Archive for the ‘Hofelbachbahn’ Category

Once I found a way to stop trains wobbling about, I was much more motivated to build things. I could claim this was part of a grand plan to build a realistic operating system but if I’m honest it’s because I like watching the trains rattle round and round, and I wanted a few more wagons on mine.

When I’d nearly finished the second van, I noticed that neither van had a handle for the door. As both of the vans are full of card and fishing weights, this is a not going to make a great difference to their capabilities, but I’m trying to at least pretend that they are there to carry general merchandise this detail is somewhat significant,

I started looking through pictures of real narrow gauge vans. Of course one thing led to another and I ended up adding bits of wire all over the model in the hope it would then look all fine scale* and detailed.

The standard way to ventilate vans here seems to be a sliding panel which I assume is operated by staff unclipping and sliding the metal rods underneath. On the original van I made the panel from card, but on the new version this didn’t seem to work so I gave up and used the evil plastic.

The picture shows some of the problems that I’m causing myself with this model. The van in the background is a long way onto the other track, but still overhangs the main line** by some way. In fact the van in the foreground is probably on the one place on the loop that I can get another train past it.

This is one of several reasons why the Höfelbachbahn will now disappear at least until after exams, until I can make it a more sensible shape.

*I can dream…

**’Main line’ in the same way that my model making is ‘Fine scale’



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This is what happens when I just make stuff with no planning whatsoever.  Again.

Much as I’m happy to have a railway where I can run trains round and round, I was getting a bit fed up of looking at a badly painted cork surface and odd wires whenever I use it, so the plan was to move along and get some ground cover down.

Then I remembered that I couldn’t do start on the ground cover before all the buildings were in place, if I wanted the buildings to be properly embedded into the earth with no annoying gaps.

Then I realised that before I started gluing buildings into place some pretty serious thought would have to be given to a back scene, so out came the paintbrushes and thick paper…

We live very close to the region of Germany where they put huge great copper onion domes on the tops of church towers. This always seemed odd to me in a region known for massive lightning storms, but those churches are several hundred years old and still standing so I’m assuming these people know what they’re doing.

Obviously Wörnritzhausen would have to have just such a church tower so I played about with Google Earth until I found a couple of villages with churches the shape I wanted and not the size of cathedrals, which was surprisingly difficult: people around here seem to have taken their ecclesiastical buildings very seriously.

The three houses on the other side are to balance the scene out a bit, as the wall should theoretically continue off into the distance. I considered adding trees and a few more buildings but the perspective was awkward enough as it was without making more lines in different directions, and  I wanted the backscene to be understated and not dominate the model.

Besides, I needed to tidy up and clean the floor before the family came back…

Test fitting on Wörnritzhausen. I’m still wondering what to do on the corner where the roof meets the sky, but apart from that and a nagging feeling that I made it all a bit too understated, reckoned it went okay.

I was going to leave it for a while and decide if I liked it or not, but I’ve since decided that you can have too much testing and the point of making a small model is that I can finish it sometime, so the backscene is now glued down.

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Roofs are like buses with me. Nothing happens for ages, then two turn up one after the other.

Here’s roof 1.0. with all the right ingredients except that I went and made the tiles on the roof too small. The idea behind this was to make these tiles  slightly different to the post office/Cartoon Gate, giving a smug glow and the impression I might actually know what I’m doing.

Unfortunately they came out looking like they were an entirely different scale.

As the most visible end of the farmhouse isn’t that easy for the eye to scale in any case what with having odd windows and a strangely arched double door, it gave the overall effect that this was a very large building in a smaller scale than the rest of the models.

I’m somewhat fussy about this building because it will be in the centre of the scene, so after looking at it for a couple of days I went and raided a cornflake box in the kitchen cupboard. Then I spent several hours marking up larger tiles to make roof MkII.

This is not a very exciting past time.

On the other hand, I can see a difference: the building looks more in scale with the others to my eye and I fully intend to ignore anyone who says otherwise.

The overall impression isn’t too bad either, although it really is time to make a back scene.

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One farmhouse, in colour. If sludgy green and muck counts as colour. I did wonder about making this a slightly less grungy building on the basis that at least some of the houses in the village must have been properly maintained -after all, there are plenty of well kept buildings in our local town- but in the end I recoiled from the very real possibility of an outbreak of cuteness involving window boxes and other horrific things. This building will dominate the rather tiny scene and if I allow it to look too twee it wouldn’t fit into the rest of the story, so out came the dark brown pastels and green paint.

Several people have pointed out that Germany is generally a lot cleaner than this, which is true, but I’ve seen villages not far from here where houses are in an advanced state of decrepitude, and some buildings around the back streets of Esslingen am Neckar, our local big town, are pretty tatty. I’m aiming here for a village that isn’t just a bit short of cash: it’s struggling financially and has more immediate problems than making sure the houses look pretty.

It’ll still get shutters though, as a contrast to the utilitarian rollers on the post office. Current thinking is in terms of cable ties to give a nice slatted look, but if that doesn’t work solid planks will be the order of the day. Add a set of railings, and a bicycle shoved into the gap under the stairs, and it should look the part, as long as you squint a bit.

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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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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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