Cardboard archaeology


In October last year I started some model buildings as a “quick and easy” set of models for a “Pulp Alley” tabletop game.

I failed miserably on that score.

This building was the only one to be painted last year and came out a dark brown so horrific it rather put me off the project. It is supposed to represent a rather dingy building in a far-flung outpost of the British Empire, but there’s a limit to how dingy even they would allow their far-flung outposts to get, so I started again with a much lighter base, then added highlights and shadow. This improved matters considerably.

Now I need windows, a door, some grass, a roof, and some kind of water tank, repeat the entire process four more times.

Then comes the hard part: persuading the boys that that playing a tabletop game is a better use of half an hour than switching on the computer and firing up Minecraft.


It is probably obvious to most readers that I’m not terribly organised; my ability to forget where things are five seconds after I’ve put them down is astonishing.

Forgetting that I’ve completed a project is a new one though.

I finished this van several weeks ago and then got distracted by job hunting/family/lots of cycleways and forgot about it. I should have posted it before the railcar project because this was the first transfer experiment.

I think having the lettering on a block of colour with a contrasting ‘background’ worked rather better than the “hope the printer can produce the right shade of green” that I used on the railcar. I’ve filed this discovery under “we live and learn”

I’m filing that wonky roof end under the same category.

The next goal of this is two more vans of a different and slightly simpler design. These are in the almost legendary “Project backlog” queue.

Meanwhile, this van now needs some weathering. I’ll try and remember to take pictures when I finish it this time…

…and driver, controls and other fiddly bits.


I’ve ben working on a silly steam powered mono-wheel because it’s as complex a job as my cold-filled head could handle this week.

I would be the first to admit I probably over did the pipes department here.

I’m guessing the long thin hoses are an advanced control system from the driver, as are the thicker connections to the cannons, which are apparently some kind of fiendish energy weapon, but that doesn’t excuse the mass of pipes infesting the boiler area, nor answer the question that if this is a steam powered vehicle, how do you stoke the fire?

This assumes of course that it would stay upright when you started it, which is… unlikely.

Of course, all of these considerations are secondary, the main question is “What colour should it be?”. Let’s keep our priorities straight.

Originally I thought in terms of military style colours, but lately I’ve been getting ideas, possibly because of looking at things like the Maximilian 1934 games.


For those who aren’t familiar with the Pulp Alley/Maximilian 1934 tabletop game genre it starts at about slightly bonkers and works up from there, so I’ve got a lot of “creative freedom”. Aside from the military option, current ideas are for a ‘1934’ racing car, or possibly a pursuit vehicle for a seriously “zero tolerance” police force.

Suggestions please, in the comments…


Adding distractions


The Railcar has been sat on a shelf making me feel guilty for a few more months, so I finally got myself into gear the final details, or if I’m honest, distractions  to stop people noticing too many of my mistakes.

First of these was the transfers I printed a while back after a considerable amount of dithering. This was a mixed success. Unlike the transfers on the touring bike project I couldn’t get the colours to match exactly so I had to paint as closely as I could to the numbers themselves, and unfortunately this shows.


The weathering is aiming for a “well used” appearance. This is appropriate as the railcar is supposed to have been built in the late nineteen seventies or early eighties, but long suffering readers will notice a pattern here, as I’ve found that weathering is rather useful for hiding my mistakes, and I have plenty to hide. Most of what you see is made using artists pastels, I keep trying different ways to apply a dark wash, and attempted one on the roof. As usual it didn’t work.

After covering this minor disaster with black pastels I dry brushed the rest with light grey, a tiny bit of white and an even tinier bit of silver, then toned down the lot with more chalk pastel (black and brown, for those taking notes) then decided “what the heck?”, added black pastel to the side vents and dusted the lower body with light brown.

So much progress at once. After I’ve recovered I’ll have a go at the under gubbins…

Making excuses…

I’m rather aware that I’ve been neglecting this blog of late…


I could suggest that it was because all the job hunting of the last few months has been getting in the way…


But I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t believe me.


and you know what? You’d be right not to…


Its been a beautiful summer, and there’s literally thousands of miles of open roads and places to see that have been demanding my attention…


So model making has been taking a back seat of late…


But now the temperatures are dropping and motivation to ride extravagant distances is waning, and I’ve been blowing the dust off some of the projects I really should have finished ages ago.

Platform ending

2019_09_19_Esslingen_11Last week I had to spend some time Esslingen, our county town, so I did something I haven’t done in ages: went to the railway station to take pictures of passing trains.

This meant I could get more pictures of Class 218 diesels, and you can’t have enough pictures of class 218 diesels. After arriving in time to catch one on the front of a local train to Ulm (above) I caught a second pushing a train to Stuttgart:


Esslingen is also great place for catching the freight trains between Stuttgart and Ulm/Munich, which are many and varied. This is handy as I still have no idea how to get freight train timetables in Germany.

152 011-3 is seen here hammering through the station on the fast line towards Ulm.




Slow line platforms, 146 224-1 on a local twin deck train going to Geislingen, in the hills between Esslingen and Ulm. Geislingen is the start of a 2.6 kilometre ramp at up to 2.25% (1:44.5).


Another older loco, 111 073-2 on a train to Ulm. These were one of the standard local passenger locomotives of early eighties. I think DB were planning to buy more of them but for political reasons they ended up ordering east German designs after reunification.

Notice attempt at artsy shot by holding camera at platform level.


Another class 111 pushing a semi-local train toward Stuttgart. For some reason this platform is on the fast line.

The station was extensively rebuilt a couple of years ago, which I expeced would result in several platform closures and the fast lines moved well away from passengers, but Germans seem to take a rather more robust approach to such things.

A few minutes later a class 146 on yet another local train pulled into the eastbound platform to to allow an ICE 4 to pass on the fast line. This layout seems more sensible as it allows fast trains to belt through at speed.

Note to Deutsche Bahn though, if you really want to make white trains, you need to clean them a bit more frequently.


Type 187 electric locomotive on a freight service, following the ICE and local train on the Eastbound fast line. This is the latest locomotive in the TRAXX family from Bombadier which are all over Europe in various forms.

DB has recently signed a contract with Bombardier for 450 TRAXX locomotives of various types; there was some talk of having a “last mile” module with a diesel engine but I think that’s been cancelled.

Then I made the mistake of putting the camera away and had to rush to get it back out again. Worth it though.


I’ll be travelling about this week again so there may be more chances to take pictures. We shall see.

The awkward stage


Glacial progress on the KÖB railcar continues: finally it is in colour; I’m not sure if it is the right colour but colour nonetheless.

I must admit I really dislike this stage. Models always seem to look awful in the first attempt at paint, before the details are painted and the mistakes corrected or hidden by weathering and distractions.

Still, progress is progress. Now I’ve got this done I can make an attempt at adding transfers and painting all those pipes and things.