Ploughing ahead II


This post is brought to you by poor organisation and forgetfulness.


I made a couple of snowploughs for the railcar project a couple of years ago, which had a few extra bits like extensions to the bogies for couplings and hints of various bits of undergubbins. They even appeared on the chassis, held on with Blu-tack.  They’ve been kicking about ever since, until I foolishly went and tidied my desk a couple of months ago, whereupon they vanished without trace.

“Oh dear”, I said, or words to that effect anyway.

And then, knowing that there’s a form of quantum physics that affects all lost items and keeps them from being found until they are replaced, I started making a new set.

This wasn’t all bad, as I’ve gained a bit of experience since I made the last set*, so I had lots of ideas for extra possible bits to stick onto the extra sections, plus some sand boxes which strangely did not go missing in the intervening time, tidying up not withstanding.

I’m not particularly mechanically minded so I have no idea what most of these extra bits are supposed to do. They look alright to me, so I’m not complaining.

*If not much skill or ability.

Dry mess

The mess hall now has a roof, door and windows, which will no doubt come as a relief to the unfortunate soldiers who find themselves in this forsaken outpost of the British Empire. With that together it was time to focus on the reason excuse for the tower,  so a water tank was called for. (If you’re wondering, the reason is that a swashbuckling adventurer/dastardly bad guy can use it as a high vantage point)

I’ve noticed that tabletop games, especially in this genre, are a lot less ‘scale’ than model railways: they tend to be chunky, even cartoony. I’m guessing it’s because the models are handled a lot more. Whatever the reason I’m all in favour because no-one gets to say I’m doing it wrong.

In keeping with this, the ‘tank’ is an ear wash bottle, the same one as donated the turret for the steam punk tank, come to think if it. I could try and make a terrible pun out of this but I can’t think of one at the moment; suggestions in the comments please.

The ear wash was utterly useless so it’s good to have got some value out of the purchase.

The steps are staples and the handle from the ‘inspection hatch’ is from a bit of wire that looks suspiciously like it was from a Chinese takeaway box.

Now I’ve got to make this look like a convincingly rusty lump of metal.

Not a lot happened on the model making front this year.

This was partly because of the aforementioned final project for my training, and presentation for same, meaning I’m now a Qualified Arbeitserzieher (occupational therapist). Meanwhile one resolution on my other blog was to finally cycle an imperial century (100 miles/160 km) which did not help model making although I did find some interesting railway related places.

Finally, along with the Elder Son, I finished the project to rebuild a 90’s era mountain bike into a retro styled touring bike. so it’s not like I’ve done nothing.

Next year then will be “Unfinished Project Backlog Year II”. To recap, this is:


Railcar: construction ten years and counting, I think…
Big Diesel: Waiting for me to get the courage together to try electronics, which I view as one step from sorcery.
Big Van: Supposed to be number 1 of 3, Ha, ha.
Wood Wagon: Ditto. Also meant to be a ‘quick project’ but I keep adding details…

Hmm… well, the railcar is almost done, the big van and the wood wagon are both completed, but the big diesel is still a bit of a holy grail and I keep putting it off. I’m determined that I’m not starting anything new though, so fresh goals will have to wait until I have a diesel locomotive that works.

Last year again:


Finish Two vans
Ditto Farmhouse
Dismantle ‘Wörnritzhausen’ Mk 1 and salvage everything I can.

The vans are pretty much done, need to blog about that, but the motivation to finish a farmhouse that wouldn’t ever be used wasn’t forthcoming. I still have to face up to salvaging ‘Wörnritzhausen’ so taking a chisel to that is as far as my ambitions will go next year

I’ve done a bit better in the General silliness department, mainly I suspect because I default back to that when life is getting too stressful for more serious model making.

General Silliness department:

Steam Powered Tank
Monowheel: Probably not a priority, but still.
(Re) paint remaining figures.
“Army Buildings”
Also Several vehicle kits that don’t seem to have reached these pages…

The steam powered tank was finished quickly, and the Monowheel is complete and awaiting a decision on what colour it should be. The “Army buildings” will feature here soon as they’re my “holiday” project.

So, the goal for this year is to finish the backlog before starting any new projects, and keep blogging about same.

I’ve also got a few goals for cycling again, which will probably mess things up…

Roll out the Barrel


I’ve observed before that tabletop gaming models are generally less “finescale” than model railways, so making ‘details’ for these are an effective way of getting my mojo back when I’ve tied myself in knots trying to make overly complex rolling stock, going to interviews or just being plain lazy.

The other advantage is that they’re cheap. The boxes that Macpherson and Ramirez are hiding behind above are basically strips of card glued together and sanded to be vaguely square with ‘strapping’ from cornflake packets.

They are destined to be variously things to hide behind, climb on, or contain “mysterious artefacts” (Evil villains for the stealing of).


After this success, I whiled away an evening working out how to make some barrels out of rolls of scrap paper wrapped around very small strips of thick card. I know the ‘ridges’ in the middle should be thinner and tried a few methods, including cotton on the far left barrel, but it made my head hurt so they’re getting thick ridges and can like it.

These will eventually go into service as race track markers, containers of mysterious chemicals that need to be stolen (obviously), and naturally as things to go bang at inconvenient moments, because there’s not much point in making tabletop games if things don’t explode…

Happy Christmas 2019


It’s that time of year again.

For once I managed to be vaguely prepared by combining model making and cycling, using bicycle chains to make into Christmas decorations to send to people.

This outbreak of forward planning was very nearly ruined mid-November by yours truly tidying up and very nearly pitching all of the hoarded bike chains into the bin.

Thankfully I managed to remember in time, and thus strike a blow against global capitalism.

So, happy Christmas to you and yours, wherever and however you spend it…

Bit in the middle


Modelmaking time is being squeezed, not just because of interviews (one last week, and a couple looking likely next month, thanks for asking) but also family arrangements: typically I’ll sit down, mark something up ready to cut, then have to race off to take Beautiful Daughter  to dance class or something.

Still, I really want to finish the railer project before it stretches into its second decade, so this week I went for a manageable mini project, painting the middle bit of the railcars undercarriage.

In the usual triumph of optimism over experience I tried another idea for making a dark wash and in the usual triumph of reality over optimism, it didn’t work, so I rescued it with varying grades of dry brushed highlights in grey, white and silver and finished adding “scratches” with a soft pencil, and:


Not looking too bad, confidence boosted and with 20 minutes left I looked for something else to paint. The snowploughs, perfect, I made them a couple of years back and… um…

I knew where they were last month. This is what happens when you tidy up.

Still, I know what the next project is…

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.