The other day, quite recently, I clicked “place your order” on… a toy New York MTA bus. I can’t pretend it was for the youngster of the house, it was for me. No, it is not a mid-life crisis (heh… I’m sure others might differ on this point), and I will happily declare that it is not out of nostalgia for my time in the city, especially back in the 90s.
It’s for the book. I’ve an entire story set on a bus in Manhattan and I neglected to location scout a bus when I was last there. I figured I could work from tourist photos and so forth. Turns out that you don’t get many good tourist photos of MTA bus interiors, and not the angles I want. Then I discovered various online bus-loving subcultures that go through all the details of every model of NYC bus, with endless shots of the buses in different parts of the city… but still not many good interiors and no good overheads and so forth. (See Transittalk, for example – I now know way more about buses in New york than I ever thought I’d want to know.) Then I accidentally had an Amazon link show up in my search results and there was a model of the very bus model I wanted to see more of. So I bought it. The very next morning I was able to hold it up to the light and (with some effort as the windows are tinted) get the shot I want with the little model seats in view, and then my drawing and painting took over to do the rest. (There are several elements missing from the model, although it is rather good overall. Those details can be just added while drawing the scene. I won’t be adding Suicide Squad posters and the like.)
I may still build a version of the parts I need in 3D, but for now, this works rather nicely. Oh, and as a bonus, I can play with it with my son!