Archive for December, 2017

One farmhouse, in colour. If sludgy green and muck counts as colour. I did wonder about making this a slightly less grungy building on the basis that at least some of the houses in the village must have been properly maintained -after all, there are plenty of well kept buildings in our local town- but in the end I recoiled from the very real possibility of an outbreak of cuteness involving window boxes and other horrific things. This building will dominate the rather tiny scene and if I allow it to look too twee it wouldn’t fit into the rest of the story, so out came the dark brown pastels and green paint.

Several people have pointed out that Germany is generally a lot cleaner than this, which is true, but I’ve seen villages not far from here where houses are in an advanced state of decrepitude, and some buildings around the back streets of Esslingen am Neckar, our local big town, are pretty tatty. I’m aiming here for a village that isn’t just a bit short of cash: it’s struggling financially and has more immediate problems than making sure the houses look pretty.

It’ll still get shutters though, as a contrast to the utilitarian rollers on the post office. Current thinking is in terms of cable ties to give a nice slatted look, but if that doesn’t work solid planks will be the order of the day. Add a set of railings, and a bicycle shoved into the gap under the stairs, and it should look the part, as long as you squint a bit.


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Happy Christmas…

It is Christmas eve here and all around us people are opening presents, but because we are traditionalists our boys are being forced to wait until tomorrow morning as they would in the UK.

So, in the unlikely event anyone is online and reading this, happy Christmas to all three of my readers, and thanks for following along my misadventures.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as we have all recovered.

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The Big diesel is going to have to wait a while until I’ve improved my skill level, or I’m not rushing about doing exams, or both, so I’m restarting this project, least seen in March. It has been lurking on a shelf ever since while I tried to find a way to stop the thing wobbling like a jelly on a dinner trolley, and also find an alternative to using tiny N-gauge bogies which I’d fitted at the time.

So a mere nine months later, I figured out a solution.

The trouble with N-gauge bogies is that they were quite reasonably designed for nice little 1:148 scale wagons, not the lead-filled 1:55 behemoths I build, so they looked frankly a bit silly. Using two four-wheel wagons and press-studs makes much more sense. Being unable to do anything the simple way I ended up butchering the donor wagons until there was very little left. I even had to cut a centimetre out of the middle to make them fit properly.

I’ll try shorter donor wagons next time.

Still the wagon rolls with only a very slight lean which I’ll probably spend the next nine months fretting about before sorting it, partly because I’m now getting all ambitious about the next project.


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Full house

At some point between applying to various places for employment I made a mess of the workbench using clay, water, and glue, and managed to finally get the outside walls made on the farmhouse that should be the central feature on my current model.

I really, really need to be much more patient and make one wall at a time, then wander off for a bit while it dries, instead of trying to make all four walls at once and wondering why the shrinking clay pulls the card out of line.

I also need to figure out a way to make thin clay walls. Despite thinking I’d been really clever planning for the extra thickness, something managed to be the wrong shape, in this case the steps and the far corner of the building, which got thwacked by the railcar when I did a test run. Some hacking away and bad language later, they were reduced to a more appropriate size.

The clearance on the far corner is about a millimetre now, but the railcar is by far the longest thing that will run on the model and you can’t see it nearly scrape the wall as it goes past unless you are looking very carefully from the right angle, so I’ll pretend it isn’t happening.

The alcove on the corner nearest the camera is based on a fairly common feature in buildings around here:

This is in our local big town of Esslingen am Neckar. I’m guessing that they were originally to give a bit of extra clearance for carts turning in the entrance.

The building also shows useful details like the leaning wall, so I can claim that the similar lean on my model is entirely intentional, and not because the card warped when the clay dried. Again.

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Graphic details

Here’s something I’ve been working on for the last few days to deal with the boredom factor during lunch breaks. It’s a train graph, a rather inaccurate train graph in fact, but it stopped me vegetating slowly in the concrete bunker that houses our college.

For the benefit of people with a social life who haven’t seen one of these before, a train graph shows the position of all the trains on a certain railway for a set period of time. On this one it is between 5am and 9pm. The diagonal lines show different trains moving. Horizontal lines are stationary trains.

Wörnritzhausen is marked by a red dot on the lower left of the graph and is about 45 minutes from the connection to the main line railway at the rather leisurely speeds of the Höfelbachbahn. The line’s main source of passenger traffic will be the local high schools, but they are one town away from the northern end of the line, so a train has to run from each direction into the as yet unnamed town where they are, to bring the schoolchildren at 07:45 and take them away again at 14:30.

This completely mucks up everything for the entire day.

One ‘school’ service will have to be a mixed train, in green on the plan. Before it gets on with the job of taking local children off to the school it will have pick up milk from farms at the bottom of the valley, then climb back up collecting children, milk and other items on the way.  In the unlikely event of it managing this and arriving on time at the school stop, it can pass the railcar there, then deliver milk and morning groceries to the standard gauge. The railcar (red line) will probably pull a van or two and can carry post or newspapers the other way.

This reverses later in the day with the mixed train bringing wagons from the main station and dropping off schoolchildren on the way, while the railcar takes the days post.

Beyond Wörnritzhausen an unfortunate village has a bare three services a day, although there are logging trains (blue) which don’t really follow any schedule which is why they seem to vanish.

Of course I still haven’t worked out what happens on market day, and if I ever decide to model the ‘extension’ then this will all go to pot and I’ll have to start again, but I have another three months of college lunch breaks to get through.

There: see what happens to you when you refuse to own a smart phone.

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So here’s this week’s progress on interior decoration for the farmhouse which will take centre stage on Wörnritzhausen. This will be almost entirely hidden when the model is complete, which is why I’m making you look at a picture of it now.

I don’t mind the ‘models’ looking a bit crude because they are only there to give some kind of feature behind the dark windows if someone is daft enough to try and look through them. The ‘hallway’ in the middle is behind the front door, which will have tiny windows so it doesn’t need any detailing. The same goes for the rooms out the back.

I was pretty pleased with this already, when this morning my son came in, declared it was “cool” and went and got his brother to show him. Said brother agreed on the general ‘coolness’ and asked if I’d bought it.

There is no higher complement from a teenager.

I added a double bed to go in one of the attic rooms before realising there was no way it would be seen in the gloom. As the prototype house was used for student accommodation I figured an unmade bed was pretty realistic.

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