Archive for the ‘Maschienenfabrik Ostfildern’ Category

Regular readers, assuming they have been following this blog with the care it deserves, will have noticed that most pretty well all of my projects need about half a dozen false starts as I make something, decide it could be done better/isn’t working, scrap it and start again. In a probably futile effort to avoid doing this yet again, I made a prototype for the cab ends on the not quite a Henschel diesel.

The Liquorice allsort appearance is because I made the corners out of black and white pieces of plasticard, the idea being that it helped me to see how deep and/or straight I was filing.

This worked but it  didn’t look so good, so in a fit of enthusiasm I primed it to see what it looked like.

Remarkably it wasn’t so bad. There were a few rough bits but nothing that I couldn’t deal with next time around. As it was just a prototype I took the lazy option and tried out a colour scheme.

The badge in the middle is was a random idea to try and break up the blank end. I doubt I’ll need this on the production model, because the locomotive is supposed to be a relief passenger locomotive so it will need to have the same connectors as the railcar hanging off the front, a lot of this blank space will be covered by Guitar strings pretending to be connector pipes.

Once again I’m making life more difficult for myself. Just as well I have lot of friends who are musicians…


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I was all ready to go: I had the LED’s and chassis, I’d discovered a that I didn’t have any solder flux, but after much questioning online I”d figured out the German for this, and I knew where to get some, and, and even what I can use as a substitute until I do. As an extra bonus I then discovered that I did have a tin of solder flux  lurking in a drawer in the workbench and it wasn’t even empty. Nothing could stop me now…

Except that the solder was missing.

Checked workshop, model making boxes, drawers, even my bike bags which is where most missing small items end up.


So I worked on a container wagon and a rebuild of the Very Low Relief Engine shed. At least that way I’ve made something this week.

Photos to follow as soon as they look interesting.

Edit: living in a different country from most of my readers has frequent small hazards, one of which is that dates of national importance differ. I originally titled this post ‘soldering on’ but then was reminded that in the UK the 11th of November is the day of remembrance, hence the change of title. Sorry if I offended anyone in the two hours that went by before I noticed this...

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Finally it is winter and I can slow down a bit on the garden: all I need to do is get the remaining parts for the waterless toilet system, rebuild the privvy that houses it, dig several dozen steps, take delivery of -literally- a tonne of cow poo*, clear a hundred square metres of brambles, level several places in preparation for some construction next year…

I think I’ll stop now.

Where was I? Oh yes, building model trains. Right.

So the Railcar** needs lights. This was always going to be the most difficult bit of this project, which is why I’ve been putting it off for so long. The model is based on modern European practice, which means 3 white Lights in the direction of travel, and two red lights showing at the back.

I’ve got LED’s and resistors with plenty of spares for when I destroy them during the soldering, but not the first notion of how -or where- everything should be soldered together. I put up a message on the Narrow Gauge Model Railway forum and got lots of helpful advice, including the suggestion that I just change to DCC. This is probably a logical idea, but -apart from the cost- I don’t even have a mobile phone, so I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Anyway, the general consensus is that we need two circuits like this, and we can solder the connections directly to the circuit board on the chassis and if we’re really lucky it’ll work out first time. If not we need to solder it the other way around.

School holidays next week, and we’re going to visit some friends, so don’t hold your breath…

* Admit it, you’re jealous.
**Yeah, the one which should have been finished for the 5,5mm scale society AGM nearly a month ago.

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For those of you* waiting with baited breath to see what progress the new weekly routine has wrought, here is the three dimensional railcar, with fitted and filed roof. Pretend that narrow crack along the roof line isn’t there for now. I’m sure it can be filled with Milliput or something before it is sprayed in the grey primer of doom.

The Other Side of the railcar, partly to prove that I have actually finished two ends, but also to show the extra grille which supposedly is where some technical gubbins is fitted just above floor level in the parcel carrying section of the railcar. Of course having done this I realised my original cunning plan for a sliding middle door wouldn’t work because you can’t slide doors across ventilation grilles, so they had to be hurriedly re-cut and fixed flush with the side: they are now ‘plug’ doors instead.

Now for the roof and end details, interior walls, and if we’re lucky I’ll be able to fit some LED’s in the cab. If we’re really lucky they may even work.

*Note use of the plural: Google claims there is more than one person (apart from my mum) reading this blog.

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I had a good look at my weekly schedule and reorganised things. Now I have a short block of model making time each week. Meanwhile the main computer has packed up which is a pain but it does mean I can use the desk space for model making, so I should get more progress done.

Admittedly ‘more’ progress is a relative term in my case.

Here’s the current state of affairs, a jigsaw puzzle of parts sitting on the modelling board. The ends are something of a surprise, the surprise being that I actually finished them, and also that I didn’t need to make half a dozen to get two that worked. I’m pretty sure the LED lights will fit in there in between the railings and other pipes I’ve got lined up. (and how do you secure LED’s to plastic card?)

My cunning plan is to put this lot together ‘upside down’ using the roof as a base so I have access to the insides until after I’ve painted it. That way I can add glazing and lights last, and have miraculously clear windows and lights that work.

That’s the theory anyway, I’m open if someone has another idea.

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Despite life trying to intervene with annoying regularity I’ve actually managed to make the inside hull for the railcar. Ignore the blu-tack holding the Talgo couplers onto the sideframes. The completed model is supposed to be a photo entry in a competition in October and while it’s unlikely to get any response except yawns from the judge(s) it would be nice to show them a complete model, as I suspect a pile of plasticard would be disqualified, or at least laughed at rather a lot.

The box is very tight around the solid metal of the chassis block -it takes quite a pull to get it out- and in a rare moment of joined up thinking I realised I could use the pliability of the outer body to make it clip on to this one. This means I can build the ‘outer’ shell separately, faff about with painting and pesky things like LED lights and glazing, and then when all is complete, clip the outer shell onto the inner before realising I’ve forgotten something vital like the cab.

What? The outside? Yes, of course I’m *cough* working on the outside…

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After taking the last entry on building the railcar I noticed that I’d managed to make both of the coupling attachments (aka Big White Lumpy Bits or BWLB’s) several millimetres longer than was strictly necessary.
A real modelmaker would probably have built a whole new set of couplers. I don’t pretend to be such a person, and and I’d had quite enough making complicated shapes, so out came my late Granddads’ vice (made in Sheffield, England) and a hacksaw, and I nervously marked out where the cut was to go, clamped the BWLB in there so the line followed the edge of the clamp and chopped.  This rarely ends well: usually I mess the first up and get it right on the second, or I do the first perfectly, and get too cocky and mess up the second: and that’s on a good day. Which is why I was surprised to find both worked.
So there: having good tools pays. Thanks Granddad.
According to the comments a couple of weeks back, the Big White Lumpy Bits are officially known as Talgo Couplers and they’ve been around some time, so I’ll put the patent applications away.
Above is one of the now shorter talgo couplers with snowploughs and adapted DG couplings in place.

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