“The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
“I Like Moe” – But I also like trains. That’s why I dedicated my probably last figure photo for 2019 to little Hachiroku from the visual novel Maitetsu -Pure Station-. I hope you enjoy the festive, wintery atmosphere and hopefully you will have a cheerful Christmas time.
About the figure:
Aspires Hachiroku is one of the few figures in my collection that I only bought because she looked cute as hell. I’m not a “Densha Otaku” but it would be a lie if I say that I dislike trains. Long before I got into Anime and figures I had a fairly big model train system and also my grandparents came from a railway background.
I know that many people found the price tag of this figure way to high but in my opinion, she is worth every cent. Hachiroku is crafted like an ALTER release and rich in details. With a net weight of 420 gram she is also a surprisingly heavy figure. Her hat can be removed and it holds in place by a magnet. I love it when figures utilize the power of ferromagnetic materials to their advantage.
About the series:
Like I said I only bought her because she looked cute and I like figures with elaborate clothes. From what I can tell the source material is a visual novel where you, the protagonist has to revive some run-down railway lines while interacting with so called Raillords such as little Hachiroku.
The game was developed by studio Lose and published by Sekai Project. It’s available on Steam and Playstation 4 and apparently will be ported to the Nintendo Switch as well. Here is the opening trailer of the game. But be warned: Apparently there is also some (optional) eroge content and it can be quite annoying searching for this game on Google since “Meitetsu” is also some sort of train or railroad line in Japan.
Thoughts about the picture:
The best thing about this composition is the ratio between effort and payoff. Pictures where you don’t have to craft much, but somehow still look impressive are always the sets I like the most. Many of my older photos which I still consider good work were done this way. The first thing I was looking for to be featured in this picture beside the figure was a model train of the Class 8620 locomotives that Hachirokus design is based on. And believe it or not I found one in the form of a Takara Tomy toy train. You know the line where you can also get Thomas the Tank Engine from. Of course, there were also actual model trains in HO scale but those ones can be pretty expensive and are hard to get. The Tomy train cost me only around 30 bucks and for a toy it is surprisingly detailed. Why does Japan have all the good toys?
The only down side was that the Tomy train has no common scale. Therefore, I didn’t know which kind of tracks I should use. LGB is too big, 0 and 1 to obscure and HO, the most common one was a bit to narrow. But since it’s broadly available and cheap I went with HO and hoped I can set the angle in a way, that no one would notice that the wheels are not actually resting on the rails. Of course, the diameter of the curves I bought was also way to wide. In order to get a tighter turn, I had cut out some plastic bits and bend them. Further, I had to make custom track beds by using some foam board, glue and decoration sand. The trees in the background are also bought. I ordered them from a smaller retail shop in Germany since most of the decorative Christmas trees you can get these days are those ugly “pointed bottle washer” trees.
The one thing I legitimately build form scratch for this set was this vintage looking railroad lantern next to Hachiroku. Once I figured out how to do it and which materials to use it was a fairly easy build. The bulb is one half of those DIY Christmas balls and the body is just made out of cardboard. For the more complex looking top and bottom I used parts of a grave light. Well, guess sometimes it pays off to live next to one of Europe largest graveyards. The finish is just black spray paint and in order to have it glow I just put a flashlight in it.
Combining the trees, the train, the lantern and Hachiroku with some fake snow and a miniature house I built years ago and I ended up with a composition that sets me in the mood for this fine wintery time that lies ahead.
Sony Alpha 7R II, 55mm lens / ISO 100 /Exposure time 1/10 sec. /aperture: F/9
Time and effort: When you buy a lot of things, you don’t have to spend much time on crafting. The railroad lantern was put together in one sit and the rest was also not that time consuming. From start to finish this photo took me about 10-12 hours of working time.
Costs of the props: The Tomy train cost around 30,- Euro and hopefully I can resell it now that the picture is taken. The trees cost me about 6-8 Euro each and the tracks I bought from the flea market. All together I spent around 60-70 Euro on the props for this picture but some of them can be reused for sure.