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Archive for the ‘Hofelbachbahn’ Category

I got fed up with the gate looking like the backdrop for a cheap Gothic novel and decided to brighten things up a bit. It went surprisingly quickly, just thirty minutes to make it look a bit more like weathered limestone, then 10 minutes to tone it down, and another 45 to get it back to how it was in the first place.

I’m not bad at painting, just really indecisive.

I’m generally happy now. The stones are highlighted using a method I learned many years ago in theatre: the top and left of the blocks are painted cream and the bottom ans right grey/brown to emphasise the depth. I fretted for a bit about it being cartoon-like but I worried about that when I weathered the Post Office and now I can hardly see the weathering so I’ll leave it as it is for now.

I’ll leave the panel for the crest as well, at least until I can think of an idiot-proof way of making the a crest that works. Wörnritzhausen is supposed to be near Münsingen, but I think it would have had its own crest representing the rivers or the trade that would have paid for the city wall. Will have to think about that.

It needs a roof as well. Unfortunately I forgot that with the thick walls the roof will come over the top of the windows, making shutters unlikely, so it will have to do without. Gutters and drainpipes will have to wait until I’ve worked out how the farmhouse next door should look.

Still, the trains now run onto the scene through a real gate. It looks like we are getting somewhere, slowly.

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We have pleasure in presenting our latest Executive Bijou Dark Tower, the ideal starter home or secret laboratory for the aspiring ‘Mad’ Professor or Dark Lord.

This compact residence comes complete with pitchfork-proof door (choice of ominous creaks), gloomy archway, and this years must-have feature, an upper storey designed to lean in a threatening manner for the general intimidation of passers-by, and dropping large objects on pitchfork wielding mobs. The tower also features en-suite secret passage in all rooms and small cupboard for your Igor.

Optional extras include deluxe cobwebs, brass lightning conductors for all those nefarious experiments, and for the security conscious evil tyrant, a dragon resistant roof.

The tower is excellently situated with your very own village to terrorise, and a handy rail connection for those essential visits to far-flung minions and the supermarket.

Apply to Agents De Evil, the Estate Agent for the discerning megalomaniac.

Hmm…. Anyway. Here’s the tower halfway through painting, white drybrushed over dark grey.

It’s the second attempt using clay on card and worked surprisingly well except that it really does lean threateningly: when I pushed the post office building into the wet clay so the two buildings fitted snugly together, I managed to tip the tower forward and didn’t notice until everything dried off. At least it is a building not a locomotive so I can hide the gap with a tree.  Locomotives look a bit silly with foliage.

The ‘stones’ are score lines using a piece of wire, and probably a bit too neat. I learned this time that the clay dries slowly. Very. Very. Slowly. I’ll take my time and make nice interesting shapes in future.

And I really need to paint it a lighter colour.

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Finally got myself into gear to finish the railcar, or at least finish it to a point where I can start the next project with a clear conscience. There’s a couple of things will need doing at some point but I’ll worry about them if they annoy me. I’m not building for a museum here.

I’m generally pleased with the model, although I am a bit annoyed with those handrails on the front, as they took ages to fix and they are still wonky. I can’t think how to get them off without damaging the model now so I just patched up the paint and weathered the lot with chalk pastels, the bodgers friend. I’ll probably just leave them off in future or maybe not try and make such a complex shape without a jig.

On the other hand. the method of stippling rust really works well especially combined with drybrushing, so I’ll be repeating those, and the railcar generally has the feel I imagined, of a heavily used hand-me-down that has seen better days and really, really needs some paint. Or a clean at least.

 


In my slightly overactive imagination, the railcar was inherited from the Reutlinger Kreisbahn which rather sensibly upgraded from 600mm gauge to metre gauge fairly quickly,  leaving local lines with less enthusiastic local governments to pick up the now surplus stock on the cheap. This type of railcar was built as a cheap short-term solution in the first place and is already working beyond the makers intended lifespan, but the Höfelbachbahn was desperate and the Bürgermeister is still convinced the railway will not be needed in a few years so he vetoed anything more expensive. The railcar will probably rattle along the Höfelbach valley until it expires, or until the other towns finally persuade the Bürgermeister at Wornritzhausen that it needs replacing.

At some point I’ll probably add windscreen wipers -mirrors will have to wait for a layout with less curves or bigger clearances- and I really need to sort out the glazing in the centre windows which seems to have slipped downwards, but it works,  looks the part, and doesn’t fall off the track, so I’m happy.

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Well, here’s an ugly building, the sort of thing that makes you wonder why we bother having planning laws if something like this can get through.

The Post Office used to be part of a garage/filling station, and this was a workshop and TÜV (German motor vehicle exam) centre. Like most such buildings it was built quickly and with rather more concern for a quick return on investment than aesthetics. Its purpose on the model is help set the scene and make a minor eyesore at one end of the model to contrast with the other more attractive buildings, and prevent the rest of the layout descending into narrow gauge cuteness*. It would also hide the end of the siding and represent the Höfelbachbahn’s repair centre, the logic being that a car workshop should be fairly simple to convert to fixing trains.

Then I drew up a possible timetable for the Höfelbachbahn with a route diagram** it became obvious that the original story would require several more locomotives and railcars than is feasible, and I wasn’t sure they could all be maintained in a small maintenance shed. Unless I claim it is the entrance to a ten road roundhouse, and even I can’t say that with a straight face. It would be more sensible if I say the HHB is a short feeder line running into the hills, with Wörnritzhausen being the last large town, or at least the last town with more people than cows. Some trains would continue and some would stop here and turn around after being recharged or refueled.

On the other hand, if the garage is rented by the post office instead of the railway,  then it could be the local distribution centre and I could run extra vans on the back of the railcars or add them to freight trains. The siding in front could still be used for locomotives to layover or for recharging batteries on the railcar, so I could have the best of both worlds.

While I decide, I’ll work on adding more (ugly) details to the garage and try to find a way to hide the gap between the corrugated walls and the post office.

*Not that there is anything wrong with narrow gauge cuteness, just not here…

**Look, lunch breaks at college get pretty boring, okay?

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Suboptimization. That’s what is going on here. a “Situation where a process, procedure, or system yields less than the best possible outcome or output, caused by a lack of best possible coordination between different components, elements, parts, etc.

In this case the components called ‘stupidly tight curves’ and the snowploughs for the railcar have led to a lack of best possible coordination between the two. And I’m making it harder because I’m plain fussy.

The easiest way to fit a snowplough on a model train is to glue it nice and solid onto the coupling bar. This way it can waggle about with the coupling when the railcar goes around the track. Unfortunately in this case it would wave about more uselessly than a minor royal at a public occasion, and look almost as ridiculous.

Sensible people who know when to give up would have either ignored this: or left the snowploughs off entirely, but this would mean there was nowhere to paint the buzzbee stripes, so it wasn’t going to happen.

After ignoring the problem for a while, I decided that if I stuck the snowploughs on a pair of brass rods which went into the chassis at the exact point where they didn’t mess up the coupling bar, then they would stay nice and straight and the coupling could waggle about as much as it liked. Hooray.

I got there eventually and probably suboptimally, after the some bending of wire and a certain amount of ancient Anglo-Saxon.

 

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While I fret about the roof rack  I’ve been adding seats and passengers to the railcar so it looks like it is doing something useful rather than trundling around in circles. I say seats, they’re more pieces of plasticard glued down at odd angles and some 1:50 figures who were chopped down until they fitted, leaving a rather gruesome collection of legs and arms on the cutting board.

I made the seating sections on little modules of plasticard so I can take them out for painting instead of fighting to get the paintbrush into position through a window or something. Very occasionally I manage to think ahead far enough to avoid it all going to pieces.

Real modellers would have made a sort of clip in system to hold the modules down. I used Blu-tack.

I’ve also started to fit the LED’s into the model, but I won’t bother wiring them up just yet. I’ve got enough to worry about trying to make it all work without adding more complications.

I Also notice I’m beginning to get a bit fed up with the project, so I dread to think how my readers are feeling. I think I need to kick the post office project up a gear to get some variety.

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I am a pretty extreme introvert who works with people all the time, so come this weekend I really needed a little down time.

Ironic then, that I spent a chunk of it painting some 1:50 scale  people.

This motley crew got their primer coat back in August of last year and I have managed to put off the next stage ever since, partly because I didn’t really know how to even start painting figures, but I realised that the post office needed a customer or two so I found this method which I reckoned even I couldn’t entirely mess up, and set to work…

After painting everything (everyone?) black all over with artists acrylics, I left them to dry overnight. This morning, before any of my family were awake, I attacked the figures with white paint and a manky brush.

After this I concentrated on the postmaster and his solitary customer, on the basis that they will be inside the post office and therefore most of my mistakes will hopefully be hidden.

The reason the postman is apparently sinking into the ground is that he had to be cut to fit behind the post office counter, which is cunningly hiding the switch for the points outside.

His customer is a bit more fortunate, if you can call being glued permanently into a cardboard box ‘fortunate’.

After a couple of attempts and some rather rigorous cleaning with an old paintbrush and some alcohol, (someone needs to explain to the makers of “Acrylic Matt Varnish” that ‘Matt’ generally doesn’t reflect light like a chrome hub cap…) this is the result.

Now all I need to do is finish the rest of the interior…

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