Archive for April, 2022

Rolling stock.

People who’ve been reading this blog for some time will know my preference for “old school” methods and making things out of scrap and household objects. I suspect it comes of being brought up by a mum trained in child development.

This latest burst of enthusiasm for home made cellulose based model making are the complex imagery and graphic designs used on modern rolling stock, especially as the next project is making some carriages and lately the state government has started to insist on at least a logo appearing on trains they are financing.

I’ve already found that a paper overlay works surprisingly well to produce a vinyl side on a freight wagon although it was rather difficult to glue it on properly, or add any surface details or holes for grips, so I’m hoping to get around that problem by building the whole thing out of card, with layers for details.

In theory, card is also less prone to going all bendy when exposed to temperature changes, and being absorbent it shouldn’t need priming. I’m sceptical of that but it’s certainly worth a try…

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Full Circle

Try to contain your excitement; you are seeing a not inconsiderably momentous occasion in the history of this blog.

The KÖB shunter is complete. I’ll probably fuss about altering bits and adding bits at some point but generally, it’s done. This marks not only the end of this project but also the final culmination of the “Entirely Random Arbitrary Goal” of three locomotives (railcar, main line and shunter) and eight freight wagons, which I decided on way back in the mists of time.

Entirely by accident it also marks the replacement of my very first attempt at a locomotive, built when I was still figuring out how to make stuff out of plastic, trying to work out how big things should be, and generally getting it wrong.

I’m quite relieved to see that I do seem to have improved in the last few decades; the new shunter is generally to scale, and to a more sensible scale as well. Ironically it took me until now to even attempt soldering railings, but the detail is finer and my painting has improved. I still had trouble with the glazing though, and I currently have no way of making transfers so the logo and information panels are once again copier paper.

I doubt anyone will notice if I don’t tell them…

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The Easter weekend was spent visiting my family in Stuttgart. Unfortunately my usual route straight up the main line between Basel and Karlsruhe isn’t there at the moment because German Railways (DB) has been enthusiastically digging it up. This is part of a massive project to build a new parallel freight/high speed line up the Rhine Valley.

This is because the current line, although at least double track and frequently quadruple, and dead straight for the most part, is way over capacity.

I took one of the new “S-Bahn” units to a small junction in the hills, then caught one of these, which are still one of my favourite types of railcar:

Yes, I admit, I have a favourite railcar.

Everything was fine until I got here, where I was supposed to catch the train north to Stuttgart:

Notice freight train in the background: the freight that normally belts along the Rhine Valley was being sent down the Neckar valley. A lot of the traffic that normally ran down the 2-4 track, dead straight Rhine Valley route was being squeezed down the largely single track, winding Neckar Valley line, so they were stacking up freight trains in places like Rottweil while the passenger trains were rushed through the other way.

Intercity trains from Singen and Zürich to Stuttgart were classified as regional trains so I was supposed to get on one of those on my “local” ticket. This would have been fine except that I still needed to reserve a place for my bike in advance, and even if I had known this, there was no way I would have been able to get on board with the bike; the trains were packed like the Tokyo Metro. I let the first train go, but on the second one the staff made a plaintive announcement that it was filled to capacity and could some passengers please leave so they could close the doors…

About half an hour after the second intercity went, I caught a genuine local train.

During the wait I confused fellow passengers by taking lots of pictures like this…

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Small steps

My landlady has decided that with retirement looming she needs my apartment. As it was built as a barrier free retirement apartment, I can’t complain, especially as I was only supposed to be here a year, two years ago.

I’ve also been offered a new contract at work, which means it’s probably time to move out of furnished accommodation.

When I find somewhere I’ll hopefully be there long enough to finally build a railway for all these trains I’ve been building for so long, so naturally I’ve been distracting myself sketching buildings, specifically a station building…

And when I say sketch, I mean just that: I know the external floor dimensions of these buildings but the rest is the sort of “if it looks right” doodle most of my model making eventually turns into, I’m afraid. It will probably get some “adjustment” as I make the model, but it’s a start.

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Normally a project moves pretty quickly at this stage because all the awkward bits are out of the way and it’s just the tidying up to do, but this one is fighting back.

Currently I’m stuck with the cab windows which haven’t worked out as planned so I can’t get the “glass” in them. While I figure out what I’m going to do, I decided to work on the ends so that all these delicate and easily lost bits would be safely stuck on the larger model, which would theoretically keep them safe.

This theory is almost convincing if I don’t mention how many surprisingly large objects I’ve managed to lose on occasion.

The pipes need some more detail; the current plan is to make a few ‘control switches’ out of wire, and place these right alongside the exit point for the pipe. This should cunningly hide the fact they’re basically piano wire poked into the buffer beam. The coupling will possibly need extending too, but I’ll worry about that if I ever have a model for the loco to run on…

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