Advanced Grubbiness

I had lots of “sensible” things to do today, mostly revolving around a need to clean my increasingly grubby apartment. Instead of actually doing those I decided to paint something instead. The current project wasn’t ready for painting so I dug out the bogies so I’d at least have something finished.

These are supposed to show a difference in “weathering”, with two relatively clean and four very grubby items, in the hope it gives the impression that the company is gradually refurbishing their fleet of heavily used container wagons. Unfortunately I got carried away, as usual, so they look pretty similar.

They look pretty similar to the rest of the apartment as well, come to think of it.

I may try to do something about this but it’s more likely I’ll decide that as they’re largely hidden under the wagon bodies anyway, they can just stay looking the same.

If it looks right…

I finally pulled myself into gear (again) and got on with detailing my container wagons. I’d originally planned just to leave this as I expect to have containers on top of them most of the time, but I decided that I needed at least a basic representation of the brake levers. When I was finished the rest of the wagon looked a bit empty by comparison so I added some other cylinders and pipes pore or less at random until it looked reasonably cluttered.

You will appreciate from this that I don’t really know what any of the mysterious bits that hang off a modern wagon actually do, but I’m guessing neither do most other people. I tend to wok on the basis that if it looks right, it’s fine, and it’s me who decides if it looks right…

Now this is finally complete I will have a short celebration before heading off to the cardboard box in the garden painting shop to apply the primer so I can actually paint and finish this project…

Window Frames

German Silberlinge carriages of the type I’m planning have a couple of distinctive features, one being the prominent window frames. As 1:55 models of German trains aren’t exactly a mainstream activity I was wondering how to reproduce these until a kind fellow member of a model railway forum offered to save me a lot of time by making a set for a very low cost; these arrived this week, and give enough parts for several carriages including at least one driving unit, with, helpfully, a couple of spares because we all know I’m going to mess some of them up.

This has helped get me motivated to finish the final wagons so I can make a start on this project, not least because I want to fit these rather delicate frames before I inevitably break them.

I have been making small and rather unphotographable progress for a few days; hopefully there will soon be something to show for it…

There has been a brief intervention of reality on my model making in the form of work, life and other matters, such as the need to tidy up find my workbench.

I”ll be back in a bit, just talk amongst yourselves…

I’ve been travelling to Stuttgart again, visiting family for a fortnight. This is wonderful and involved lots of interesting fun and activities with them, but was obviously lacking in model making interest. So to compensate here’s the train back, formed of an RS-1 Regiosprinter in the new Baden-Württemberg state colour scheme, and which conveyed me and the touring bike from Freudenstadt to Alpirsbach.

The opposite train heading north to Freudenstadt. I’ve always liked these railcars; maybe I could make a one ended “non motorised” version as a driving trailer for the Körschtalbahn? The company will need a low-floor carriage with a disabled loo, and Stadler, the builder has a track record of adapting their products for narrow gauge.

Not sure how I’d make that curved windscreen though…

After a slight recovery of the money tree the production of wagons has restarted. They are now largely complete with just a few more details to add; the state above is the result of prolonged swearing and gluing tiny bits of brass to fingers, tools, furniture, and eventually the models. As an added bonus they were occasionally in the right place.

The extremely observant will notice the wagon on the left has extra covers over the wheels, presumably to stop containers walloping delicate suspension and brake parts. Unfortunately even with more swearing I found it impossible to reproduce these on the other wagons so this one will be painted as a “recently refurbished” version and I’ll pretend the guards are additions that the other wagons haven’t received as yet. To assist in this illusion the other two will be grey, battered, and as is becoming normal on my models; filthy…

Every few weeks the workshop at work receives a large delivery of “scrap” bikes. These are quickly sorted into two piles; the quick and the dead. The “quick” are refurbished and cleaned up for sale, and the “dead” are cannibalised with the frames sold as scrap and parts reused to refurbish other bikes.

I need a new project like I need a hole in the head, so naturally myself and a colleague always go hunting through the “dead” pile to find any lost causes that may be repairable. I’ve been looking for a potential new commuting/touring bike to restore in the same way as the one I worked on with Elder Son a few years ago, which is now my main transport for the approximately 150k (90 miles) of riding to work and back each week.

Elder Son has been known to make the occasional hint about ownership of the bike, and Beautiful Daughter, who is about 1m (3′) tall but never lacking ambition, is also eyeing it up for future cycle tours. Also, in an entirely novel experience for your correspondent, I’ve found the rebuilt bike a little small compared to the other bikes I ride.

So when I found this rather dishevelled looking frame in the Scrap pile, I marshalled my excuses and rescued it to see if I could make it work.

So far it looks likely: the frame seems to be the essential Chromoly, a steel alloy which allows frame makers to use less material and make the frame lighter, and it has most of the fittings I want on a touring/commuter bike, so now the slow gradual search for parts will begin, along with much dithering about the really important question: what colour should it be?


Exciting investigations into cellulose based model making continue, partly because I have a habit of not being able to put a job down until it’s finished.

It isn’t bad from a distance; at least it doesn’t shout “cereal packet” as loudly as I thought it would. unfortunately seen close up it is a bit more obvious: cheap card will only react one way to moisture or glue and where it didn’t separate like a fan it still has a pretty dodgy surface. On the other hand I really underestimated the stability of layers of card, and the sides and ends look like they should be fitted to a tank. This skip isn’t going to warp or anything similar, but this meant I couldn’t make any of the “dents” and wrinkles I was planning to add; believe me I tried, with a variety of tools.

Also, if it existed in real life it would require half a steelworks output to make one and the finished skip would bend cranes. Overall, it seems better card and lighter construction is the way to go.

While I continue to get used to the new work schedule and cycling three times the distance to work and back, here’s another drawing for possible carriages on the Körschtalbahn.

For long distance passenger services German railways have used a bewildering number of very similar designs and sub-designs based on the same general theme, which is repeated all over Europe, so I made a general generic “shrunk” version including some of the features I liked.

Once again I wasn’t sure whether a long or short version would be better, so I drew both. There’s about enough length in the proposed model station to fit three of each in the platforms, so it’s a question of appearances rather than a practical decision.

I will now spend ages making a decision on what to use and maybe, just maybe, actually get something built at some point…

Test box

I’m still waiting for the money tree to recover from a gap between previous and current job, and in an effort to do something interesting while not being too taxing on brain capacity or finances I decided to try to make a new container model from card, because card is free, especially when it’s essentially old cereal packets, and as a card carrying (ahem) Luddite I have a strange fascination for making things out of low tech or discarded materials.

Besides, if I can get this to work, I could try making card carriages and print the colour scheme on the outside, which opens up possibilities for interesting colour schemes.

This qualifies as “really quite exciting” for someone like me.

After a bit of googling I decided that the Körschtalbahn could reasonably have a contract carrying scrap; inward as raw materials, outwards as processed/shredded metal. This also meant a good excuse for some seriously battered containers, so I could see how the card reacted to being weathered, and also hide all the inevitable mistakes quite handily.

I’m not sold on the idea as yet: I have to use a lot of superglue to make the car behave, and it still needs a coat of primer, as seen above, which rather diminishes the smug eco-friendly glow from using recycling materials. Maybe it would work better if I use better quality card? I’m sure I ‘recycled’ a sheet or two from somewhere, possibly even with the owners permission.