Archive for the ‘Maschienenfabrik Ostfildern’ Category

When I last wrote about the Big Diesel (aka ‘Moby Dick‘) I was dithering about how to make the ends, because as usual I was overthinking everything about the project, imagining a dozen different ways to make the curve on the nose and how they could all go horribly wrong.

Eventually I decided that it would be better to actually finish the model at some point and reverted to plan ‘A’.

The problem was that despite my early sketches of the loco I really wanted the distinctive chromed light clusters on the the Brohltalbahn’s D5 or its standard gauge cousin, the Deutsche Bahn type 218. It identifies the locomotive immediately and hopefully makes it clear that the model is in Germany as opposed to Austria or Switzerland. As this will be a somewhat unusual model I wanted to have as many of these visual cues as possible to set the scene quickly in viewers minds.

More to the point I really like the class 218.

For some reason I’d got stuck on the idea that if I didn’t make the nose curved I couldn’t have the 218 styled light bar because… um… Reasons. so I’d followed the idea down the rabbit hole and was looking at the headlight designs on the similar Bulgarian railways type 77 when I happened to come across a type 218 picture and noticed that it has flat ends. Of course it does. I’ve travelled behind class 218’s for hundreds of kilometres and every one of them had an absolute lack of curve on the ends. I’d just… missed it somehow.


Read Full Post »

I’m thinking of calling this loco ‘Moby Dick’: right now it looks like a great white whale and I’m not sure who will win the struggle to finish it off. I’m moving at a speed that a glacier would probably consider tardy, but I have finally managed to complete the sides and even attach them to the frame.

Appropriately, I’ve built the sides thick enough to be an ice breaker, partly for strength and partly because it made it easier to be sure the angled sides would be the same on both sides of the locomotive. I tend to think this is even more critical than getting the ends perfectly identical because it is relatively difficult to see both ends for comparison when the loco is on a model, whereas it’s quite common to see it end on.

The thick sides also made things like the steps and handrails easier to fit. I used recessed handlebars on this model, not because I’m such a model making genius but because I thought it may be easier to get them straight, or if I didn’t I could hide the fact more easily with some weathering.

It’s worked for the most part, just about. Although somehow the body has managed to twist a small amount, it isn’t noticeable if you squint…

I think I’m slow with these models because the Körschtalbahn was my ‘baby’ for many years now, with the original sketches dating from when I was in High School. Whenever I start a project I have a sudden need to think through everything half a dozen times before committing to building anything.

The current problem is a case in point. The original Henschel locomotives have a slight horizontal curve on the lower and upper parts of the nose which I’d like to repeat on the model, but I’m spending ages worrying about it instead of just getting on with the job. It would probably be more sensible to just make a straight end like the Bulgarian Railway locomotives I started with, so I can finish the model and then build the second example as a more ‘pure’ Henschel, giving me two similar but not identical locomotives with slightly different capabilities.

Either way, it’s about time I stopped messing about and got on with it…


Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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…

Read Full Post »

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...

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »