Sometime ago, I wrote a series of posts telling a story based around my activities in the computer game, Elite: Dangerous. It was a way of giving some life to my tales from a game that most of my readers would probably never experience. One of the characters in my tale was a bounty-hunter called Jaxon Border. He was first introduced in an episode called Waiting.

Over the last few years I have come to know an artist on Twitter through my interest in Truck Simulator – one shared by her partner. She goes by the twitter moniker SI’yann. In recent months she has decided to pursue her dream of becoming a digital artist and she is now open to take on commissions.

I sent her a link to my story with a suggestion that she might like to draw Jaxon Border for me. I think the story as told in English may not have translated too well into a clear description of the character in French, so we exchanged several messages as the work progressed. The first rough sketches were presented and I have to say they were very close to the Jaxon Border in my minds eye. Subsequently, with some refinements, we reached agreement on the final sketch…

Then it was up to Si’yann to come up with the colour version with a small amount of guidance from me. Here’s Jaxon in colour…

In many ways this digital art by Si’yann has captured the Jaxon Border I envisaged as I was writing and the decision to have him seated at the bar works so well for the character. Bounty hunter that he is, he’s clearly got his eye on something or someone seated away from the bar – possibly me, Anson22, just before our first meeting? 😎

This was a new style of Character for Si’yann and I think she’s done great! If you’d like a character from your writings brought to life, then perhaps you should consider asking Si’yann if she might be able to help you out😊👍

There are no live dinosaurs – apart from some older persons like me – wandering around Crystal Palace Park. When the park was designed in 1851, two islands were created in the lake at the southern end. On these islands some sculptures of creatures from the Secondary and Tertiary periods were to be displayed for the amazement of visitors. 33 such creatures were crafted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. Many of those sculptures survive to this day.

Not all the creatures were Dinosaurs – the Tertiary period was the age of the Mammals and there are some Irish Elk to be found…

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However, we’re here to see the Dinosaurs on the Secondary Period island – Here are a pair of Iguanodon…

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A Labyrinthodon…

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…with some tasty morsels in the background😂

There’s Ichthyosaurus hiding in the weeds…

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…along with a pair of Teleosauri…

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…I’m not convinced that those are entirely extinct 😟

Then there’s a Plesiosaur…

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…suffering the unwelcome attentions of some saurian descendants😂

And finally, the Megalosaurus…

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Just as the Dinosaurs were of a particular period in the Earth’s history, these models belong to a period in the history of Palaeontology. First displayed in 1854, they excited an interest in fossil hunting and scientific understanding. Just 40 years later they were a laughing stock among serious palaeontologists with species such as the Megalosaurus now known to have been bipedal. Today’s visitors enjoy those that are left for what they are – fascinating sculptures of strange beasts. Classed as Grade II listed buildings in 1973 and upgraded to Grade I in 2007, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins’ animals have been repaired and restored over recent years and look to be safe for future generations to enjoy.

For this Photographing Public Art Challenge, which is hosted by Marsha, I thought I would go with some Italian design. Not Ferrari’s and not clothes from Milan, although that city will be part of the post. We’re going to look at railway design and architecture 🙂

I was trying to think of how to sequence the images in a meaningful way. In the end, I’m going to work backwards in time, so lets start with the Pendolino. Pendolino’s are tilting trains built by Fiat Ferroviaria using technology that was first pioneered in the UK with the Advanced Passenger Train. The idea is to use the tilting technology to allow faster speeds on lines that cannot be made more straight due to terrain. Here are two RABe 503 trains operated by Cisalpino from Zurich and Geneva to Milano, seen in Milano Centrale station…

…These trains entered service from 2008.

A somewhat older example of Italian design were the Settebello trains. These luxury high speed electric units featured observation lounges at both ends of the train. They were built for the Milano to Roma services with stops at Bologna and Firenze. They entered service in 1953 and were finally phased out in 1984. I was lucky to photograph the sole preserved example in Santa Maria Novella station, Firenze, back in 2009…

…Its 1950’s elegance contrasting with the angular modern unit on the left.

Santa Maria Novella station in Firenze is a classic example of Italian Modernism, designed by the Gruppo Toscano. After approval from Benito Mussolini, construction began in 1932 and the station opened in 1934. Here is a view of the main concourse…

Returning to Milano Centrale – the foundation block of this station was laid in 1906 but full construction rights were not awarded to architect Ulisse Stacchini until 1912! – his design resembling Washington Union Station. The Italian financial crisis during the First World War combined with many design changes stalled its construction. Work recommenced in 1925 and the station officially opened in 1931. Here is a shot of the concourse…

…In the modern world, it now seems cramped with the volume of passengers using the station and it’s interesting to compare with open spaces of Firenze S.M.N completed just 3 years later!