Archive for July, 2017

The Körschtalbahn’s railcar in the process of being primed, which is something of a milestone as the half finished body spent nearly five years lurking on my desk, gathering dust and generally making me feel guilty whenever I looked at it.

After several weeks months putting off the spray painting on the basis it made sense to have more than one model ready before bothering with all the faff of spraying, the actual job took about fifteen minutes to do everything, plus another thirty to tidy up the mess on the balcony. At least this time I remembered to cover the tiles on the floor: there’s still a faint line of overspray from last time, where I learned that our tiles are slightly porous and no matter how hard you try to scrub them, you can’t quite get rid of all the paint in there. fortunately this is only visible if you know what to look for and I’m not telling anyone.

As usual I discovered pretty quickly that spray painting is better done in thin layers rather than one great thick one, although this time I at least managed to remember this before doing too much damage.

I also learned the trying to take pictures of models in primer can be a right pain, hence the lack of them in this post, so you’ll have to trust me when I say that the Höfelbachbahn railcar is also primed and ready to be painted and thoroughly weathered.

Now all I have to do is decide what colours to use.




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The Höfelbachbahn railcar is complete and ready for the primer.

Come the weekend, if I manage to get everything in the same place at the same time, and don’t forget something vital, this will turn grey. Probably. Unless I think of another important detail that I just have to add…

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Suboptimization. That’s what is going on here. a “Situation where a process, procedure, or system yields less than the best possible outcome or output, caused by a lack of best possible coordination between different components, elements, parts, etc.

In this case the components called ‘stupidly tight curves’ and the snowploughs for the railcar have led to a lack of best possible coordination between the two. And I’m making it harder because I’m plain fussy.

The easiest way to fit a snowplough on a model train is to glue it nice and solid onto the coupling bar. This way it can waggle about with the coupling when the railcar goes around the track. Unfortunately in this case it would wave about more uselessly than a minor royal at a public occasion, and look almost as ridiculous.

Sensible people who know when to give up would have either ignored this: or left the snowploughs off entirely, but this would mean there was nowhere to paint the buzzbee stripes, so it wasn’t going to happen.

After ignoring the problem for a while, I decided that if I stuck the snowploughs on a pair of brass rods which went into the chassis at the exact point where they didn’t mess up the coupling bar, then they would stay nice and straight and the coupling could waggle about as much as it liked. Hooray.

I got there eventually and probably suboptimally, after the some bending of wire and a certain amount of ancient Anglo-Saxon.


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The post office is complete and open for business, even if it is looking a bit tatty. At some point Frau Schmidt the post mistress will nag her husband into taking down the framing from the old garage sign, but there’s nothing that is likely to fall on anyone and there are rather more urgent jobs needing attention so it will have to wait, and so will pinning down the wire from the solar panel to the attic window.

I am quite ridiculously pleased with this project, not just because it is the first vaguely succesful scratch built house I’ve managed in any scale but also at how inexpensive this was: almost everything in the picture is made from bits of card and wire. The clay and figures cost a few Euro, but apart from that and a sheet of card from the news agents in the village everything else came free. Even the card is the stuff I use for a photographic background.

That’s recycling, that is. Sort of.

Self-indulgent picture from a slightly higher angle which makes the door look even more wonky than it really is, but at least giving a better view of the solar panel and the lightning conductor running along the ridge.  Lots of buildings have these because of the massive electrical storms we get up in the hills.

Our apartment doesn’t, but it is right next to a church with a huge copper covered spire, so it probably doesn’t need it.

Now that’s done I can make a start on the garage next door…

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So, Middle Son has decided he’s into fingerboards, and wanted to buy a skateboard ramp to use his with.  It looked very expensive for a tacky bit of plastic that would travel thousands of miles on a ship towards its destiny as landfill so I suggested we make one, and to my surprise he was excited at the prospect.

So this week I made a prototype to see if such a thing is possible using card, which he is very excited about:

So there you are. far from being a pointless activity for nerds with no use in the real world, Model making can be helpful in the family, and also Very Cool, apparently.

Any one else have any examples?

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A combination of conveniently warm weather and the HBB railcar looking vaguely finished had me getting all motivated to spray primer on the backlog of projects. This is a pain to set up as I have to use the balcony, but I found the spray box, bought some fresh primer -I’ve been building one of these models for at least eight years so I don’t want to muck up the finish- and got everything together for the weekend.

On Saturday we had wind, heavy rain, and quite unnecessarily, snow.

Sometimes being badly organised is an advantage: I’d forgotten that the KÖB railcar needed a beefed up central block between bogies. Nothing drastic, just a bit more of a lump to suggest things like a fuel tank and other vital undergubbins that I don’t really know anything about. This is probably why I was ignoring its absence, but I figured that making something was better than sitting on my hands while the wind howled outside, so I measured the existing box on the original chassis and made another box to fit around it. Then made another one as I’d managed to measure it wrongly. And measured that one wrongly too.

It eventually took three attempts and a fair bit of bodging to make a box that fitted. I’m not sure why, but it was probably being distracted by conversations/train videos/shiny things. As usual.

Anyway. A couple of evenings and I had something presentable. I’m quite pleased with the steps although it would have been nice if they’d aligned better with the ‘step’ in the bodywork. I’m not sure that the ‘fuel tank’ is really big enough though. Perhaps it extends behind the steps and locker. Yes, that sounds good.

That, you’d think, was that, but then I decided I wanted sand boxes. Our local trams pour so much sand onto the track that by the time spring comes you could play beach volleyball on the steeper sections. The Körschtalbahn is higher than where I live so I imagine it would be very icy in winter.

Now that’s ready, I just have to add all the bits I forgot on the other railcar…

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I would be the first to admit that I probably got a bit carried away with this scene. It isn’t like anyone will see most of it when it is on the layout, after all. On the other hand, this meant no-one could see my mistakes which meant I could try out lots of different ideas and it wouldn’t matter if they went wrong.

This is as close as I usually get to optimism.

I discovered that the method I’ve learned for figures does not seem to produce great result on other things, like the post boxes in the background but that dry brushing can make up for a lot of mistakes and can work on surprisingly small objects.

Hopefully the post from a couple of weeks ago showing the postmaster apparently cut in half makes a bit more sense now that he is in his permanent position behind the counter interminably selling stamps to Frau Bauer. These figures and the cash register are just visible through the front windows, but the rest will be a hint of a shape in the background, or downright invisible in the deep shadow.

Which is why I’m inflicting one more image on you, in the basis it took me ages to make it and this is my blog.
Now I can glue this into the building and work on the outside with a clear conscience.

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