Archive for the ‘1:55 scale’ Category

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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One of these days, I really might manage to make a locomotive on the first attempt instead of getting fed up and starting again.

Not this time around though. After cutting out all the holes I put the finished sides away with a nice smug feeling which promptly vanished when I took them out again a few days later to find that several of the pieces were not even pretending to be the shape I planned.

On top of this, I wasn’t happy with the ends of version 1: they looked, well, ugly. Worse, the locomotive had the feel of a home made miniature railway locomotive. Nothing against miniature locomotives you understand, but I wanted a heavy freight diesel on a go-getting modern transport organisation that happened to use a narrow gauge railway, and this wasn’t really giving that impression.

So I started redesigning. Here’s version 2:

There is a marked similarity to Brohltalbahn D5, formerly working in Spain, now hauling trains up murderous gradients south of Bonn, but it includes a few details from different versions, on the basis that that Henschel made the locomotives slightly differently for all their customers so no-one can say I’ve got it wrong. Having tried to ignore the slight tilt to the sides on most of the Henschel locomotives I’ve given in and added one on this, which makes a massive improvement to the profile view.

the drawback is I actually have to build the thing like this now.

I’m still not entirely sure about the light clusters. The locomotives would have been refurbished recently so a more modern light cluster may be more appropriate, and make the loco look a bit less like a D5 clone. Will have to think about this…

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So here’s the current building project showing several repairs, despite my brilliant plan from a couple of weeks ago. Never mind, it’ll all be hidden under the clay. The white paper is also a repair but that was due to bad marking up, which meant I had a gap of about 2mm at the bottom but the top was correct. I glued some extra card on with superglue, braced it with paper on both sides, and cut it carefully along the correct line when dry. So far it hasn’t collapsed, so I’m calling it a success.

Very observant people will notice that then window in the middle of the first floor on this end of the building is blocked out in the picture above. this is because I want an arched door there giving access to the cellar, and often these stick up into the floor above, so it would be a pain in the backside to have a window right above it. Of course I could just claim this was of the non-protruding-into-the-floor variety but the windows gave the end a rather unbalanced feel, so I’m moving that window further to the left. I’m also not sure why that small window is between the floors, so that’ll be moving up as soon as I’ve got my act together.

I’ve also got to figure out how to make the steps.

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Something I’ve noticed over this year: projects go through phases, and a lot of them make for pretty boring photographs.

Take this picture of the outer and inner sides of the big diesel I’m working on for the Körschtalbahn. Try as I might there is no exciting way to take pictures of a sheet of plastic with holes in it. Trying to take a picture on a filthy wet day doesn’t help either but needs must.

Why did I decide that lots of holes in the side of a model locomotive would be a good idea anyway? It’s not like I enjoy trying to cut straight lines in plasticard.

This is the bit of the project where I just have to keep reminding myself that eventually, there will be a fun but, where all the bits come together, and I can add on details and decide what colour to paint the model, and I’ll generally enjoy myself. This is especially important because when I took those pictures I realised that a couple of those windows are too big: not enough that anyone else will see it probably, but just enough to irritate me.

As I am very keen to break with my tradition of making at least two starts on every model, I’ve tried to repair the damage by welding extra bits of plastic inside the frames, leaving it to set very solidly, and filing and sanding away on the next model making session. We shall see if this works…

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Avoidance of numbers.

I am not a natural mathematician. I get confused with numbers that have too many zeros and once drove my carpentry theory tutor to distraction by admitting that I used mathematical formulas like pinball machines: I put the numbers and units carefully in the right places, pressed the buttons on the calculator, and hoped the result made sense to someone else. Thinking about it, that’s probably why I now work in social work: it’s the natural home of the numerically illiterate.

My problem, it seems, is that I use the right side of my brain more than the left, which means I understand things visually, and sometimes design complete 3d solutions in my head, but I don’t get the connection between that and abstract stuff like numbers

Take this farmhouse project, for example. The card is 2mm thick, so the ends need to be 2mm + 2mm = 4mm undersized. Then I remembered that there’s going to be clay all over this, 5mm thick, meaning a 10mm reduction and one corner needs to be against the backscene which means I don’t need the 5mm of clay on that corner.

Take notes, there may be questions later.

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for all this abstract thought, until I realised that this meant wrestling with numbers, with all the attendant awkwardness.

then it occurred to me that I can draw a mean diagram, so I solved the problem that way: draw the outline of the building (pencil), then draw the outline without clay (red), then draw cutting lines (blue).

In theory I will be able to take measurements from this, and make an accurate model. We shall see.

The technicolour lines are because I’m a bear of little brain and get easily confused…

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There’s a point at the beginning of any project when I really wonder why I bother. It’s the point where I’m trying to do all the boring engineering type stuff to make things fit. If I get this wrong nothing will fit together and the locomotive, wagon, or whatever wobbles about or falls off the track in an embarrassing manner, so I have to just grit my teeth, remind myself that this means there will be fun detailing and weathering to be done later.

It’s a bit like eating your vegetables in the hope there will be a nice dessert.

Anyway. After a certain amount of measuring and false starts, this is the result, a box that fits an old chassis from my stockpile. The gap I the casing is for wires to come through in case I get all enthusiastic about electricity and wire up the LED lights.

It might happen, you never know.

Of course, having done this I realised I’d gone end made life difficult for myself, again because now I can’t just glue everything together: I need to make the outer body clip onto this, just in case I decide one day that I want the lights to work.

Once again I’ve followed a brilliant plan without thinking it through and I’m now dealing with the consequences.

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