clean edge.


I tend to go with sandy and brownish shades on my figures, to blend in with the overall colour scheme on my layouts.


But I’ve been advised not to overdo colour coordination, so here is – somewhat grudgingly - a splash of green.

In close-ups the printing pattern does show on some Modelu figures. But this is many times the actual size, and you certainly can’t see it with the naked eye.

Mrs Sanders is billed as an Edwardian figure but the bustle and skirt seem distinctly Victorian. The bustle went in and out of fashion during the 1860s-1880s but was largely gone by the 1890s. See also the useful Vintage Dancer website.

Henley on Thames, colourized. No date. Source: Getty Images, embedding permitted. 

La belle epoque - for some at least! There's still some way to go before the platforms at Farthing can be filled with crowds like these at Henley on Thames, but below are some test shots from the bay platform. 

Mrs Martin and Mrs Hunter lament the moral decay among the working class.


  Why, only this morning - says Mrs Hunter, hand firmly on hip – my purse was stolen in town!

Mrs Martin expresses her sympathy, omitting to mention that the very same purse is hidden under her corset.

Meanwhile, Porter N. Pipkin is on thin ice.

Maria does not seem to believe his excuse for neglecting her recently. Perhaps the bit about cheese rolling was a fib too far?

Further along the platform, two writers from the Railway Magazine are weighing their options.


The brief was to do an in-depth piece on Great Western wagon liveries. But it’s a rather hot day to be trudging around a goods yard.

Perhaps field research isn’t really necessary. Better to have a good lunch at the Stag’s Head, then head back to London for a spot of creative writing. After all, who really cares about wagon liveries?


Meanwhile Mrs Toodle and Miss Toppit discuss the upcoming wedding of the Browns.


They agree it will be a wonderful event and it is such a lovely young couple.

Secretly they hope it will end in scandal and despair.

At this point Mrs Sanders appears in her hopelessly outdated Victorian dress, and everyone studiously ignores her. Such old-world eccentricity really won't do. We are the Edwardians, modern, efficient and sophisticated!