Well, it’s a Bank Holiday, and it wouldn’t be a decent use of the day without a wander around the countryside – this means we’re going to the Norfolk Broads, which in turn – ha – means an encounter with a windmill is unavoidable.
Yep, another one! What we have this time around is a trestle mill, though it’s more commonly referred to as a ‘skeleton’ mill, for obvious reasons. A timber open-frame structure – rather like a small smock mill without the cladding – these structures came considerably cheaper than a brick construction. As such, these were once plentiful around the Broads, though perhaps as is to be expected, only a couple remain.
My reference for this was Boardman’s Mill, or Vorderman’s Mill, as I used to believe it to be called. It’s a drainage pump standing on the bank of the River Ant, a short walk away from Ludham’s How Hill (and indeed just to the south of another of similar design). Built in 1897, it retired in 1938 after being knocked off its rather precarious brick chamber by high winds (not a hugely surprising fate!)
A less attractive prospective abode, maybe, but it was certainly interesting as a curious child to observe the innards of a windmill so immediately. I never dared scale that wobbly ladder to take a closer look, though! It has been periodically restored, but the last time I saw it up close it was looking rather worse for wear, which is a shame – it’s a delicate structure and one which surely requires greater care.
The main challenge for me here was that timber framework. I cloned the four outer corners and applied a slight inward tendency to give a taper. This trick didn’t work so well with the supporting beams, however; I ended up placing them manually, which might explain why some are a tad uneven. I realised after the build that constructing a perfectly vertical tower and then using the Taper tool on it might have done what I wanted much quicker; hey ho!
Another howler might have been my cloning of a reed several thousand times. The beds of reeds you see are touched up and duplicated in Photoshop post, but there were many in the original rendered scene. This reduced my computer to such a crawl that I feared I might have killed it. Oops! Well I know not to try that again.
I also thought I’d try playing with the nighttime Physical Sky settings in Cinema 4D, to perhaps exploit the open tower with a fiery sunset beaming through. Hmm! It looks pretty, and I enjoy very much the near-silhouette landscape, but I think it’s evident that the whole sunlight and sky element is something I need to revisit in greater depth; it’ll only benefit my models once I finally get it cracked.
For now though, let’s just imagine a pleasant and real sunset ride down the River Ant.
I need to get me a boat.