So, you want to build a train for BVE4?
You've not been frightened off by page 1 then? Good!
This page is going to talk about what can sometimes be the hardest part
of building a BVE train: getting the raw materials to work on.
So, what do you need? Well, you can make some kind of train with very little
- basically, you could draw your cab images and record a few engine
sounds from a transit van and put together a train of sorts, which
would be driveable. However, mostly, people want to aim for a bit
more realism than that!!
Right, so you've set your heart on modelling a particular train for
BVE4. The first thing you need to do is find out if there are any
you can get access to in order to get photos, and, better yet, record
sounds. If the train you hope to build is on a preserved railway
somewhere, you stand a good chance: talk to the right people and
they'll quite likely let you have access to the cab for photos and may
well be prepared to arrange for sound recording as well. Current
mainline trains are a good bit more difficult, and it might be quite
difficult to get access; also, mainline drivers are not allowed to do
stuff like recording sounds when the train's in action and so most if
not all will be unwilling to do so.
So, let's assume that you can get access to the original train, known
in the jargon as the prototype. What next?
Next, you need a decent camera. If using a 35mm film camera I'd
go for about a 28mm lens, or if using a digital one with adjustable
zoom, pick a wide angle which approximates to the normal field of
Place the camera on a tripod if possible, so that it's looking from
about where the driver's head would normally be, facing forwards.
Thsi is going to produce your basic cab view, and so take time to get
it right. Try to include a good bit of the windscreen in the view
and preferably all the major controls: brake, power, revreser - also
things like AWS reset button, AWS sunflower, TPWS panel. You
might not get all of these in using one shot - if so, you might look at
moving the camera back a bit or using a wider lens. On digital
cameras, make sure you're using the highest resolution and quality
having placed your camera, you now want pictures. Arrange
exposure and lighting so that you get cab details. What's outside
the windscreen is irrelevant.
For the best results, you want a series of pictrues with the main
controls in different places. N.B. make sure you have
someone around who knows what's what before fiddling with
If the power or brake have clearly marked positions you can use those,
if not, pick several intermediate positions, bearing in mind that BVE4
allows up to 8 - although for most purposes 6 is sufficient. Take
a series of pictures, with both power and brake controls in positions
from "off" to "full", noting that there may be an "emergency" position
for the brake. Take time to make sure you get all these pictures
as it will save you a LOT of hassle later! If the train you're
doing has a combined brake/throttle, make sure you get pictures in all
The reverser generally has forward, neutral and reverse. You need
at least one photo with this in each position.
The other things to consider are the various minor controls like
lights, wipers, AWS reset button and so on. Try to get pictures
with these in their various different positions, noting that headlights
have several configurations, like "marker only", "day head", "night
head" and so on and sometimes "hazard". It really is worth
spending time working out what you want, and making sure you get the
OK, now you've hopefully got your pictures. The next stage
depends on whether the train is operational, and if so, whether you can
arrange to record sounds. Let's assume that it is and you
can. You'll want sounds for the following:
Engine start and shutdown,
Powering up from idle,
Running slowly at light load,
Running under heavy load,
Running down to idle,
Braking application and brake running sounds,
Emergency brake application.
In addition, you also really want running sounds on different kinds of
track, and don't forget the AWS "warning" and "clear" sounds, and the
You might not be able to get all those - especially on a preserved
railway. In that case, you'll have to look around for other
sounds and see if you can get persmission to use them. However,
the more genuine sounds you can get from your prototype, the better.
That's more or less it for gathering resources. The last thing
you need is perfomance data for the train, especially its maximum
tractive effort and preferably the continuous T.E. and the speed at
which it applies. You'll use these to determine the maximum
acceleration. If you can talk to a driver, find out if there are
any quirks for the class, such as unusually slow acceleration from
rest. Another thing you can check on is which lights or buttons
illuminate and under what conditions - examples are start/stop buttons,
door release, door closed, all of which (and more!) may or may not
illuminate. On electric units, there are likely to be pan up/pan
down buttons and line volts lights as well.
In part 3, we'll look at what you do with all