Sliding doors

I’m trying to be slightly more disciplined than usual, and to stick to my original plan to make two wagons in parallel.

So far this seems to be working: I’m actually being much more productive because I can figure out how to make something work and then used the method three more times and improve on it in the following pieces.

I’m sure there’s an incredibly profound life lesson in there if I could just figure it out…

New beginnings…

And here we go again…

The Great Master Plan that I came up with on the back of an envelope some time ago, calls for a total of three wood wagons and three closed vans. The three wood wagons being complete, it’s time for the singular enclosed van to gain some companions.

Progress so far is seen above: two of my now fairly standard chassis.

There is not a lot of literary or visual excitement to be gleaned from this stage of construction, although you may be mildly thrilled to hear the goal is for a couple of vans that look vaguely like this.

Hopefully there will be a bit more progress next week…

Pair shaped

Finally the two “Simple” (ha, ha…) wood wagons are completed; painting will have to wait until I get hold of some primer, but it’s a big step: I’m half way to finishing the eight wagons which I set as my “minimum” before I could start building a layout.

I’m not sure why I arbitrarily set this as my goal but it seemed a good idea at the time.

The other thing I need to do of course is make a set of ISO containers to fit on these wagons. at the moment these are likely to be bulk containers carrying animal feed or heating pellets to the local farmer’s cooperative, a very useful “customer” on a German model because they tend to buy and sell pretty much anything from tractors to wellies.

I’m still working out how to make the bulk container, so in the meantime I’ll keep going with the next project of a pair of sliding door vans to join the earlier example.

Once again these are supposed to be a “simple” version… We shall see…

Rabbit Hole

I never learn.

On the way to visit family in Stuttgart last time, I saw a few wagons parked up alongside the main line that look very similar to the current project, except that they had heavy wooden battens across the decks that were clearly mounted in hinged frames so they could fold flat into place. When folded a metal frame was visible on the bottom, which was now on top, if you see what I mean.

This makes sense: a long load would be supported by the wooden battens so it wouldn’t get damaged; and in my case also wouldn’t wreck the clips for containers, even solid metal objects won’t survive having large tree trunks dropped on them too often. As this is a feature from German wagons it has the added advantage of moving further away from the original Swiss prototype: I’m well aware of the danger of inadvertently making a sort of “German Swiss narrow gauge”

This seemed a great idea until I set off down the rabbit hole by fixing the first frame into the wagon, then remembered that I would now have to make seven more.

I really should think more before gluing stuff together…

That was a test…



So… did anyone spot my deliberate mistake?

Those little brass bits next to the bottom of the pointy bits are based on a number of pictures of prototype wagons: the pointy bits are supposed to fold down so they are out of the way when loading and unloading and I assume this provides a bit more support or helps them stay straight when this happens.

A real model maker would doubtless make these movable on a model but as I am so far from being a “proper” model maker I couldn’t find one with a telescope, mine are firmly glued to the wagon.

In my usual style, I them managed to put the little curvy bits on backwards…

The vertical bits should fold down within the length of the wagon, which is why they are slightly offset. In the picture above they should all fold to the right.

Now I’m sure you see the problem.

Somehow your correspondent managed to make both sides of the wagon before noticing this, and now an inability to see the mistake has been replaced by an inability to not see the result, so the next model making sessions will involve pulling bits out and turning them around…



Well, the wood wagon is complete. Now I need to exercise more self control than usual and make the second one instead of getting distracted by shiny new projects…


What I’m now referring to as the “pointy bits” are finished on wood wagon #2. As usual I used the “digital method” which meant each bit was held in place with a finger until it lost its propensity to waggle.

I also lined the pieces up by eye so they are at least consistent with each other (consistency is good, right?) and so far they look passably straight.

I’m sure this method will come back to bite me one day; then I’ll have to make the model “Black forest by night, with fog”

Production line 2.0


Lots of tiny bits of plastic, which will theoretically become the pointy bits on wood wagon 2.0.

We’ve been here before, but in that case with a slightly excessive 16 pieces per upright, giving a grand total of 192 pieces to make the whole lot. This version has a more sensible 6 pieces per upright, giving 72 pieces for one wagon and none of the messing about with lots of tiny bits for the “damaged” floor either.

This would have meant a far quicker project, except that I got over enthusiastic and went and made enough for two wagons.

I never learn…

Hippy logistics…


A moment of no small significance above: I finally got the model making desk into a state to bring it back to the apartment.

I readily admit that this would have happened far sooner if I’d spent a bit less of my free time gallivanting off on my touring bike, but with the days noticeably shortening I finally got myself into gear so I have somewhere to build stuff when it is too dark and cold to get out much.


The pictures show the first issue that had been on my mind since the project began: how I would manage to transport the completed desk, and indeed there was some delay while I got around to collecting the long tail bike from Stuttgart. Fortunately the rain clouds decided to play over the Black Forest so I didn’t have to haul an increasingly damp piece of wood over the fields.


And here, to my frank surprise, is the second question answered: The new desk fits, a bit snug but well enough. Even the different bottles sit in their holes and protrude at exactly the same height.

Of course that means I’ve now removed all my excuses and need to get back to actually making models…

Workbench to go…


Finally the workbench is largely completed. After a certain amount of fiddling the boxes are in place and two coats of eco friendly hippy tree oil have been applied. These oils have no nasty harmful chemicals in them, but that means they dry slowly while transmitting happy thoughts deep into the wood which slowed things down a bit.


Boxes removed so I can fit them into my long bike for transport: they fit onto the desk like two small tight drawers. This may seem a bit overdone when I’m only going to transport them once by bike, especially as I built the whole thing along the lines of a brick outhouse. On the other hand it means I can take them off and tip small items out when they inevitably fall in there at some point.

I brought the runners from the old desk, so in theory I can just slide the new desk into place when everything has dried and I take it back to the apartment next week.

This theory assumes that I measured the old desk correctly of course, and don’t have to haul this one back for a quick session with the table saw…