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Archive for the ‘Diesel’ Category

I still haven’t give up on the idea of having headlights on the the Henschel diesel for the Körschtalbahn. While working on the cab I realised the various essential electrical bits I’d need for this wouldn’t fit in the ends of the locomotive. Instead I’d have to put them in the relatively generous space in the body, with wires running to the LED’s in the ends.

In a rare flash of forward planning, I decided to make sure there was a route for these wire to run from the ends of the locomotive to the middle so I could put the LED’s in place, finish the locomotive, and then connect the other complex but essential components when I had the money and inclination to add them.

The only problem is that the chassis unit I’m using is rather large, and based around a block of very solid metal, so the wires have to be threaded along a gap between the motor and sides. Then the wires needed to come up in the middle of the locomotive so they could eventually be added to the other bits of electrical gubbins, and the gap was deep down below the substantial bits of plastic that would be used to glue the sides to the chassis.

Above is my solution. When the wires are pushed from the ends down the gap, they should turn along the curved plastic and poke up through a gap, right next to the space where the rest of the circuitry will be kept.

That’s the theory anyway; we shall see if it works in a few weeks…

 

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Remarkably, the project to shorten the Big Diesel seems to have worked out with minimal problems requiring the use of swearing. One of the window frames in the cab windows vanished mysteriously, and the sides are a little bendy, but overall they’re as square as anything else I’ve made and they’re the right shape to fit the chassis, so I’m calling that a positive result.

First lessons learned with the amazing shrinking loco (which will reappear at some point, rest assured) is that a locomotive with sloping sides needs tough bracing to keep it from warping and similar mischief, so I wasn’t sure the original chassis I’d built was going to be up to the job of holding the recently butchered sides straight, so the next job was making a fresh frame. This time I followed the Brick Privvy school of model making and built up the base and sides from laminated plastic card until they were several millimetres thick. In a rare flash of forward planning I even remembered to make the ends angled ready to hold the ends in place.

It may be too much to hope that I actually got the angle right, but allow me some smugness for actually managing to think slightly ahead anyway.

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Here’s an idea I’ve been working on for a while but apparently forgot to blog about.

Regular readers will know that I have a habit of making model trains that most people would regard as decidedly obese. This is fine until I then try and run them on tiny layouts with stupidly tight curves, whereupon all kinds of problems ensue. On the current model this has reached the point I can’t pretend it isn’t happening any more so I have to make some changes.

After several minutes of applying the remaining spare brain cell to the problem, two possibilities emerged. The easiest would be to recast the model as an industrial scene, with little locomotives and short wagons. This had a certain appeal, but frankly there are loads of people making these already and doing it with far more skill than I ever hope to have.

Plan ‘B’ would be to downscale. Halve the scale and you have twice the apparent space, well, sort of. If I use the same track and build to British TT scale (1:101.6) for example, the current track would work out at about three foot gauge or metre gauge given my usual optimistic approach to these things. This means I can make a largeish type model without the huge overhangs and ensuing tendency of rolling stock to wallop buildings, scenery and other trains.

While I’m at it, I decided to try making a loco with some of the features of the large diesel, like sloping sides and other frivolous additions that were giving me trouble, on the basis that if I can make them this small I should be able to achieve them in a larger scale.

We shall see where it leads over the next weeks.

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Panel surrounds on locomotives: is there any reason for them? This is the eighth attempt at making a straight surround to match the one I’d already cemented to the side of the big diesel. A few earlier attempts can be seen in the background of the not at all set up photo…

The trouble is it becomes addictive, like pulling the lever on a slot machine: I think I’ll just have one more try, because after all I was so close last time, it was nearly there and this time I’m sure I’ll get that edge just right… and then five minutes later I look up and realise it’s nearly midnight and I’ve got a cutting mat covered with bent plastic squares.

Sensible people would have given up, bought an etched brass version, or possibly have made both frames together.

At the very least they wouldn’t have glued the first frame onto the model so they had no alternative but to make three more…

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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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kreisbahn_43

Here’s the basic form of the power units for Krokodil 2.0, with my 1:55 scale figure apparently walking off in disgust, but at least giving some idea of the size of the things.

The locomotive will be loosely based on the V29 locomotive that ran on the Altensteig line in the Black Forest, although after I’ve finished shoehorning the design into a track gauge half the scale width of the original and put in a bit here and a bit there to make up for my model making shortcomings, I doubt it will have more than a passing resemblance to the original.

The big cut outs on the top of the hoods are a case in point. I want to make the locomotive easy to dismantle in case something goes wrong, as I’m firmly convinced that the chances of something going boink are twice as high in a locomotive glued together, so I had to make those holes to give me access to the screws that will hold the power units onto the cab, and in order to cover those massive great holes, I’ll have to add some very unprototypical details.

On the other hand I’m pleased with how the grille worked out on the ends, especially as I actually remembered to put a background in and paint it black before I glued the unit together.

It seems the secret to satisfaction in this sort of thing is having very low standards.

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It’s Summer, and this year that means going to see Beautiful Wife’s family in Japan in a few weeks. I was all for cycling over but Beautiful Wife being more grounded in reality and far more patient with the interwebby thing excelled herself with the booking and found a flight that was relatively inexpensive, allows us to stay in Japan for a reasonable amount of time, and fly with an airline which we’re fairly confident the seats will be properly bolted to the floor. Normally we hope for two out of the three, so that’s pretty exciting.

It was important to get there this year because my very dear father in law is seriously ill, and getting worse, by all accounts, so we really want to get some time with him while we still can. I’m not sure what either of us will do without him: some people leave a big gap even when they’re a long way away, and with his wisdom and humour he’ll be one of those people.

We’ll be travelling about in Japan, and I’m really hoping that this year we can finally wangle a trip to visit family Hokkaido, which is the northernmost Island. Apart from the chance to visit one of Beautiful Wifes numerous eccentric aunts who we last saw at our wedding in Tokyo, I am assured that the place they live has some incredible scenery which is very different to the main island.

The fact that it also has a lot of these

and these

Has absolutely nothing to do with it, of course.

And while I’m on the subject, what would you go to see (railways or otherwise) if you were in Japan? What would be an interesting subject to write about?

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