Archive for February, 2021

Getting ideas (again)

As mentioned previously, if there’s a low tech way to achieve something, I’ll generally go for it. This is why I tend to make models out of cornflake packets and clay even though there are far more advanced methods out there.

So it will probably be of no surprise to either of my readers that after making a paper mock-up a couple of weeks ago for the van sides, I started wondering if I could take it a step further and use paper on the final model. There is some logic to this: the transfers for the van sides will have to cover the whole of the van, partly because I want white writing which can be hard to achieve with transfers, and partly because of those big pictures on one of them. Transfers that big could get a bit unwieldy but a piece of paper would hold its shape much better, and it would be cheaper. Also, as I don’t currently have a printer at my apartment, it wouldn’t risk gumming up the one at work.

On the other hand, would they be realistic, or would they look like a piece of paper stuck on a plastic model?

To answer this question I made a mock-up of the van sides with all the features of the final model like the “gaps” in the doors and the holes for the handles, cut one of the door “sides”, applied glue and stuck it down. When this failed to cause an apocalypse I tried weathering powder which promptly stuck in the grain of the paper and looked a mess. I thought a bit, then sprayed the lot with matt varnish, and after a slight panic as the paper bubbled up in the wet varnish, weathered it again and added a final layer of varnish to seal it.

It looks okay, I just need to paint the ends and details first, and remember to glue on the paper, varnish it, and then apply weathering to the whole wagon…

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Ghost train

Here’s a tip: don’t plan to spray things outside without checking the weather, and especially wind direction, first. Still, it was a learning experience and fortunately I was wearing a grey top anyway.

Now the fun can start. The vans will be different along variations of the styles seen in the mock up. I’m having second thoughts about the “photo” finish: it may be a bit too garish although I remain hopeful I can reduce that with sufficient weathering.

The wood wagons will go through a more complex process than the vans because they would get a proper beating in life, so they’ll get a base coat of brown to represent “rust” and then successive layers of matt varnish, hair spray and finally the top colour; and as one of the wagons is supposed to be “refurbished” it will probably be green instead of the usual dark grey.

This should give the impression the Körschtalbahn has a maintenance programme. Or at least had a maintenance programme at some point in its history…

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Psychology works

Last weeks mock up had the desired effect; I finally managed to find the remains of a work ethic and added details every evening so I could finish both vans ready for the weekend.

So Psychology works, man.

Of course you can’t actually see those details on the picture above unless you enlarge it, or possibly have perfect eyesight. They are mostly some bits on the under frames which are clearly really important although I haven’t a clue why, and the door handles and runners, because I should probably at least pretend that the doors are openable. This turned out to be unexpectedly fiddly because your correspondent clearly isn’t quite as accurate as he assumed so several needed cutting to size so they fitted properly.

In other news, after spending 5 months losing drill bits I finally made a holder out of some waste pine wood at work, so now the bits are safe, there’s a lot less swearing and rummaging about, and I almost give the impression of actually knowing what I’m doing, as long as we ignore the chaos on the rest of the work bench.

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Trial Run

I’ve been fretting and procrastinating about the colour scheme for the two vans I’m building and eventually decided to make a mock up as it put off doing something more difficult for a little longer.

I was somewhat surprised to find they don’t look all that bad, even with the mock-ups made of computer paper stuck on with the local version of Blu-tack. The advertising it partly because I want to have something recognisably “modern” but also because frankly you can have enough of green trains. The slogan loses a bit in translation I’m afraid: it means “Körsch valley railway, at home in the Black Forest”. In German this would be understood to imply strong commitment to serving the local region and economy. As it’s an isolated railway to a non-standard track gauge and owned by the local authority it’s unlikely to relocate, but it’s as good a slogan as any…

I’ll need to make some adjustments to the second version, at the moment the hills are a bit too high so the slant at the top of the door makes it look like the top of the hills have been cut off from some angles.

There’s also a crane in the village at the bottom but I’ll ignore that, as I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a German village without a crane somewhere.

I’m often struck be the irony that in a hobby where many people recreate long gone railways using more computer technology than required to put a man on the moon, I’m sat here making a modern railway using bits of paper and blue tack.

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