Content Creator Story – Ed Heaps (edh6)

By admin-n3v, September 23 2022

What's your background?

My name is Ed Heaps and I am a British based creator for Trainz, mainly creating locomotives and rolling stock. My day job is working as a government scientist, but during my free time I volunteer as Guard on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways (probably the best railway in the world).

The driver and I wonder how our train is meant to get to the platform with all those other engines in the way. Ffestiniog Railway Bygones Weekend, October 2020, photo by Chris Newton

Why did you first get into Trainz creation?

My first copy of Trainz was bought by my late grandfather. He installed it on his computer to give my brother and I something fun to do whilst we visited but I enjoyed it so much I took the CD home and made my dad install it on our home computer. This first game I owned was a copy of UTC which came with Paintshed bundled and I soon discovered that you could design your own content…

When did you know Trainz creation was for you? 

Having started with Paintshed I soon moved onto reskinning content using other graphics programmes. I also moved over to the latest version of Trainz (at the time TS2009). My aim was to build up a more complete set of rolling stock for the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways but I soon ran out of base models that I could reskin, so there was no choice but to learn Blender and start filling in the gaps myself! My first Blender creation was a Welsh Highland Railway carriage that I built in gaps between revising for my first year Physics exams at university and I’ve been working on more models ever since.

My first 3D model for Trainz, created in April 2013.

What is your favourite Trainz creation that you have created?

One of my favourite models I have built is the LSWR Adams T3 class. I’m not sure exactly why I like it so much, except that every time I look at it I find myself thinking “that one came out really well”.

The LSWR Adams T3 at Corfe Castle on PortLineParker’s excellent Swanage Railway route.

What is your favourite part of creating a locomotive?

I really enjoy the research phase of a project. Before building any model I spend a long time pouring over books and searching for suitable drawings and photographs. In particular finding information on how a prototype has changed over its history is both interesting and vital for the content creation process. One of my top tips for content creation is to really make an effort to understand the prototype you are modeling.

A good engineering drawing is vital for content creation…

Has there been any other influential Trainz creators that you have looked up to or learnt from that might have helped you become the creator you are today?

There are so many names that could be listed here. I have to mention Kevin Martin (KevMT) who created the original Ffestiniog Content for Trainz. Without his work creating a starting point which I could fill gaps in I would never have started content creation. I also have to thank Paul Hobbs, whose Blender tutorials and component libraries were so useful for a beginner. I still use lots of components from Paul’s libraries, although often much modified. Others include the late Andi06, whose Superscript system I have used extensively in the past (hopefully it can be resurrected for TS22 one day) and 2995valliant who provides excellent especs.

Are you working on anything for release in the future that you can share with us?

I’m in the early stages of various projects right now. You can expect more content from some or all (hopefully all, but I only have so much time!) of the various railways I’ve modeled before including Ffestiniog, British Pre-grouping, Metropolitan, LNER and French Railways.

For anyone looking to get into Trainz creation, what tips would you give to them to help them on their way?

I would say the best advice is to just jump in and give it a go. Your first model won’t be perfect and you might run into difficulty on the way, but the Trainz community is there to help. Lots of people will advise you to start small, but I went straight for a carriage with animations etc as my first project and it worked out ok. I would also reiterate my point above about researching the prototype, the better you know and understand the real thing, the easier it is to build a model.

A selection of edh6 locos